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.

Buttery Pear Dutch Baby

This beautiful Dutch Baby was extra special for my pear-loving family. Including pears made it taste similar to a clafoutis. I served it dusted with powdered sugar but others drizzled it with maple syrup as well. 🙂

The recipe was adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics by Sarah Kieffer. I used sea salt and whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose. Easy and delicious.

Yield: Serves 3 to 4 (one 10-inch Dutch Baby)

  • 1 cup (120g) whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 cup (142g) all-purpose flour)
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 large or extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup milk, preferably whole
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 T (57g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large pear, optional, peeled and cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used an Anjou)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • pure maple syrup, for serving, optional
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla until incorporated.
  4. Whisk one-third of the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until no lumps remain, then slowly add the remaining wet ingredients, whisking until smooth.
  5. Place the butter into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and put it in the oven to preheat for 3 to 4 minutes, until the butter melts and starts to sizzle in the pan.
  6. Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the skillet from the oven. If using pear slices, sauté in the hot butter for 1 minute.
  7. Pour the batter in and immediately return the skillet to the oven.
  8. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and crisp and the pancake has risen and puffed. (I baked mine for 18 minutes on convection.)
  9. Transfer the skillet to a wire rack and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
  10. Cut into wedges and serve with maple syrup, if desired.

Escarole, Pear, Parmesan, & Basil Salad

A fellow member of my CSA shared this recipe as a wonderful way to use the escarole and basil in our share. I loved it! The original recipe was published in November- I do think that this would be a terrific salad to serve on or around Thanksgiving or as a special winter salad. It was also great in July. 😉

The recipe was adapted from epicurious.com, contributed by Mindy Fox. I modified the proportions and used my favorite mustard vinaigrette instead of the suggested vinaigrette. I also used a Bartlett pear, our favorite, instead of Comice or Anjou. I loved the crunch from the hazelnuts.

Yield: Serves 6 as a side

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 T hazelnuts, coarsely chopped, or more, to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 large head of escarole (about 3/4 pound), leaves cut into 1/2-inch ribbons and then torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large or 2 small Bartlett, Comice, or Anjou pear(s), cored, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, shaved (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) basil leaves, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • flaky sea salt

For the Dressing:

  • 1 shallot, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium. Add hazelnuts and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden, 2–3 minutes. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. While the nuts cool, make the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a mini food processor and process until smooth. Set aside. (I transfer the dressing to a jar.)
  3. Place escarole, pear slices, Parmesan shavings, basil, and about 1/3 of the reserved hazelnuts in a large bowl.
  4. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the prepared salad.
  5. Gently toss until salad is evenly dressed; season with sea salt and additional pepper, to taste. (You will have extra dressing to reserve for another salad.)
  6. Top with remaining hazelnuts. Serve.

Vanilla Pear Sour

This festive seasonal cocktail was absolutely fabulous. My husband and I enjoyed it prior to our quiet Thanksgiving feast this year.

This recipe was adapted from Jamie Oliver via francoiselaprune.com. I poached thin slices of pear so that I could use them as a garnish. I may poach even larger slices next time. We preferred it with a little bit less alcohol so I noted a range in the recipe below.

The delicious pear syrup can be made in advance, making this perfect for Thanksgiving or a party. We used the leftover syrup to make more cocktails! 😉 It could also be drizzled over ice cream.

Yield: Makes one drink (plus additional Vanilla Pear Syrup)

For the Vanilla Pear Syrup: (makes enough syrup for approximately 10 drinks)

  • 1 Bartlett pear, cut in half or quartered, cored, & cut into thin slices
  • 200 g (7.1 ounces, 1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 200 ml (7 ounces, scant 1 cup) water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

For the Cocktail:

  • 30ml (1 ounce, 2 T) Vanilla Pear Syrup
  • 30ml (1 ounce, 2 T) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 44 to 50ml (1.5 to 1.75 ounces) vodka
  • ice cubes
  • poached pear slices, for garnish
  1. Add the pear slices, sugar, water, vanilla seeds with vanilla bean pod to a small saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Let the poaching liquid infuse and cool down for another 30 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine wire mesh strainer, reserving the poached pear slices for garnish. Keep pear syrup in a jar in the refrigerator; it will keep for 5 days.
  4. Combine the lemon juice, vodka and 30ml of the vanilla pear syrup into a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass with ice.
  5. Garnish with a thin pear slice (or two).

Note: This cocktail was also wonderful with Meyer lemon juice. (I used the juice of my very first lemon from my Meyer lemon tree!) 🙂

Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Slaw

I have made slow-cooker pulled chicken sandwiches in the past but felt like they would be improved with slaw. This version fulfilled that wish! We ate them on soft potato rolls with chips. It was a wonderful, casual dinner that we enjoyed outside on a beautiful night.

