Makes one 6-inch lattice topped pie which serves two generously and makes a lovely host/hostess gift if you have been invited somewhere for the High Holidays.
For the pie pastry: (adapted from 'Gourmet' magazine)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rye flour (can substitute 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon honey
You can prepare this in the food processor but I prefer to make it by hand. Place the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl; whisk to blend. Add the cold butter cubes and cold cream cheese cubes. Use a bench scraper to cut the butter and cream cheese into the dry ingredients. Then use your fingers to finish incorporating the butter and cream cheese, turning the bowl as you go, and tossing the mixture until you have a shaggy mixture. Drizzle in the honey and gently turn the mixture over the honey to combine. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Fold the dough over itself once or twice then shape it into a ball. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disc. Flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour before rolling out. Retrieve one disc from the fridge. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle approximately 8-inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Ease the dough into your pie plate and gently press the dough along the bottom and sides of the plate letting the edges overhang the pie plate; carefully return the pastry lined pie plate to the fridge while you roll out the second disc of dough. This will be the lattice. Cut the dough into 1-inch strips then cover with plastic wrap and return to fridge while you prepare the filling.
For the filling- fills one 6-inch pie shell
1 pound Italian prune plums, rinsed, halved, pits removed, cut into chunks (you should have 3 cups of fruit)
zest from one small lemon
1/4 cup of your favorite honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
pinch kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk or water
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss together the plums, lemon zest, honey, cornstarch, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Add the almond extract, if using. Use a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Retrieve the pie plate and the lattice strips from the fridge. Spoon the filling into the pie shell. Place the lattice strips over the filling, criss-crossing them decoratively. Trim the top and bottom excess dough so you have an even 1-inch overhang. Seal the bottom edge with the lattice edge then roll the edge together and crimp. Place the assembled pie in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. Place the chilled pie on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the lattice with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Bake the pie on the bottom rack of the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Move the pie to the middle rack of the oven, reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until the fruit bubbles through the lattice. Set the pie on a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before slicing, 2-3 hours. Leftovers can be covered with a clean kitchen towel and left on the counter for a day. After that, cover and refrigerate.
We’re but a few weeks away from receiving the green light to wear our white shoes, but in the kitchen and at the farmers’ market, it already feels like summer. Bakers get a little greedy this time of year. Rhapsodizing over rhubarb while cradling quarts of strawberries in our arms, we tap our kitchen clogs impatiently, dreaming of the first peaches. Giddy over the dizzying selection of fruit headed our way, we cannot wait another minute to tuck this bounty into pies, tarts and crumbles. Without reaching too far beyond the kitchen, one of the hidden gems of spring and summer baking is probably lounging in the rear of your cabinet.
Cornmeal’s distinctive grit adds a satisfying crunch and hint of sweetness to warm weather bakes. Rhubarb’s vibrant punch (and strawberries that finally taste like strawberries) align perfectly with cornmeal. For those who think of cornmeal as a weighty, stodgy addition to pie crust, adding a hit of baking powder lightens things up.
As summer unfolds, an extra pie shell stashed in the freezer is a launch pad for any number of fruit-centric desserts. Rhubarb and its berry sidekick aren’t the only options to consider, but they certainly deserve a place at the picnic or patio table. Now go check on that lonely bag of cornmeal leaning against the all-purpose flour and make sure it’s still fresh; in the heat it’s a good idea to seal it up tightly, slide it into a Ziploc bag or tight lidded container and find space for it in the freezer. If unsure, best to start anew and while you’re out, might be worth replenishing your supply of Bain de Soleil; Memorial Day weekend arrives in less than fourteen days.
