Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Watermelon Granita

Tomorrow little K will be 5 months old!  I can't believe he is already but at the same time, only five months old.  Last weekend we took a day trip to the beach and had an absolute blast.  Little K has a cousin who is 2.5 months older than him and they were both completely fascinated by the sand, waves, ocean breeze, etc.  We had lots of fun trying to keep as much sand out of their mouths as possible!  This was also their older cousin/sibling, D's (I've mentioned him here before) first real experience at the ocean.  We could not get him out of the waves, despite the chilly 62° temperature. Little K enjoyed a tiny taste of watermelon, in one of those mesh feeders, for the first time at the beach.  He made a lot of confused faces at first, but in the end he was a happy boy, enjoying the sweet watermelon juice.   

This granita is a fantastic way to enjoy the beautiful, summery sweetness of watermelon.  There is a hint of tart, acidic lime juice that kicks the level of deliciousness up a few notches.  The texture of the granita resembles italian ice and melts just perfectly in your mouth.  Granita will keep for months in your freezer, so you can preserve the wonderful, ripe watermelon flavor for the colder months coming soon.  It does take a few hours to make/set but the amount of actual time involved is very little.  My aunt sent me a link to this cool watermelon cutting trick video if you are interested in learning a new way to cube your melon.  I actually had decent success doing this, so it is worth a try!

Here are a few pictures of little K from the past month or so.  All of the long, dark brown hair that he was born with has slowly been falling out and beautiful, blonde hair is growing in.  He looks like a whole new baby, sometimes, just overnight!  He is such a happy boy.  I love watching him discover and experience new things.  He is such a little sponge already, soaking in everything new around him!

Watermelon Granita

1/2 large seedless watermelon (about 6 cups)
Juice of 3 limes
1/4 to 1/3 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt
Additional lime for garnish, optional

Cut up the watermelon into large cubes and discard the rind.  Squeeze the juice of the limes into a blender or food processor and then add as much of the watermelon as you can.  You may have to work in batches. Give the watermelon a few pulses to get started and then add the sugar and salt.  The amount of sugar you add depends on how sweet your watermelon is on its own. Blend this until as smooth as possible.  Pour the liquid into a 9x13 casserole dish or other large, shallow container, preferably with a lid.  If you have to blend the watermelon in batches, be sure to give everything a good stir once it is all combined.  Cover and place the container in the freezer and let freeze for about an hour.  Remove the container from the freezer and use a fork to scrape and stir the mixture, which is probably still fairly liquid at this point.  The edges will be more firm, so scrape everything with the tines of the fork until well combined and little ice crystals are beginning to form.  Repeat this process 2-3 more times, about every hour, until the entire mixture is small crystals of ice. As the granita starts to form, this process gets more difficult, so take your time and really make sure to break it up into tiny little pieces. The granita will keep this texture once complete, so just store in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Strawberry Ice Cream

This recipe actually started out as a bit of a flop for me, but I was able to save it and I adjusted the recipe below for how you should actually prepare the ice cream. Don't be like me!

I really, really, really love ice cream, especially homemade, but store-bought is delicious too  I am pretty much impartial when it comes to flavor, I have yet to meet an ice cream flavor that I don't like, and I don't think I could possibly choose a favorite. So, when strawberry season was here, I decided it was time to try making homemade strawberry ice cream.

I really like the texture of frozen berry chunks in ice cream, so I thought, let's try making the ice cream with a vanilla base and stir in some soft, juicy chunks of strawberry as the ice cream finishes blending.  I thought this would be good because the juices would nicely flavor the vanilla base and there would be lots of frozen berry texture goodness.  Yea, well, that didn't really turn out so great. For some reason, even though the berries tasted delicious fresh, once they were frozen they tasted like frozen chunks of nothing/water stirred into super flavorful, sweet ice cream. I don't know if this was caused by something in my technique or what happened exactly.

