Blueberry Lime Pie

By:  Julie

Serves:  Makes 1 9-inch pie

Time:  1 hour plus 1 hour chill and 50 min cooking time.

I once made Blueberry Lime jam, and it was fantastic, so why not make a pie?  Simple really, all I did was substitute out the lemon juice for lime.  I have to tell you, not only is it tasty, but the house smells amazing.  Blueberries are in season right now and I was able to get 4 quarts for a $3.99, which is really the only time they are affordable enough to make a pie.  Unfortunately, Evelyn ate half of them in the grocery store so I had to go back today for more to make the pie.  We decided to walk there, since the local foodland is close, with Evelyn happily pushing her stuffed bear in her stroller.  All was good… and then she stepped on a pine cone.  The CRUNCH terrified her and convinced her that some horrible monster-bug was hiding in the pine cone and that it was going to eat her. Immediately.  We were halfway to the store.  The peaceful blueberry mission turned into March of the Screaming Child, who was holding so tightly to my neck you would have sworn that the boogey-man himself was after her.  No amount of convincing would assure her that the pine cones were not evil, nothing that was going to get her, and everything was ok.  She calmed down briefly in the store, where we paid 3.99 for ONE quart of the precious blue gold, and then screamed about birds trying to get her all the way home while daddy carried the stroller.  It just goes to show you that your whole day can change with one pine cone.  After much effort the pie was made, and it was worth it.

I would try this crust even if you already have a favorite.  It’s the only all-butter crust that I’ve made that is tender and flaky, and you know what?  I MADE IT IN THE MIXER!  That’s right, no tedious pastry blending, no fear of over-working.  I once left this crust in the mixer and forgot about it and it still came out delicious (although it was a bit hard to roll that time).  It can be a bit delicate to roll out, so take your time.

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You Will Need:

For The Crust

  • 2 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp ice water

For the Filling

  • 6 cups fresh blueberries, if using frozed make sure they are thawed and dry
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch (or flour if your prefer)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp of butter to dot the filling after its in the pie shell.

Prepare The Crust

Preheat oven to 425F

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In your mixer bowl, with the paddle attached, mix the flour, salt, and sugar until well combined.  Add the butter and increase speed to 2 until the mixture looks grainy and the butter is mostly in pea sized pieces.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg and the cold water together and add to your flour mixture.  Mix until it comes together into a dough.  Turn out on to a floured surface and knead a couple of times, divide into two round discs, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for a min of 1 hour.

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When chilled, remove from fridge, flour counter, and roll out into a circle.  Make sure to flour both sides of the dough.  My favorite technique for this is to turn the dough continuously 1/4 turn at a time as I roll.  If the dough starts to stick, add more flour.  Continue turning it every time you roll until it’s 10 inches in diameter or larger.  Try to get it to 1/8″ thick and try to make it the same thickness all the way across so it cooks evenly.  This can take practice.  If this is your first time, don’t get discouraged.  It took me about 20 pies and 10 different recipes to get any good at it.

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Lay your crust across the bottom of the pie plate and gently press it into the corners.  Place the crust in the fridge while you prepare the filling and roll out the top.

Prepare The Filling

In a large bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lime juice and cinnamon.  Stir until combined.  Put aside.  On a floured counter, roll out the top crust.

Assemble The Pie

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Place the filling in the crust, mounding it towards the center.  Dot with butter.  Trim the crust around the pie plate so there is no excess.  Place the top crust over top of the filling and tuck the edges under the bottom crust.  Use two fingers on one hand and place them under the crust edge.  Use your index finger on the other hand to gently press and create a crimp.

Option:  To make your crust brown nicely, use an egg wash.  Whisk an egg with a tbsp of milk or water and brush evenly over crust.

Cut steam vents in the top crust, be sure not to cut through the bottom!

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Place in oven at 425 for 10 min.  Then reduce to 350F and cook for 40 min more.  If the edges of your pie brown too quickly, cover with a pie shield.

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Cool completely before serving.

Cherry Clafoutis

 

20170704_121119By Corinne

What is clafoutis? It’s traditionally a French dessert (but I love it for breakfast!). I don’t even know how to properly describe it- it’s somewhat like a custardy dense cake that’s full of delicious fruit. In any case, it whips together so quickly that you can have it ready to go by the time your oven is preheated.

