Key Lime Pie + 5 Pie Free Key Lime Links

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I wish I had a story for you, a perfect snippet that makes you feel great, big wonderful things.  But, writing is a slog even in the best of circumstances.  So on this cold, rain-swept June day (damn you New England!) I’ll share a bright, tasty key lime pie recipe with you.  And hope.  Hope the rain clouds move elsewhere (literally, move anywhere else) my mind clears (sleep come back to me!), my chest feels less heavy (the weight of just too much + a cough) and remember this bit of wisdom from T.S. Elliot’s East Coker:

“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

 

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Key Lime Pie     

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

serves 6-8

Ingredients for the crust:

1 + 1/2 cups of finely ground graham cracker crumbs  (takes about 10 graham cracker sheets)

3 tablespoons sugar

a good pinch of kosher salt

a good pinch of ground ginger

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned

Ingredients for key lime filling:

4 large egg yolks

1 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice

Ingredients for topping:

3/4 cup heavy cream, cold

2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

zest of two limes

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Make the graham cracker crust.  To make the graham cracker crust, use a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse the graham crackers until fine.  Add the sugar, salt, ginger and melted browned butter.  Pulse several times until the crumbs resemble wet sand.  Pour the crumbs into a 9 inch pie pan and press firmly but evenly across the bottom and up the sides.  Bake until light brown, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Next, make the filling.  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks until pale and thick, about 5 minutes or so.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until combined and thick.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and whisk in the key lime juice until well combined.  Pour filling into cooled crust.  Bake for 10 minutes or until filling is set but not brown.  Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack before adding the whipped cream.

While the pie cools, beat the cold cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Do not over beat!  Spread whipped cream evenly over the pie.  Add lime zest decoratively.   Chill for a couple of hours before serving.  Enjoy!

**Pie will last for a week in the refrigerator.**

5 Pie Free Key Lime Links

Looking for a quick and easy key lime recipe?  Head to Cake Whiz for Abeer’s key lime cookie recipe.

Key lime pie in bar form with a twist: a pistachio graham cracker crust.  Yes, please! Head to Hummingbird High for the recipe.

Craving chocolate?  Check out Sally’s Baking Addiction’s dark chocolate key lime truffles.

Every home baker should try making a magic cake.  A little bit science, a bit of magic and you end up with three layers of cake: sponge, custard and fudge coming together in one subtly sweet bite.  Curious?  Head to Foodness Gracious for key lime pie magic cake recipe that is sure to surprise your taste buds.

For all of the vegans out there I found a vegan key lime pie recipe at Minimalist Baker. Check it out!

Baked Strawberry French Toast with Oat Crumble Topping + 5 Can’t Miss French Toast links!

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“I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us…” Mary Oliver

I sat on the cold hardwood floor in my office furiously sifting through a box of photos as if my life depended on finding this one particular image taken so many years ago.

Photographs.

My husband’s  worry-free face 14 years ago [oh how I miss you!], my girl, maybe three? curled up so small sifting through wet sand, weddings, sunsets, Fenway, misty beach mornings, graduations, forced smiles and genuine ones, baby boy 1, big chocolate-brown eyes [ you haven’t changed yet…] baby boy 2 smooth cheeks, a big under-bite, almond blue eyes [ a compilation of many generations all present in your sweet, chubby face], drunken fun with best friends, worry, innocence, love, in love and love past, Christmas, Mama [happy?] surrounded by her 3 ducklings circa 1989, Dad in the old orange rocking chair, beer in hand, absent yet physically present, school pictures of my littles…I sink momentarily into these memories, my heart full, blessed, nostalgic and then I let them go and take a giant, slow breath.  I had stopped breathing.

I didn’t find the picture I was looking for, nor is it relevant I tell you about the photograph, or the people captured in it.  It is gone just like the moments captured thousands of hours ago, the photos now scattered on the creaky wooden floor in our tiny home office.  I sat and stared at the mess of memories, grateful for almost all of them. And yet.  I carelessly tossed them back into a nondescript, beige box because that is where they belong.

Hours later I wash the kitchen floor, scrubbing away at the faint paw prints, yogurt droplets and strawberry stains left marking the events of another day.  One pound of fresh strawberries gone, consumed by my hungry little monsters before dinner.  Another pound still in the refrigerator.  I’ll need to hide them.

