If you remember last week’s post, I mentioned that I have recently been introduced to the world of Bon Appetit Test Kitchen videos, and I can’t believe I survived this long without them honestly. Aside from being incredibly informative, they’re so wholesome and everyone is super lovely and nice to each other and I love it so much.
Of the test kitchen chefs, I keep finding myself going back to the videos done by Molly Baz, because they’re simple in procedure, but packed with flavor, also I’m fascinated by her collection of cross-back aprons. So much so that I definitely also bought one and I’m in LOVE with it. But anyway, back to food because that’s why we’re here, this recipe comes from Molly herself (original can be found here), and it’s literally so good that the first time I made it I gasped out loud. I’m not kidding!! It’s rich and cheesy like a fettucine alfredo, but with a bright zing of lemon so that it doesn’t feel heavy, it’s a dream come true. Plus it’s done in under half an hour so what more could you possibly want from a pasta dish??
Because I can barely contain my excitement, we’ll get right to it, but not before I give you five things to be happy about today! ONE. A book so gripping that you read it from start to finish in one sitting, well into the night. TWO. Iced coffee with coffee ice cubes. THREE. A three day weekend. FOUR. Drinks served in mason jars. FIVE. Clothes that you can wear from winter to spring.
12 oz. thick spaghetti
¾ cup heavy cream
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Fresh ground black pepper
ONE. Before starting, place your pot of water on the stove to boil, so that it’s ready when you are. Set out all of your ingredients in their correct measurements (called a mise en place!) because once you get started, you won’t have time to stop and grate cheese or juice a lemon on the go.
TWO. Using a vegetable peeler, cut one wide strip of the lemon peel and slice it into thin strips and set aside (this will be a garnish for later!). Zest the remaining peel of the lemon into a dutch oven or large saucepan, then juice the same lemon and reserve 2 tablespoons of juice.
THREE. Pour the cream into the dutch oven with the lemon zest, and cook on medium heat until the cream is heated through and just about to simmer. *Start cooking your pasta now!* Lower the heat and whisk in your butter, one tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is creamy and emulsified, then remove the pot from the heat.
FOUR. When your pasta is very al dente, about 3 minutes earlier than the package instructions, scoop out 1½ cups of pasta cooking water, and add ¾ cup to the cream sauce. Transfer your pasta to the sauce pot using a pair of tongs (it’s okay if some pasta water drips in as well), and return to medium heat. Cook the pasta for 3 minutes, adding the parmesan cheese gradually until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth and glossy. Feel free to add more pasta water a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Stir in the reserved lemon juice now, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
FIVE. To serve, swirl a generous pile of pasta onto the plate, garnish with more fresh black pepper, and the reserved lemon peel strips. Enjoy!!!
WELCOME! As you can probably tell by the title of this recipe, I recently came into the possession of an Instant Pot and boy do I have a lot to say about it. First off, I got my Instant Pot for $30 (THIRTY. DOLLARS!!!) because I got a bunch of Amazon gift cards for Christmas and this seemed like as good a purchase as any, right? Watching it deduct $75 from the list price made me feel like one of those extreme couponers and I finally GET IT. My first adventure was this chicken tortilla soup and after working out some of the kinks it turned out delicious, so I was feeling confident. I then came across this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis and thought, I can adapt this to my Instant Pot no problem!!
Well, as I’m sure you can guess, it was in fact a problem. But, the magic of this blog is that I work this out so that you don’t have to! Turns out, Instant Pots do NOT like flour, and if you add even the tiniest bit of flour to your sauce, it will sink to the bottom, burn, and tell you repeatedly that the whole thing is burning four to five times until you take everything out, scrub the inner pot, and the start over. Yeah. So, I did this several times and had several full on tantrums before it worked. I still get mad at myself very easily when cooking things don’t work out the first time I try them, which I know is a bad habit and one I am certainly trying to kick, but this was truly testing me.
