Tag Archives: Barefoot Contessa

Crostata or Deconstructed Pie?!

19 Aug

I love pie! I know that I say “I love…” a lot but I do, which is why I started writing this blog. Pies are just a great dessert anytime of year but there is something about summer fruit pies that are extra delicious. Peaches and blueberries are my favorite kinds of pies and when I saw this recipe by my “friend” Ina, the Barefoot Contessa, I knew I had to try it, it has peaches, blueberries and plums. And it’s not really a pie but it’s like a pie; a deconstructed pie.

IMG_0631

Now I have some pretty strange food issues as some would call it, I do not like fresh blueberries but I love them when they are used in baking. And as for apples, I like to eat apples but do not like them in baked goods, strange I know. But I really like peaches just about any ol’ way! So here is a fabulous recipe for a Summer Fruit Crostata. Thanks again Ina!

IMG_6290Pastry (makes enough for 2)

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 lb (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, diced

6 Tbs ice water (3 oz)

Place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss quickly (and carefully) with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12 to 15 times or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, roll into a ball, cut in half and form into 2 flat disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour. (I froze the other one and used it a few days later to make it again.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the pastry into an 11 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Filling

1 pound firm,ripe peaches, peeled

1/2 pound firm ripe black plums, unpeeled

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

1 Tbs plus 1/4 cup all purpose flour, divided

1 Tbs plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/4 tsp grated orange zest

2 Tbs fresh orange juice

1/4 tsp kosher salt

4 Tbs cold, unsalted butter, diced

*I did not peel the peaches and they were fine.

Cut the peaches and plums in wedges and place them in a bowl with the blueberries. Toss them with 1 Tbs flour, 1 Tbs sugar, orange zest and the orange juice. *I only used 1 Tbs of orange juice because when I made it the first time I made with 2 it was too juicy and the crust got soggy and broke up.

Place the mixed fruit in the middle of the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border.

Combine the 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and mix it with your fingers until it starts to hold together. Sprinkle evenly over fruit. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the crostata cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then using 2 spatulas transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature and of course with ice cream!

 

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Tart, Tart? Who said Tart?!

14 Apr

I love a fruit tart; the sweet crust, creamy custard and of course the fruit! Recently out to dinner in the city (New York City, that’s how we refer to it in the tristate area) I had one for dessert, it was a peach tart and absolutely delicious. I thought I can make that…so I did. And guess what? It was absolutely delicious. I made it for our friends that came for dinner and we ate the whole thing!

Now you’ll need a few things before you get started, like a tart pan with a removable bottom, a rolling pin and a bag of dried beans for when you cook the crust. You will also need a strainer for the custard. But don’t let this intimidate you, it’s not hard and definitely worth it.

Tart!

Tart!

The recipe is from Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa, love her and her recipes.

Crust

1 1/4 Cup flour

3 T Sugar

1/2 t Salt

8 T Unsalted butter

3-4 T Ice water

To make the crust combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid mixer). Cut butter into 1/4 pieces and a few at a time to flour mixture, using medium speed, mix until dough forms small bits. Add ice water a Tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a disc shape, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let the dough sit out at room temperature for 5 minutes or so and then roll out into a large circle. Place dough into a 10″ tart pan with removable bottom, cutting off excess dough with a sharp knife.  Line the dough with foil and fill with rice or dried beans. Bake the tart crust for 10 minutes and then remove the foil and beans or rice. Prick the crust with a fork and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Now, I have used a 10″ and a 9″ tart pan, personally I like a bit of a thicker crust so I prefer the 9″ tart pan.

Custard

3 Extra large egg yolks at room temperature

6 T Sugar

1 1/2 T Cornstarch

1 Cup milk

1 T Unsalted butter

1 T Heavy cream

1/2 t Cognac or Brandy or Vanilla

Using electric mixer with paddle attachment beat egg yolks and sugar on medium-high for about 3 minutes until mixture is light yellow. Beat in cornstarch on low speed.

Bring milk to simmer in saucepan and slowly pour warm milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly (make sure milk is not too hot, it will cook the eggs). Then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture is thick, about 4 minutes. Bring to a boil, then bring heat to low and cook for 3 more minutes.

Remove from heat. Mix in butter, vanilla (or cognac) and cream.

Pour through strainer and into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly onto custard and refrigerate until cold.

Fruit

Assorted fruit such as: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sliced nectarines, sliced kiwis, sliced oranges or sliced peaches

*1/2 Cup apricot jelly (I omitted this part)

Assemble

Put baked tart crust on serving plate. Assemble tart by spreading custard into crust evenly. Place berries and sliced fruit onto custard. Viola, ready to eat and enjoy!

*If you want to use the apricot jelly, melt it with 1 T water in a small saucepan and brush it over the fruit, it will give a shine and add a bit of sweetness.

 

 

Summertime Chocolate Cake

2 Aug

I LOVE cake! And I really love chocolate cake. So when I was having my mother and mother-in-law for dinner on a hot summer evening I wanted chocolate cake but felt that chocolate icing would be too heavy so I changed it up a bit.  I used whipped cream for icing and added fresh strawberries to jazz it up.  I used the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, Beatty’s Chocolate Cake, it is wonderful. The first thing you should do is prepare the strawberries, then make the cake and then the whipped cream.

Summertime Chocolate Cake

STRAWBERRIES

1 quart fresh strawberries-washed, stems removed and cut up pretty small.

2  Tablespoons Sugar

Mix the sugar with the strawberries, refrigerate. The berries will get a bit soft and juicy, perfect to put in and on the cake.

BEATTY’S CHOCOLATE CAKE

Butter, for greasing the pans

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

2 cups sugar

3/4  cup good cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 extra-large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee ( I used 3/4 cup hazelnut coffee-I have found that 1 cup is just too much liquid)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter 2 (8 inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.   This just seems like alot of work to me so I just butter the pans well and don’t seem to have a problem.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until combined. Now, not everyone has an electric mixer and I don’t always use one, you can certainly use a whisk or even a fork if you must.  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.  With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean – in my house that means a toothpick.  Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. This is when I make the whipped cream.

WHIPPED CREAM

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put a metal bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it nice and cold to make the whipped cream in. Pour in the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the cold bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 15 minutes.  For this, an electric mixer is best, a whisk or hand beater will work but can make your arm go numb.

Once the cake has cooled completely place one layer flat side up on a cake plate. With a knife or spatula, spread the top with whipped cream then place about 2/3 of the strawberries on top of the whipped cream.  Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the remaining whipped cream evenly on the top.  Put the remainder of the strawberries on top of the cake, I put them in a pretty ring around it but you can do as you like.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  And Voila! A tasty, cool chocolate cake that is perfect for a hot summer evening!

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