sweets

Classic Apple Pie

Welcome to another week! Today’s recipe holds a very special place in my heart, it’s my family’s apple pie! As you can probably gather from many of my previous posts (see here, here, HERE, and here lmao), I LOVE pie, but no pie will ever compare to this one. I have such strong memories of eating this pie at every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and words can’t even describe how comforting it is to have a house smelling like apples and cinnamon while this is baking.

Some notes about this recipe: it comes from my Great Aunt Anna, who I don’t remember meeting (I was a wee baby), but I trust her with my life because I will never use another apple pie recipe. This pie uses equal parts Macintosh and Granny Smith apples, a perfect combination of sweet and tart. Also, I don’t know where you all stand on the soft apple vs. hard apple debate, but these apples will bake soft which, in my opinion, is the best way. Hard apples in pie make me feel like the pie isn’t finished baking, right?

When it comes to apple pie, I think the simpler the better, which is why the filling of this pie has 5 ingredients, including the apples. Because apples are high in pectin, a natural thickener, you only need a tablespoon of flour to keep the filling together, this pie practically makes itself!

Before we start, I haven’t forgotten our 5 things to be happy about today, so let’s see:

ONE. Learning how to knit.
TWO. Houses that go above and beyond with their Halloween decorations.
THREE. Adding pumpkin into everything: like coffee, cakes, and pasta.
FOUR. Finally getting to break out your fall sweaters
FIVE. Fuzzy socks.

Okay let’s go!!

Makes: 1 9-inch pie (serves 8-10)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour

Pie Crust Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
12 tbs (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, very cold
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
½ cup ice water

Filling Ingredients

8 apples, 4 Macintosh + 4 Granny Smith, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbs flour
2 tbs butter, cut into pieces, to top the filling before the top crust

Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. To make the pie crust, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Add in the butter and shortening in uniform cubes so that they get dispersed throughout the dough. Pulse the food processor 10 times, or until the butter is the size of peas.

TWO. With the processor on low, continuously drizzle in the ice cold water, and run until a single ball of dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. *You can also do this without a food processor and just work the butter and shortening into the flour by hand, but this way is faster and I find it yields a crisper crust.*

THREE. To roll out your crusts, divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out the first half (your bottom crust) so that it is at least 2 inches larger that your pie plate. Fold the dough in half carefully, then in half again (this makes it much easier to transfer to the pie plate without ripping or tearing), then unfold into the plate. Roll out your top crust now as well, so that it’s ready when the filling is. If need be, put the rolled out crusts back in the fridge while you chop apples to keep everything cold.

FOUR. In a large bowl, toss the diced apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and flour until evenly mixed. Transfer this filling immediately to your pie plate with the bottom crust in it, if it sits too long with the sugar, the fruit will get too juicy and could produce a soggy pie!

FIVE. Dot the filling with butter and then place the top crust over everything. Crimp the edges and cut 4 vents in the center of the pie to release steam, and then put the whole pie on a rimmed baking sheet, in case there are any drips.

SIX. Bake the pie on the lower rack of your oven at 400ºF for the first 20 minutes. This will give you a nice golden top. Then, lower your oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye out on the color of your top crust, it shouldn’t get too much darker in the 40 minutes, but if your crimped edges seem to be getting too dark, you can always cover them with tin foil or pie crust protectors to finish the bake.

SEVEN. As tempting as it might be to dig right in (your house will smell heavenly by now), allow the pie to cool completely to allow the filling to set. To serve, reheat for 10 to 15 minutes at 300ºF, and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!!! XoxoxoxoxoD

 

sweets

Raspberry Opera Cake

HELLO! This may be one of the most ambitious projects I have ever attempted, but the results were well worth it I promise you! I mean, just LOOK at it. I have never felt more like a contestant on the Great British Bakeoff and it was so fun. The other day I was scrolling through Instagram as one does, and came across this masterpiece by Zoë François of the blog Zoë Bakes and I immediately began plotting. The recipe below was adapted from that very recipe, with a few minor flavor changes including raspberry jam instead of blackberry, and dark chocolate for the ganache. Be warned, this is not a quick recipe, and there are a lot of different pieces and parts, so prepare to have a whole day set aside for this. Put on your comfiest clothes, put on a movie (I watched Solo while I baked this and simply had a blast) or your favorite cooking music, and have lots of iced coffee at the ready, you GOT this.

This weekend was completely free of obligations and plans, which are my favorite kinds of weekends. I get to tackle so many baking and cooking projects in two days it feels like I might as well move into the kitchen. Saturday’s projects were this cake and some shrimp scampi for dinner, and Sunday brought this fall’s first of many apple pies (recipe for that coming soon, it’s my pride and joy)! Now if only the weather outside matched my fall mood. All in good time I guess!

