Freeform Strawberry Blueberry Pie

Hello Readers!

It’s summer, and summer at my house means PIE!

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I love pie – I personally think it’s better than cake. Well, when made the right way with fresh fruits, or in the case of rhubarb, veggies, anyway. I do make an exception for pumpkin pie.

Anyways, blueberries and strawberries have been rolling into the house, and I stumbled upon this delicious recipe in one of the Sunday paper inserts. The original recipe can be found here.

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I like that the pie crust is free form and doesn’t overwhelm the fruits, plus, the crust is made with lemon juice and lemon zest! This recipe could be easily modified to use other types of fruits or zests in the crust – so I predict many variations of it gracing my table this summer. It’s also quite small, so it’ll go fast!

Onward!

Delicious!

Delicious!

Start by making your pie crust. I used a food processor, but you could easily make the dough by hand with a pastry blender or a pair of forks.

In a measuring cup, combine lemon juice with enough ice water to make ¼ of a cup. Keep cold and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine lemon zest, flour, and salt. Add in butter in small chunks and mix with a food processor or pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal with pea sized chunks. Drizzle the lemon water in and pulse or stir until the dough just comes together.

Form the dough into a flattened disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least half an hour.

While the dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 450°F. Prepare an eight inch round baking pan by greasing and lining with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine strawberries and blueberries with 2 Tbsp each of flour and sugar. Toss to combine and set aside. You could also add in some additional lemon zest here.

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Once dough has chilled, roll it out into a twelve inch round. Place the dough gently into the baking pan, with edges going over the sides. Pour the berry mixture into the center of the soon-to-be crust, making sure to keep a two inch border around the edges.

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Fold the dough over the berries, pleating the edges to keep them inside. Brush dough with egg white, and sprinkle the entire pie with turbinado sugar.

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Place baking dish on a cookie sheet to prevent any leaks into the oven, and bake at 450° for 15 – 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Add ice cream if you’d like and enjoy!

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Freeform Strawberry and Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:
For the Crust:

Juice and Zest of one Lemon

1 ½ c All Purpose Flour

½ tsp Salt

½ c (1 stick) Butter

For the Filling:

1 lb Strawberries, hulled and sliced into fourths

1 ½ pints Blueberries

2 Tbsp Sugar

2 Tbsp Flour

1 ½ Tbsp Turbinado Sugar

1 large Egg White

 

Procedure:

  1. Combine the lemon juice with enough ice water to make ¼ cup lemon water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and lemon zest. Add in butter in small chunks and mix until pea sized lumps remain.
  3. Drizzle in lemon water and mix until dough just comes together.
  4. Scrape dough onto your work surface, form into a flattened disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least a half hour.
  5. Prepare an 8” round baking pan by greasing and lining with parchment paper. Set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining 2 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp Sugar, and fruit. Toss to combine.
  7. Place chilled dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 12” round. Transfer to baking pan.
  8. Pour berry mixture onto the pie dough, leaving a two inch border around the edges. Fold crust over berries, pleating to make sure the berries stay inside.
  9. Brush dough with egg white. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over dough and fruit.
  10. Place baking pan on a cookie sheet and bake at 450°F for 15 – 25 minutes, or until crust is golden.
  11. Serve hot or at room temperature, and enjoy!

 

Blueberry Breakfast Bake

Happy Independence Day!

Here in the Northland we celebrate the 4th of July with parades, fireworks, and good food – pretty typical, right? As I’m a bit too old for the children’s parade in my hometown and haven’t quite mustered up the desire to participate in the fun run, I decided to make a breakfast bake to celebrate. Now, at my house, breakfast bakes are usually savory. However, it’s blueberry season!

I found this lovely recipe from Whole Foods, tweaked it a bit to make it my own and work with the ingredients I had on hand, and my new favorite breakfast was born.

Simple and Delicious!

Simple and Delicious!

Onward!

