Monday, May 17, 2021

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble from Smitten Kitchen (adapted to lower-sugar and grain-free)

I've had freezer rhubarb burning a hole in my pocket for months. Once it became spring, aka "rhubarb season," I started making stuff with it again like Rhubarb Swamp Pie and Rhubarb Comstock. We also bought a pint of organic strawberries that we somehow kept forgetting to use, and instead of molding in the fridge, they became slightly dehydrated. I decided they were still okay, and this Smitten Kitchen crumble recipe had been made and posted by someone else recently, and I just had to make it too. But I subbed the sugar for coconut sugar and the flour for almond flour, and it was great, delicious. I will put her recipe below (please see her blog for detailed photo instructions and other general deliciousness) and indicate the changes I made.

Outdoor photo of the entire crumble with a green faded backyard behind it.


The texture of the berries made them keep their shape a bit more, so file that thought away for the future! I can also say I have now used all the rhubarb. And I used my trusty oval dish that always seems to be more crumble/crisp/cobbler friendly even though it is smaller in volume to most recommended dishes. It just seems to work for me.

Overhead view of crumble, cropped to one side, red juices and browned crumbles.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble
(recipe from Smitten Kitchen, see notes below for how I made it lower-sugar and grain-free)

Yields 6 to 8 servings.

For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar*
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar aka Sugar in the Raw)*
Zest of one lemon
1/4 pound (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces*
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar*
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.

2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes. 

Notes from JennyBakes:

I used 1 1/3 cup almond flour and 1/3 cup tapioca flour for teh crumble - I often use tapioca with nut flours to increase the elasticity slightly. It isn't required. I subbed coconut sugar for the sugar and only used 3 tbsp in the crumble (did not include the 3 for Demerara/turbinado) and used almost 1/2 cup in the filling - I was running low so might have opted to match it more equally. I didn't have fresh lemons so skipped the zest in the topping and used bottled juice in the filling. Crumbles are pretty forgiveable so it all worked out fine!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Zucchini-Chickpea Waffles with Crispy Eggs

New summer brunch recipe!! I had a review copy of Summer: A Cookbook by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson, and marked almost every page to try. Since it's not quite summer here, I went for this savory waffle recipe for a light weekday dinner. The cookbook includes an "herb salad" component that I didn't make, just sprinkled chives over the top. The zucchini are in there but you don't really taste them, so the flavor you add to the waffles is the flavor you get. I think a remoulade or hollandaise might be another nice addition, but heavier than the summery intent of the recipes in this book. See the end for a few of my notes.

Waffles covered with crispy fried eggs and chives.

Zucchini-Chickpea Waffles with Crispy Eggs

1 large zucchini, graded (about 1 1/2 cups)*
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 cup (90 g) chickpea flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water (so you don't forget!)

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp minced fresh chives, for garnish
pinch of ground sumac, for garnish (optional)
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. To make the waffles: preheat a 4-slice Belgian waffle maker, or equivalent. Preheat the oven to 200 F.
  2. Mix the zucchini, lemon zest, dill, and scallions in a small bowl. Whisk together the chickpea flour, kosher salt, and baking powder in a large bowl, then whisk in the eggs, olive oil, and 1/2 cup water. Add the zucchini mixture and mix well.
  3. [Make the herb salad, which I skipped.]
  4. Pour half the batter into the waffle maker and cook the waffle until golden and crispy (the exact cooking time will depend on your waffle maker.)* Transfer the finished waffle to the warm oven. Repeat to make the second waffle, if applicable.
  5. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil until very hot. Fry 2 of the eggs until the edges are dark brown and crispy and the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 2-3 minutes (if runny yolks aren't your thing, cook them longer, or flip them.) Using a slotted spatula, transfer the eggs from the pan to a plate. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and eggs. 
  6. Separate each waffle into four sections, place two on each plate, and top with crispy egg. (This depends on your waffle maker too!) Garnish with preferred garnishes and a sprinkle each of salt and pepper, then serve immediate.y.

*Um, in my world 1 1/2 cups is a decent sized normal grocery store zucchini. A large zucchini is the watermelon sized squashes most gardeners know well. You do NOT want that much zucchini; best to go by the cup measurement.

Also in my world, a full recipe filled one waffle maker once, leaving 2 substantial waffles for each of us. I felt this was a better meal for 2 if that's all you're eating. 

I will definitely make this again, it's a versatile recipe that could go a hundred different directions.

