I have been continuing with my favorite summer cooking theme – desserts made with fruit this week. I actually called one of my best friends and asked her if she had any suggestions a she mentioned a tart, that was really more of a galette and she said was super quick and easy. The one she recommended called for apples but I went with peaches instead, and added some spices.
1/2 recipe pie crust dough
2-3 large mostly ripe peaches
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Slice the peaches. Stick them in a large bowl and toss with the sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla until the peaches are evenly coated. Roll the pie crust dough into a large circle and place it on a baking sheet (or pie plate if you prefer. Dump the peaches in the midd of the crust and spread them out, leaving a two inch ring of dough around it. Fold the dough over the peaches – it won’t be totally covered, the center shouldn’t have any dough over it. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or so – until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm or cold – both are tasty!
Honestly, my only complaint with this dish is that I should have used more peaches. Also that I used white peaches which I don’t like as much as the yellow ones, but they were on sale, so, c’est la vie. This is super easy and quick to make, and it is very tasty. A solid dessert that you can totally eat for breakfast too. Song of the Week: Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky. I’ve been on a solid Russian composer kick for the past week, and mostly listening to the darker stuff. This was one of the many, but it is excellent.
I decided to cook another dessert with rhubarb this week, although not one of the several I’ve made before (although the Strawberry-Rhubarb dessert crepes are still amazing). So I was going through a list of a bunch of different rhubarb recipes on Saveur’s website and I came across this one for Rhubarb Tarte Tatin. I made very few adjustments, mostly just made it smaller so it would be 3-4 servings in an 8 inch pan.
3 large-ish stalks of rhubarb, chopped into maybe one-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
juice from 1/2 of a small lemon (like a tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
Melt the butter in an 8-inch, oven-safe pan. Once the butter has melted, add all the other ingredients and stir so that everything is combined and the rhubarb are coated. Keep cooking on medium, stirring every few minutes until the sugar has melted and the rhubarb is soft (I couldn’t tell if they were caramelizing, so I stopped when they were all soft). About 10 minutes. Make the topping while the rhubarb is cooking (or before hand)
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
7 tablespoons butter
1/4-1/3 cup milk
pinch of salt
Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Cut in the butter until it is mostly incorporated and there are only a few little lumps. Add the egg and 1/4 cup milk. Add more milk, a little at a time, if you need to to for a soft, sticky dough. Once the rhubarb is done cooking, take the dough and flatten it out, not too thick, (I just used my hands, too sticky for a rolling pin) and cover the rhubarb. There is a little more dough than needed for the pan so I just baked the leftovers like a scone, which totally worked. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes ish or until the crust is golden brown. Flip it onto a plate and let it cool before serving.
Omg, this was freaking delicious. I dunno how, but the topping stayed soft, cake-like and didn’t dry out two days later. Just the right amount of sweet with a hint of tart. Seriously, this is a 10. Go buy rhubarb and make it now. Song of the week: Counting Stars by OneRepublic. I’ve always really liked this song, and I finally got around to buying it on iTunes this week. It’s just such a solidly good song.
Ok, I admit it. Last week I was a slight dessert tease at work. I had planned to make some kind of strawberry dessert for me and my coworker on night shift last week – I even double checked that he wasn’t allergic to strawberries. But then I was too tired and didn’t follow through (he was mildly disappointed, but understanding). But I still had a ton of strawberries in my apartment when the weekend rolled around. So I decided to make little strawberry trifles, although I still made them just for myself.
Step 1: The Pastry Cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a heat-proof bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add in the egg yolks and mix thoroughly. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until little bubbles are forming around the edges. Remove from heat and slowly mix it with the egg-sugar-flour mixture in the bowl, stirring constantly. Once you’ve finished that, pour the all of it back into the saucepan. Reheat and stir constantly as it thickens. Once thick, let the cream boil for 10-15 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover and stick it in the fridge to cool for several hours-a couple days.
Step 2: The Sponge Cake
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup flour
Beat 1 egg (in theory you are supposed to beat it for 5 minutes or till it gets thick – I declare this to be absurd). Then mix in the sugar, then the water and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients. Pour into an 8X8 pan (greased and floured of course) and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes (or until its springy when you touch it). Let it cool.
Step 3: Assembly
1 lb fresh strawberries
chambord (or liqueur of your choice)
In a smallish glass bowl (I use these adorable ice cream bowls) stick a piece of the sponge cake. Pour maybe a tablespoon of chambord over it. Add a layer of pastry cream, then strawberries. Then more sponge cake/chambord, pastry cream, and strawberries. Stick it in the fridge, covered, for a bit to let the whole thing settle. Then enjoy!
This was really good, especially for a nice summer dessert. It’s a bit time consuming, particularly compared to opening a thing of ice cream, but worth doing every now and then. My only slight issue with it is that the pastry cream is a little to thick for this. I’m not sure how to make it less so for the future – less flour probably? Song of the Week: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Number 5. I had a rough couple of days and no one does pathos quite like the Russians in my opinion.
Summer means delicious and awesome fresh fruit! It also means delicious and awesome fresh fruit desserts. I love fruit desserts, and even on the east coast there is enough quality fruit for me to celebrate and do things with. This week, I was flipping through one of my cookbooks, and saw a sort of strawberry shortcake recipe, but with “Breton shortbread” rather than shortcake. I’ll be honest, I never liked shortcake when my mom made it. But I had fresh strawberries, so I figured I should this other version.
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix those in too. When they are all thoroughly combined, add the flour and baking powder (ok, I ran out of baking powder and substituted baking soda – it will work in a pinch but I don’t recommend it). Normally you would add a pinch of salt, but I cook with salted butter, so I don’t bother adding even more salt. A soft dough will form. Stick it in the fridge for a few hours. Once it has chilled, take the dough and mush in along the bottom of a pie plate or cake pan, so the bottom is covered and the dough is relatively even. Yep, mush – there is no reason to roll it out. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 and let cool on a rack.
Once the shortbread is done, you can either a. eat it as is, b. add strawberries and sugar to it, or c. add other things, such as a strong cheese, to it. I went with option b.
Slice a bunch of strawberries,stick them in a bowl and add a little sugar. Let them sit until awhile. Once they’ve sat a while, place them on either a slice (if you are making a single serving) or over the whole shortbread if you are making it for a group. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and enjoy.
The was very good! The shortbread isn’t particularly sweet, so the lightly sugared strawberries go well with it. The shortbread is, in my opinion, a bit on the dry side. So I’d like to recreate this concept in the form of a trifle. I think that would be fairly awesome. As evident from the title – have this with a cup of tea, preferably as a tea-time snack. Song of the week: The River of Dreams by Billy Joel. Just a pleasant, enjoyable song and there is nothing wrong with that. I also find it very comforting – like a song equivalent of a hug.