Monday, March 23, 2009

pie crust

this is a recipe for the pie crust used in the lemon ricotta tart a few posts down. if you are looking for a good, basic, versatile pie/tart dough, this is it. it makes enough dough for one double crust pie, or two tarts. it's nice to always have this in your freezer...

2 c flour
1-2 T sugar (optional)*
pinch sea salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter
1/4 c cold shortening
1/3 c cold water

*if using the crust for a savory dish, you may want to omit the sugar, or just add 1 tablespoon. for a sweet dish, feel free to up the ante!

cut butter and shortening into 1/2" cubes. keep in freezer or fridge until ready to use. whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. using a pastry blender, cut the butter and shortening into the dry mix until the mixture is crumbly. you want your largest pieces of fat to be no bigger than pea-size. drizzle cold water (don't pour it all in right away) into dough, and mix until the dough JUST comes together. on a work surface, shape the dough into a ball. cut in half, and shape each half into a disc. wrap each in plastic and refrigerate at least several hours before using. dough will keep several months, well-wrapped, in the freezer (thaw in fridge overnight before using).

anchovy fennel flatbread

oh. my. god.... at first i thought two sheet-tray-sized flatbreads was too much for dinner club. oh, was i wrong. these are amazing. the dough, from mario batali, is a dream. really smooth, soft, and easy to work with. the toppings you can obviously play around with, but i really recommend these!

for the toppings:

1 fennel bulb, sliced 1/8" thick, fronds reserved
1 c freshly grated parmesan
12 anchovies-- soak in 1/2 c milk for 30 minutes prior to using

saute fennel in 3 T olive oil, stirring often, until soft and golden brown-- 10-15 minutes. remove from heat, and stir in fennel fronds. add salt and pepper to taste.

for the dough:

1 1/2 c warm water
1 T active dry yeast
1 t salt
1 t sugar
4 c bread flour
1/4 c olive oil

put the water in a large bowl (bowl of stand mixer). stir in yeast and let stand until foamy and aromatic. add the salt and sugar and stir to combine. add the flour and olive oil and mix until a loose dough is formed. transfer to a lightly dusted work surface, and knead the dough until very smooth and firm- about five minutes. place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel, and put it in a warm spot. let rise until double in size, about two hours. punch the dough down and divide it in two. shape each into a ball, and then let rise for thirty minutes more. preheat oven to 450, and lightly oil two baking sheets. place each piece of dough on a baking sheet and spread with your fingers (or with a rolling pin, until it fits the baking sheet. poke indentations in the dough with your fingers across the entire surface, then drizzle with olive oil. bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is golden.

ricotta lemon tart

this is a yummy, not very sweet dessert!

for the filling:

2 c ricotta cheese
1/2 c sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs

mix all ingredients together

preheat oven to 375 degrees. pour filling into pre-baked tart shell. bake for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set (not jiggly).

some thingamabobs

chocolate swirl cheesecake

apple pie




peanut brittle!

world peace cookies!

gifts to be sent!

...anyone want a package of treats?

baby coconut

michael and i ate TWO baby coconuts yesterday. it. was. heaven. it made me feel like i was on "lost-" hacking, sawing, pummeling till we could pour the juice out, and then scrape the jello-y inside. living on an island wouldn't be half bad!