So to fix my problem, I let the ice cream soften a bit, blended everything up in my blender, and let the mixture refreeze.  This new, improved, re-blended ice cream tastes amazzzzing. When making homemade ice cream, I am a huge fan of Philadelphia style ice cream, which is basically just cream, milk, sugar and flavorings instead of a custard based mix (which is more common).  Especially with fruit ice creams, I find the flavor to be more pure and the texture to be a bit smoother on the palette.  The ice cream is so fruity and creamy with just enough richness without feeling too heavy.  The flavor and texture of this ice cream as it melts, is actually a really wonderful accompaniment to a warm piece of cobbler, crisp, brownies, cake, etc. If you would put whipped cream on it, you want to put this ice cream on it!

I know strawberry season has passed by for the year, but if you find a good deal on decent tasting strawberries, give this recipe a try or save it for next June when the berries are really worth it again! Oh and just for comparison, the top picture is before fixing the ice cream and the bottom picture is what it looked like after.

Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 cup white sugar
1 vanilla bean (optional)
1 tbsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and sugar over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.  You do not need to even simmer the cream, just dissolve the sugar.  Stir in the milk, vanilla extract and seeds of the vanilla bean, if using.  Use a blender or food processor to blend the strawberries until about 90% pureed.  I like to keep a few small chunks of strawberry pieces in the ice cream, but you can fully blend and strain the mixture if you want the ice cream completely smooth. Add the strawberry puree to the ice cream mixture and stir well.  Let this mixture chill in the fridge for about 1 hour and then prepare in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.  The ice cream will be soft serve consistency, so transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.


Inspired by Foodwishes

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Milk Chocolate Marshmallow Stuffed S'mores Cupcakes

If people started adding quirky, fun pieces of information to their resumes, I would list "Marshmallow Roasting Perfectionist" to my set of skills.  Seriously, ever since I was a little kid, camping with my family or having backyard fires, I have been fine tuning my marshmallow roasting abilities.  There is nothing better than a perfectly golden crisp outside bursting with ooey-gooey melted marshmallow inside. I will never understand those of you who enjoy, as I like to call it, the 'quick and dirty' method of catching the marshmallow on fire and then rushing to blow it out before the whole thing turns to dust!

My summer job during college was working as a counselor at a Girl Scout camp, where we were required to build campfires the "all-natural" way, using birch bark and teeny tiny twig tee-pees to get our campfires started.  At least we got to use matches!  Although, there was usually a contest amongst the staff to see who could have the most "one match only" fires each summer. The camp ran for six weeks each summer with a lunch cookout every Wednesday and then an optional overnight for older girls on Thursdays that included another cookout.  So twice a week, the staff was building fires and cooking over them for the campers.  We made lots of the typical burgers and hotdogs, english muffin pizzas, and even quesadillas over the fires, but dessert was always the favorite.  Banana boats (bananas cut in half, loaded up with marshmallow and chocolate chips wrapped in foil and set on the coals to get melty), or cinnamon roll sticks (Pillsbury crescent roll dough dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar, wrapped around a foil lined stick and roasted) were pretty well liked by the campers, but nothing beat the good old fashioned s'mores!  Just the thought of s'mores at the weekly cookout was enough to keep any camper crankiness at bay :)  I spent a lot of time working with 5-7 year olds and many of them unintentionally fell into the 'quick and dirty' category of roasting marshmallows which usually led to very unhappy campers.  I can't tell you how many times I heard another counselor say "go ask Luna (I'll explain in a minute) to roast you another marshmallow."

I would guess that I roasted several hundred marshmallows over the three summers that I worked at the camp, so needless-to-say, my marshmallow roasting skills are pretty much perfect to this day!  The secret is all in the placement and rotation.  Hold the marshmallow down near the super hot coals, out of the flames and rotate a quarter turn ever few seconds.  With just a little patience, you have a perfect marshmallow every time. Oh and if you were curious about the name "Luna", all of the counselors had to choose "camp names" for themselves as part of the camp's traditions.  It was always fun for the campers to guess what our real names were, but we never revealed them.  I have always been fascinated by the moon, so I chose the name Luna.  Working at that camp has so many wonderful memories. Every summer since then, I think fondly about what a great summer job it was!

