It’s summer! And in the past few weeks, I’ve had some extra time to make messes in the kitchens of friends and family. And since I instagrammed the *bleep* out of these kitchen adventures, your mouth may have watered from afar.
Have no fear, though! Not only will I guest chef in your kitchen (seriously, just invite me over)…but I’ve included recipes and tips below so you can bizzake with the best of them. I threw in one recipe with vegetables so that we could all pretend this was a healthy, nutritious sort of post (it is not).
The only rule? Have funsies - none of this stress in the kitchen crap. If it doesn’t work out, just take some ice cream out of the freezer and enjoy.
Fail proof tips:
1. Read recipes in advance so that you a) have all the ingredients and b) ensure that butter is uber chilled when it’s called for or at room temperature when that is demanded
2. Have a cold beer or drunken lemonade (dilute lemon concentrate, add whiskey + simple syrup; consider adding homemade iced black tea for extra flair) while you prep
3. Invite friends along to co-bake or - my favorite - clean the dishes when you’re done
Pie Crust!! Galette Crust!! etc
If you want to make anything with a nice pastry crust, I recommend always using this recipe via Chez Pim, because it’s the most fool-proof I’ve found of the crust varieties. You can sub in other types of flours, too. It’s not challenging, really, but it does require some planning because you have to chill the crust twice during the process. That said, it always makes an impressive crust and you can make in advance and refrigerate or freeze for future use.
If you have a marble counter top or marble “cutting board” that will work best for rolling out the crust, especially the final time. And to transfer the crust from counter to pie pan, I recommend gently folding in half twice and then transferring to pan and unfolding.
Oh, and if it’s warm out, I definitely recommend a) chilling your hands with cool water. I also recently chilled an empty wine bottle as rolling pin, which worked. You can also chill your rolling pin if you have a plastic or marble one.
Bottom Line: More than anything, temperature matters. If the dough gets too warm, just put it back in freezer/fridge. This may be frustrating, but definitely better than fighting with the dough and having your pie crust crumble/tear apart as you place in pan.
Galettes are Pie’s Fuss-Free Cousin
And so so yummy. I recently made this one via Martha Stewart with peaches & nectarines, using the crust recipe from above.
… But Crisps & Crumbles are Even Easier
I used this recipe via Food & Wine when baking for friends in Norway and just subbed in apples (Granny Smith, since they tend to bake well) when I couldn’t find rhubarb.
I always opt for more cinnamon than the recipe requires, so season to your taste. I prefer using brown sugar with the fruits, not just for the topping. And this is at its best when served with a good vanilla ice cream (or, I suppose whipped cream would do the trick).
End result: I really liked this topping & made it again from my grandpa when I got back home. And the closer the fruits are to being overripe, the sweeter and better this tastes.
But if you are looking to experiment with fruits or check out a few toppings, this mix and match recipe from Martha Stewart also looks good.
Because I bought some nice pearl (or Israeli) cous cous and because we had cherries in the fridge and because I had to make a yummy, healthy-ish dinner for the fam on the fly I made up a recipe (that I certainly didn’t write down) that went something like this:
Warm olive oil in pan
Dump in 1 cup (ish?) of pearl cous cous and brown it a bit
In the meantime,
Dump a bunch of yellow raisins in a bowl, douse with molasses and some water; stir then let sit
Slice some red onion and brown on the stove in olive oil
Add thinly sliced carrots
Add possibly another vegetable that I’ve since forgotten
Now add water, salt, pepper, a lot of cinnamon and a bit of other spices that seem suitable and raise heat and cover to really simmer
Add in the raisins and their liquid
Cook to water has evaporated
Mix cooked cous cous with veg and bean mixture; add 1-2 cups of pitted, quartered fresh cherries
But, I realize this haphazard recollection makes for a poor recipe, so I would recommend taking this recipe from Martha Stewart, then swap in and out ingredients (instead of almonds, try pine nuts or instead of apricots tried dried or fresh cherries, etc)
The Snakebite: A Chocolate Cake to Please them All
And since everyone always seems to want chocolate cake, here is one of my favorite recipes, from one of my favorite sites: Food52. The sour cream and beer (no, the cake doesn’t taste like beer) consistently help make it an extra moist, rich cake. And the cream cheese frosting comes out nicely even if you can’t track down pear cider (although it does make it nicer).