Monday, November 28, 2011

You're Passing Me a Piece Apple Pie

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here's one of my favorite "pie" songs, "Driving" by Sibylle Baier, to listen to in your post-pie food coma. Hopefully you're on your way out of it by now.


So what was your favorite pie at your Thanksgiving dessert table this year? I'll be posting pictures of mine soon. In the meantime, make sure to check out Nothing-in-the-House's new home on Facebook and give it a like, if you please!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pennsylvania Dutch Pie Recipes



Via the Schlesinger Library Culinary Pamphlet Collection. I am particularly intrigued by the Rivel (Crumb) Pie with molasses...a "Dutch" breakfast favorite! It gives wonderful good pie...aint?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pye and the Magpie


One of the many reasons I love learning about, writing about, and baking pies, is for its darker, mythical origins. This article from NPR explores the heritage of medieval pie (which generally contained meat and had a dark, rich filling made of whatever the baker could get his/her hands on) and its linguistic connection to the magpie, those odd birds of variegated color who are known for collecting    strange and shiny objects for their nests.

I also love this illustration, c. 1465-1475 of medieval pie bakers. Look at those pies! and those pretzels! And that wood fired oven on wheels! If only!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep

Emily Wallace is at it again. Here's her depiction of all your favorite Thanksgiving food stuffs getting ready for the big day.


From the Independent Weekly. See more of Wallace's adorable and witty illustrations here and here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ginger Lemon & Bourbon Orange Tart and German Chocolate Whoopie Pies



Last weekend I ventured to West Virginia, my friend and fellow Tart Kari in tow, for my pal Joe's 30th Birthday Party (and a friend reunion) in an old one-room schoolhouse-turned-sodapop speakeasy. 

It was magical. The weekend was jam-packed with lady time in the kitchen, walks in the woods, tune-playing, dancing to the best 45 jukebox this side of the Mississippi, joke-telling, bourbon drinking, and lots and lots of eating.

We spent the bulk of Saturday cooking, singing, and dancing in the kitchen. Kari and I worked together on two ginger lemon & orange bourbon tarts with cardamom almond crusts, baked in my new rectangular tart pans. We also collaborated with Lora, Amy and Mike on some German chocolate whoopie pies. 


Here's the recipe for the Ginger Lemon & Orange Bourbon Tarts, adapted from Eat The Love. He calls for blood oranges, but we couldn't find them this time of year, so used naval oranges instead.

Ginger Lemon & Orange Bourbon Tart with Cardamom Almond Crust

Ingredients
For the crust: 
Note: We had to double this for 2 rectangular tart pans, though one may be enough for a 10-in round tart pan.

1 1/4 cups all purpose white flour
1/2 cup almond meal (we used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup + 1 Tblsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


For the crust egg wash:
1 egg
1 pinch of salt


For the lemon ginger curd:
3 Tblsp. arrowroot starch (or corn starch)
1 cup + 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
1 Tblsp. of freshly grated ginger
2 Tblsp. white wine
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
3 Tblsp. of unsalted butter, cold


For the bourbon orange curd:
4 Tblsp. arrowroot starch (or corn starch)
1 cup + 2 Tblsp. granulated white sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
finely grated zest from 1 medium orange
2 Tblsp. of bourbon
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
3 Tblsp. of unsalted butter, cold


Directions
For the crust:
1. In a large mixing bowl place the flour, almond meal, and cardamom. Using a whisk, vigorously stir dry ingredients until uniform in color.

2. Place the sugar, butter and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream butter on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add egg and vanilla. Mix on medium until incorporated.
3. Add all the dry ingredients to the butter and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
4. Split dough into two balls. Flatten each ball into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Place a fluted 10-in. tart pan (or 2 rectangular pans) with removable bottom or baking sheet for easy removal from the oven.
6. Take one ball of dough out of the fridge and place on a generously floured flat surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12-in. circle. If the dough starts to stick, use more flour.
7. Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan, trying not to stretch it (stretching it will cause the dough to shrink when you bake it). Fit it into the tart pan and trim excess dough.
8. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork all over and place in the preheated oven to bake for 15 minutes. In the meantime make the egg wash by whisking the egg with the pinch of salt in a small bowl.
9. After 15 minutes, pull the tart crust out, and brush the bottom and sides of the crust with the egg wash. Place back in the oven for 3 minutes. Take the crust out and let cool on a wire rack.

