Posts Tagged ‘pie crust’

Lemon Bar Tart

Monday, July 20th, 2009

One more Fourth of July recipe, this time a twist on another recipe.

When I made the Strawberry Tart, I made a double batch of crust. I did this for two reasons. One, I wasn’t confident in my ability to roll it out and get it into the tart pan on my first try. Two, I wasn’t 100% sure what size my pan was or what size my tart crust recipe really was. Of course, as it turns out, the recipe made exactly twice as much tart crust as I needed, and I was able to put together my tart with no troubles at all, so there was no need for the backup crust after all.

Which is how I found myself with an extra ball of tart crust dough in the fridge, and how I decided to make another tart for the 4th of July. When I started thinking tarts, I honestly was thinking strawberries and blueberries and cream, in some variation of the red, white, and blue dessert that shows up at every 4th of July barbecue.

When I thought about what I had–a flaky, rich, buttery crust with just a touch of sweetness–I tried to come up with things that would go well inside, and after a while, I realized what the crust reminded me of: the bottom of a lemon bar. Yum! So I decided to make a lemon bar filling to bake inside my tart crust. I read through several recipes before coming up with the method below.

IMG_2175

Lemon Bar Tart

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons frozen or cold unsalted better, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cup plain sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Make the tart.

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse once or twice. Add the butter and process for about 10 seconds. Add in the egg yolk and process for a few more seconds.

2. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp. ice water and mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball. You can add a little more water if necessary or a little more flour if it’s too wet. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

3. Spray your tart pan with a non-stick cooking spray made for baking, or grease and flour your tart pan. Roll the dough into a round about a half an inch thick, then transfer into your tart pan. Using your fingertips, press the dough into the pan evenly, spreading it out all the way to the edges and up into the fluted sections of the pan. Refrigerate for about an hour.

4. After the crust is properly chilled you need to prebake it. Heat oven to 425 (F). Sufficiently prick the entire bottom of the crust with a fork. Take a large piece of foil and butter one side, press the buttered side into the crust and up along the sides. Weigh the foil down with a pie weights (or if you don’t have pie weights, a few cups of raw rice or dried beans will do the trick) Bake for 12 minutes.

5. Now remove the tart from the oven and reduce the temp to 350 (F). Take off the weights and the foil and put the crust back in and bake until it’s a nicely browned, 10-15 minutes. Take out and cool completely on a rack.

Make the Filling.

1. While crust is baking, prepare the lemony filling. In a larger bowl, add sugar, flour, and baking powder.

2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly with the lemon juice, and poor into the flour mixture. Mix well, and pour on top of warm baked crust.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the tart pan, on a cooling rack. When cooled, dust with sifted confectioner’s sugar and refrigerate.

4. Serve chilled.

Note: This was very good, but I have a few  improvements for next time. First, I need to be more careful with the tart crust, because mine ended up with a hole in it, and that lead to lemon filling leaking all over the place. I made this work, but it would’ve been easier if my tart crust had been liquid proof. Second, I didn’t have fresh lemons on hand to juice, so I used bottled lemon juice. I think it would’ve been better with fresh. Finally, I didn’t have enough time for the bars to truly chill, and I think they got eaten so quickly that even the “leftovers” didn’t get chill time. Oops. 🙂

Strawberry Tart with Lemon-Vanilla Pastry Cream

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

I whipped this up for a family cook-out a couple of weeks back. My cousin was home from the Air Force for a visit, and it was nice to see him and meet his new girlfriend. (They’ve been together for a while, of course, but she’s new to me. 😉 ) My aunt asked me to bring a dessert, which I was happy to do, but the challenge was that dinner was after work on a Monday afternoon, and so I was trying to think of something that could be made ahead but would still be fresh and tasty after hanging out all day while I worked.

David also bought me a tart pan that weekend. I can’t say that didn’t play a part. It did. So I decided to make a fruit tart with fresh strawberries and a homemade pastry cream.

Strawberry Tart with Lemon-Vanilla Pastry Cream

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons frozen or cold unsalted better, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 teaspoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Fruit Topping:

  • 2 – 3 cups of fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and halved (or any other fresh berries you would like to use, really)

Make the tart.

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse once or twice. Add the butter and process for about 10 seconds. Add in the egg yolk and process for a few more seconds.

2. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp. ice water and mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball. You can add a little more water if necessary or a little more flour if it’s too wet. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

3. Spray your tart pan with a non-stick cooking spray made for baking, or grease and flour your tart pan. Roll the dough into a round about a half an inch thick, then transfer into your tart pan. Using your fingertips, press the dough into the pan evenly, spreading it out all the way to the edges and up into the fluted sections of the pan. Refrigerate for about an hour.

4. After the crust is properly chilled you need to prebake it. Heat oven to 425 (F). Sufficiently prick the entire bottom of the crust with a fork. Take a large piece of foil and butter one side, press the buttered side into the crust and up along the sides. Weigh the foil down with a pie weights (or if you don’t have pie weights, a few cups of raw rice or dried beans will do the trick) Bake for 12 minutes.

5. Now remove the tart from the oven and reduce the temp to 350 (F). Take off the weights and the foil and put the crust back in and bake until it’s a nicely browned, 10-15 minutes. Take out and cool completely on a rack.

Make the pastry cream (You can do this while the crust is baking)

1. Mix together egg yolks and cream. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk every minute or so at first, but as it heats up and starts to boil and thicken, you will need to whisk constantly. This should take about 10 minutes.

2. Turn the heat to low/medium-low so that mixture bubbles gently and cook until it coats the back of a spoon, or when you can draw your finger through it and the line stays there. Stir in the butter and vanilla, and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.

3. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve/strainer to remove all lumps. Because the mixture is very thick, you may have to help the mixture through the strainer by pushing gently with a spoon.

4. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, with plastic wrap pressed gently against the surface of the cream.

Assemble the tart. (I did this part the next day, at the party)

1. Spread the cooled pastry cream inside the cooled tart crust. Arrange the strawberries on top of the cream in whatever pattern you like.The more fruit the better, of course, so try to keep it in a close pattern.

Note: My original plan was to use a lemon glaze to finish the tart, but that never really came to fruition. I didn’t have time to do it right before the party, and I was afraid to start it ahead of time, as those things tend to solidify quite a bit, and I didn’t know how to keep it smooth and fresh all day.

I made a double batch of the tart crust, and refridgerated it to use at another time, which was nice. It was nice to have on hand for a quick dessert later on. If wrapped well, it could certainly be frozen for later use as well.

Pot Roast Pot Pie

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

This beef pot pie is my favorite way to use up leftovers from a roast. The process is the same as the Chicken Pot Pie, and the results are just as good. I made this with the leftovers from the Company Pot Roast, which added a tangy flavor to the pot pie (from the red wine in the sauce) that wasn’t there when I made this dish with a more traditional pot roast.

Pot Roast Pot Pie

For the filling

  • 1/2 to 1 lb leftover pot roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can of beef gravy
  • 1 can of mixed vegetables (like Veg-All) or if you prefer, a can of peas and carrots
  • 1 can of sliced new potatoes
  • 1 small can of mushrooms (optional–if you’re a regular around here, you know that we always skip the mushrooms, but they’d be good!)

For the crust:

  • 1 box 9-inch ready-made refrigerated pie crust (such as Pillsbury; you’ll need both crusts in the box for a bottom and top crust) at room temperature.
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place one half of pie crust in the bottom of a thick pie plate (we have this awesome stoneware one) or an oven-safe skillet. You just want it to be deep enough to hold all of the filling. Dock the pie crust by poking it several times with a fork and bake for about 10 minutes, until light brown. This helps to keep the bottom crust crispy.

2. While the crust is baking, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, until it the surface begins to shimmer. Add the pot roast pieces and cook until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. The edges should begin to brown.

3. Once the pot roast is heated all the way through, add the gravy, vegetables, and mushrooms and continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble at the edges. Pour into the prepared bottom pie crust. Carefully cover with the second pie crust to form the top.

4. Tuck the edges of the pie crust so that the bottom and top crust meet, and cut four slits in the top to allow steam to escape as the pie cooks.

5. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is crisp and golden brown. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into the pie.

Note: I have made this before using only canned gravy, and it turns out well. In this case, I had a delicious gravy from the Company Pot Roast recipe, so I used half a can of gravy and half a cup of the Pot Roast sauce. As I said, it was very good. Plus, I love being able to use leftovers in a second meal. It makes the second meal extra easy to prepare, and nothing goes to waste!

Teri’s Own Chicken Pot Pie

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

This chicken pot pie recipe is one of the few recipes that I’ve invented on my own, and it’s both simple and delicious. It was more of a sucessful experiment than anything else. I shared the recipe with my mom once, and now it’s a part of the regular rotation at my parents’ house. It’s very simple, but surprisingly delicious, and can even be made ahead and baked fresh. The way I make it now really relies on canned and prepared ingredients, but I do play with the idea of stepping it up a bit and making my own pie crust or using fresher veggies from time to time. But then I remember that one of the things I like best about this is how simple it is, and I just keep making it like this. Not everything has to be fancy, especially on a weeknight!

Teri’s Own Chicken Pot Pie

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

For the filling:

  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (if you want to lighten it up, the 98% fat free version works just as well)
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 can of mixed vegetables (like Veg-All) or if you prefer, a can of peas and carrots
  • 1 small can of mushrooms (optional–my “test kitchen” doesn’t do mushrooms, so I skip them, but my parents include them)

For the crust:

  • 1 box 9-inch ready-made refrigerated pie crust (such as Pillsbury; you’ll need both crusts in the box for a bottom and top crust) at room temperature.
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place one half of pie crust in the bottom of a thick pie plate (we have this awesome stoneware one) or an oven-safe skillet. A 9-inch cast iron skillet works well here, but I’ve also made this dish in a nonstick skillet as well (the bonus pan, pictured here). You just want it to be deep enough to hold all of the filling. Dock the pie crust by poking it several times with a fork and bake for about 10 minutes, until light brown. This helps to keep the bottom crust crispy.

2. While the crust is baking, sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and garlic powder. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, until it the surface begins to shimmer. Add the chicken and cook through, about 8-10 minutes. The edges will begin to brown and the chicken will be hot and white all the way through.

3. Once the chicken is cooked, add the soup, milk, vegetables, and mushrooms and continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble at the edges. Once heated through, pour into the prepared bottom pie crust. Carefully cover with the second pie crust to form the top.

4. Tuck the edges of the pie crust so that the bottom and top crust meet, and cut four slits in the top to allow steam to escape as the pie cooks.

5. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is crisp and golden brown. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into the pie.

Note: As I said, this recipe for pot pie is quick and tasty. The pie can be prepared ahead through step 4, and then regfrigerated until ready to be baked. If making the pie ahead, bring it to room temperature on the counter before baking. This method is actually pretty versitile. You could make just about any pot pie you’d like, just by changing around the ingredients. I’ve successfully made Beef Pot Pie, with just a few substitutions, but I plan to try others. I’ll let you know how they turn out!