Yield: pastry for one 2-crust pie Recipe: 134/200 “Back to Baking”, pp.263
My last recipe was a month ago, but these days it is hard to find the time to bake, especially when in these times not sharing is caring. In any case, considering that I have not been baking consistently these past few months, my boyfriend challenged me to make at least one recipe a week for the coming month. I had myself tried to make this commitment many times this year, so I gladly accepted the challenge. First recipe this week: this dairy-free, egg-free double-crust pie dough. This dough was easy to put together but quite difficult to handle after rolling. Without the eggs or butter to bind everything together, it teared quite easily and I had to re-roll it as it was just falling apart. In the end I just had to quickly put the bulk of the dough in the pie plate and fill the tears and holes with scraps of dough. Not ideal, but it turned out pretty good. After blind-baking, the pie shell actually looked very nice and well-baked. Frankly and to my surprise, this was probably one of the best-looking pie shells I’ve made. I’m not sure how or why, but it mostly held it’s shape while baking, minus a few tears here and there, and did not shrink. Next up, filling this pie shell with a sweet and chewy toffee filling!
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup cold almond or soy milk
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Pour in the oil and almond or soy milk at once, and mix quickly, just until the dough comes together. Make sure to not over mix; the dough should have streaks of oil through it. Wrap and set aside for 40 minutes before rolling. The dough should be made on the same day you use it, as it does not refrigerate well
Yield: one 9-inch tart Recipe: 133/200 “Back to Baking”, pp. 122
Fall is truly my favorite season. The beautiful trees changing colour as the weeks go buy, the breezy but still warm air, the walks and the crunchy leaves, the hot chocolates, sweaters and long coats. But also, I feel like baking in autumn is just that much better, for some reason. A warm tray of cookies or a hot pie coming out of the oven just taste and smell better when it is a bit more chilly, I think. In any case, someone at work mentioned that they liked pumpkin, which I do not, and I was reminded of the pumpkin tart recipe that I have flipped through and ignored several times in the cookbook throughout the years. Since I never really liked pumpkin it was not a recipe that I was interested in doing. However, as it is my challenge to complete all the recipes in this great book, I thought that now would be a great opportunity to get it out of the way and at least one person at my workplace would enjoy it.
Oh how misguided I was. This recipe for pumpkin cheesecake chocolate tart sounds… unusual, to say the least. Pumpkin, cheesecake and chocolate?! Seems a bit much. Anna Olson says as much in her cookbook. Nonetheless, I followed the recipe as prescribed and everything went as smooth as the pumpkin cheesecake mixture. One aspect that was undeniable is how pretty this tart looks, especially with the exposed pumpkin edge underneath the chocolate ganache. The tricky thing with tarts, pies or cakes is that you cannot try it before you bring it to its final destination, as it would be very apparent that it was tried beforehand and would ruin the look of the dessert. So I just had to trust the recipe and my skills and hope that it would taste okay. I had some doubts, of course, because of the pumpkin, but I brought it anyways. I kid you not, 3/4 of the tart had disappeared within 10 minutes. I have never in my life made a dessert that was devoured so rapidly and that received so much praise. People were going out of their way specifically to come tell me how delicious it was. It appears that I severely underestimated how much people like pumpkin-flavoured desserts. People were taking pictures and saving a piece for later, it was very surprising to me. Of course, I had to taste it myself just to see, and by golly were they right. Somehow, everything fits together exactly as it should in this tart. The autumnal flavour of the pumpkin, the fragrant spices of fall, the richness of the cream cheese and the sweetness of the chocolate. What a perfect mariage of flavours and textures! Turns out I do, in fact, like pumpkin. This dessert was truly one of a kind, scrumptious and not too guilty at the same time. It made a pumpkin convert out of me, after all! This is now my official fall dessert that I will bring to all and any party or gathering that occurs during this season.
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup plain pumpkin purée
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 egg yolks
Ingredients for ganache topping:
2 oz (60 g) bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Using electric beaters or a food processor, combine the cream cheese and brown sugar until the brown sugar dissolves.
Stir in the pumpkin purée, cornstarch, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Mix well to combine.
Add the whole egg and egg yolks, and stir until homogenous.
Pour this mixture into the cooked, cooled chocolate crust, and bake the tart on a baking tray for 20 minutes until, like a cheesecake, it is set around the outside with just a bit of a jiggle in the centre. Cool the tart to room temperature.
For the ganache, melt the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a metal or glass bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring with a spatula until smooth. Pour this gently on the centre of the pumpkin cheesecake, and carefully spread it toward the outside, leaving 1 inch of the pumpkin visible at the edge. Chill the tart for at least 2 hours in the pan before removing the outer ring of the pan and slicing the tart to serve.
Yield: one 9-inch pie Recipe: 132/200 “Back to Baking”, pp. 90
What a weird time to be alive. In any case, baking keeps me sane and always makes me happy, so better keep calm and keep baking. As is known fact by now, I am not by any stretch of the imagination an expert at making pies. Regardless, at some point I would have to make this recipe anyways, so I finally decided to jump in and try to make this cooked fruit pie recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever made a pie where the fruit is cooked prior to baking, so I did not really know what to expect. I tried to use up what I had in my fridge and freezer, so I used a mixture of peaches, raspberries and blackberries.