For the lemon ginger curd:
1. Place the arrowroot starch, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, grated ginger, white wine, eggs, egg yolks and salt in a small saucepan.

2. Turn the stove on low heat, and with a wisk, stir contents constantly as the curd cooks and thickens. Bring the curd to about 185˚F which should take about 7 or 8 minutes.
3. Once the curd has reached the right temperature turn off the stove and remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the curd into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 30 seconds to cool the curd. Then turn the speed to low and add one tablespoon of butter. Beat until it is melted and fully incorporated. Add the second tablespoon beating until it too is incorporated. Repeat with the final tablespoon.
4. Let the curd come to room temperature and pour it into a ziplock sandwich bag. Place the bag in the freezer for at least two hours or overnight.

For the bourbon orange curd:
1. Place the arrowroot starch, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, bourbon, eggs, egg yolks and salt in a small saucepan.

2. Turn the stove on low heat, and with a wisk, stir contents constantly as the curd cooks and thickens. Bring the curd to about 185˚F which should take about 7 or 8 minutes.
3. Once the curd has reached the right temperature turn off the stove and remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the curd into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 30 seconds to cool the curd. Then turn the speed to low and add one tablespoon of butter. Beat until it is melted and fully incorporated. Add the second tablespoon beating until it too is incorporated. Repeat with the final tablespoon.
4. Let the curd come to room temperature and pour it into a ziplock sandwich bag. Place the bag in the freezer for at least two hours or overnight.

To assemble the tart:
1. Take the curds out of the freezer. Snip a corner of each bag.
2. Pipe one stripe of lemon curd on the side of the tart shell. Pipe another stripe of orange curd next to it. Alternate stripes of curd until the tart shell is filled. (We followed these directions, though in the end the lemon and orange curds were not that different in color to notice the stripes, though it did allow for a nice mixing of flavors).
3. Using a butter knife, smooth the curd out on the tart but running the knife across the curds, flat, in parallel strokes to the curd. 
4. Once the curd is smoothed out, turn the tart so the stripes are vertical as you look down on it. Take a toothpick or butter knife and place it about an inch from the “top” of the stripes on the tart. Drag it across the tart, from left to right perpendicular to the stripes. Then move the toothpick down an inch and drag the toothpick perpendicular the other way across the tart. Repeat until back and forth, all the way down the tart.
5. OPTIONAL: Taking a sifter or mesh sieve, dust the edges of the tart with a generous amount of powdered sugar. The powdered sugar will cover up any of the edges that were hard to smooth out with the knife.
6. Serve the tart chilled or at room temperature.

The tarts were heavenly, with really bold citrus flavors and not too sweet. The crust was a little finicky, but fairly forgiving. We rolled out one, and ended up pressing in another. I will definitely be making those again.


The German chocolate whoopie pies, with ganache made by Lora, "cookies" made by Mike and Amy, filling made my me, and assembling by Kari, served as the "birthday cake" of the evening. Lora found the recipe from Bon Appetite. Here's our version...

German chocolate Whoopie Pies 
Makes about 15 pies

Ingredients
For the cookies:
2 cups all purpose flour
5 Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 Tblsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk 

For the German chocolate filling:
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

For the chocolate ganache:   
3 Tblsp. heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions
For the cookies: 
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beating until blended after each addition. 
2. Drop dough by very rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are slightly puffed and spread but still soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes. Carefully transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.  Cookies can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight in single layer at room temperature.

For the German chocolate filling: 
1. Whisk evaporated milk, egg yolks, and vanilla in large saucepan. Whisk in sugar and pinch of salt. Add butter. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and turns golden and thermometer inserted into mixture registers 175°F to 178°F, 8 to 10 minutes (do not boil). Remove saucepan from heat, stir in coconut and pecans. Transfer filling to bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Cover and chill until filling is slightly firmer, about 1 hour. Can be made 1 days ahead. Keep chilled. 

