Homebakers Collective July Challenge: Bake Your State

A little bit fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge, Pie

Iowa Cherry Pie

I have moved around too much to feel ownership of any state other than the state I was raised in. Iowa means a lot of things to me, but dessert-wise, it has to be pie, and cherry pie in particular. It was my birthday request every year as a kid. I remember when the cherries on the tree were ready, everyone would get together to pick them, then gather around the porch table armed with bobby pins to pit the cherries. Cherry juice would run down your forearms to your elbows until you were so sticky you had to hose off.

Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter (115g), cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup lard (70g), cup into pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Combine flour, salt and sugar in food processor. Add butter and lard and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than peas. Add ice water and pulse until dough just comes together, about 5 times.

Divide dough into two pieces, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Cherry Pie Filling:

  • 2 pounds sour pie cherries, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 almond extract

Drain cherries, reserving liquid – you should have a little more than 1 cup. Place cherries in a medium bowl.

Combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Gradually add reserved cherry liquid and lemon juice, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick and clear. Remove from heat, stir in butter and almond extract. Pour over cherries and stir to combine. Sneak a taste here.

Assemble and Bake:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out each pie crust between two pieces of wax paper, peeling the paper and flipping the crust over to make rolling easier and uniform.

Line pie plate with bottom crust. Refrigerate until ready to use. Cut top crust into strips, if you’re doing the lattice. On a square of wax paper, prepare the lattice by weaving the strips together, starting with the longest pieces in the middle and working outwards. Sandwich the lattice crust with another piece of wax paper and refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm it up. Pour prepared cherry filling into bottom crust. Brush the edges with egg wash. Peel one piece of wax off the lattice and gently flip it over onto the pie, trying to get it centered. Crimp the pie and trim the excess pastry.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cherries are bubbling.

Homebakers Collective June Challenge: Lamination

Breakfast, Fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge

Apricot Cream Cheese Danish

This recipe was from Joanne Chang’s Pastry Love cookbook – I recommend it. She opened her first bakery, Flour, a block away from our Boston apartment and it was such a treat to walk across the park and get something tasty.

I substituted apricots for figs, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly (with one exception- I let the dough rest overnight, instead of the 3-hour maximum it suggested). These turned out deliciously sweet, tart and buttery. I do have danish pastry leftover in the freezer, waiting for me, which isn’t a bad thing.

Homebakers Collective May Challenge: Flatbreads

Bread, Homebakers Collective Challenge, Unfussy

SCALLION CAKES

For this month’s flatbread challenge I decided to go with an oldie but a goodie. These popped up often on our dining table when I was a kiddo. They are a breeze to throw together, and usually disappear as quickly as they come off the griddle.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 TBSP chopped scallions
  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • vegetable oil for frying

Combine flour, water and salt and mix until dough holds together (I like to do this in the food processor). Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes

Stir together scallions, cilantro and sesame oil.

Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each into an 8-inch circle. Spread each circle with half of the scallion mixture. One at a time, roll up the circle into a cylinder, hold the two ends and twist, then wind the cylinder into a coil. Flatten and roll out again into 1/4-inch thick round.

Heat a griddle that will fit the cake to medium. Pour a little vegetable oil on the griddle to coat, then fry the scallion cake until browned. Flip and fry the other side. Add more vegetable oil to the griddle and fry the second scallion cake.

Cut into wedges and serve with soy sauce, chili crisp, or hoisin.

Makes 2 cakes (you should probably double this recipe – I always do).

Homebakers Collective April Challenge: Donuts!

Breakfast, Fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge

Sourdough Donuts with Candied Sesame Seeds

These sourdough donuts from Baking Sense were outstanding. I iced them with a simple vanilla glaze and dipped them in the most fantastic candied sesame seeds. The end result tasted like a donut meeting a dim sum sesame ball.

Check out all the other fabulous donuts from the bakers on the Homebakers Collective: https://homebakerscollective.com/2020/04/30/donuts/

Sourdough Donuts: Mix the dough up the day before (it takes most of the day) , cut and let rise for about 2 hours the next morning before frying. Recipe in link below. I substituted 1/2 tsp nutmeg for the 1 tsp cardamom because I feel like donuts have to have nutmeg.

https://www.baking-sense.com/2017/10/05/sourdough-donuts/

Vanilla Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP butter, softened
  • 2 TBSP milk

Beat together until smooth.

Candied Sesame Seeds:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sesame seeds

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large skillet over medium high heat, combine water and sugar. When the sugar dissolves and it starts to boil, pour in sesame seeds. Stir with a heatproof spatula constantly for about 8 minutes, until the liquid evaporates and the sesame seeds are completely dry and crisp. They should just barely start to brown. Pour out onto parchment lined baking sheet, break up larger clumps of seeds and let cool.

Let donuts cool for a couple minutes before dipping in vanilla glaze, then immediately in cooled sesame seeds.