I empty the bucket of dirty water into the sink.  A small spider, no bigger than my pinkie nail scurries to the lip of the sink and willingly crawls in, brave yet unaware of the possibilities.  The spider explores for a bit, his movements becoming more cautious each second.  I turn on the faucet, pull out the hose and aim it right at him.  The current sweeps him off his minuscule legs, pushing him towards the drain.  I turn off the faucet. He fights, finds his sea legs, tries to avoid the impossible.  With a half jealous smile, I turn on the water.  One final flush and he is gone.

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Baked Strawberry French Toast with Oat Crumble

Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking

Serves 12

Ingredients:

9 cups good quality French bread cut into 1 inch cubes (challah or brioche will also work)

Cooking spray or butter for baking dish

8 large eggs

2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon cloves

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound strawberries, cored and halved

Ingredients for topping:

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup old fashion rolled oats

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup or 1 stick cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and spread out on a baking sheet.  Toast the bread for about 12 minutes.  Cool and set aside.

Spray or generously butter a 9×13 baking dish.  Add bread cubes to baking dish.

Next make the custard.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, honey, vanilla, ginger, cloves and salt until smooth and well combined.  Pour custard over bread.  Toss with your hands until all the bread is wet.  Press down gently on the bread so it forms an even layer.  Spread strawberries over the top.  Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to 48 hours.  Overnight is best!

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Prepare oat crumble.  Grab a large bowl.  Add the flour, oats, brown sugar, ginger, cloves and salt and stir together.  Add the butter.  Work the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand and is crumbly.  (Topping can be made 48 hours in advance.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.)

Sprinkle topping over the strawberries/bread.  Bake until golden brown about 40-45 minutes.  Turn on the broiler for the last two minutes for crunchier crust.  Serve warm with real maple syrup.  Enjoy!

5 Can’t Miss French Toast Links!

Traditional French toast dipped a subtly sweet Panko breadcrumb mixture, fried to perfection and topped with lots of butter and syrup sounds like a bit of heaven to me. Head to Pioneer Woman for her crunchy French Toast recipe.

French toast in sandwich form? Yes it exists.  Head to Handmade Charlotte for Sarah Kieffer’s French toast sandwiches with peaches and mozzarella.

Lemon French toast topped with in season strawberries screams spring.  Head to Simply Delicious for the recipe.  Yum!

Want to wow your brunch guests?  Make Smitten Kitchen’s morning bread pudding with salted caramel.  This is on my must make immediately list.

If you a more of a savory than sweet person, head to Food 52 and check out their recipe for crispy salt and pepper French toast.

Peach Ricotta Pudding Cream Pie + 5 Delicious Cream Pie Links

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“How will you nurture your soul?”

I stare blankly, not fulling understanding my friend’s question.  Nurture? My soul?

[nurture: the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing]

“I don’t know.”  

She smiles.  “You should think about that.”

I have nurtured three babies, my marriage, more or less, my parents, friends.  But to nurture my soul would take thought, reflection, care; the last thing on my to do list now becoming the first.  A real acknowledgement that unlike a stagnant body of water, I’m fluid, changing from one form to another.  A hard change for someone who prefers to anesthetize feelings and wants with an alcoholic beverage. And yet it is time, something [my soul?!] annoyingly tugs at me, repeating over and over like a mantra, a broken record, day following day, mile after mile: this is not working for you.

You thought you could hide from yourself.  

I did a pretty good job.  

And where did it get you?  He smiles, takes a long sip from his martini.

I wish you had been this insightful when you were alive.  

Me too.  He devilishly laughs.

I will address this deficiency, finally, and see where it takes me.  For now, I’ll share this peach ricotta pudding cream pie recipe because sharing part of me feels good.  And that is a start…I hope.

Peach Ricotta Pudding Pie

A cracker crust filled with a lightly sweetened ricotta pudding topped with fresh peaches and whipped cream

Serves 6-8

recipe inspired by Food 52 How To Make Any Cream Pie Without A Recipe

ricotta pudding recipe adapted from Mark Bittman

Ingredients for cracker crust:

1 + 1/2 cups (heaping) of crushed Ritz crackers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Crush crackers in a food processor or place in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling-pin.  Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or the on the stove top.  Using a medium size bowl, mix together the crushed crackers, butter and sugar.  The mixture should just hold together when squeezed.  Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie tin and freeze for at least 1 hour.  When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350F and bake until dark golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  (The crust can be made a day ahead.  Cover loosely with foil until ready to use.)

Ingredients for ricotta pudding:

1 pound fresh ricotta, drained if super moist

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (add more to taste if you prefer a sweeter pudding)

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Using a food processor with a blade attachment, mix together the ricotta, sugar, vanilla and salt until very smooth.  Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  (The pudding can be made a day ahead.)

