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squash pie

December 30, 2013

bruleed squash pie 1





bruleed squash pie 2


bruleed squash pie 3


BRÛLÉED BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIE // makes enough for two 9′ inch pies or six 4′ inch pies 
Filling and crust recipes adapted from Andrew Weil, M.D.
1 box graham crackers
3 tablespoons sesame tahini
6 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon water
6 cups pureed butternut squash, (from about 2 large butternut squash)
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup water
4 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot or corn starch
1/2 cup vegan granulated cane sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons brandy
COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM:  // makes about 3 1/2 cups 
2 14-ounce cans coconut cream, chilled for 24 hours, cream separated, whipped to medium peaks
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400° F. Peel the butternut squash and cut into 1/2 inch squares, discarding the seeds and fibrous parts of the squash. Place the pieces over and into the center of a large sheet of tinfoil. Place onto a baking sheet and fold the sides of tinfoil over the squash pieces to cover. Bake for 30 minutes until the squash is soft enough to pierce easily with a fork. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a bowl of a food processor, grind the graham crackers to fine crumbs. Add the tahini, maple syrup, canola oil, salt, and water and pulse just to incorporate. Pour the crumbs into two 9′inch pie pans, or six 4′inch tart shells. Spread evenly over th bottom; then create a circle about 1 inch in to separate the crumbs for the sides from the crumbs for the bottom. Start pressing the outer ring of crumbs evenly up the sides and into the corner (where the side meets the bottom) of the pan. Press the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom to meet the sides; use a flat bottomed tool or cup to smooth out the bumps. Freeze until crust is firm, about 15 minutes. Keep chilled until ready to fill.

In a blender, pulse the the cashews until finely ground. Add the water and blend on high speed for 2 minutes. Add the baked squash and puree until extremely smooth. Add the cornstarch or arrowroot powder and blend on low speed for 30 seconds.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the squash mixture with the sugars and spices. Pour in the brandy and stir to combine. Divide the pie filling equally between the pie crusts. Bake the pies for 50-60 minutes until lightly browned, cracked, and well-set. Remove the pies from the oven, cool, then refrigerate overnight to allow filling to firm up.

To make the coconut whipped cream, scoop the coconut cream layer from the chilled can and discard the coconut liquid or save for later use. With a hand mixer, whip the cream until light and fluffy, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and vanilla extract to taste.

Just before serving, sprinkle the top of the pies with a little granulated sugar and using a kitchen torch, brûlée until the sugar is melted and dark brown.

Serve pie cool or at room temperature and top with coconut whipped cream.


December 8, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Slice-And-Bakes with White Chocolate-Peppermint

Chewy Chocolate Slice-and-Bakes with White Chocolate-Peppermint Ganache
Makes 36 – 2 ½-inch cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup Valrhona cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated cane sugar + ½ cup for dusting
2 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg yolks
3 ounces candy canes, crushed for garnish

Peppermint Ganache
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
2 ½ tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon peppermint extract


Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small and set aside. Using an electric mixer on a medium-high speed, beat the butter, sugar, and molasses in a large bowl until fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides. Add the egg yolks and beat to just incorporate. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Beat until the flour is evenly mixed, while scraping down the sides. The dough should come together easily with your hands. Divide the dough in half and roll into two 7-by-2-inch logs. Wrap each one in plastic, and gently square off the edges against a flat work surface to form 4 evenly long sides. Chill the dough until firm, about 1 hour.

Arrange the racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Add ½ cup of granulated sugar into a small bowl and set aside.

Unwrap 1 dough log, and using a sharp knife, slice into ¼-inch thick squares, lightly re-forming into 2-by-2-inch cookies once sliced. Lay the cookies into the sugar while giving the bowl a swirl. Dust them evenly with the sugar to cover all sides. Slice and dust the remaining and transfer to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart.

Bake for 7-8 minutes, until the edges are set and the centers are still very soft. Let cool for 2 minutes, then gently press a shallow circle into the center of each cookie with your thumb. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Repeat the baking steps with the second log, making sure baking sheets have cooled.

Chop the white chocolate into very fine pieces and place into a small heatproof bowl over a saucepot with warm water on low-heat, ensuring water is not touching the bowl. Stir the chocolate constantly until almost melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat the heavy cream in a small microwave proof bowl until it begins to simmer, about 25 seconds. Pour the cream over the warm chocolate, let stand for 2 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar to the mixture and stir until smooth, pressing out any lumps with the back of a spoon. Add the peppermint extract and whisk until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Makes about 1 ¼ cups.

*Note: If the ganache is too thick, loosen with a ½ tablespoon or more of heavy cream and whisk to combine.

Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of the ganache into the centers of each cookie. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane flakes and serve. Store in an airtight container overnight.

Make Ahead: The dough can be made 2 days in advance, keep chilled.

Cookie Swap // F&W Cookie Week
 chewy chocolate peppermint slice-and-bake cookies
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
 —Theodore Roethke

tea cake and clams

November 22, 2013

  In August, I had the opportunity of baking and shooting a few of Silvana Nardone’s gluten-free desserts featured over at Food and Wine. For those of you who don’t know Silvana, she is the cookbook author of Cooking for Isaiah, where she shares tips and stories to cooking delicious gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. One of my favorites from the shoot was this Almond-Streusel Tea Cake. It’s soft, almond-rich crumb is perfect alongside cups of green tea in the afternoon. There is much, much pleasure to be had in a simple thing, perfectly made. And this cake is excellent in that way. Loved it. You can find the recipe here.

 For part II, clams.

I just received a copy of F&W’s Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook! It’s a fabulous new release honoring 25 of the world’s most exceptional chefs and some of their amazing recipes! So I wanted to share a quick one with you. I chose this clam recipe from Southern Chef Linton Hopkins, awarded Best New Chef in 2009. The recipe is a standout—clams that open up into bourbon, bacon, and jalepeño..  They were nuts! So good.

Be sure to check out this new book from Food and Wine! It’s a stunner. I plan to be back here soon with a cookie recipe or two for the holidays. Yum. Thanks for visiting.

Silvana Nardone's Gluten-Free Almond-Streusel Tea Cake

Pan-Roasted Clams with Bacon, Bourbon and Jalepeño

adapted from Linton Hopkins 

Serves 4


One 3-ounce slab smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup very finely chopped shallots

2 tablespoons very finely chopped garlic

24 littleneck clams, scrubbed and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes

1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup bottled clam broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds

1 tablespoon very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Crusty bread, for serving


In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate.

Add the chopped shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the drained clams and bourbon to the skillet and simmer over moderately low heat until the bourbon is almost evaporated. Add the clam broth, cover and cook until the clams open, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard any unopened clams.

Transfer the clams to shallow bowls. Add the cream, jalapeños, parsley and the bacon to the skillet and simmer until the cream is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the butter. Pour the cream sauce over the clams and serve with crusty bread.


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