These cupcakes taste exactly like a s'more, just in cake form.  The sweet, rich, tender cupcakes are bursting with the creamy marshmallow filling.  I'm sorry that I don't have a picture of one of the cupcakes cut in half so you could see how delicious they looked!  Since the buttercream is made with Hershey's candy bars, it has the perfect milk chocolate flavor that duplicates the melty chocolate in a s'more.  You get a little bit of crunch from the graham cracker crumbs and of course, the star of the cupcake: the sticky, gooey, yet crispy toasted marshmallows puts these s'mores cupcakes over the top!  Make these beautiful, delicious cupcakes before the, alreadyflyingbyIcan'tbelieveitisalreadyAugust, summer is over!

Milk Chocolate Marshmallow Stuffed S'mores Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk*

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 cupcake trays (24 cupcakes) with liners. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate large bowl whisk together the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.  Pour 1/2 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the buttermilk into the wet ingredients and whisk briefly until barely combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk.  The batter will be fairly thin.  Divide evenly into the lined trays, filling each one just under 3/4 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let sit for 10 minutes and then remove from the trays to cool completely on a wire rack.

*Buttermilk can be substituted with regular milk and 1 tbsp of white vinegar

Marshmallow filling
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme (Fluff)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the butter and marshmallow creme until smooth and fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix well.  The filling should be not be too thin or too stiff, so adjust the powdered sugar amount, if necessary.

Milk Chocolate Buttercream
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 Hershey's milk chocolate bars
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate bars in the microwave on medium power, 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until completely smooth and melted.  Let the chocolate cool to room temperature.  Cream together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly pour in the cream and vanilla and mix until combined.  Beat in the melted, cooled chocolate and whip on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes.

Topping & Assembly
24 marshmallows (I used the "Jet-Puffed Stacker" variety)
2 graham crackers, crushed

Spoon the marshmallow filling into a piping bag or zipper baggie with a small corner cut off.  Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (or other tip of your choosing).  Using a small, sharp paring knife, cut a small circular wedge out of the top of each cupcake and set the wedge aside.  Pipe about a large teaspoon sized dollop into the hole and place the piece of cutout cupcake back on top of the filling. You could also just spoon some filling in but I find piping it is much less messy.  Pipe a swirl of the milk chocolate buttercream onto each cupcake and sprinkle with some graham cracker crumbs.  Place your marshmallows onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and toast them under the broiler.  Make sure to watch closely because they toast pretty fast.  You probably will need to work in batches for this step. Use a greased turner or spatula to remove from the baking sheet and place onto of the cupcakes.  These cupcakes are best served within a few hours of assembling so if you make the cupcakes ahead of time, make sure to wait to assemble until shortly before serving!


Inspired by Sally's Baking Addiction & Comfortably Domestic

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cheesy Sausage Pasta Skillet & {One Year} Blogiversary

Happy one year of blogging to me! My first blogiversary just passed on July 1st and I didn't even realize it.  I actually was just typing out a sentence that I have been having writers block all week and couldn't come up with anything to write for this post, and then it dawned on me that I have been blogging for a whole year already! I feel like I should be posting a cake recipe or something to celebrate this event, but I really want to share this recipe instead because it was so delicious!  I actually do have a vanilla cupcake recipe that has been waiting in the wings for awhile....hmmmm...nah I'm going to stick with this one :)

This is a wonderful, easy weeknight meal that is ready in under 30 minutes, and you only have to dirty one pan!  That is always a huge plus in my book, especially when it comes to weeknight cooking.  I was expecting this dinner to be a fairly stick to your ribs, hearty pasta dish with the sausage and cheese combo but it turned out rather light and fresh with all the delicious veggies in there.  Everything just worked really well together and the flavors were very complimentary.  Feel free to change up the vegetable combination or leave out the sausage and switch the chicken stock with vegetable stock if you wanted to go vegetarian with this dish.  The portobello mushrooms have enough of a meaty quality all on their own. The sauce is very creamy and cheesy without being too heavy, just delicious. This recipe makes a lot of food too, so be ready to feed an army of prepare for leftovers, which reheat great, by the way. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!

