Saturday, February 11, 2012

While the cat's away...

I must admit I've been feeling a little guilty today...while I am in Florida checking on my boat - Kristen and Melissa have been hard at work making Valentine cookies!

Hundreds of cookies waiting for the final touches:

and a few for a children's party:


I am lounging on the boat in 78 degrees and eating at great spots :

and I got to see an elusive Manatee:

Somehow, I think they will have plans for me on Monday, maybe I don't feel so guilty afterall.......

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Sweet and Sour Pie?

Yesterday, while I was roaming the produce section at Whole Foods, I spotted some young rhubarb stalks. Even though strawberries are not particularly in season, I decided to make a strawberry rhubarb pie. Now I know that this is probably not your favorite, and it is definitely not Southern, but I do love this pie (of course there is very little about any pie that I don't like)! The rhubarb gives it a little tang against the sweet of the strawberry.

 So here I am during the Super Bowl - rolling pie crust. Somehow, I don't think this is what Madonna had in mind (That was amazing staging for half time).

My pie crust of choice uses both butter and Crisco. My grandmother always used lard, and I admit I have too. It tastes great, but somehow I can't convince my family that lard is a good thing! Butter will give you a soft tasty crust, Crisco will make the crust flaky - so use both.
A few tips for making your pie turn out - always refrigerate your dough before you roll it out. 
This pie takes almost 2 hours to bake (yes, 2 hours), USE a pie crust shield. I always use one, but especially if the pie takes a while to bake. You can use strips of aluminum foil around the edges - but why not do it the easy way?

 I use a Le Crueset pie plate. Personal preference, but I like the deepness of it and the porous texture seems to make a good crust. 

I used a recipe from an old Bon Appetite (click to link), I don't use much sugar in my pie crust and I cut the cinnamon amount to 3/4 of a teaspoon. I would also add a touch more corn starch because rhubarb can be very runny.                                                                                    

Pie Crust:
2 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
3/4 cup shortening (freeze for 10 - 15 minutes)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (cut into slices and then frozen for 10 - 15 minutes)
7 - 8 TBS water - ice cold

Using a food processor, pulse the flour,sugar and salt together.
Add butter and shortening, pulse till mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add ice cold water a little at a time, pulsing till mixture forms a ball.

Remove dough, divide and make 2 discs, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate.

Makes 2 crusts 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My kind of valentine!

Kristen was busy creating new cookies for Valentine's Day. I love the mini conversation hearts, but these lace valentine cookies are really the perfect treat for someone nice! Instead of royal icing, we use more of a glaze. Not as easy to do detail work, but the taste and shine is so much better.
Now it is on to football cookies and helmets for Superbowl. Guess we will have to do both teams - seams there is not a favorite around here!
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