Monthly Archives: December 2013

Blackberry Balsamic Glazed Goat Cheese and Proscuitto Toasts

Blackberry Glazed Goat Cheese and Proscuitto Toasts

Blackberry Glazed Goat Cheese and Proscuitto Toasts

This is one of my new favorite party appetizers! I went to a gathering the other night and wanted to bring an appetizer to share. I had a bunch of leftover stuff from my Christmas buffet that I wanted to incorporate and I came across a version of this on the Driscoll’s berry website (I will dedicate some time to checking out more recipes there). I happened to have all of the ingredients except for the bread. I did alter/simplify the recipe a bit, so here’s my version. The combination of flavors is outstanding – I love anything that successfully marries sweet and savory. I only wish I had made more because they were gone in a matter of minutes- the reviews were all very positive. These toasts assemble very quickly. The total hands-on time is probably less than 15 minutes, but you do have to allow time for the glaze to cool (enough time to get dressed and ready). You could, of course, prepare the glaze in advance. I had a little bit leftover and am going to try to use it on some poultry – I’m thinking duck…after all, New Year’s Eve is only a day away. This recipe makes 20 pieces.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Loaf of French Bread – cut into 1/4″ diagonal slices
  • 20 Large Blackberries
  • 6 Oz. Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese – at room temperature
  • 4 Oz. Proscuitto – thinly sliced, cut into about 2″ pieces
  • 3/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 TBS. Sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Boil gently for about 10 minutes until reduced by about 1/2. Add blackberries to hot vinegar mixture and mix gently until all berries are well coated.add blackberries to glaze Allow entire mixture to cool. Place sliced bread on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler for about two minutes until golden brown on top; flip and broil for another 2 minutes until the other sides are browned. Brush each toast with the balsamic glaze. brush with glazeSpread goat cheese on each toast and top with proscuitto. add proscuittoAdd a glazed blackberry to the top of each toast.blackberry glazed goat cheese and proscuitto toast close-up

 

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexian Wedding cookies croppedMy mother was not much of a baker (maybe that’s where I learned to proclaim that I am not a baker), but she did make one type of cookie – the Mexican Wedding cookie, and it’s been one of my favorite holiday cookies ever since. This cookie is known by many names and versions exist in many different cultures (Butter Pecan Cookies, Russian Teacakes, Italian Butter Nut Cookies, Southern Pecan Butterball, Snowdrop Cookies, Snowball Cookies, Swedish Teacakes, Viennese Sugar Balls). If they were descriptively named, they would probably be called pecan butter cookies – those are the two key ingredients. They are not a particularly sweet cookie, but they certainly are indulgent. This year my former boyfriend’s mother hired me to bake her 8 dozen of these cookies to take to a cookie exchange (whoever came up with the idea of the cookie exchange is a genius – it’s easy to make 8 dozen of the same cookie, but really challenging to make 8 dozen different cookies). I use pecans in my cookies, but some recipes call for walnuts or almonds, or even a combination of nuts. Some recipes have you shape the cookies into a crescent shape (I think this is the Italian version), but I just shape them like balls – flattened a bit on the underside. I am generous with the powdered sugar coating, I usually coat the cookies while they’re hot so the sugar gets absorbed, but I re-dust them after they’ve cooled. I do think of these cookies as a holiday cookie – something about the powdered sugar makes them look festive and snow covered, but they are a treat anytime of year. This recipe is super easy to follow and the cookies are pretty much foolproof.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating and dusting baked cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces
INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until it is smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Continue with mixer at  low speed, and gradually add the flour. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the pecans by hand. Mexican wedding cookie doughRoll about  1 heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and place onto prepared cookie sheets. (If dough is sticking to your hands, coat your hands in powdered sugar). Set cookies about 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 40 minutes – bottoms will NOT be browned. Mexian Wedding cookies in ovenIn the meantime, add powdered sugar to a small bowl. Immediately after removing from oven, roll each cookie in additional confectioners’ sugar. roll cookies in powdered sugarCool on wire racks. If desired, dust with additional powdered sugar after cookies have cooled. Mexian Wedding cookies

Mediterranean Style Braised Roast

Mediterranean Braised Roast

Mediterranean Braised Roast

In keeping with the tradition of Sunday dinners with our host students, the neighbors and I have enjoyed quite a few roasts together.

