Rhubarb and blackberry pie with pink peppercorns

rhubarb and blackberry pie

It’s almost the weekend – hooray! The weather forecast is looking positive and greenmarkets (to pick up more lilacs and ramps), a crawfish boil and jazz at Threes Brewing are on the agenda.

My favorite thing to do on a weekend morning – besides sleeping, of course, closely followed by drinking coffee, as we know – is baking. It’s that rare activity that’s both indulgent and productive at the same time. It provides you with a great start and a delicious breakfast. And, oh yes, it makes people quite happy.

This is a pie made for eating – a bright berry and rhubarb medley lit up by light maple syrup and pink peppercorns. All in a wholewheat crust.

Serve with a dollop of thick greek yogurt and see everyone come running to your kitchen table.

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Rhubarb blackberry pie with pink peppercorns

You’ll need:

  • for the crust:  use this recipe, my favorite, substituting in wholewheat flour for the AP.
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh, chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup light maple syrup
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar
  • 2 T pink peppercorns, lightly crushed

1. Make the crust first so that you can freeze it before baking, for extra crispness. This can also be done the day before etc. In fact, it’s a great thing to have around in the spring and summer months for both sweet and savory baking!

Roll out, shape in pie pan, and freeze for at least 1-2 hours before baking.

2. Preheat oven to 375F. Cook berries and rhubarb in a pan with maple syrup and pink peppercorns.

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3. Spoon the berry filling into the pre-frozen pie crust. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar.

4. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until filling is bubbly on the bottom and the crust is crispy.

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Serve warm with greek yogurt or ice cream.

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Coffee cake with Crown Maple and bacon

coffee cake with maple bacon

I am an avid cake eater, as we know, yet not a lover of baking complicated cakes that take you all day to prepare. Because, well, they disappear much faster than that, don’t they?

This coffee – as in, made with actual coffee – cake is still stunning and special but also deliciously easy.

Use your favorite bundt pan for this cake – the nooks and crannies are wonderful for catching all the bits of the maple glaze. Pour liberally – the more dark amber syrup, the better. I used Crown Maple, my favorite, from Maldava Farms right here in New York.

We are sort of a little past the trend of “bacon on everything!“* though I am not quite sure why… you can never have enough of it, and the addition of savory flavor gives this coffee cake that little bit extra and lifts it to being acceptable for breakfast, which is something I think we can all celebrate.

p.s. {if you agree, please, vote for this recipe this month on the Crown Maple website and social media!}

Note: *if you do not eat bacon, it is easy to omit from the recipe. You can substitute in toasted pecans as a topping or even use both.

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Coffee cake with maple and bacon

You’ll need:

  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cups raw sugar (you can substitute in 1/2 cup maple sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2/3 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 T ground coffee (dissolved in 1 T of hot water)
  • Crown Maple Dark Amber syrup
  • crispy fried uncured maple smoked bacon, diced

1. Preheat oven to 325F.

2. Cool the melted butter slightly. Strain the coffee through a filter, cheesecloth or just a paper towel.

Whisk together all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

3. Grease your bundt pan well and pour in the batter (it will be thick). Shake the pan a bit to spread the batter out evenly.

4. Bake for  45-50 minutes until the cake is set and baked through in the middle. It will be very airy.

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Let cool – about two-thirds of the way – before inverting (use this time to cook the bacon!)

Using a pastry brush, glaze the still warm cake with plenty of maple syrup and top with crispy bacon.

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Thanksgiving birds: whole roasted duck

20131118-112754I am making duck this Thanksgiving for our little family, inspired, in part, by Lucky Duck, a class we recently took with one of my favorite chef instructors, Peter Berley.

We made a lot of duck dishes, as you can see.

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I will be roasting a whole duck, then basting the heck out of it with a spiced maple glaze, and broiling it until it’s nice and crispy.

Sounds so good, right?

And if duck is not your thing, I’ll be posting an aggregate of wonderful s&h Thanksgiving recipes later this week!

Whole Roast Duck with Spiced Maple Glaze

(c) Peter Berley 2010

  • You’ll need:
  • 1 duck, excess fat removed
  • 1 cup chicken or duck stock
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup orange juice (fresh is best)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 t finely chopped fresh giger
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt, pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Dry the duck well. Prick the duck all over with a fork so that any excess fat can render out.

2. Season the duck with salt and pepper and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for about an hour and twenty minutes, draining off the fat during the roasting process several times.20131118-112715.jpg

3. Make the glaze: combine stock, syrup, orange juice and zest, cinnamon, cloves, adn ginger in a pan and simmer over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup. Strain the glaze and season with a few drops of lemon juice (or lime juice or rice vinegar). Season with salt and pepper.

4. Set aside the duck to cool. Cut the duck in half lengthwise and pull out the rib cage and back of each half (this is super intuitive once you cut it in half and makes for easier presentation at the table).

5. Light the broiler and position a rack six inches below it. Place the duck halves skin side up in a a pan. Broil until skin is crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Brush with glaze and broil for two more minutes.

6. Brush with remaining glaze and serve immediately.

Homemade granola

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I hosted a lovely brunch get-together yesterday, with a simple, delicious menu that included freshly baked granola.

Wholesome, full of crunchy and sweet and salty flavors, it’s positively addictive.

