Posted by: Patty | March 14, 2014

National Pie Day: a Raspberry Tart

Is it cheating to make a tart on National Pie Day?

Because I’m on my own this weekend I decided a tart could celebrate this holiday. I don’t need a big pie to tempt me. Recently Food 54 featured an Italian tart in their Genius recipe column. I tried it last week and the tart was ok, not great. I din’t understand the recipe completely and built up the sides of the tart which resulted in an overdone edge when I baked it. The tart is suppose to be more like a large cookie than a tart according the the cookbook author Cindy Mushet.

Because I didn’t want a big tart I played with the proportions and rewrote the recipe to fit an 8″ tart dish. and the result is lovely. its a super easy crust, you make it in your mixer.

Patty’s Fregolotta Tart

  • 10 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup jam
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Beat the butter and sugar for several minutes, until very creamy. Add the almond extract and blend together. Add the flour and salt and mix until it come together. Take 1/2 cup of the dough, spread on a plate and freeze while you prepare the rest of the tart. Press the remaining dough in the 8″ tart pan and press evenly into the pan. Unlike a regular tart you don’t need to build up the edge. Spread the jam evenly, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Now take the frozen dough and break it into little pieces and scatter it on top of the jam. Sprinkle the nuts on top. Its ok if some of the jam still shows.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. The edge will be golden brown and the center should be set.

Cool completely and then enjoy Pie Day 2014!

The original recipe is from Mediterranean Flavors Desserts by Cindy Mushet.

Raspberry Tart

Posted by: Patty | November 25, 2013

Can cabbage be awesome?

Right now most cooks are obsessed with refining the Thanksgiving menu. But, for the first time in years I am not cooking the big feast. Tom and I are headed to Asheville, NC to see the Biltmore Estate’s incredible Christmas decorations. And we will visit the gingerbread house competition at the Grove Park Inn. So instead of choosing which pie, and which side dish to prepare, I’ve been cooking some recipes from David Tanis’ new cookbook: One Good Dish.

One Good Dish

Some food bloggers have had great success with the garlic soup but Tom doesn’t enjoy a large amount of garlic. So the recipe I tried and loved is “south indian cabbage with black mustard seeds”.  Black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, minced serrano pepper, and fresh ginger are sautéed in ghee, then sliced cabbage is added to the hot pan and tossed until it wilts.

South Indian Cabbage

Served with a squeeze of fresh lime, it is just awesome. The toasted seeds are scattered throughout the dish and each bite tastes a little different.  The dish serves four but we ate it all. As winter settles in, vegetables can become boring. This recipe will jazz up the problem of same old, same old veggies.

cabbageDavid’s book can be found at independent bookstores or Amazon.

Enjoy!

Posted by: Patty | August 23, 2013

Hoosier Mama’s Dutch Apple Pie

There is one more pie cookbook on the market: The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie. I am waiting for Amazon to deliver my copy but in the meantime some bloggers have already posted their results cooking from this book. I followed directions for the Dutch Apple pie and was so impressed.

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You blind bake a crust, fill it with diced apples, pour on a sour cream custard, bake, then cover it with streusel and bake some more. The flavor is fantastic. I did use heirloom apples from Elderberry Farm, an organic farm in upstate NY.

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I am at my cottage on Owasco Lake and my pie baking equipment is very limited, instead of pie weights I used change to blind bake the crust. Whatever works!

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The crust recipe is different from my favorite, there is more butter and a small amount of red wine vinegar is added to the water. I had white wine vinegar so that’s what I used. The crust was very easy to roll.
And although the process was more complicated than most pies the results were fantastic.

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Everyone knows I have way too many cookbooks but I am excited to add this book to my collection.
Pie is a favorite dessert for my family and I will happily cook from this book.

Posted by: Patty | March 17, 2013

Spring is coming

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Here are a few flowers from my garden. Soon there will be millions of cherry blossoms here in DC. I love this time of year

Posted by: Patty | March 5, 2013

TWD Biscotti, a make up post

Croissants are the subject for the Baking with Julia bloggers. I have made croissants before, loved the results, but just cannot use all that butter at this moment in my life. The process is so much fun but you need many people to consume all that buttery crispness. It was not going to happen at my house. Here is our host with the recipe: Girl+Food=Love.

But, there is a recipe from a previous post that I have baked several times: BISCOTTI!! In July the TWD bloggers tested Alice Medrich’s hazelnut biscotti recipe with great results but I was traveling and didn’t try the recipe until December. Baking and Boys posted the recipe here.

cherry biscotti

And, it is a great, reliable, trustworthy recipe. You cannot go wrong with this one. Instead of hazelnuts I used the cherry ambassador mix from the Cherry Republic online store.

cherry ambassador mix

Its a blend of cherries, cranberries, macadamia and pistachio nuts. Wonderful to snack on and delicious in cookies.

