Pumpkin Pie – and it’s vegan!

Vegan Pumpkin PieI am not a vegan, however, I have beloved family members who keep Kosher and one who is deathly allergic to eggs. As you can imagine, this can present quite a challenge when it comes to desserts – especially for the holidays. And I have an aversion to making something with substitutes that isn’t almost as wonderful as the real thing. It’s taken some searching and experimentation, but I think that my vegan pumpkin pie is as good as pumpkin pie with milk and eggs. It has the right taste and mouthfeel. So if I didn’t have to work within these restrictions would I still make the vegan version – probably not, but when I eat this do I feel as if I am “making do?” Definitely not. It’s one darn good pumpkin pie. And my niece, who has eaten both, swears she likes this version better!  cut pumpkin pie

Vegan Pumpkin Pie      

Ingredients

1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust (I use the Crisco recipe)

12 ounces silken tofu, blended until liquefied

1 recipe non-dairy condensed milk (see attached recipe)

15 ounce can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground clove

2 Tablespoons molasses or buckwheat honey

3-5 cracks of black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender until smooth and well-blended
  3. Pour into pie shell and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 10 minutes   Pumpkin Pie ready for oven
  4. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F. and continue baking for about 30 minutes more or until the center just jiggles a little. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and leave the pie in the oven for 10 more minutes. Don’t worry if it cracks a bit and poofs up. It will settle down as it cools. My baked filling is very dark because of the spices and molasses.
  5. Allow to cool thoroughly. This tastes best when made a day ahead.
  6. Because this is not a real custard, you don’t have to worry about refrigerating it.

I brought this to my niece’s house for Shabbat and it is the favorite dessert of my goddaughter/great niece.

Talia and pumpkin pie Talia digging in

Instant Dairy-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk Alternative

Author: Alisa Fleming

Serves: Makes approximately 14 ounces

Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons dairy-free, vanilla milk powder (I used Growing Naturals Organic Vanilla Rice Milk Drink but I’m not sure this is still available, so you might look for either a soy-based version if you have no issues with soy or Better Than Milk brand Rice Beverage Powder Mix – Vanilla. I have not yet tried either of these, so I am going off of reviews on the internet. )
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons canola, rice bran or grapeseed oil
  • Generous pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Place the rice milk powder and sugar in your blender. Whiz the ingredients for about 30 seconds, or until powdered.
  2. Add the water, oil, and salt to your blender and blend for 2 minutes, or until thick and creamy.
  3. Use as a substitute for sweetened condensed milk in recipes.

Turkish Style Paella with Mussels

I love making a good paella in the large paella pan while watching it simmer for hours.

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But sometimes I just don’t have that many hours, and I was looking for a new way to have dinner with mussels when I came across this recipe.

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Not only was it extremely simple, but the mixture of sweetness from the dried cranberries with the mussels and the mint made for an eclectic and refreshing tasting dinner.

Ingredients

1 lb mussels
Grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
1 small white onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red chili pepper
Good pinch of ground turmeric
1 cup dry white wine
4.5 cups seafoods, chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups long grain rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins if you can’t get cranberries)
salt
Grated lemon zest and juice of lemon
1 small bunch of fresh mint, leaves roughly chopped

Directions

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat enough oil to coat the bottom.  Add the onion and garlic and sweat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the chile and turmeric.  Reduce heat to low and let the ingredients cook together for about 20 minutes.

Pour in the wine to deglaze, making sure to loosen up any ingredients that stuck to the bottom.  Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer, cooking until the wine has been reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add your stock, return to a boil, and stir in your rice.  Turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer, cover the pot, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed almost all the liquid.

Next, add your mussels.  Cover the pot again and cook for another 7-10 minutes or until the mussels have fully opened.

Take the pot off the stove, stir in the currants and add salt or lemon zest if needed to taste.  Just before serving add the lemon juice and mint.

Adapted from Chris Taylor’s Twenty Dinners.

Apple Tarte Tatin

Another wonderful recipe from my new favorite cookbook, this was a perfect way to wind down my stock of apples.

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When we went apple picking and *only* picked up two bushels of apples I was really worried it wouldn’t be enough (for a small village?)   Anyways, this was an easy and delightfully “Fall” way to spend more apples, and if not now, when?

