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Gingered Peach-Blackberry Slab Pie

slab

Fresh ginger adds a warm, spicy undertone to this stone fruit and berry pie, which is ideal for serving a crowd. The rectangular slab pie is baked in a jelly-roll pan, so it serves more people than a traditional round one.

Gingered Peach-Blackberry Slab Pie

For the pie dough:

3 3/4 cups (19 oz./590 g) all-purpose flour

3 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. salt

3 sticks (24 Tbs.) (12 oz./375 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice

6 to 8 Tbs. (3 to 4 fl. oz./90 to 125 ml) very cold water

 

For the filling:

3 lb. (1.5 kg) peaches, peeled and sliced

2 cups (8 oz./250 g) blackberries

1/3 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) honey

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

3 Tbs. cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

 

1 egg plus 1 tsp. water, lightly beaten

1 Tbs. sugar

 

To make the dough, in a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml) of the ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 tsp. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

 

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C).

 

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 of the dough disks into an 18-by-14-inch (45-by-35-cm) rectangle. Roll the dough around a rolling pin and unroll it into a jelly-roll pan. Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm) overhang.

 

To make the filling, in a large bowl, toss together the peaches and blackberries. In a small bowl, stir together the honey, lemon juice, cornstarch and ginger. Add to the fruit mixture and toss until well combined. Transfer the filling to the dough-lined pan.

 

Roll out the remaining dough disk into an 18-by-14-inch (45-by-35-cm) rectangle and place over the filling. Fold the top crust underneath the edge of the bottom crust and press together to seal. Flute or decorate the edge of the crust as desired. Using a sharp knife, cut several slits in the top crust. Brush the crust with the beaten egg mixture and sprinkle with the sugar.

 

Bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 1 hour and 10 minutes, tenting the pie with aluminum foil halfway through baking to prevent the top from browning too quickly. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the pie cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. Serves 12.

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Homemade Hamburger Buns

hamburger

Here’s a great way to take your Labor Day cookout to the next level. Homemade hamburger buns take some time to prepare, but the payoff is huge: a soft, pillowy roll with a slightly sweet, yeasty flavor. Make the most of the last days of summer with your best burger yet.

Homemade Hamburger Buns

1 1/2 cups milk

8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

5 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. kosher salt

1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water

Sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)

 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter and heat until the butter is melted, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to 105° to 115°F. Add the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand for 10 minutes.

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the 4 cups flour, the sugar and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the milk mixture and knead until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, oil the inside of the bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 10-by-7 1/2-inch rectangle. Using a ruler as a guide, cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch squares. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing the buns evenly apart, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

 

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

 

Remove the plastic wrap from the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until the buns are golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a bun registers 190°F, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut in half and use as hamburger buns. Makes 12 hamburger buns.

 

For slider buns: Follow the instructions above but roll out the dough into a 9-inch square. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Position 1 rack in the upper third of an oven and 1 rack in the lower third and preheat to 400°F. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for about 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and 180 degrees halfway through baking. Makes 36 slider buns.

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Puff Pastry

puff pastry

Puff pastry forms the foundation of as many sweet and savory treats as you can dream up, so it’s perfect to have on hand during the holidays for easy desserts and hors d’oeuvres. The much-loved dough bakes up into hundreds of delicate layers of buttery pastry, which can serve as a base for a tart, a wrapper for a turnover, or the layers of a napoleon, to name a few.

 

Puff pastry is made by repeatedly rolling and folding a block of butter into a tender dough until the butter is divided into scores of layers within the mass. This technique is known as laminating; when the dough is baked, the water in the butter turns to steam, causing the layers to rise and create a light, flaky pastry.

 

Here, we show two ways to make puff pastry at home. The classic version will give you the most layers, but it’s time-consuming to make. The quick version requires fewer turns and results in fewer layers, but the results are still delicate and delicious.

 

Classic Puff Pastry

For the puff dough:

3 cups (15 oz./470 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) cake flour

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) pieces

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) ice water, or as needed

 

For the butter package:

1 lb. (500 g.) unsalted butter

2 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour

 

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 2 cups (10 oz./315 g.) of the all-purpose flour and the salt. Pour in the ice water and mix on low speed until a smooth batter forms. Scatter the butter pieces over the surface. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the remaining all-purpose flour and cake flour, 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.

 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 15-20 seconds to make sure it is smooth and not sticky. Flatten the dough, shape into a rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to overnight.

 

To make the butter package, using a rolling pin or the heel of your hand, beat or knead the butter on a work surface to flatten and warm it until it is cool and pliable, about 60°F (16°C). Sprinkle the butter with the flour and gently beat the butter with the rolling pin to press the flour into the butter. Shape the butter into a 6-inch (15-cm.) square about 3/4 inch (2 cm.) thick. If the butter has become too warm, wrap and refrigerate just until firm but still pliable (60°F/16°C).

