Szarlotka

I am happy to have a fitting post to share on Pi day! 🙂

Dorie Greenspan described this Polish dessert as a “combination of a cake, a crumble, and a torte.” After reading this in her book, I expected something different. I would describe it as a fruit-packed deep dish pie.

Because I served it warm, the slices had a little bit of trouble keeping their shape! Ice cream was not an essential accompaniment, but we preferred it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The recipe was adapted from Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty, & Simple by Dorie Greenspan. Next time I would add some cinnamon and nutmeg to the filling.

The original recipe includes ideas for variations in the filling including mixing pears with the apples and using dried cherries or dried cranberries instead of raisins. Toasted nuts would also be delicious in the filling.

Yield: One 9-inch pie (serves 8 to 10)

For the Crust:

  • 306 g (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 11 T (5 1/2 oz / 155 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cold large egg
  • 1 cold large egg white

For the Filling:

  • 3 pounds (1.3 kg) sweet apples, such as Fuji or Gala, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 67 g (1/3 cup / 5 T) packed light brown sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1 1/2 T all-purpose flour
  • 160 g (1 cup) moist, plump raisins, preferably golden
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or allspice, to taste, optional
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste (I used 1/2 a large lemon)

To Serve:

  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • ice cream or whipped cream, for serving, optional

To Make the Crust:

  1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Place the prepared pan on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse to blend.
  3. Drop in the pieces of butter and pulse, about 15 times, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple to times. The mixture should resemble crumbs.
  4. Lightly beat the egg and egg white; add to the flour mixture in 3 additions, pulsing after each. Scrape the bowl as needed. The mixture should form moist clumps and curds.
  5. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and gather it together.
  6. Remove 1/3 of the dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer. (This dough will be used for the topping.)
  7. Shape the remaining dough into a ball, flatten it and sandwich it between sheets of parchment paper.
  8. Roll the dough into a round about 14-inches in diameter. Peel the parchment back intermittently to make sure it’s not creasing the dough. (The round will be about 1/8-inch thick.)
  9. Place the dough (still between the parchment sheets) on a flat surface and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  10. After chilling, transfer the dough to the springform pan. Gently press it against the bottom and up the sides, patching and folding if necessary. Trim the top even with the pan.
  11. Place the pan/crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (I set my oven to the convection setting.)
  2. Toss the chopped apples, brown sugar, flour, and raisins in a large bowl and mix to coat the apples with sugar and flour. Add the spices at this time as well, if using.
  3. Mix in the lemon juice; mix.
  4. Taste a piece of apple and adjust the sweetness and/or spices, to taste. Let rest for 5 minutes and mix again.
  5. Place the dough-lined pan on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Scoop the filling into the crust, including any juices that have accumulated in the bowl.
  7. Remove the chunk of dough from the freezer and, using the large holes of a box grater, grate the frozen dough. Intermittently stop and sprinkle the pieces over the top of the apples.
  8. Bake the pie for 40 minutes.
  9. Tent it loosely with foil and bake another 25 minutes or so, until the top is golden brown and, most importantly, the juices are bubbling up thorough the top crust. (I baked it for an additional 35 minutes once tented but would add even more time next time- the apples could have been even more tender.)
  10. Transfer the szarlotka, on the baking sheet, to a rack and let rest for 20 minutes.
  11. Gently run a table knife between the pie and the sides of the pan and remove the sides of the springform pan.
  12. Let the pie cool until it’s just warm or reaches room temperature.

To Serve:

  1. Dust the pie with confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Slice the pie using a serrated knife using a sawing motion.
  3. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, if desired- I recommend it!

Note: The szarlotka is best the day it is made. To store it you can keep it covered at room temperature for one day or refrigerate it for a second day.

