Friday, March 13, 2015

Celebrate Pi(e) Day with Strawberry Hand Pies

Tomorrow, March 14, is, of course, International Pi(e) Day! For those of you not sufficiently nerdy, March 14, or 3.14, is when the date correspondents with the first digits of pi, the mathematical figure. So of course we should celebrate with pie! Or, in my case, mini pies!

Here in Israel, strawberries are in season in the winter and hitting their peak right about now, luckily for me! Of course you could follow this basic template for a wide variety of fillings - including even jam if you want to keep the strawberry flavor. I've made them with apples and peaches to great success. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Caramel Apple Hamantaschen!

Was last week's Puff Pastry Hamantaschen too much of a departure from tradition for you? I'm back now with another fun recipe for the traditional Purim treat - that's a little bit more classic, but with a twist. Yup, here are caramel apple hamantaschen - a classic dough filled with sweet, caramelized apples for an upgrade for your holiday meal. 

My classic sugar cookie dough hasn't let me down yet, and it plays the perfect role here too. Crisp, a hint of crumbly, the right balance of sweetness and easy to work with. I filled them with apples that cooked down in a caramel sauce until just perfect. 

While you don't want to use the liquid from cooking the apples in the filling before baking, for fear it will spill and ooze out of the hamantaschen, keep it for post-baking to add an extra punch of flavor to them. Add a teaspoon or so of the liquid into the center of the hamantaschen right before serving - not before as it could make the dough get soft. Because of the high water content in the filling - as with any made with fresh fruit - these are best day of, but will still be very tasty - just slightly softer - the next day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Puff Pastry Hamantaschen

If you read any Jewish food blogs these days, you're likely inundated with recipes for hamantaschen - the traditional three-cornered treat for the holiday of Purim. All sorts of fantastical fillings wrapped up in a cookie crust are on offer. But why just play with the filling? Who says the crust must be cookie dough? Nobody, that's who. So if you're in for an adventure and a twist on tradition, try these puff pastry hamantaschen - store-bought dough, delicious no-bake filling, pure bliss. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gooey Crispy Chocolate Braid

People often ask me why I bake more than I cook. (Though volume-wise, that might not be true, I do have more of an excitement for the pastry arts). There are many reasons, but part of it is the element of aesthetics: Though savory food can be beautiful, there's something about desserts and pastries and all things baking that has even more visual appeal. The oohs and aahs over something that looks like it took hours are always fun sounds to hear. So this recipe - that looks super fancy but is really effortless and simple - is the perfect one to keep in your back pocket. And with Valentine's Day coming up, another chocolate recipe is never a bad idea. 

I take the cheater's way out with store-bought puff pastry, which makes things really quick and easy. Just make sure to defrost your puff pastry well in advance - stick it in the fridge the night before you want to use it, or leave it for several hours on the counter. Don't be like me, and end up aiming a hair dryer at the still-frozen log as time slips away!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Peanut Butter Brownie Pie

There's something about the cold winter months that encourages the deepest indulgences. Ones you may regret come summer, but ones that make frigid weather and snowy streets slightly more bearable. The most indulgent, of course, is chocolate, and this gooey chocolate brownie pie, topped with a peanut butter swirl, might take the prize for extravagance.