• Memorial Day Recipe Round-Up

    Can you believe that it’s already Memorial Day Weekend? Honestly I’m a little spooked, where did all of the Spring go?? It’s almost JUNE. Whew okay I’m calm we’re good it’s all good. I’m interrupting my usual Tuesday posting schedule to bring you this special collection of recipe highlights, perfect for a backyard barbecue! Whether you’re hosting a party or just feel like making something new and fun, please enjoy this collection of my 10 most Memorial Day appropriate recipes!!

    ONE. Blueberry Slab Pie

    Do you need dessert for a crowd? Or do you just eat enough pie on your own? Look no further than this masterpiece, it is deceivingly simple to make, because why mess with the flavor of blueberry and pie crust? Also did I mention that slab pies are baked on a sheet pan, crazy easy to slice, and serve up to 20 people? Go make a pie!!!

     

    TWO. Fresh Fruit Tart

    Slightly more labor intensive than a slab pie (only slightly), it’s hard to pass up a tart like this when theres fruit art involved. A crisp tart shell holds a generous portion of rich vanilla pastry cream, and from there the decorating is up to you! Will it be a symmetrical pattern? Or an artful heap? Berries or stone fruit? Or both? It’s up to you!!

     

    THREE. Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcakes

    Did you think I would go an entire rhubarb season without mentioning rhubarb?? Think again!! While a new 2019 rhubarb recipe is on its way, I will tide you over until then with this twist on the classic strawberry shortcake. A buttery biscuit, lightly sweetened soft whipped cream, and a heaping scoop of strawberry rhubarb quick jam becomes a simple yet incredibly flavorful dessert that guests can assemble themselves and take the pressure off you! You’re welcome!!

     

    FOUR. Fried Burrata in Romesco Sauce

    I realize that here on Sweet D I tend to favor dessert recipes, after all, it’s called SWEET D, right? However, this recipe was designed with entertaining in mind, so I’d be crazy not to include it on this list. And while you could eat this whole thing yourself (and I’d be very impressed with you), the best way to eat a ball of fried burrata is surrounded by friends, with a glass of chilled white wine and lots of garlicky bruschetta. Do I need to keep convincing you? I didn’t think so.

     

    FIVE. New York Cheesecake with Roasted Blueberry Sauce

    The best part about this cheesecake recipe, aside from the fact that it could LITERALLY be in a museum, is that the whole thing can be made the day before and kept chilled in the fridge, meaning you have more time with your guests, more time to grill, and more time to eat snacks! Highkey this recipe is one of the most decadent ones on my site, I still think about it at least once a day and you should too.

     

    SIX. Almond Sheet Cake

    You know how every year, Ina Garten makes a Flag Cake using a sheet cake and some berries? Well, here’s your fancy base to a flag cake, the simplest almond cake and frosting which will be a gorgeous and elegant compliment to the fruit on top. A word to the wise- if you choose to make the flag on this cake, use fresh berries only and don’t add any extra sugar to them, the berries will release their juices and make the top of the cake very soggy!

     

    SEVEN. Cornmeal Peach Cobbler

    Okay I know that ~technically~ it’s not peach season yet, but I couldn’t bring myself to look past this perfect cobbler in all its bubbly, fruity glory. Golden cornmeal biscuits are an excellent, slightly salty counterpart to the classic flavor of peach, but if you’re having trouble finding good ripe peaches this time of year, you could always substitute with blueberries, strawberries, or cherries!

     

    EIGHT. Tomato Salad with Burrata

    What’s that? You spent all your time making the desserts on this list and don’t have any food for dinner? Boy have I got good news for you. Enlist one of your guests to be your tomato chopping sous chef, and this salad will be done in 10 minutes. That’s right, TEN. And with the rustic yet glamorous presentation, people will think you put a lot more work into it than you did. Plus, there’s no better combination than mozzarella and tomato, am I right or am I right?

     

    NINE. Mini Pavlovas

    Are you sensing a theme here for these desserts? If you guessed berries, you’d be correct. Personally, nothing screams summer holiday like fresh berries, so it seems only fitting that they keep popping up on this list. While pavlovas are slightly on the challenging side, the payoff is well worth it, there’s nothing quite like the crisp, marshmallow texture of a pavlova with whipped cream and berries.

     

    TEN. Summer Fruit Galettes

    You know that I had to fit one more pie recipe in here, it’s practically in my contract. And what better recipe than the deeply unfussy, rustic pie that doesn’t even require a pie plate? These galettes are easily customizable, easily served, and the best part is you don’t have to sacrifice any of the things you know and love about regular pie to do it. A win-win!

     

    Happy Memorial Day Weekend, I hope it’s filled with all ten of these foods! XoxoxoxoxD

  • Triple Berry (Accidental Cherry) Pie

    Does anyone else remember that CW show Pushing Daisies? No? Just me? For those of you that don’t think about it every day as I do, it was the BEST show about a pie maker who could also wake dead people and help solve mysteries, plus it had Lee Pace and Kristen Chenoweth need I say more?? It sounds insane to type but I promise it’s so good, and so beautifully filmed and ALSO free to everyone on the CW website so 10/10 would recommend watching. Tragically, it was cancelled after two seasons, but that won’t stop me from repeatedly watching those two seasons and dreaming of passionfruit upside down pie or pear pie with gruyere baked into the crust- a strange combo but I am INTERESTED.