Before we start, here are your 5 things to be happy about today!

ONE. Hot apple cider with mulling spices.
TWO. Marathoning a movie series on a rainy day.
THREE. Switching out your summer wardrobe for your thickest sweaters.
FOUR. Running through a corn maze as an adult and having just as much (if not more) fun.
FIVE. Homemade breakfast sandwiches with the crispiest bacon.

Serves: 6 to 8 people
Prep/Assembly Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Inactive Time: ~2 to 3 hours

Almond Joconde

3 eggs, room temperature
90 grams sugar
3 egg whites
30 grams sugar
115 grams almond meal
28 grams flour

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

½ cup egg whites (from 3 to 4 eggs)
1 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
Kosher salt (a pinch!)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
¾ cup raspberry jam

Dark Chocolate Ganache

12oz. dark bakers chocolate
12oz. heavy cream

Meringue Topping

½ cup egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

*Fresh Raspberries for topping

 

Almond Joconde Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line an 11″ x 16″ baking sheet with parchment paper, then brush with butter to prevent the cake from sticking. In a large bowl, sift together the almond meal and flour, then set aside.

TWO. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the whole room temperature eggs and the 90 grams of sugar until the mixture has tripled in size and, when drizzled, forms ribbons that hold their shape momentarily before disappearing back into the rest of the egg. It should take about 7 to 8 minutes. Gently fold this mixture into the almond meal mixture.

THREE. In the clean bowl of your stand mixer, whip the three egg whites and the 30 grams of sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold this mixture into the rest of the cake batter. Pour into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the top is lightly golden. Allow to cool completely.


Raspberry Buttercream Steps

ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the ½ cup egg whites and the 1 cup of sugar until thick and combined. It will be very grainy. Set this bowl over a pot of boiling water (a double boiler situation!), and heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the sugar has completely dissolved.

TWO. Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form and the egg whites are back down to room temperature.

THREE. Once the egg whites are the right texture and temperature, add the butter in, two tablespoons at a time, until completely incorporated. Some notes about this: if the egg is still too hot and the butter starts to melt, put the whole thing in the fridge for a while to cool it down. If, while you’re adding the butter, the mixture begins to look like it’s curdling, don’t panic!! This happens, but if you keep mixing, it will fix itself.

FOUR. Once all the butter is added, continue to mix for another minute, until the frosting is thick and glossy again. Add in the vanilla, salt, and raspberry jam and mix with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated.

FIVE. Dollop the frosting over the completely cooled cake and spread with an offset spatula. It’s important that the frosting is as even and flat on top of the cake as possible, as it will make stacking much easier later. Chill the cake until the frosting is set.


Chocolate Ganache Steps

ONE. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the heavy cream until simmering, then remove from heat. Add in the chopped chocolate and swirl to ensure that all the chocolate is covered by the hot cream. Allow to sit for 3 minutes.

TWO. After 3 minutes, whisk the mixture together, as the heat from the cream will have melted the chocolate by now. Let the ganache cool before spreading on the cake so as not to melt the frosting.

THREE. When the ganache is cool and the cake is set, spread the ganache evenly over the buttercream and smooth with an offset spatula. Chill until the chocolate is solid.


Cake Assembly Steps

ONE. Once the cake is chilled and completely set, run a hot knife around the edges to loosen the cake and the chocolate from the tray. Wrap the top of the cake with plastic cling wrap, and place another (same size) baking sheet on top of this, with the bottom of the baking sheet touching the plastic wrapped top of the cake. Flip the whole thing upside down so that the ganache side of the cake is now on the bottom. Remove the original baking sheet and peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cake.

TWO. Flip the cake back to right side up by placing the bottom of the original baking sheet on top of the cake and turn upside down again, then peel the plastic wrap off the ganache side of the cake. At this point, you should have your cake sitting on an inverted baking sheet (to make it easier to slice) with the ganache on top and the cake on the bottom.

THREE. Using a heated knife (keep a large glass of boiled water nearby to dip your knife in as you slice), trim off any uneven edges of your sheet cake so that all the sides are perfectly straight.

Shot from my snapstory, gotta get those angles you know??

FOUR. Using a ruler to keep measurements exact, turn your tray so that the long side is vertical. Cut the cake into thirds on the long side (the 16″ side), so that you have three long strips of cake. Then, turn the tray so that the long side is horizontal, and slice in half so that you have 6 even rectangles of cake. *If at any point the ganache starts to get soft, place  the cake back in the fridge until everything is set again.

FIVE. To assemble, take a long spatula and place one cut rectangle onto your desired serving tray. Repeat with each rectangle, making sure that the sides all match up and the cake doesn’t end up lopsided. Top the finished cake with even rows of raspberries.