So now for the nerd in me, a few stats for my blogiversary: I have 40 posts, of which 29 are sweets and 11 are savory dishes, I have 42 comments (of which probably at least 35 are my mom, lol), the blog has received an average of 62 page views per day, and my most popular posts are better than sex cake and carrot cake cupcakes with maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Even though the blog is definitely still a tiny blip in the sea of amazing food blogs out there, I am very proud of this journey so far and hope to continue on for years to come.  I always find it fun when I want to make one of my favorite recipes and I get to go find it on my own blog!

Cheesy Sausage Pasta Skillet

1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 small red or yellow onion, diced
6 baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb bulk sweet or hot italian sausage
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups penne pasta (I used mini penne)
4 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh parsley
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat and add the olive oil, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and sausage.  Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into small pieces.  Cook, stirring frequently until the sausage is cooked through, starting to brown and the veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Drain off some of the fat from the sausage, if needed.  Add the chicken stock, water, pasta, and seasonings and cook for the recommended cooking time on the pasta package.  Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the cream cheese and parmesan cheese and let the sauce simmer for 1-2 minutes.  The sauce should be thick and coat the pasta well.  Add the green onions and tomatoes just prior to serving.  Top with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

A few notes:
-Draining the fat off from the sausage may be totally unnecessary.  It will depend entirely on how fatty your sausage blend is.
-Make sure you use real grated parmesan cheese, the stuff in the can won't work for this sauce
-This type of one pot pasta meal, where you cook the pasta right in the liquid that will become the sauce, is very different than cooking pasta in boiling water, draining, and then stirring together with your sauce.  You need to make sure to move the pasta around a lot to avoid a clumpy mess. You also need to monitor the liquid level.  If your liquid is starting to get really low but the pasta is not cooked all the way yet, just add a little more water.
-We actually ate this meal without the tomatoes, since K is a raw tomato hater.  It was excellent without them but they do add a really great pop of color and a little sweetness.  I add some to my lunch leftovers the next day and thought it was good that way too, but they weren't a game changer. So anyways, if you are a tomato fan, add them in. They will cook a little from the heat of the dish, but essentially they are still raw.


Inspired by The Weary Chef

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry season is at its peak right now in New England and the berries are amazing! I am not really a person who has a lot of favorites in life. I like a lot of different things equally and have a hard time picking just one. For example I absolutely love all colors and I really don't prefer one over another. I suppose if I really had to pick I would go with blue, but in general having favorites is not really my thing.  Except for this strawberry shortcake. Oh my goodness, this is the most delicious dessert ever! Fresh, local strawberries are so superior to those giant, flavorless berries you find in the supermarket year round.  The berries are smaller, juicier, sweeter, and just perfect.  

There are so many ways to enjoy these beautiful strawberries, make strawberry ice cream (recipe coming soon), strawberry rhubarb pie or crisp, pavlova, trifle, or in a parfait.  Of course, eating them sunshine warm and ripe, right off the plant isn't a bad way to go either :).  Another great idea is when you make the strawberry mixture for these strawberry shortcakes, double, triple, or quadruple the recipe and separate it into freezer bags to save for the later months of the year when strawberry season has passed.  So like, I mentioned, strawberry shortcake is my favorite dessert, but it has to be just perfect.  I have had many different versions with various types of biscuits, angel food cake, or pound cake, whipped cream, or ice cream and almost all of the time it has been very good, but this particular recipe is the only one that qualifies for favorite status in my book.  The biscuits are tender, sweet, and soak up that red, delicious berry juice beautifully.  The strawberries are perfectly sweet and that tiny hint of balsamic vinegar does something great to enhance the berry flavor.  And of course, the just barely sweet whipped cream brings the whole dessert together and is absolutely amazing.

