May 8, 2013

Pin It Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Taken From Smitten Kitchen

Strawberry rhubarb is my absolute favorite pie, which may be in part because you can't order/make it year round.  For whatever reason, I love it and was super excited to get the opportunity to make it. It's hard to make a whole pie just because, so a dinner party was the perfect excuse.

For this pie I used a mashed together a bunch of recipes.  For the crust I used my friend Emily's recipe, which I used in the past for my mini blackberry pie. This time I used an all butter version instead of half Crisco and half butter. Ingredients and directions are below:

Crust Ingredients (for a crumble top pie, so only one crust is needed)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick unsalted butter)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons ice water

Chill 2/3 of the butter in the fridge and 1/3 in the freezer. Only freeze butter for ~15 minutes.
Sift then measure the flour. Then re-sift with the salt into a large bowl. Cut the fridge butter into the flour/salt mixture with 2 knives or pastry cutter. Then cut in the freezer butter.
Add water by sprinkling in one tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork (or pastry cutter) to combine. The amount of water needed will depend on the humidity. You want it to be just enough to hold the dough together when you squish it between your fingers.
Flatten the dough a bit, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough disk. (I refrigerated the dough for ~1 hour).
For the filling I used the recipe and directions from Smitten Kitchen (pasted below):

Filling Ingredients
3 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
1/2-3/4 cup granulated sugar (depending on desired sweetness. See Smitten Kitchen site for notes)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured counter, roll pie dough into a 12-inch circle and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. 

Stir together rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, lemon, salt and tapioca in a large bowl. 
Mound filling inside pie crust and dot with bits of unsalted butter.
For my topping I used my Aunt's crumble top, which I also wrote about in my peach blackberry pie post. Ingredients and directions for the crumble top are below:

Crumble Top Ingredients
1 cup flour
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar

In small bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and flour.  Blend with a pastry cutter. Sprinkle crumble top over berries until everything is covered.
Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 400 then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly. I like to put a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any overflowing juices.

Transfer pie to wire rack to cool. When fully cooled (several hours later) the juices gel.
I served this with vanilla bean ice cream and it was a huge hit!  It got rave reviews and I hope I have an excuse to make it again soon. 
I'm even thinking about freezing some rhubarb so I can make this during the off-season too!
It was delicious and my favorite strawberry rhubarb pie recipe to date.

May 4, 2013

Pin It Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Taken From Ambitious Kitchen
Well hello again.  I know I've been slacking lately (especially on the Cook the Books Bouchon Bakery front) but I have a good excuse: I got a new job!  I started a couple weeks ago and my free time went out the window! Also, in my defense, I did attempt to make a coffee cake from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, but it called for 200 grams of eggs, and I promptly gave up.

For my recent visit to DC, I came with treats in hand as requested by my sister-in-law. She sent me this recipe months ago, and I promised I'd make them when I came to visit.

These are delicious, especially if you are a fan of Nutella.  I don't even really like Nutella but thought these were amazing.  Plus it got me thinking about all the other things I could stuff inside chocolate chip cookies, like peanut butter, or chocolate peanut butter!  It also reconfirmed the superiority of using brown butter in cookies.  I finally figured out what it is exactly that makes it so amazing.  When you brown butter it's like you are making caramel without the sugar, but the butter still gets this amazing caramel flavor and color.  Even the raw cookie dough is superior.  I love it and will always (unless I'm feeling particularly lazy) use brown butter in my chocolate chip cookies.

I'll try and share more recipes soon but I'm not making any timeline promises. Please don't hold it against me :)