This recipe was adapted from Just Cook It! 145 Built-to-be-Easy Recipes that are Totally Delicious by Justin Chapple. I used broccoli slaw as a base for the cole slaw topping and opted to not toast the rolls. With minimal preparation required in the morning, it’s a great dish to serve after a busy day.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Pulled Chicken:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (about 8 to 10)
  • potato sandwich rolls, split, toasted if desired, for serving
  • slaw (recipe below), for serving

For the Slaw:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp celery seeds
  • 12 ounces broccoli slaw (Trader Joe’s) or Brussels sprouts or shredded cabbage
  • 1 large Ruby Frost or Granny Smith apple, cored and julienned
  • 1 very firm Anjou or Bartlett pear, cored and juilienned
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Chicken:

  1. In a slow cooker, whisk together the apple cider, ketchup, sugar, vinegar, garlic, 2 tsp coarse salt, and 1 tsp pepper.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and mix well.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours or High for 3 to 4 hours, until the chicken is very tender.
  4. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken in the sauce and then season generously with salt and pepper.

To Make the Slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and celery seeds.
  2. Using a mandoline set to 1/8″, julienne the apple and pear. Slice the Brussels sprouts lengthwise by hand, if using.
  3. Add the fruit to the mayonnaise mixture, followed by the shredded cabbage/broccoli/Brussels sprouts.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and mix.
  5. Chill until ready to serve.

To Serve:

  1. Pile the pulled chicken on soft or toasted potato buns, top with slaw, and serve.

Note: The pulled chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Lighter Pear Crumble

By using maple syrup and brown sugar as sweeteners as well as whole wheat pastry flour, oats and almonds in the topping, this recipe succeeds as a lighter version of this classic comfort food dessert. We indulged a little and ate it with vanilla ice cream, of course. 😉 Without the ice cream, this dish could actually be served for breakfast.

This recipe was adapted from The Washington Post, contributed by nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger. Lovely.

Yield: 8 servings

For the Topping:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 T almond meal or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (whole wheat flour may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

For the Filling:

  • 3 pounds ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used 6 Bartlett pears)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Spray a 10×9-inch (can also use an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch) baking dish with cooking oil spray, or brush lightly with oil.

To Make the Topping:

  1. If using slivered almonds, process them in a food processor until finely ground; alternatively use almond meal. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Add the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt to the ground almonds.
  3. Drizzle the mixture with 1/4 canola oil; stir until well incorporated. Set aside.

To Make the Filling & Finish the Dish:

  1. Combine the pears, maple syrup and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the fruit mixture with the cornstarch, cinnamon and ginger; stir until the pears are evenly coated.
  3. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  4. Crumble the topping over the pears.
  5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until bubbling and the topping is lightly browned.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

Pear & Cranberry Pie

Hello, and Happy belated New Year! I hope that someone out there has not felt the need to modify their diet as I have quite a few recipes to share from festivities at end of 2016. 🙂 My kids have winter birthdays so we are still celebrating in my house!

This delicious pie was from our Thanksgiving feast. The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Justin Chapple. It was originally a slab pie but I modified the recipe to bake it in a “new” estate sale pie plate that had to be used. It was absolutely wonderful with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: one 10-inch double-crusted pie

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • coarse salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 5 firm Bartlett or Anjou pears peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
  • vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. Day ahead: Freeze cleaned, fresh cranberries in a single layer on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet.
  2. Make the Crust Dough: In a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and pulse to mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Drizzle the ice water over the mixture and pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather any crumbs and pat into 2 rounds. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes. (This can also be done a day in advance.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
  7. On a floured work surface or between sheets of plastic wrap, roll out 1 piece of the dough to a 13-inch round. Remove one side of plastic wrap and line the bottom of a 10-inch pie dish with the crust.
  8. Roll the second piece of dough into a 12-inch round; keep between sheets of plastic wrap. Place second crust on a cookie sheet.
  9. Refrigerate both crusts for 15 to 45 minutes.
  10. In a large bowl, toss the pears with the cranberries, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of flour. Spread the fruit evenly in the dough-lined pie dish.
  11. Cut the chilled, 12-inch round pie crust dough into strips to weave into a lattice. Form a lattice over the pie filling.
  12. Fold under the edge and crimp decoratively all around to seal.
  13. Freeze for 15 to 30 minutes.
  14. Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  15. Cover the edge of the pie with a crust shield. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees and then lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake about 45 to 60 minutes, or until filling is bubbling, crust is golden, and the pears are tender; rotate halfway through baking. Let cool.
  16. Serve with vanilla ice cream, as desired.

Note: The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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