Monday, July 29, 2013

Berry Rhubarb Pie with Lard Crust

berry rhubarb pie
peonies
berry rhubarb pie
rhubarb and berry pie
berry rhubarb pie

Last summer, I was obsessed with this crust. This summer, I have turned to this one instead, but just to make sure I had all of my crust bases covered I tried a leaf lard and butter combo crust which for some is the holy grail of pie dough. It was wonderfully tender and flaky with really nice flavor thanks to the butter, but to be perfectly honest, I thought the texture was very similar to crust made with shortening. I'd love to hear if any one else has made pie crust with lard and has a different opinion on the matter, please feel free to share your experience in the comments below!

For the filling, I went with a sweet-tart combination of rhubarb and dark berries. I find that blueberries and blackberries make fine accompaniments to rhubarb (much better than sticky-sweet strawberries) but a handful of raspberries or currants would also be wonderful addition to the mix if you have them around. These photos got lost in the shuffle, so I actually made this pie about a month ago during the height of rhubarb season, but I can still find rhubarb (although much less of it) in my local market and I hope you can too.

I've heard the super processed lard available in grocery stores can be unpleasantly "meaty" in flavor so if you'd like to attempt a lard crust of your own, check your local butcher shop or farmer's market for leaf lard. If you live in NYC you can find leaf lard at Flying Pigs Farm's stand at the Union Square or Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets.

Berry Rhubarb Pie with Lard Crust
The lard in this dough makes for an exceptionally flaky and tender finished crust, substitute non-hydrogentated shortening for a vegetarian dough that is equally tender or substitute your favorite crust recipe. This is a no crust-judgement zone. Also, I found that this dough was soft and a bit tricky to work with, so I rolled it out between two pieces of parchment paper.

For the Crust
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

12.5 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 ounces cold leaf lard
1/2 cup ice water

Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Use a fork or pastry blender to cut the cold lard into the mixture until it is well combined. Add the butter and cut in until there are pieces ranging from the size of peas to the size of lima beans. Make a well in the center and pour in the ice water. Using a rubber spatula, work quickly to distribute the ice water into the mixture without over mixing. If the dough seems dry or crumbly, add more water one tablespoon at a time. Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into two pieces. Form each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour before rolling. I prefer to refrigerate my crusts overnight.

For the Filling

1 lb rhubarb, chopped into 1/4'' pieces
1.5 lbs mixed black and blueberries
7 ounces sugar (1 cup)
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 ounces flour (about 1/4 cup)

Combine the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the rhubarb, berries and lemon juice and toss gently to combine.

For the Topping

1 egg, beaten
A few teaspoons of coarse sugar such as turbinado or light demerara

To Assemble and Bake

Preheat oven to 400º

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it into a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie.
2. Roll out the other piece of dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.
3. Fill the prepared pie shell with the berry mixture and top with the second crust, crimp the edges and cut a few vents. OR If you've got some extra time and you'd like to make a scalloped crust like the one pictured, crimp the bottom crust before adding the filling, then use a 1 1/2'' round cutter to cut circles from the second pie crust. Starting from the outside, arrange the dough circles in slightly overlapping, concentric circles on top of the filling.
4. Slide the whole pie into the fridge or freezer for about 15min before you bake it to firm up the crust. When you are ready to bake, carefully and gently brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a healthy dose of coarse sugar.
5. Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 15 minutes on the lowest rack of your oven, then lower the oven temp to 375º and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices bubble. Cool the pie completely before serving.

peonies berry rhubarb pie

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit

Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit
Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit
Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit

For all of its shortcomings (unbearable heat and humidity), summer is my very favorite time to be a baker. I am so inspired by the amazing variety of fruit available during the summer months, so when I was tasked with making some desserts for a photo shoot a few weeks ago, I knew that fresh fruit tarts would be just the thing. I used my favorite sweet tart shell from Dorie Greenspan filled with a luxurious mascarpone cream that I developed a few months ago when a friend tasked me to make her wedding desserts, then I topped it with heaps of the most beautiful berries I could find. I love recipes like this cream because they are a great, neutral base to showcase whatever fruit is in season. Now that we are later into the summer, I think some sliced stone fruit tossed in lemon juice or assorted cherries would be lovely. As always, use whatever is in season and beautiful at your local market.

Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit

Sweet Tart Dough
adapted from Dorie Greenspan
for 1, 9'' or 10'' tart

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons cold, cubed butter
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons water

1. In the bowl of a food processor or with a pastry blender, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the yolk and pulse then stream in the water and mix until the dough starts clump together.
2. Lightly butter your tart pan or pans and gently press the crumbly dough into the pan. Make sure to evenly coat the bottom and the sides while being careful to not compact the dough too much. Alternately, you can pat the dough into a circle, wrap it in plastic, and chill it for 2 hours. After 2 hours, roll the dough in between two lightly floured pieces of parchment paper into a 12'' circle and gently lay it into the pan, making sure to press the dough gently into the sides and bottom of the pan.  You may have a bit of extra dough, save it just in case you have to repair any cracks later on. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom and sides of the dough. Freeze the tart shell(s) for 30min.

3. Preheat your oven to 375º and bake the tart shell(s) on a baking sheet (no need for pie weights) until it is lightly golden 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil repair any cracks that may have formed with your leftover dough, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool the shell on a rack while you prepare the rest of the tart.