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 3 or 4 apples that will hold shape while cooking (I used Macintosh and I think Jonah Gold, but Cortland, Northern Spy, Winesap or Rome would work, as well)
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar, lightly packed

For the Pastry

  • 10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp sour cream
  • pinch of granulated sugar

Make the Filling

  1. Peel, halve and core the apples.  Melt the butter in an 8-in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and then add the brown sugar.  Arrange the apples cut side down in the pan, making sure they are squeezed tightly.
  2. Cook until the juices from the apples bubble, then turn down to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid.  Continue cooking until the apples are tender and most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from stove, flip the apples so they are cut side up and allow to cool completely.

Dough

  1. Rub the softened butter and flour between your thumb and index fingers.  After several minutes it will begin to incorporate into the flour.  Continue until the butter is in pea-size pieces.  Stir in the sour cream until completely incorporated.
  2. Turn out the dough and knead until smooth.  Form into a disk and cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out the dough on your floured work surface so it is big enough to cover the pan plus about 1 inch.  Transfer the dough to the top of the pan, molding the overhanging dough to the side of the pan.  Sprinkle with the granulated sugar and bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool until warm.

Place a large plate over the top of the pan and flip the whole thing upside down.  Dig in!

From Chris Taylor’s Twenty Dinners.

Let’s Talk Turkey

Turkey

Believe it or not, we are only four weeks away from Thanksgiving – my absolute favorite holiday to cook and bake for. Every year I have to decide how much I will play with my menu from previous years. Everyone has their favorites. I’m also excited because Matthew and Frances are coming to join us along with the other family members. We will be four generations!

I admit that I go a little crazy for Thanksgiving. I have been collecting turkey decorations for years and they are everywhere from place cards to candle holders to straw and wooden turkeys. And a year ago, I treated myself to the wonderful Staub covered pumpkin soup bowls and soup tureen. I know, I know, but I simply couldn’t resist. And while my kitchen is small, I am blessed with a wonderful storage room.

I’ve been working on my menu, which has to factor in that some people keep Kosher and that my godson/great nephew is allergic to eggs. This is what I have come up with so far:

Roasted turkey

Thanksgiving 2015 Menu

Vegan Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted, fresh-killed turkey

Raw turnip, carrot, apple walnut salad

Gingerbread

Sweet Potato OR Vegan Corn Muffins

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Sally Lunn Bread (for breakfast the next day)

Carrot and Rutabaga Puree OR Sweet Potato Puree with Orange

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Brussel Sprouts OR Green Beans OR Neither

Cranberry Chutney

Stuffing with chestnuts (out of the bird)

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Truett-Hurst Zinfandel

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

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Bourbon Pecan Pie   _MG_6190

Amish Apple Streusel Pie   _MG_6189

Dessert Wine

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Some of these things may change, but you get the idea. I’ll provide recipes for some of these over the next 4 weeks, but I won’t always have photos until after the holiday. Because my fridge isn’t enormous, I always pray for REALLY cold weather so I can use my terrace as an additional fridge. I’m probably violating 2 or 3 condo rules, but thankfully no one can see…. And I’m very good about keeping all of the other rules.

 

Apple Crumble

apple crumbleI wanted a nice dessert to go along with my roast stuffed pork and and roasted pumpkin and delicata squash. Since I was going with the whole seasonal autumn thing, and I wanted something fairly quick and easy, I went with an apple crumble. There is always room for an apple, right?

Apple Crumble

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

4 large, flavorful baking apples (I used Golden Delicious and Pink Lady)

1/2 of a lemon

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup rolled oats (quick-cooking or regular)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 stick of softened butter

1/4 cup apple juice or cider

vanilla ice cream or heavy cream to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lavishly butter an 8 inch square baking pan
  3. Peel and core the apples, rub them all over with the cut lemon and thinly slice
  4. Place the apples in the buttered dish. Mix all of the other ingredients except for the apple jiuce and ice cream together so that you have clumps of streusel.
  5. Distribute the streusel over the apples and then drizzle the juice over the top.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes or until the apples are tender to a knife and the topping is nicely browned. Serve warm with ice cream or heavy cream.

Roast Stuffed Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider Glaze

plated pork roastToday my thoughts turned to roasted meat, apples and squash – autumn seasonal foods. One of the cooking shows that I enjoy watching is Extra Virgin with Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos.  I like it not only because they make the kinds of food I like, but they live out one of my fantasies – having a farm and your family around you. Gabriele loves pork and he had a recipe for roast pork that sounded wonderful. However, as I have mentioned several times, I always like to add my own touches. For his delicious recipe you can read it here. I’m serving mine with the roasted potatoes from the pan and with acorn squash.    roast stuffed pork shoulder

Roast Stuffed Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider Glaze  

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (butt) butterflied and with a nice layer of fat on top. You want a well-marbled piece of meat so it will stay moist during the long, slow cooking. And let’s face it, fat is flavor.

About 24 ounces of apple cider (I used Angry Orchard hard apple cider becasue I had it from another recipe, but plain cider is fine)

1.5 cups dried apple rings

1 Tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage

1 Tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 Tablespoon minced garlic

1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian Paprika

6 small red baby bliss potatoes, halved

3 heads of garlic with the top quarter cut off

EVOO for drizzling

cooking twine

Directions

  1. In a glass bowl, cover the apple rings with about 12 ounces of cider. Let these soak covered for at least one hour, but they can soak as much as overnight.
  2. Butterfly the pork roast unless your butcher did it for you. It’s pretty easy as long as you have a sharp knife. Cut the roast vertically so that it opens like a book. Do not cut all the way through. You still want one piece.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the open roast. Then spread the garlic, rosemary and sage over the open roast. Lay the apple rings over everything covering what will become the inside of the roast.
  4. Carefully roll the roast up along the long side, with the fat on top. Using kitchen twine, tie the roast to hold it together. About 4 pieces of twine should do. The roast can be prepared up to a day ahead up to this point. If  you are not roasting it immediately, wrap it well in parchment and foil and place in a plastic bag in the fridge.
  5. When you are ready to roast the meat, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  6. Drizzle EVOO In your roasting pan. Place your potatoes and garlic in the pan, cut side down to form a platform for the roast. Drizzle with a bit of EVOO and sprinkle with some Kosher salt and pepper. Lay the roast on top of the potato/garlic bed. Sprinkle salt, pepper and sweet Hungarian paprika over the meat and drizzle with olive oil.   roast pork ready for the oven
  7. Roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pour the remaining apple cider over the meat and roast for 1.5 hours more. Let the meat rest for 20 minutes to absorb all of the juices.
  8. Place the meat on a cutting board, cut the twine and carefully remove it. The roll should hold together.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

oatmeal raisin cookiesToday our great nephew/godson is coming to visit with us while his sister goes to the ballet with her parents and my sister. No, it’s not a sexist thing. He just isn’t ready to sit still through the ballet yet. As I have mentioned before, this beloved child is deathly allergic to eggs AND his family keeps Kosher. This definitely presents dessert challenges, but I am determined that he never misses out on anything, so I have been working hard to find – and tweak – the best recipes for everything from an eggless challah to chocolate “cream” pie. A wonderful baking book to start with is The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book by Kelly Rudnicki. However, I’m always searching the web and experimenting because I will never make a poor substitute for the real thing. It’s a labor of love and one that I am happy to do. The oatmeal, raisin, chocolate chip cookies below are a delicious and chewy cookie that anyone would enjoy. I usually make them with dried cranberries and raisins, but I decided to use choclate chips and raisins today. When switching out ingredients always keep in mind the proportions if you want a good outcome. So if you like nuts in your oatmeal raisin cookies, then switch out half of the raisins. You get the idea.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup dairy-free shortening (I like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/3 cup molasses

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 cups quick-cooking or old fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup semi-sweet or 53% cacao chocolate chips (I would not recommend going any darker on the chocolate chips)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, sugar, applesauce and molasses until smooth. I find that there always is a bit of separation still, but don’t worry, it all works out.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix well with a fork or wire whisk.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and beat well to combine.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat (treat yourself – it  is so worth it!) Stir by hand the oats, raisins and chocolate chips into the cookie dough, using a spatula or wooden spoon. Using a cookie scoop (mine is 1.5 Tablespoons) or a rounded measuring Tablespoon, place dough on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned. (This part always depends on your oven, the size of your cookie and on personal preference, so just watch them.) Remove from the oven and wait 2 minutes before moving the cookies off of the pan and onto a cooling rack.

Peasant Bread with Caraway Seeds and Potato

caraway bread

I’m always surprised at how difficult it is to easily buy really good bread in Chicago. Of course you can find it, but I just don’t have the time to go all over the city searching out exactly what I want. The real truth, though, is that there is something so satisfying about baking your own bread. While I could relatively easily give up eating meat, giving up bread would be MUCH harder for me.

This particular bread is Hungarian in in its roots and comes from the Beard on Bread book, a wonderful bread primer and one I go back to often. It was a favorite bread of my father’s and while there is no rye flour used in the recipe, it reminds me of the wonderful caraway rye bread that I grew up with. It’s a gutsy bread that really compliments soups and stews and it also makes great sandwiches.

Potato caraway bread

George Lang’s Potato Bread with Caraway Seeds adapted from Beard on Bread

Yield: One 12 inch rounded bread

Ingredients

3 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold is great)

1 package or 2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast

2.5 cups warm water (until it is quite warm to your finger tips but does not burn)

About 7-8 cups bread or unbleached all-purpose flour

1.5 Tablespoons Kosher salt

1/2 Tablespoon caraway seeds

Canola or Grapeseed oil

Directions

  1. Scrub the potatoes and boil them whole in their skins until tender. I boiled them for 15 minutes and then let them sit in the hot water, with the heat turned off for 10 minutes. I rinsed them in cold water and removed them to a bowl to cool. When they are cool, peel them and mash them. (Do NOT puree the potatoes.) You want a generous cup.   mashing potatoes
  2. Dissolve the yeast and 3 Tablespoons of the flour in 1/2 cup of the warm water in a large bowl and let it proof for 30 minutes. This is your “starter.”
  3. Add the remaining 2 cups of warm water, the salt and the caraway seeds.     adding caraway to breadAdd the potatoes and add the flour one cup at a time, mixing well until you have a dough that is still a bit sticky but can be handled. The amount of flour that you use will depend on a variety of factors: how much moisture was in the potatoes, whether you use bread flour or all-purpose, the strength in your wrists and the humidity in the room. Even the brand of flour can make a difference. I have carpal tunnel syndrome so I am only able to mix through about 5 cups of flour. I add the remainder of the flour during the kneading process. As I have said before, once you learn what bread dough should feel like, you can make any bread. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps of potato – it just adds to the “peasant” nature of the bread.
  4. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes, covered before you knead it. This helps the dough properly absorb the flour and you end up having to add less flour which can make the dough leaden. You want gutsy, but you  want it to have life.
  5. Turn it out onto a floured board or counter and knead the dough for 12-15 minutes or until it is supple and elastic and no longer adhering to your hands. (Add small amounts of flour as you knead to keep the bread from sticking to the surface and your hands.)   bread dough after first kneading
  6. Shape into a ball. Oil a bowl with a neutral oil like Canola or Grapeseed and roll the dough around until it is coated with the oil. This should be a light coating so about a healthy Tablespoon should do it. You want to “coat” the dough – not drown it.
  7. Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot for one to two hours to rise until doubled in bulk. Since I like to keep my apartment cool, I warm my oven to 170 degrees F. while I am kneading and as soon as it comes to temperature, I turn it off. I then place my bowl in the oven for the dough to rise.
  8. When the dough has doubled (watch it since it can take more or less time than the 2 hours), remove the dough from the bowl.   dough after first rising Punch it down and knead it for 4-5 minutes more. Shape the dough into a large round loaf and place it in a generously buttered or Criscoed 12-inch oven-proof skillet with slightly rounded sides. My Lodge cast-iron skillet is perfect.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Allow the bread to rise for 30-35 minutes. Brush the loaf with tap water and then with a sharp knife or razor blade, make a deep incision in the form of an “X” in the center.   bread ready for oven
  11. Bake the bread in the oven for about an hour or until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when rapped with your knuckles or a wooden spoon. The baking time can sometimes take as long as 1/25 hours so be patient.
  12. Remove the bread to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting it. You can freeze this bread if it is well-wrapped.   potato bread

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey

split peas

As soon as there is any chill in the air, I want to make soups and stews. And I am the kind of person that generally likes a soup to be thick enough to stand up a spoon! I think about and read about and plan food ALL the time, but I am not into chi-chi foods. The very thought that people pay good money to have a mist of  truffle reduction sprayed in their direction and have it called “dinner” is unfathomable to me. I appreciate innovation as much as the next person, but when I sit down to a meal, I want to know what I am eating and I want it to have real bite and mouth-feel. Pea soup is not especially pretty and likely will not be served at an elegant dinner, but there are few more sole-satisfying soups on a chilly night. Serve it with good bread and a salad and you have dinner. This can easily be made ahead – even frozen – and it will just get better and better as long as you don’t burn it when re-warming it. I make a LOT. It makes great lunches for the week as well. You can easily halve this recipe. There is just something so safe and comforting having a big pot of soup on the stove….    Split pea soup

Split Pea Soup

Yields: About 3 quarts of soup

Ingredients

2 pounds split green peas or a mix of green and yellow

3-4 stalks of celery, with leaves, sliced

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced

1 large turnip, peeled and cubed

2 smallish potatoes (red or Yukon Gold), peeled and diced

2-3 smoked turkey legs (I look for the ones with the darkest color) You can also used a smoked pork butt or ham hocks

1 teaspoon whole cloves

6 cups broth (chicken, or beef is fine)

6 cups tap water

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place the smoked turkey legs in a large Dutch Oven or heavy pot with a lid. smoke turkey legs
  2. Rinse the split peas in a colander and pick out any stones or things that don’t look like they belong (it’s generally some other grain or a pea that didn’t split properly). Immediately add them to the pot. If they sit in the strainer for too long they will stick together like cement!
  3. Add all of the other ingredients to the pot except for the salt and pepper. pea soup ingredientsAlways add these at the end. Since I am using homemade stock, it is unsalted. You can buy unsalted stock and I recommend that, but if you use stock with salt, wait to adjust seasonings since the salt may become more intense with cooking.
  4. Cover the pot and slowly bring to a simmer. This is a abig pot and you don’t want to rush it and have the peas burn.
  5. When the liquid comes to a simmer, skim it if necessary to remove any scummy stuff, which is actually just some of the protein being given off by the turkey. I didn’t need to skim this time.
  6. Once the pot is simmering, make sure it is covered tightly and let it gently simmer for 2 hours. Periodically check it and give the pot a stir so the peas don’t stick to the bottom and burn. You should have enough liquid. but if you must add some, add boiling water so everything is covered by about 2 inches of liquid.
  7. Once the two hours are up, allow the soup to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, remove the turkey legs and on a cutting board, remove the skin and bones with your fingers. Keep the meat to the side until you finish the next step. If you are using a pork butt, just remove the butt and cube the meat.
  8. You can puree the soup using a food mill or an immersion blender. Frances and my son gave me an immersion blender a couple of years ago and it is one of the most beloved kitchen appliances I have. It’s even ORANGE!
  9. Now add the meat back to the pot. Check your seasonings and add your salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE: When this soup cools down, you WILL be able to stand a spoon up. Don’t rush to add liquid to thin it out. Gently warm it and only after you see the consistency, consider adding any additional liquid.

Best Lemon Bars

I love lemon bars, or really, anything dessert-like made with lemons and sugar.  Recently Lisa and I were at a restaurant where I basically ate an entire bowl of lemon curd and had zero regrets.  Therefore when my on and off again baking buddy came over for an afternoon of bubbly and baking, lemon bars were clearly going to be on the agenda.

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A food processor made this recipe very easy work, it just required patience to wait for the baked end result to cool off in the fridge before lightly dusting it with confectioner’s sugar and digging in!  

Speaking of food processors, not so long ago, Lisa sent me a link for a food processor for about 18 cups and I remember thinking I would need a small army to feed all the food that the giant processor would make.  Some months later, I finally decided that my teeny tiny 2.5 cup food processor (as cute as it was) was just not cutting it anymore and I splurged and bought one with an 11 cup work bowl.  As it turns out, it’s a great size and has helped me make everything from beet caviar to eggplant dip to helping me make these lemon bars.

This ended up being dessert, and second dessert, and breakfast.  Yum!

Ingredients

crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks

filling

  • 1 small to medium sized lemon
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp table salt

Directions

  1. Place a rack in middle of the oven and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan.  Press the first sheet into the bottom and up the sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, running it perpendicular to the first sheet.  Lightly butter exposed parts of parchment or coat them with a nonstick cooking spray.  Set the pan aside.
  3. Crust Blend the flour, sugar and salt together in the work bowl of a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is podery, but if firmly pinched, will hold the pinched shape. Turn the dough crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press the dough evenly across the bottom and about 1/2″ up the sides.  Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Should any parts bubble up, gently prick them again with a fork.  Leave the oven on.
  4. Filling Cut your lemon in half, and remove the skin.  Cut your lemon halves into thin rings and discard any seeds.  Toss the lemon rounds – lemon flesh and peel – in the bowl of the food processor, add the sugar, and run the machine until the lemon is thoroughly processed about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the butter and again run the machine until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse the machine in short bursts until the mixture is evnely combined.
  6. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set.  You can test this by bumping the pan a little; it should only jiggle slightly.
  7. Let the pan cool completely on rack or in the fridge.  Gently cut around the outside of the parchment paper to make sure no sides have stuck and then gently use the parchment “sling” to transfer bars from pan to cutting board.

From the Smitten Kitchen cookbook by Deb Perelman.