 

To laminate the dough, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch (30-cm.) square. Place the butter at a diagonal in the center of the dough. Fold over the corners of the dough to meet in the center, covering the butter completely. Pat with your hands to form an 8-inch (20-cm.) square, then turn the square over so the seams are underneath. Roll out into a rectangle 24 inches (60 cm.) long by about 8 inches (20 cm.) wide, with a short side facing you. Fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. This is the first turn. Rotate the dough a quarter turn clockwise so that a fold is on your left.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Repeat to make 5 more turns, rolling, folding and chilling the dough each time, for a total of 6 turns. Each time you start, make sure you have a fold on your left. After the final turn, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to overnight before shaping. Makes about 2 lb. (1 kg.) dough.

 

*NOTE: Many recipes call for 1 lb. (500 g.) of dough, or half of this recipe. Puff pastry is easily stored for later use; just cut the finished dough into quarters, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, place in a zippered plastic bag, and freeze for up to 1 month.

 

Weekend Project: Puff Pastry

 

Quick Puff Pastry

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g.) cake flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 lb. (250 g.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) pieces

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) ice water

 

BY HAND: In a bowl, stir together the flours and the salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the surface and toss and stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until it is absorbed. With your hands, pat the mixture into a loose ball.

 

BY FOOD PROCESSOR: Combine the flours and the salt and process briefly to mix. Scatter the butter over the flour and pulse about 10 times until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas. Pour in the water and pulse 2 or 3 times until the dough starts to gather together, but before it forms a ball.

 

BY STAND MIXER: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flours and salt. Scatter the butter over the flour and mix on low speed until the butter is coated with flour. Pour in the water and mix just until the water is absorbed and the butter is still in large pieces.

 

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, dust the top lightly with flour, and pat into a rectangle 3/4-inch (2-cm.) thick. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 12 inches (30 cm.) long, about 7 inches (18 cm.) wide, and 1/2 inch (12 mm.) thick.

 

With a short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough a quarter turn clockwise (so a seam is on your left) and repeat the process, rolling the dough into a 12-by-7-inch (30-by-18-cm.) rectangle and folding into thirds. Repeat the process a third time.

 

If at any time the dough begins to warm up and the butter begins to soften, place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes. After the third and final turn, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to overnight before shaping.

 

For longer storage, cut the puff into quarters, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, place in an airtight plastic bag, and freeze for up to 1 month.

 

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Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

gingersnap

Lemon chiffon pie is a timeless dessert, filled with rich, tangy pudding lightened by whipped cream. Give this classic a wintry twist with a spicy gingersnap crust. A sealable plastic bag and a rolling pin make short work of crushing the cookies into crumbs.

Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

1 1/4 cups (4 oz./125 g.) gingersnap cookie crumbs

5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) plus 3 Tbs. granulated sugar

2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) unflavored powdered gelatin

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) fresh lemon juice, strained

1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml.) heavy cream

1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, butter and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Pat the crumb mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm.) pie pan or dish. Bake until the crust is firm, 5-7 minutes.

Pour 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) cold water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, orange zest and egg yolks; the mixture will be lumpy. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the gelatin melts and the mixture thickens, 6-8 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Set the saucepan in an ice bath until the mixture is cool to the touch.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until thick, soft peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour into the prepared crust, smoothing the top.

Refrigerate the pie until chilled and firm, 3-4 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

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Sweet Cheese Pastries with Apricot Glaze

apricot

The sweet yeast dough in this recipe can be used for all kinds of different morning pastries, like these cheese-filled sweet rolls, reminiscent of the cheese Danishes from your local bakery. Make the dough the night before so that assembly is easy the next day.


Sweet Cheese Pastries with Apricot Glaze

For the sweet yeast dough:

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) whole milk

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) granulated sugar

5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 large eggs

1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) quick-rise yeast

5 cups (25 oz./780 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed

1 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

5 oz. (155 g.) cream cheese, at room temperature

2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g.) ricotta cheese

1 1/3 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g.) confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Flour for rolling out the dough

1 large egg, beaten

1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g.) apricot preserves

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, sugar, butter, eggs and yeast. Add 4 1/2 cups (22 1/2 oz./705 g.) of the flour and the salt. Place the bowl on the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed, adding as much of the remaining flour as need to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl.

Remove the paddle attachment and fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-low speed, adding more flour if needed, until the dough is smooth but still soft, 6-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

Butter a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat with the butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2-2 hours. (Or, punch down the dough, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Punch down the dough and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.)

