Tag Archives: pastry dough

Cranberry-Orange Crostata

It’s been extremely cold outside lately.  I took my oldest with me to the grocery store and just walking from the car to the store, I was regretting my decision to leave my gloves at home.  But what got me was what I witnessed on our way home.  A middle school aged boy walking home with shorts, lightweight sweatshirt & basketball jersey.  Seriously?!  I checked the temp stat once I got home…31 degrees, but feels like 21.

This makes me happy knowing we have heat in our home, a pot of chicken stock cooking, beds that are “just right” (I’ve been telling a lot of Goldilocks these days) and a family that is in anticipation during this Advent season.  I was reminded yesterday about the need to believe again.  Believe in the unseen & seen.  To believe what continues to turn up empty.  So, as Ben is sick in bed and me listening to the rhythm of the dishwasher, I will continue to hope.

And I think part of that hoping is tied up with food.  We look forward to events to share life with one another, but also the food involved in the communal feast.  This crostata or galette (there pretty much the same thing) is a delightful Holiday feast with the flaky crust, tangy cranberries, zest of orange & cardamom to bring it all together.

Cranberry Crostata or Galette (printable recipe)

I made this for a dear friend after she had her first baby.  The crust is one I have used to make mini pecan tartlets, which is from The Pampered Chef.  When I made it, I doubled the crust, in order to make another for later.



1/2 cup butter

1/2  cup cream cheese

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 beaten egg

turbinado sugar for sprinkling


2 cups frozen cranberries or fresh

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

zest of one orange

juice from one orange

2 tablespoons Triple Sec (or Cointreau)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Crust: Combine all ingredients into a food processor to combine until it forms a ball.  You could also beat your butter & cream cheese in a mixer, then add your flour.  Separate into two equal disks.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Filling: Combine all of the ingredients into a pan over medium heat.  Stirring to combine and wait till it starts to bubble.  Turn to low heat and allow the cranberries to pop.  Some of the cranberries will keep their form, while others will not.  It will thicken up a bit, around 15 (if frozen) minutes.  Taste to see if it needs more sugar.  You still want the sour tang, but not overpowering you that you’re in a constant pucker face. Take off heat.

Assemble: If you have a pizza peel, then you could put some parchment on it and roll out your pastry dough on top.  I have a pizza stone in my oven at all times & I simply slide the parchment with galette onto the stone.  If you don’t have either of these, then put the parchment paper on a jelly roll sheet or cookie sheet.  Roll it to 12 inches.  Pour all of the cooked cranberries in the middle of the rolled out dough.  You should have about a 2-3 inch circle of dough without cranberries on it.  Carefully, fold up one part of the dough onto the cranberries.

Then, going counterclockwise, continue making folds with pleats, until you get to the last fold of dough.  Brush your beaten egg over the dough & sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  OR…till the pastry puffs & is a lovely golden color.  Let it cool for around 25 minutes before you slice into it.


Thankfulness Squash Galette

It’s almost Thanksgiving and I really should be in bed.  However, since I’m at my in-laws house, I know I get to sleep in.  I’ve been extremely blessed with loving in-laws who are also amazing grandparents.  They have a rule, which is one I affirm wholeheartedly, “Parents get to sleep in while they take care of the grandkids.” I am thankful.

And I know it’s Thanksgiving, to which we are to be grateful for all the many blessings we’ve been given; however, life happens at the most inopportune times and you’re not always handed something to be thankful about.  I received some news which is discouraging and causes me to think with a fatalistic fear.  I’m not gifted with optimism the majority of the time.  And although I would say my glass is half full, this doesn’t equate with walking around thinking I can tackle anything and keep truckin’.

I’m at first glance an optimist fatalist, because I’m an extrovert who is over dramatic.  I see the best in the outcome, but I get caught up in the path to get there at times.  Ultimately, I need to remember that I am not savior and rely on one who is.  Life is hard enough without having a savior complex.  What…with being a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, etc., is enough in and of itself.  I’m only required to live in this moment and do what I’m called to do.  My job is not to be the perfect mom.  Or to cook the perfect meals. Or to carry others burdens/issues.  I don’t have to live up to expectations that others have set for me or even ones I’ve set for myself.

And in a world where we compare everything and everyone, it can be pretty damn hard.  Where our children are compared to one another from day one based on their weight & length.  Where mothers ask other mothers what “percentile” their child falls (maybe to feel good that their child is a bit bigger and doing “better”).  Where smart is based on knowing your ABC’s, speaking in fluent tongue, or excelling in ‘quantifiable’ means.  Where beauty is measured based on waist size & symmetrically aligned faces.

Yet, in the midst of all the reasons aforementioned (and then some), I can take solace in what the prophet Zephaniah spoke to Israel many, many moons ago:

Sing, O Daughter of Zion;
shout aloud, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O Daughter of Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

I like knowing that I am to “shout…rejoice with all my heart,” because He “delights” in me, he “quiets” my whole being with “his love,” and he “rejoices over me with singing.”  It gives me a picture of my daughter happily singing (in and out of tune) with complete abandon through the living room.  It brings me joy & I fully delight, or enjoy her…for her.  And when she’s upset, or hurt, or even quietly in my lap…I get to shower my songs upon her.  And oh my, it brings her peace in the midst of a storm feeling.  Thankfulness…it’s knowing that type of peace in eye of the storm, and choosing to see the good in the midst of it.  So for that…I am thankful for this day the Lord has made.