Monday, May 03, 2021

Double Chocolate Loaf Cake with Chocolate Glaze

I've had this recipe on my to-make list forever. Follow the original at the Hungry Hutch for more specifics on methods and chocolates used! I just used a combination of what I had on hand and called it good! 

corner view of the glazed chocolate loaf, rich brown below and shiny on top

Double Chocolate Loaf Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients

Chocolate Loaf Cake

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (semisweet, bittersweet, some combo)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso instant coffee powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Chocolate Glaze

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (semisweet, bittersweet, some combo)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

two slices of loaf, dripping chocolate glaze on a pumpkin colored plate on a turquoise placemat

Instructions

  1. Make the Chocolate Loaf Cake: Bring the milk to a boil in a sauce pot. Pour the milk over the butter and chocolate and stir until melted. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. (This would be a good time to measure out the remaining ingredients.)
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, and baking soda; add to the chocolate mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. (It will be a fairly loose batter.) Transfer to the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool for a while in the pan, before taking out to cool completely.
  4. Make the Chocolate Glaze: Put all of the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at half power for 30 second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth, about 1 minute total. Spread the glaze on top of the cake and then serve.0

Monday, April 26, 2021

Mine-All-Mine Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cookies from Nigella Lawson

I poked around Nigella Lawson's newest cookbook, Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories and found the usual inviting tone I'm used to in her recipes and shows. She always makes a dish seem possible whether it's a recipe for two cookies (for one) or a more complex dinner. I love how this cookbook even has a rhubarb section, with a mix of specific recipes and also some written about in a narrative about rhubarb, from which a person could glean a recipe. (I've also discovered, between Nigella and Edd Kimber, that the British possible benefit from something called forced rhubarb which I'm not sure we even have in the United States.) I've marked other recipes to try but was of course going to go for these cookies first. I used Raaka maple dark chocolate discs instead of mini bittersweet chocolate chips, and added more than you would think should be reasonable, and was not sorry.

Two dark chocolate cookies together on a red plate.

Mine-All-Mine Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1½ Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅛ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (vegan is fine)
  • 1½ Tbsp superfine sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp mini bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ tsp flaky sea salt

One cookie cut in half to show the melty center, with a backdrop of a back yard fence with lights illuminated along it.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a light-colored baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a small bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. In a slightly larger bowl, use a small wooden spoon to beat butter, sugars and vanilla until buff-colored and creamy. A generous spoonful at a time, gently beat in flour mixture. Once dry ingredients have been absorbed, beat vigorously until a sticky rich-brown dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide mixture into 2 portions, forming each into a 2½-inch patty. Place at least 4 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with flaky sea salt. Bake 12 minutes or until tops are riven with cracks (cookies will be soft). Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes before eating (if you can).

Monday, April 19, 2021

Rhubarb and Berry Swamp Pie

In working through The Book on Pie by Erin Jeanne McDowell with the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Challenge, I encountered a pie that I had never heard of - the swamp pie. McDowell learned of the swamp pie from a colleague at Food52 when she made a Raspberry Swamp Pie with two crusts, which was topped with custard mid-bake, and baked until set. McDowell took that idea, changed the berry, and tweaked it to have a streusel top instead. Her adaptation is the recipe in her cookbook and on Food52 (along with a very useful instructional video on this pie but also custard pies in general.) I have had rhubarb in the freezer begging to be used during the spring, so I decided to make a rhubarb adaptation. I decided 1.5 pounds of blueberries would be roughly 4 1/4-4 1/2 cups fruit, so I went with 3ish cups of rhubarb, 1ish cup of blueberries from last summer's garden, and the leftover raspberries from our Saturday breakfast (pancakes, always.)

Overhead shot of streusel topped pie with browned crust and peeks of tan custard, blue blueberries, and pink custard.

 

Blueberry (& Rhubarb!) Swamp Pie

Ingredients  
        Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup (53 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
        Blueberry Filling
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) fresh blueberries*
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 par-baked pie crust

    Custard Filling

  • 3/4 cup (171 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (57 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the lower third of the oven (preferably with a baking steel or stone on it). Stir all the ingredients for the streusel together to combine, then add the butter and cut it into the mixture until it forms large clumps.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the lemon zest and juice. (If using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean, add here, too.)
  3. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and vanilla bean scrapings with your hands, rubbing the two together to disperse the seeds. Stir in the flour and salt, then sprinkle this mixture over the blueberries, stirring until well combined.
  4. Pour this mixture into the cooled par-baked pie crust and arrange in an even layer. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the pie.
  5. Transfer the pie to the oven (on top of the steel/stone, if using). Bake until the crust is deeply golden and the berries are juicy and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes.
  6. Just before the pie reaches the 35 minute mark, make the custard filling. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla to combine. When the pie reaches the doneness listed in step 4, pull out the oven rack and gently pour the cream mixture all over the surface of the bubbling pie. If the cream looks like it’s going to overflow over the edge of the crust, make a small hole with a paring knife to give you a spot to pour the custard, then slowly pour the custard into the well. Don’t go too fast, or it will overflow instead of sinking into the pie.
  7. Return the rack to the proper place and continue to bake until the custard is set around the edges but slightly jiggly in the center, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

 

A slice of pie on a crystal plate, topped with vanilla icecream.

