June 29, 2011

Not a berry tart

Strawberries are now out of season in the heartland. "Why? It's still June", you ask. Well tomorrow the heat index will be close to 110 degrees F. in Kansas and we will have over 20 mph winds. All things tender and succulent, like the spring-loving strawberry, tend to hunker down and just try to survive. Peaches love the heat though. And raspberries/blackberries get busy in the summer sun. So I decided to make a fresh peach and blackberry (picked from a friend's community garden) compliment for the shortbread crust posted for June's recipe.

The shortbread was delicious (what wouldn't be with a lb. of butter in it) and so easy to put together. I pressed the dough into my tart pan and it held up sturdily without being overly tough when cut. I served it unchilled with optional fresh whipped cream. My ten guests for the evening left 1 piece out of the two tarts I served. I made 3 crusts from the posted recipe and froze one for later. Thanks for the recipe Sarah and Eric!

Musings of a former botanist...did you know that "berries" are actually things like tomatoes and grapes? Strawberries are clusters of "drupes"--a single seed surrounded by a bony covering. And the peach is just a large drupe! So this is a drupe (pleural) tart, which really doesn't sound as appetizing as a berry tart so I will dispense with botanical musings. Happy summer.

June 7, 2011

June Recipe!

Our Dynamic Baking duo chose the recipe this month, and here is what they (well, one more than the other) had to say:

"I was thinking something with berries and a sugar dough, because:
1.  It's strawberry season in Virginia, which means all the you-pick fields are open for business and the June berries are at their best.
2.  I've been having friends over to watch Glee every week so am on the hunt for delicious, quick recipes.  I made a strawberry shortcake the other week that was delicious and oh so easy.
3.  We ate at our favorite restaurant the other night (Stove), and had what my mom called "the best cobbler I've ever had."  That's high praise from a Townsend.  It was delicious.

So I'm submitting the sugar dough recipe from our favorite restaurant, Stove.  It is really simple, but makes a delicious base for just about anything.  Folks could make cobbler, shortcakes, pies, whatever with it. The cobbler we had was constructed like tiny pots and filled with peaches and berries, lemon slurry, and had a whipped whiskey cream and caramel sauce on top."

Stove’s Sugar Dough

This is not a dough for rolling, you have to pat this dough out into the pan your using for dessert. It’s rich and wonderful and can also be made into a short bread as well. I have even used it for bottoms of pans mixed with pecans and then a cake batter over that for a crunch factor. Just don’t over mix it or you will have some good rubber dough

1 cup white sugar, baker’s sugar if you can find it
1# unsalted double A butter
6 cups of all purpose flour,
(unbleached and without chemicals if possible, King Arthur is good stuff and easy to find)

In the bowl of a 4 to 6qt. mixer cream the sugar and butter until light and somewhat fluffy

Stop the machine, scrape down sides and add all at once 6 cups of flour, raise the bowl and on the lowest speed blend the dough until it pulls
together. if it’s winter and your environment isn’t warm you may need to spray from a mister water a little at a time till the dough starts to combine.

pinch a bit of dough to see if it will hold together, if so it’s ready for use.

this dough stores in the refrigerator for a week or so

To help inspire you, here are a few resources for recipes to try:
Betty Crocker's Classic Strawberry Shortcake
Smitten Kitchen's Strawberry Summer Cake

or if you want something with a little more wow factor:
I am Mommy's Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake
and the link to her amazing frosting tutorial

Thanks Sarah & Eric for this month's recipe. As always, try and post before the end of the month! I hope you are as excited as I am... with summer berries in full swing you can't go wrong this month. 

Happy Baking
The Lovely Lady Baker