• Strawberry (and Rhubarb) Shortcakes

    OKAY so I know it’s been ages and I’m terribly sorry. Time once again got away from me and I found myself making some of the same things over again without the motivation to write about them, but we are BACK. I hope everyone’s extended weekends were relaxing and full of guacamole, because mine sure was! I don’t know about you guys, but I love a weekend where I don’t have a single plan lined up. Maybe that’s the grandma in me, but I love waking up on a Saturday and having a leisurely breakfast and taking a stroll around some gardens without worrying about what’s coming next, you know? With the weather being pretty disappointing all weekend, I actually found myself being able to sleep late, spend some time with my sisters, and do some low-maintenance cooking, I truly wish all weekends were like this.

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    Now anyone who knows me knows that I have been obsessing over rhubarb for weeks now, but I’ve been drawing a blank on what to use it for (I’ll gladly take suggestions below, btw). I made a pie, which came out pretty good, but then after that I felt lost as to what should come next. Enter this recipe. I’ve always associated Memorial Day with strawberry shortcake, so when the time came to make dessert for our barbecue it was the first thing that popped into my head. But, since I can never leave anything alone I HAD to change it up, so I reduced down some of my rhubarb and strawberries into a thick, sweet and slightly tart compote and I will probably never make plain strawberry shortcake again.


    I used my most trusted biscuit recipe for these shortcakes from the cookbook of the incredible Joanna Gaines because they are truly the flakiest biscuits I’ve ever made, so technically I guess these are more Strawberry Rhubarb Biscuits, but let’s all be real, biscuits and shortcakes are almost identical. Anyway, now that I’ve said biscuits five times in two sentences, let’s just get to it.


    Flaky As Heck Biscuit Ingredients
    (adapted recipe from 
    Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines)

    4 cups self-rising flour
    2 tbs baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tbs white sugar
    3 sticks salted butter, grated (I’m telling you, grating the butter is the KEY)
    2 eggs, beaten
    1½ cups Buttermilk
    *1 egg + 1 tbs buttermilk + turbinado sugar for topping the biscuits

    Flaky As Heck Biscuit Steps

    1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Add in the grated butter and mix with your hands or a pastry blender until the butter is about the size of peas and is evenly incorporated throughout the flour mixture.

    2. Add the beaten eggs and mix with a wooden spoon until the egg is entirely mixed in.

    3. Next, add the buttermilk and carefully mix the entire dough together with your hands until a single large ball can be formed; it should be relatively sticky. If the dough seems too dry, add more buttermilk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to overnight.

    4. At this point, preheat your oven to 400ºF. To roll out, generously flour your rolling surface (I use a silicone mat), and roll your dough into a wide rectangle about ½ inch thick. Using a large cookie cutter, cut 20-24 biscuits and lay them side-by-side on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, it’s okay if they’re touching!

    5. Before baking, brush with the beaten egg and buttermilk, and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

    6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and slightly crisp. Allow to cool full before cutting in half and filling.


    Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

    Roughly 2 cups (about 6 large stalks) Rhubarb, chopped
    ¾ cups white sugar
    1 tsp lemon zest
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
    1 tsp cinnamon (if desired, this is optional)
    2 lbs. (about 2 cups) strawberries, chopped if large, halved if small

    Strawberry Rhubarb Compote Steps

    1. In a large saucepan, add the chopped rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and cinnamon, and mix to combine. Cook on medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and break down into a sauce, about 5-7 minutes.

    2. Once the rhubarb is almost cooked, add in half the chopped strawberries (use the rest to garnish the shortcakes with) and cook for 5 more minutes, until the strawberries become slightly soft. Set aside to cool until serving.


    Whipped Cream Ingredients

    2 cups heavy cream
    2 tbs white sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Whipped Cream Steps

    1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until thick but still scoop-able, about 1-2 minutes on medium speed.

