Bedfordshire Clangers w/ Variations

July is such a wonderful month. The weather’s warm, there’s still plenty of summer left, and the produce is literally amazing.

Midsummer means the farmer’s markets are brimming with great fruit & veggies. With such a colorful bounty of goods, we can settle into our summer cooking routines with tasty meals hot or cold.

But, even in summer, we sometimes crave ‘comfort food’ such as a ‘hand pie’. The humble hand pie goes by many different names: call it a pasty, a turnover, an empanada, or a ‘Bedfordshire clanger’….

A Bedfordshire Clanger dates back to at least the 19th century. It was typically made for agricultural workers to take with them to work as their lunch. The original pastry was made from suet and cooked by a boiling method. There is a theory that the pastry crust was not originally intended for consumption but as a vessel in which to protect the filling from the soiled hands of the workers.

The clanger originated from the county of Bedfordshire, a small, low-lying and predominantly agricultural county nestled in the east of England and adjacent counties, including Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. 

The name is as intriguing as the food itself. The word clanger, it had been suggested, referred to the mistake of mixing sweet and savory fillings. But a more likely explanation was that in nearby Northamptonshire dialect, ‘clang’ means to eat voraciously.

Knowing their husbands would need lots of protein and carbohydrate sustenance, homemakers came up with the brilliant idea of a doubled, loaf-shaped pie. One end contained a savory filling that used the famed pork of the area while the other end was filled with stewed apples (made from local apples) as dessert. So, the two fillings didn’t combine, there was a ‘pastry wall’ in between blocking any flavors from mixing. A ‘secret code’ denoted which end was meat, and which was dessert: two knife slits on one end of the pastry top means meat, three small holes on the other shows the sweet. This was brilliant, an entire meal for the field workers – handheld, portable and delicious.

The version we have today is not its beginnings but its evolution. Once you’ve nailed this basic Bedfordshire clanger recipe you can experiment with all sorts of flavor combos, there’s really no limit to what you can combine in this savory/sweet pastry.

Since Brion takes lunch to work, I became intrigued with the idea and decided to get creative with the fillings. That way I could make a variety and freeze them and use as needed. These tasty little ‘clangers’ can be served as the main course for a warm-weather picnic or for a hand-held, backyard meal with the addition of a nice fresh salad at home.