Sunday Holiday Dinner Table

Sunday Holiday Dinner Table

It can be challenging to cook family style dinners for 12-15 people, but roasts are the way to go. It helps as well that they’ve been on special for BOGO – a savings of between $15-$17. The standard roast with root vegetables is always great, but I needed to change it up a bit. I decided to make the roast similarly to how I braise larger cuts of lamb (shoulder) in a hearty red wine tomato based sauce with lots of garlic, some mushrooms, olives, and artichoke hearts. Because the root vegetables are such a naturally complimentary flavor to the braised roast, I used them in the braising process but “disguised” (my Brazilian exchange student won’t eat them) by pureeing them into the sauce in the end. Well, I am happy to report that the results were even better than expected. I served it with a creamy blue cheese polenta, but knowing that the kids would be suspect of that, I also made egg noodles. This is a great meal for a crowd, but you could use a small roast and make it for a group of 4-6. This recipe falls under the “easy, prep it and leave it” category.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 “Pot Roasts” (English Roast, Chuck Roast, Round Roast, Rump Roast) – about 4-5 Lbs. each – cut into large serving size pieces (about 4-5 pieces for each roast)
  • 1 Large Onion- thinly sliced
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Carrots- cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 Stalks of Celery- cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 28 Oz.Cans Crushed or Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 32 Oz. Beef Broth
  • 8 Oz. Mushrooms (White, Cremini, or Baby Bellas) – cut into large slices
  • 1  Can Quartered Artichoke Hearts – drained
  • 1 Cup Kalmata Olives – pitted
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Approx. 1/4 Cup Flour
  • Small bunch of Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Corn Starch or Gravy Flour

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel; season beef generously with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Add olive oil to a large oven proof stock pot and heat over medium. Working in batches, add beef and brown on all sidesBrown roast pieces (set browned beef aside on a plate). Add onion to pot (add more olive oil if necessary) and saute, scraping up browned bits from the pan as you brown the onions. saute onions after roastAdd red wine to the hot pot and use a spoon to scrape all bits from the pan; cook over medium until wine is reduced by about 1/2. Add wine and reduceIn the meantime, place parsley,garlic cloves,  carrots and celery on a piece of cheese cloth, form into a pouch and tie up.put vegetables in cheese cloth Add the beef broth, canned tomatoes, bay leaves, cheese cloth pouch and the browned meat to the stock pot. The liquid should cover the meat. Cover the pot with a lid and place the pot in the preheated oven. Cook for 2.5- 3  hours – until meat is tender. Remove pot from oven and remove the cheese cloth bag and set aside. Add mushrooms, olives and drained artichoke hearts. Add vegetablesIn the meantime, remove the carrots, celery and garlic cloves and a bit of the parsley from the cheese cloth pouch and add to a blender or food processor. puree carrotsAdd about 1 Cup of the cooking liquid to the blender or food processor and blend until smooth and pureed. Add puree to pot and return to oven and cook for another 45 minutes- 1 hour until mushrooms are tender. Arrange meat and vegetables (olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts) on a serving platter or bowl. If desired, combine 3-5 TBS. of corn starch with water to make a slurry and add to the cooking liquid to thicken. Pour gravy/cooking liquid over meat, garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately with mashed potatoes, polenta, or noodles.

 

Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches

Beef Tenderloin Platter

Beef Tenderloin Platter

Christmas Day at our house usually involves hanging out at home in our new pajamas (a Christmas Eve tradition). I always invite people to stop by (in their pajamas if they’d like) and I put out an all-day buffet feast. The dessert tray is usually popular, as is the shrimp cocktail and smoked fish assortment, but the real star is the beef tenderloin. Since there’s no set time for dinner, there’s no way to keep the beef hot, so it’s best used for sandwiches. I always start with a good quality, well trimmed tenderloin. I don’t do much in the way of seasoning, I cut some slits in the meat and add some garlic cloves, add olive oil (I used bacon grease because I had it leftover from breakfast – I will definitely use it again in the future) to the top of the meat, rub the meat down with salt and pepper and add some “filet herbes” that my sister-in-law brought back from France (any combination of dried parsley, basil, shives, oregano, thyme – or whatever your favorite herbs are would fine). My personal favorite accoutrements for the tenderloin are: baby arugula, sliced tomatoes, and, of course, hollandaise sauce. I put out a variety of rolls – ciabatta, French rolls, Brioche, and, my son’s favorite; Hawaiian King rolls. I arrange everything on a large platter (the colors work great at Christmas time) and allow people to assemble their own sandwiches – I’ve never had a single complaint! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best (it helps to make them look good too).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Beef Tenderloin Filet (trimmed and silver skin removed)
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2-3 TBS. Dried Filet Herbs
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil or Bacon Grease
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Bag Baby Arugula
  • 3 Tomatoes – thinly sliced
  • Hollandaise sauce (see below)
  • 12 Good Quality Rolls

