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Posts tagged ‘strawberries’

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart Using Puff Pastry

I have a ritual that I do every time I cook, my kitchen must be thorougly cleaned, counters, floor, no dishes in the sink, every surface clean, for me it creates new energy and clears my kitchen. I also try to make sure everything I need is ready so I don’t have to go finding and grabbing with flour on my hands. So the ritual began early this morning in preparation for my puff pastry adventure. I had the butter in the freezer all night, the flour weighed and in the fridge as well. In retrospect I would not freeze the butter quite so hard because let me tell you it was hard work pounding that butter when it’s rock hard. In the video he makes it look easy, well not so much. I had it wrapped in plastic wrap which after a good pounding broke and I had to peel off the pieces from the butter. I decided to use a zip lock bag and sprinkled a little flour on the butter as per The Kitchn. It worked and I got the butter in a nice square and it was still pretty cold. The butter went back in the refrigerator while I rolled out the dough.

The dough comes together nicely in the food processor and forms a cohesive ball which I let rest for a few minutes under a damp tea towel. The hardest part of this recipe is pounding the butter initially, the rest goes very smoothly and if you have any frustration or feel the need to pound something try making puff pastry, it’s a stress reliever.

The first two turns went pretty well, it was hard to make it a neat rectangle but I did the best I could. After a 30 minute rest in the refrigerator I took it out for 2 more turns and there was a marked difference in the dough, it’s very soft, tender and pliable. Rolling it out was a breeze and doing the second set of 2 turns was easy. With only 2 more to go I have to say puff pastry is not all that much work but the proof is in the pudding I guess you can say and I was nervous to see how it turns out when baked.

Final Analysis: AMAZING recipe, with the exception of trying to pound frozen butter it was so easy to make. Honestly, I will never buy puff pastry again. It’s tender, flaky, buttery, pretty much perfect. I have enough dough in the freezer for another large tart. This recipe is a keeper. Also note, I am convinced using a good European butter is key, I used Kerrygold unsalted butter and it really does make a difference.

ready for the 4th turn see the flecks of butter

6 turns and I’m done, smooth, supple and feels like a beautiful dough if you look closely you can still see pieces of butter

 

strawberries and rhubarb

3 stalks rhubarb, washed, ends removed and cut into approximately 1/4 inch pieces

1 punnet of strawberries, trimmed, hulled and cut into pieces (quartered or halved depending on size)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp orange zest

dash of salt

2 tsp cornstarch

Mix everything in a bowl and let sit until sugar has melted and fruit has given off juices. Drain but save the juice. After draining sprinkle the cornstarch on the fruit and mix with a spoon. Pour the saved juice into a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until thick and reduced slightly. When you remove the tart from the oven cool for about 15 minutes then drizzle the thickened syrup on top of the tart. It’s delicious.

docked and ready for the fruit

Making the tart

Cut your dough in half and freeze the other half. Roll into a rectangle, using a sharp paring knife make a slice not all the way through so cut gingerly, you want the slice about an inch from the edges. Roll the edges to the cut line, dock the inside of the dough well with a fork (this is so it doesn’t puff). Arrange fruit on the dough, brush the edges with egg white that has been beaten with a fork. Sprinkle some finishing sugar or turbinado sugar on the whole tart. Bake in a pre heated 400 degree oven until golden brown and bubbly this tart took about 35-40 minutes.

 

Pavlova With Strawberries And Elderflower Whipped Cream

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Normally I don’t post 2 days in a row, but today is the summer soltice which happens to also fall on the same day as the full moon, the strawberry moon,  a once in a lifetime occurrence the last time this happened was in 1948,  so to celebrate I made Pavlova, an ethereal, light and beautiful dessert, I used strawberries in honor of the strawberry moon and they happen to be at their peak now.  I’ve never made one before, I’ve seen them all over blogs and food websites and it’s been on my bucket list for a while now. After making the rhubarb cordial I have been thinking of different ways to use it besides in drinks. This dessert came to mind, pavlova with strawberries that are macerated in the rhubarb cordial piled onto the meringue layer and topped with whipped cream that is gently flavored with elderflower. I found so many recipes online for the meringue and believe it or not they all varied in cooking temp, ranging from 180 degrees up to 300. I opted for 225 degree’s.

It is a dreamy dessert, beautiful to look at, I love the way the layers are each a little different making it just a little off, slightly cracked, perfect in it’s imperfection. It is elegant and delicious. If I sound smitten it’s because I am. Strawberry and rhubarb are a great combination and although this contains only a rhubarb liquor the flavor though subtle is still there. This is a decidedly adult dessert, and if you don’t happen to have any of the rhubarb cordial, macerating the strawberries in sugar is delicious and will be family friendly or you do not have to macerate the berries, slicing and layering on the cake is perfectly fine. The lovely syrup that the strawberries were sitting in is then drizzled over the finished cake when served. The recipe was delicious as it was but next time I would make a few minor changes.