In a bowl, using a handheld mixer on low speed, combine the cream cheese, ricotta, 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) of the sugar, and the vanilla. Stir in the lemon zest. Set aside.

Cut the dough in half. On a floured work surface, roll out one of the dough halves into a 15-by-10-inch (38-by-25-cm.) rectangle. Cut into six 5-inch (13-cm.) squares. Set aside and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a dough square in front of you, with a point at the top. Place a generous tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the center of the square. Take the right corner of dough and stretch it over the cheese mixture; push the corner into the dough to secure it.

Pull and stretch the left corner to the right of the cheese to cover it, and press the corner into the dough to secure it. Repeat with the other two corners of dough, stretching the dough over the cheese to completely enclose it. Repeat with the remaining dough and cream cheese mixture.

Place the dough packets, spacing them 2 inches (5 cm.) apart, on the baking sheets. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until they look puffy, 75-90 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and another rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat to 350°F (180°C). Brush the tops of the pastries with some of the beaten egg. Place 1 sheet on each oven rack and bake, switching the sheets between the racks and rotating them 180 degrees halfway through baking, until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the apricot preserves and 1 tablespoon water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Strain through a wire sieve into small bowl. Sift the remaining 1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar into another small bowl.

Stir in 1-2 tablespoons water to make a thick, but pourable, glaze. Brush the apricot glaze over the pastries. Drizzle with the sugar glaze. Let stand until the glaze sets, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 pastries.

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Bake a Layer Cake

layer

A towering, decadent, showstopping cake is the best way to celebrate a special occasion, whether it’s Easter Sunday or a spring birthday. Here are our best tips for pulling off your most memorable dessert yet!

Our Celebration Layer Cake Pans

make it easy to bake each layer, and with their pretty scalloped edges, you don’t even need to frost the sides before serving! Our Test Kitchen cooks love these pans because they work with almost any batter: our mixes, other prepared mixes or a scratch white or chocolate cake. Whether you’re using the layer cake pans or a regular cake pan, be sure to brush the pans with melted butter and dust with flour before baking, then cool them on a wire rack before frosting.

Slice into layers

If you’re using a standard cake pan, you’ll need to slice it in half horizontally. Hold a ruler up to the side of the cake base and, using toothpicks, mark the midpoint at regular intervals around the cake. Using a long, thin serrated bread knife, split the cake horizontally into even layers. Put one layer, cut side up, on a cardboard circle. Place the other layer, cut side down, on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Fill the cake.

 When filling a layer cake, jams should be spread thinly, while rich fillings, such as curd, pastry cream or buttercream, should be thicker. Lighter fillings like mousse should be thick, but never thicker than the cake layer. Mound the filling in the center of the layer and, using an icing spatula, spread it to the edge. Flip the other layer over onto the filling, cut side up. Gently push the layer evenly into place. Repeat with remaining layers (remember, you can make as many as you want)!

Frost and finish.

Before you start frosting, you need to make a crumb coat — a thin layer of frosting that sticks to the crumbs so they don’t mess up the surface. Place the filled cake on a work surface and put a small amount of frosting on top. Using an icing spatula, smooth a thin layer of frosting over the cake. The crumb coating should be thin and even, covering the entire surface of the cake. Refrigerate until firm, 15 to 20 minutes, before frosting.

To frost, mound the frosting in the center of the cake and use an icing spatula to smooth it gently and evenly over the top. Smooth down the frosting with broad strokes; be sure not to touch the spatula to the cake without icing on it, or you could pick up crumbs.

Dip the spatula in warm water and wipe clean with a damp kitchen towel as needed. The top of the cake should be flat. Whether you frost the sides is up to you — leaving them bare gives you a more casual dessert, while frosting them looks a little fancier.

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Cherry Potpies

potpies

Potpies don’t have to be savory. They make adorable desserts, and are a lot easier to put together than a large pie — there’s no need to line the bottom of a pan or worry about excess liquid, as when you slice into a pie. These cherry potpies are wonderful, especially if you can get your hands on a basket of fresh sour cherries.

This recipe calls for jarred cherries, but if you’re using fresh ones, follow these steps: stem and pit the cherries, then simmer them in a saucepan over medium-low heat for a few minutes to release some of the juices, which you can then use as directed in the recipe.

 

Cherry Potpies

1 batch Flaky Pie Dough for single crust (recipe below)

2 large jars (24 oz./750 g. each) sour cherries in juice or light syrup ( you should have about 3 heaping cups of cherries without juice)

1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g.) granulated sugar

1 large egg, well beaten with about 1 tsp. water

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Prepare the flaky pie dough and chill as directed.