Clafoutis is one of those magical dishes that can work for either breakfast or dessert. If you want to finish it with some powdered sugar, or even some whipped cream, or ice cream to make it dessert then go for it! I tend to make it for breakfast, and because I am impatient and hungry I’ve almost always eaten it hot right out of the oven, though traditionally it’s served room temperature or chilled.

Speaking of tradish, if you want to not pit your cherries, that’s actually the traditional way to make a cherry clafoutis. I’ve done it both ways, apparently leaving the pits in is supposed to impart a subtle almond flavour, but I’ve never noticed a difference and prefer to pit my cherries even though it’s a little more prep. Totally up to you!

Serves: 4 for breakfast, 8 for dessert

Time: prep/preheat 10 min(400F), bake 25-35 min depending on baking dish used.

You will need:

  • generous 2 cups of cherries, pitted or not as you wish ūüôā
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter, cooled slightly, plus more to butter dish
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp spiced rum or amaretto

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 9-10 inch glass pie plate, or stoneware pie plate (what I used in the pictures) or a cast iron skillet. Baking time will depend on what dish you use- and whether it’s nine or ten inches. I find using a glass pie plate only takes 25 min, while using my stoneware pie plate takes 35 min.

Pit your cherries if you wish, and put them in the buttered dish.

Melt butter in microwave and set aside. For the rest of the instructions you can either whisk by hand or use a mixer, I do either depending on how I’m feeling that day :). Whisk 3 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until thoroughly combined. Then gradually add the butter, whisking until it’s incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Finally, add the tbsp of spiced rum. The batter should be very smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and pop into the oven. Check at 25 min. Give the pan a little jiggle, if your clafoutis wobbles give it some more time. When it’s finished it should be slightly browned and almost set in the middle. By almost set, I mean when you give the pan a shake there should only be a little wobble in the very middle. If you find it’s browning too much on top, throw a piece of tinfoil lightly over the top until it’s finished.

Serve room temperature or chilled, or hot out of the oven if you just can’t wait ūüôā

Easy Hermit Cookies

By:  Julie

Serves:  Makes 3 dozen cookies

Time:  10min mixing, 12 min baking.

My grandmother made hermit cookies that were one of my favourite treats. ¬†When I think of them, I remember the sound of the screen door on the porch, the texture of the carpet under my bare feet, and the way the smell of raisins and spice hit you when you opened the door into the house. ¬†She would be standing there in a crazy-patterened house-dress, one fist on her hip, stirring something and humming under her breath. ¬†If you were really lucky she would be singing. ¬†I’m shocked to say that these are actually better than hers, (which were almost sort of muffiny-fat dense cookies). ¬†There is no dough- chilling involved, just mix and bake! ¬†Perfect for homemade in a hurry.

I should tell you that I love raisins. I probably put them in more things than I should. Even if you’re not a raisin cheerleader like I am, I encourage you to try these. ¬†The dough is sweet so the walnuts are important to provide balance, salt too. ¬†Watch these carefully – ¬†with the addition of the spices it’s hard to tell when the edges start to brown. ¬†You want them to to be browned around the edges and slightly coloured on top. ¬†If you over-bake them they will still be delicious… just dunk them in some milk!

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You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups of raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts – toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Cream the butter with the sugar and beat on high for 2-3 min.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between.  Add the vanilla and beat for 2 min.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, baking soda and spices.  Add to the cookie mixture a third at a time, beating well in between.  Add the raisins and the nuts and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

Using a cookie scoop is a bit challenging since the dough is so fluffy. ¬†You want 1 inch balls of dough dropped onto an ungreased cookie sheet. ¬†This makes the perfect size cookie. Don’t flatten them out, they will settle as they bake.

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Bake at 375F for 9-12 minutes.  See that gaping hole below where once there was a cookie? I may have stuffed one in my mouth while they were still 375F, possibly burning the roof of my mouth and impairing my ability to taste for the rest of the day.

Worth It.

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Sparkling Grapefruit Pound Cake

By:  Julie

Serves: ¬†1 5×9 pound cake

Time:  1 hr 20 min

If you have been toying with making a desert I’ve posted but can’t commit, I’d start with this. ¬†Just make it. I promise, you won’t be sorry. ¬†It’s moist, and sweet, and completely delicious. ¬†I almost ate all of the batter raw, it was that good.

