Blueberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberries were not quite out when I started tinkering with this. This is the edited version, as the test version came out a bit too sweet and too heavy on the cardamom.

Ingredients
1 pie dough recipe
8 stalks of rhubarb
4 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
2 green cardamom pods
1/2 tea spoon vanilla seeds
2 table spoon cornstarch
2 table spoon instant tapioca
pinch of salt
zest of a lime and half the juice
egg and coarse sugar, for the top
ingredients

***

1. Roll the bottom disk of the dough and line a pie plate. Put in the fridge so it stays cold.
bottom

2. Slice the rhubarb stalk lengthwise into halves or thirds depending on the stalk then dice finely and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
rhubarb

3. Add the blueberries to the bowl.
blueberries

4. Add the sugar.
spices

5. Grind the cardamom pods. Discard the husks.
cardamom

6. Add the cardamom and the vanilla to the blueberries and rhubarb.
spices

7. Add the cornstarch, the tapioca, and the salt.
starches

8. Stir gently to coat evenly. then put in the fridge for later.
stir

9. Roll out the top of the pie in a squarish shape. Cut into 8 strips.
roll-top

10. Retrieve the pie and filling from the fridge. Pour the filling into the pie shell.
filling

11. Put 4 strips of dough horizontally across the pie.
strips

12. Fold the top and middle strip of dough from the right toward the middle and add a vertical strip. Unfold the dough. Fold the other two bands and add the second band. Unfold and repeat on the left side (starting with the middle and bottom strips). Put the whole thing back in the fridge for 20 minutes for the dough to firm up.
lattice

13.Pre-heat the oven to 375F

Beat an egg in a small bowl and brush the strips with the eggwash. Sprinkle coarse sugar.

Put the pie on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. The juices will bubble up and spill and you don’t want them on the bottom of the oven.
eggwash

14. Bake for 55-60 minutes. The spilled juices are awesome over ice cream.
juices

15. Allow to cool fully.
baked-pie

16. Slice and serve.
cut-pie

 

“Snapdragon” preserve

Delicious and boozy. Notes and quantities here, recipe of at the spicetrekkers’ website here.

Ingredients
1 cup dark rum
1¾ cup dried apricots (370g)
2 cups dried figs (460g)
2 cups raisins (300g)
1¼ cups cane turbinado sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
zest and juice of 1 orange
½ cup whole almonds
5 cm cinnamon
1 vanilla bean

Notes

  • Cut apricots in half
  • get large dried figs and cut in 6ths

Bourbon Cherries

These are succulent and decadent. Good over ice cream. Good in sauces. In cocktails. On their own with a spoon and a straw to get every last bit of the boozy syrup.

Ingredients
3 lbs cherries
2 1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup Grand Marinier
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 bourbon vanilla bean
pinch of salt

cherries1

***

1. Cut the cherries in half and remove the pits.
cherries-2

2. In medium-large sauce pan combine the water, sugar and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and allow the bean to infuse for 5 minutes.
cherries3

3. Add the bourbon, grand marinier and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine then bring back to a boil.
cherries4

4. Scald 7 half-pint jars. Stuff full of cherries.
cherries5

5. Pour the hot syrup over the cherries, leaving as best you can 1/4″ headspace. Process for 10 minutes.
These vented quite a bit, so the next time I’ll let them cool slightly in the water before removing them.
cherries-results

Spice Poached Pears

A delicious, light desert. Also easy to make and can be made in advance. The pears will keep for well over a week if kept in the syrup.

Ingredients
8 Bartlett pears
1/2 cup honey
1 Yunnan pepper
13 black peppercorns
1 vanilla pod, sliced in half
Zests of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
2 star anise.
4 cup of water + enough to fill a large bowl
ingredients

***

1. In a large soup pot, combine 4 cups of water with the honey, spices, orange peel and the juice of half a lemon. Warm gently and stir until the honey is dissolved.
liquid

2. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of half a lemon.
water

3. Peel the pears, slice in half and remove the core.
peel

4. Put the pears in the water with the lemon juice. This prevents them from changing color.
bath1

5. Once all the pears are ready transfer them to the spiced liquid. Try to keep them in an even layer.
in-liquid

6. Using the lid of a smaller pot, push them into the liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook until the pears are tender when poked with the toothpick but still holding their shape.
lid

7. Allow to cool in the syrup, then cover the pot and cool completely in the refrigerator.
cooked

8. When ready to serve, heat about 1 cup of the syrup and reduce to about 1/3 cup.
syrup

9. Transfer the syrup to a double boiler and melt some chocolate into the syrup.
chocolate

10. Spoon the warm chocolate sauce over the cold pears.
serve

Vanilla and Ginger Pear Butter

This week-end was all about cooking preserves, so many recipes of things in jars to come! Here is a teaser picture.

First recipe : Vanilla and Ginger Pear Butter.

Not quite jam, not quite compote, but incredibly delicious and easy to do.