Drain the cherries, saving about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) of the juice. Put the cherries in a bowl. In a small bowl, mix the reserved juice with the flour and strain over the cherries. Stir in the granulated sugar. Divide the cherries and juice among four 1-cup (8-fl. oz./250-ml.) ramekins.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 1/8 inch (3 mm.) thick. Cut out 4 rounds of dough, each about 1/2 inch (12 mm.) larger than the diameter of the ramekins. Place a dough round on top of each ramekin and press the edges down over the rim to secure. Cut a few vents in the dough. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if desired.

Place the ramekins on the prepared pan and bake until the crust is golden and the cherry juices are bubbling, 35-40 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve the potpies topped with scoops of ice cream. Makes 4 potpies.

 

Flaky Pie Dough

1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g.) all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

7 Tbs. (3 1/2 oz./105 g.) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) ice water, plus more if needed

In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar, if using. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together.

Dump the dough into a large lock-top plastic bag, and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes enough for one 9-inch (23-cm.) pie or tart.

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Roast Chicken with Lemons and Garlic

feb-21_roast-chicken-with-lemons-and-garlic-652x652

A roast chicken is a simple meal that’s easy to prepare yet makes a satisfying family meal on a Sunday evening. Serve with roasted potatoes and a green salad and dinner is served.

Roast Chicken with Lemons and Garlic

1 chicken, about 4 1/2 lb. (2.25 kg)
1 Tbs. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Cloves from 1 head garlic
3 lemons, halved
4 fresh rosemary sprigs

Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C).

Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken all over with the olive oil and season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Place 4 of the garlic cloves and 2 of the lemon halves inside the chicken cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind the back and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

Put chicken, breast side up, in a chicken roaster. Arrange the rosemary sprigs and the remaining garlic cloves and lemon halves around the chicken. Roast the chicken until the skin is well browned and an
instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170°F (77°C), 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve immediately with roasted lemons and garlic alongside, pouring any juices from the pan over the chicken. Serves 4.

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Apricot-Ginger Scones

ginger

These simple scones are easy to get on the breakfast table in about 30 minutes. If you prefer, you can
replace with apricots with 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) dried cherries or cranberries, and the ginger with 1 Tbs.
of grated lemon or orange zest.

Apricot-Ginger Scones

1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g) sugar

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) cold unsalted butter, diced

2/3 cup (4 oz./125 g) chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) chopped crystallized ginger

1 egg

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) buttermilk

Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C). Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbs about the size of peas. Stir in the apricots and ginger. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk until blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and, using a rubber spatula, stir just until evenly moistened. The dough will be sticky.

 

Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and press together gently into a circle about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 6 equal wedges. Place the wedges on the prepared sheet, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Bake until the scones are golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, let cool slightly and serve warm. Makes 6 scones.

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Mini Chocolate Pudding Pies

mini

Rich, decadent and intensely chocolaty, these mini pies are the ultimate chocolate lover’s dream. If you don’t have time to make the whole shebang, the pudding is perfect on its own. Spoon it into individual serving bowls while it’s still warm, cover with plastic and chill until ready to eat. Dollop each bowlful
with whipped cream.

Mini Chocolate Pudding Pies

For the dough:

2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) (6 oz./185 g) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

8 Tbs. (4 fl. oz./125 ml) ice water, plus more if needed

 

For the filling:

1/2 cup (4 oz.⁄125 g) sugar

1/4 cup (3⁄4 oz.⁄20 g) natural cocoa powder

3 Tbs. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1⁄4 cup (2 fl. oz.⁄60 ml) heavy cream

2 3⁄4 cups (22 fl. oz.⁄680 ml) whole milk

6 oz. (185 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus more for shaving (optional)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving

 

In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, salt and sugar. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough onto a work surface, press it together, then divide it in half. Press each half into a disk, then place the disks in a large resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

Have ready six 5-inch (13-cm) mini pie pans. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a circle 1⁄16 to 1⁄8 inch (2 to 3 mm) thick. Cut out 6 circles, each about 6 1/2 inches (16.5 cm) in
diameter. (You will likely be able to cut out only 4 circles, then you’ll need to gather the scraps, reroll, and cut out the last 2 circles.) Line the pie pans with the dough. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C). Line the pie shells with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake until the crusts look dry, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the crusts are golden brown, about 13
minutes longer. Remove from the oven.

In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Add the cream, whisking until a smooth paste forms. Slowly add the milk and whisk constantly until smooth. Warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the pudding begins to thicken and bubble, about 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour the hot pudding into the crusts and spread evenly (you should have a heaping 1⁄2 cup/4 fl. oz./125 ml for each). Cover each pie with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, spread a big dollop of whipped cream atop each pie. Garnish with chocolate
shavings, if you like. Makes 6 mini pies