Eat all day long.

Homebakers Collective March Challenge:

A little bit fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge, Pie

Pie Challenge: Raspberry Lemon Chess Pie

This is an optimistic pie. Dedicated to my preggo sister.

Check out the other baker’s pies on: https://homebakerscollective.com/2020/03/31/march-challenge-a-pie-to-say-goodbye-to-winter/

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 60g lard, cut into tablespoons
  • 5 TBSP ice water

Raspberry Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Chess Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 6 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Fancy Pants Pie Decoration:

  • powdered sugar
  • freeze dried raspberries

Make crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse flour, salt, butter, and lard in food processor until butter and lard are the size of peas. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Add ice water and stir with a fork until incorporated. Turn out onto work surface and work dough together until it forms a ball.
Roll out between sheets of wax paper.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with dough, prick with a fork and freeze for at least 15 minutes.

Partially Bake Pie Crust: Line the frozen pie dough with foil, fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool and remove foil.

Make Raspberry Filling: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes, breaking down raspberries with a spoon if necessary. Pour into a fine mesh strainer and press through to remove raspberry seeds. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of strained filling (no seeds) for decorating on top if desired. Then, if desired, add back in about 2 tablespoons of seeds to the rest of the raspberry filling for texture. Chill until ready to use.

Make Chess Filling: Combine sugar, cream, butter, eggs, egg yolks, cornmeal, lemon zest and lemon juice and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick, about 7 minutes. Whisk in vanilla.

Spread chilled raspberry filling in the prepared pie shell. Pour thickened chess pie filling over raspberry. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the filling has set in the center and is just starting to brown.

Let pie cool completely.

For Plaid Design: Cut several 2″ strips of paper. Place paper on chilled pie, leaving 2″ between strips. Dust with powdered sugar. Remove strips. Place paper strips across the pie perpendicular to the white stripes. Combine equal weights of powdered sugar and powdered freeze dried raspberries (pulverized in blender or food processor). Sift over pie to create the pink stripes. Dust the sugar off of the exposed pie crust with a pastry brush. Place reserved raspberry filling in a piping bag with a small round tip. Pipe one raspberry stripe along the side of every pink stripe and two raspberry stripes along the side of every white stripes. Chill until ready to serve.

Homebakers Collective February Challenge:

Cookies, Fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge

What Kind of Macaron Are You?

Blackberry Mint Macarons

Tangy, sweet and fresh – just like yours truly.

Fresh ‘n Tart Blackberry Mint Jam:

  • 1 pint fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh mint

Fresh Mint Macarons:

  • 200g almond flour
  • 200g powdered sugar
  • 150ml egg whites, room temperature, divided
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 60 ml water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, crushing blackberries with a fork or spoon as they start releasing their juices. Cook for 15 minutes, until thick. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Strain using a mesh strainer to remove most of the seeds. I like to add 1 TBSP of the seeds back into the smooth mixture and discard the rest. Refrigerate.

Line 3 baking sheets with silicon mats (preferred) or parchment. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fit a large pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip.

Whisk the almond flour and powdered sugar to combine. Press through a fine mesh strainer, into a large bowl, using your fingers or a rubber spatula to work it through.

Place 75 ml of egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer. Put the other 75 ml into the bowl of almond flour and stir with a rubber spatula until it is a smooth, thick paste. Let sit.

In a small saucepan, combine water and granulated sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Swirl pan gently to dissolve the sugar. Insert a candy thermometer and cook until syrup reaches 245 degrees. Meanwhile, whip egg whites in stand mixer on medium speed until they reach medium peaks. When the syrup has reached temperature, pour it slowly down the side of the stand mixer bowl while mixer is running. Once all syrup has been incorporated, increase mixer to high and beat until the meringue is stiff and has cooled to lukewarm, about 10 minutes.

Add the cooled meringue to the almond flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and flows off the spatula easily. Mix in the fresh mint until well combined.

Fill pastry bag with half the mixture and pipe onto prepared baking sheets in 2″ rounds, leaving space between them as they will spread. Once the cookie sheet is full, drop it onto the counter from about 12″ high to get rid of any air bubbles in the batter. Continue piping rounds until all the mixture is used.

Set the cookie sheets aside until the macaron batter dries and forms a skin – when pressed lightly with a fingertip the batter will be dry, not tacky.

When the macarons are dry, bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes, rotating pan at 6 minutes, until they are firm but are still pale.

Let cool completely before peeling off and matching.

Place all cream cheese filling ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping bowl if necessary. Do not over-whip.

Fit pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip and fill with frosting.

Match macaron shells

Stir 1 TBSP fresh mint into cooled blackberry jam.

Pipe a ring of cream cheese filling around the base of one macaron shell. Fill the center generously with blackberry mint jam. Top with second macaron shell, pressing down gently to seal. Repeat.

Place sandwiched macarons in an airtight container, or wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.