Preheat oven to 500 Degrees. Cut 6-8 slits into the top of the tenderloin (deep enough to hold garlic clove) and place 1/2 peeled garlic clove in each slit. Drizzle olive oil or bacon fat over the top of the meat, season well with salt and pepper and “rub” it into the meat. Add the dried herbs to the top of the filet. Place the filet in a broiler pan and put in the preheated oven. Immediately turn the oven temperature down to 400 Degrees. Cook the tenderloin for 35-55 minutes (the time will depend on the size – particularly the thickness – of the filet until the internal temperature reaches 140 Degrees for medium rare. If your tenderloin has a thinner “tail” you will be guaranteed some more well-done meat. If you prefer, you can cut off the tail and cook it for a shorter period of time to keep it medium rare. When tenderloin has reached desired temperature remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice beef (thin, but not too thin), and place in the center of a platter. Surround the beef with the arugula and tomato slices and serve with a side of Hollandaise or your favorite sauce (you can use plain or flavored mayonnaise or a horseradish sauce).

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 2 TBS. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne in a blender; blend until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter until bubbling, but do not allow to burn.With the lid on, turn the blender to medium speed; remove the blender lid insert, and, in a slow, steady stream, add butter to blender. It is important that the hot butter be added slowly so that it cooks the eggs in the sauce.

Peppermint Ice Cream Sundaes

Peppermint Ice Cream Sundae

Peppermint Ice Cream Sundae

OK this is not really a recipe because this is not homemade peppermint ice cream (although that’s on my list of things to try to make) or homemade chocolate sauce. It’s the holiday season and we have fully embraced (code for: we are addicted to) peppermint ice cream. With all of the baking I’ve been doing, you would think I could spare a cookie or two for my kids, but…no. Trust me, nobody has been complaining about peppermint sundaes. We had a whole crew of teenagers over the other night and I couldn’t refill their sundae bowls fast enough. So, no real instructions – just scoop out some delicious, precious (only available this time of year) peppermint ice cream and top it with your favorite chocolate sauce. Enjoy!

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

I’m not a huge chocoholic, and I don’t particularly love peppermint, but I love this bark – particularly when it’s “in season.” This is so easy to make, and you can use a variety of chocolate combinations. I used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate for the bottom layer and good quality white chocolate for the top layer, but you could certainly use all semi-sweet, all milk chocolate, or even dark chocolate for the bottom layer. You can use peppermint candies (you know, the kind that you grab handfuls of when you leave the family style restaurant), or candycanes (my preference since they’re in season). This bark is great to add to your holiday cookie tray, or box it up and give it as gifts. Make a couple batches…trust me, it disappears quickly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 Oz. Good Quality Semi-sweet, Milk or Dark Chocolate – chips or chopped
  • 16 Oz. Good Quality White Chocolate – chips or chopped
  • 1 tsp. Peppermint Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed Peppermint Candy (about 4 candycanes)Candy Canes

INSTRUCTIONS:

Line a baking sheet with wax paper (can use aluminum foil – shiny side up). Put darker chocolate (whatever combination you decide to use) into a heat proof bowl or the top of a double boiler. Chocolate ready to meltUsing a saucepan or small stockpot with a top opening wide enough to comfortably hold bowl on top, add enough water to reach just below where the bowl would sit on top and bring to a boil. Add bowl with chocolate to the top of the pot and stir chocolate until melted. melted chocolateAdd 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract to melted chocolate and mix until thoroughly combined. Remove bowl from heat and wipe the bottom to remove any condensation which may have formed (you don’t want water droplets to fall into your chocolate when you spread it on sheet). Spread melted chocolate in an even layer on baking sheet (don’t worry about getting it exactly flat – it is suppose to look rustic). spread chocolateAllow darker chocolate to cool and partially set for about 10 minutes. Wash bowl and dry thoroughly.white chocolate Repeat process to melt the white chocolate and add remaining 1/2 tsp. of peppermint extract to melted white chocolate and mix until thoroughly combined. Spread melted white chocolate in an even layer over cooled dark chocolate. white chocolate layeredSprinkle crushed peppermint over the top of white chocolate and use your fingers to press in slightly to incorporate the pieces into the white chocolate (just enough so that they don’t all fall off). Add peppermintAllow to cool entirely (at least one hour) and then break into pieces. Break bark apart

