Cous with Stuff

This is one of those “put it all in, cook until done” recipes:

20130820-175957.jpg

2c pearl/Israeli cous cous
1c lentils
1c pecans
.5c dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods
~1 tsp cumin seeds

Put in a pot and add water to cover.
Cook 20-30min until the lentils are tender and most of the water is absorbed.

Improvements:

  • Crush the cardamom pods and cumin seeds before putting them in.
  • Watch the pot closely to make sure the water doesn’t all boil off and the bottom burn. Add more water if it is dry and the lentils aren’t tender
Advertisements

Blueberry mini-pies

In our ongoing quest to use all the blueberries, we made mini-pies yesterday. I doubled the two-crust recipe for “Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust” from Berenbaum’s “Pie and Pastry Bible” (recipe is online here) and discovered that it was a bit too much for my food processor. I took it out and mixed it by hand with a pastry cutter, and then didn’t divide the results before chilling.

A day later, I took the dough out and divided it with a dough card into half. That half went back in the fridge, and I cut the remaining half into approximately 24 pieces. Each of those was rolled out into a circle to fill a muffin cup:

20130815-102045.jpg

I had a lot of 3-year-old help, so I didn’t worry much about over-working (some certainly are) or oversized circles/uneven pieces. The over-large ones got matched with smaller tops, some that were small or uneven got patched, and generally we just made sure that the muffin cup itself was totally covered in dough, so they wouldn’t leak.

I made a variation on the filling from “Four Star Desserts”:

  • 0.5c flour
  • 0.5c sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • 5 cups small Maine blueberries

20130815-102644.jpg

This made about twice as much as I needed for the 12 muffin cups I had rolled (so apparently the crust to filling ratio is twice as high for muffin cup pies as for 9″ pies, since this was the amount intended for one 9″).

I sprinkled granulated sugar (about a teaspoon total) on top of the filled but not yet closed pies, because it caramelized into a nice crust between the lattices on my first blueberry pie. It didn’t seem to make a difference here, even on the ones I made a mini-lattice for. Not enough exposed surface to caramelize, perhaps? Or possibly it is because the oven elements didn’t turn on much during baking, so they weren’t exposed to direct heat. I don’t remember for sure, but I think the big pie went in at 400F and I had to heat to 425F once it was already in…

20130815-103251.jpg

I closed the pies in a variety of ways, because the original circles were uneven and For Science! Some got latticed, some have traditional two-crust tops (though I forgot to vent any of them) and some have the bottom crust folded over and pinched closed like a turnover:

20130815-103301.jpg

One piece of advice for small pies in Berenbaum’s book is to freeze them first and bake from frozen. I intend to try that with the other half of the dough and filling, but wanted these right away. She recommends baking on the oven bottom or a stone so that the crust crisps better, so I set the oven to 425F and waited about 5 minutes past the preheated beep to let the stone get fully hot. These baked 10 minutes at 425F and 30 at 400F, and came out nearly perfect. (Frozen ones apparently need an hour)

20130815-103307.jpg

As you can see, the ones without vents made their own. Very few leaked much, and all of them popped right out of the muffin pan to make cute stand-alone pies:

20130815-103313.jpg

20130815-103321.jpg

20130815-103325.jpg

20130815-103329.jpg

20130815-103335.jpg

Speculoos Cookies

20130813-152106.jpg

I saw these while grocery shopping today and picked them up because they seemed like my kind of thing.

These are *just* like the cookies they have on Delta Airlines flights! I am so excited that I don’t have to fly to Japan or Tulsa or anywhere to get them!

Banana Swirl with blueberries

E and B made these. The recipe for Banana Swirl comes from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and then they added blueberries.

8 frozen bananas, ideally cut into pieces
1 cup (or so) milk
Blueberries to taste

Combine the bananas and some of the milk in a blender. Purée until smooth, adding milk as needed to get a soft-serve consistency. Stir in blueberries and top with more blueberries.

20130813-151756.jpg

Blueberry Scones

20130810-095807.jpg

My friend Ariel had a party a few weeks ago, when she returned from a trip to Wales, where she made the fluffiest scones I have ever had. When I asked for the recipe, she told me to Google “BBC scones”. That brought me to this page, which looks a lot like what she made. I don’t keep caster sugar or self-rising flour, so I found this page from King Arthur Flour on substituting normal flour and baking soda. Since I don’t have their pastry flour, I used a mix of all-purpose and cake flour (which their flours page says is 9.4% protein) to approximate a pastry flour blend.

    Blueberry Scones

Measure approximately 175g of all-purpose and 50g of pastry flour into a food processor bowl.

Add 2.5 tsp baking soda and .5 tsp salt. Pulse to mix

Pulse in 2 tbsp of butter until well mixed, and add a tablespoon of sugar.

Pour in 5 oz milk, and pulse until just combined. The dough will be quite sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Knead gently and pat out into a round about 1″ thick.

Very gently, fold in about 1/4c of blueberries. (I had washed 1c, but there was no way to get them to all stay in. Even with 1/4c, there were berries rolling out all over the kitchen)

Carefully flatten again into a 1″ round. Cut with a dough card or butter knife into quarters, then divide each quarter in half.

20130810-095227.jpg

Place the scones on a baking sheet either greased or lined with parchment or a silicone liner. Brush with either milk or a whisked egg.

Bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes, until the tops start to brown a little. Serve with butter, ginger jam, lemon curd or plain (or clouted cream if you have it, I don’t!)

20130810-095604.jpg