Strawberries Archive

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

strawberry rhubarb pie

strawberry rhubarb pie

I usually try to shield you from examples of my various forms of Crazy, but in this case, it’s just too relevant not to own up to. You see, I’ve got all sorts of superstitions about pies, with each and every harebrained theory derived from some near or actual pie disaster in my past.

making pie doughpie dough pacmancannot resist the flutedunbaked lattice-top

There’s the theory that pies can smell fear; if you’re certain your pie will be a mess, it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then there’s the theory about making anything but the simplest lidded pie in the summertime, as the heat and humidity defies any level of air conditioning and makes your pie dough melt apart, no matter how many times you chill the dough. I also believe that pie recipes can be curses, because not every apple has the same level of sweetness, tartness and liquid and it’s nearly impossible to come up with a core recipe that works each time.

strawberry rhubarb pie, unbaked

In short, my pie superstitions could be summed up as, “Shh. The pie can hear you.”

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 21, 2008

almond cake with strawberry-rhubarb compote

gateau aux amandes

Remember those 17 flourless/Passover-friendly desserts? Did you wonder why one would make a list that numbered, say, 17 and not some easily identifiable round number such as 20? I mean, once you’ve gotten to 17, are those last three so difficult, so clearly going to push a blogger over the edge that it simply cannot be done? No, you don’t think about this? Well, lucky you.

But the list was indeed 20 to begin with, but I nixed* three because although they had very little flour in them and the odds were that it could be replaced with matzo meal with little melodrama, I didn’t want to wing it and accidentally ruin every one of your seders with my misplaced confidence. (So much for saving us all some melodrama.) Yet I’ve been staring down the Gâteau aux Amandes with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook for months now–a fairly simple cake with what I hoped would be a very intense almond flavor.

strawberry-rhubarb compote

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, August 4, 2007

summer berry pudding

summer berry pudding

Remember when I said that I have a theory about the weather, that it is mocking you and waiting for you to snap? Well, this is me throwing my hands in the air. Mock away, I say, have your fun. Just give me my back an unsticky neck and the energy level that comes with not being wiped out, the rest of the evening cancelled, after a 1.3 mile walk home.

I know I sound like I have the coping skills of an infant, and I’m okay with this as well. These are not times for pride; I have no expectations that I will come away from this summer looking like any kind of champion. I am not enough of a martyr to grin and bear it, and I am fortunate enough to be friends with people who have no expectation that anyone should.

summer berry pudding

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

strawberry chiffon shortcake

strawberry chiffon shortcake

Though this should surprise precisely no one, when I was a kid my best friend and I went through a phase where we became obsessed with baking cakes. Though the cake creations ranged in flavor and size, they never lacked for two components: buttercream frosting by the bucket and Dunkin Hines “yellow” cake by the layer. (My mother politely requests that I point out that we did the baking at my friend’s house, and not mine, as my mother would never, ever permit the use of such things as baking mixes. She doesn’t kid.)

caaarefully folding

I’m not exactly proud of the cake mix part either, but you see, these cakes really had nothing to do with eating and everything to do with construction. Fascinated by cakes with endless layers, one time we cut the layers so thin, we were able to make the Layer Cake of Our Dreams, six flats of cake each filled with a different shade of frosting (red, orange, yellow, green and blue) and covered in purple icing. It was the kind of starts-and-hearts-and-glitter-and-omg fantabulous I think you really need to be a pre-adolescent girl to appreciate, and the taste, well, what did we care. It was purple!

Continued after the jump »

Monday, June 18, 2007

strawberry tart

classic strawberry tart

A few times a year, I fall in love with tarts all over again, and not only because Alex thinks that “fluted removable bottom tart pan” is the best name given to any kitchen tool, ever, but because there are few things not made tastier when rendered wide and shallow, in a flower-like shell. In the winter, I gush over slices of warm quiche, on a plate billowing with lightly-dressed greens, or a deep, rich, hard-to-forget ganache tartlet but in the summer, its fresh fruit or bust.

whole lemon tart

This past weekend not one but two tarts exited my kitchen in a new Envirosax tote bag, both entirely inspired by the city of Paris. The first headed for my friend Molly’s dinner party on Friday night, a take on the classic tarte au citron (lemon tart) so fabulous, I might never make stove-top curd citrus curd again. I’ve mentioned before an ongoing fascination with “whole citrus” recipes, those that know that the whole shebang–from peel to pith to pulp–smartly leveraged in a dish is infinitely more satisfying that those that just go for the more low-hanging ingredient of juice. This entire tart is made with one single lemon, ground to a pulp with sugar, then mixed with egg, melted butter and cornstarch and seared in a par-baked crust until the top is bubbly and the taste is absolutely worth bragging about. The simplicity of ingredients alone makes it worthwhile, but the grown-up flavor with the bitter, fragrant vibe straight from the lemon’s edge makes it ready for its close-up. I can’t wait to make it next with two key limes, half a ruby red grapefruit or a whole orange.

Continued after the jump »


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