6.29.2015

Blueberry Slab Pie


Looking for a dessert for your 4th of July picnic? Slab pies are the answer!  They serve a lot of people, you can eat them by hand, no plate, just a napkin. It's a nice surprise not to have to think about your blueberry pie being a little runny....this one holds together nicely. And frankly, I think making slab pie crusts are easier than making a regular pie crust. Almost like a galette: just tuck those edges under. No fuss.
If you have paper plates on hand, you could serve them on a plate as well, with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. For the 4th, I chose blueberries for this slab pie, but I've made peach and apple as well. I just think a blueberry pie goes better with the July 4th celebration.

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE 4TH EVERYONE!

Blueberry Slab Pie




Ingredients:
For the crust:
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 to 1 1/2 cups ice water


For the filling:
2 1/4 pounds fresh blueberries (8 cups)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
good dash of cinnamon, maybe even a scrape of fresh nutmeg

Method:

Make the crust:
In your food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar a couple times. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, add 1 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. You can add more water in tablespoon increments, but just until dough holds together...do not overmix. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a floured surface, roll out the first disk to a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Place in a 10-by-14-by-1-inch rimmed jelly-roll pan. 

Make the blueberry filling:

Toss together blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Pour evenly over the unbaked bottom crust.
On a floured surface, roll out second disk to an 11-by-15-inch rectangle. Moisten the edges of the bottom crust with water. Lay the second piece of pastry over the blueberry filling; press along moistened edges to seal. (The bottom is bigger than the top, so I fold the bottom crust over the top and crimp to seal so the blueberries don't run out while baking.) 
Make some slices in the top, cut out some small stars or you could even do a lattice top crust if you like.
Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
Place pie in the oven, reduce heat immediately to 375 and bake for about 50 minutes until crust is golden and blueberries are bubbling.
Cool at least an hour before slicing.



6.22.2015

Marion Cunningham's Cornbread Muffins



These are lovely tender-textured muffins, which should come as no surprise considering they're from Marion Cunningham's Breakfast Book. I absolutely love this cookbook! Someone referred to it as "an encyclopedia for breakfasts"...perfect description. 
I keep finding recipes I haven't tried, although I've had the book for years. I've never been disappointed with one of her recipes and you obviously love them too as Marion's recipes are always the most viewed on my blog.
You won't be disappointed with this recipe either. Because it's cornbread, don't be surprised when they don't rise as high as you'd expect with a muffin, but when you break one open, they're light as air. No butter needed here, but honey is a must.

Marion Cunningham's Cornbread Muffins
From The Breakfast Book




Ingredients:
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk, warmed
1 cup cake flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar


Method:
Preheat oven too 400. Grease a muffin pan.
Whisk the egg, melted butter and vegetable oil until well mixed. Stir in the milk. 
Combine the cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt in another bowl. Mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well blended. The batter will be light and medium thick.
Spoon into muffin cups so each cup is 3/4 full. Bake 15-20 minutes until the edges are brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Serve hot from the oven. Makes 1 dozen.


6.18.2015

Old Fashioned Spice Cake



(Don't ask me where I found this cute Father's Day jpg, 'cause I don't remember. If it belongs to any of you, I borrowed it.....mea culpa!)

My dad only liked two kinds of cakes. The first was a plain vanilla layer cake, but with softened raisins beaten into a 7 minute frosting slathered all over it. From the time I was a child, he referred to this as a Minnehaha Cake. Your guess is as good as mine where that name came from. Reading Hiawatha?

His second favorite was a spice cake with a brown sugar frosting. If you remember from my post last Father's Day, he loved penuche and that's basically what this frosting is. So I made this spice cake in his honor for Father's Day.  Unfortunately, I don't have my mother's recipe for spice cake, but this one was in my files and it turned out perfectly. 
I so wish my dad was still here to share a piece of his favorite cake!


                                                                             (Photo taken in Georgian Bay)

Dad's Favorite Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Recipe found on Dramatic Pancake Blog



Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

For the brown sugar frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1¾ – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Method:
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch cake pans. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Add in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in two additions, beating well after each addition.
Pour batter into prepared cake pans and tap pans on counter to make sure batter is evenly distributed in pans. 
Bake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. The cake will start to pull away from the pan when it’s done. 
Cool on a wire rack.

Method:
For the brown sugar frosting:

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Return to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool to lukewarm temperature, then gradually stir in confectioners’ sugar until frosting has reached your desired consistency. For a thicker frosting, add more sugar; to thin it out, you can always add a bit of milk. Fill and frost the cooled cake. 
I threw on some cinnamon chips just for presentation.






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