    This is also my segue into today’s recipe for this beautiful pie- I got my baking start in pie actually, my first real responsibility for family holidays was to bake the apple pies, and as the years went by, I got the hang of it more and more and they’ve become my favorite thing to make. Today’s pie was supposed to be triple berry (blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry), but here’s the thing. I have been searching like a crazy person for sour cherries for as long as I can remember, and have never been successful. Given that I live in New York, it’s not surprising, but it’s a real bummer every year when I see cherry pie recipes and my only option is that gloopy cherry pie filling from a can. Granted, sometimes that hits the spot, but other times when I’m not trying to put chemicals in by body I would love to make one from scratch. But, I digress. Last week I was at the ~fancy~ supermarket to buy polenta for my last post (read here), and I stumbled across JARS of pitted sour cherries in juice and I almost cried. It’s not as good as the fresh ones, but you can believe that I bought some and ate most of the cherries straight from said jar with a spoon. In an effort to control myself and to stop doing that, I made my berry filling and added in the rest of the pitted cherries to the mix, and I was definitely not mad about it (if you don’t have access to sour cherries you can just leave them out, or replace them with sweet cherries since they’re more common).

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    I use a pie crust recipe from the queen herself, Ina Garten a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa, which uses a very important mix of butter AND shortening. The mix is also made in a food processor, which cuts down on how much your hands come in contact with it, which in turn keeps the butter and shortening cold before it bakes. This means that when it hits the heat of the oven, it creates steam that gives you an extra crispy (and never soggy) crust. The result is golden and buttery (from the butter, obv), but also perfectly crisp and flaky (thanks to the shortening), and I will never use another pie crust recipe. The fruit filling thickens while baking and becomes almost jammy in texture and I can’t stop thinking about it honestly. I know it’s probably irrational to bake a berry pie in the winter, but I’m dreaming of warmer weather and this is my way of coping OKAY.

    Let’s bake!!

    Makes: 1 double crust pie
    Prep Time: about 1 hour
    Bake Time: 60-70 minutes
    Total: 2.5 hours

    Crust Ingredients

    12 tbs (1.5 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
    1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
    3 cups all purpose flour
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1 tbs sugar
    ½ cup ice water

    Steps

    1. Before beginning, dice your butter and shortening on a cutting board, and put back in the fridge until its needed, to make sure that it stays cold.

    2. In the bowl of the food processor, add the flour, salt, and sugar, and pulse several times to combine. If you don’t have a food processor available to you, you can mix in a regular bowl and use a pastry blender or your hands, but the result may not be as flaky- it’ll still taste great though!!

    3. Add in the butter and shortening and pulse the processor 10-12 times until the mixture is well combined.

    4. Next, turn the processor on high and stream in the ice water gradually, continuing to mix until a single ball of dough is formed. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flatten into a disk shape. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

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    Filling Ingredients

    6-7 cups mixed berries (and cherries!!) of your choice, I used raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries
    2 tsp lemon juice, for brightness
    ½ cup granulated sugar (test your berries for sweetness levels and adjust accordingly, some batches are sweeter than others!)
    1/3 cup all purpose flour
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ½ tsp cinnamon (it works really well with blueberries!)
    1 egg, beaten with 1 tbs water (for egg wash)
    demerara sugar (for sprinkling)

    Steps

    1. Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Before making your filling, remove pie crust from the fridge and cut in half. Roll half the dough into a circle wide enough to fit your pie tin with excess over the sides for folding, making sure that it’s an even thickness. If you’re worried about the bottom being too soggy, sprinkle some crust dust* before adding in the filling.

    2. Toss your berries with the lemon juice, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon until well-incorporated. Add on top of the bottom crust quickly so that it doesn’t sit and get too wet.

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    3. Roll out your top crust next, and here you can use your creative license a little. I went with a lattice top since I haven’t done one of those in a while, but you could also go with a regular full top crust, or play around with cookie cutters and shapes, it’s up to you! For my lattice, I rolled my crust into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick, and cut wide strips using a ruffled pastry wheel cutter.

    4. To make a lattice, start by laying out all your vertical strips- for some reason I had 5 vertical strips and 3 horizontal, don’t ask me why I didn’t just do 4 and 4 because I’m still mad about it. Anywho, starting from the top, lay your horizontal strips in the following way: over the first vertical strip, under the second vertical strip, back over the third, and continue until it’s fully across. For the second strip, start with the reverse so that it goes under the first vertical strip, then over the second, and so on, until it’s fully across. Continue with the rest of your strips, making sure that each consecutive horizontal strip starts the opposite way the one before it did. I find myself out loud saying “Over, under” and “under, over” when I do this just to help myself keep track. Trim the edges and fold the excess over, crimping with your fingers or a fork to seal the filling inside.

    5. Brush your crust with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with the demerara sugar. Place your pie on a cookie sheet (to catch any bubbling filling), and bake at 425º for the first 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the top isn’t browning too fast. After 20 minutes, turn your oven down to 350ºF and bake for another 40-50 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown. I like to turn it down to 350º because it stops the crust from burning while allowing the filling to fully cook, but if you’re still worried about browning, check every now and then, and be prepared to cover the edges of your pie with tin foil or silicone pie crust protectors.

    6. Once you’ve achieved peak golden crust, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. I like to let it cool fully before reheating to eat, just to give the filling a chance to thicken and keep it together, but if you simply can’t wait, I get that too. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some homemade whipped cream and watch some Pushing Daisies!!!

    *crust dust: equal parts all purpose flour and granulated sugar, mixed together and sprinkled on the bottom pie crust before filling is added, to absorb extra juices.

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    Happy Friday and enjoy! xoxoxo