Ingredients for peach mixture:

1 large peach, medium dice

large spoonful of raw sugar

Directions:

Slice and dice the peach and place in a bowl.  Gently stir in a heaping spoonful of raw sugar.  Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.  Drain off any excess juices.

Ingredients for whipped cream:

1 cup very cold heavy cream

splash of rum

Directions:

Using a stand mixture fitted with a whip attachment or a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream until medium peaks form or a spoon swirled through the cream leaves a soft mark.  Do not over-beat!  Just before you are done whipping the cream, add a splash of rum.  Chill until ready to use.  Whipped cream should be made just before you are ready to use it.

Assembly Time!

Spread a bit of ricotta pudding across the bottom of pie crust.  Top with drained peaches.  Add remaining ricotta pudding, spreading out evenly.  Top with whipped cream.  Make swirls in the cream with the back of your spoon.  Top with additional diced peaches and/or white chocolate shavings, if desired.  Enjoy!

(Pie will last up to a day in the refrigerator.)

5 Cream Pie Links

My roommate from college and the only person I laugh with to the point of tears, loves all things lemon.  If you love lemon just as much as she does check out Willow Bird Baking’s lemon cream pie bars and All Day I Dream About Food’s low carb lemon sour cream pie.

If you love old fashion coconut cream pie, check out Willow Bird Baking’s chocolate & coconut cream pie bars.  The addition of a rich chocolate ganache is brilliant!

Fall is almost here and that means all things pumpkin popping up everywhere.  Celebrate fall and make Lauren’s Latest pumpkin cream pie recipe.  This is sure to be a hit with all of your pumpkin loving friends and family!

My favorite type of cream pie is a banana cream pie.  Check out my recipe here!

 

Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream Pie + 5 Unique Frozen Sweets Links

 

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Choices.  Difficult for many, yet easy for him.  At least when it came to leaving the old mill town where he grew up.  A town where, once, a prosperous middle class and the diligent working class lived simultaneously, both believing life was simpler for the other.  [The two, now, converged forming a single body struggling to maintain middle ground.]

An American utopia of sorts, for some, where the local fishing hole was the most popular place to take a swim on a sweltering August night; a place where first loves made love behind the high school, pledging their loyalty to each other for the remainder of time. One doctor healed whatever ailed the locals, and the packie cured what medicine could not touch.  Boys went to war or college, returning to open arms, picking up the life they briefly left behind.  Others lost. Some by choice.  A place where whatever visible was all one needed.

And yet, not for him.

He needed more than what that small town could offer.  So, he headed west as soon as he could and found himself in California, gazing at a different ocean.  [Love, marriage and children under the sunshine and palm trees would follow.]

His choice: a different life than what he knew.

Decades later [and many miles here and there] he found himself in a rented car, crossing a covered bridge, his childhood home still visible in the rear view mirror, window rolled down, a joint resting in between his thumb and finger, now burning quickly in wind.  His father freshly buried in a colorless cemetery, his elderly mother inconsolable.  And his brother.  Drinking to numbness, left solely to manage their heart-sore mother.  He inhaled, blew an opaque stream of smoke into the oppressive humid air and wept.  Wept for his father, mother, brother.  Their small town.  Wept because he could leave.

Later, alone, at the airport bar, he would order a bourbon with 3 cubes of ice, no more, and smile when he heard “flight 11, now boarding.”

Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream Pie

Ice Cream Base Recipe Adapted from NYT Cooking

Cookie Crust adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 8

Ingredients for Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream:

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

6 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla

chocolate sauce, homemade or store-bought, for drizzling optional, but yummy

Directions:

Pour cream, milk, brown sugar and salt into a small pot and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks until combined.  Next, slowly whisk one-third of the hot cream mixture into the yolks and pour the yolk mixture back into the pot with the remaining cream.  Gently cook the mixture over medium-low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  Remove from heat.  Strain using a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in bourbon and vanilla.  Cover and chill overnight.
Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in air-tight container until ready to use.  It will last for up to a week.  This recipe will yield about 1+1/2 pints.

Ingredients for triple chocolate cookie crust:

**Makes one 9 inch pie crust with plenty of dough leftover for about a dozen or so individual cookies, or another 9-inch cookie crust.**

8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 ounces white chocolate chips

1 + 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 +1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cups or 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

 Melt chocolate and white chocolate either in the microwave or on the stove.  Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on high-speed until pale in color and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl each time.  Beat until very light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add melted chocolate mixture.  Next, add the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips using a rubber spatula.