Simple Caprese Style Pasta

Caprese Style Pasta

Caprese Style Pasta

My Caprese Pasta Salad has been pinned quite a bit on pinterest and it’s always a summertime favorite for barbeques, concert in the park picnic dinners, or just casual dinners at home. In the colder months, however, I don’t make as many cold salad dishes, but we still enjoy pasta with all of the Caprese elements. I made this for my “Caprese Pasta loving friend’s” birthday dinner. It looks great on a platter, and the colors are very festive, so it’s a great dish to serve for a holiday crowd. It’s great for entertaining because it comes together so easily. You could toss the pasta with a bit of cream sauce, but my family loves it just generously coated with olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, and, of course, Parmesan cheese. You can also toss together all of the ingredients, but I like the look of it with the pasta in the center surrounded by the other Caprese ingredients. The ingredient measurements are flexible – adjust according to your taste.  (Serves 6-8 as a side dish)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lb. Pasta (Bowties, Ziti, Rigatoni, or your favorite pasta shape)
  • 1 – 1.5 Cups Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1.5- 2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes (can use cherry tomatoes cut in 1/2)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Lb. Fresh Mozzerella Cheese – cut into bite sized cubes
  • 4-6  TBS. Butter- melted
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook pasta to just beyond al dente phase, but don’t allow to get too soft. While pasta cooks, you can chop ingredients. When pasta is drained, toss with melted butter, olive oil salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese until well coated. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Arrange the chopped tomatoes, basil, and cubed mozzerella around the perimeter of a large serving platter and then add the pasta to the center. Serve immediately.

Caprese pasta Ashlees bday dinner table

 

Kit Kat Cupcakes

Kit Kat Cupcake with Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Kit Kat Cupcake with Caramel Buttercream Frosting

For  one of my daughter’s best friends’ birthdays I was politely informed that I would be making the cupcakes… for about half of the senior class! I wanted to make something fun, and because Halloween was right around the corner, I decided to incorporate some kind of candy bars. Anything peanut is taboo at school because there are so many allergies – including, in this case, the birthday girl. It turns out that her favorite candy bar is a Kit Kat, so I figured I’d work that in. Essentially, I just made a standard chocolate cupcake and added a mini Kit Kat bar to the center. I think peanut butter buttercream frosting would be delicious on these, but…the peanut allergy came into play. I thought chocolate buttercream would just make the whole thing too chocolatey, and, well plain buttercream just seemed to…plain. I decided to go with a lightly caramel flavored buttercream – it was an excellent choice. The cupcakes were heralded as some of the best cupcakes EVER! (High school students are never known to exaggerate). I will say that these are a fun cupcake when you’re looking for something a little different, but reliably good. You can experiment with all different types of candy bars – I certainly plan to. (Makes about 12 cupcakes).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup. Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2/3 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 9 Fun Size Kit Kats split into single bars (if you can’t find fun size, you can use regular and break them into smaller pieces)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Add cupcake liners*(12) to cupcake pan. Combine and mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl (larger) beat egg; add sugar, oil and vanilla, and beat until smooth and thoroughly combined. Alternating, add the dry ingredient mixture and the buttermilk, mixing after the addition of each-end with dry ingredients. For each cupcake liner, add enough batter to just cover the bottom. Add a single Kit Kat broken in half (or whatever portion of one fits comfortably)kitkat cupcakes add kitkats to each liner and then add enough batter so that each cupcake liner is filled just over 3/4 fullkitkat cupcakes in oven. Bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

* I like to use pretty cupcake liners – use 2 liners for each cupcake so that the color and the design of the liners is not compromised (especially when making chocolate or darker batter cupcakes).

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter – softened
  • 3/4-1 Cups Confectioners (Powdered) Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Caramel Sauce (I use store bought)

Add butter sugar and salt to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a handheld electric mixer to beat until smooth – add the caramel sauce and continue beating until smooth. If necessary, adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish each cupcake with another piece (about an inch long) of a single Kit Kat bar.