First, grease a 9X13” baking dish. Cut your baguette into ½ inch cubes. The original recipe calls for a day old baguette, but I used one I had stashed in the freezer and it turned out just fine. Make sure to let it thaw a bit before slicing.

The y don't have to be identical, but should be fairly even in size.

The y don’t have to be identical, but should be fairly even in size.

Place half of the bread cubes into the baking dish and add in half the blueberries. Try to make sure that the berries are evenly distributed. Set aside.

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In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in your sour cream, vanilla, spices, and milk until smooth. Scrape the sides several times to ensure even mixing.

Pour half the cream cheese mixture over the bread and blueberries, then top with the remaining bread and berries. Pour the rest of the mixture over the top.

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Cover and chill overnight.

In the morning, take your unbaked breakfast bake out of the fridge and let sit for a half hour to warm up.

The bread should have soaked up plenty of the custard mixture.

The bread should have soaked up plenty of the custard mixture.

Bake at 350°F for 30 – 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Let stand a few minutes before serving and enjoy!

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Ingredients:
1 8 oz Baguette, preferably day old

1 ½ pints Blueberries

8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature

6 Tbsp Turbinado Sugar

6 Eggs

¾ c Sour Cream

1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

¼ tsp Cinnamon

¼ tsp Ginger

¼ tsp Cardamom

1/8 tsp Star Anise

1/8 tsp Allspice

½ c Milk

 

Procedure:

  1. Cut Baguette into ½ cubes. Place half the cubes in a greased 9X13” baking dish. Set the other cubes aside for now. Sprinkle half of the blueberries across the baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs, sour cream, spices, vanilla extract, and milk until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl every so often.
  3. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture across the bread and blueberries. Top with reserved blueberries and bread. Pour remaining cream cheese mixture across the top.
  4. Cover and chill overnight. Remove and let sit for thirty minutes before baking.
  5. Bake a t 350°F for 30 – 45 minutes, or until the bread topping is golden brown. Garnish with additional blueberries.
  6. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello Dear Readers!

Do you ever get a craving for sweets? I know I certainly do, especially after working a shift in the pool. Something about the chlorine and the kiddos might be triggering a need for sugar. Maybe? Probably not. I do have a sweet tooth, though. So, to combat these sugar cravings, I decided to make cookies! Counterproductive? Maybe. Delicious? Totally.

Yum!

Yum!

The recipe I used is by Amy McCoy of Tiny Farmhouse. I found the recipe in her gorgeous cookbook “Poor Girl Gourmet”, but more on that later. Definitely give her a look! I like her recipe because it makes a small but delicious batch of cookies – just what I was looking for.

I’ve made a few modifications to the recipe, including adding cloves and whole wheat flour. Oh, and more chocolate, too!

Lots of chocolate!

Lots of chocolate!

Start by combining your flours in a medium sized bowls. I substituted whole wheat flour for the last two tablespoons of all purpose flour in this recipe because I like whole wheat, but you can use just all purpose if you want.  Add in baking soda, salt, and cloves and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your butter and sugars. Turbinado sugar has a larger grain than regular granulated sugar, so the texture of the dough will be slightly grainer. Don’t worry though – the graininess disappears during baking and the flavor is amazing!

I cut the butter into tablespoons for easier integration.

I cut the butter into tablespoons for easier integration.

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado Sugar

After the butter and sugars have become light and fluffy, add in your egg and vanilla. I find that vanilla is pretty forgiving, so you could add more in if you’d like.

Egg and vanilla

Egg and vanilla

Add in the flour mixture about a fourth cup at a time until well combined. I found that the dough was a little dry here, so I added in about a tablespoon of water to help it stick together. You could also use milk if you wanted to.

Now for the fun part! Add in the chocolate chips! I used half a bag of mini chocolate chips and half a bag of regular semi sweet chocolate chips, because that’s what I had laying around. You can use whatever type you want.

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Delicious!

Spoon onto your cookie sheets and bake at 350°F until golden brown. Mine took about 12 minutes.