Mascarpone Cream
This cream is a heavenly combination of whipped pastry cream, whipped cream, and mascarpone cheese. I use the pastry cream recipe exactly as written on BraveTart.com so I have linked to it below instead of reposting the entire thing here.
yield, one 10'' tart

2 cups vanilla pastry cream, I used Stella aka Brave Tart's Pastry Cream
8 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cream

1. Prepare the pastry cream and chill thoroughly.
2. Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the chilled pastry cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the mascarpone and whip until well combined. Fold in the whipped cream and chill the mixture until ready to use.

To Assemble
For the tarts above I used blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, figs and gooseberries, but use whatever is fresh and beautiful in your market.

3-4 cups assorted fresh fruit
Prepared Tart Shell (recipe above)
Mascarpone Cream (recipe above)

Gently spread the mascarpone cream into the tart shell (you may have a bit extra) and top with fresh fruit. Serve immediately. This tart is best on the day that it is made, but it will last a day or two in the fridge if you don't mind a soggy crust.

Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit

Monday, July 15, 2013

Berry and Apricot Galettes with Saffron

apricot and berry galettes 
apricot and berry galettes
brooklyn rooftop
    
Summer is time to keep it easy. Eat dinner outside on makeshift tables, hang with friends, and eat dessert off of paper towels instead of plates because who has time to do dishes when there are sunsets to watch and Campari and sodas to drink? Summer is even the time to not stress when your photos are all mysteriously crooked and the lab gets dust all over your scans, ahem...

I made these galettes a few weeks ago for just such an occasion and yes, I know, this recipe is cheating a little bit because I used the same rye pastry (I made a big batch and stored some in the freezer, which I highly recommend!) I used for these strawberry guys, but this time I filled the tarts with a combination of blueberries, blackberries, and rosy cheeked apricots dusted with just a bit of saffron. They were the perfect end to a summertime meal and the pastry was sturdy enough that we didn't even have to use plates to eat them, bonus.

Berry and Apricot Galettes with Saffron
adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
yield 2 medium tarts
I added a few saffron threads to these tarts which was a lovely and unexpected touch, but if you don't have access to saffron, the tarts are wonderful without it.

1 recipe rye dough, recipe below
1 1/2 pounds apricots
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup apricot jam
2-4 tablespoons sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
zest from one lemon
pinch salt

1 egg
4 tablespoons coarse sugar for sprinkling

To assemble

1. Divide the dough into  two pieces. Work with one piece at a time. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a roughly 15'' circle, 1/8'' thick. Transfer the rounds to two large, lined sheet pans. Store in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
2. Gently tear the apricots in half and discard the pits.
3. In a large bowl, rub the vanilla bean seeds, saffron threads and lemon zest into the sugar. The sugar should turn slightly yellow and smell wonderful at this point.
4. Add the fruit into the sugar mixture and toss gently to combine. Prepare an egg wash by beating an egg in a bowl with a tablespoon of water.
5. Remove the pastry from the fridge and spread each one with about 4 tablespoons of jam, then divide the fruit evenly between the disks, leaving a 1 1/2'' border around the edges. Fold the edges of the pastry over the filling and gently brush the egg wash between the folds to seal. Chill the formed tarts until they are firm, 30-40min.
6. While the tarts are chilling, preheat your oven to 375º. When the tarts are nice and cold, remove them from the fridge, gently brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
7. Bake until the fruit juices bubble and ooze and the pastry is a deep golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Rye Rough Puff Pastry
adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
yield, pastry for 1 large, 2 medium or  4-6 small tarts

I won't lie, the rye pastry takes a bit of work to put together but man is it good. It's my new favorite base for fruit desserts that I plan on using all summer long. Kim Boyce recommends "turing the dough"twice for this recipe, but I wanted a few more flakey layers so I gave it an extra turn. If you are going to use this dough to make a traditional pie, I suggest just doing the two turns.  Once you get the hang of making the dough, I suggest making a double or triple batch so you can have it at the ready for all of your summer pies, tarts, and galettes like these guys.

4.25 ounces rye flour
4.25 ounces all purpose flour
1/8 ounce salt
1/2 ounce sugar
6 ounces cold butter cut into chunks
4 ounces ice water (may need a little less or more than this)
1t apple cider vinegar

1. In a large bowl, mix the flours, salt and sugar together. Add in the butter and quickly rub it into the flour mixture with your fingers. You want the butter to break up into small pieces the size of peas to lima beans.
2. Combine the water and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup. Make a well in the flour/butter mixture and slowly stream the water into the dough while mixing gently. Mix until the water is evenly distributed and the dough holds together when you squeeze it. It will look dry, and that's okay, just as long as it holds together when you squeeze it. If it is too dry, add a bit more water.
3. Dump the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, gather the wrap tightly around the dough and refrigerate it for at least an hour or overnight.
4. After it has chilled, unwrap the dough and place it onto a lightly floured board. Pat the dough into a rough square, then roll it into an 8'' x 11'' rectangle. The dough will be a bit rough and crumbly and that's okay! With the long side of the dough facing you, gently fold the dough into thirds. Then turn the dough so the seam is at the top and parallel to your body. Repeat this process 3 more times then wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days before using.
If the rolling/turning sounds confusing, here is a great photo tutorial for making rough puff pastry on Food52.  Their method utilizes 6 "turns" of the dough, which isn't necessary for this recipe but it will give you a great idea of what the rolling process looks like.

apricot and berry galettes