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.

Swiss Chard & Ricotta Galette

I kept waiting for Swiss chard to appear in my CSA box so that I could make this savory galette. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart. We ate it for dinner but it would be perfect for a special lunch or brunch. It was a surprisingly hearty meal served with a green salad. (I will confess that I served it with leftover pizza to please the rest of my crowd.) 🙂

The crust was particularly amazing. It is made with rolled oats and cream cheese which resulted in wonderful texture.

Yield: One 10 to 11-inch tart

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the Filling & Egg Wash:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces Swiss chard, leaves sliced in half through the center rib, stems separated and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 3 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 ounces ricotta, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg yolk

To Make the Crust:

  1. Pulse flour, oats, and salt in a food processor to combine.
  2. Add butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk; pulse until dough just holds together, 15 to 20 seconds.
  3. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

To Make the Filling:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add chard stems, onion, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until stems are soft and slightly brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in raisins. Transfer mixture to a nonreactive bowl.
  4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high. Add anchovies, if using; cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Stir in thyme. (I incorporated the anchovies.)
  5. Add chard leaves and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat both cheeses with 2 tablespoons cream until smooth, about 1 minute.
  7. Stir in nutmeg; season with salt and pepper.

To Make the Galette:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. On a large sheet of parchment, roll out dough to a 1/8-inch-thick round, about 13 to 14-inches in diameter.
  3. Arrange onion mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 3-inch border.
  4. Spread ricotta mixture over onion mixture; top with chard mixture.
  5. Fold edges of dough over and gently press down to seal.
  6. Transfer tart (still on parchment) to a baking sheet. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, beat together egg yolk and remaining 1 tablespoon cream. Brush exposed dough with egg wash.
  8. Bake until crust is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Irish Soda Bread is a must-have celebratory breakfast in our house. This version was delicious slathered with butter.

The recipe was adapted from Food 52, contributed by Pegeen. I incorporated whole wheat flour and golden raisins. I baked the bread in a 10-inch ceramic baking dish. It was very tender- perfect with a cup of coffee. 🙂

Yield: One 10 or 11-inch round loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, cold (you may need a little less or more)
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, COLD, cut into smaller chunks, plus more for greasing the baking dish
  • 1 cup dark seedless raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Carrot-Cake Thumbprint Cookies

My friend had the most beautiful Easter party yesterday. She served an exorbitant amount of delicious food and everyone gobbled it up. Her spread included asparagus-cream soup, tomato-goat cheese tarts, grilled lamb chops, baked ham, mustard chicken salad, leek-bacon-gruyere quiche, green salad, arugula-fennel-dill salad, fruit salad, penne a la vodka, and more. That doesn’t even include dessert! 🙂 She also had an egg hunt and goodie bags for all of the kids- AND party favors. Amazing!

I brought one of my favorite appetizers, Leek and Gruyere Tart with Prosciutto, and these flavor-packed cookies to contribute. My kids made Peep kebabs too. 🙂 (Some peeps ended up being roasted over a fire!)

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I rolled the dough in chopped raw pecans and used cream cheese instead of goat cheese in the filling. Using a large cookie scoop to ration the dough made the precise 18 cookies. They had a great consistency- chewy on the inside with a crunch from the pecans on the outside. Loved them.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 stick, room temperature, for frosting
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed finely grated carrots (from about 3)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • 3/4 cup raw pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apricot jam

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown and granulated sugars, and yolk.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture to combine.
  5. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop, ration 18 scoops of dough. Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll balls in pecans to coat.
  8. Space 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.
  9. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven; press an indentation into center of each cookie with the end of a wooden spoon.
  10. Bake until golden brown on bottoms, 10 to 12 minutes more. Re-press indentation into each cookie, as needed. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
  11. In a bowl, beat remaining 1/2 stick butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium until smooth.
  12. Beat in cream cheese until just combined. Swirl in jam.
  13. Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe filling into the center of each cookie with cream cheese mixture.
  14. Chill until ready to serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Rigatoni with Eggplant Caponata

IMG_7901

We ate most of this tangy relish over pasta and plan to eat the leftovers as a crostini topping (with basil) or as a sandwich spread (with mozzarella) – YUM! Pasta water can be added to the caponata to make a thinner sauce for pasta, but I prefer a chunky and thick sauce. This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more if needed, to taste
  • 2 large eggplants (2 1/4 pounds total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • freshly grated Parmesan, for serving, if desired
  • fresh basil, for garnish, if desired
  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, raisins, pine nuts, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, cocoa powder, and sugar; cook, stirring, until tomato paste is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggplant, vinegar, and 2/3 cup water.
  3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender and mixture is thick, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and more sugar (up to 2 tablespoons), as desired.
  4. Cook the rigatoni according to the package directions in salted, boiling water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Combine cooked pasta with approximately 3 cups of the sauce, or as desired. Gradually add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is achieved.
  6. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.

One Year Ago:

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Browned Butter, Swiss Chard, Walnuts & Golden Raisins

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE dishes! I would eat it every day. 🙂 It is the perfect dish to make when I get smaller bunches of greens in my CSA box because it is wonderful with any combination of Swiss chard, spinach and kale (or any other greens). The nutty browned butter is the standout flavor, with the greens, toasted walnuts, plumped up golden raisins, and salty hard cheese only making the dish more fabulous. I serve it over whole wheat spaghetti- it would be GREAT with fresh pasta.

This dish was adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Field of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant by Annie Somerville. I have used Swiss chard and spinach which have relatively equivalent cooking times, but if kale (or cabbage) is being used it needs to be sautĂ©ed 2-3 minutes with the onions before adding the other greens because it is more slow cooking. Mmmmm…..

Serves: 2 to 4

  • 1/3 cup brown butter
  • 3 T golden raisins
  • 1 bunch red or green Swiss chard (or mixed with spinach and kale or other greens), about 8 cups packed leaves
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
  • salt and pepper
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped or sliced
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti, or fresh fettuccine
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • grated Parmesan cheese, or other salty hard cheese
  1. Make the brown butter: Melt 5 T unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat. As the butter gently simmers, the butter and fat and milk solids will separate from each other. The solids will settle to the bottom of the pan, coloring the butter as it cooks. When it turns a rich amber color, in about 8 to 10 minutes, remove from heat. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a paper towel or cheese-cloth and pour the butter through it, straining out the solids. Keep it warm over low heat.
  2. Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Plump the currants and golden raisins in a small bowl covered with 1/4 cup hot water. Trim the stems from the chard and slice across the leaves to make 2-inch-wide ribbons.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan; add the onion, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few pinches of pepper. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens and begins to release its juices. (If using kale, add to the onions after 2 minutes.) Add the garlic, chard, and 1/4 tsp salt. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chard is just barely tender, then reduce the heat to low.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a 400 degree oven for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside.
  5. When the water boils, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the pasta to the pot, timing it to finish cooking with the chard. (The chard should be very tender but not overcooked when the pasta is done.)
  6. When the pasta is just tender, drain it immediately in a colander, shake off excess water, and add it to the onions and chard, along with the plumped fruit, walnuts, and brown butter. Toss together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

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