Today I had to hit the local Foodland for some ingredients for lasagna.  While I was was waiting in line at the checkout I perused the shelving at the end of the isle and found this:

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Grapefruit Italian Soda. ¬†It was on-sale,¬†unsurprisingly. ¬†I can’t imagine there is a huge market in Dresden for Grapefruit Italian Soda. I had been toying with the idea of making a pound cake but somehow it seemed boring. ¬†This, my friends, is not boring. ¬†Its tangy and sweet and beautiful. ¬†It was easy to prep and did I mention that we completely demolished the cake between 4 people? ¬†There is a tiny portion left which I have hidden because I love all the people in my house and I would hate to have to maim one of them if they ate the last piece.

Pound cake gets it’s name because originally it had a pound of each sugar, flour, eggs, and butter. ¬†I have seen this made. ¬†It is a bad idea. ¬†Martha Stewart even says so. ¬†Martha herself makes pound cake with no leavening and depends completely on the beating of an enormous amount of eggs to create lift. ¬†I don’t want to have a heart attack so the butter is cut back, as well as the eggs. ¬†This recipe has a teensy bit of baking powder for lift because it only has 3 eggs. The base came from a Taste Of Home magazine and I tore it out intending to make it years ago… I’d say oops except I’m pretty sure fate was waiting for this soda to go on sale.

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You Will Need

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 5-6tsp sparkling grapefruit Italian soda
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Prepare The Batter

Preheat the oven to 350F. ¬†Line a 5×9 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. ¬†Cream the butter and the sugar on high until light and fluffy. ¬†Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. ¬†You are adding air at this stage so don’t rush it.

In a separate bowl whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add about a third and mix.  Add a third of the soda, then mix.  Keep adding both the dry ingredients and the soda in thirds until the batter is well beaten.  It will be a beautiful yellow and be slightly foamy.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the center of oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

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Allow to cool in pan for 10 min and then move to cooling rack.  Allow cake to cool completely before glazing.

For The Glaze

Combine icing sugar with 5 tsp of soda.  You want it to be fairly thick.  Just barely pour-able.  Pour it over top and allow it to drip over the sides.

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If you can wait long enough, allow the glaze to harden and serve.

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Coconut Brownie Bars

By: Julie

Makes 1 7×11 pan of awesomeness.

Time:  6 hours including chill time.

Last week, while eating the brownies I made I had a thought.  An epiphany really.  A dream of coconut and dark chocolate that would eclipse even the bountiful bounty bar.  And then I made these:

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If you are a fan of Nanimo Bars, these bars are right up your alley. They have a cocoa-brownie bottom, with a coconut filling and a dark chocolate top.  If you are in to rich chocolate and coconut, you will love these.

You Will Need:

For the brownie bottom

  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs

For the coconut center

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut

For the chocolate top

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 3 tbs butter

Prepare the Brownies

Preheat the oven to 320F and line a 7×11 pan with parchment paper (I haven’t tested it but I’m sure an 8×8 would work just as well).

Combine the butter, cocoa, brown sugar and salt in a pan and stir until combined and butter is just melted.  Remove from heat.  When the mixture is luke-warm, stir in vanilla, and then eggs, one at a time until well combined.  Add flour and stir until flour is incorporated.  Spread mixture into prepared pan and place in the center of oven for 18-20 min until just a few crumbs stick to a wooden skewer.

Allow to cool completely.

Make The Filling

Combine the coconut with the condensed milk and spread evenly over brownie mixture.

Make The Top

In a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter and stir until combined.  Remove from heat and allow to cool until mixture is close to body temperature, then pour over coconut.  Spread evenly and place pan in fridge.  Cool for two hours and transfer to freezer.  Freeze for an hour before cutting.  This will allow you to get a clean cut without smooshing the bar and having coconut ooze out.  Cut small, they are packed with a punch and are rich.

This dessert should be served cold and kept in the fridge to keep it’s shape and texture.

 

Chewy Brown Sugar Brownies

By: Julie

Serves: 9 brownies in a brownie pan or 1 8×8 pan.

When the whole salted caramel thing really exploded in the world of baking I was in heaven.    However, there is one problem with this.  I really hate making caramel.

So, in the interests of cheating, I decided to swap out the plain old white-granulated-sugar and replace it with some delicious brown sugar.  Brown sugar can back-fire easily… it can make things overly chewy and hard if over-baked.  However, that didn’t happen here.  The slight chew was pleasant and the outside of the brownies were crispy and delicious.  The brown sugar added a slightly caramelized flavor and I increased the salt to get the desired effect.  When I want chocolate I make brownies.  When I want brownies in a hurry I make them with cocoa powder instead of chocolate.  Don’t be afraid, I promise cocoa brownies are in now way inferior.

