Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is here! All of my pies are made...40 of them to be exact. 5 different kinds. The most popular by far? That's right. 

makes 2 - 8" pies
2 cups pureed cooked pumpkin, butternut squash works well too! (good to puree to remove any stringyness)
1 cup brown sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk or heavy cream
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t clove
1 t ginger
1/4 t finely ground black pepper (optional)
Whisk all ingredients together, pour into two chilled unbaked pie shells and bake in preheated 350 degree oven
For 40 minutes until center jiggles only slightly when shaken.

Here is a crust recipe, too:

For 2 - 8" pies
2 1/2 cup unbleached flour
7 ounces cold butter, cut into little pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup ice cold water
1 egg yolk
splash lemon juice
Cut cold butter into flour, working the mixture with your hands and rubbing between your fingers in a sheeting motion. When it is well combined add sugar and salt and mix together wet ingredients... Add to flour mix and work to form a ball of dough, using more flour or water as needed to keep it from being too dry or too sticky. Wrap tightly and refridgerate for an hour or up to a week. Will freeze for one month.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pistachio Thumbjams with raspberry filling

It's no denying the time for holiday baking is upon us...too soon you say? Never too soon around here, where we began making our little cookies a couple of weeks ago. We'll be in full swing with them by the end of next week. To get myself warmed up I decided to take on the Holiday Cookie Challenge put forth at by Emilia Juocys. As we all try to get through this time with no Gourmet Magazine (thank goodness for my stack of back issues!) this will be a fun diversion. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to make and finally decided to use the bakery's very first holiday cookie recipe, pecan thumbjams, and give it a festive makeover. So here we have rolled the brown sugar dough in ground pistachios and used my homemade raspberry jam (perfect for it's bright red hue) to create one very merry cookie!

Pistachio Thumbjams with raspberry filling
yield 2 1/2 dozen 2" cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup of ground pistachios*
1 cup of raspberry jam- seeded

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well. 
Add the flour, salt and lemon zest and mix until fully combined. Roll into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in the ground pistachios. place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and press your thumb into the center to make a well for the jam. Spoon a bit of jam into the dent and bake at 325 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan half way to ensure even browning. Cookies are done when edges are slightly browned. Let cool completely before carefull, the jam is HOT! These will keep for quite a while (4 weeks) in an airtight container, hidden away (this part is very important if you have a husband with a sweet tooth). Otherwise they are soo good, they won't last at all!

*the pistachios, I have to admit, were a little fussy. I could not find shelled nuts anywhere in my little town, so I shelled, then blanched, peeled, toasted, cooled and THEN ground them in a food processor. Good thing it is a holiday cookie, right?!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Soup of the day: Potato cheddar Beer

I wake up every morning and listen to the local public radio station to get the weather and local goings on. this morning as I drank my coffee and got my morning update, I could hear the wind and the sea raging outside my window. Winter is definitely here and the gale warnings the gal on the radio predicted for this morning are proving to be true as we watch the waves crashing on the beach behind the bakery. It's a good day for this soup, but then, it always is, gale or not.
The secret is in the beer:

Potato Cheddar Beer Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
4 ribs of celery, roughly chopped 
1 bottle of beer
6 medium potatoes (i use red, with the skins on, but any kind will work) roughly chopped
6 cups of water or vegetable stock
salt to taste
8 ounces cream cheese
3 cups cheddar cheese- shredded
In the bottom of your soup pot, with a little oil, saute the onion and celery until translucent, even a little carmelized. Add the beer scraping up the brown bits off the bottom of pan. Cook 2 minutes to burn off alcohol. Add the potatoes, water and salt. Cook over medium high heat until potatoes are soft. drop in cream cheese and let sit 10 minutes to soften. Blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. Whisk in the cheddar while it is still hot. Serve immediately. If needed, reheat verry carefully. Garnish with shredded cheddar and chopped scallions. If your feeling really spicy top with chopped jalapenos. 
Serve with fresh bread and butter guessed it, a nice cold beer!