Tips: I served the granola with greek yogurt, laced with fresh lemon curd and honey, but it is equally delicious with some almond milk and fresh berries.

Hope everyone is having a beautiful, brisk weekend!

Homemade granola

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3 T sunflower seeds
  • 3 T sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1 T raw sugar
  • 1/2 t fleur de sel
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup red walnuts, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. In a bowl, combine all of the above ingredients.Spread evenly on the baking sheet.

3. Bake the granola, ‘raking’ it with a fork every 10-15 minutes, for about 40 minutes until golden-brown.

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4. Let cool as the granola crisps up.

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Rhubarb with blackberries and ginger cookies

We have already established that I love Speculoos cookies, and I love finding new ways to work them into various recipes. Ginger and sweet and tart rhubarb compliment each other beautifully.

And you can have any leftovers for breakfast!

(adapted from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors)

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs rhubarb, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 t lemon zest (keep it in long strips)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 T vanilla sugar
  • pint of blackberries
  • cream/creme fraiche
  • speculoos cookies (or gingersnaps etc.)

1. Chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces and arrange in an oven-proof ceramic dish or a gratin pan. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Toss rhubarb with lemon zest, sugars, cloves, and maple syrup. Cover with foil and bake for about half an hour – you’ll be able to smell it once it’s done, with the rhubarb softened and fragrant.

 

3. Layer blackberries on top of rhubarb and cover again with the foil – the heat from the rhubarb will gently cook the berries.

4 Garnish with whole and crumbled speculooos/ ginger cookies and serve with a dollop of yogurt or creme fraiche.

Pear and ricotta parfaits

Good morning!

Here is a pear and ricotta treat that, with the addition of maple syrup, I have decided can be made appropriate for breakfast.

It’s a gentle, comforting start to a morning, which, as we all know, can sometimes be a jarring time of day.

(adapted from this recipe)

Serves 2

You’ll need:

  • 2 ripe Starkrimson pears
  • 1/2 lb fresh goat’s milk ricotta
  • 4 T skyr-type 0% milkfat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 t lemon oil
  • 1 T raw sugar
  • 1 t vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • granola for topping, optional

1. Peel, core, and quarter the pears. In a large saucepan, prepare the poaching liquid – maple syrup, water, lemon oil. Add pears and simmer on gentle heat for about 30 minutes, turning the fruit every so often.

2. In the meantime, whip the ricotta lightly – do not use a whisk unless you have a very fine one as ricotta will just clump and get stuck in it. I like to add the Icelandic/skyr yogurt to the ricotta and then just fold it gently with a spatula. Think of folding whipped egg whites.

3. Scoop the pears out of the poaching liquid and set aside. Bring the liquid to a boil and add sugar and vanilla. Simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until the liquid has thickened into a syrup and reduced by half.

4. Assemble your parfaits – layer pears with dollops of whipped ricotta.

 

 

Drizzle with syrup and top with some granola for crunch (and virtuousness), if desired.

Brown butter, chestnut honey, and thyme roasted pears

These are, in a word, delicious.

How can they not be? You can cut through the pears like butter and oh, that great nuttiness of the butter and chestnut honey.

You already know I love chestnut honey, but you can always substitute a darker flower honey or maple syrup.

(adapted from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now)

You’ll need:

  • 2 slightly soft Bosc pears
  • 3 T butter
  • 2/3 cup chestnut honey
  • 5-6 sprigs thyme
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 T lemon zest
  • small pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Peel and core the pears; cut them in half.

2. Heat up butter in an oven-proof skillet or deep pan, cook until frothy, then reduce heat and brown lightly, about 5 minutes.

3. Add pears, cut-side down, cook until golden about 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.

4. Take off heat. Add thyme and a small pinch of salt to the pan. Pour honey and lemon juice over the pears and flip back over so that they are cut-side down again.

5. Bake until just tender, about 12-15 minutes. I like to peek in on them and baste the pears in the syrup as they bake – the fragrance is just amazing.

Maple-glazed chestnuts and brussels sprouts

I’ve been on a real brussels sprouts kick recently – I guess making up for all those years that I decided I did not like them. And I had a packet of chestnuts leftover from the holidays so this dish was born.

It is a beautiful fresh, but wintry combination, with the tang and brightness of lemon balanced by the earthiness and slight sweetness of chestnuts.

You’ll need an ovenproof skillet or earthenware and the following ingredients:

  • 16 oz fresh brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup peeled whole chestnuts
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 T walnut oil
  • 2 T olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp pink peppercorns
  • salt

1. Prep the brussels sprouts and chestnuts – I like to halve most of them but leave the smaller ones whole to break it up.

2. Preheat oven to 400F. Heat up walnut oil in skillet and saute shallots until just golden. Add the brussels sprouts, cook for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add chestnuts and olive oil, mix together. Add salt, lemon juice, and chili flakes. Cook for another 3-4 minutes – you want to get a bit of a ‘sear’ on the brussels sprouts.

4. Take off heat. Add peppercorn and a drizzle of the maple syrup into the skillet and place into the oven for about 10 minutes to let the flavors develop and the brussels sprouts to caramelize lightly and finish off cooking.

It’ll be hard to stop eating them (see below!).