The vanilla and ginger make a great aroma as it cooks, and taste even better than is smells. You can add more ginger if you want, just taste as you go.

Ingredients
14 lbs of pears
1 /1/3 cup of sugar
2 vanilla beans (I used Mexican vanilla)
2 tea spoons freshly grated ginger
1/4 tea spoon kosher salt
Juice of 2 lemons

***

1. Peel and cut the pear into rough dice. Cut the vanilla bean in two. Put the pears in a large soup pot with the juice of the lemons, salt, sugar, vanilla and ginger.

2. Cook at medium heat until the pears start to render juice and to soften. Turn the heat down a bit and simmer until the pears are tender enough to be crushed by a wooden spoon.

3. Remove the vanilla beans. Mash the pears with a potato masher or blend with a stick blender until no chunks are left. Simmer until you reach a nice thick texture.

4. Pour into sterile jars, seal and process for 10 minutes.

Crème Brûlée

Classic vanilla Crème Brûlée. Figuring out how to do this at home has completly spoiled me… Most of the restaurant made ones don’t seem to measure up. Consider yourself warned!

If you can’t get your hands on the torch, you can set your oven to broil and put the rack as high as it goes. Then carefully use the element to broil the sugar crust. It heats up the custard a bit too much, but still yields tasty results.

Special hardware :
Ramekins (6-8)
Torch.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of sugar
6 eggs yolk
1 liter cream
2 liters boiling water
1 vanilla pod or 3/4 teaspoon vanilla caviar
Maple sugar, to taste

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F

2. In a thick bottom pot, combine the cream and the vanilla.

* If using a vanilla pod include the husk, not just the seeds as it adds a ton of flavor.

3. Over medium heat bring the cream and vanilla to a boil (not a simmer!). This is called scalding the cream and is important for the final texture.

Once boiling remove from heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.

* Remove the vanilla pod husk at this time.

4.  While the cream is cooling, combine the eggs yolks and sugar in a large bowl.

* For an even stronger taste of vanilla you can use vanilla sugar instead of plain sugar.

5. The yolks and sugar will turn into a lumpy paste. Keep whisking until it becomes smooth and light.

6. While whisking continually add the cream to the eggs mixture. If you stop whisking you will end up with vanilla scrambled eggs, so don’t be shy to ask for help for this step!

7. Transfer into the ramekins. If you are not sure of how well you did with the previous step or if you want absolute perfection you can strain the custard into the ramekins to remove any lumps.

Place the ramekins into a cake mold and add boiling water up to the middle of the ramekins.

8 .Put in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the sides are set but the middle are still slightly woobly.

9. Cool the custard in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours. They will keep for 3 days, so you can do these steps ahead of time.

Take the ramekins out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and allow to come back to room temperature.

Then add maple sugar in an even layer on top of the custard.

10. Heat the sugar with the torch until it melts and becomes a cracking caramel layer.

* Different sugar will give different results. Try with brown sugar, white sugar or vanilla sugar!
 

 
 

Lemon and Vanilla Madeleines

Delicious hybrid between a cookie and a little cake, these things are addictive. One batch gives me about 30 madeleines.

You will need the specialty pan to make them, but it’s so worth the investment. I prefer the silicone pan because they are so easy to use and clean.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 stick of butter
2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 cup non bleached all purpose flour
about 1 tea spoon vanilla caviar (equivalent of the seeds of 1 vanilla pod)

***

1. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. We need to make brown butter. Resist the temptation of raising the heat or stirring the butter. Just let it melt.

2. There will be 2 phases of bubbling/foaming. After the second one calms down the fat solids will precipitate at the bottom and get some color. The butter will start smelling nutty and gorgeous. Wait a few minutes until the liquid itself is colored.

3. Put a strainer over a heat resistant container. Line the strainer with paper towels. We want to leave all the fat solids behind.

4. Carefully strain the hot butter. It will be very hot, so make sure the strainer is solid and won’t pour the butter on you. All the solids should get stuck in the paper towels. Throw the towels once the liquid has strained through. Set the strained brown butter aside to cool down.

5. Pre-heat the oven at 350F. In a large mixing bowl, put the 4 eggs.

6. Whip the eggs at high speed until they lighten in color and about triple in volume.

7. Add the sugar while beating until the mixture lightens again and becomes thick (ribbon stage). Stop beating. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and gently fold in.

8.  Sift the flour over the egg mixture and gently fold in.

9. Add the brown butter (should be around room temperature) and mix in until the butter is absorbed (avoid pools of butter at the bottom of the bowl). Try not to over mix, not to deflate the eggs.

10. Spoon into the madeleine pans. I put them on a cookie sheet to help put them in and take them out of the oven. Aim at filling the mold 1/2 to 3/4 full. More dough make for more cake like results, less makes for crunchier cookies.

11.Cook for 12-16 minutes. They are ready once the edges are golden and they slide right out of the silicone molds. Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes before putting them in a container.