Meringue Topping Steps

ONE. This step is optional, but it looks so pretty so 10/10 would recommend. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the egg whites and sugar until stiff and glossy. Mix in the vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste. Dollop or pipe the stiffened meringue over the raspberries, making spikes and swirls with the back of a spoon. Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringue until golden.

You DID IT!!! I’m so proud of you, it’s been quite a journey!! xoxoxoxoxoxD

sweets

Applesauce Cake

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.

This place was so yummy and fancy!

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.

You can see that this copy of the recipe is well loved!

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.

This is the most expensive Le Creuset item that I own and I’m not kidding when I say it’s my prized possession (it’s LAVENDER) and I just wanted to show it off okay THANKS

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!

 

Ingredients

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
1 egg
½-1 cup raisins, depending on preference
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
5-6 tbs confectioners sugar

Steps

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!

savories

Tomato Salad with Burrata

Surprise!! A bonus recipe this week! I know what you’re thinking, two posts in one week? What’s the occasion? Well, the occasion is I got burrata at the grocery store, and I just HAD to do something about it. And that something was marinate cherry tomatoes in garlic olive oil, toss them with some salt, pepper, and basil, and break those two burrata balls right over the top and I have to say, it was HEAVENLY. That still counts as salad right?? It does in my book at least. By the way, if you don’t know what burrata is, first of all, WELCOME, and second of all, it’s a type of cheese that has an outside casing of mozzarella, with a soft, creamy inside that is perfect for breaking open and letting the filling ooze out all fancy like. Is that weird? Who knows, but you’ll be on board as soon as you try it I promise.

Since this is my second post of the week, I’m going to keep it short and sweet because we all know you’re here for the recipe, no shame in that! This is ridiculously easy to make, and just as easy to customize depending on what else you have on hand, but since summer is ending and good cherry tomatoes will soon be scarce, I’m trying to use them as much as I can. However, some other good additions would be sliced peaches, strawberries, a drizzle of pesto or honey, or even some chili oil if you like things extra spicy!

Before we get started, we can’t forget the five things to be happy about today, so let’s do that first!

ONE. It’s FRIDAY!! You have a whole two days of freedom ahead of you, do yourself a favor and sleep late and have some waffles for breakfast, would you?
TWO. Bottomless diner coffee that always seems to taste better than when you make it at home.
THREE. String lights lining a porch railing, lighting up a warm night so you can sit and talk outside for hours.
FOUR. Coming home to a package you’ve been waiting for sitting on the doorstep.
FIVE. Writing letters and sending them just because, not for any reason other than to make someone’s day brighter.

Okay! Let’s get cooking! (Or really just cutting and prepping, as almost no cooking is involved, YAY for heatless recipes!!)

Ooooooooooomg am I right?


Prep Time:
 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

 

Ingredients

36 oz. cherry tomatoes (roughly 2 packages), halved
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, sliced
¼ cup olive oil
5 basil leaves, chiffonnade
2 burrata balls, halved or quartered

Steps

ONE. In a small saucepan, add the olive oil and sliced garlic and heat on very low until the garlic is fragrant and infuses into the oil but doesn’t brown. Set aside to cool while you halve the tomatoes and discard the garlic. (If you already have a garlic-infused oil or you would prefer a plain olive oil, you can skip this step!)

TWO. Toss the cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, and olive oil in a large bowl. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

THREE. To serve, pour the tomatoes and the juices they released onto a large, flat serving dish. Break open or cut the burrata balls in half or in quarters (depending on how much you want to share!), and place on top so that some of the filling begins to spill into the tomatoes. Serve a piece of burrata with a healthy scoop of tomatoes to each.

YUM!! xoxoxoxoxD

sweets

Cornmeal Peach Cobbler

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??

Serves: 8-10 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes

Peach Ingredients

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

Steps

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.

YUM! xoxoxoxoxoD

savories

BLT Pasta with Garlic Croutons

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!

Enjoying these beautifully colored gems while I can!!

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”.

I’ve been seeing fancy noodle swirls all over my instagram and quickly realized how challenging it is to get them all to cooperate with me. How’d I do?

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!!)

Ingredients

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
Olive oil
Kosher salt + pepper
Red pepper flakes

Steps

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.

Look at these cuties doing their thing!!

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.

I almost dropped my phone into the pasta for this shot, you’re WELCOME

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.

YUM!! xoxoxoxoD

sweets

Cinnamon Plum-Apricot Pie with Vanilla Pouring Custard

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.


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!)


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 Ingredients

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)
Demerara sugar

Pie Steps

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.

My baking setup is usually this chaotic, I spy an espresso maker cluttering up this counter!

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.


YUM!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxD