SWEET CORNMEAL HAND PIES
For the dough-
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
zest from one small orange
2 sticks (8 oz.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons cream or milk
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, salt, and orange zest. Add the butter pieces, pulsing just until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Transfer the flour/butter mixture to a large bowl and add the beaten eggs, using a fork to gently combine. The dough should just hold together. Shape the dough into two equal discs, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Working with one disc of dough at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a diameter of about 14” and ⅛” thick. Use a 3½” cutter to cut out 6 squares. Place the squares on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat rolling and cutting with the second disc of dough. (Cover and refrigerate the second round of squares.)
For the filling-
4 cups total of your very best abandoned freezer fruit
(I used 2½ cups of frozen cherries, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen cranberries, 1/2 cup frozen rhubarb)
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons dark amber maple syrup (depending on your taste)
⅛ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
pinch of salt
zest from one small lemon
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Place the frozen fruit on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and dab away the excess ice/moisture. You don’t want to defrost the fruit, just remove any ice. Place the fruit in a heavy bottomed saucepan. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the brown sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg, and salt. Add to the fruit and cook over medium/low heat until the fruit thickens, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest, vanilla, and the butter. Chill completely before assembling the hand pies.
When ready to bake the hand pies, Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
When the filling is cool, retrieve the pastry squares from the refrigerator. Place half of the squares on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the edges of each square with a little of the egg wash. Place one tablespoon (no more than that!) of filling in the center of each square. Place one square atop each hand pie, sealing the edges with a fork, and brushing the edges and the top of each pie with egg wash. Poke a few fork holes in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate the pies for at least 20 minutes before baking to help them hold their shape. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes until golden. Enjoy any additional filling alongside the hand pies or save to use as a topping on yogurt.
MEYER LEMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES
makes 20 sandwich cookies
from Emily Luchetti and SAVEUR
For the Lemon Curd-
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice (zest the lemons first to use in the shortbread)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon chilled unsalted butter
In a small non-reactive saucepan, whisk together the sugar, egg, and egg yolks until smooth. Add the lemon juice and salt, and cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the curd begins to thicken and bubbles start to break the surface. Remove from the heat and whisk the butter into the curd until smooth. Strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer set over a heatproof bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the lemon curd until completely chilled, at least 2 hours.
For the Shortbread Cookies-
(these are very tender; I’ve added rice flour in addition to the all-purpose flour for a more traditional shortbread; if you don’t have rice flour, use 1⅓ cups of all-purpose; I’ve also added the vanilla bean which pairs well with the sweetness of the Meyer lemons)
6 tablespoons sugar
finely grated zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1 vanilla bean, split, beans scraped with the tip of a small paring knife
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup rice flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
Use your fingers to combine the sugar with the lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flours with the kosher salt then add the butter pieces and the sugar mixture. Beat on medium-low speed until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and shape it into a disc. Dust the top of the dough with a bit of flour, and roll the dough out to a ¼” thickness. Use a 1¾” cookie cutter to cut out approximately 40 circles, rerolling the scraps once. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate the cookies for at least an hour before baking.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake the cookies until lightly golden, about 16-18 minutes (depending on your oven) being sure to rotate the cookie sheets halfway through. Transfer the baking sheets to a rack and let the cookies cool completely before filling them. Sandwich the cooled cookies with one teaspoon of lemon curd. The cookies can be chilled for an hour before serving.
Traditionally, Hamantaschen are small cookies, cut as 3½” circles. In this recipe I used a 9½” tart pan as a guide and cut out one large circle, to slice and share. (There will be additional dough remaining that you can cut into 3½” circles, placing a teaspoon of cherry filling in each, or you can cut narrow strips using a pastry wheel and garnish the Hamantaschen with woven strips of dough. Special thanks to Jones & Co. for the vanilla bean inspiration!)