Now, another note about Instant Pots is that while yes, they definitely cut down the cooking time on things like stews and short ribs that would otherwise take several hours, you have to factor in the time that the pot takes to come to its set temperature and pressure, which, according to the manual, can take anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes depending on the volume and starting temperature of the food inside it. So, if your ribs need to cook for an hour and 10 minutes total, remember to add in an average 30 minutes or so because the hour and 10 minutes doesn’t start until it’s come to full pressure. After several false starts, my short ribs had almost come to a full, high pressure cooking situation several times, and as a result, I ended up lowering my overall cooking time to take that into account. However, according to the chart that came with my pot, beef ribs should be cooked for about 20-25 minutes per pound, so you can use that factor accordingly.
In the end, this worked out and the lasagna was to DIE for, but I for sure gave myself a baptism by fire here. I feel as though my Instant Pot and I are destined to be enemies, but like ones that have some playful banter going, you know? I look forward to getting to know the ins and outs of this thing, and seeing how many day-long recipes I can turn into quicker projects. This recipe can also be started on a stovetop instead of the Instant Pot, and I’ve included those directions at the bottom as well.
Anyways, enough ranting, here are 5 things to be happy about today before we get to cooking: ONE. When it’s been a week since New Year’s and you’re still following some resolutions.
TWO. An afternoon iced coffee to give you that energy kick you need.
THREE. Waking up to rain on a Saturday morning with nothing to do but stay in bed and catch up on TV.
FOUR. When you hear your grandparents talk about things they used to do growing up.
2 Tbs olive oil
4 oz. diced pancetta
3½-4 lbs. bone-in short ribs
Kosher salt, to taste
2 medium onions
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 cups beef broth
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2½ cups jarred pasta sauce (or your own if you feel like it!)
2 boxes no-boil lasagna noodles (12-15 noodles total)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups parmesan cheese
Steps (stovetop directions at bottom)
ONE. Turn your Instant Pot to Sauté, then add the olive oil. When the olive oil is heated, add the pancetta and cook until crisp and rendered. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. In the pot with the rendered fat and olive oil, sear your short ribs for roughly 4 minutes, meat side down, turning if necessary so all sides are cooked. Do this in batches if you need to! Transfer cooked ribs to a bowl and set aside.
TWO. Add all chopped vegetables to the pan and allow to sweat, scraping the brown bits from the bottom as you go. I learned this the hard way, the scraping of the Instant Pot is NECESSARY, otherwise you will continue to get an annoying “burn” message. Add kosher salt here (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) and cook until the veggies are translucent and soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
THREE. Add the red wine, crushed tomatoes, broth, and tomato paste, then add the seared short ribs and pancetta, layering so that no tomato paste will burn to the bottom of the pot. Make sure that the meat is entirely covered by the liquid, but that the liquid is not going over the 2/3 limit of your pot! Tie together the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves with twine and toss in on top.
FOUR. Securely close the top of your Instant Pot and set to the “Meat/Stew” setting, on Normal, and adjust the cooking time based on the amount of meat you’re cooking with. According to the Instant Pot cooking chart, it should be about 20-25 minutes per pound of beef ribs, so mine cooked overall for 1 hour and 10 minutes (if you count how many times it came up to temperature and then claimed it was burning lol).
FIVE. Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Once the meat is finished cooking, remove bones and herb bundle and shred the meat, placing it in a large bowl. Add 3 cups of the tomato cooking liquid to the meat and mix. Feel free to save the remaining sauce for pasta, however I would let it chill and then skim some of the fat off once it hardens. To assemble the lasagna, spread a thin layer of jarred tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Add a layer of 4 to 5 lasagna noodles, breaking them and arranging them as necessary to fit. Spread half the meat mixture over the first layer of noodles, then top with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and ½ cup of parmesan. Add another layer of noodles, the rest of the meat, and then another cup of mozzarella plus ½ cup parmesan. Top with a final layer of noodles, 2 cups of jarred tomato sauce, 1 cup of mozzarella, and the rest of the parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.