Kitkat cupcake 2

 

 

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

Chicken and basil cream sauce

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

We love having Matt, our foreign exchange student from Brazil, live with us, but I must confess that he is a challenge to cook for. He does not eat a single vegetable or fruit – you should have seen the look on his face when he saw the chicken stir fry I made for my son’s birthday dinner! He literally picked the chicken out of the pan and noticed he had a “green thing” in the mix; he said “Oh no Kath, can you get it off my plate?” I just view it as a new cooking challenge; or maybe a challenge to get him to embrace some fruits or vegetables (he did eat some apple cranberry tart the other night). So, I had some leftover chicken breasts from the stir fry dinner and I know he likes cream and cheese sauces, so I threw together a revised version of my chicken in creamy pesto sauce. I did warn him that there were “green things” in the dish, but I promised they were not vegetables but herbs to add flavor. He accepted that and enjoyed the pasta- it may be baby steps, but it’s progress!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2-3 Cups Heavy cream
  • 2 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese- grated
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil – chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Lb. Cooked Linguine, Fettuccini (or other favorite pasta)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut chicken into bite size pieces (I prefer thin slices) and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, melt butter. Add chicken to pan and saute/brown until fully cooked.brown chicken Add cream and chopped basil to pan and simmer, stirring occasionally,  over medium until cream is reduced by about 50%. chicken basil cream reducingAdd cheese and stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Serve over pasta* – garnish with additional basil if desired.

*If you prefer, add cooked pasta directly to the saute pan and toss until liberally coated with the sauce – this will help to further thicken the sauce.

Rustic Apple Cranberry Tart

Rustic Apple Cranberry Tart

Rustic Apple Cranberry Tart

I, like most of us, continue to try to find ways to use up the Thanksgiving leftovers. While I never really grow tired of apple pie, I was looking for something just a little different since I made four different pies for Thanksgiving. I also wanted to use up my leftover cranberries. What a delightful surprise this tart was. I actually made two of them and we devoured them at a recent Sunday evening dinner with neighbors. I used Northern Spy apples which is a favorite pie apple here in Michigan – I have fond memories of my grandmother’s apple pies made with them. You can certainly use any apple that you like for pie, but keep in mind that the cranberries add tartness, so if you use a tart apple like a Granny Smith, you’ll want to increase the sugar a bit. Another of my favorite baking apples is the Macintosh because of it’s sweet/tart flavor, but they are not as firm and I think a firmer apple works better in the tart. I served the tart with whipped cream because, you guessed it, I had it leftover, but vanilla ice cream would be an even better accompaniment. As is also typical for me, I used Pillsbury pie crust – I know I’ve sung its praises before, but I can’t emphasize enough how much more likely I am to make a pie, tart, or quiche if I don’t have to mess (literally) with the crust.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 Cup (firmly packed) Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar (plus additional for sprinkling on crust)
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 3-4 Large, Firm Baking Apples, such as Northern Spy – peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
  • 1 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • 1-2 TBS. Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp.  Milk or Cream
  • 1 Pie Crust (store bought or see recipe below)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees. Add sliced apples to a large bowl and coat with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Add sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cranberries.apple cranberry tart ingredients Toss ingredients until well combined and the apples and cranberries are well coated with the dry ingredients. Lay the pie crust out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pile the apple cranberry filling in the center of the crust leaving about a 2 inch rim around the edge. Dot the filling with pieces of butter. apple cranberry tart ready to cookFold the edges of the crust over the filling – working your way around the whole tart. Brush the crust with milk or cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. apple cranberry tart into ovenBake at 425 Degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 350 Degrees. Bake for another 50-60 minutes until the crust is golden brown, the apples and berries are softened. apple cranberry tart cookedIf crust starts getting too brown during the cooking process, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a serving plate or, if not serving immediately, a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.

For Homemade Pie Crust:

Pate Brise (Pie Crust):

  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Sticks ( 1 Cup) Unsalted Butter – well chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Ice Water

The key to a good flaky crust is to use very cold ingredients and don’t overwork the dough.

Add flour, salt and sugar to a food processor and mix until combined. Add butter and pulse for 7-10 seconds until flour mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add water in a steady stream through processor tube, pulsing while adding. Continue pulsing and adding water just until dough holds together. Dough should not be wet or mushy, but must hold together enough to roll out – if it doesn’t hold together to form a ball, slowly add a little more water until it does. Divide dough into two equal parts and form into balls, slightly flatten balls (they will chill faster and be easier to roll out). Cover in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. Remove 1 dough disc from refrigerator and place on a floured work surface. Flour a rolling pin, and roll dough out to desired thickness or size necessary to fit in pie plate. Repeat process for top crust after filling bottom crust.