Monday, April 29, 2013

Derby Tartlets

This month's What's Baking theme was mini bites.  So when I got this month's issue of Food Network Magazine and saw this recipe for Derby Tartlets I knew that was what I wanted to make.  The combo of the walnuts and chocolate is delicious and brings me back to my childhood when I would get Derby Pie from a local restaurant.  This was a perfect bite sized way to enjoy this old favorite.  And, of course, to make it a little more "derby" appropriate it incorporates bourbon, like all good Kentucky dishes should.  I used the complete amount of bourbon in the filling, but didn't add as much to the whipped cream as I need to watch my consumption of non-cooked alcohol.  But I used a splash so that the cream still had a bit of that flavor.

They were pretty easy to make, though there's a lot of non-active time spent.  But at least partway through you can take a break.  I ended up making the crusts as I was doing some work around the house and then when they went onto the rack to "cool completely" we went out for dinner, then I made the filling when I returned home.  So it's not something where you really feel like you're stuck home all day to make.

I think my favorite part of this is the walnut crust.  Definitely makes a difference!

Derby Tartlets (from Food Network Magazine, May 2013)


for the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
4 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in pieces
2-3 tbsp ice cold water
cooking spray

for the filling:
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup plus 3tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp burbon
1 tbsp confectioners' sugar
candied walnuts, for topping


- Make the crusts: pulse the flour, walnuts, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor until finely ground.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  Drizzle in 2-3 tbsp ice cold water and pulse until dough starts to come together.  Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap; shape into a disk, then wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Spray  an 18-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.  Press 1 tbsp dough into the bottom and up the sides of each cup (it helps to flatten dough into mini discs first).  Refrigerate 20 min.
- Preheat oven to 375.  Bake the crusts until golden brown, 20-25 min, then press the centers of the crusts down with a small spoon.  Let cool in the pan 10 min, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
- Make the filling: Combine 3 tbsp cream and 1 tbsp bourbon in a small, microwave-safe bowl and microwave until simmering, about 30 seconds.  Put the chocolate chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream/boubon mixture over the chocolate chips and let stand 1 min, then stir until smooth.  Let cool slightly.
- Spoon the filling into the crusts and let set, about 20 min.  Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup cream and 1 tbsp bourbon with the confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form; spoon into the tartlets and top with candied walnuts.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Three Cheese and Artichoke Calzones

Some of our best weekend mornings are spent eating breakfast or drinking coffee curled up on the couch while watching Food Network (have I mentioned that it's almost all we watch at my house?).  This past weekend I flipped on FN in time to see Giada making delicious looking calzones.  We were basically drooling as we watched this episode, so I knew we needed to add this to our menu ASAP.

I love a good calzone, but normally get them with just cheese or cheese and mushrooms, so this was a nice twist on them.  I didn't even need sauce to dip them in!  I did have to go to the store to buy almost all of the ingredients (none were really staples in our pantry/fridge) but aside from that they were pretty easy to make.  The hardest thing to me was rolling out the dough into the 6 inch circles.  I'm pretty sure the end result was smaller than they were supposed to be, though they still tasted delicious!

Three Cheese and Artichoke Calzones (recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)

Yellow cornmeal
4 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/2 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup shredded fontina
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
Zest of 1 lemon
All-purpose flour
One 1-pound ball purchased pizza dough
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 large egg white, beaten
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Lightly sprinkle a heavy nonstick baking sheet with cornmeal. Set aside. - In the bowl of the food processor, add the artichoke hearts, Pecorino Romano, ricotta, fontina, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Pulse until combined and chunky. - Using a knife, cut the pizza dough into quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into four 6-inch circles, each about 1/4-inch thick. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with the egg white. Place a quarter of the filling on one side of each circle of dough. Fold the dough over the filling, forming a half circle. Pinch the edges of dough firmly together and crimp to seal. Place the prepared individual calzone on the prepared baking sheet. - Drizzle the calzones with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit on the top of each calzone. Bake until golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Matzah Meal Pancakes

Every year during Passover I try to not stock up on boxes of the mixes you can buy to make pretty much anything.  I like making things from scratch, if possible.  So I turned to a packet of family recipes that I was given at my bridal shower.  My aunt had given this packet to my cousin (her niece)at her bridal shower back in the 90's, so when my shower came around the cousin made sure to pass it along to me.  Of course, to give proper credit I have to remind myself who these were originally typed up for ("Mom" is actually Aunty Barbara and "Uncle Steve" is really my dad).  Though I also have insider info of knowing that this recipe for matzah meal pancakes, which is credited to my dad is actually a recipe from his mother (different sides of the family, so my cousin wouldn't know who my grandma is necessarily).

I grew up eating these pancakes, though I had forgotten all about them until I saw this recipe and asked my dad to clarify something.  When he mentioned what he puts on his pancakes (a sprinkle of sugar) memories of eating them as a child came rushing back to me.  This was my first attempt at making them and they ended up coming out pretty good!  They're not quite as fluffy as non-Passover pancakes, but they're not too dense, and they don't taste as fake as the stuff from the box.

My only complaint is that it only made 9 pancakes, so after my husband and I split a batch we were still a bit hungry.  But I definitely plan on making these again next year.  With a little maple syrup on them...delicious!

Matzah Meal Pancakes  (my grandmother's recipe)

3 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup matah meal
1/2 cup water

- mix yolks gently in small bowl
- in a medium bowl, beat egg whites until "fluffy" (they should be bubbly and forming soft peaks, not hard like a meringue)
- in a small bowl mix matzah meal, salt, and water.
- mix matzah meal mixture into the yolks.
- fold into the egg whites.
- fry on greased skillet or griddle.