Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mikah and Alex's really delicious Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Mikah and Alex went berry picking! Strawberries are available from Maryland to New Jersey during May- June and if you have had homemade fruit pie you know it's worth the effort. For those ready to take the plunge, summertime is the best time to experiment with all sorts of berries and summer stone fruit.  Count yourself lucky if you can find New Jersey strawberries, blueberries or peaches. @JerseyFresh!

Pie crust directions from Williams-Sonoma are below. If making the crust is a bit more of a project than you want to undertake, buy a frozen deep-dish unbaked pie crust. The filling will make one deep dish pie. 
The rhubarb was available at the farm they visited as well. 

3 1/2 cups chopped Rhubarb 
2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
2/3 - 1 cup of sugar
4 Tablespoons Cornstarch 
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
dash of cinnamon (optional) 
zest of one lemon (amount optional) 

Chop the rhubarb, measure out 3 1/2 cups and put it into a large mixing bowl. (One stalk is about 1 cup.) Same for the strawberries. Add in 2/3 cups of sugar (1 cup if you like your pie sweeter) and the rest of the dry ingredients and mix everything up. Your pie filling is ready to fill the pie crust. 

Alex used this recipe for the pie crust:

If you're looking for another fabulous summertime fruit dessert , try Blueberry Spice Crumb Cake

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Quick Savory Biscuits (non-dairy)

These are, if not the easiest, then among the easiest biscuits to bake. 
Chopped scallions and coconut oil create a delicious moist biscuit - you won't miss the butter. 

The dough is hand-mixed, using either a pastry blender or an inexpensive flexible dough scraper, which can be purchased through King Arthur Flour.  The trick for making flaky light biscuits is to avoid working the dough too much. Mix as lightly and as little as possible in order to NOT build up long gluten strands.  The entire process, start to finish can be done in under an hour assuming 2 baking sheets, which will allow you to bake batches of biscuits one after another. 

There is no baking powder or salt in the recipe because self-rising flour has salt and baking powder incorporated in it. This dough uses two leavening agents, baking powder in the self-rising flour and instant yeast, a leavening technique you'll also find in Chinese Steamed Buns  The "shortening" is solid coconut oil, although you can always use butter if a dairy biscuit works for you. 

several pieces of scallion, trim root end and cut off top of green parts if they are not firm. 
2.5 tsp (1 package) instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water 
21 oz (5 full cups) unbleached self rising flour. I like to use King Arthur brand 
1 cup coconut oil (do not melt, use as solid shortening) 
5 Tbsp granulated sugar 
2 c coconut (or soy) milk at room temperature

1. Finely chop the scallion. Measure off 1/4- 1/3 c and set aside.
2. Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let stand, it will begin to bubble.
3. Mix the sugar and scallion pieces into the flour.
4 "Cut" the coconut oil into the four, using a hand pastry blender or flexible dough scraper.
   Work the dough until the coconut oil is broken into very small pieces no larger than the size of peas.
5. Combine the dissolved yeast and "milk," stir to disperse the yeast and pour into the flour/coconut mixture
6. Turn the flour gently, incorporating the liquid until just mixed. Do not overwork the dough.
7. Cover the dough and set aside. The dough must rest between 15 and 30 minutes. You may need to adjust the dough by adding a tablespoon or two of additional flour. Be careful not to add too much flour! While the dough rests it will continue to absorb additional liquid.
8. Preheat the dough to 415 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
9. Wet your hands. Loosely scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and lightly shape into a ball. Flatten slightly and place on the parchment paper. Repeat. Leave about 2 inches between the dough pieces on the baking sheet, the dough balls will increase by about one-third in the oven.
10. Slip the baking sheet into the oven. Lower the heat to 400 degrees.
      Bake in the upper third of the hot oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until lightly golden. Yield: between 2 and 2.5 dozen depending on how large the dollop of dough.

I could say cool before serving, but they really are just as delicious when hot from the oven. Instead I'll just say, enjoy!

Other baking powder biscuits on the blog: "Buttermilk" Biscuits and Veggie "Bacon" Biscuit Sandwich