1 Apt. 2B Baking Co.: June 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Super Simple Strawberry Tart

simple strawberry tart (yossy arefi) simple strawberry tart (yossy arefi) simple strawberry tart (yossy arefi)

Of all the spring and summer fruit, I find that strawberries need the least amount of adornment; especially this time of year, when the berries at the farmer's market are juicy, ripe, and red all of the way through. I prefer to eat them fresh or sliced up and tossed with just a sprinkle sugar. I think strawberries lose something when cooked so when I want to have them for dessert, I don't bake them into pie or cake, but I love to use them fresh. This tart is a perfect example of a super fresh and super easy strawberry dessert.

This is maybe the easiest tart I've ever made, the only thing that requires effort is making a batch of pie dough and I'm guessing most of you guys have done that before. Heck, you might even have a batch in your freezer, just waiting to be thawed and rolled out. If that's the case, you can make this impressive treat in about 45 minutes. Make sure you assemble the tart right before you want to eat it. No one likes a soggy tart.

Happy Solstice, all!

Super Simple Strawberry Tart
serves 8-10

The combination of buttery crust and sweetened mascarpone would be delicious with just about any fruit you can imagine: blackberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines or plums would all be totally delicious. I would caution against blueberries, only because they might roll right off of the crust. Assemble the tart right before you serve it, to prevent sogginess.

one recipe of your favorite single crust pie dough (all purpose version, rye version)
1 egg for egg wash
1 pound strawberries
8 ounces mascarpone
3 tablespoons sugar
small handful organic rose petals (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF

Roll out the pie crust to an oval, 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. Trim any rough edges and move the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Dock the crust with a fork to prevent the dough from puffing up too much and brush the dough with a beaten egg. Bake the dough until it is deep, deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool the pastry completely.

While the pastry is cooling, combine the mascarpone and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Spread the mascarpone over the cooled pastry, top with sliced strawberries arranged in a decorative pattern. If you are using the rose petals, gently tuck them between the strawberries. Sprinkle the tart with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, slice and serve immediately.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Caramelized Rhubarb and Yogurt Ice Pops

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This time of year I love making rhubarb compote or jam to eat with my morning yogurt. For these treats, I took my favorite breakfast and turned up the flavors to turn it into a tart and tangy dessert. First, I caramelized the rhubarb with a bit of honey to add some depth of flavor. By the way, have you ever tried making fruit caramel sauce? It's so, so good! This strawberry caramel sauce is a perfect ice cream topping. But, let's get back to the pops at hand because then, I swirled honey and vanilla bean seeds into the yogurt which tastes delicious and has the extra bonus of looking totally beautiful and fancy.

I first imagined this recipe as cool and creamy frozen yogurt, but forgot to put my ice cream canister in the freezer, doh! So, I went with the next best option, dusted off my popsicle molds and layered the rhubarb and yogurt in those instead. They are the perfect, late spring treat: creamy, sweet, tart and cooling, all in one.

Caramelized Rhubarb and Yogurt Ice Pops
yield, 6-8 popsicles, depending on size

2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup honey, plus 2 tablespoons honey (or more to taste)
2 Tablespoons water
2 cups 2% greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Add the 1/4 cup honey and water to a saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cook until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add in the chopped rhubarb and turn the heat down to medium. Cook the rhubarb, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb is very soft and falling apart, about 7 more minutes. Chill the rhubarb mixture thoroughly.

Whisk together the yogurt, milk, vanilla bean seeds and 2 tablespoons honey in a bowl.

Fill layer the chilled rhubarb mixture and yogurt in ice pop molds. Freeze until solid, 4 hours or overnight.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

raspberry rhubarb pie (yossy arefi)

I found a roll of Kodak Gold film from who knows when in the bottom of a drawer and loaded it in my camera the other day. Expired film is so fun (and random!) to work with. I got about 20 shots of yellow, super-grainy photos and a couple of snaps like the one above. Perfectly, imperfect. I guess even old crappy film can't keep a pie this good looking down.

I can't believe I had never made a rhubarb and raspberry pie before this one. Sure I've made cute little rhubarb and raspberry galettes and I've mixed rhubarb with just about every other berry that exists, but this pie: THIS PIE. If I ever get invited to compete in a pie contest, this will be my entry and it will win every damn blue ribbon there is to win. Strawberry rhubarb, step aside because raspberry rhubarb is where it's at. I used an all purpose flour crust for this guy, but I imagine a rye crust would be mighty fine too.

For a peek into my pie making process, check out this video made by photographer and pal Jen Causey who came over last week and shot me making this beaut. It was so much fun and we ate pie for lunch! Thanks Jen!

Raspberry Rhubarb Pie
yield, 1 double crust pie

Crust

12 ounces all purpose flour 
1 teaspoons salt
9 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 ounces ice cold water
1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

To make the crust, combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in half of the butter until it is the size of peas, then cut in the other half until it is the size lima beans. Some of the butter will be completely worked into the flour, but you should have lots of visible pieces of butter in the dough too. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to mix the water into the flour until just combined. If the dough seems very dry, add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart. Press the dough together, then split it in half, form into discs and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight.

Filling

20 ounces rhubarb (about 5 stalks)
6 ounces raspberries (about 2 handfuls)
10 ounces sugar
2 ounces all purpose flour
zest and juice of 1/2 of a lemon
pinch salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved for another use
egg and crunchy sugar for topping

To Assemble and Bake

Preheat oven to 425º


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' pie pan. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie. Roll out the other piece of dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it in the fridge on a sheet pan to chill while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, rub the vanilla bean seeds and lemon zest into the sugar to evenly distribute. Remove the leaves from the rhubarb (if there are any) and chop it into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the rhubarb, raspberries, flour, lemon juice and salt into the large bowl with the sugar and gently toss to combine evenly. Be careful not to crush the raspberries too much. Fill the prepared pie shell with the rhubarb mixture and top with the second crust, crimp the edges and cut a few vents in the top. 

Alternately, you can top the pie with a lattice-style crust as I've done in the photos above. Here is a link to a great photo tutorial on Simply Recipes. When I make a lattice topped pie, I like to use nice thick strips of dough, so the ones pictured above are about 1-inch wide.

If the crust seems soft or warm, slide the whole pie into the fridge or freezer for about 15 minutes before you bake it. When you are ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a healthy dose of coarse sugar.

Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 15min on the lowest rack of your oven, then lower the oven temp to 400º and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and the rhubarb juices bubble. Cool before serving.