This week, it’s more summer fruit action for TWD, as Michelle from Michelle in Colorado Springs has selected Dorie’s recipe for Summer Fruit Galette. I’m wondering if there are any Southern Hemisphere dwellers coming up in the rotation? Anyone to pick a heavy, wintertime bread pudding, or perhaps a little pumpkin somethin’ somethin’? Just kidding…actually, I have something up my sleeve, and it’s one of my absolute favorites. It’s no secret either, because I used it last week– rhubarb.
I so associate rhubarb with spring back in the States, but I mentioned last week that I see it at the farmers’ markets year-round here. Maybe it’s the mild climate or something, I dunno. And I’m talking about thin, red as anything, beautiful stalks, with healthy green leaves (although they’re not healthy to eat–call Mr. Yuck!) still attached. It’s really a veggie, by the way, so perhaps I should call this a “summer vegetable galette”?
A galette is a free-form tart. Less muss and fuss than one baked in a ring, it’s easy to make, and even easier when you have enough of Dorie’s pie dough (left over from my mini Double-Crusted Blueberry Pie) stashed in the freezer to do it. I made two individual-sized galettes. After cutting out the rolled dough into two circles, I smeared the centers with a little strawberry rhubarb jam and sprinkled on some almond cookie crumbs. Then I just piled on a heap of cut rhubarb. Because I really liked the bite of ginger in last week’s cobbler, I chopped up a couple of small hunks of baby stem ginger in syrup that I had in the fridge, and dotted it among the rhubarb pieces…it’s pretty potent stuff, so a little goes along way. I folded the edges of the dough up to form pleats, and the galettes looked oddly similar to a stop sign when viewed from above. I wouldn’t exactly say that rhubarb abounds in natural sweetness, so when I sprinkled the dough with raw sugar before putting the galettes in the oven, I also sprinkled some on the rhubarb.
A few minutes before the galette finishes baking, a “custard” of melted butter, egg, sugar and vanilla gets poured on top. I had initially thought about leaving it out, because the combination of ingredients sounded a little weird to me, frankly. Other TWDers said it really added something, though, so I went ahead with it. And I must say, while it had a strange color (some may say “snot-like”), it was quite tasty and it gave a nice sweetness that seeped all around the rhubarb to fill in the gaps.
To serve, I followed Dorie’s suggestion to simply dust some powdered sugar on top and call it day. We really enjoyed this. It’s a great simple dessert, and I’ll definitely have to try it with some stonefruit in another six months! And I have to say (even though I should not praise that which contains shortening), Dorie’s pie dough is super freakin’ flaky.
P.S.: So sorry, but I may not be able to make the TWD rounds myself for the next couple weeks. I’ll be on vacation when you read this–twelve days in America’s paradise, and without our laptop. Aloha!
I may not have had fireworks this Fourth of July, but I still had homemade blueberry pie! As you can tell, I’m back in action in my new kitchen…although the day we moved in, we got some news that makes us wonder if we should bother to unpack, but that’s a different story for a different time…I’m here now to talk about Dorie’s Double-Crusted Blueberry Pie, which Amy from South in Your Mouth selected for TWD. Look at that pie with its little blueberry juice scar–it’s so homely, it’s almost cute!
The recipe for Dorie’s pie dough calls for mostly butter with a small amount of shortening. I’ve actually never made a pie crust with shortening before, but since I do have some the fridge (why, I cannot remember), I decided to give it go. I won’t lie…it’s a great crust. It’s crispy and flaky and all that, but I do generally have the shortening creeps, and will probably stick with my normal all-butter recipe going forward. Due to the fact that fresh blueberries are hard to find here right now, and break-the-bank expensive when you do, I took a gamble and used frozen ones in the filling. I do think, by the way, that fresh blueberries make a noticeably better pie filling, but in a pinch, these were acceptable. Besides the frozen berries and the fact that I made a mini pie, I followed Dorie’s recipe to a tee. I served up our slices with vanilla whipped cream.
Thanks to everyone who left comments here last week! Dorie herself commented on my Apple Cheddar Scones post–I almost choked on my coffee when I saw that! Now, off to the TWD blogroll for all the other pies out there! And check out Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or Amy’s post for the recipe for her Double-Crusted Blueberry Pie.
They say that within simplicity lies beauty, and this strawberry tart (our TWD recipe of the week) is a case in point. At its bare bones, it’s just a sablée crust, strawberry jam and fresh berries. It’s delicious as is, and even better tricked out with a couple of Dorie’s minor embellishments. I put a little hazelnut meal into the tart dough and tossed the cut berries in kirsch, a sprinkling of sugar and a hit of black pepper. Dorie recommends serving this with a little crème fraîche or whipped cream, but I had mascarpone in the fridge, so that’s what I used.