Notes from JennyBakes:

- I used a pate brisee crust in hopes it would par bake without shrinking (and I used dried beans as pie weights) - this worked! She recommends an all-butter crust but I was not feeling that confident.

- I don't really keep whole-wheat flour on hand, so I just used 2 more tbsp all-purpose flour. I could have used a nut flour instead and that would have added a bit more texture. No big deal.

- As described in my intro, I think you can use a scant 4.5 cups of almost any fruit you'd usually bake in a pie instead of the blueberries.

- Because I used frozen fruit, I had to bake this pie so much longer than the directions called for. Like 30 minutes longer. But it didn't burn, although I probably could have waited longer to add the custard. My fruit in the middle was not yet bubbling when I added it.

- If I made this combo again, and I would, because it was tasty, I might add a bit more sugar since rhubarb alone is not very sweet.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Fudge Brownies with Spicy Peanut Butter Swirl

My picture of these brownies will be a bit misleading because I know I had some kind of user error, leading the swirl to be more of a full-on layer, not baking very quickly, possibly overbaking the rest, and so on. But I really like the concept, I thought they still tasted great in the end, so I will encourage you to check out the cookbook and the recipe and see if you can do better than me. (I'm pretty sure it was the peanut butter I used!) This comes from Food Between Friends by Jesse Taylor Ferguson and Julie Tanous.


Side view of fudgy brownie with lighter brown peanut butter layer on top

Fudge Brownies with Spicy Peanut Butter Swirl

Spicy Peanut Butter Swirl

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (regular old supermarket brands, not the natural stuff)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Brownies

Nonstick cooking spray
10 tbsp unsalted butter
5 oz 70-72% dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour

  1. Make the peanut butter swirl: In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt until smooth. 
  2. Make the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch square cake pan or baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Combine the butter and chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl. Melt in the microwave until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds, about 1 minute total. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour. Do not overmix.
  4. Transfer the batter to the baking dish. Dollop the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl it through. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean, but with a few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into 16 brownies.

 

Monday, April 05, 2021

Rhubarb Bostock

As long-time readers of this blog know, sometimes I get a recipe in my head and can't let go of it until I try making it! And that's how it's been with rhubarb bostock. I saw it on the Instagram feed of Edd Kimber (aka @theboywhobakes) and once I started poking around, found a bunch of other bakers posting about it. It was like the baked good I'd never noticed!

And it is rather humble - it starts with stale brioche, adds some almond cream and fresh fruit, and gets baked in the oven with flaked almonds, and finally served with a little snow of powdered sugar. It's great to use up brioche (and thus was invented by bakeries) and also a great vehicle for seasonal fruit. I would probably just refer to it as... .FANCY TOAST.

One slice of rhubarb bostock


I had rhubarb in my freezer, so it's in celery slices instead of prettier stems (aka Edd Kimber's version.) I also think because mine was frozen, I had to bake an extra five minutes for mine to look browned and done in the middle. My husband thinks that once baked, it looks like hot dog pieces. But it doesn't taste like hot dogs, so there's that. And honestly brioche treated this way turns it into a handheld custard, and is very delicious. 

I used a different frangipane (almond cream) recipe - first I looked for one that could be made from almond paste since I had some, but I found an even simpler version with almond flour. Edd's starts with ground nuts and I wasn't sure how that compared to almond flour (I don't think it's that different.)

I can see a brunch scenario where you bake a pan of these without fruit and let people top them with jam or fruit to their tastes.


Rhubarb Bostock
Serves 8

Brioche
8 stale slices of brioche
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Frangipane
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
1 large egg
125g ground almonds
300g rhubarb
4 tbsp flaked almonds

For the sugar syrup add the sugar, vanilla bean paste and 50ml of water to a small saucepan and place over medium heat and cook until simmering and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside. This can be made and refrigerated up to a week in advance. 

For the frangipane place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine then finish by mixing through the ground almonds to make a thick paste. Again this mixture can be made and then refrigerate in advance, it will keep for a couple days before it needs using but bear in mind as it chills it will become firmer so you’ll need to let it warm up a little before using. 

When ready to make preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line a baking tray with parchment. Brush the slices of brioche with sugar syrup, making sure to use all of it. Spread the frangipane over the brioche (you can either do this with a spoon, or pipe it on with a piping bag). Cut the rhubarb into small batons that fit on the brioche and place on top of the frangipane. Finish with a sprinkling of flaked almonds.

Bake the bostocks for about 25-30 minutes or until the frangipane is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving, still a touch warm. 

The bostocks are best on the day made but can be served a day later if you have some left over.