3½ cups frozen sweet cherries, (I use the 16 oz. bag from Trader Joes)
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ tablespoons cornstarch (4½ teaspoons)
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon Cherry Heering Liqueur
¼ teaspoon almond extract, preferably Nielsen & Massey
Place the frozen cherries in a strainer set over a bowl and let them thaw for about 15-20 minutes. Discard any excess ice/water from the cherries. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and orange zest. Place the cherries in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Cook over medium heat until the cherries begin to thicken. Don’t overcook them; you want them to retain some of their plumpness. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract and liqueur.. Scrape the filling into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. (If you’re in a hurry, you can set the bowl of filling over a bowl of ice and stir it occasionally until it cools.) This will make enough filling for one 9½” circle with some additional that can be used to fill smaller cookies (or eaten with yogurt or ice cream). Cover and refrigerate the filling until ready to use.
Vanilla Bean Hamantaschen Dough
4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped with the tip of a small knife OR 2 teaspoons
egg wash made from 1 egg yolk combined with 3 tablespoons milk or cream
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and vanilla bean seeds.* In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar until smooth, then add cream cheese, blending well. With mixer on low add flour mixture and orange zest. Dough will be soft, do not overmix. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, sealing well. Place in refrigerator at least one hour, preferably overnight. Prepare the egg wash before you are ready to assemble and bake the pastry. (*If using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean seeds, add the liquid extract to the butter/sugar/cream cheese mixture.)
To assemble the Hamantaschen:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn dough out onto a sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. Roll to a thickness of a little less than ⅛” thick. (If the dough is too thick, it does not bake thoroughly and loses some of its flakiness.) Use the tart pan ring to cut out a 9½” circle of dough.
Carefully transfer the large circle of dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. The easiest way to do this is to lightly dust the pastry with flour, fold it in quarters, transfer it to your parchment lined baking sheet, and carefully unfold the dough back into a circle.
Brush the outer edge of the circle with egg wash- this will help the Hamantaschen hold its shape. For the 9½” circle, place about 2 cups of cherry filling in the center of the dough, leaving a 1” border around the pastry, and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. It’s tempting to overfill the pastry, but this will only cause it to lose its shape in the oven and overflow. Starting with the left side, fold the pastry over the filling, then fold in the right, then tuck in the bottom lip to seal the pastry. Brush the edges only (not the center) with egg wash, garnish with additional thin strips of dough if you wish, and place the filled Hamantaschen in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before baking. This also goes for any smaller circles; if you skip this step, the pastry(ies) will open in the oven resembling a sad circle instead of a triangle.
Bake the large Hamantaschen on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes then rotate the tray and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling is gently bubbling. (For the 3½” pastries, bake on the bottom rack of the oven for a total of 12-15 minutes until golden. For itty-bitty bite size pastries, just a dab of filling will do, and they will need less oven time.) Remove Hamantaschen from the oven and place on a cooling rack. (As the Hamantaschen cools, the filling will settle slightly and you can spoon a little of the extra filling in the center of the pastry.)
(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated and the Macrina Cookbook)
Makes 8 scones
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1½ cups white whole wheat flour
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread oats and almonds evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in oven until lightly browned and fragrant, about 7 minutes. (Keep an eye on things here; you don’t want them to burn.) Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. When the oats and almonds have cooled, measure out 2 tablespoons; you will use them later when turning out the dough onto your work surface.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and egg. Set aside one tablespoon of the milk/cream/egg mixture to use as a glaze for the scones.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, and salt. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the cooled oats and almonds. Add the diced apricots. Use a rubber scraper to fold in the milk/cream/egg mixture. Finish mixing the dough by hand just until it holds together.
Dust your work surface with the reserved 2 tablespoons of oats/almonds. Turn the dough out on top of the oats/almonds and gently turn the dough until everything is incorporated. Pat the dough into a circle about 7” in diameter. Use a bench scraper to cut the circle of dough into 8 triangles. Place the scones about 2” apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved milk/cream/egg glaze and sprinkle with a bit of coarse sugar.
Bake in your preheated 425 degree F oven for about 15-18 minutes, just until the scones are toasty and golden brown. Cool on a rack and serve with apricot jam.
