Shortcrust Pastry

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As a pie over cake lover, it doesn’t need to be fall to enjoy a homemade pie. However something about going into the apple orchard in mid September to hand pick the perfect apples for your next delicacy makes it that much more lovely about fall baking.

Many folks prefer to buy store made crust and for timing reasons I understand, no judging here. I am however disciplined in making everything from scratch, even the dough, so i’m always making sure there is plenty of time, even if that means making the pastry a day in advance! A shortcrust dough is typically used in tarts, quiches and pies. Pate Brisee is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry

What I love most about this style of crust is the flaky and buttery goodness you get off each bite. It is the same recipe you would use for a basic pie dough. The only two things that differ is the type of flour you use and the method of preparation. The key to keeping a flaky crust is making sure your dough and ingredients that go into the preparation stay cold! Give yourself a day and a half to make this recipe and you wont be disappointed! This is also a great dough for savory dishes as well.Β 

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Yield: 2 Single Crust Pies

Mise en Place:

  • 500 Grams Bread Flour
  • 410 Grams Butter, cubed
  • 6 Grams, Salt
  • 110 Grams, Ice Cold Water

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Method of Prep:

  • Place all ingredients into mixing bowl including paddle attachment. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • On medium low setting begin to mix ingredients together until butter and flour are combined and resemble a course meal.
  • Slowly begin adding in ice cold water and continue to mix until a dough forms scraping the sides of the bowl in between.
  • Remove dough from bowl. Form into a large round disc and divide into 2 sections. Wrap each individual disc (not ball, keeping them flatter will allow to chill faster) and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours up to 1 day.
  • Remove one disc at a time and on a heavily floured surface, begin rolling out to a slightly thin dough. Once rolled out to desired thickness, place bottom layer in a greased pie dish and par bake in the oven on 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Remove crust from oven and allow to cool. Prepare desired filling and once crust has cooled, layer on top of pre-baked dough.

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  • Turn oven to 425 degrees.
  • Remove second crust from the refrigerator and roll out on floured surface to desired thickness (I prefer a thinner crust about 1″).
  • Place top crust on pie and cut to fit. Pinch sides shut.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 Minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake until crust is golden brown, approximately 35-40 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.
  • Enjoy!

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**Keep all ingredients (include dough) wrapped tightly and chilled until ready to use for a buttery, flaky crust!**

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Sticky Rhubarb Bars

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Rhubarb looks and acts like a fruit but it’s really a vegetable. The very tart but considerably sweet strawberry related flavor from rhubarb is why this plant is commonly used more in baking. Rhubarb is grown in late spring and is generally paired with strawberries, springs other darling.

My Grandmother has grown rhubarb in her backyard for more than 15 years. Every year I make sure to grab some stalks before it’s too late and hopefully get them into a recipe quick enough before they go bad. one of my preferred recipes to make with rhubarb isn’t a dessert but a drink. My summer time version ofΒ  the classic Iced Tea, by steeping rhubarb in with the tea bags. Give that a try for your next cookout! (Pro-tip: Add some berry vodka for a little something extra!)

I enjoy a little pastry each morning with my coffee, usually a doughnut or cookie of some nature. this recipe is adapted from lemon bars and with my interpretation, formed the Rhubarb Bars. This treat is perfect for the summer!

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Mise En Place:

  • Β 1 1/4 Cup AP Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, Room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Rhubarb, diced

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Method of Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 8×8″ pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, mix 1 Cup flour & 1/2 Cup Sugar. Using either a pastry cutter or your hands, slowly mash in the butter cubes. Mix together until mix is flaky and all the butter is dissolved. Press crust into lined pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  • While crust is baking, mix together eggs, remaining sugar, flour and salt. Stir in rhubarb.
  • Remove crust from oven (color will still be pale) pour in rhubarb mixture and continue to bake for 40-45 minutes.
  • Let the bars cool upon removing from oven. Remove the parchment paper and cut into squares.
  • Store in a glass container for up to 5 days.
  • Enjoy!