I’m not sure if I did it right, but I was imagining that the fruits would still maintain some of their shape and structure while cooking. Perhaps it is because I used frozen fruits, but the mixture was very liquid and everything kind of meshed together. It is also likely that I stirred the simmering fruits a bit too much, thus destroying them in the process. Nonetheless, I let the whole thing thicken as much as I thought reasonable, then put it in the pie shell and baked as instructed. I have to admit that, at first, I was not a fan of the pie. I found the texture to be strange and the flavour confusing. However, I think this might only have been due to the fact that I didn’t know what to expect, because all the following slices I had I found to be actually delicious and very pleasant to eat! Just warmed a little bit with some tea, it is truly a treat and a good way to get something sweet with a little buttery taste from the crust.
While the pie dough is chilling, prepare the fruit. In a saucepot, bring the fruit up to a simmer. In a bowl, stir the sugar and cornstarch together, and gently stir this with the fruits.
Add the remaining ingredients to the simmering fruits and continue cooking until the mixture has thickened, stirring gently so as not to break down the fruit too much. Scrape the fruit into a bowl and cool the filling to room temperature.
Note: the filling can be made ahead of time and chilled until ready to assemble.
Pull the pastry from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a 9-inch pie plate onto a parchment-lined baking tray and dust the pie plate with flour.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the first pastry disc to just under ¼ inch thick and line the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the oats on the bottom of the pastry shell. Gently spoon the filling into the shell.
Roll out the remaining pastry disc and cut out a small hole in the centre of the pastry so that the steam can escape as it bakes. Place the rolled pastry overtop the fruit and press the edges together. Trim away any excess dough, and pinch the edges together to create a pattern.
Alternatively, you can make a lattice pattern with the top dough if you prefer.
Whisk the egg and water together, and brush the surface of the pastry with this mixture. Sprinkle the pie with turbinado sugar.
On the prepared baking tray, bake the pie for 12 minutes at 400°F, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for about 40 more minutes, until the crust is a rich golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before slicing.
Yield: about 4 to 5 dozen cookies Recipe: 131/200 “Back to Baking”, pp. 32
It’s been a little while since I baked something from the cookbook. Something new, anyway. I am always looking for a little cookie or something to nibble on in the evenings, so I decided to make these blueberry oat cookies. I always tend to cut sliced cookies thicker than the recommended ¼-inch, I think because otherwise I feel like they are too thin and don’t really count as a snack. To be honest, I was not a fan of these cookies. Although the texture is nice, I found the flavour to be severely lacking and they were not nearly sweet enough. I am not a huge fan of dried fruits, and even though these blueberries were rehydrated, I don’t think that they brought a lot of flavour to the cookie. A bit disappointing when they are blueberry oat slices. I will of course finish eating them, but would not make them again.
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup icing sugar, sifted
½ cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup regular rolled oats
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the dried blueberries and let them soak for 15 minutes. Drain the blueberries and spread them out on a paper towel to dry.
Beat together the butter, icing sugar and sugar until fluffy.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix well to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Stir this into the butter mixture until incorporated.
Stir in the rehydrated dried blueberries. Shape the dough into 3 logs of about 1 ½ inches in diameter, wrap each in plastic wrap, roll them to round out their shape and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat the over to 350°F and line two baking trays with parchment paper. Slice the chilled dough into ¼-inch slices and arrange them on the prepared baking trays, leaving about one inch between them. You may need to bake several batches. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until they turn a light golden brown colour on the bottom.
Yield: about 16 bars Recipe: 130/200 “Back to Baking”, pp. 72
This recipe was fun and simple to make. Pulse all the ingredients except the raspberry jam together, press half of it in the pan and layer the raspberry jam and the rest of the crumble mixture on top. It smelled nice and fruity while baking. Although I was very careful to gently press the crumble top layer, it ended up a bit too compact for my liking. I think it would have been better if the top layer was more loose and more crumbly (these are crumble bars, after all). Adding in some oats to the leftover crumble mixture before sprinkling in atop the raspberry jam would also add a nice texture.
Unfortunately, I was not really a fan of these bars. Although the texture added by the cornmeal is nice, I found the bars too dense, both in texture and flavour, and could only eat a few bites at a time. There is also something unusual about the taste and I found them too sweet, probably due to the raspberry jam. Perhaps this might be different based on the brand of raspberry jam used, but for me to find a dessert too sweet it must really be in excess. If I were to remake these I would probably try to just puree some fresh raspberries and use that as a middle layer instead.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom or ground allspice
1 cup cool unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1 cup raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so the paper hangs over the sides a little.
In a food processor, pulse together briefly the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and cardamom or allspice to blend. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Alternatively, if you do not have a food processor, whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl, then cut in the cool butter pieces using your fingers until the mixture is crumbly.
Put 3 cups of this crumble texture into the prepared pan and firmly press down so that the mixture is even around the pan.
Stir the raspberry jam to soften it and spread it evenly over the pressed crumble.
Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture on top and press down gently.
Bake the bars for about 30-35 minutes, until they just begin to brown around the edges. Cool the bars to room temperature, then chill them for at least 2 hours before slicing into 16 or 18 bars, depending on how big you want them.