Swirled Ribbon Berry Pie

June 22, 2017


The lattice top pie will always remain a classic, but I wanted to try something new this season. I got inspired by the cover of the Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen’s Pie Cookbook to do a twisting ribbon top. It held up really nicely after baking. While writing the recipe for the filling, I realized, the measurements really depend on the fruit. My berries were incredibly juicy and sweet, so I scaled back on the sugar and bumped up the thickener a bit. Taste, taste, taste. Get a feel for the fruit and adjust accordingly. If you don’t get it just right, remember they’re berries. Can’t mess them up.

Swirled Ribbon Berry Pie
9″ pie, serves 8-10

Ingredients:

1 batch of crust, makes enough for top and bottom

1/2 cup granulated sugar, if berries are not as sweet, increase to 2/3 cup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt
7 cups of blackberries, boysenberries and/or olaillieberries
2 tablespoons, cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 egg beaten, for egg wash
Ice cream or freshly whipped cream for serving

Directions:

For the crust:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Place 1 dough disk on your work surface and roll out approximately  1/4″ inch thick. Transfer to the pie dish and gently press the dough into the dish. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges.

For the top crust, roll out the remaining dough disk in the same manner. With a pastry cutter, cut 3/4-inch wide strips. If the dough gets too soft, place the strips on a sheet pan and chill in the fridge for a few minutes. You don’t want them to get too cold or you won’t be able to twist them. Then twist each strip to resemble a cheese straw. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, juice and salt in a small bowl.

Place the berries in a large bowl. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the berries and toss together gently just until distributed. Immediately pour the berries into the pie dish. Scatter the cubes of butter on top of the berries.

To decorate the top, starting in the middle working outward, coil the twisted strips of dough until you reach the edge of the pie. Connect individual strips by pinching together with your fingers. Brush the crust gently with egg wash.

Place the pie in the fridge for 30 minutes until the top crust is firm. This will help it retain it’s shape when baking.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the pie dish on a half sheet pan and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Transfer the pie dish to a cooling rack and let cool completely. I like to serve slices at room temperature with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Mascarpone Cheesecake Squares with Strawberries

June 12, 2017


I’m really into square-shaped treats right now and with the arrival of strawberries, I decided to update last year’s cheesecake tart to square format. The filling is a blend of cream cheese and mascarpone for a richer flavor. The homemade graham crust is baked till crisp and holds up nicely. I may have been a bit generous with the thickness, as seen in the photo, so I’d scale back a tad so it doesn’t overpower the filling. And last but not least, the topping! This is your chance to show off juicy, in-season berries. I use strawberries here but feel free to use whatever is in-season.

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Hello, strawberry season!

May 24, 2017


It’s my favorite time of year. I’m celebrating strawberry season by sharing a few of my favorite recipes! Aside from eating strawberries fresh, I love using them in tarts. Below, I’ve rounded up 3 of my favorite recipes highlighting the beautiful, ruby red jewels.

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Personal Size Strawberry Galettes

May 22, 2017


The galette is my favorite kind of tart. It doesn’t require a special pan. Roll, fill and pleat it, and it will look unique each time you make one. The free-form style means less pressure to make it look perfect and it’s a more enjoyable baking process. Normally, I make one large galette but I decided personal size would be fun. I was inspired by the cute Red Baron Deep Dish Pizza, a favorite when I was a kid. These 6″ tarts are perfect for topping with a scoop of ice cream or large dollop of whipped cream.

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Ruffled Milk Pie

April 15, 2017

This is one of my favorite recipes. The result is so impressive and yet the technique is quite simple. You really can’t mess it up. It involves scrunching up layers of phyllo and coiling them into a round pan. If you tear the sheets a bit, that’s okay. It will still look beautiful. Then a simple custard is poured over the baked phyllo base and baked again. The result is a crispy, layered top with a tender eggy base. Watch my how-to video here.

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