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Cookies In A Jar

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Does anyone else have the problem of a colossal collection of Mason Jars? I have not only inherited more jars than I can count, but I began saving them for God knows why. Mason Jars can be used in many ways more than anyone can imagine, just search Pinterest if you don’t believe me! I was determined to finally clear out the Mason Jar inventory and start using them around the house. I spray painted a few and used them for holding eating utensils in the kitchen, some I use as glassware, others are used for storage in the bathroom and in the spice cabinets.Β 

Every year, the Club puts on a Princess & Superhero party for the kiddos. We usually include a raffle with a few different gift baskets the families have a chance at winning. I was asked to put together a baking basket using some of the baking supplies we had in house, I wanted to go beyond just a basket with a whisk & spatula in it. My inspiration for the cookie mix in a jar comes from a friend of mine who packages these jars and sells them! I was fortunate enough to have plenty jars on hand to make this happen. This is a favorable gift idea and exemplary gift basket filler. I believe that when packing something edible, sweets are the way to go! The cookie in a jar recipes are a great shortcut to homemade cookies. Typically these gifts are given around the holidays, however they are also great to give as a “Welcome to the neighborhood” and Teacher gifts. Families enjoy receiving these gifts because they are simple to make, and who doesn’t love a fresh baked cookie!?

I’ve included (3) distinctive jars that everyone is sure to enjoy. The directions are simple, You fill the jars with the dry ingredients, & whoever the receiver is they just add in the wet elements and bake to perfection!

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M&M’s Cookies:

Prep Time:Β 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time:Β 25 Minutes

Yield: Approximately 20 Cookies

Mise En Place:

  • 1 1/2 Cups AP Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Holiday M&M’s
  • 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Quart Mason Jar

Assembling Jars:

  • Using a funnel (or paper plate rolled up), pour flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt into the bottom of the mason jar. Top with the m&m’s. Next add in the Sugars, press firmly with a spoon. Seal with the lid and decorate with ribbon & fabric.

Recipe to Include with the Jar:

  • Pour the contents of the Jar into a large bowl & stir to combine. Add 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, lightly melted, 1 egg, beaten, & 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract. Stir until well combined. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a cookie scoop, place dough balls onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating.
  • Enjoy!

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Cocoa Brownies:

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time:Β 45 Minutes

Total Time:Β 55 Minutes

Serving: 1 (9×13 inch pan)

Mise En Place:

  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 8 Ounce Mason Jar

Assembling Jars:

  • Add the flour, salt and cocoa into bottom of jar. Pack in the sugars firmly. Seal with lid and cover with fabric & ribbon.

Recipe to Include with the Jar:

  • Heat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Add brownie mix from jar into a large bowl, mix well. Add 2 eggs, 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted, 1 Teaspoon Vanilla. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Add mix into a greased baking pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  • Allow to cool 5 minutes. Cut into squares.
  • Enjoy!
  • **Add in 1/2 Cup Chocolate chips into mix for a fudgier brownie!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies In a Jar:

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 20 Minutes

Yield: Approximately 10 cookies

Mise En Place:

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 8 Ounce Mason Jar

Assembling Jar:

  • Add flour, baking soda and salt to the bottom of the jar. Add in chocolate chips. Pack in the sugars.
  • Seal with lid, cover with fabric & ribbon.

Recipe to Include with the Jar:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add jar mix into a large bowl & mix well.
  • Cream together 1 Stick butter, softened, & 1 egg. Add 1 Teaspoon vanilla, stir. Add dry ingredients into wet and mix until well incorporated.
  • chill dough for 30 minutes. Scoop small dough balls onto a lined and lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

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Pear & Pecan Crumb Bars

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After being gone for a few months of blogging, I’m back! not like i’ll have a new post every week back, but i’ll aim for at least 2 a month and hopefully be able to keep adding more from there.Β 

If you enjoy most of my blog posts, you should follow me on Instagram @Theamanda.lassiter & like my facebook page: facebook.com/driven2eat

Were a few weeks shy of the official start of pear season, but so far many of the pears I’ve eaten have been fantastic! A nice fresh pear on it’s own cut up makes a great snack therefore, I don’t do too much with pears in recipes. I picked up a few pears that were a little unripe for my liking. They had a very starchy mouth feel & very little natural sweetness. To be fair, the pears weren’t pleasant to eat and I didn’t want to just throw them out. It took me two (2) days to think of how I could utilize the pears without wasting them. A few ideas that came to mind: infusing them in vodka, poaching them for a salad, or even blending them up for a smoothie…All basic ideas. I was pondering all this over a cup of coffee when a major sweet tooth & hunger craving hit me. I thought, what pairs well with coffee? Suddenly I thought about coffee shops and some of the menu items they offer. Soon after, the idea of coffee cake (duh) came to mind. Just like that, I played around with a few ideas & took the concept of a (apple) crisp and substituted pears, added more flour and some nuts, resulting in what I am calling a crumb cake (bars).

