5.30.2016

Rhubarb Poundcake


This time of year I always look forward to the arrivals of all the late spring fruits: rhubarb, peaches and apricots are by far my favorites. They've all arrived in my market now as is obvious by my posts. For those of you who follow me, I guess I don't need to remind you how many rhubarb recipes you see from me each spring! I even have a Pinterest board entitled "Just Rhubarb"! I'm a purist and don't like to mix it with other fruits, so you'll not find any strawberry/rhubarb combos here. I honestly think my all time favorite is the rhubarb ice cream I posted three years ago, but I keep finding gems to post....and here's one for you pound cake lovers. I love the tartness of rhubarb and it shines right through in this pound cake. Can you see how tender a crumb this cake has? I always think sour cream or yogurt has a great deal to do with that. 
This freezes a dream too!

Rhubarb Poundcake

From Pastry Affair


Ingredients:
2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan, then sprinkle with unflavored bread crumbs. Tap out excess.

In a medium frying pan, mix the cut rhubarb with 1/4 cup sugar. Over medium-high heat, cook the rhubarb until it is fork tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. The rhubarb needs to be able to hold its shape or it will get lost in the cake batter. Cool.


In your mixer, beat together the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Mix in the vanilla bean paste, sour cream, and salt until uniform. Stir in the flour until just incorporated. Gently fold in the rhubarb pieces and any juice remaining in the pan.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with a tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


5.29.2016

Memorial Day: Honoring the Fallen



Memorial Day has always been considered the beginning of summer in my family and what with all our festive picnics and parades, sometimes we lose sight of what Memorial Day really means:

A day for honoring the fallen.



5.24.2016

Fresh Apricot Oatmeal Bars


Ah yes.... following closely behind peaches, I've found fresh apricots in my market! Almost as exciting as finding fresh rhubarb...almost. Apricot season doesn't last long, so grab while you can and make these delicious bars. Not the kind of bar you can pick up with your fingers (or do it cautiously with a napkin underneath), more like a piece of pie with a crumb crust. You don't need a thing on top...these are the perfect sweetness and texture. You're going to love this recipe.

Fresh Apricot Oatmeal Bars

From pastry studio


Ingredients:

8 (1 lb, 4 oz) ripe apricots                                      
3 tablespoons sugar, to taste                     
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water                                                                                               
1/4 vanilla bean

1 1/2 cups flour                         
1 1/4 cups old fashioned oatmeal                                          
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar                                     
6 oz (12 tablespoons) cold butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8” square pan and line with a piece of parchment paper large enough to form an overhang along two sides of the pan.

Cut the apricots into 1/2" slices.  Place them in a saucepan along with the sugar, honey and water.  Split and seed a 1/4 portion of a vanilla bean and add the seeds and the pod.  Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes at a slow simmer or until the apricots just begin to become tender.  Add more sugar to taste as baking brings out the tartness of apricots. Take off the heat and cool.  Remove vanilla pod. (I didn't have a vanilla pod, so used a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.)

Combine the flour, oatmeal, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until ingredients are combined and the oats are chopped up a bit but not ground completely.

Cut the cold butter into 1/2” pieces and add to the dry ingredients along with the vanilla.  Pulse. The mixture should remain a bit loose but hold together when pinched.  Pour into a bowl and toss with your hands.

Press about 2/3 of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan to form an even bottom layer.  Bake until the surface is puffed up and looks dry and slightly browned, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Pour the simmered apricots on top and spread to within 1/4” of the edges.  Top with the remaining crumb mixture, making sure to distribute to the edges and the corners to form a border.  Press down gently to secure.


Bake until the crumb topping is lightly browned around the edges, about 20 - 25 minutes.  Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.  Run a thin knife around the edges and gently lift out of the pan using the parchment overhang to assist.  Cut into bars.





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