    Serving Suggestion

    1. To serve, cut each biscuit in half and top with the compote, fresh strawberries, and a heaping spoonful of whipped cream. Repeat 2 or 7 times. YUM.


    xoxoxoxoxoxD

     

     

     

  • Creme Brûlée with Rhubarb Coulis

    Hello! Let me start of this post by wishing all the moms a very happy belated Mother’s Day, I hope your days were full of flowers and good food! It was a gloomy day here, I’m talking chilly and on/off rainy all afternoon, so it was a perfect day to stay in and take on some big cooking endeavors. My mom does so much for me and my family that the least I could do was make a fancy dinner, right? That’s how I best express my love, in slow-cooked french stew and desserts. Our menu was Beef Bourguignon, a recipe that can be found here, and these gorgeous creme brûlées. For those of you know have been keeping tabs (I know everyone is SO interested), I finally got some butane for my kitchen torch and this was the first recipe on my list.


    Now I have ALSO been awaiting the arrival of rhubarb at the local farm for ages, and yesterday morning I showed up prepared to fight off anyone who tried to take more than me. As luck would have it, there was a table FULL of it and I confidently grabbed two large bunches, some for this recipe, and some for a pie later this week- I am on rhubarb lockdown here you guys!! So anyway, when brainstorming how to somehow use rhubarb and also make creme brûlée, I came across a recipe that used raspberry coulis on the bottom and custard on top, and I knew immediately that this was it. Substitute the raspberry for rhubarb, and the tartness is a perfect compliment to the richly sweet custard.

    In all seriousness, I was crazy proud of how these came out, and they’re surprisingly easy to do. It’s mostly assembling the parts, and the hardest part will be using the kitchen torch. I found that some came out better than others, but it’s a learning process and you’ll soon be able to tell what amounts of sugar feel right and the height of the flames, etc. But I believe in you and this is going to go great! Let’s get to it!

    *Recipe adapted from this recipe from Food Network*

    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 55 minutes- 1 hour
    Total Time: ~1 hour 30 minutes

    Rhubarb Coulis Ingredients

    Approximately 4 cups (about 6 stalks) rhubarb, chopped
    ½ cup water
    2/3 cup sugar

     

    Rhubarb Coulis Steps

    1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Add in the rhubarb and turn the heat down to medium-high.

    2. Cook until the rhubarb softens and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

    3. Transfer to a glass bowl and allow to cool completely. While this is cooling, let’s make the custard!

     
    Vanilla Bean Custard Ingredients

    4 cups heavy cream
    2 cups half-and-half
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    1 tbs vanilla bean paste (or 2 vanilla beans, scraped + the pods, or 1 tbs vanilla extract)
    16 egg yolks (I know, I’m sorry- make sure to save the egg whites for THESE!)
    1 cup granulated sugar

    Vanilla Bean Custard Steps

    1. In a large saucepan, add the cream, half and half, salt, and vanilla (plus the pods if you’re using whole vanilla beans). Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, then remove and cover while you prepare the eggs.

    2. In a large glass bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow in color.

    3. Slowly drizzle the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking the whole time to make sure the eggs don’t cook! Strain the mixture through a sieve into another glass bowl.

     

    Creme Brûlée Assembly

    1.  Begin by preheating your oven to 300ºF, and make sure you position the rack in the center position. Place your ramekins in a large tray or roasting pan with sides.

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    2. Start by filling each ramekin with 2 tablespoons of the rhubarb coulis (or enough to evenly cover the bottom). Carefully ladle the custard on top, filling almost to the top.

    3. Next, create a bain-marie by filling the roasting pan around the ramekins with boiling water, but be careful not to get the custards wet! The water should reach about two-thirds of the way up on each.

    4. Bake the custards for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly. When finished, remove from the roasting pan and allow to cool completely, at least 3 hours.

    5. When the time comes to brûlée them, evenly coat the top of each custard with a scant tablespoon of white sugar- you don’t want too much sugar on top because it will burn more easily, but you do want enough to make that classic crunchy top.

    6. Using a kitchen torch, brûlée the sugared top of each custard until it turns an even golden brown. Allow to cool for a minute so that the sugar can harden completely before eating. When the time comes, prepare your spoons and crack those perfect shells.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxD

     

  • Lemon Meringue Pie (with a broiled top because my dumb torch didn’t have butane)

    Welcome friends! Once again I find myself writing posts a whole week late because my concept of time management is just ridiculous. The weekends come and go in such a flash that I never seem to get anything done. (Also, time really flies when you accidentally sleep until 11:30 on Saturdays.)