Makes enough for one double crust 9-inch or 10-inch pie
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 sticks (1/2 pound) cold unsalted butter, cut Into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup ice cold water + 1 teaspoon orange bitters (can substitute fresh lemon juice) see note*
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the cold butter pieces and use a spatula to coat the butter with the flour mixture. Use a bench scraper to cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have mostly pea-size pieces of butter with a few larger pieces. Combine the ice water with the bitters (or lemon juice). Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture around the edge of the bowl, tossing the flour/butter mixture with a fork. Continue adding the ice water mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, tossing the mixture until the dough comes together in a ball; there will be some floury bits remaining. Note* You may not use the total 1/2 cup of liquid; I generally stop at 6 tablespoons because the dough will continue to hydrate as it rests in the refrigerator. Once the mixture holds together when you pinch it with your fingers, gather it together, divide it in half and shape each half into a flat disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling out. The dough will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
makes one 9” lattice topped pie
See NOTE below re: par-baking the crust before filling.
All-butter double crust pie pastry:
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
7 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
5-6 tablespoons ice cold water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Place the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl; whisk to combine. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, add the cold butter blending it into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of ice cold water and the tablespoon of vinegar onto the flour/butter mixture. Toss the mixture using a fork or your fingers, mixing just until the dough comes together. (If the mixture feels dry, add up to an additional tablespoon of water.) Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disc and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out.
On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out one portion of the dough into a circle about 12” in diameter and about ⅛” thick. Gently place the dough into a 9” pie plate, being careful not to stretch it. Trim the excess dough so you have a 1” overhang, tuck this/roll this under to create a raised edge. Crimp the edge using your thumb and index finger. Place the bottom crust in the refrigerator. Note: If time allows, it will significantly improve the crispness of the bottom crust if you par-bake it before filling. This will mean freezing the unbaked crust until it is firm (preferably 15 minutes), removing it from the freezer, lining the pie crust with parchment and filling it with pie weights or beans. place on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and weights/beans. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the dough is no longer raw on the bottom. Let the shell cool completely. It's a little more of an effort to attach lattice to a par-baked crust, but avoiding an under-baked bottom crust is worth the fiddle.
Roll out the second half of dough for the lattice top on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper into a circle about 10” in diameter and about ⅛” thick. Use a pastry cutter or a knife to cut ten 1” wide lattice strips. Carefully slide the parchment paper with the lattice strips on to a baking sheet and put it back in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling.
Prepare the egg wash - 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water and set aside with coarse sugar for sprinkling.
1½ pounds rhubarb, rinsed, leaves removed, trimmed and coarsely chopped (you will need 3½ cups)
1 quart fresh strawberries, lightly rinsed, stems removed, cut in quarters (you will need 3½ cups; save any extras for another use)
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup finely ground instant tapioca
In a large bowl, toss just the rhubarb with the orange juice, lemon juice and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, orange zest and tapioca. Add the sugars/spices/tapioca to the rhubarb and let it sit for 30 minutes to soften the tapioca and the rhubarb. (Save the strawberries; you will add them later.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Retrieve the cooled, par-baked bottom pie crust and the baking sheet with the lattice crust strips from the fridge.
Add the strawberries to the rhubarb mixture, using a rubber spatula to gently combine. Place the par-baked pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pour the filling into the pie shell. Brush the top edge of the bottom crust with a little of the egg wash. Place one lattice strip in the center of the pie, then another strip perpendicular to the first strip, forming a “t”. Add the remaining strips to create a lattice. Trim the lattice edges so they are no longer than 1 inch over the pie pan’s edge. Carefully tuck the lattice edges beneath the edge of the bottom crust. Seal the edges together, gently crimping with your fingers so you have a standing edge. Carefully brush the lattice with the egg wash, sprinkling with coarse sanding sugar. Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake it on the bottom rack of the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking for an additional 40 to 45 minutes, covering the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. The pie will be golden and the fruit will bubble around the edges and in the center of the pie when it is ready. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool for several hours before slicing. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Makes one 9" pie
This pie happily stands alone without the chocolate dipped macaroon embellishment. If time allows, a half batch of the macaroon crust recipe will yield plenty to adorn your dessert.