*For the stovetop, simply complete steps one through three in a dutch oven or other large pot, then cook for 3 hours, uncovered for the last hour, before continuing with step 5.
Now bask in the praise of your dinner guests! YUM! xoxoxoxoxoxoD
Welcome to my first savory recipe in some time huh? I knew we’d meet again. Now, anyone who has ever stayed at my house knows that this is my “company meal” (back me up here guys). Like, you know when you want to show off to your guests so you really pull out all the stops and make something extra impressive? That’s what this soup is all about. I literally love soup so much and this one is the most perfect combination of spicy, warming, filling, and just about the most satisfying lunch/ dinner/ maybe breakfast (idk I don’t judge) in the whole wide world. This masterpiece comes adapted from The Pioneer Woman, and because I am always doing more work than I need to, the thing that makes this soup really special is the addition of homemade tortilla chips and all the toppings you could ever imagine. It’s so important to my family in fact, that when I mentioned to my mom that this was what I was writing about for today, she couldn’t BELIEVE I hadn’t posted this yet. I figure now with the chill of winter in the air it’s the perfect time.
This dish is a labor of love and although there’s a lot of prep work and moving parts, it will be well worth it. Plus, you can feel no guilt in putting your guests to work as sous chefs because the soup is its own reward!
I’m going to keep things here short because we all know what the star of this post is, but quick! Here are 5 things to be happy about today:
ONE. Freshly fried restaurant tortilla chips and pico de gallo (can you tell I’m in a mood?).
TWO. Nights where you have no plans so you take a long shower, do a face mask, and really treat yourself.
THREE. Peppermint hot chocolate.
FOUR. Embroidered flowers.
FIVE. Blue Planet (I & II) and their accompanying soundtracks.
Let’s get souping! Yes, I did make soup a verb, someone call the dictionary ASAP. Serves: 8-12 people Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
3 tsp ground cumin
2½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups diced onion (about 3-4 onions)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 10-ounce cans Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
8 cups chicken broth
6 Tbsp tomato paste
8 cups hot water
4 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons cornmeal
Diced red onion
Shredded cheddar cheese
ONE. Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a small bowl, mix together cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Lay chicken breasts on a baking sheet and drizzle each one with olive oil. Sprinkle a teaspoon of the spice mixture over each piece of chicken, then reserve the rest. Bake the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, then allow to cool completely before shredding.
TWO. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and cook the onions, peppers, and garlic. Add remaining spice mixture and cook until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
THREE. Add the shredded chicken, the cans of Rotel with their juice, the chicken broth, the tomato paste, and hot water. Stir to combine, then cover and bring to a boil.
FOUR. Reduce heat to low and add the beans. In a small bowl, mix the cornmeal with 1 cup of water, and add to the soup. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
FIVE. While the soup is simmering, brush a stack of corn tortillas with olive oil, slice into uniform strips (or wedges), lay out on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and crisp. You could also fry them in a skillet of oil on the stovetop, but this just makes more chips in one go. Take 5 extra corn tortillas (unbaked) and slice them into uniform strips and add to the soup.
SIX. To serve, ladle a generous portion of soup into each bowl, then promptly lose your mind adding as much of the toppings as you can fit.
Welcome to the rest of your life where the only thing you’ll want to eat is this soup. XoxoxoxoxD
Hello hello! Here we are at another Tuesday, and here I am with another dessert recipe, ready for fall! This weekend, my sisters and I (all 5 of us!) met up in NYC for dinner, and I had some of the best pho of my LIFE from a restaurant in Greenwich Village called Pho Bar. A ginormous bowl of beef pho and a Vietnamese Iced Coffee (espresso with sweetened condensed milk), are really all I need to be happy. Here in New York, the past few days have been cold and rainy, which quite honestly, is my FAVORITE kind of weather. What better excuse to cook all day and watch a lot of Netflix?? This Sunday, pretending that we were further into Fall than we were, I made Beef Bourguignon, which you can find here, and this applesauce cake.
A story about this cake- this recipe comes from my amazing Grandma Marcella, who used to make this all the time when we came over for dinner. My grandparents have lived three doors down from us my entire life, so walking down to their house for dinner and a slice of this impossibly moist cake was a DREAM. As the years went on, my mom and then I started to take over some of the dinner and baking responsibilities, but somehow, this recipe fell by the wayside.
Cut to many years later, I was in my senior year of college and doing everything in my power to procrastinate during finals week (as one does in college, you know), and SUDDENLY I thought about this recipe and could think of nothing else. I called my mom immediately and begged her to look through her recipe books to see if we had a copy written down, and, sure enough, 5 minutes later I had a picture of the recipe and was en route to the grocery store at 9pm. Honestly, god bless my roommates, I didn’t have a car in college, and somehow someone was always willing to drive me to the store. Probably because it meant they would get baked goods, but still. It was just as delicious as I remembered when I made it that night in college, and words can’t describe how important it felt to make this cake and serve it to my grandma at family dinner the other night and make her proud.
Some notes about this recipe: the applesauce makes this cake SUPER moist without any extra oil, which is a win if you ask me. It’s best to start with unsweetened applesauce, that way you can control how sweet the cake turns out, but if all you have is sweetened, lower the brown sugar amount maybe to ½ cup. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of raisins, so if I were to make this on my own, I would lower the amount to ½ cup, but the original recipe as made by my grandma specified 1 whole cup.
Before we start, I’m getting into these 5 things to be happy about bits, so here are 5 more for today:
ONE. When the temperature drops below the 70ºs for the first time in AGES. TWO. Beginning a binge of fall movies and TV, just to get you in the mood for what’s to come. THREE. Having a favorite mug and refusing to use anything else to drink tea and coffee out of. FOUR. When you’re so sleepy that, upon getting into bed, you fall asleep immediately. FIVE. Family board game nights.
Anywho, let’s goooooooooooo!
1 cup applesauce, preferably unsweetened
¾ cup brown sugar, less if you’re using sweetened applesauce
1 stick butter
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½-1 cup raisins, depending on preference
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
5-6 tbs confectioners sugar
ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and generously butter a 9″ x 9″ pan. Set up a double boiler on the stove*, and in the top bowl, add the applesauce, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is almost bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before proceeding. (My grandma would place the bowl in the sink with a little cool water in it to speed up the cooling process!)
TWO. Once cooled, stir in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda until everything is combined, then mix in the egg and incorporate.
THREE. In a small bowl, toss the raisins with about a tablespoon of flour, this will keep them from all sinking to the bottom while baking. Stir the raisins into the batter until evenly distributed, then pour the whole thing into the prepared pan.
FOUR. Bake for 15 minutes at 350º, then after the 15 minutes are up, turn the heat down to 325º and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Before removing from the oven, test with a cake tester or knife to ensure doneness, the cake should be moist but not wet and the tester should come out clean. Cool completely before glazing.
FIVE. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice and confectioners sugar into a thick, pourable glaze, adjusting the amounts as necessary until you have a thickness that you’re happy with. I like mine on the thin side, I find that it seeps into the cake more this way, but it’s totally up to you! To glaze, slice the cake into 9 slices, then pour the glaze over it so that it completely covers the top and starts to sink down the cut sides.
Best enjoyed with as much glaze as you can get on top of each piece!! xoxoxoxoxoD
* To make a double boiler, fill a saucepan up half way with water and turn the heat up on the stove to bring the water to a boil. Place a large heat-safe bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the water in the saucepan. As the water boils and releases steam, it heats the contents of the bowl without direct heat, so nothing in the bowl can be burned or overcooked!
Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying the last few days of official summer. I’m here to tell you though, that you can’t fully enjoy your last days of summer break without this cobbler. Adapted from this recipe from Food52, it’s the low maintenance, no fuss, last-good-peaches-of-the-summer peach dessert of your dreams. The filling is similar to that of a traditional peach pie, while the cornmeal biscuits add a new twist on the classic cobbler.
With the past week being so unbearably hot here in New York, it certainly doesn’t feel like September has arrived. That being said, I am more than prepared to pretend it’s fall until the weather catches up with us. Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite season for really all the reasons. Fall weather? The best and most beautiful. Fall clothes? The coziest. Fall food? Apple cinnamon EVERYTHING all. the. time. And I know it seems crazy to wish away the summer but honestly, I’ll take a crisp autumn day over 80º weather no contest. BUT, I realize that this is still a summer recipe so I should probably stop talking about that right? I’m SORRY I just get so overexcited, you know?
Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about this week:
ONE. A good Labor Day trip to the beach, savoring the last beach day of the year. TWO. A thunderstorm after days of a heat wave when the air finally feels cool again. THREE. Seeing the fall’s first apples for sale at the farm stand. FOUR. Collecting cookbooks. FIVE. A weekend with no plans, where you can do whatever you feel like.
Okay, now that we’ve got that covered, who’s ready for cobbler??
3 lbs peaches (about 9 peaches), peeled and sliced into wedges
1/3 cup sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla
1¼ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
Cornmeal Biscuit Ingredients
1 cup flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
6 tbs butter, diced into ½ inch cubes
2/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Demerara Sugar, for dusting
ONE. Toss the sliced peaches with the sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or so until the peaches release some juices and become syrupy. Drain the peaches in a colander or mesh sieve and reserve ¼ cup of the peach juice.
TWO. Whisk together the reserved peach juice, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the drained peaches and mix thoroughly. Transfer to your 9-inch baking dish or pie plate, liquid and all. Place the filled pie plate on top of another baking sheet (to catch any leaks or spills).
THREE. At this point, preheat the oven to 375º F. To make the biscuits, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in the cubed butter with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles peas and is evenly incorporated.
FOUR. Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula and mix until there are no dry ingredients left. Add more heavy cream as necessary, a tablespoon at a time, if the mixture is too dry.
FIVE. Scoop the biscuit mixture on top of the peaches, using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, leaving a little room in between each one, as the biscuits will spread. Brush the top of each biscuit with heavy cream and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
SIX. Bake for 35 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool completely to set the filling, then serve warm with a generous pour of cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Hello friends!! For today’s recipe, yes, you read that right, it’s BLT PASTA!! One of life’s simple pleasures is a good sandwich, and in my opinion, nothing matches the near perfection of a good BLT in the summer. The crisp bacon, juicy tomato, fresh lettuce, it’s a classically delicious combination that one would not think could possibly be improved. HOWEVER, that was before you considered this recipe. Adapted from The New York Times (recipe here), this pasta has all the best parts of a traditional BLT sandwich, as well as the addition of peppery arugula and salty pecorino romano cheese. An added bonus? The sauce practically cooks itself! After frying the bacon, halved cherry tomatoes are cooked in the resulting bacon fat and reduced to a bubbling, rich but not heavy sauce, made even silkier with the freshly grated cheese and pasta water. All you have to do is stir it all together!
My own version of this meal includes one extra accent in the form of crispy garlic croutons because I just really love mixing bread and pasta. Is that weird? My all time favorite pasta dish is literally just pasta tossed with garlic breadcrumbs, sometimes with some sautéed kale and a fried egg, but also sometimes not, and it’s just SO delicious. So anyway, I figured, since this dish is adapted from a classic sandwich anyway, why not bring the bread back? And boy am I glad I did, because even just a small handful on top of your pasta swirl provides the most perfect and satisfying crunch and we quickly learned, as my mother remarked while eating this, “I could eat this pasta all night”.
Before we get started, I’m bringing you 5 more things to be happy about this week, are you ready? Let’s go!
ONE. The newly released Netflix movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – which is heartwarming, sweet, and impossible to watch just once.