    ANYWAYS, today’s recipe is the classic Lemon Meringue Pie, something that I was hesitant to make after a disastrous attempt several years ago made me too afraid to try again. But after buying a fancy new blowtorch I was excited to see how it carefully toasted the peaks to perfection. Well. Of course things didn’t go to plan. BECAUSE after finishing the whole pie and taking out my torch to begin, I discovered to my dismay that it didn’t come with the butane I needed to get going. As you can see based on the title of this recipe, I’m DEFINITELY not still bitter about it and have clearly moved on. In hindsight, it probably should’ve been obvious that it wasn’t in there, and this could all have been prevented by be opening the packaging more than 30 seconds before I was planning to use it, but I’m not perfect so I made do!

    Look at those clean cut lines!!!

    In the end, I used the tried and true oven broiler to get the meringue top brown and toasty and, while this isn’t my preferred method (it starts to make the lemon filling too liquid if it heats up too much), it’s how I always remember my grandma making it, so that’s got to count for something! But I digress, let’s get baking!

    (recipe adapted from The Fearless Baker + my grandma’s recipe cards!)


    Pie Crust Ingredients

    1¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
    ¼ tsp kosher salt
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, very cold and cubed
    3+ tablespoons ice water
    1 egg white, beaten

    Pie Ingredient Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with your hands or a pastry blender until it’s evenly distributed and roughly the size of peas.

    2. In the center of the flour mixture, add the 3 tablespoons of ice water to start and begin kneading with your hands until it comes together as a dough, sparsely adding water if necessary. You know it’s done when it can be gathered into a ball but still feels slightly dry- never wet or sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    3. When ready to blind bake, roll out the crust on a well floured surface until it’s a few inches wider than your desired pie plate on all sides, making sure to check that it isn’t sticking anywhere. Carefully transfer to your pie plate; I like to fold mine in half and then in half again, then unfold in the plate, but some people like to roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer that way.

    Okay but this is the neatest pie crust I have EVER made

    4. Trim and crimp the edges as desired (I like a fluted crust myself), and prick holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place a square of parchment paper larger than your crust in the middle and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is just golden.

    It’s high time I buy myself some pie weights I think, I waste a LOT of rice doing this

    5. Remove the parchment paper and weights and brush the whole crust with one beaten egg white, then return to the oven. Bake for another 12-15 minutes- watch your edges and cover if they begin to brown too fast! Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.

    Lemon Curd Filling Ingredients

    12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter
    1 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup cornstarch
    1¼ cups lemon juice (fresh squeezed, about 5 to 6 lemons)
    10 egg yolks (save 6 of the whites for the meringue!!)

    Lemon Curd Filling Steps

    1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar, eliminating all lumps. Add this mixture to the melted butter, along with the lemon juice and the egg yolks, mixing until everything is combined.

    2. Turn the heat to medium-low and mix constantly, this time with a silicone spatula so that nothing on the bottom of the pan starts to burn. The mixture will begin to thicken in 5-10 minutes, and is finished when it looks like it’s just about to start bubbling.

    3. Strain this mixture through a sieve to get rid of any accidental cooked egg, and cool in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed directly to the surface to prevent a skin forming. While this chills, make the meringue.

    That YELLOW! So fresh! So summery!

     


    Meringue Ingredients

    6 egg whites
    ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    ½ cup white sugar

    Meringue + Pie Assembly Steps

    1. Before you start, make sure the bowl of your mixer and it’s whisk attachment are grease-free. Whip the whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks begin to form.

    2. Gradually add in the sugar, allowing it to dissolve and be incorporated, then beat the mixture on high until medium-stiff peaks form.

    3. Fill your cooled pie crust with the chilled lemon curd spread evenly. Generously dollop the meringue on top and spread to the edges. I like mine piled high up and swirled so that when it toasts, the peaks and swirls are highlighted golden brown.

    Obviously with a torch you’ll get a more controlled, even color, but all things considered I’d say this looks pretty delicious!

    4. Once you’re satisfied with the look, you can use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue, or you can place the pie on a high rack in your oven and broil on low for 2-3 minutes- do NOT take your eyes off it, it can go from barely toasted to burnt in two seconds in the oven!

    Now go bask in the glow of the compliments from your friends and family because this pie deserves them! xoxoxoxox

    ALSO while we’re here, it is my dearest mom’s birthday today, so while we won’t be having this pie to celebrate, this post is dedicated to you. YAY!

    Some pretty epic meringue height here!