weeknight gourmet

Category : Fruit

Spring is for Rhubarb: Wine-Roasted Rhubarb

by Weeknight Gourmet Guest Blogger Elizabeth Terry

Spring is for rhubarb!!!

A few years ago, my sister Meghan discovered a love for strawberry-rhubarb pie. I’m not sure I was aware of rhubarb before that, but I certainly am now. We’re definitely in rhubarb season on the East Coast now, and here’s a recipe that is delicious and easier than pie.

I get rhubarb from my CSA in the spring, and if you’re not up for making a pie or cake, the easiest thing to do with it is to stew or roast it with some liquid and sweetener. You can then eat the resulting compote with yogurt or ice cream or all on its own. Last year, I usually put it in the oven with some orange juice and sugar or honey and let it get nice and soft. But this year I came across another recipe, and people, THIS is the way to do rhubarb in 2010.

I found it on the blog Orangette by Molly Wizenberg, which is a charming food blog, somewhat too-too but the recipes are always spot-on. I just bought her book “A Homemade Life” – I’m a sucker for a memoir with recipes. Molly and her husband have a pizzeria in Seattle which sounds pretty nice, and in the recipe she mentions that she used “our house white… Château de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne, a blend of Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Gros Manseng, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc” for cooking the rhubarb. I can tell you that I used the house white from Target, an actually halfway decent Pinot Grigio in a Tetra-Pak (think juice box) and was delighted with the results. I also used vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, and scaled the ingredients up a tad as I like having lots of beautiful magenta syrup.

Molly adapted the recipe from one of the Canal House cookbooks, which I haven’t seen yet but everyone raves about.

Wine-Roasted Rhubarb
Adapted from Orangette, which adapted it from Canal House Cooking, Volume 3

  • 2 lbs rhubarb, cut in 3” lengths
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients in a deep oven-safe pot.

Place pot in oven, uncovered, and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft and some of the pieces are falling apart a bit and the wine, sugar, vanilla and rhubarb juices have made a hot-pink, sweet-tart syrup.

Chill and serve over yogurt or vanilla ice cream, with a plain buttery cake or just eat with a spoon.

Serves at least 4 as a dessert, keeps well for several days for those of us who like to pull the container out of the fridge at all hours of the day and help ourselves.

Elizabeth Terry is a freelance editor and writer based in Washington, DC. She used to be a picky eater but now is up for just about anything.

Holiday Desserts: Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

I made this cake for Thanksgiving last year and really enjoyed it so I decided to make for last night.

The cake is incredibly moist — probably because of the milk in the batter — and the cranberry, cinnamon, allspice mixture provides a wonderful holiday flavor!  Plus I think the cake is very pretty.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
Everyday Food

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 3/4 cups cranberries
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with 2 tablespoons butter. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon and allspice. Sprinkle mixture evenly over bottom of pan; arrange cranberries in a single layer on top.

With an electric mixer, cream remaining 6 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until well combined. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, until well combined.

Spoon batter over cranberries in pan, and smooth top. Place pan on a baking sheet; bake cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; invert onto a rimmed platter.

Fall Desserts: Spiced Pumpkin Bread

I was in the mood for a classic fall sweet treat so I turned to the pumpkin for inspiration. Since I consider pumpkin pie a Thanksgiving dessert, I thought a pumpkin bread might be a good early fall alternative.

The recipe was very easy and quick to make. You probably have every ingredient on hand other than the canned pumpkin. Remember to buy solid pack pumpkin, not canned pumpkin pie filling.

After reading the recipe reviews, I decided to reduce the amount of ground cloves to 1/2 teaspoon and added 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.

The recipe yields two loaves. Since the preface to the recipe stated that the bread freezes well, I decided to make the full recipe and freeze one loaf. And, as a special treat, I added semisweet chocolate chips to the bread we’re feasting on now. We each had a slice for dessert and breakfast. Guess it was a hit!

IMG_3679

Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Bon Appetit

• 3 cups sugar
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 3 large eggs
• 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

Fall Desserts: Dutch Apple Pie

It’s apple season!  And, that means apple pie!

The Little Pie Company in our neighborhood has the most delicious Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie so I searched online for a similar recipe.  I didn’t find one with sour cream in the recipe but I found this absolutely delicious Dutch Apple Pie recipe in Food & Wine.

We picked up a peck of fresh Honey Crisps and Macouns at Windy Hill in Great Barrington, MA on Saturday so I used a combo of the two for the pie.  No changes to the recipe other than using a Pillsbury refrigerator crust as a time saver.

IMG_3631

Everyone loved the pie!!  The apple filling was delicious and the brown sugar topping was amazing with a little crunch from the walnuts.  This recipe is a keeper!

