Monday, September 29, 2008

blueberry pie

the goods:

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

8 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar; pulse briefly. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pieces of pea-size butter remaining. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Do not overmix.
Divide dough in half, and turn out onto 2 large pieces of plastic wrap. Fold plastic over each portion of dough; press to shape into disks. Refrigerate until firm. at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack in lowest position. On a lightly floured work surface, roll one disk of dough to a 14-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate while you make filling.

In a large bowl, toss blueberries with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and ginger; pour filling into bottom crust.

Roll out second disk of dough into a 14-inch round and place on top of filling. Trim dough to a 1-inch overhang all around.

Press edges of both crusts together, and fold overhang under itself. Using your thumb and forefinger, crimp edges.

Cut a few slits in top of pie to let steam escape.

Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees (if outer edges are browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.), and bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling rapidly, 60 minutes.

Transfer pie to a wire rack, and let cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours. Serve with vanilla ice cream!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

strawberry not-so-shortcake

the goods:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

filling and topping:
1 pound strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper and sides.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in three parts and milk in two, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split cake in half horizontally; place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate.

In a large bowl, combine strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.

Place 2 tablespoons cold water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle with gelatin; let soften 5 minutes. Place saucepan over very low heat, and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until very soft peaks form.

Continue to beat, and gradually add gelatin mixture; beat until soft peaks form.

Arrange half of strawberries over bottom cake layer.

Top with half of whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border.

Cover with top half of cake, cut side down. Top cake with remaining whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border.

Refrigerate cake and remaining strawberries separately, at least 1 hour.

Just before serving, spoon strawberries over cake.

Monday, September 15, 2008

ice-cream sandwiches

This batter is the best one to lick the bowl clean on... go nuts!

the goods:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 15-by-10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on 2 sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together butter and sugar until combined.

Whisk in egg, vanilla, and salt until combined.

Add flour and cocoa, and mix just until smooth.

Spread in prepared baking pan. Bake until cake is dry to the touch and edges begin to pull away from the sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface. With a serrated knife, halve crosswise. Place one half of cake, flat side down, on a large piece of plastic wrap. Spread with ice cream, then top with remaining half of cake, flat side up. Return ice cream sandwich to baking pan, and wrap tightly in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

Unwrap sandwich; using a serrated knife, cut into 8 rectangles, wiping off blade between each cut. Serve ice cream sandwiches immediately, or wrap individually in plastic and freeze up to 1 week.

Monday, September 8, 2008

chocolate peanut-butter cookies

the goods:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Make filling: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water; stir frequently until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in cream; set aside to cool and thicken, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, peanut butter, and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Reduce speed to low; add flour to mixture, and mix just until blended (do not overmix).

Roll dough into 1 heaping teaspoon size balls and place on a baking sheet, about 1 and 1/2 inches apart.

Using the bottom of a damp glass, lightly flatten each ball of dough into a disk.

Bake until golden around edges, 12 to 13 minutes. Transfer cookies immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.

With a butter knife, spread bottom of half the cookies with chocolate filling; sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently to spread filling to the edges. Let set for 15 minutes before serving. (Refrigerate to store overnight.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

the goods:

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups grated carrots (from about 3 medium carrots)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup and a 6-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla.

Stir in carrots.

Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture, stirring until combined.

With an ice cream scoop, divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.

Bake 25 minutes. Remove cups from pan, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter, cream cheese, and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl until smooth.

Beat in vanilla and orange zest.

Spread cupcakes with frosting.