If you are using two cookie sheets, make sure to rotate your pans halfway through.

About a Tablespoon's worth of dough

About a Tablespoon’s worth of dough

Allow to cool on cooling racks and enjoy!

 

Share and enjoy!

Share and enjoy!

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c All Purpose Flour

2 Tbsp Whole Wheat Flour

½ tsp Baking Soda

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Ground Cloves

8 Tbsp (1 Stick) Butter

½ c Turbinado Sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)

½ c Brown Sugar, packed

1 large Egg

1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

½ bag Mini Chocolate Chips

½ bag Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

 

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract to butter mixture, beat until well combined.
  1. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture ¼ cup at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl in between until all the flour is mixed in. If necessary, add a small amount of water or milk if the dough is too dry.
  2. Add in the chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  3. Spoon the dough out onto two cookie sheets. Dough balls should contain about ¾ of a tablespoon of dough.
  4. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, switching the top sheet to the bottom and the bottom sheet to the top halfway through. Cookies are done when golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling racks.
  6. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Cranberry Crisp

Hello Readers! Summer has finally arrived in the Northland and has brought at least four and a half inches of rain in the past week. Our dock is underwater and there are fish swimming in the grass. Yes, in the grass. Fortunately for me, the arrival of summer also signals the arrival of one of my favorite vegetables – Rhubarb! (yes, rhubarb is a vegetable).

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Rhubarb is delicious, but I have to wonder – who decided that this random vegetable would be good smothered in sugar?

Now, for those of you who grew up with rhubarb, you know that pies – strawberry rhubarb, raspberry rhubarb, blueberry rhubarb, any berry, really – are popular. Now, I like pie, but most of the time, there is too much crust. I prefer making crisps – lots of fruity/vegetable goodness with a crunchy topping. And you know what the best part is? Having it for breakfast! So, having an abundance of rhubarb, I set out to make a crisp. I also had some frozen cranberries sitting around (cranberries – my fall weakness!), so I decided to combine the two. What resulted was wonderful, tangy Rhubarb Cranberry Crisp. Let’s see how it’s done, shall we? First, make the filling. Chop up your rhubarb into bite sized chunks. They don’t have to be entirely even, just enough so you can get several chunks in every bite of the crisp.

Rhubarb 1

This is about half of the day’s yield. We used the rest for rhubarb soup.

Toss the rhubarb, cranberries, sugar, and cinnamon.

Cranberries left over from fall aren't really seasonal, but they taste good!

Cranberries left over from fall aren’t really seasonal, but they taste good!

Stir in ¼ cup of flour and pour into your baking dish. I used an 11X7” glass baking dish, but you could also use a 9X9” pan. Don’t grease the pan.

I have to stop myself from eating it at this stage. Yum!

I have to stop myself from eating it at this stage. Yum!

Now we can move onto the topping. Stir together ¾ cup of flour, the oats, and the brown sugar, and then cut the butter in. I used a pastry blender, but you could use a pair of forks or your fingers if you need to. Aim for pea sized lumps.

This is pretty tasty, too.

This is pretty tasty, too.

Pour your topping over the filling and spread evenly.

Almost ready!

Almost ready!

Bake for 35 minutes at 350°F and enjoy!

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Perfect for dessert! (Or Breakfast)

Rhubarb Cranberry Crisp For the Filling: 4 c Rhubarb, chopped into bite sized pieces 1c Cranberries 1 ¼ c Sugar 1 tsp Cinnamon ¼ c All Purpose Flour   For the Topping: ¾ c All Purpose Flour 3/8 c Oats ¾ c Brown Sugar 6 Tbsp Butter   Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together rhubarb, cranberries, cinnamon, and sugar.
  3. Stir in ¼ c flour.
  4. Pour filling into an ungreased 9X9” or 11X7” baking dish. Set aside.
  5. In another large mixing bowl, stir together ¾ c flour, oats, and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pair of forks or a pastry blender until the mixture is in pea sized lumps.
  6. Spread topping evenly across the top of the filling.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until topping is browned and filling is bubbling.
  8. Enjoy!