These are get them out of the house right now bars (They’re that good). This recipe is composed of three (3) parts: Shortbread crust on the bottom, cinnamon poached pears in the center, and a nut crumble on top make the perfect dessert for your coffee, day & night! Don’t be afraid to top with ice cream or drizzle with caramel sauce, I wont judge! πŸ˜‰

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Mise en Place:

For the Crust:

-1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

-1/4 Cup AP Flour

-1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

-1/2 Cup Pecans, Chopped

-1/4 Teaspoon Salt

For the filling:

-3 Pears, Peeled & Diced Small

-2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

-1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

For the Topping:

-1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

-1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

-1 Cup AP Flour

-1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

-1 Cup Chopped Pecans

-1/4 Teaspoon Salt

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Method of Prep:

-Spray a 9×9 pan (I used a bread pan instead for a thicker, pie like crust on my bars). Preheat over to 350.

-Using the paddle attachment in your mixer, begin creaming your butter & sugar. Slowly add in the flour, salt and pecans. Press the crust into your pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

-While crust is baking, start on the filling. Add diced pears into a medium sauce pan. Cover with water. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until pears become translucent. Drain well.

-Next, start the topping. Cream the butter & sugar. Slowly add in the rest of the ingredients. The mixture should become crumbly.

-Take drained pears and add them into a mixing bowl. Add in cinnamon & sugar. Stir well.

-Remove crust from the oven. Carefully add pears (try to avoid getting extra liquid from the pears onto the crust).

-Add crumb topping. Bake for an additional 22-25 minutes or until the topping becomes golden brown.

-Cool completely in pan before slicing. (*Freeze up to 3 months if needed)

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

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Whats not to love about a classic plain cheesecake!? If made right, you don’t even need the fru fru additions of fresh fruit and whipped cream. I make at least 1 cheesecake every year, depending on the occasion will determine the flavor I choose to make. With autumn in full effect, I wanted to make the one pumpkin flavored dessert I make each year. Last couple of years I’ve made a pumpkin roll and decided this time to make a pumpkin cheesecake. I get that pumpkin spice is over rated and over used, but I promise you this pumpkin swirl cheesecake via Juniors Cheesecakes will have you begging for more.

If you’re not familiar with Juniors (I wasn’t either, my Husband told me about them) they are known for the home of New York’s best cheesecake. You haven’t really lived until you’ve had Cheesecake at Juniors. Unless you plan on traveling to NYC anytime soon, using one of these recipes to make for your own is the closest you’ll get to the best cheesecake. Believe me when I say Cheesecake factory is good, but this is so much better! It has been voted number 1 cheesecake in NY for over 45 years, that’s saying something!

This recipe was borrowed from the Juniors website. Check out the site for other tasty treats and history! (Graham cracker crust is my own)

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Total Time: 1 day.

Yield: 1, 9″ Round cake pan

Graham Cracker Crust:

-1 1/2 Cups Ground Graham Cracker crumbs.

-1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar

-6 Tablespoons Butter, melted

 

-Combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

-Press mixture into 9″ pie plate.

-Place in the oven @ 350 degrees and bake until lightly browned. Remove and allow to cool completely.

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For the Cheesecake:

Mise en Place:

Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 cup canned pumpkin purΓ©e (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling

Method of Prep:

1. Bake off graham cracker crust if you haven’t yet done so.

2. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix!

3. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter and set aside. On low speed, blend the pumpkin and the 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into the remaining batter. Gently spoon the pumpkin batter on top of the crust. Using a teaspoon, drop the white batter in small spoonfuls on top of the pumpkin batter, pushing it down slightly as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times in a “figure 8” design, just until white swirls appear.

4. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top has golden and tan swirls, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away-don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.

5. Release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Pipe whipped cream rosettes around the top edge of the cake. Lightly sprinkle the cream rosettes (page 26) with a little pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate, or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

The Junior’s Way
For this cake, the bakers use canned pumpkin, the kind that’s 100-percent pure pumpkin purΓ©e, not canned pumpkin pie mix. This works better than cooked fresh pumpkin because the moisture and flavor are consistent, cake after cake.

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