Grab your metal pie pan and butter and flour it, tapping out an excess flour.  Spread about 1/3 of the cookie dough into the pie pan, spreading evenly along the bottom and up the sides.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the dough is just set.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.  Press down the dough with a spatula if it has puffed up.

Store remaining dough in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.  Bring dough to room temperature before baking.  If making cookies, use a two-inch scoop and bake for about 15 minutes.

Assembly Time!

Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to soften a bit.  Scoop out ice cream and spread evenly over the cookie crust using a spatula.  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, 24-48 hours.  When ready to serve, allow to soften a bit, as this will make cutting into the pie easier.  Drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired or serve with whip cream and a cherry.  The pie will last a couple of days, covered, in the freezer.  Enjoy!

5 Unique Frozen Treat Links

Looking for a vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened frozen treat? Head to the BoJon Gourmet for a raspberry brownie ice cream sandwich recipe that is sure to satisfy you!

Chocolate and pretzels are a well-loved, classic combo so why not make this pair into an ice cream cake?  Oh Lady Cakes has the recipe for  you.  My mouth is watering!

Vanilla caramel gelato– yes please!  Head to Diethood for the recipe.

A simple classic ice cream cake is sometimes all you need to make someone smile.  Check out my recipe!

Minimalist Baker’s boozy, root beer float with coconut ice cream is on my must make list this summer!

 

Lemon Ricotta Zucchini & Tomato Galette + 5 Summer Savory Galette Links

 

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The blue sky  was splattered with gauzy clouds.  Our kite soared many feet above and danced in the mean ocean breeze while the kids chased its shadow down the long empty beach.  A perfect kinda day, really.  I felt you there, wrote your name in the sand and watched the tide selfishly whisk it away.  I smiled at the pointless gesture.  As if the sea were that kind.

Later, I bounced my youngest on my hip in the cool salt water pond and kissed his wet, chubby cheeks, all while he giggled at fun mommy.  The older kids swam around us like a school of trout, approaching and darting quickly away.  I passed our youngest off to J and returned to my sand covered beach chair.  I watched, fully present, something I hardly ever do.

Is there much more?  

You laughed.  The dead are so wise.  No, no there is nothing else.

I smiled, easy for you to say.

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Lemon Ricotta Zucchini Tomato Tart

A savory summer galette starring garden ripe zucchini and heirloom tomatoes paired with a bright lemon ricotta filling

serves 6

recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens and Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Ingredients for filling:

1/2 of a 15 ounce package of your favorite refrigerated pie crust or use the recipe listed below

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (about 2 + 1/2 cups)

3 heirloom tomatoes, 1/4 inch slices

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup goat cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper + more to taste

kosher salt to taste

basil leaves, torn

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Sea Salt

Optional: Balsamic glaze like this

Directions:

Sprinkle sliced zucchini lightly with salt.  Place in colander and drain for about 15 minutes.  Pat dry.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper and roll out your pie dough to a 12 inch circle.  Transfer to a large baking sheet and set aside.

Using a medium bowl whisk together ricotta, Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, kosher salt and pepper.  Grab a spatula and spread the filling evenly over the dough leaving about 1 and 1/2 inch border.  Top with zucchini, followed by tomato slices and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Gently fold over pastry edge, pleating and pressing down as needed.

In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water.  Using a pastry brush lightly brush the edges with the egg mixture.  Place in oven and bake until golden brown, 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with torn basil leaves and sea salt.  Drizzle all over with balsamic glaze, if desired.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Galette is best the day it is made, but it does make a nice breakfast the next day.  If you have leftovers, store in an air-tight container at room temperature.  Bring to room temperature before eating.  Enjoy!

Pate Brisee or Short Pastry

recipe from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Makes 1-9 inch pie crust

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/8 tsp. salt

8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

3-4 tablespoons ice water

Directions:

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.   Next add cold butter, cut into 1 inch pieces. Rub butter and flour between your fingertips until the butter is pea-sized. Dump dough onto clean counter. Form a “trough” lengthwise (vertically) through flour mixture. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and fluff it with your fingers until large lumps form and the pastry is blended. The dough should be a bit dry, not too wet.