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Bedfordshire Clangers w/ Variations
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Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
Raspberry / Nectarine Filling
Blueberry Filling
Apple / Apricot Filling
Plum / Rhubarb Filling
Rhubarb / Apple Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
Raspberry / Nectarine Filling
Blueberry Filling
Apple / Apricot Filling
Plum / Rhubarb Filling
Rhubarb / Apple Filling
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sage & salt. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour mixture & use your fingers to work them in. Alternately you could use a pastry cutter to do this.
  2. When the mixture resembles cornmeal with pea-sized bits of butter remaining, stir in cheese with a fork until evenly distributed. Sprinkle 6 Tbsp ice water over mixture & stir with a fork until dough begins to come together. If needed, add an additional Tbsp or two of ice water.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface & knead for about three times. Gather the dough into a disk & wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Pork Filling
  1. Bake potato in microwave, peel & cut into small cubes. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet & sauté celery, onion, garlic & bacon together on medium heat until veggies are soft & bacon is cooked. Add ground pork, breaking it up well. Stir in dried herbs & spices. Cover & simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in cooked potato & cheese. Set aside to cool.
Spiced Meat Combo
  1. In a saucepan, sauté onion & garlic. Add ground meat, basil, thyme, cardamom & salt & pepper. Scramble fry until cooked, remove from heat & add parmesan & potato. Place in a dish.
  2. In the saucepan, melt butter; add flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add beef broth, stirring until sauce thickens. Season to taste. Add to ground meat mixture & combine to form filling. Set aside until ready to use.
Turkey Filling
  1. In a skillet, cook bacon until just crisp, then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain; chop when cooled. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon drippings from skillet.
  2. Add butter to the skillet, sauté onions, garlic & mushrooms with herbs & spices, scraping up any brown bits, until the onions have softened & mushrooms have lost most of their size & moisture. Stir in the bacon & shredded cooked turkey, taste for seasoning. Cook for another minute or two, then remove from heat & set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, combine Boursin, milk & spices (if using). Stir until Boursin has melted. Remove from heat. Add to turkey/veg mixture.
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
  1. Heat butter over medium low heat in a heavy ovenproof skillet. Add the onions cook for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. When the onions are a deep golden color, remove them from the pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, chili powder, thyme, allspice, & black pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. In the same pan as the onions, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add each piece of chicken & fry for a few minutes until golden brown; flip & cook for a few more minutes. Transfer to a plate (it will not be fully cooked at this point, just browned – it will finish cooking in the oven).
  4. Turn the heat down & let the oil cool off a little bit. Make a roux with excess oil in skillet & dredging flour. Add chicken broth & cook until a sauce forms. Add the onions & chicken to the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes longer. When chicken/onion mixture is cooked, remove from oven. Allow to cool until ready to use.
Raspberry/Rhubarb Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cardamom & salt. Add water & stir then add chopped nectarines. Simmer until nectarine is slightly soft & liquid is thickened. Remove from heat & carefully fold in raspberries. Set aside to cool.
Blueberry Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except blueberries. Cook until sauce starts to thicken then gently fold in blueberries & cook a couple of minutes more. Remove from heat & set aside to cool.
Apple/Apricot Filling
  1. Peel & dice apples. Drain canned apricot juice into a small saucepan. Add sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon & salt & combine. Add apples & cook until apples are tender. Cut canned apricot halves into quarters. When apples are cooked & sauce has thickened, remove from heat & add apricots. Gently combine & set aside to cool.
Plum/Rhubarb Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt & lemon zest. Add rhubarb & plums. Gently stir over a low heat. When enough juice has formed, allow to simmer until rhubarb is soft & juice has thickened. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Sour Cherry Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, place sugar, cornstarch & salt. Add juice/water mixture & stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat. Gradually fold in cherries. Set aside to cool.
Rhubarb/Apple Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, add the rhubarb, apples, salt & sugar. Add a drizzle of water if necessary & heat on medium. The rhubarb will begin to release liquid & break down as the apples soften. Heat the mixture until the moisture has evaporated & begins to thicken. Once the mixture is thickened, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and cinnamon. Place it in a bowl & allow to cool.
Apple/Pear Filling
  1. Heat butter in a small skillet until melted, add apples & pears & cook until fruit begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over mixture & continue to cook stirring often until fruit begins to lose its juices. Mix together cornstarch & lemon juice & add to pan. Simmer until mixture has thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat & allow to cool.
Assembly/Baking
  1. Divide pastry into 5 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface (or dry wax paper) roll out each piece of pastry into 14 x 7 1/2-inches. The excess trimmed from the sides will be used for little pastry ‘walls’ dividing the sweet & savory fillings. Roll excess pastry into a 3-inch length.
  2. Cut each piece of pastry in half horizontally so you have (2) 7-inch long pieces from each piece of pastry. From the top of each piece, LIGHTLY make a line across your pastry 4-inches from the outside edge. This will help to place your fillings properly.
  3. On the 3-inch wide section, place savory filling to cover 2/3 of the area. Place one of the rolled strips after that then place sweet filling on the remaining 1/3 to complete the 'clanger'. The little rolled piece of pastry divides the savory & sweet filling.
  4. On the sweet side make 3 holes for vents & on the savory side make 2 slashes. This is the 'code' to let the person eating the clanger which was savory or sweet.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Brush the edges of each pastry with egg wash. Lift the pastry from the opposite side over the fillings & seal the edges with a fork.
  7. Brush clangers with remaining egg wash & bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden.
Recipe Notes
  • Due to the length of this recipe, I found making the savory & fruit fillings on one day & the pastry, assembling & baking the next, worked out well for me. Although these pastries are VERY time consuming, believe me, the are well worth it in the end, especially if your freezing some to use later. I baked them all & then wrapped them well before freezing.
  • You will probably find there will be enough savory & sweet fillings left over to make about 10 more clangers.
  • All of them will freeze well which will be a time saver for your next batch. Just make a recipe of pastry & your ready to assemble & bake.
  • If your not interested in freezing the 'leftovers', the fruit combined will make a wonderful crisp & the savory fillings can be used in quiche or casseroles.

Mushroom Galette w/ Roasted Garlic & Thyme

Roasted garlic is the secret weapon to so many great dishes. Whole heads of garlic, roasted in olive oil and a bit of water until they’re as tender as warm butter, became enormously popular in the 1980s. Before long, roasted garlic began appearing in all sorts of foods, from spaghetti and meatballs to pizza.

As far as near-magical transformations go, roasted garlic should get a standing ovation. Through the simple alchemy of hot oven heat, garlic starts off raw and crunchy and astringent, and it emerges soft and caramelized with a gentler flavor that borders on sweetness. It’s like night and day.

Roasting processed ‘naked’ garlic cloves doesn’t work as well because they have no skin to protect them and so they can become quite tough.  The creamy consistency produced by this roasted garlic recipe relies on the skin acting like baking paper.

This galette is amazing as roasted mushrooms always produce great flavor and even more so when you squeeze and smash roasted garlic into the mix.

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Mushroom Galette w/ Roasted Garlic & Thyme
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Cornmeal Pastry
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Ingredients
Cornmeal Pastry
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it.
  2. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough. Press dough into 2 disks & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Pre-roast your garlic ahead of time by cutting off the top portion of a whole bulb, placing it in tin foil & liberally covering it with olive oil, some salt & pepper & a couple of thyme sprigs. Wrap it up and place in the oven for around 30- 40 minutes or until golden & soft.
  3. Raise oven temperature to 400 F.
  4. Place mushrooms on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme leaves & drizzle with oil. Pre-roast mushrooms until all the moisture is out and they start to caramelize. When mushrooms are done & while the baking sheet is still hot, squeeze & smash in the whole bulb of roasted garlic, tossing gently until incorporated, season with salt & pepper to taste.
  5. On a piece of parchment that will fit a baking sheet, roll out your pastry to around 12 inches, then place the whole thing onto a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the cheese mixture on the bottom of the pastry leaving an inch and a half border all around, reserve 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture to dot on top of galette.
  6. Spread the mushrooms all around the top of the cheese mixture, covering it completely. Fold up the edges of the dough all around the filling. Put reserved tablespoons of cheese on top of mushrooms dotting it in sections.
  7. Whisk egg then brush the folded up edge with it. Sprinkle some thyme on the crust edge along with grated parmesan and black pepper. Bake galette for around 30 to 40 minutes or until deep golden on bottom and crust.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mini Tarts w/ Roast Beef & Gruyere

The holiday season always seems to creep up on us each year. You’ve probably got the mains and desserts figured out for your big Christmas dinner. Now, it’s time to nail down the appetizers or hors d’oeuvres, aka the real reason everyone loves the holidays. Hors d’ oeuvres are part of the holiday party tradition. I think that the best appetizers are ‘finger foods’ where you can eat them easily and with very little mess. Each culture has its own collection of favorite appetizer recipes which have evolved over the years.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated, bite-sized appetizer for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, look no further than mini appetizer tarts. Tartlets can be sweet or savory, hot or cold, and are a perfect choice if you’re looking for a vegetarian option. Think of your favorite flavor combination and you can find a way to serve it in these tiny pastry cups — try brie and raspberry, chicken cordon bleu, cranberry and goat cheese, pear and blue cheese, buffalo chicken and ranch or roast beef and gruyere.

Not only do mini tarts make for a chic presentation, but they also make it easy to time your guests’ arrival with taking the tarts out of the oven if you are serving them hot. Most recipes require a short cooking time, which allows you to pop the tartlets in the oven half an hour before your guests arrive and serve a warm appetizer as soon as they walk through the door.

These mini tarts are filled with roast beef, shallot-sautéed mushrooms, cream cheese, horseradish and Gruyère. You will love the nutty aroma when the tarts come out of the oven. I think  they are the perfect Christmas appetizer or party food idea.

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Mini Tarts w/ Roast Beef & Gruyere
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. With fingertips, cut in cold butter until mixture resembles small peas. In a measuring cup, whisk together water, egg & vinegar. Make a well in dry mixture & pour wet mixture into it all at once. With hands, mix until JUST combined. Roll out pastry & cut 24 squares with a pastry cutter. Fit squares into 24 mini tart pan cups. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to fill.
Filling
  1. In a skillet, over medium heat, melt butter, then add shallots & mushrooms. Add thyme, salt & pepper; sauté until browned. Remove from heat. Divide roast beef between the 24 pastry shells. Spoon mushrooms onto the mounds of roast beef followed by a tiny dollop of horseradish.
  2. Place cream cheese & eggs into a small bowl & whisk until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Spoon into tart shells, allowing the mixture to settle down into them.
  3. Sprinkle each cup with some grated cheese before transferring to the oven & bake for 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • If you prefer, you can always use frozen prepared mini tart shells instead of homemade for a quick shortcut.

Pork & Turkey Pie w/ Spiced Liqueur Cranberries

Today, November 23rd, our neighbors to the south in the USA, are celebrating their Thanksgiving Day. It encompasses both religious and secular aspects … being both a harvest festival and a festival of family.

Here in Canada, we have already enjoyed our Thanksgiving in October, but I thought it would be nice to acknowledge their holiday with posting a special meal.

Savory Pork & Turkey Pie is an interesting combination of pork, turkey and stuffing. This recipe was born after a long-time love of homemade pot pies and some trial and error on various meat pies. It’s made with chicken, pork fillet, leftover stuffing, and a flavorful blend of spices and herbs all wrapped in a sour cream cornmeal pie crust. It’s incredibly tasty, even reheated as leftovers.

Of course, it wasn’t that the pie isn’t really good as it is, but the spiced cranberries are certainly the ‘icing on the cake’ you could say. Nobody goes to a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal and says, ‘I can’t wait to try the cranberry sauce this year’! But while it is not the center of the meal, it is certainly an important component of it.

Fresh cranberry sauce has become almost as important as the turkey itself. A Thanksgiving feast doesn’t feel complete without a bowl of cranberry sauce. Undeniably, the tangy condiment has become as much of a showpiece as the traditional turkey it’s served with!

This version of the cherished sauce brings a modern twist to the holiday table. Simmered in spiced cranberry liqueur, the cranberries acquire an exquisite depth and a delicate sweetness. Meanwhile, the cinnamon and orange zest, simmered alongside the colorful berries, bring a bit of nuance and extra layers of flavor. Once done, the sauce ends up having a compote-like texture, which makes it even more luxurious.

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Pork & Turkey Pie w/ Spiced Liqueur Cranberries
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Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
Cranberries w/ Spiced Liqueur
Servings
Ingredients
Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
Cranberries w/ Spiced Liqueur
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it.
  2. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough. Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line the base & sides of an 8-inch spring form pan leaving about a 1-inch dough overhang. Refrigerate until filling is prepared.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, thyme, sage, savory, salt, & pepper. Add chicken broth and milk all at once.
  3. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in cooked chicken, pork & stuffing, being careful not to overmix. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour mixture into pastry shell.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until pastry is golden.
Cranberries w/ Spiced Liqueur
  1. In a medium nonstick saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until reduced and slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, take out cinnamon sticks.
  2. Top pie w/ cranberry compote.

Salmon Galette w/ Cornmeal Crust

If you have never tried a little cornmeal in your pastry crust, now is the time. The texture really is amazing. Tender and flaky, you will have a hard time going back to a traditional crust.

We all know that what separates a good quiche from a great one is the pastry crust. No matter how good the filling is, if the pastry is undercooked or overcooked, then the quiche becomes one of ‘those’ kind of meals. Cornmeal adds a touch of nutty flavor to the tart shell which makes this a great choice to use for both savory and sweet pies.

Despite its notoriety for being the key ingredient in cornbread, cornmeal is not a one-note ingredient. Cornmeal’s vibrant color and flavor brighten up many dishes and it creates a light, crispy crust when baked. 

Since I started making cornmeal pastry years ago, it has become my go-to for sweet, savory and ‘in between’. In this quiche, it pairs extremely well with the salmon and veggies.

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Salmon Galette w/ Cornmeal Crust
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Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
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Ingredients
Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
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Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles BOTH coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, I Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not, add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough.
  2. Press dough into a disk shape & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two or it can be wrapped airtight & frozen for a month. When ready to use, thaw, still wrapped in refrigerator.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a container, lightly beat eggs & add cream, dill, mustard spices & basil paste. Combine well.
  3. Roll out chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch circle. Transfer pastry to a pie plate, leaving rough edges overhang dish.
  4. Spoon salmon into shell followed by leeks, red pepper & corn. Pour cream mixture over all then fold the rough pie edges into galette. Brush pastry edges with egg wash & bake until custard is set when a knife is inserted near center & pastry is baked, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. Remove galette from oven, allow to sand a few minutes, then slice & serve or serve at room temperature.
Recipe Notes
  • Brion & I really enjoyed this galette with tartar sauce as a condiment.

Chili Cheese Quiche

If you haven’t had quiche lately, it is time to remedy that situation. I could eat quiche for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without ever growing tired of it. This recipe takes the classic chili con carne and turns it into a quiche which makes an ideal winter meal, right?

Cornmeal crust is the perfect foil for meaty and cheesy savory pies. Not only is the rustic texture and flavor of cornmeal pastry a nice change, but it also helps if you have something that is super juicy to avoid soggy bottom pies.

If you like quiche and cornbread, you’ll love this. The cornmeal crust gives a sort of cornbread feel while maintaining the flaky composure that any great crust should have. This is one of my favorite crusts to use for savory pies, tarts and galettes.

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Chili Cheese Quiche
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cornmeal Pastry
Eggs/Milk
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cornmeal Pastry
Eggs/Milk
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it.
  2. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough. Press dough into a disk & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Filling
  1. In a large skillet, sauté beef, onion & garlic until meat is cooked & any liquid has evaporated. Stir in spices, corn, tomato sauce, beans. Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly. Grate cheese.
Eggs/Milk
  1. Whisk together eggs, milk & seasoning.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Roll out pastry to fit a 9-inche quiche pan. Place filling mixture in crust; sprinkle with cheese then pour milk mixture over the cheese.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes or until set. Top with more grated cheese if you wish.

Persimmon Lemon Mini Hand Pies

Let’s face it: we live in a world of portable food. Much like with many heritage recipes, there’s room for debate about how to make a proper hand pie. Historically, hand pies were primarily created with reconstituted dried fruit–apples, peaches–since fresh fruit often is too wet to be supported by the delicate pastry. Today, a blend of dried and fresh fruit (or a generous amount of thickener) yields a nicely balanced mixture of flavors and texture.

Hand pies are very often deep fried, but can be skillet fried (preferably in cast iron) or baked for those who are wanting something more health conscious. The dough is typically an adapted form of biscuit dough instead of traditional pie crust, which is better able to withstand the frying process without splitting or leaking filling.

Persimmons are typically in season from September to December. As soon as I see them at the grocery store, I just can’t resist making them into something special. Using my favorite cornmeal pastry gives them a bit of an interesting crunch and balances out the sweet persimmon filling.

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Persimmon Lemon Hand Pies
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Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in the butter until mixture resembles BOTH coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not, add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. Do not overwork dough.
  2. Press dough into a disk shape & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two or it can be wrapped airtight & frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped in refrigerator.
Persimmon Filling
  1. In a skillet, melt butter & sprinkle sugar evenly over it. Add peeled, sliced persimmons & sauté until liquid is bubbling & lightly golden. Reduce heat & continue cooking until persimmons are tender (if you wish, thicken any juices with cornstarch). Add 5-spice & salt. At this point you can either mash persimmons to make a filling or you can puree them in a food processor,
Assembly/Baking
  1. Prepare egg wash. Remove pastry from fridge & roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut into 18 rounds. On each round place a heaping teaspoon of persimmon filling. Fold in half & seal with your fingertips. Place the mini hand pies on a parchment lined baking sheet & keep in the fridge or freezer while you continue to make the rest of the pastries.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. Brush egg was all over the pastry crusts. Bake for about 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven & place pastries on a wire rack to cool.
Lemon Glaze
  1. Grate lemon to make lemon zest for top of pastries. In a small dish combine powdered sugar with enough fresh lemon juice to make a runny glaze. Dip pastry tops in glaze then sprinkle with lemon zest & silver dragees.

Spicy Apricot Mango Stilton Galette


This spicy galette makes an interesting dessert with the sweetness of mango and apricot fruit, as well as savory with the creaminess of stilton, crunchy pepitas, and the perfection of a cornmeal pastry crust.

Stilton cheese takes its name from the village of Stilton, in the east of England. White Stilton has a light, fresh, slightly acidic flavor that makes it a perfect partner for fruit.

White Stilton with mango & ginger is a blended cheese which incorporates mango and ginger to impart a sweet, savory intense flavor to the traditional Stilton cheese. Stilton on its own is extremely creamy and delicious but the addition of fruit accords the cheese a new dimension. As it melts, the unusual combination of the mango adding a fruity flavor and the ginger adding a mildly warming, spiced overtone. White Stilton with mango & ginger is perfect for a breakfast or dessert cheese.

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Spicy Apricot Mango Stilton Galette
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Servings
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in the butter until mixture resembles BOTH coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not, add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. Do not overwork dough.
  2. Press dough into a disk shape & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two or it can be wrapped airtight & frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped in refrigerator.
Filling
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, anise seeds, cloves, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon & sea salt. When mixture starts to bubble, add dried apricots & mangoes. Cook, stirring often, until fruit is soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  3. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll or press out chilled pastry into a 13-inch circle. Spread mixture evenly over dough, leaving about a 1 1/2-inch border. Gently fold pastry over filling, pleating to hold it in. Sprinkle with crumbled Stilton cheese. Brush with egg wash (if using).
  4. Bake 35-45 minutes until filling bubbles up & crust is golden. Remove from oven & sprinkle with pepita seeds. Serve.
Recipe Notes
  • If filling seems too dry, add a bit of water or apple juice.

Strawberry Custard Tarts w/ Lemon Curd

The irresistible combination of strawberry and lemon is a taste most of us love to savor. This sweet and tart pairing isn’t reserved for strawberry lemonade served in a cup either. The flavor combination works wonders in cupcakes, sophisticated crepe cake, custard tarts, etc. etc. With the fact that we can readily buy strawberries year round, doesn’t make them any less special.

I’m not sure if you recall that fabulous glazed fresh strawberry pie from years ago …. so addicting! It consisted of a crisp crust filled only with fresh strawberries held together by a thickened fruit juice glaze. It was the quintessential summer dessert back in the day. A lady by the name of Claire Moore created this pie in 1954 in the USA. She shared the recipe with her husband, former ‘Eat’n Park‘ CEO Bob Moore, and the rest is history! This regional diner chain began during the days of the 1950’s car hops when everyone thought it was real cool to park and eat right in their hot rods. Today they’re a family restaurant and coffee shop chain still serving their signature fresh glazed strawberry pie.

To make a long story short, it was the memory of that dessert that made me think of doing these strawberry custard tarts for today’s blog.