I decided to make individual tarts so I could bake the shells off as needed, which is a good idea when there are only two of you, and a great idea when its been so damp all week. I really loved the ultra-crisp crust, although I admit it was a little tricky to cut into. Reminiscent of a linzer cookie, the tart shells are sweet and nutty, and filled with the jam and berries moments before serving. It’s not exactly strawberry season over here, but I did find one lady still selling them at the monthly growers’ market, and happily they were pretty good.
This week’s recipe was chosen by Marie of A Year in Oak Cottage. If you want to read about the inspiration for this tart from the woman herself, look for the recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or on Serious Eats. And don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!
“What the heck is Florida Pie?” you ask. It’s basically a key lime pie with a couple of coconutty embellishments, and it happens to the TWD pick o’ the week from Dianne of Dianne’s Dishes. Dorie’s Florida Pie has the standard crumb crust and lime juice/condensed milk filling, but it also has a layer of coconut cream in between said crust and filling, and coconut folded into the meringue topping. I decided to go for mini pies, and half a recipe of filling gave me three babies. Mini pies do have a higher crust to filling proportion than full size pies, so I probably used about 2/3 recipe of crust.
I didn’t stray too far from Dorie’s instructions this time, but I did make a couple tweaks. I used regular (not key) limes and condensed low fat milk in the filling, which worked nicely. And for the coconut cream layer, I used way less cream than she called for, probably just a few tablespoons, and wound up with something more like a tasty goo. I also toasted my coconuts (both the shredded stuff I used in the goo, and the fine desiccated stuff I folded into the meringue), because I think it really brings out the flavor of packaged coconut, which can be pretty lackluster as-is.
“How did it taste?” you ask. Pretty darn good. Next time, I’ll add a little lime zest to the filling. I really like the combination of coconut and lime, but if you aren’t a coconut fan, just leave out the cream layer and keep your meringue unflavored. You’ll still wind up with a fantastic key lime pie. If you’d like to be transported via baking to Key West, Del Boca Vista, or the Floridian destination of your choice, put on your Lilly Pulitzer and check out the recipe here on Dianne’s Dishes, or in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to go look at the TWD Blogroll!
Natalie from Burned Bits chose Russian Grandmothers’ Apple Pie-Cake as our Tuesdays with Dorie recipe of the week. I love apple pie and I love cake, so this one sounded great, even though I didn’t really know what to expect from it. Made from dough like a pie, but bakes up like a cake– huh?? Dorie doesn’t have a photo in her book to help me out (although she does have a nice story about the recipe), so I’d just have to see this paradox for myself.
It wasn’t hard to make– two layers of crust sandwich a cinnamony apple filling. When the “pie” bakes, the crusts poof up, and it really does become cake-like. It’s a really rustic dessert–all lumpy and bumpy and browned on top. And it’s really good…tonight I will be dreaming about eating it for breakfast!
I did make a couple of changes. Dorie uses raisins in her recipe, but I’m not too fond of them so I substituted dried cranberries instead. Also, I wanted to make half a recipe, which is a more manageable amount for us, and my 8-inch square glass pan worked perfectly.
This sounds bizarre, even to me, but I don’t think I’ve ever had lemon meringue pie (a.k.a. LMP) before. I can’t imagine how this is possible, but I also can’t recall ever having a piece. This month’s Daring Bakers challenge, chosen and hosted by Jen The Canadian Baker, was my chance to fill this gross void in my culinary experience.
Apparently LMP doesn’t keep well. The meringue can breakdown and weep (how sad!), and the crust can sog out if it’s not eaten within a few hours of being made. I decided that for just three of us, dividing the recipe in half might make more sense. I have some rarely-used mini pie tins that I put to work to get three baby pies.
The pastry dough came together easily in the food processor, but was a little more wet than the sweet dough I usually make. It rolled out fine though…I chilled it for several hours in the tins before baking, and it held its shape nicely in the oven. I was even able to pop them out of the tins successfully! The filling was super easy to make…much less work than a regular lemon curd, thanks to cornstarch. And I was really happy with the cloud-like fluffy whiteness of the meringue. In the oven, the peaks took on a gorgeous pale brown.
I must say, I thought my little guys came out really cute, what with their mounds of fluff heaped on top! But what did I think of my first taste of LMP? I liked it, but I could really take it or leave it. The lemon filling has a bit too much of that cornstarchy giggle. I think I prefer a traditional French lemon curd tart.
What you do when you’ve started a new job and are working your tail off and don’t have time to cook, bake or post (I will stop there otherwise this will just get all whiny)? You reincarnate what’s already kicking around in the fridge and then post about it two weeks later.
After eating our fill of cherry-lime rickey cupcakes at the end of September, I had a bit of the lime curd filling left. There were also those graham cracker crumbs that had been in the freezer for God knows how long (and even after this, I still have some in there!). I eyeballed a quick crumb crust using sugar and cinnamon to taste and enough melted butter to hold it all together, and then baked off a couple of mini tart shells. I filled the cooled shells with lime curd and added berries and whipped cream on top. Voilà– dessert made in record time.
I had been wondering what to do with the chocolate tart dough in my freezer, leftover from last month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge. Then along came Hay Hay It’s Donna Day hosted by Sarina the TriniGourmet! Sarina picked tarts for this month’s theme, so I it was the perfect time to use that stuff up.
In my excitement over the latest cookbooks with glossy pages and beautiful photos, I sometimes forget about the old classics that are also on my bookshelf. James Beard’s American Cookery may be paperback, and may just have a few black and white illustrations of old-school kitchen gadgets, but it is not to be neglected. It is one of the most useful books I have. Flipping through it while my husband was watching something uninteresting on TV the other night, I came across his recipe for butterscotch pie. Butterscotch is a real favorite of mine…my first choice for a sundae topping, without a doubt. I thought that if I took his custard filling and the dough I already had, I could make some pretty nice little tartlettes. Finished off with a little whipped cream, it made a great old-fashioned dessert.
Although you can use your favorite tart dough (chocolate or plain), or even a crumb crust, you can find the recipe for the dough I used at Veronica’s Test Kitchen. As is, it is quite a big batch (enough for three 9.5-inch tarts), but can easily be scaled back to make a half or a third of the quantity. Blind bake the chilled dough in the tart or tartlette pans, docked and weighted, until fully cooked. Let the crust cool completely before filling. If it will take you a couple of days to finish the tart/tartlettes, I have a tip to keep your crust from getting soggy under the custard filling. You can lightly ”paint” the insides of a cooled chocolate crust with some melted chocolate and put it in the refrigerator for the chocolate to set. This acts as a barrier between the filling and crust. For a plain crust, you can get a similar result by lightly painting the insides with egg wash while still hot (just out of the oven, so the egg wash doesn’t remain raw). If you plan to finish the tart the day it is made, or if you are using a crumb crust, you can skip this step.
Butterscotch Pie- makes one 9-inch pie or tart or twelve 3.5-inch tartlettes
adapted from James Beard’s American Cookery
3-4 T butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 cups whole milk, light cream, or half milk and half evaporated milk
7 T all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
splash of dark rum (optional–my modification)
fully baked crust or tartlette shells
-Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the brown sugar and stir until reaches 220°F (will bubble up and look slightly browner). Add 2 cups of the milk and whisk to combine.
-In a bowl, whisk the eggs, flour and salt to combine. Then whisk in the remaining cup of milk.
-When the sugar/milk mixture is hot but not boiling, slowly stir in the egg mixture (I tempered my eggs with some hot liquid first). Treat this like a pastry cream, whisking constantly over medium-low heat until it just bubbles. Turn down the heat (very low) and cook one or two minutes longer. Take off the heat and beat in vanilla and rum, if using.
-Strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface and cool to room temperature.
-Turn into baked, cooled crust. Smooth surface with on an offset. Press plastic wrap on surface and refrigerate until fully chilled, about three hours.
-Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream (or rum whipped cream!).
I was just a lil’ bit excited to see that for this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge, our co-hosts Veronica and Patricia chose a milk chocolate and caramel tart from Eric Kayser’s book Sweet and Savory Tarts. Not only do I love chocolate and caramel (who doesn’t, really?), I love making tarts, especially when they have a few different components like this one. And, although we were warned from the get-go that the directions were sparse and we’d have to read between the lines, at least there would be no fiddling around with agar-agar like last time.
The first part of the recipe to tackle was the pastry dough. The recipe described it as a “chocolate shortbread pastry,” flavored with cocoa powder, ground hazelnuts and cinnamon. Some bakers who tried out the recipe early in the month found the cinnamon to be overwhelming, and it was later deemed optional by the Veronica and Patricia. I followed these bakers’ advice and opted out of the cinnamon in my batch. I chose to make my dough in the KitchenAid (with the paddle attachment), rather than in the food processor. It just seemed less messy, and came together easily in the mixer.
After my dough had an overnight rest in the fridge, I found it to be quite malleable and very easy to work with. The dough really didn’t resemble shortbread though, and neither the finished product, but it did bake up nice and crisp. I decided to go the mini route and used my 3.5″ fluted tartlette pans to form the shells. I docked them well and blind baked them with beans, thanks to the advice of those bakers who had made the recipe early on. Even though they were small, my shells did take several minutes longer to bake than the recipe stated. And I had to be more careful than I would have liked removing the parchment and beans from the baked shells, because the dough wanted badly to stick to the parchment. With a little patience though, everything was fine. I made eight little tartlettes and put the extra unbaked dough in the freezer for another time.
