Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
On Saturday night, Becky and I took on dinner-- a pie night, of sorts-- with spanakopita and roasted asparagus and butternut squash with pecans on the savory side of things, and a rustic tart-- to go with our rustic cabin-- for dessert.
Initially I just set out to make a strawberry-rhubarb rustic tart, but as Becky and I were chopping vegetables, Ryan read to us from this book-- The Alice Bradley Menu Cookbook, from 1937. Alice organized her cookbook into menus for 3-meals a day for an entire year!
As Ryan read over a menu that included a fig tart, we got to thinking...we had some dried figs in the house, and thought they'd make a nice addition to the strawberry and rhubarb. Since we were in the woods, sans internet, I had to approximate a recipe, but here is basically what I did...
Strawberry-Rhubarb and Wine-Soaked Fig Rustic Tart
Nothing-in-the-House pie crust, halved
2 c. strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 c. rhubarb, chopped
2 c. (or approximately 6-8) dried figs
1/2-1c. red wine
1 c. sugar
3 Tblsp. cornstarch (can use arrowroot)
1 egg, beaten
1-2 Tblsp. Turbinado sugar (for dusting)
1. Soak figs in 1/2- 1c. red wine for at least one hour. Meanwhile, prepare half of the Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. When figs are adequately soaked, chop them, and combine with chopped rhubarb and sliced strawberries in a medium bowl. Stir in 1 c. sugar and 3 Tblsp. cornstarch.
3. Roll out pie crust into a 10-11-inch circle on a cookie sheet. Scoop filling onto the center of the pie crust. Spread, leaving a 2-in. border. Fold edges of pie crust over filling. Brush and seal with an egg wash. Sprinkle Turbinado sugar over the entire tart.
4. Place in oven for 10 minutes at 425, then lower heat to 375 and let bake for approximately 30 minutes longer, or until crust is golden brown and filling starts to bubble. Serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.
The finished tart was incredibly delicious, particularly with the addition of the seeded figs. I'd call it a new favorite. More importantly, it was so nice to be back in the kitchen, reading books, and making jokes again with these three smarty pants.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
To go berry picking for your summer pies, tarts, and jams! It's still strawberry season in the North, and on to blueberries in the South. Raspberries, black raspberries, and blackberries will be ready soon.
The pictures above are from the Oregon State University Archives, and feature berry pickers on Oregon "victory farms" in 1946.
*Top: "Kneeling is Stanley Boyer -- one of the best strawberry pickers in the Portland area. His record was 21 crates of strawberries in a 6 hour day."
*Middle: "Joan Renner, 15 years old, from West Linn, is transferring blackcaps from her picking carrier to a crate on the John Phillips farm in the Carus community of Clackamas County."
*Bottom: " Portland Victory Farm Volunteer raspberry picking platoon at lunch at a farm near Troutdale, Oregon."
Happy summer solstice and happy picking!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
With the farmer's markets overflowing with fresh, juicy strawberries, I couldn't resist the urge to buy a few pints and make a strawberry pie.
My last attempt at a strawberry pie was last summer. I was making the pie for a party and left it in the refrigerator to chill as guests arrived. When I went to take it out a few hours later, a piece had been cut out (a pie bandit!) and the filling had spilled into the space. Though delicious, the pie had not set very well, but I never knew if the recipe or the pie bandit was to blame.
This year, I used a slightly different recipe and kept friends far from the fridge as the pie chilled. And guess what? It set! And it was bursting with fresh strawberry flavor.
1 9-inch pie crust, baked
2 pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
Slice about 3 cups of the strawberries into quarters. Either crush the berries with a fork or process in a food processor until mushy. You should have about 1 1/2 cups crushed berries. Place the crushed berries in a saucepan over medium heat with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture begins to thicken slightly, about 5-7 minutes.
While the mixture is cooking, soften the gelatin in the cold water and set aside.
Remove berry mixture from the heat, add the softened gelatin and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside to cool to almost room temperature.
With the remaining berries, set aside the most attractive ones and slice in half (these will go decoratively on the top of the pie). Cut the rest into quarters and fold them into the cooled mixture. Pour this mixture into the baked pie shell then arrange the halved berries on top. Chill in the refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
Adapted from: Sing For Your Supper
Friday, June 17, 2011
Find out more at Oregon State University's digital collections.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
A few months ago I joined the Church of Pie group, a collection of folks dedicated to pie, on Facebook. When I posted our Pi(e) Day video, Gina Hyams, author and owner of the sweet site Pie Takes The Cake contacted me and asked if she could interview me about Nothing-in-the-House. I spoke about the origins of the blog and my love for pie, and sent in a few photographs. It turned out so nice! Check it out here.
Gina also sent me a review copy of her adorable Pie Contest In a Box. I'll be writing about it here as soon as I can round up some contestants, judges, and audience!