2⅔ cups coconut, total (I use 1⅓ cups of Angel Flake sweetened coconut and 1⅓ cups desiccated coconut)
4 tablespoons potato starch
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup sugar
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, toss together the coconut and potato starch. In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla. Whisk until the whites and sugar are thoroughly combined. Pour the egg white mixture over the coconut mixture and use a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine the two. Pour the mixture into a heavy bottomed large saucepan. Cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture into a clean bowl. Let cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9” glass pie plate. Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop the macaroon mixture into the pie plate. Dip your fingers in cold water and press the mixture evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate, creating an edge. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 18-20 minutes, just until the pie shell is golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely before filling.
Lemon filling- adapted from BBC Good Food
4 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 cup lemon juice, strained (about 5 lemons)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (or a butter substitute such as Earth Balance)
one 9” Prebaked Macaroon Crust
Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, pinch of salt, potato starch and lemon juice. Place in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking to start then stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 8-10 minutes. (An insta-read thermometer should register 170 degrees F.) Remove the filling from the heat and pour the mixture through the fine mesh strainer. Let the filling cool for about 20 minutes then whisk in the butter until thoroughly incorporated. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the filling and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the cooled pie shell on a baking sheet. Remove the plastic wrap, pour the lemon filling into the pie shell and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes until the filling sets around the edges and jiggles slightly in the middle. Set aside on a cooling rack while you prepare the meringue.
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup water
Set a Pyrex measuring cup next to the stove. Place the egg whites and vanilla in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar, cream of tartar, and water until the sugar is dissolved. Cook over low heat. When the sugar syrup reaches 240 degrees F, immediately pour it into the Pyrex measuring cup to stop further cooking. Turn the stand mixer on to medium and carefully pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, being careful to avoid the whisk and the sides of the bowl. Add all of the syrup then turn the mixer to high. Beat at high speed for about 8 minutes until the egg whites are very thick. (Do not overbeat.) Use a rubber spatula to gently place the meringue on top of the lemon filling. Use an offset spatula to create spiky peaks of meringue. Toast the meringue using a handheld kitchen torch. Let the pie cool on a rack for at least 4 hours before slicing. Refrigerate any leftovers.
(Note: You can prepare a half batch of the macaroon crust to make additional macaroons. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop the mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes (for small macaroons) 15-18 minutes (for larger macaroons). Rotate the pan halfway through baking. Coconut can turn from golden to dark rather quickly, so keep an eye on things. If you wish, when the macaroons cool, dip the bottoms in melted dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Contrary to popular belief, tart lemon and chocolate play nicely together in desserts.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/8 tsp. table salt
2/3 cup lightly salted peanuts
1/3 cup miniature salted pretzels
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup or Lyle's Golden Syrup
1/4 cup whiskey
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
3/4 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt, or 3/8 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1. Position oven racks in bottom and top thirds of oven. Preheat to 250°F . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper ; have two heatproof rubber spatulas or wooden spoons handy.
2. To make popcorn, heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until very hot; add popcorn kernels and shake the pot to form a single layer on the bottom. Cover, and reduce heat to medium once you hear the first pop. Shake pot a few times; listen for steady popping. Remove from heat once the kernel pops slow down to a few at a time. Transfer to an extra-large bowl or large roasting pan and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt or 1/8 tsp. table salt. Sprinkle with peanuts. You should have 12 to 14 cups.
3. To make caramel, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, corn or Golden syrup, whiskey, maple syrup and 3/4 tsp. kosher salt or 3/8 tsp. table salt, stirring until combined. Raise heat to medium-high. Once mixture begins to boil, cook without stirring until mixture reaches 250°F, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add baking soda and stir until mixture foams then settles.
4. Pour over popcorn mixture. Using two heatproof spatulas, quickly stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle with pretzels, if you wish. Divide among prepared pans and bake on top and bottom racks, stirring every 15 minutes, and switching and rotating pans until mixture is evenly coated and crisp, 30 to 45 minutes total. Remove from oven and cool completely. Caramel corn is best within first 3 days, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Makes about 14 cups
Fresh Pineapple Pie with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
Makes one 9-inch pie or one 7-inch and one 5½-inch
Ripe pineapple, fresh orange juice and pineapple juice -with no sugar added- are the key players in this stovetop filling. Serve with brown sugar whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
For the crust-
(I don’t add additional sugar to the crumbs but you can add 1 tablespoon if you wish)
6½ oz. vanilla wafers or vanilla shortbread cookies
6 oz. unsalted almonds, pecans or macadamia nuts
generous pinch kosher salt
2 oz. (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted plus additional to butter pie plate(s)
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter your pie plate(s).
