Makes 14-15 buns
(half will be baked inside the buns, the other half is to be served alongside)
3 cups chopped rhubarb (make sure to remove leaves and tough outer stems)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
½ of a vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped with a small paring knife
1 cup chopped strawberries
In a non-reactive saucepan, place the rhubarb, sugar, zest, juice and vanilla bean seeds. Simmer over low heat until the mixture reduces and thickens, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped strawberries. Set aside to cool. Butter two 9” round cake pans with 2”sides or a baking pan that measures 13” x 13.” (My old Magnalite bake pan measures 13½” x 13½”and has many miles on it.)
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
generous pinch salt
¾ cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (do not combine this with the filling; use this to brush over the dough once it is rolled out)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and hazelnuts. Set aside.
Sugar Bun Dough (Jessie’s adaptation from The Fleischmann Treasury of Yeast Baking)
3¾ cups - 4⅛ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1 envelope Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 1½ cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. In a quart saucepan, heat the milk, water and butter until between 120 degrees F and 130 degrees F. The butter doesn’t need to melt completely. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients in the bowl, beat on low speed to combine. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add an additional 2¼ cups of flour, and mix on low until the mixture becomes smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again. Feel the dough between your fingers; if it is excessively sticky, add up to (but no more than) an additional ⅜ cup of flour. Mix the dough with the dough hook to incorporate the additional flour. Remove the bowl and the dough hook from the mixer; cover the dough with a clean dish towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Place the dough in a large, well buttered mixing bowl, turning the dough so it is coated in butter on all sides. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until double, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, gather it together and turn it out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out into an 18” x 12” rectangle. Brush the cooled, melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle the brown sugar/spice/hazelnut filling over the melted butter. Reserve half of the Rhubarb-Strawberry Swirl to serve alongside the sugar buns. Use a tablespoon to drop dollops of the remaining rhubarb-strawberry swirl on top of the filling. Use a small offset spatula to carefully smooth the filling; it will not cover the dough completely. (The combination of a swirl of jam throughout the buns and the addition of fresh jam alongside is preferable; covering the dough with all of the jam adds too much moisture to the filling.)
Starting with the long side of dough and using the parchment paper to help lift, roll the dough jellyroll fashion. Tuck the edges under and pinch to seal. Transfer the parchment with the log of dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. This will make it easier to slice the buns. Retrieve the chilled dough from the fridge. With the seam side facing down, use a sharp knife (preferably serrated) to cut the dough crosswise into 15 slices, about 1” thick. Place the slices, cut side down in the 13" x13" pan allowing a little space between each bun. If you are using two 9” pans, you will get 7 slices in each and a little extra swirl for the very center of each pan. Cover the pan(s) with a clean kitchen towel and let the buns rise in a warm place until double, about 45 minutes to an hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the buns on the middle rack of the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until lightly brown. Cool slightly in pan(s) on a wire rack. Remove while still slightly warm to prevent sticking. Serve with the reserved Rhubarb-Strawberry Swirl. Should there be any leftovers, cover them with plastic wrap. These are best served slightly warm, out of the oven.
makes one 8” crostata
(Note: *Macerate the candied fruit and Limoncello for several hours, preferably overnight. If you wish, golden raisins or dried apricots can be substituted for the candied fruit.)
Pasta Frolla- (adapted from Italy, The Beautiful Cookbook and Macrina)
4⅔ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground anise seed
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
10 oz. cold, unsalted butter cut into ¼” pieces
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, place the flour, sugar, salt, and anise seed. Pulse a few times to aerate then add the lemon and orange zests; pulse a few times to incorporate. Add the cold butter pieces, pulsing just until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Transfer the flour/butter mixture from the food processor to a large bowl. Using a fork, gradually add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, tossing with the fork until combined. The dough will be crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Knead the dough a few times, shape it into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling out.
Lightly butter an 8” x 3” springform pan with removable bottom. Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator. Save ⅓ of the dough for the top of the crostata. Wrap that in plastic wrap. Roll out the larger portion of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper into a circle about 11” in diameter and ⅛” thick. Carefully place the dough into the springform pan; I find it easiest to fold the circle of dough in half and in half again, then place that in the center of the pan and unfold it. Use your fingers to gently smooth the dough against the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Turn the edges under slightly to form a rim. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll out the remaining portion of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment into a 10” circle. Transfer the dough and the parchment to a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
Crostata filling- (adapted from Macrina)
½ cup candied fruit peel, finely diced
3 tablespoons Limoncello
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
½ cup miniature chocolate chips
2½ pounds whole milk ricotta, placed in a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer, set over a bowl
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon good quality anise extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
4 egg yolks
egg wash made from 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
*Place the candied fruit peel and Limoncello in a small jar. Stir to combine, cover with a lid and let macerate for several hours, preferably overnight.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine drained ricotta, sugar, cornstarch, salt, vanilla, anise, and zests.
Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, folding in with a rubber spatula; fold in the candied fruit peel, the hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Retrieve the springform pan with the bottom crust and the baking sheet with the top crust from the refrigerator. Scrape the filling into the pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with cold water. Carefully place the top crust over the filling, turn the edges under the bottom crust and pinch decoratively to seal. Brush the top of the crostata (not the edges) with egg wash. Cut a small vent in the center of the crostata which will allow steam to escape. Place the crostata on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.
Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack for 2 hours. The crostata should test clean when a small paring knife is inserted in the center. Cool completely on a baking rack, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Carefully remove outer ring from pan and transfer crostata to a serving platter. Refrigerate any leftovers.
makes one 9” pie
2⅔ cups coconut (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. 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
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.)