For the chocolate ganache: 
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring cream to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Cool ganache until lukewarm but still spreadable, about 15 minutes.
2. Scoop 1 rounded tablespoon German chocolate filling on bottom of half of cookies. Place cookies, filling side up, on prepared baking sheet. Spoon 1 teaspoon chocolate ganache onto bottom (flat side) of remaining half of cookies (We put ours on top). Place 1 ganache-topped cookie, ganache side down, atop each German chocolate-filled cookie, pressing slightly to adhere.  Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate in airtight container.


With these two divine treats, salted and apple cider caramels, Lora's fig-infused cocktails, and other delights of the weekend (including Dawson family sliders, various breads, buttered popcorn ice cream, a bacon taste-off, and apple cider drop doughnut holes--all homemade), we decided that we are going to start a private restaurant for ourselves (a closed-loop system), and just maybe take over the world.

Very special thanks to Brynn, Mike and Amy for being AMAZING hosts, Lora for all the planning and gathering us all together, and Kari for the great pictures. I may post some more when I get my film back. Hope to return to West Virginia for more deliciousness soon.

p.s. check out Dale's blog for Lora's winter mimosa recipe we enjoyed on Saturday morning!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sugar and Salt: An Interview with the Ladies of Piecrust Magazine

I found out about Piecrust magazine from its Kickstarter-- before it ever actually existed in print. I was intrigued by the name (of course), the launch of an art and literary magazine (my friends and I used to have one, The Dovetail Collective, r.i.p.), and the letter pressed, handmade aesthetic. I contributed to the Kickstarter launch, and asked Megan Collins and Lauren Cardenas, Piecrust's masterminds, if they were interested in doing a little interview, and they graciously agreed.


Tell me a little bit about yourselves (where you're from, what you do)
Megan: I am from Paragould, AR, currently I live in St. Louis, attending grad school at Washington University.
 Lauren: I am from Austin, TX, though I recently came to St. Louis for grad school last year. We both came to Washington University (Wash U) to get our Masters in Fine Art and we are both printmakers who like to bake. 

Tell me about your project, Piecrust Magazine. How did you get the idea? How did you get into letter pressing? What is your vision?
Lauren: Earlier last spring I approached Megan about starting a magazine that would be art related, focusing on works on paper. We didn't really talk about the idea for awhile, until after the Southern Graphics Council that was hosted at Wash U. That is kind of how it started. We were also really bummed to find out all of our favorite magazines lost all of their funding. That kind of motivated  us to make a magazine that was ad free, inexpensive, simple and art related. 
Megan: We both learned letterpress in a book class that was offered at Wash U. We kind of fell in love with the medium and process of letterpress. The class was just another activity that we were involved in, we also were paired with the same faculty advisor. The technique began to spill over into our own studio practice, which led to this idea of creating a zine or magazine. 

Our vision was to have a 30 page magazine, with works on paper, including various forms of art and writing. We wanted to have letterpress cover and hand bound saddle stitched, but the magazine doubled in size and it didn't seem feasible to hand bind the magazine. 

Why pie? (or pie crust)?
We love idea of the pie crust as a foundation, much as paper is for art and writing. It's a starting point, a foundation. And who doesn't love pie, seriously, it's simple.  

How did you learn to bake/who taught you?
Lauren: My mother taught me how to cook and read a recipe. I taught myself how to bake, my mom was not a huge baker when I was young. 
Megan: My friend Mickie and I kind of taught each other, we had grandmothers that were into baking and we grew up baking with them, but not really learning from them. 

What's your favorite kind of pie?
Megan: I have a three way tie, lemon meringue, rhubarb, and peach.
Lauren: I have tie between pumpkin and blackberry. 

Special thanks to Megan and Lauren for taking the time to talk with me, sharing their thoughts and pictures, and for working hard to create and promote small, handmade art in the name of pie. Make sure to check out Piecrust's online home here, purchase a copy of the beautiful magazine, and submit your photos, art, words and more to the next issue (deadline for submissions is December 1 at midnight)!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

American Girl Magazine Cover, November 1936


I am always a little sad to see the end of October, as it is my favorite month of all, but now it's on to November with several different Thanksgiving/potluck (Kickasserole!) pies to start planning! I am starting to try out recipes-- on Sunday I tried this apple cider cream pie recipe with a rye crust. It was good, though I'm not sure it will make it onto the Thanksgiving short list (more on that pie soon). In the meantime, here's the cover of the 1936 issue of American Girl magazine to get you inspired.