Brussels & Broccoli Agrodolce with Cranberries & Chilies

This is a simple and elegant vegetable side dish that I served as part of our Thanksgiving feast this year. It was easy to prepare while the turkey was resting after being removed from the oven. The dried cranberries and fresh chilies added contrasting color and flavor. Nice.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Ann Taylor Pittman. I substituted Shishito chilies for Fresno. I also modified the method. I wish that I had doubled the recipe! Next time. 🙂

Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish

  • 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts (about 3 cups), halved lengthwise 
  • 6 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 14 ounces) 
  • 5 T avocado oil or canola oil, divided 
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided 
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot 
  • 4 Shishito chiles or 1 medium-size fresh red Fresno chile (about 1/2 ounce), thinly sliced 
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed 
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 4 T (1/4 cup) honey 
  • 1 dried bay leaf 
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  1. Place a rimmed sheet pan in the oven. Preheat oven to 425 on convection or to 450°F. Leave baking sheet in oven as it preheats. (I set my oven to convection roast.) 
  2. Place Brussels sprouts and broccoli in a large bowl; drizzle with 4 tablespoons of oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Toss well to coat.
  3. Carefully remove hot baking sheet from oven.
  4. Add Brussels sprout mixture to baking sheet; spread in an even layer.
  5. Roast in preheated oven until vegetables are tender and browned and broccoli tops are frizzled and almost burned, 15 to 18 minutes. 
  6. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add shallot, Fresno chile, and coriander; cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot starts to soften, about 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in vinegar, honey, bay leaf, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly syrupy, 6 to 8 minutes.
  9. Stir in cranberries; cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have plumped slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. 
  10. Place roasted vegetables in a large bowl; add cranberry mixture, and toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.  

Rice & Potato Tahdig

I have an overwhelming collection of tahdig recipes. I have always wanted to make this Persian rice dish!

The dish is named for the crispy layer of rice that forms at the bottom of the pot is known as tahdig, which means “bottom of the pot.” This version also has thinly sliced potatoes in the crispy layer. This was my first attempt, and although delicious, it was a little bit too crispy and dark on the top. :/ I modified the cooking times in the recipe below.

This recipe is from Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski. I used Yukon gold potatoes and seasoned the finished dish with sprinkled sumac.

Yield: Serves 8 as a side dish

  • 2 cups white Basmati rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 small Russet or 1-2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16-inch thick
  • 1 T coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 T dried cranberries, coarsely chopped, optional
  • sumac, for sprinkling, optional
  1. Place the rice in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cold water to cover by 1 inch; stir. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the saffron with 1 tablespoon of hot water; set aside.
  4. Place the rice in a large saucepan. Add 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the rice is slightly softened on the outside, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Drain the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water, then shake well to remove excess water. Set aside.
  6. Cut out a round of parchment paper to cover the bottom of a 10-inch wide or other wide heavy pot with a lid, such as a Dutch oven. (I used a 10-inch enameled cast iron Dutch oven.) Line the pan with the parchment round.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot and melt over medium-low heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  8. Arrange the potatoes, overlapping, on the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add the rice and 1/4 teaspoons salt to the bowl with the saffron water and gently stir to combine.
  10. Spoon the rice on top of the sliced potatoes (do not press or pack down). Using a fork, gently spread the rice in an even layer.
  11. Cook, uncovered, over medium or medium-low heat, until the mixture is fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. (I cooked it for 10 minutes over medium heat but would reduce the time to 7 minutes next time- possibly over medium-low heat.)
  12. Wrap a clean dishcloth or flour sack towel around the lid and tightly cover the pan, folding the cloth over the edges of the lid.
  13. Reduce the lowest possibly setting and cook, undisturbed, until the potatoes are crisp (you can peek by lifting up the mixture at an edge or two with a large serving spoon), 1 1/2 hours to 1 3/4 hours.
  14. Uncover and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  15. Remove the pan from the heat. Invert the dish onto a serving plate, then lift off and discard the parchment paper.
  16. Sprinkle with the parsley, cranberries, and sumac, as desired.

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