Archive for Pastry

Martha Stewart’s Creamy Lemon Squares

The lemon bars of your dreams take just 15 minutes of prep: Stir together a mere three ingredients to create a sunny, puckery filling for a buttery shortbread crust.

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
* 4 large egg yolks
* 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
* 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.
2. Make crust: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add flour, and mix on low just until combined. Press dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan; prick all over with a fork. Bake until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Make filling: In a large bowl, whisk together yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over hot crust in pan; return to oven, and bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
4. Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 2 hours or up to 3 days. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares, and dust with confectioners sugar.

Martha Stewart’s Creamy Lemon Squares


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2 c masa harina
1 1/2 c warm water
1 T ground cumin, made from lightly toasted cumin seed
Salt and pepper to taste
6 oz mild melting cheese such as Monterey jack, grated
1/2 c chopped cilantro

In a mixing bowl, mix together the masa harina, water, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir into a manageable dough. The dough should be soft but not sticky; add more flour if needed. If dough is dry and hard to form, add more water.

To make 3-inch round papusas, put about 1/2 cup of the dough in your hand for each papusa. Roll into a ball and flatten in your hand. Put 1/3 cup cheese, 1 teaspoon cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste in the center. Work the edges up over the filling and again form a ball, completely enclosing the filling. This takes only a few seconds.

Flatten each ball to about 1/4 inch or less and cook the papusas on a hot, lightly oiled griddle for about 3 minutes per side, or until both sides are lightly browned. Serve warm.

NOTE: In El Salvador, vendors everywhere sell a street food called papusas. They look like slightly thick tortillas, about three inches in diameter. Hidden inside is a filling — either of cheese, as in this recipe, or spicy meat. They are always served with a finely chopped vinegary coleslaw with fiery pepper and sometimes cilantro.

1992 CUNNINGHAM, Marion The Supper Book Alfred A. Knopf New York
MM Format by John Hartman Hartsville, SC 4 April 1997


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Chocolate Joy Icing / Mocha Joy Icing

Use with Chocolate Joy Cake … or any other cake. Mocha Joy Icing* is simply a variation of Chocolate Joy Icing using less cocoa and substituting hot coffee for hot water.

2 2/3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1/3 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. cocoa*
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup soft shortening
about 5 Tbsp. hot water*

Sift together the sugar, salt and cocoa. Add the egg yolk, shortening and hot water. Beat until smooth and easy to spread.

*For Mocha Joy icing, use only 2 Tbsp. cocoa and hot black coffee instead of hot water.

NOTE: Use pure cocoa powder, NOT an instant cocoa mix.

— From the Betty Crocker Cookbook, 1955 edition.

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Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie

I have to be totally honest here — I haven’t yet baked this pie, but I’ve eaten the original, and I think it is the best pie ever.

This recipe is Tamasin Day-Lewis’s take on “the signature pie of the Little Pie Company of the Big Apple,” she writes, “the one that made the New York company famous, the only recipe they will not give out.” She says that it is as close as she could get to the original and advises, “Don’t ever try to use margarine instead of butter. You’d never get the lovely buttery flavor.”

Sour Cream Apple and Walnut Pie

Shortcrust pastry dough made with 3 cups all-purpose flour and ¾ cup unsalted butter (See Tamasin Day Lewis’s Shortcrust Pastry Dough recipe)

10 large eating apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
A little light brown sugar
2/3 cup sour cream

½ cup sugar, half light and half dark brown
½ cup unsalted butter, cold
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
½ cup flour
¾ cup walnuts, crushed into small bits

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a pie pan with butter, then line it with two-thirds of the rolled-out pastry dough. Let the overhang hang loose for the moment.

Toss the apple slices into a bowl with a small scattering of sugar and the sour cream, then mix with your hands until everything is well amalgamated. Pile this mixture into the pie shell, packing it tightly and mounding it up toward the center.

For the topping, process together the sugars, small bits of cold butter, syrup and flour. Add the walnuts when you have stopped the processing, and stir them in. Take lumps of the mixture on the palm of one hand and flatten them out with the other palm, so you have a flattened layer rather than a crumble top, and cover the surface of the apples bit by bit. Join the topping to the dough edge before you cut off the overhang.

Cook for 20 minutes before turning the temperature down to 350 F and cooking for another 30 to 40 minutes. Check that the top layer is not darkening too much and if it is, cover with a layer of wax paper or foil and continue cooking. The pie will smell ready when it is ready.

Day-Lewis is of the firm belief that apple pie is best when left to cool for at least 3 hours after cooking, so if you want it warm or hot, work out your cooking times accordingly and reheat very gently, she writes. Serve warm and a la mode, with homemade vanilla ice cream, she recommends.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Tarts With Tops On: Or How To Make the Perfect Pie by Tamasin Day-Lewis

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Eudora Welty’s Onion Pie

I heard actress Sela Ward talking about Eudora Welty’s Onion Pie — she says she makes it for the holidays every year and it is always a big hit. Southern writer Eudora Welty contributed her recipe to the Jackson, Misssissippi Junior League cookbook, “Southern Sideboards,” many years ago. She said that she brought it back from France, and that these pies are served hot at the wine festivals along with each bottle of wine. I haven’t made this dish and probably never will, but I wouldn’t mind trying a slice.

Onion Pie

Lump of butter the size of an egg
Rounded teaspoon lard
Heaping teaspoon baking powder
Fairly heaping cup of flour (sift before measuring)
Cold sweet milk
1 egg yolk

3 large sweet Spanish onions
1 large tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon flour
salt and pepper
2 eggs
1 cup whipping cream

Crust: Work together the softened butter, lard, baking powder, salt, and flour. Add enough cold sweet milk to make a good firmdough. Well beaten yolk of an egg may be added if desired. Line an 8 inch pie plate with rolled pastry.

Filling: Shave onions fine: fry in butter to a nice brown, really brown and much reduced. Add flour. Stir well: salt and pepper to taste. Beat the eggs till pretty light; mix with cupful cream; fold them into the fried onions gently until perfectly mixed. Pour into the crust and bake about 30 minutes or till brown and puffy at about 400 F. Serve at once.

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Tamasin Day-Lewis’s Shortcrust Pastry Dough

From Tamasin Day-Lewis’s book, Tarts With Tops On: Or How To Make the Perfect Pie.

3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsalted butter, cold
2 to 2½ tablespoons ice-cold water

If you’re using a food processor: Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a food processor, then cut the cold butter into small pieces on top of it. Process it for 20 to 30 seconds, then add ice-cold water through the top, a tablespoon at a time — 2 to 2½ should be enough for about 10 ounces of dough — with the machine running. If the paste is still in crumbly little bits after a minute or two, add a tablespoon more water, but remember, the more water you use, the more the crust will shrink if you bake it blind. One solution is to use a bit of cream or egg yolk instead of water. The moment the dough has cohered into a single ball, stop, remove it, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

If you’re making pastry dough by hand: Sift the flour into a large bowl with the salt, add the chopped butter, and work as briskly as you can to rub the fat into the flour. Use the tips of your fingers only, rather like running grains of hot sand through your fingers. Add the water bit by bit as before; wrap and chill the dough.

If you’re making a double-crust pie, divide the dough into roughly two-thirds and one-third. Then scatter a bit of flour on your work surface, roll your rolling pin in it, dust the palms of your hands, and start rolling. Always roll away from yourself, turning the dough as you go, and keep the rolling pin and work surface floured to prevent sticking.

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