So now that I have gushed on and on about dessert at 9 a.m. and realllllly wish I had some to eat right now, I am going to change the subject and share a few of my recent flower photographs with you.  I am trying to play with some different editing techniques in my Photoshop Elements software. I am still trying to figure out all the editing tools over a year later, but it is a fun process when I can find the time.  I hope you enjoy these!

Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar 
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold, cubed butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 quart hulled and quartered strawberries
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
additional sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until small crumbs are formed.  Whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla together in a separate bowl or measuring cup and then combine with the dry mixture.  Mix together with a fork or spoon until almost fully combined and then pour out onto a clean work surface.  Use your hands to bring the dough together in a ball and then flatten into a disc, between 3/4" and 1" tall.  Use a glass or biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits and place on a baking sheet.  Reform any scraps into a disc and continue making biscuits until the dough is gone.  I got 6 biscuits from this recipe.  Sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with white or turbinado sugar.  Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.  The biscuits can be stored in an air tight container for 2-3 days. 
Combine the clean, hulled, and quartered strawberries (you can slice them if you prefer) in a bowl and toss with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar depending on how sweet your berries are.  The sugar will help macerate the strawberries and create juice/sauce for the shortcakes.  Sprinkle just a touch of balsamic vinegar on the berries too, if you wish.  You won't taste the vinegar at all, but it really enhances the strawberry flavor.  Let the strawberries macerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add about 1 tablespoon of sugar and a dash of vanilla and continue to whip until just barely stiff. Be careful not to go too far, or you will have butter. 
To assemble, cut a biscuit in half and top with strawberries and whipped cream! 

Biscuits Inspired by Joy of Baking

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cookie Dough Brownie Truffles

Chocolate chip cookie dough + brownie + creamy chocolate glaze + mini chocolate chips = AMAZING!  These truffles are ridiculously delicious and have been dubbed "heavenly balls of goodness" by the lucky taste testers. If you are a cookie dough fan, you need to make these asap.  For those of you concerned with food safety, don't worry because the dough is egg-free and completely safe to eat in it's raw state.  These truffles would be great if they were just cookie dough alone dipped in chocolate, but these are kicked up by wrapping the cookie dough in rich, chewy brownie and then the whole ball of delicious-ness is dipped in chocolate.  Yum!

For such an awesome treat, I am less than pleased with how boring these photos came out. I seem to be finding myself following a trend of quickly snapping a few pictures before the food I make is devoured.  Our friends that witnessed the photographing of these truffles probably thought I was a crazy person to be moving the umbrella around to shade a corner of the deck so I could try to get pictures of these in nice natural light.  If I had planned better I would have done this ahead of time, but having a two month old does not lend itself well to that kind of thing. :)  I suppose I shouldn't think of this dilemma as a bad thing because it means the food was a hit and there is usually nothing left over to photograph later, but I do usually wish that I had set aside more time to stage a better quality photo for the blog. 

Once I have put the time and effort into making food, there is usually little time available to set up a nice photo shoot.  I find this especially common when I make new meals for dinner that I want to share on the blog.  I hardly ever take the time to snap any pictures at all because we are hungry and excited to get eating!  This is definitely something I need to plan accordingly for because I am hoping to get back into a more regular posting schedule again.  I kind of ended up on a tangent here, but what I meant to say was, the pictures do not do these babies justice!  You seriously need to try these truffles. To borrow my husband's description, as I think it fits them best: "these are intense!"