Dutch Apple Pie
Food & Wine

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed, plus 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 6 large apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks or thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a food processor, pulse 1 1/4 cups of the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add 1 stick of the butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Drizzle on the ice water and pulse until evenly moistened crumbs form; turn out onto a surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Set a baking sheet on the bottom rack. In a bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour and the cinnamon.
On a floured surface, roll a disk of the dough to a 13-inch round; fit it into a deep 10-inch glass pie plate and brush the overhang with water. Crimp the overhang. Spoon in the apples.
In a bowl, whisk the remaining 1 cup of flour, the light brown sugar, the baking soda and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the 6 tablespoons of softened butter and rub the mixture until sandy. Add the walnuts. Press the mixture into clumps and sprinkle over the pie.
Bake the pie in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cover the edge of the pie if it begins to darken. Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before serving.

End of Summer Dessert: Blueberry Crisp

We had a wonderful Labor Day weekend with our friends Ashley, Dave, and their almost 1-year-old Nora as well as Amy and her 1-year-old Lucy.

We savored the last bit of summer with some local wild blueberries in a yummy and incredibly easy blueberry crisp.  In case you forget what the difference is between a crisp and cobbler, read my Raspberry Buckle post from July.

The only change I made was adding a touch more butter as the crisp was baking because the topping was not browning as much as it should.

Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!  It’s a must.

Based on the paltry leftovers, I think everyone enjoyed it!

Blueberry Crisp

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Healthy Cooking, by John Phillip Carroll (Time-Life Books, 1997)

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine,
    at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish with butter or margarine, or spray with vegetable cooking spray.

Spread the blueberries evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

In a bowl, using a pastry blender or fork, mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter and rolled oats until well combined. Sprinkle evenly over the blueberries.

Bake until the top is golden and the blueberries are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Serve hot or warm. Serves 6.

Sundaes with Fresh Blackberries & Caramel

IMG_2134

Yesterday Tim picked lots of beautiful fresh blackberries from our property in the Berkshires.  We didn’t have quite enough for a pie or other dish so we made sundaes with them — delicious vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, and the berries.  A yummy combination!

For the ice cream, we used Alden’s Organic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream — probably the most delicious pre-packed vanilla ice cream I have ever had!

IMG_2122

For the caramel sauce we used, Bonne Maman Caramel Spread.  Very tasty too!

caramel

Overall a sweet ending to our delicious meal!

Pound Cake & Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone & Honey

Here is a quick and easy summer dessert.  It would have been a healthier dessert except I baked a pound cake (thanks to Betty Crocker).

Make sure the peaches are ripe but not too ripe — it’s easier to cut them.

The peaches were even sweeter and more delicious thanks to a little grilling and the honey!

Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone and Honey
Emeril Lagasse

  • 6 large ripe peaches, halved and pits removed
  • 6 tablespoons honey, plus more for serving if desired
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Place the peaches cut-side down onto the grill and cook until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the grill. Transfer the peaches, cut sides up, to a grill-proof baking dish or baking sheet and drizzle evenly with the 6 tablespoons of honey. Place the dish on the grill and cover the grill.

Continue to cook until the peaches are soft, about 5 minutes, again depending on the grill.

Remove the baking dish from the grill and divide the peach halves between 6 dessert plates. Divide the mascarpone evenly among the plates and drizzle with additional honey, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Best Blueberry Pie Ever? Blueberry Crumble Pie

We had lots of visitors of the human, canine, and baby variety this weekend in Becket — the Sheehans (Amy, Colin and Lucy), the Fleckers (Kate, Evan, Duncan, and Sadie), and Danny, Rachel, and Maddie (woof!).  We had lots of fun, Angus had many playmates, and I think we all ate well.

Colin, Amy, and Lucy arrived in time for dinner on Friday.  We had grilled Asian salmon — again I made it with Sockeye Salmon which is so delicious.

Danny, Rachel, and little Maddie arrived in time for dessert.  I had baked this yummy blueberry crumble pie earlier in the day.  The pie was made with fresh wild blueberries from Becket, MA.  Danny said that this may have been the best blueberry pie he ever had.  At the very least, it was super delicious!!

I had a frozen pie crust in the freezer so I decided to use that.  What a time saver!  The crust was from the Vermont Mystic Pie Company.  This is definitely a higher-end (aka expensive) frozen pie crust.  I followed the recommendation on the box to bake it for a while with parchment paper and pie weights on top to ensure a crisp crust.

The filling couldn’t have been easier — blueberries, brown sugar, and flour.  The crumble was also very easier to make — cold butter, white sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.  I don’t have a pastry blender so I just used a fork and my hands to make the crumble topping.  I didn’t have quite enough light brown sugar, so there was a touch of dark brown sugar in the topping.

Overall, a simple pie showcasing our delicious local berries!  Look for more recipes from the weekend shortly!

WS's photo of the pie recipe.  Too much entertaining going on for me to photography my pie.
WS’s photo of the pie recipe. Too much entertaining going on for me to photography my pie.

Blueberry Crumble Pie
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans & Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2003)

  • 1 recipe Basic Pie Dough
  • 3/4 cup plus 5 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 5 cups blueberries

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

Roll out the dough and transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Refrigerate until firm. Line the chilled piecrust with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fill with dried beans, uncooked rice or pie weights. Bake until the crust dries out, about 15 minutes; to check, lift an edge of the foil. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Reduce the heat to 350°F. Continue to bake until the crust is lightly browned on the edges and dry-looking on the bottom, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the crust to a wire rack.