(Note: There are three components to this pie and if you are crunched for time, each one can stand alone. The crust can be easily filled with ice cream, (preferably coffee) and is better still, topped off with the Bailey's whipped cream. The pie filling on its own can be poured into ramekins and served with a thimbleful of your favorite Irish beverage or an Irish coffee. Or both. Collectively, the pie is as celebratory as any parade, regardless of the weather.)
Oatmeal Cookie Pretzel Crust
Makes one 9” pie crust or 10” tart shell
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
3 ounces coarsely crushed thin pretzels
¼ cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
generous pinch of kosher salt
1 egg, beaten with a fork
2 oz. chocolate chips
Lightly butter your pie plate or tart pan. In bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and brown sugar. Beat until well combined, then add oats, pretzels, flour and the walnuts. With mixer on low, add beaten egg, then chocolate chips. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap; it will be crumbly. Measure out one cup of the crust mixture and set aside. (You can use that to fill a personal pie plate, 5.5" or put it in a zip loc bag and freeze it for another use.) The remainder should weigh about 12 ounces, enough to line either a 9" pie plate or a 10" tart pan with removable bottom. Pat the dough into the bottom of your pan and up the sides. Then place the pie plate or tart pan in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. When dough is chilled, line it with parchment and beans and blind bake for about 25-30 minutes, until set. Then remove the parchment and beans and bake it another 10 minutes or so until it is firm. Set aside to cool completely while you prepare the filling. (Don't forget to turn the oven off.)
Chocolate Irish Whiskey Pie Filling
7 large egg yolks
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 and 1/4 cups half & half
8 oz. dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe's 60%) chopped
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
4 Tablespoons Jameson Irish Whiskey
In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the sugars and cornstarch, then egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Gradually add the half & half. Set over simmering water whisking frequently until very thick, about 8-10 minutes. Remove pan from over double boiler and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is thoroughly melted. Add butter, whisk to combine, then strain through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on filling to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, then gently fold in whiskey. Filling can now be poured into the cooled crust. Place plastic wrap over pie and chill until firm. Before serving, garnish the pie with the Bailey's whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Bailey's Coffee Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Medaglia d'Oro instant espresso coffee
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
chocolate shavings, to garnish
It really does speed things along if you chill the bowl and the whisk attachment. Combine the heavy cream and instant espresso in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (Or you can use a hand-held mixer; it will just take longer. That's always a problem for me because I'm generally due at someone's home with said dessert about the time I start to whip the cream...) You want the instant espresso to dissolve in the cream just a bit before you start to whip it. With the mixer going at medium speed, whip the cream until it starts to thicken. Gradually add the confectioners sugar until it forms soft peaks. Then add the Bailey's Irish Cream and whip until thick. (I prefer to turn off the mixer before it is too thick and finish the last few whisking laps by hand.) Garnish the pie with chocolate shavings. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
HANGOVER MORNING BISCUITS
Serves 8, feeling fragile
(adapted from Zoe Nathan and Midwest Living)
½ lb. thick cut bacon, cut into ½” pieces, cooked through (but not too crispy) well drained on paper towels
1 small onion, diced, sautéed in a dab of butter and cooled (generous ¼ cup)
1 small sweet potato, peeled, diced, sautéed in butter, cooled (generous ½ cup)
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 oz.) cold butter, cut into ½” pieces
7 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons good quality maple syrup
an egg wash made from 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, whisked together
coarse salt for sprinkling
maple syrup for dunking
sunny side eggs, if you wish
The bacon, onion and sweet potato can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated the day before. (Otherwise allow enough time for these ingredients to cool thoroughly before adding them to the biscuit fixings.) When ready, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, black pepper, cayenne and salt. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the cubed butter until it resembles pea-size crumbs. Add the cooked/cooled bacon, potato and onion. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and maple syrup. Add to the dry ingredients/butter/bacon mixture using a fork to gently mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix. Turn out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and using the tips of your fingers, shape the dough into a circle, about 7” round and 1” thick. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the circle of dough into 8 equal pie-shaped wedges. Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet, allowing about 2 inches apart between them. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and rotate the tray from back to front. Bake an additional 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, cool briefly on a rack. Serve with a sunny side egg and additional maple syrup for dunking.