The next step was to make the caramel layer hidden in the middle of the tart. I must admit here that I only made a half-batch of caramel, since I didn’t make the big 10″ tart. R and I can’t finish a whole tart ourselves, but I promise I was true to the ingredients, techniques and proportions. Our co-hosts did give us a choice when it came to the caramel: while the recipe called for using the dry technique, we could switch that to a wet caramel if we were more confident with the wet method. I have actually made an unusual amount of caramel sauce in my time, and am comfortable with both ways, so I went ahead with the dry version before adding butter and cream. I took it to the edge of dark-but-not-burned, so it would be a bit more flavorful and wouldn’t cause a toothache in combination with the milk chocolate. (To make a dry caramel, I add the sugar in stages, starting with just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. When that melts and begins to color, I add a little more.) To the cooled caramel base, eggs and flour were added so it would set up into a soft but firm candy-like layer in the oven, rather than remain an oozy sauce.
Once again, the caramel in my little tarts had to spend about five minutes longer in the oven than the recipe stated to set up. I baked them until the caramel looked well set around the edges and was no longer jiggly in the center. After cooling down on the counter for about 30 minutes, I popped them in the fridge to thoroughly set for a few hours and charged on with the caramel decorations.
I was hoping to do sugar curls or something fun, but I made this recipe during a patch of rainy days here in Sydney. Humidity and sugarwork are archenemies, so my experiments were just a sticky mess. I resorted to the basic caramel fragments suggested in the recipe, but even they stuck together in little clumps after I broke them up. I liked them though…they looked like sparkly jewels.
For the last step before decoration (and eating!), I made the “chocolate mousse” layer. It was just melted milk chocolate folded together with whipped cream. I just had to be sure to let the chocolate cool to about body temperature before combining, so it wouldn’t melt the cream. I used Green & Black’s organic milk chocolate. They claim to use more cocoa solids than other brands, making it a “darker” milk chocolate. I had never tried it, but as a dark chocolate freak, I was interested in finding something a little less sweet. As luck would have it, it was also on sale!
Eight mini tarts equals four days of dessert for R and me, so I made scaled back amounts of the mousse as well…just enough to fill two each day. After piling on the mousse and letting the tarts chill for a bit, it was time to decorate and try. Boy, were they good…almost like a candy bar, but not too sweet. I tried to get fairly equal layers of caramel and chocolate, and was really surprised by how nicely the tarts cut. All in all, I’d say this one’s a keeper, and it wasn’t even too complicated– thanks Veronica and Patricia! I am interested in trying it with dark chocolate though…
I don’t think I mentioned this, but R and I made a weekend trip to Auckland, NZ back in early June. I was my first time in the country, and since it’s probably the closest “foreign land” (anywhere else seems to be at least a nine hour plane ride away), I’m sure we’ll be back. I’m dying to go to the South Island, home of the world’s best Sauvignon blanc…but I digress! We had great time in Auckland. It’s a nice small city with big city food. We had a beautiful dinner and way too much wine at The French Café. During a leisurely lunch at The Grove, we even got to chit-chat with one of the owners, an American who fell in love with the country while traveling years ago.
On Sunday afternoon, we took a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland over to Waiheke Island, where, thanks to the advice of a friend of a friend, we had made a lunch reservation at a vineyard called Te Whau. I very much enjoyed their signature house-smoked salmon, and then had john dory (my favorite fish–lucky for me it was a special that day). I’ve gotta draw the line somewhere, so I don’t normally go for dessert with lunch, but this was vacation. I wouldn’t beat myself up too much if we just shared one. Exercising my wifely right to make decisions for “the team,” I decided that we should try the honey pine nut tart with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious…lots of toasty pine nuts held together in a honey goo. Not that pecan pie can be improved upon in any way, IMO, but this was sort of like its fancy cousin.
After over a month of thinking about it and wanting to make it at home, I finally did a bit of research and found this recipe on Recipezaar. I apparently didn’t do a very thorough read-thru of it before I went grocery shopping, though, and wound up not buying nearly enough pine nuts. I had some walnuts in the fridge, so I used roughly a 50/50 combo instead. Oh well–just as tasty and cheaper, too, I imagine. The honey I have is one that I bought at a farmers’ market; it is quite floral and went nicely with the lemon in the recipe. I know that in the northern hemisphere right now everyone is enjoying peaches and berries, but in the cooler weather down here, when there isn’t a lot of good looking fruit around, a tasty nut tart is just the ticket.
Warning: If you open the recipe link, your eyes may want to wander over to a box on the right side of the webpage containing nutrition (or lack thereof) information. Don’t let your eyes do this, or you may never make the recipe.