Gather the dough together and flatten the dough with the heel of your hand so that the butter will layer between the flour (fraisage). Rotate dough and repeat once again.  Repeat a few more times.  Form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

5 Summer Savory Galette Links

Can’t get enough of heirloom tomatoes?  Head to Joy the Baker for her heirloom tomato tart recipe with sun-dried tomato pesto.  Yum!

Not sure what to do with all of your garden’s summer squash?  Try A Cozy Kitchen’s summer squash lattice ricotta tart.

Gluten-free?  Head to Tartelette  and try a gluten-free tart with savory greens, tomatoes and goat cheese.  While you are there be sure to check out Helene’s recipe for a Swiss chard, goat cheese and prosciutto tart.

If your CSA contains more Swiss chard than you can handle, try making Smitten Kitchen’s leek and Swiss chard tart!

Strawberry Rhubarb White Chocolate Cheese Tart + 5 Summer Tart Links

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Tomorrow marks the start of  a much needed vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, so I will keep it short.  More stories to come, but for now enjoy this recipe: a sweet press-in, no-fail tart shell filled with white chocolate, cream cheese and Greek yogurt; topped with a sweet and gelatinous strawberry/rhubarb bite of summer.  I hope you enjoy it.  Thanks for reading and happy 4th!

Strawberry Rhubarb White Chocolate Cheese Tart

Serves 8

Recipe adapted from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Tart recipe by Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients for (1) 9-inch tart shell:

1 + 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick + 1 tablespoon super cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

Directions for tart shell:

Using a food processor with a blade attachment, pulse the flour, sugar and salt together.  Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and combine in long pulses- about 10 seconds each time, until the dough forms clumps.  Remove the dough and kneed once or twice to make sure all of the flour is incorporated.

Dump the dough into your tart pan (with a removable bottom) and press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides.*See note.*  Pierce crust all over with a fork.  Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better, before baking.

*If you find the dough sticks to your fingers too much, spray the bottom of a measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray and use the bottom of the cup instead of your fingers.*

When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Place the frozen tart on a baking sheet and place it on the middle rack of your pre-heated oven.  Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

If the crust puffs up, press it down gently.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Set aside.

Ingredients for fruit topping:

2 cups of rhubarb, sliced

2 cups of strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 ounces of water

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of water to make a paste

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions: 

Combine sugar, water and vanilla in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Add strawberries and rhubarb.  Add cornstarch paste to mixture and bring to a boil, again.  Stir in the lemon zest and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Set aside and cool completely.

Ingredients for white chocolate cheese filling:

12 ounces of white chocolate, cut into small pieces

12 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (2% or full fat)

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

white chocolate shavings- optional

Directions:

Melt white chocolate either using a double boiler or in the microwave until completely melted and smooth.  Allow to cool.

Using a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until light and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Pour in the white chocolate and beat for another minute.  Next, add the Greek yogurt, salt and lemon zest.  Beat until well combined.

Assembly:

Pour the white chocolate cheese filling into the cool tart shell and smooth with a spatula.  Spread the strawberry/rhubarb evenly over the filling.  Optional: garnish with white chocolate shavings or melted white chocolate drizzles.  Serve at room temperature.  Store the remaining tart in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  This tart looks best the day it is made, but tastes great for a couple of days.  Enjoy!

5 Summer Tart Links You Can’t Miss!

Savory Sweet Life’s granola crusted yogurt fruit tarts are on my must make list, three of my favorite things to eat in one delicious bite.

Fan of panna cotta?  Head to Hummingbird High for a rhubarb panna cotta tart recipe that looks divine.

Do not let plum season pass without making Not Without Salt’s plum tart.

Summer = campfires=s’mores, right?  How about individual s’mores tarts?  Pastry Affair has the recipe for you.

Looking for a savory summer tart topped with zucchini and cherry tomatoes?  Proud Italian Cook has the recipe.  My mouth is watering!

 

Rhubarb Strawberry Cherry Crisp + 5 Delicious Fruit Crisp Links!

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The last thing Eloise ate the day she died? A piece of rhubarb pie.  It was an ordinary day, really, nothing extraordinary to note.  She sat at the kitchen at table alone, the sound of the grandfather clock ticking away, taunting her, so many minutes in the day ahead.  Or so she thought.  The Russian Blue cat she inherited from her granddaughter many years ago sat on the kitchen table, within a short leap of her slice of rhubarb pie.  The cat gazed at her with what seemed like concern, but likely hunger. [Though she fed the cat plenty, he seemed to crave food more since Russell died.  Fancy Feast soothed his broken heart. Nothing soothed her heart.]

“Shoo!”

