Posts Tagged ‘baking’

It’s that time of year again when certain parts of the Island become dotted with home-grown lemonade stands run by miniature-sized budding entrepreneurs.  And lemme tell ya, these little girls are gooood.  Smart, charming and insanely cute, a genuine triple threat.  During a regular stroll along our favorite beach, two little sisters sold us their lemonade, pink or regular, for 10 cents a dixie cup plus 10 cents more for a bunch of freshly picked lilacs.  The younger of the two sisters took extra care to ensure I picked the very best bunch left sitting in their water filled bucket.  A rare showing of pure innocence and goodness captured in a few short moments.  I choked back the tears.

This Lemon Buttermilk Raspberry Tart is dedicated to those two little girls and all 6-year-old-rock stars like them.  The tart is like the younger, bratty sibling of the Mascarpone Strawberry Tart – a little more work and monitoring involved, but still so loved in the end.  Tart and sweet, with a bit of crunch in the crust from the crushed almonds and a creamy, yet light, lemon buttermilk filling that mingles perfectly with fresh raspberries.  It sings of long, lazy summer days and conjures up images of a simpler, slower time filled with never-ending lemonade stands.


Lemon Buttermilk Raspberry Tart
Tweaked from Martha Stewart’s Buttermilk Pie (Everyday Food, April ’09) and Blueberry Tart (Martha Stewart Living, May ’07)

If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand (and who ever does?), you can make your own simply by adding one tbsp of vinegar to one cup of milk.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken and curdle.  That’s it! Instant buttermilk.

Music Pairing: My Girl, The Temptations


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup blanched whole almonds


  • 1 large egg white, beaten until frothy
  • 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk, well shaken
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon

for crust:

With an electric mixer on low speed, beat butter and 1/4 cup sugar until just combined, about 15 seconds. Add flour and salt, and beat until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Add one tsp of water, if needed.  Shape into a disk. Pulse remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Scatter half of the almond mixture onto a clean work surface, and place dough on top. Scatter the remaining almond mixture on top, and roll out dough, re-sprinkling with almond mixture and incorporating into dough, until dough measures an 11-inch round.

Fit dough into a 9 1/2-inch round tart pan with removable bottom, pressing into bottom and up sides. Trim dough flush with rim. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day). Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake tart shell, occasionally pressing bottom to flatten using the bottom of a glass, until light brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool.

for filling:

In a food processor, process sugar and flour until well combined. Add eggs; process until smooth. Add buttermilk, butter, and salt; process just until blended. Stir in lemon juice and zest.  Pour into crust.  You may have some filling leftover that can be used for a mini-tart..

Bake until filling is almost set but center still jiggles slightly when pan is gently shaken, 25 to 30 minutes.

Transfer tart to a rack; cool completely.  Top with as many raspberries as your little heart desires.  Cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.


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Our lives are filled with defining moments. For some, it’s taking their marriage vows or seeing their first child being born. For others, it’s being the first to graduate from college in their family or scoring a game winning shot at the buzzer.  As for me, a defining moment arrived the day I had the thrill of opening the oven door to find awaiting before me, my very first loaf of homemade bread! When I held that gorgeous, warm loaf of bread in my hands, time stopped. It did. I swear.

Nooooo way”, I whispered loudly. Followed, I think, by several (louder) WHOO-HOO’s!  There may have been slight jumping up and down involved as well. Even with all the excitement, an unsettling twinge of guilt began to surface. Why? Because the results were so far beyond the effort involved to achieve them, that there was no way it could have been accomplished without cheating. Did T. swap out a loaf from the local bakery without me knowing to spare my feelings? For a split second, I actually thought so. I felt like a cheat. But luckily, I got over it. Fast.

The fact is, this recipe is so ridiculously easy, a child could make it. Literally. One bowl, a few measurements, a couple stirs, and time. That’s it. I’ve made many, many iterations of this fabled no-knead bread. How could you not? It’s been discussed, blogged, scrutinized, analyzed and dissected by just about….well, by just about everyone at this point. I figure, meh, one more can’t hurt. The recipe that follows has resulted from my attempts at trying to implement the best of the best of the revisions and plugging them all into one happy loaf. It’s a cross between a rustic country bread and a San Franciscan sourdough, but with an added hearty punch of crunch from the steel cut oatmeal and nuttiness of the flax seeds. The crust alone can be hailed as a miracle. Smear with good quality, European style butter and you are transported far, far away to your favorite boulangerie.


Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread with Flax Seeds and Oats
Tweaked from original recipe by Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NY Times Article, and revised articles by Cooks Illustrated and Breadtopia

Though I do have a Le Creuset dutch oven, I’m a little too paranoid to use it given all the discussion regarding the safety of the knobs and the need to swap them out. I’m perfectly happy with the results using my All-Clad cookware. Oh, best to eat this baby the day it comes out of the oven or the crust loses a bit of it’s oompf (if not, you can always wrap it in foil for up to 2 days, and reheat slightly before serving).

Music Pairing: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Yields: One gorgeous lookin’ 1 1/2-pound loaf


  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 4 tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp table salt or 3/4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast


Whisk flour, steel cut oats, flax seeds, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy, sticky ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Lay 12X18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6-8 quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2 inch-deep slit along top of dough.

Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature before slicing.


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This weekend was one of those weekends where everything felt possible. Piercing blue skies. Bright, warm sun. Crystal clear waters. It was a perfect excuse to head off the Island and spend the afternoon roaming around the ‘mainland’. A few hours later, I had snagged up several pints of gorgeous organic strawberries and my favorite mascarpone cheese. I knew exactly what was next.

Given the delicate and insanely creamy nature of mascarpone, triple cream purists would likely not fuss one bit more with such a splendid gift from all those well-fed cows in Lombardy. But I was feeling quite determined and thought a nice, happy-go-lucky, tart would be just the ending for such a happy day.


Mascarpone Strawberry Tart
Tweaked from Sunset Magazine, June 2005, yields 8-10 servings

This recipe cheats a wee bit with the quick crust, so try to get some higher quality wafers. The chocolate combined with the mascarpone and strawberries – they were all made for each other. A plain, butter crust would only be second best (and much more work) next to this fierce combination. You can make this tart up to one day ahead and top with strawberries just before serving. So easy, so delicious!

Music Pairing: Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles, Abbey Road


  • 9 ounces chocolate water cookies, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 8 tbsp unsalted melted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup good honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups strawberries


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Place cookies in a 1-quart zip-lock plastic bag and seal. With a rolling pin, crush cookies into fine crumbs. Pour 2 cups of the crumbs into a bowl and mix with melted butter, sugar, and espresso powder. Press mixture evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9.5-inch tart pan with removable rim (if you prefer a thinner crust, use a 10-inch tart pan).
  2. In another bowl, with mixer on medium, beat mascarpone, honey, and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour and salt.
  3. Place tart pan in a 12- by 16-inch rimmed baking pan (do not, under any circumstances, skip this – the pan catches any drippings from the filling and prevents the crust from overbrowning) and set on center rack of preheated oven. Pour filling into chocolate crust. Bake until filling is pale golden and barely set in the center when you gently shake pan, 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Remove tart from oven and let cool on a rack about 30 minutes, then chill until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day (cover tart once cold).
  5. Shortly before serving, remove rim from pan. Rinse, stem, and thinly slice strawberries. Arrange in a circular or spiral pattern on top of the tart, overlapping slices slightly.


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