Pulse nuts in food processor until you have coarse crumbs; transfer to a medium bowl. Pulse cookies until you have coarse crumbs; add to nut crumbs and combine. Add salt and melted butter to crumbs; blend thoroughly. Press mixture across the bottom and up the sides of the lightly buttered pie plate(s). Place pie plate(s) in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes. Bake on middle rack of oven for 8-10 minutes, just until lightly golden. Cool pie shell(s) on a rack while you prepare the filling.
For the filling-
4 cups fresh pineapple, chopped (from one large ripe pineapple/peeled and cored)
1 cup fresh pineapple juice, no sugar added (canned is fine)
½ teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
Brown Sugar Whipped Cream-
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine cream, brown sugar, salt and vanilla. Whip on medium-high speed until fluffy and thick, about 5 minutes. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate. Will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.
Line an 8” square cake pan or a 7” round springform pan with parchment paper. Lightly butter the sides of the pan and the parchment. (The springform makes a slightly taller cake.)
Prepare the crumb first; refrigerate while you make the cake batter.
For the crumb:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1¾ cups cake flour, sifted
Rub the orange zest into the granulated sugar with your fingers. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Whisk together then add the melted butter. Add the cake flour last, (I use my fingers) and pinch the mixture; you want crumbs about 1/2 –inch in size. Cover and refrigerate. Turn the oven on to 325 degrees F.
For the cake:
1 cup cake flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp.
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup sour cream or whole fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon fresh orange juice*
1½ teaspoons vanilla
(for more concentrated orange flavor, start with ¼ cup fresh orange juice and reduce it down to 2 tablespoons- I do this on top of the stove then let it cool.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar with the orange zest, rubbing it together with your fingers. Use a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer and a large bowl) beat the butter on medium speed, gradually adding the orange zest/sugar, until the mixture is smooth. Using the same bowl you used for the sugar and zest, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, orange juice and vanilla. Gradually add the egg mixture to the butter mixture, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, beating briefly until smooth, then beat in the sour cream, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the rest of the flour mixture, beating on low just until combined; do not over beat. Scrape the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly using a small offset spatula. Retrieve the crumb mixture from the fridge, break it up into large clumps and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Place the cake on the middle rack of the oven. Baking time varies by oven; I start checking the cake at 50 minutes-it should test clean. If not, give it another 5-10 minutes. Baking at a low temperature keeps the cake moist and the crumbs from getting too dark, but it can take as long as 60 minutes in the oven so keep an eye on things- then transfer the cake to a rack to cool completely before slicing. Cover and wrap any leftovers; it can sit at room temperature for up to 3 days.
makes enough for one 9” pie
4 cups (6 ounces) pretzels (I use mini twists)
½ cup (2 ounces) of pecans OR walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar*
7- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Spritz your pie plate with a little non-stick vegetable oil spray.
Pulse the pretzels in the food processor until finely ground (not like sawdust; leave a little bit of texture) or place them in a sealable plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Transfer the pretzels to a medium mixing bowl. Pulse the toasted pecans or walnuts in the food processor until fine; add to the pretzel crumbs. Add the brown sugar to the crumb mixture and toss to combine; reserve one tablespoon of the melted butter. Add 7 tablespoons of melted butter to the mixture and mix thoroughly; it should feel like wet sand. If it feels too dry, add the reserved tablespoon of melted butter. Transfer the crumbs to your pie plate and use your fingers to pat the mixture evenly around the sides and across the bottom of the pie plate. Place the filled pie plate in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes. Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 8-10 minutes, just long enough to set the crust. Let the pie crust cool completely before filling.
*Note: I prefer to keep this on the salty side but you can certainly adjust by adding one or even two more tablespoon(s) of brown sugar.
For the honey cake layer: