Rhubarb Custard Pie – A Recipe to be Reckoned With

Though I do say so myself, I make a mean rhubarb pie:  elegantly plain, in the classic flaky crust plus sweetened fruit fashion; lily-painted, as in Deep Dish Rhubarb Peach Pie, and mixed with black cherry jam , as an easy rhubarb crostata that’s not really pie but is really tasty (and very nearly instant).


lattice top rhubarb pie

The pie that makes people say “ I thought I hated rhubarb, but this is wonderful!” is Carol’s Mother’s Deep Dish Rhubarb Custard Pie.

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Extremely Easy Rhubarb and Cherry Crostata – a Genuine Recipe

Rhubarb and Black Cherry Crostata

“Genuine recipe” is because the chowder in the last post wasn’t exactly conventional in the instuction department. “Extremely Easy” is because I’m feeling a little guilty about the fabulous-but-you-do-need-a-stand-mixer Celebration Bread.

So. This free-form fruit and jam tart takes about 10 minutes to put together and is impossible to screw up. The crunchy crust is made in the processor, rolls like a dream and is child’s play to handle. The rustic look means it always looks great; and although the post title says “rhubarb cherry,” you can also make blueberry peach

or just about any other combo that takes your fancy.

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Sweet Bread for Easter and Long After

This all started because for those of us who love baking, Easter is an ideal holiday; it’s just so doable. Instead of the glorious but daunting Christmas panoply: cookies, tortes, cakes and breads all clamoring for time and oven space, there’s only one thing you absolutely have to make: sweet yeast bread with eggs in it.

Hybrid Spring Celebration bread, yeast raised eggs and butter, basically, with lots of vanilla and citrus zest and a crunchy macaroon crust.

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Holiday Cookie Recipes: Pepparkakor Plus

Also an Eek of the Week:  Fake Bakers, about the – many, according to story – people who bring purchased pastry to bake sales and cookie swaps and pass it off as home made. To enhance verisimilitude, they doctor the store-bought by roughing it up so it doesn’t look too perfect. Directions are provided. I am still trying to digest this.

And in the meantime of course baking cookies, including vanilla almond Moth Cookies and The Spritz Bill Really Likes. Links to more never-fail all-timers after the jump, but first:

Our favorite Pepparkakkor, crisp, spicy, better-than-gingerbread. The quintessential  Christmas Cookie and if the Christmas part gives you trouble just use a bird cutter and call ‘em doves of peace.

Our favorite Pepparkakkor, crisp, spicy, better-than-gingerbread. The quintessential Christmas Cookie and if the Christmas part gives you trouble just use a bird cutter and call ‘em doves of peace.

The recipe makes approximately a zillion. The dough is easy to mix, easy to handle and perfectly happy to stay in the icebox for weeks while you slice off chunks of it to roll and cut and decorate. Or not; a lot of people like them best plain.

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Whoopie Cake ( Child of Whoopie Pie and Classic Icebox Cake)

Any food lover who has eaten a genuine whoopie pie has got to be cracking up over the current rage for – what shall we call it? – the new whoop-de-do : small cakes sandwiched with lots of rich filling that resemble the genuine article the way a square of ground Kobe beef filled with foie gras resembles a White Castle hamburger.        

You can read all about it in this New York Times whoopie pie story by Micheline Maynard, or just know that ever since she tapped me for an opinion about their origin,  I’ve had them rattling around in my head.

I’ve also had a container of very nice ricotta rattling around in the refrigerator. Also half a batch of the dough for Chocolate Split Seconds.

 pseudo whoopie pies

ricotta whoopie pies

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Fast Cookies

Because sometimes people are quite suddenly coming for tea or whatever in less than an hour and there’s nothing nifty in the freezer and you deeply don’t want to go to the store and also must do something about the books and papers currently covering every flat surface in the house.

 Aha, I thought, time for Lightening Cookies, aka Split Seconds, an American home cooking classic. The ingredients are always on hand; only 1 mixing bowl is needed, shaping is extremely swift and you can bake the whole batch at once. 

Fifty two butter cookies - apple blackberry in back, apricot up front

Fifty two butter cookies - apple blackberry in back, apricot up front

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The Original Wedding Cake – Fruitcake

Ok, not the original, but the traditional until recently and when you stop to think about the custom of saving the top layer to eat on your first anniversary, fruitcake does sound like the best bet, especially in the days before freezers.

Bleeding heart and hosta; no flowers necessary

Bleeding heart and hosta; no flowers necessary

The picture is to say Spring is Coming. It has nothing to do with wedding cake but I don’t have any of the fruitcake; I don’t know anybody who’s getting married and I owe Colleen the recipe, having promised it to her over three months ago. If you don’t have a wedding on tap either, there’s always the bookmark option. If spring is coming, can Christmas be far behind? Read More…

Rugelach to the Rescue!

Politics got you down? Dispirited by a landscape of straw, grey brown, dull green and dirty snow? Feeling slightly guilty because you didn’t happen to make your sweetie a chocolate cream pie for Valentine’s  Day?

Time for a batch of rugelach, one of the world’s more wonderful cookies – being as they are right next door to pie while being a great deal easier to make ( and a great deal more durable since they never get soggy).

plum, chocolate and apricot rugelach

plum, chocolate and apricot rugelach

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Solstice Cookies – Now and Forever (with recipes)

Clockwise from upper left: spritz, pfeffernüsse, sugar cookies, gingerbread springerle, more sugar cookies, fruit/nut/chocolate jumbles.

5 kinds of holiday cookies

This post is appearing because the cookie recipe roundup (12/12) made me fear you might be thinking I don’t bake cookies very often or very many or very anything.

Very shaming and not very accurate, especially at the turn of the year when there’s no WAY I’m not crankin’ ’em out, though I don’t pretend to be in the same league as those indefatigable ladies who make hundreds of dozens and pride themselves – secretly or not – on the length of the recipient list. Read More…

The annual Thanksgiving Apple Alert, with Always Right Apple Pie

Ok, team, time to get shopping. As mentioned last year on the way to the big chunky apple cake, even diehard farmstands will be shutting down soon, and it won’t be long before specialty groceries revert to the same yawnworthy array, much of it much travelled, offered by supermarkets.

Makes me sad just to think of it, or would if we hadn’t been apple hunting for months, munching, baking and – three cheers for an old fashioned farmhouse with side porches! – stocking up. Some of what’s currently stashed in a small space we try to keep right above freezing (heirlooms with approximate intro date):

Left to right: Wolf River (1875), Cameo, Winesap (1817), Northern Spy (1800), Pink Lady, Stayman (1895), Zabergau Reinette (1885), Tolman Sweet (pre-1822), Golden Russet (pre-1845)

Apple collecting tips and pie recipe after the jump

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