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Pavlova

4 extra large egg whites at room temperature (I used large eggs)

pinch of kosher salt

1 cup sugar (Next time I will use 3/4 cup sugar)

2 tsp corn starch (I would increase the cornstarch to 3 tsp)

1 tsp white wine vinegar or cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla

Slice some strawberries and sprinkle with sugar, I poured a scant 1/2 cup of rhubarb cordial on them and macerated for an hour or two. Remove strawberries, drain in sieve over a bowl and set aside, save the rhubarb syrup it’s wonderful drizzled on the pavlova.

Pre heat the oven to 225 degree’s or the lowest setting on your oven. Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment and draw circles 8 inch round on the parchment and turn over so the pencil or pen is not touching the batter, or do as I did and use three 8 inch parchment rounds (had to use a half and quarter sheet pan) I wanted 3 thinner layers rather than one thick layer.

Put the egg whites in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the pinch of salt and whip until they are thick and foamy, slowly add the sugar about a tbs at a time and beat them until they are glossy and stiff (about 2-3 minutes).  Fold the corn starch and vanilla into the egg whites. Spoon onto the parchment rounds and smooth. Bake for 1 1/2 hours turn off the oven and leave in the oven until completely cooled. I liked using the parchment rounds because it was very easy to peel them off the meringue rounds.

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To Assemble

Whip the cream, add the sugar and vanilla and if you have a tsp of elderflower syrup. I used 1 cup of heavy cream, a generous tbs of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.

Place a meringue round on serving plate or cake stand. Spoon some of the strawberries on and top and some whipped cream. Place the other meringue round on top, repeat and top with last meringue, spoon some of the whipped cream on top and decorate with berries.

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Featured Recipes: Finger-Lickin Finger Lakes Chicken and Some Hard Lemonade

Finger Lakes Chicken photo by wssmom

This is probably one of the most delicious recipes for grilled chicken that I have ever tasted. I made this several times and you know the food is really really good when everyone at the table goes completely silent, not a word, only sometimes you can hear a low mutter almost inaudible, “this is so good”, well thats what happens when I serve this chicken. This is a recipe from one of my good friends on food52, Virginia also known as wssmom (her cooks name on food52), is a fantastically creative cook, take at look at her 72 recipes on food52, her recipe, A Bowl of Red was runnerup in the chili contest as was her New Years Day Fresh Ham in the Best Holiday Roast contest. She manages to make each recipe approachable and absolutely delicious.

I have also included one of her many amazing recipes for drinks. She is an inspired mixologist, this is one of many delicious drinks that she has created. Bobby Flay Inspired Hard Lemonade incorporates the best of summers flavors (lemons and strawberries and packs a punch with some silver rum. Try it you will love it! It’s really pretty too. If you are not in the mood for lemonade, try her Peartini and I will personally attest to the greatness of this drink, she brought it to the Food52 cookbook party. One more, I can’t help it I love her recipes, Kicked up Egg Cream how can you go wrong with a delicious chocolate egg cream with some chocolate liquor.

Serves 4

Fresh Herb Aioli:

1 large organic egg yolk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup grapeseed oil

1 minced clove garlic

pinch sea salt

1 cup champagne vinegar (yes, one cup)

1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary sprigs

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano

some more salt

In a suitable bowl, preferably one that won’t spin around, whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice and garlic. Add the oil a few drops at a time (or have someone do that for you), whisking until it emulsifies. Continue to dribble in the oil, whisking away, until all is incorporated.

Put half the aioli in another bowl, saving the remainder for another use. Whisk in the vinegar, add the herbs and add a tad more salt than you think neccessary, about a teaspoon in my case.

Finger Lakes Chicken:

2 whole organic chicken breasts, split so you have four nice-sized pieces

Freshly ground pepper

Fresh herb aioli

Liberally sprinkle the chicken breasts with freshly ground pepper, put them in a ziplock bag with the aoili, smush so they are covered, and let marinate for at least three hours, or preferably overnight.

Grill, bone side down and covered, over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, then turn and crank up the grill to high to finish, so that the skin gets nice and crispy.

Chill and bring along to your picnic, and serve along with some lovely dry riesling.

Bobby Flay Inspired Hard Lemonade (Inspired by Bobby’s recipe for minted lemonade)

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups sugar

Juice from 10-12 lemons, about 1 1/2 cups

1 pint strawberries

silver rum

3 cups seltzer, chilled

1/2 bunch mint sprigs

Prepare a simple syrup by mixing the sugar with 1 1/2 cups water in a small pan; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve, and let cool.

Stem the strawberries and puree with about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the lemon juice. Put through a sieve to remove seeds and errant bits.

In a large, attractive pitcher, combine 3/4 cup simple syrup with the strawberry-lemon puree and the remainder of the lemon juice. Sample and if desired, add more simple syrup to taste.

Add the mint to the pitcher along with the rum (one ounce per serving) and chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Add the cold seltzer and serve over ice. Kick back and enjoy the fourth race!