TWO. Eating a cup full of cold, cubed watermelon and feeling instantly refreshed.
THREE. The immediate relaxation you feel when stepping into an air-conditioned space from the heat outside.
FOUR. Playing the same song over and over while driving by yourself, with no one to tell you not to.
FIVE. Dinners where everyone gathers around the table long after the food is finished, simply enjoying each other’s company.
Are we feeling happy? Hungry? Let’s get cooking!!
Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Serves: 6-8 dinner portions (plus leftovers for tomorrow – or midnight!!)
2 boxes pasta of your choice (I used bucatini but any tube like pasta works!)
12oz. bacon, diced
2 lbs. cherry tomatoes, halved
10 oz. arugula, washed and dried
1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
½ loaf ciabatta bread, torn into bite size chunks
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt + pepper
Red pepper flakes
ONE. Bring pasta water to boil in a large pot. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions for al dente, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.
TWO. In a shallow pan (I used a cast iron skillet), heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add crushed red pepper flakes to your liking, depending on your spice preference. I used about ½ tsp for these croutons. Add in the torn pieces of ciabatta and stir so that every piece is coated with olive oil. Toast until the bread becomes golden brown and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
THREE. While the water is coming to a boil, crisp your bacon in a large skillet or pot on medium-high heat, then remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, taking care to keep as much of the bacon fat left in the pan as possible. Add the halved cherry tomatoes to the pan with the bacon fat, and cook on medium heat until the tomatoes become soft and begin to burst. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to incorporate the browned bacon bits into the sauce as well. Season with salt and pepper, and after about 5 minutes of cooking, add half of the cooked bacon back to this sauce and mix to combine.
FOUR. With the heat on medium-high, add the cooked pasta straight from the water into the skillet with the tomato sauce. Add in your arugula plus ½ cup pasta water and cook for a minute until the arugula begins to wilt slightly. Stir in the cheese and an additional ½ cup pasta water, mixing everything together until the sauce becomes smooth and almost shiny, and coats the pasta. Feel free to add more pasta water as needed, until you reach the desired consistency.
FIVE. To serve, pile a generous helping of pasta onto a plate or into a shallow bowl, add a handful of garlic croutons, a sprinkling of crisped bacon pieces, and a heaping snow shower of grated cheese. Best enjoyed with a glass of chilled white wine.
Hello friends! After a week’s break I am back, and I bring more summer pie! Last week, my family and I took a trip to Portland, Maine, one of our favorite places, and it was exactly what I needed to clear my head. The city was named Bon Appetit’s city of the year, and for good reason. Portland is a food-lover’s paradise, but more specifically, a baked-good lover’s paradise. Every morning I had some form of doughnuts, pie, or cinnamon rolls with some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, and I’m not kidding when I say that if the winters there didn’t get so cold, I would move there immediately.
Maple Doughnut + Coffee = HEAVEN!!
Sticky Bun, Blueberry Pie, and Strawberry Brioche from Tandem Bakery
If you’re planning a visit any time soon, here are the top three places from me:
ONE. Tandem Coffee Roasters (above right photo): a bakery/ coffee shop in a refurbished gas station, aka the most aesthetically pleasing and delicious place in the world TWO. The Holy Donut (above left photo): the only thing you need to know about this place is that the doughnuts have MASHED POTATO in them!!! The result is the most tender, pillowy doughnut you’ll ever have (my favorite is the maple one!) THREE. Two Fat Cats Bakery: the pie here is UNBELIEVABLE, and the inspiration behind today’s recipe. (ALSO, I was told they now ship their pies, you’re welcome!)
Portland Head Lighthouse
Believe it or not, we’re still missing 1 sibling here!
Sebago Lake on the sunniest day of the week!
Something that I like to do with my friends and have been trying to do more of recently is occasionally make a list of 5 things to be happy about, just to keep things in perspective, so before we get started, I’m going to share some with you as well!