He remained, as he sensed he should.  He wouldn’t budge, so she took a big bite of her slice of rhubarb pie.  Delicious, as always, Russell’s favorite.  A flaky, buttery crust filled with slightly tart and perfectly sweet rhubarb from their garden.  A recipe passed down from her mother.  [A difficult woman to love.  And yet.  She was loved.]

“Damn cat!  Bringing me a dead mouse at 5 in the morning.  Some companion you are!  Russell, you should be here!” she hollered into muggy morning air.

[She called to him often.  Talked to  him in her head.  Dreamt of him at night. Occasionally, he did appear to her in the quiet blue-black stillness of night;  sleeping, his chest heaving up and down, the sound of his breath lulling her to sleep.  Russell had always been enough for her.  In sixty-two years of marriage she never entertained the idea of another man.  He thought of other women, as men do, yet never sought a thrill.  She was enough.]

Eloise stood from the table, opened the front door and stepped into the damp morning air, barefoot.  [Unlike her to be barefoot, wet grass between her toes.  She loved her slippers, but she was not herself today.]

As she made her way across the yard to her jungly garden, she marveled at how good the dewy grass felt underneath her feet, the warm sun on her back, penetrating her bones. She stared at her garden, the tomatoes heavy on the vines, raspberry bushes growing wildly, engulfing the zucchini and Blackeyed Susans.  A few stalks of rhubarb remained, enough for another pie.

And with a moan, she howled  “Russell, you should be here!”

[Neighbors thought for sure the old woman was loosing her mind, calling out for a dead man.  And when they saw her skitter across the lawn faster than she had moved in years, arms held out, smiling, well they made a quick call to her son.  An hour later he would find her, curled up on the summer grass as if asleep, her body turning cold.]

It was the sound of a lawn mower that made Eloise turn.  He stood a few yards away: khakis, white t-shirt wet with perspiration, smiling, the lawnmower now at rest. “Russell?”  She walked towards him, her pale blue nightgown skimming the damp grass, her ninety-year old body outlined by the sun, visible through the thin cotton.  Eloise reached for Russell and he smiled. His damp face, his slight stubble, his dry lips all in her hands once again, the blue eyes she looked into for sixty-two years, again, looking at her.

She felt light-headed, her breath slowed and she fell to her knees.

Eloise lay on her back in the emerald grass, Russell lay on his side right next to her.  She stared at the hazy sky, the large elm beginning to sway, the wind mercifully picking up on this oppressive summer day.  She understood what was happening and a single tear fell down her cheek.  What relief!  No more marking of days, minutes too long to bare without him.  She would miss a few souls and that damn cat.  She thought of the half-eaten pie sitting on the kitchen table and wondered if the cat would eat it.  She didn’t care.  Ready now, Eloise turned her body to Russell, curled up into space between them and let go.

 

Rhubarb Strawberry Cherry Crisp

Serves 6

Recipe Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients:

2 stalks rhubarb, 1/2 inch slice

2 cups of cherries, pits removed and halved

2 cups strawberries, quartered

1/3 cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

For the Crisp Topping:

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

3/4 raw sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 stick + 4 tablespoons, chilled, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

generous pinch of kosher salt

vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Butter a 2 quart baking dish and set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and toss sliced rhubarb with cut cherries and strawberries.  Add sugar and cornstarch and mix gently to coat.  Next, add the orange juice and stir again.  Pour the berries into the prepared baking dish.

Grab another mixing bowl and stir together the flour, oats, sugar and salt.  Add the almond extract and butter.  Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until the ingredients are clumpy and resemble wet sand, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.  Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is a deep golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Allow the crisp to cool for 15 minutes or so before serving.  Serve with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

**The crisp topping can be made a few days ahead.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  The fruit should be prepared just before baking.  The baked crisp is best the day it is made.  If you have leftovers, re-heat in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes or the microwave for a few minutes.**

5 Delicious Fruit Crisp Links

Memorial Day and 4th of July are just around the corner so why not make Joan Nathan’s Red, White and Blue Fruit Crisp?

I can’t wait for peach season!  Dolly + Oatmeal’s peach, hazelnut, shiso crisp with ginger ice cream and Minimalist Baker’s easy peach crisp are on my must make list this summer.  Oh and they are both gluten-free!

Can’t get enough of sour cherry desserts?  Check out my cherry oat crisp.  It is the perfect summertime treat.

Want to know how to many any fruit crisp in just 5 easy-peasy steps?  Head to Food 52 for some tips.