Increase the heat to 375°F.

In a large bowl, stir together the 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp. of the cinnamon and the salt. Scatter the butter pieces on top and toss with a fork or your fingers to coat with the flour mixture. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the ingredients together until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas. Set the topping aside.

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar, the remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon and 4 Tbs. of the flour. Stir gently to coat the blueberries evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbs. flour and the 1 Tbs. granulated sugar over the bottom of the prebaked crust. Pour the filling into the crust, spreading it evenly.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the blueberry filling. Bake the pie until the topping is golden brown and the blueberry filling just begins to bubble, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Serve at room temperature. The pie is best served the day it is baked.

Makes one 9-inch pie.

Betty's, Buckles, Cobblers, Crumbles and Crisps…oh my!

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a crisp and a cobbler?  What about brown betty’s and buckles?  (To be honest, I don’t think I had ever heard of a buckle until I found this recipe.)  The one commonality I do know is that all of them are wonderful ways to put fresh summer fruit to use and Tim loves them all!

Let me share with you what I learned about each of these wonderful fruit desserts (courtesy of Wikipedia and “What’s Cooking America.net”):

Brown Betties are made with bread crumbs (or bread pieces, or graham cracker crumbs), and fruit, usually diced apples, in alternating layers; they’re baked covered, and have a consistency like bread pudding.  Betty was a popular baked pudding made during colonial times in America.

Buckles are a type of cake made in a single layer with berries added to the batter.

Cobblers are an American deep-dish fruit dessert or pie with a thick crust (usually a biscuit crust) and a fruit filling (such as peaches, apples, berries). Some versions are enclosed in the crust, while others have a drop-biscuit or crumb topping.

Crisps are baked with the fruit mixture on the bottom with a crumb topping. The crumb topping can be made with flour, nuts, bread crumbs, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, or even breakfast cereal.

Crumbles are the British version of the American Crisp.

I chose to make this buckle recipe because it looked so simple to make yet very tasty!  The buckle took less than 15 minutes to prepare (not including baking time).  I topped with both red and golden raspberries.

You serve the buckle in the baking dish and just spoon it out.  It was much moister than I expected.  Lots of buttery sweetness!  I served the buckle with a scoop of local Berkshire Vanilla Ice Cream.

Based on the paltry leftovers, I think everyone enjoyed it!

buckle1

Raspberry Buckle
Everyday Food

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 containers (1/2 pint each) raspberries (2 3/4 cups)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart oval or square baking dish. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to combine. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder; with mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture until incorporated.

Spread batter in baking dish. Scatter raspberries on top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and top is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes; dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. With a large spoon, scoop out onto serving plates; serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Grilled Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Tropical Fruit

Looking for a truly decadent summer dessert?  Look no further than grilled pound caked topped with delicious mango and papaya drizzled in a rich Mexican chocolate and topped with homemade whipped cream.

What a wonderful combination of flavors and textures!  I love the rich chocolate with a touch of spiciness from the cinnamon and ancho chile powder.  What is tastier than sweet, ripe mangos!  The usually delicious pound cake is taken to a whole new level when grilled!  And, the whipped cream has a wonderful tropical taste from the run and vanilla.

I’ve made this recipe a couple of times and everyone has raved about it.  I typically only use mango because I like mango better than papaya.  And I either use store bought pound cake or make one from a Betty Crocker mix.

Don’t forget to use high quality chocolate and vanilla.  I like to use Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips and Nielsen-Massey Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract. They do make a difference!

Impress your guests and get transported to a tropical locale with this unique and decadent dessert!


Grilled Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Tropical Fruit
Food & Wine

WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

MEXICAN CHOCOLATE SAUCE

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure ancho chile powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FRUIT SALAD

  • 1 large mango, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch wedges
  • 1 medium papaya—halved, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch wedges
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

POUND CAKE

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Six 1 1/4-inch slices of homemade or fresh bakery pound cake (about 10 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

MAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, softly whip the heavy cream. Add the confectioners’ sugar, rum and vanilla and whip the cream until firm peaks form. Refrigerate the whipped cream.

MAKE THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer over moderately high heat with the cinnamon and chile powder. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 minute, then whisk to blend; keep warm.

MAKE THE FRUIT SALAD
In a medium bowl, toss the mango and papaya with the basil and vanilla.

PREPARE THE POUND CAKE
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Butter both sides of the pound cake slices. Grill the pound cake over moderate heat, turning once, until golden, about 2 minutes per side.

Set a slice of grilled pound cake on each of 6 plates and top each one with 3 tablespoons of the warm chocolate sauce and the fruit salad. Top each serving with a dollop of the rum whipped cream and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Pass the remaining chocolate sauce at the table.

Make Ahead
The whipped cream and fruit salad can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours; whip the cream gently before serving. The chocolate sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; rewarm before serving.