I used a special brownie pan that I have had kicking around, just waiting for an experiment like this.  This particular one is Pampered Chef but I have seen similar pans from other culinary companies.  I like it because the center of the brownies cooked through before the edges got too hard.  Also the edges were lovely and crispy (like muffin tops).

You Will Need

  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of your best vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Make The Brownies

Preheat oven to 325f. If using a brownie pan, lightly grease.  If using am 8×8 pan, line with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa, brown sugar, and salt.  As soon as it’s melted and blended, take it off the heat.  It will be granular, but don’t worry – it will be lovely in the end.

When it’s still warm, but not hot (body temp is what you’re going for), add the vanilla and stir.  Add the eggs one at a time and stir until well blended.  Then add the flour and mix well.  Add the chopped walnuts and mix.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven.  Cook for 25-30 min until a skewer put into the middle comes out almost clean.  If using a special brownie pan, remove immediately from pan by inverting onto a cooling rack.  If using a square pan, allow to cool and remove from pan before cutting.

 

 

Linzer Cookies with Browned Butter Filling

By:  Julie

Time:  25 min plus chilling and assembly time.  Plan an afternoon of cookie making.

Serves:  3 dozen

This recipe comes from a Christmas edition of Taste Of Home Magazine. It’s basically shortbread with browned butter filling and some delicious preserves of your choice. ¬†Luckily, Corinne has left me with a jar of Strawberry-Lavender Caramel, which was the perfect compliment to the rich butter flavor. ¬†Maybe if we hint enough she will post it on here. ¬†Forget the hinting, “Corinne, we need you to post your Strawberry Lavender Caramel!”

I have made these at Christmas for two years running and they are my most requested treat along with cheesecake and lemon bars… coming soon to a blog near you.

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You Will Need:

For The Cookie

A Linzer cookie cutter or your favourite cookie cutter with a small round biscuit cutter to remove the center.

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour

For The Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup of your favourite preserve

Make The Cookie Dough

I make these in my mixed but they can easily be done by hand.

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and the vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, a little at a time, until incorporated.  Divide the dough in half and place each half in plastic wrap.  Smooth into a disc shape and place in the fridge for 2 hours.  This step is important.  You need the gluten to rest to make tender cookies and also you need cold dough to prevent the cookings from loosing their shape during baking.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment.  That way you can prep one while the others are baking.

Lightly flour the counter and roll out the dough until it is an 1/8th of an inch thick.  You want to try to make both halves of the dough the same thickness, otherwise your tops may not be the same size as your bottoms during baking.  Thinner dough will cook faster and shrink more.

Cut equal numbers of tops and bottoms from both halves of dough so that you have matched sets.  I used a linzer cookie cutter which cuts the tops out for me, but any floured cutter will work.  I found this at The Bulk Barn for about $6.  A worth while investment.  They are now starting to rust a bit but still work fine.

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I cut 12 cookies and place 1-2 inches apart on the first cookie sheet and throw them in the oven.  If the cookies have warmed up while you were cutting, be sure to place them in the freezer for 10 min before baking or they may loose their shape.  Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled them.  When they are baking they will puff up slightly.  When you see the puff dough start to relax in the oven they are done. The top will be pale while the edges are slightly golden.  They are much better when not over-baked.

While the first tray is baking, prep the second tray.  Keeping any excess dough in the freezer while you are working.  Place them in the oven when ready.

When the first batch is baked, allow to sit for a few minutes and then move to a cooking rack.  Throw the tray in the freezer to cool it down while you roll the next batch.

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Repeat until all cookies are baked and cooling.

Prepare The Icing

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat until browned. ¬†This takes about 10 min. ¬†Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. ¬†Black butter is NOT as delicious as browned butter. ¬†Remove from heat and gradually add the icing sugar until combined. ¬†You are looking for a spreadable consistency so if needed, add some water until you can spread it easily with a knife. ¬†It will stiffen as it cools so you need to work quickly.

Spread on the bottoms of all the cookies and top with a dollop of the preserves. Place the tops on and press down gently. ¬†You want the preserves to fill the hole in the top of the cookie but not leak out the sides or overflow out of the top. ¬†Let them sit out on the cooling rack for about an hour until the icing stiffens and then place in an air-tight container. ¬†These freeze really well (I have been known to eat them right out of the freezer… they are delicious). ¬†They will also keep well on the counter for a week or so.