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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fruit-Filled Easter Desserts

Happy Tuesday everyone! As I promised, last week was devoted to Passover and this week is Easter week. Today's recipes aren't your typical lemon pies and carrot cakes, but they'll win over your holiday table nonetheless. Check out what you can do with spring FRUIT!

Blackberry and Apple Cake

  • ¾ cup softened unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1½ lbs. fresh blackberries (about 6 cups)
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 3 granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and quartered
  • ⅓ cup apple brandy, such as calvados
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 2¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. fine salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. superfine sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Crème fraîche, for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" springform pan with butter. Line bottom of pan with a parchment paper circle; grease paper. Wrap outside of pan with foil to prevent drips; set aside. In a small bowl, toss 2 cups blackberries with brown sugar; set aside to let macerate.
  2. Meanwhile, cut each apple quarter into ⅛" slices; toss with apple brandy in a bowl; set aside. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, stir together milk, vanilla, and lemon zest; set aside. Using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 15 seconds after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low. Alternately add flour and milk mixtures in thirds, beginning and ending with flour, until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and gently fold in the apple–calvados mixture.
  3. Transfer batter to the prepared pan; spread evenly. Scatter remaining blackberries over top of batter. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes; unmold, then cool completely. Mash macerated blackberries through a sieve into a bowl; discard seeds. Serve cake slices drizzled with the blackberry juice and dollops of crème fraîche (if using).

Apricot-and-Basil Shortbread Tart
Roy Shvartzapel

Pastry Cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed basil leaves with stems
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg yolk
  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 apricots (1 1/4 pounds), halved
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam, melted
  1. In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup of the milk with the sugar and basil; bring to a simmer. Remove the milk from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the basil and squeeze any milk back into the pan; discard the basil.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of milk with the yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Slowly whisk the egg yolk mixture into the warm milk; bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Scrape the cream into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 14-by-4 1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the hard-boiled egg yolk with the butter and sugar at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, potato starch and salt and beat at low speed until just combined. Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the side of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes, or until chilled.
  4. Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Transfer the crust to a rack and let stand until cooled, about 1 hour.
  5. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the apricot halves cut side up on the paper and sprinkle all over with the sugar. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the apricots are tender and lightly browned. Let the apricots stand until completely cooled, about 30 minutes.
  6. Unmold the crust and transfer it to a serving plate. Using a small offset spatula, spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut sides down, and brush with the melted jam. Cut the tart crosswise into strips and serve at once.
Notes: To make a 9-inch round tart, press the dough into a 9-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Use 10 apricots and 1/4 cup of sugar for sprinkling. Double the pastry cream. Bake for 40 minutes.

Rhubarb Frangipane Pie
Allison Kave

Frangipane Filling
  • 2/3 cup (75 g) slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick/85 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Rhubarb Filling
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces (about 3 cups; remove any tough strings)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Egg wash or milk, for glaze
  • Raw sugar, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough into an 11-inch (28-cm) circle about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3 to 6 mm) thick. Line a 9-inch (23-cm) pie plate with the dough, and trim the overhang to 1 inch (2.5 cm). Refrigerate the crust until ready to bake.
  2. Make the frangipane filling: In a food processor, grind the almonds and sugar until they are sandy. Add the butter, then the egg, flour, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  3. Make the rhubarb filling: In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the rhubarb and orange zest and toss to coat.
  4. Spread the frangipane over the bottom crust. Pile the rhubarb filling on top. Brush the pie shell edges with egg wash or milk.
  5. Roll out the other half of the pie crust into an 11-inch (28-cm) circle. Lay the dough over the surface of the pie. Trim the edges and tuck the dough inward or outward, pressing and rolling the bottom and top crust edges together. Crimp them into a decorative edge, brush with egg wash or milk, and sprinkle raw sugar over the top. Cut vents into the top crust to allow steam to escape.
  6. Put the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Lower the temperature to 350°F (175°C) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more, until the crust is golden and the filling is set (you'll see thick juices bubbling out when it's ready). Remove the pie to cool completely on a wire rack, at least 1 hour.
  7. This pie can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, covered in plastic wrap. Let it come to room temperature before serving, or warm it in a low oven. It can be kept frozen for up to 2 months: Cover it in plastic wrap, then in foil, and let it come to room temperature before serving.

Happy baking!

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