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Strawberry Custard Tarts w/ Lemon Curd
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Lemon Curd
  1. In a medium sauce pan over low heat, whisk together butter, sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt until combined. Add eggs one at a time, whisking until fully mixed each time. Cook over low heat about 8-9 minutes, whisking frequently, until somewhat thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt until fully combined. Add the cubed butter, and using either a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the mixture until the pieces are around the size of a pea. Pour in the vanilla extract, and cold water. Stir until the dough clumps together.
  3. Move the dough to a floured surface and fold the dough into itself until the flour is incorporated (if it is too sticky, add some more flour to the surface or your hands) and forms a ball. Divide the dough into quarters and pat each one down into four discs, about ½ inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes to an hour.
  4. Remove the dough from fridge. Roll it out into 5-inch circles on a lightly floured surface and use to line four 4-inch tart pans. Crimp the edges as desired.
  5. Prick the bottoms with a fork. Line the chilled dough crusts with parchment paper and fill each with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and beans. Remove from heat and let them cool completely.
Filling & Assembly
  1. Whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract together and then stir in the honey yogurt. Place the strawberries on top of the cooled crusts. Pour the filling over the strawberries.
Baking
  1. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden and custard filling is set. Cool for 5 minutes, drizzle with lemon curd, and serve.
Recipe Notes
  • There are numerous good quality lemon curds on the market if you would rather not make it from scratch since it is only used for drizzling.

Wild Mushroom Quiche w/ Parmesan Crust

I realize mushrooms aren’t for everyone but if you do enjoy them, it seems there are no end to recipes you can use them in. As well as making a great filling for your quiche, its nice to add even more color and flavor with crust variations. Keep in mind that the best time to add extra ingredients to your pastry is after you’ve blended your flour and butter together in the food processor and before pulsing in the cold water.

Here’s a few ideas to elevate savory quiche crusts:

Herbs: Try adding 2 tablespoons each of any of these fresh herbs – chives, thyme, parsley, rosemary & sage. If you only have dried herbs, cut back to about 1/2-1 teaspoon each.

Cheese: As we all know, cheese makes everything better! Adding it to pastry is amazing. Try mixing it up with different combinations of cheese: Gruyere in the filling and parmesan in the crust for example.

Spices: Such as turmeric, fennel seed or even a grind of peppercorn (black, white or pink) can significantly alter any savory crust.

Bacon: Even just a little bacon will add some smokiness to the quiche. Be sure to chop it small enough after frying so it can be well incorporated into the crust.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Although they add tanginess and a nice smoky red color, they are often best as a background flavor. Since they can easily overpower when used in the filling, add them to the crust.

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Wild Mushroom Quiche w/ Parmesan Crust
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings
Ingredients
Parmesan Crust
Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Parmesan Crust
Filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Pastry Crust
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, grated Parmesan & salt. Cut in shortening & butter, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas.
  2. Combine ice water and lemon juice (or vinegar); drizzle 1/2 of the lemon water over cold flour mixture and stir until the dough just starts to come together or turns “shaggy”. Begin adding a few more tablespoons of water at a time, stirring between each addition. Once most of the water has been used (but you have a tablespoon or two remaining) use your hands to gather the shaggy strands into a ball and knead the dough two or three times. If you have dry bits remaining in the bowl, add a little additional water.
  3. Gather the dough in a ball, dust your counter with a tiny amount of flour, and quickly pat dough into a small flat disk. Cut dough in half and then stack one piece on top of the other, flour side down. Use the heel of your hand and press the dough down and divide once more. Cover each piece with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator, but overnight is best.
Filling
  1. Slice green onion & mushrooms. Sauté in butter, add minced garlic, stirring often. Allow to cook for five minutes uncovered so the moisture evaporates.
  2. Cut broccoli into florets & add to pan along with chopped red pepper. Cook another 6 minutes then remove from heat.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Grate Havarti cheese. In a container, whisk together eggs, milk & seasonings.
  5. Remove pastry from refrigerator & place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out to fit a 9-10-inch pie pan. Trim away any excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang to form the crust.
  6. Sprinkle a small amount of the Havarti over bottom; top with vegetable mixture then remaining Havarti.
  7. Bake until quiche tests done. Since the quiche is made with milk instead cream it will take longer to bake. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This quiche tastes great just out of the oven, but even better the next day.
Recipe Notes
  • Don't hesitate to use cream instead of milk if you would like a richer filling.