ONE. An unusually cool day in the summer, giving you a preview for the Fall season ahead, and a reason to sit on the porch with a hot cup of tea. TWO. Finally finishing that book that you’ve been reading for months. THREE. Freshly baked cinnamon rolls on a Saturday morning. FOUR. Lying in bed listening to thunder outside as you fall asleep. FIVE. That one TV show that you know front and back but never get tired off. (For me it’s Pushing Daisies!!).
OKAY now that that’s covered, some quick notes about today’s recipe. This beautiful pie is brought to you by The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book (buy it here!), which covers truly every question you could ever have about pie. This one in particular originally featured only apricots, but since I had such a difficult time finding apricots around me, I had to improvise without abandoning the recipe all together, hence, the plums. Technically, the fruit I used was an apricot/ plum hybrid called an Aprium, which I had NEVER heard before. They tasted more like plums than apricots really, but both fruits would be spectacular with the cinnamon and vanilla custard. Also, the thickening agent in this pie is potato starch, which I had never encountered before but am now in love with. According to the book, it’s easier to find than tapioca and more effective than cornstarch, which leaves a gritty texture often. I used one from Bob’s Red Mill and was so happy with how the filling came together in a way that was thick but not gelatinous, and certainly not soupy. Finally, this pie was designed specifically to pair with the Vanilla Pouring Custard, so I would highly recommend following through with it. However, this custard can go on so many things- cakes, other pies, ice cream, straight from the pot to your mouth (??), idk, I’m not judging here. Now quick, let’s get baking!
Adapted from: The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book Makes:1 double crust pie + approximately 2 cups custard
Pie Crust recipe for 1 Double Crust pie, found here
1½ lbs. apricots/ plums (or both!)
2 Tbs lemon juice
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt
3 Tbs potato starch
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbs water)
ONE. Before starting your filling, prepare your pie dough following steps 1 through 4 of this recipe here. After the 30 minute chilling period, roll out half the pie crust and line your pie plate, then roll out the other half and chill both halves in the fridge while you make the filling. Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
TWO. Wash your fruit and cut in slices (in half, then in half moon slices), removing the stones. Toss the fruit with the lemon juice to prevent browning. In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and potato starch, then add this sugar mixture to the fruit. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
THREE. Pour this filling into the prepared pie shell, then place the top crust over it. You can do whatever you’d like here, whether you feel like a lattice or a full top crust! Brush the top with egg wash, and remember to cut some air vents if doing a full top crust. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and place the pie on a sheet pan (with raised edges), to catch spills and drips.
FOUR. Bake the pie at 425º for the first 20 minutes on the bottom most rack of your oven. When 20 minutes are up, turn the oven down to 375ºF, then bake for another 30 minutes. Keep watch for the crust, specifically the edges, which can burn, and cover with tin foil or pie crust protectors as necessary. Allow the pie to cool completely (to set the filling), before reheating and serving with Pouring Custard!
Vanilla Pouring Custard Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp cornstarch
4 Tbs white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 or 2 Tbs dark rum (optional)
Vanilla Pouring Custard Steps
ONE. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it’s just about to boil, but doesn’t quite yet. Keep an eye on it, it heats up faster than you think!
TWO. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar until pale yellow. Carefully and VERY slowly, drizzle some of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly so as not to cook the eggs. This tempers the egg mixture and allows you to add it back to the milk without accidentally making scrambles.
THREE. Add the tempered egg mixture to the rest of the milk in the saucepan and cook on low, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the consistency is slightly thickened and coats the back of the spoon. *It took me a long time to get the custard to thicken, but don’t be tempted to turn the heat up too high because that tends to curdle the mixture. Just be patient!
FOUR. Place a sieve over a medium bowl and strain the custard to remove any lumps and give you the smoothest product. At this point, stir in the vanilla (and rum if you’re using it!). This is best served still warm, and trust me, there is no limit to how much you can pour on one slice of pie.