There are two reasons this is a superior recipe. First, there is no butter. Second, the batter doesn’t spread too much.  I don’t feel guilty having an afternoon cookie that has no butter. My only problem with the cookies is my husband. He cannot stop at one or even three of these.

Enjoy baking! Cheers, Patty

Great Britain is the featured country of the Philadelphia Flower Show this year. Expecting stuffy themes like Ascot and the Royal Family, I was delighted by the whimsical and happy tributes to great British music and literature.

Big Ben

The entrance to the show is dominated by a hugh replica of Big Ben. It seemed rather boring, until the top of the hour. Every hour the clock plays an animated tribute to British music. Monty Python would be proud. I wish I could figure out how to post a video of the performance, it is great fun.

10 Downing Street showcased gorgeous floral arrangements.

10 Downing St

Entryway gardens for favorite authors were displayed:

Peter Rabbit:

Peter Rabbits Garden

Jane Austin:

Jane Austin

Even Downton Abbey was represented: Violet Crowley , made entirely of flowers:

Violet Crowley

The yellow submarine made many appearances:

yellow submarine IMG_0218 IMG_0115 IMG_0185

Vendors were selling anything a gardener could want but one was selling the most fantastic hellebores. The blossoms are in this sweet bird bath:

hellebore blosssoms

If you can find the time, visit this wonderful flower show. Here are some great flowers:

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And, the best fascinator:

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Cheers, Patty

Posted by: Patty | February 5, 2013

TWD Focaccia

Imagine being asked to cook one of your signature dishes for Julia Child, in her own kitchen. The cookbook “Baking with Julia” is a collection of recipes prepared by those lucky chefs featured on a PBS show filmed in Julia’s kitchen. Our  baker this week is Craig Kominiak.  After 5 years as a Navy cook, Craig joined the Culinary Institute of America where he discovered his love for the pastry arts. When he baked with Julia he was the executive chef for the bakery Ecce Panis in NYC.

Craig’s recipe has a long, cold rise, you must start the dough 24 hours before you want to bake it. Its a simple dough, just flour, yeast, olive oil, salt and water. My 7 quart KitchenAid mixer kneaded the dough without any struggle. I did not increase the speed to medium high as instructed in the recipe because the KA instructions are very clear: never knead dough above speed 2.

KitchenAid 7 quart

I tried 2 different breads with the dough. One was the Leaf Shaped Fougasse  on page 146:

leaf fougasse

and the other was focaccia with onion, rosemary and blue cheese, some of my favorite toppings for flat bread.

focaccia

The breads were delicious but neither achieved much height. Other focaccia that I’ve baked have been softer and thicker. These were good but I think there are better recipes.

Another baking project this week was making the cheddar swirl breakfast buns from Deb Perelman’s new cookbook, “Smitten Kitchen“. These were easy to make and perfect with soup. And they were still tasty the next day.

cheddar rolls

And if you are looking for a good winter soup this one from Food52 is a winner: Minestrone.

soup

For today’s focaccia recipe you can visit Wandering Through. Sharmini will have the complete recipe.

Enjoy baking, cheers, Patty

Posted by: Patty | January 31, 2013

Meyer Lemon Marmalade: sunshine in a jar

Monday morning in Washington was cold and dark, with sleeting rain. My camellia bush outside my kitchen window had icicles dripping from the leaves.

Camellia

It was a perfect day to stay inside and make meyer lemon marmalade. My grandmother always made orange marmalade which I loved, but I was never motivated to try a recipe that takes days, not hours. And her recipe required boiling the peels three times: too much work.  However, I had bookmarked a lemon marmalade recipe in the great jam cookbook “Food in Jars” that I wanted to try. Marisa McClellan, the author, had recently recommended on her blog a good source for organic meyer lemons: the Lemon Ladies. Last week I ordered 3 pounds of lemons, hoping to finally make marmalade.

Marisa’s recipe is very detailed, including clear directions on the proper way to slice the lemons. I followed half of her instructions, I did pit the seeds and remove the pith from the lemons but I used my Magimix food processor to slice the lemons.