Ice Cream Cake

Hello again Dear Readers!

Today is my birthday! To celebrate, I made an ice cream cake, and I thought I’d share the recipe with you. Ice cream cakes have been a birthday staple in my house for as long as I can remember – well, that and Spumoni Cake, but that’s a recipe for another day. Oh, and Martian Cake, too!

Anyways, we used to get our cakes from Dairy Queen, until my mother thought of a way to make one ourselves. The first attempt was simple – a chocolate bunt cake with ice cream and raspberry jam in the center. We used the carved out middle to make a trifle – double dessert!

The second one is the one I came up with and still use today. Instead of the bunt pan or glass casserole we used to use, I use a spring form pan lined with parchment paper. This allows me to lift the finished ice cream cake out and frost it if I want to. Because it’s my birthday, I didn’t frost this one, but I did frost my sister’s cake in March. It’s all up to you, dear reader.

This cake is really fun to make, and you can use any flavor ice cream you want! My sister and I decided on Spumoni and Chocolate Peanut Butter ice creams for my birthday cake this year. If you haven’t had spumoni ice cream, you are missing out. It’s like Neapolitan, only about twenty times better. Instead of vanilla and strawberry, spumoni ice cream has pistachio and cherry layers. It’s delicious!

For the fudge layer, I use a store bought hot fudge sauce (Gasp!), but you could use an easily spreadable homemade recipe if you’d like.

 

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

You will need:

1 1.5 quart container Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (or flavor of your choice)

1 1.5 quart container Chocolate Ice Cream (or flavor of your choice)

2 cups Hot Fudge Sauce

1 package Oreo Cookies

1 cup Caramel Sauce (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Prepare a 9 inch Spring Form Pan by lining with Parchment Paper. Make sure that the paper comes up over the edges of the pan. This will be important later.
  2. Let your first container of ice cream thaw for five minutes. If you’re going for a Dairy Queen type cake, this would be the chocolate ice cream. For this cake, I used Chocolate Peanut Butter.
  3. Once the ice cream is fairly soft, use a large spoon to spread the ice cream in an even layer across the bottom of the pan. The easiest way to do this is to put big chunks down and mash them together.
  4. Return the pan to the freezer for at least one hour.
  5. While the ice cream is refreezing, scrape the white filling out of the oreos. Place cookies in a bag and smash with a rolling pin until they are at a consistency you like. I like big chunks, so I only mash a couple of times.  Set smashed cookies aside.
  6. Warm the hot fudge sauce in the microwave. Thirty seconds to a minute should be good. Set your second ice cream out to thaw for five minutes. If you’re doing this Dairy Queen Style, a nice vanilla bean ice cream works well. I used Spumoni ice cream for this layer.
  7. Spread an even layer of smashed cookies across the first layer of your cake. Next, take your hot fudge sauce and pour or spoon across the cookies. Use a spatula or large spoon to spread it across the cake.
  8. Using the same method as before, spread your second layer of ice cream across the top of the cake. When finished, cover with plastic wrap. If you’d like to smooth out the top, this is a good time to mash the ice cream down without getting your hands dirty.
  9. Freeze for at least two hours before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Optional:

If you’d like to frost your cake, you can use cool whip or stabilized homemade whipped cream. You can also drizzle caramel sauce across the top.

Scottish Breakfast Tea Cupcakes

Your darling writer, displaying her usual hairstyle next to Loch Ness.

Your darling writer, displaying her usual hairstyle next to Loch Ness.

Welcome Readers!
For my first foray into the strange and bewildering world of food blogging, I thought I would post a recipe that won me second place in my university’s first Cupcake War. My partner and I made Scottish Breakfast Tea Cupcakes.
They were inspired by my time at the Caledonian Backpackers Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland in April 2012.

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One of the many murals in the hostel. This one pointed to the common area. I think it’s a pretty good summation of my trip.