Cookie Dough Brownie Truffles

3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups mini-chocolate chips, divided
9x13 pan of prepared brownies (box mix or homemade)
16 oz chocolate or chocolate bark, melted

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the milk, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined.  Stir in the flour until a stiff dough forms that can be rolled into balls. You might need slightly more or less flour.  Add 1 cup of the chocolate chips and mix well.  Form 1" balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place the dough balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes until very firm.  Cut the crusty edges off of your prepared, cooled brownies (mmm snack time!) and cut the rest into 1" to 1 1/2" squares.  Press the brownies into flat discs and wrap around the cookie dough balls.  You can pretty easily smoosh the brownie around the cookie dough to cover it evenly.  Place these back in the freezer for another 30 minutes.  If you are using regular chocolate, you should temper it so that it will set on the truffles.  There is lots of information online that can teach you how to temper.  If you are using chocolate bark (sometimes called fake chocolate, almond bark, or candy melts) you can just melt that as is.  Dip each truffle in the melted chocolate and use a fork to help you shake off the excess chocolate.  Place the truffle back on the baking sheet and top with mini chocolate chips.  The truffles should set up at room temperature, but I chilled mine because it was a hot day and I thought they would taste better cool.  If you have any left over (haha!) store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.   


Inspired by The Domestic Rebel

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Raspberry & Lemon Cream Tart

This is the most delicious light and citrus-y spring/summer time dessert.  Lemon and raspberries are one of those perfect food combinations that were meant to be, like peanut butter and jelly, ketchup and french fries, mashed potatoes and gravy, or american cheese on Cape Cod potato chips.  What's that? You don't put cheese on your chips? Huh, well you are missing out! Anyways, lemon and raspberries both have a tart quality about them, but sweetness in the raspberries balances the tangy-ness of the lemon beautifully.  

I made this lovely tart for our family mother's day dinner and it was just the perfect dessert for the occasion.  The tart shell was tender and buttery and the lemon cream filling was so light and delicious.  The powdered sugar dusted raspberries added exactly the right touch of sweetness that this dessert needed.

As you can see, we didn't waste any time devouring this dessert.  I had to pause eating my slice to snap a side view shot before the rest was scooped up by the lucky few who got seconds. :)  This would be a great dessert for a brunch or even a fancy dinner party too.  You could even make this in mini tart pans or a muffin tin if you wanted to do individual servings. I hope you give this one a try!

By the way, speaking of mother's day, look how big little K is getting!! Almost 11 weeks old already!

Raspberry & Lemon Cream Tart

Pastry Crust
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, diced butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup ice cold water
Zest of 1 lemon

Place the butter, flour, sugar, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flour and looks like small pebbles.  Slowly add the ice water with the food processor running, until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides.  You may not need the full amount of water.  Carefully remove the dough from the food processor, form into 2 discs, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.  (If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter and wooden spoon to make the dough by hand.) This recipe makes enough for two tart crusts, so pop one in the freezer for another recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll  the other disc out to about 1/4" thick and transfer to a tart pan.  Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork (don't go all the way through), place a piece of foil on the dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  This will keep the crust from puffing  up while baking.  Bake for 30 minutes then remove the weights and bake 5-10 more minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown. Let the tart shell cool completely.

Lemon Curd
1/2 cup  freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 eggs
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
pinch of salt, if using unsalted butter

In a medium sauce pot, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, eggs, and egg yolks.  Turn the heat on to medium-low and add the butter.  Whisk constantly until the butter is melted.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens to a jelly-like consistency.  Strain the lemon curd into a bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool. 

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Whip cream to soft peaks and add the sugar and vanilla.  Continue to whip until well combined and slightly stiffer.

2 pints raspberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Remove tart shell from the pan and place on a plate or cake stand, if desired.  Spread 1/3 of the lemon curd on the tart shell.  Fold the remaining lemon curd into the whipped cream.  Fill the tart with the lemon cream and top with raspberries.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.  


Inspired by Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
Inspired by David Lebovitz (lemon curd)