Meyer Lemons

It saved so much time and the Magimix is so accurate when slicing, I’m happy with the results. And my kitchen smelled amazing, the lemons are so aromatic. My hands were still scented with lemon later in the day.

meyer lemons, sliced

There are many different approaches to marmalade. Marisa slices the fruit, adds some of the sugar and lets that mixture sit for 24 to 48 hours in a cold place.  I left mine for 48 hours, this helps to soften the peels. Then more sugar and some water is added and the mixture is cooked for 30 to 40 minutes or until it reaches 220 degrees.

copper jam pot

Then you ladle the jam into jars and process it in a water bath for 10 minutes.

You may wonder what is the bag sitting in the pot?  Its the pith and seeds, all bundled up. It cooks along with the marmalade, releasing the petin which will help to thicken the jam. I also added half of a vanilla bean for flavor.

The result is a variety of jar shapes, all perfect for gifts or just enjoying at home. This pairs beautifully with triple cream cheese and crackers. The Lemon Ladies recommend eating it with goat cheese.

jam jars

Once I was done I had one lone lemon left and finally tried a whole lemon tart recipe that has been floating on the internet for ages. Food 52 has a version as does Smitten Kitchen. So I made the tart. Its good but my testers thought it was a little eggy. I do prefer a lemon tart made with classic lemon curd.

Lazy lemon tart

So, thank you Marisa and the Lemon Ladies. The marmalade will brighten my breakfasts and my cheese plates.

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Cheers, Patty

Posted by: Patty | January 22, 2013

TWD French Apple Tart

WOW! This is the essence of apples in a flaky, crisp crust.

french apple tart

french apple tart

This week the Tuesdays with Dorie group has chosen the French Apple Tart from “Baking with Julia”. The guest pastry chef is Leslie Mackie, owner of Macrina Bakery in Seattle. You might want to read Leslie’s November blog which included updated tips for pie crust here. She is the author of two cookbooks which I hope to find at the library.

At first glance the recipes seem to be typical: blind bake a crust, make a fresh applesauce for the filling, decorate the top with carefully sliced apples and bake.

baked applesauce

baked applesauce

But when you carefully read all the instructions there are some techniques that were new to me. Her applesauce is baked rather than simmered on the stove.

And her directions for blind baking are different from any that I have taught. After baking the crust, Leslie says “Transfer the crust, with the paper and weights, to a cooling rack and let cool while you make the filling”.

blind baking

blind baking

Most blind baking recipes have you remove the lining of paper and weights, and then return the crust to the oven to finish baking the underdone bottom. You are always fighting the crust which wants to puff up in the oven once the weights are gone. I really thought leaving the weights on the crust would create a soggy bottom but I was wrong!! The heat of the weights seems to finish cooking the crust. When I cut into the finished tart, the bottom was so flaky. I certainly will try this technique again. I think this was the best crust I have made for a tart. And I’ve made lots of tarts.

I did change the finishing touch, instead of confectioners sugar I glazed the tart with homemade rhubarb jelly; the recipe is from my favorite jam book, Food in Jars Cookbook.

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Our host this week is Laws of the  Kitchen by an Aussie lawyer. You can find the complete recipe on her blog.

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Enjoy! Patty

Posted by: Patty | January 8, 2013

TWD Pizza with Onion Confit

Question: Is it possible to photograph purple food and make it look tasty?

Answer: No!

Despite looking weird, today’s recipe produces a delicious pizza. The pizza dough is started with a sponge that rises for 1 1/2 hours. More flour is then beaten in and there is a second rise. You can now shape and bake the pizzas, or you can tightly wrap the dough and chill it overnight.

After starting the dough you make a confit of onions. The recipe calls for red wine and the onions slowly simmer, creating tender, wine poached onions that are very tasty but also very purple. I also used some herbed goat cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and sopressata for toppings.

pizza toppings IMG_1268

You can see in the photos that the onions are an unappealing purple. But, they have great flavor. The pizza crust was crispy and chewy, and we ate all of it.

I divided half of the recipe into 2 pieces and made two 10″ pizzas last night. The other half of dough will be used for dinner tonight. The recipe suggests freezing extra dough but I’d rather try some other toppings, maybe a tomato based sauce. To bake I heated my Emile Henri pizza stone for an hour. I also followed another TWD writer’s suggestion to use parchment paper under the pizza if you don’t have a peel. The paper made it very easy to transfer the pizza to the oven and it did not burn.

The Boy Can Bake blog will have the full recipe, or you can find it on page 157 in Baking with Julia. If you love pizza this is a recipe that really works in a home oven.

Here’s an update: tonight I made traditional pizza with tomato sauce, sopressata, and mozzarella cheese. The second night the dough was not as elastic but still made a good crust. its a great recipe for pizza at home.

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Enjoy!IMG_1269

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