If by chance you’ve stayed at that particular hostel, you know that they serve breakfast until noon. NOON! As if some travelers actually enjoy sleeping – what a concept, right?

Anyways, my travelling partner had had a rough time upon reaching Scotland. Her cards had been mysteriously canceled, and she had forgotten to book our tickets to England, leading to a huge price jump. After a 1:00 AM bus ride across Ireland to catch the flight to Edinburgh, getting sick in the airport, and hearing about our missing tickets, I was to say –
Annoyed.

Edinburgh, viewed from the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. The sun was out for maybe ten minutes that day. Lucky shot.

Edinburgh, viewed from the battlements of Edinburgh Castle.
The sun was out for maybe ten minutes that day. Lucky shot.

However, waiting for me was the most GLORIOUS breakfast spread I could have imagined.

Good Scottish bread with raspberry jam, apricot preserves, and lemon curd (and blackcurrant jam, but ew. No way am I going to eat that sickly sweet spread), and wonderful smoky Scottish Breakfast Tea. I was in heaven.

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Your dear writer, enjoying tea at the Elephant and Castle later that day. Mmm, tea.

Now to the cupcakes.

I had made tea cupcakes before with Earl Grey, but was never very happy with it. Maybe it’s because I find Earl Grey to be a weak tea. Who knows? I had been having daydreams about going back to Scotland and spending more time there, so when our professor announced the Cupcake Wars challenge, the idea for theses cupcakes immediately struck me. I wanted to make a cupcake that contained all the wonderful memories of my time in Scotland – From Lochness to the Elephant and Castle, to the airport bus and the Jenga playing Australians in the hostel bar, and the wonderful hospitality of the Starbucks employees that let Melissa use their phone to call her bank – I wanted something to remember that. Why not use cupcakes?

So here they are:

Scottish Breakfast Tea Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
1. 1/3 c Milk
2. 4 Black tea bags (Scottish breakfast blend) – I used Taylors of Harrowgate
3. ¾ c + 2 Tbsp Cake Flour
4. ¾ tsp Baking Powder
5. ¼ tsp Baking Soda
6. ¼ tsp Cardamom
7. ¼ tsp Salt
8. 6 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
9. 2 Tbsp Butter. Room temperature
10. 1 large Egg, Room Temperature
11. ½ of 1/3 c Sour Cream
12. 2 Tbsp Canola Oil
13. 1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
14. Raspberry Jam or Preserves

Procedure:
1. Warm the milk in the microwave over low heat. Remove from heat and steep teabags for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags and squeeze out excess liquid.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3. In a bowl, mix cake flour, baking soda, powder, cardamom, and salt. Set aside. If you’d like, you can also add in the contents of another tea bag.
4. Cream together butter and sugar, then add it to the flour mixture.
5. In another bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, oil, and sour cream together until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in tea.
6. To fill cupcakes, fill lined cupcake pan ¼ of the way full. Add in a spoonful of jam, then fill halfway.
7. Bake for fifteen minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Frost with Lemon Curd Frosting when cool. Garnish with fresh raspberries and enjoy!

Lemon Curd Frosting
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes with a little left over.

1. 1 block Neufchatel cheese
2. ¾ c Lemon Curd
3. Powdered Sugar
4. Milk

1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat Neufchatel cheese and lemon curd together until smooth.
2. Add in enough powdered sugar to achieve your desired consistency. If needed, add in milk to thin it out.

By the way – lemon curd, apricot preserves, and raspberry jam make an excellent sandwich. I made myself four for the ten hour or so (twelve when the bus broke down outside of Glasgow) trip to Stratford upon Avon, and had eaten three four hours in. Whoops. : )

 

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Tea! Look at that glorious color.

Recipes modified from:
Cupcakes: http://ohsoverypretty.com/2013/04/15/earl-grey-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting/
Frosting: http://www.fromvalerieskitchen.com/2013/02/lemon-raspberry-cupcakes-with-lemon-curd-frosting/