If you’re wanting to add some tangible thankfulness to your day (or someone else), then this galette is definitely high on the list. Happy Thanksgiving!

Butternut Squash Galette & Delicata Squash Galette (printable recipe)

This pastry crust is courtesy of Epicurious.  I needed to make two Galettes, so I doubled the pastry ingredients below.  I also used 3/4 butternut squash for one galette and 1/4 for the other galette.  The crust was flaky, savory & sublime. I love these for their versatility and improvisation.

For pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For butternut squash filling:

  • 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2- by 1/4-inch slices (4 cups) **reserve about 1/4 of it for other galette if making it.
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium sized shallot
  • 4 ounces soft mild goat cheese
  • 4 ounces soft cream cheese
  • 1 egg

Make dough:
Pulse flour, butter, sage, and sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle ice water evenly over mixture and pulse until it just forms a ball. (Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.) Gently press dough into a 5-inch disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Make filling while dough chills:
Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in middle.

Toss squash with sea salt and 1 Tbsp oil and arrange in 1 layer in a 17-by 12-inch shallow baking pan. Roast, stirring once halfway through roasting, until golden brown on edges and undersides, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove squash from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Meanwhile, saute shallots in 1 tablespoons oil with a pinch of sea salt in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, until tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool slightly. Combine goat cheese, cream cheese & egg in a small bowl.  Mix to combine.

Make galette:
Roll out dough into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Transfer to a baking sheet. Spread out cheese filling in center of dough.  Dump about 3/4 of butternut squash on top, along with shallots, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. Fold dough in on itself to cover outer rim of filling, pleating dough as necessary. Put a few sage leaves on top, drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with sea salt.  Brush pastry with beaten egg and bake galette until crust is cooked through and golden on edges, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes before serving.

Delicata-Butternut Squash with Kale Galette: there’s no need to peel the delicata, because it’s skin is tender upon roasting and is easily eaten.

  • 1 delicata squash
  • olive oil for drizzling delicata
  • sea salt for sprinkling delicata
  • 1/4 of above cooked butternut squash
  • 1 medium shallot (I cooked 2 shallots and divided them between the two recipes)
  • 3 kale leaves, vein removed & chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces goat cheese

Cut ends off of delicata.  Scoop out seeds & pulp.  Cut into 1/4 inch rings, then cut into half moons.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with sea salt.  Roast at 450 for roughly 15 minutes.  They don’t take that long.  Cool.

Meanwhile, saute kale in 1 tablespoon of olive oil till tender.  You may need to add more oil or even some water.  Remove to a small bowl and set aside. Saute chopped up half moon shallots in 2 teaspoons olive oil for 1 minute or so.  Remove to small bowl.

Combine the delicata squash, 1/4 leftover of cooked butternut squash, cooked shallot, & kale together.  Roll out your dough following instructions above, drop goat cheese throughout the center of the rolled out galette.  Arrange the vegetables on top of the goat cheese lined crust.  Fold dough in on itself to cover outer rim of filling, pleating dough as necessary. Brush pastry with beaten egg and bake galette until crust is cooked through and golden on edges, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes before serving.

Pull out the recipe box

As I mentioned a couple posts back about my cooking class and all the wonderful food I enjoyed, but didn’t have the recipes quite yet.  Well, I do now and I would love to share some of them with you.  But before I do that…I have to tell you a rather sweet & lovely morning I woke up to.

First off, I had a date with Ben last night and dominated the conversation (thanks for listening).  I dumped on him about how I’ve been feeling as a stay at home mom (ie trying to feed the kids in a fashionable time frame, wanting to enjoy a hot cup of coffee for once, trying really hard to run the inner workings of our house while spending quality time with my girls, etc etc etc).  As he was listening, he asked, “what would your ideal day look like with the girls?”  I think I repeated about three times, “well it would look like, no but that would be unrealistic,” while he would continue to say, “I didn’t ask what’s realistic, but idealistic” (here my realistic hubby telling his idealistic wife to stop being realistic–gotta love it).

So one of my answers was being able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, sit down for breakfast all together and come home from Thursday playgroup with lunch already made to serve when we walk in the door (and a little bit more I’m leaving out, maybe it was a massage?).  Well, listen he did.  He took care of the oldest breakfast, had an americano for me and when I thought it couldn’t get any better…”here,” he said diverting my attention to a clear rubbermaid container, “a grilled cheese sandwich that just needs to be heated up and apple slices for the girl’s lunch.”

This is what hospitality looks like to a mother with two young children, who just the day before wanted to drive far, far away by herself.  I’m blessed to have such a guy and I try really hard to not take it for granted.  And as you read this and maybe make one of the recipes, I hope you will find someone you can bless through the simple act of hospitality, in the form of a meal.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

adapted from Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc

IMG_3754I personally am not a big fan of fried chicken, but I do believe some of you are…specifically Liz S.


1 gallon cold water

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey

12 bay leaves

1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

3 large rosemary sprigs

1 small bunch of thyme

1 small bunch of parsley

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

Two 3-pound chickens

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 cups buttermilk

Vegetable oil, for frying

Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chickens, being sure they’re completely submerged, and refrigerate overnight.

Drain the chickens and pat dry. Scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the skin and cut each bird into 8 pieces, keeping the breast meat on the bone.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

In a very large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 330°. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and crunchy and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 160°, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain, and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs and serve hot or at room temperature.

Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits

adapted Cooks Illustrated


These are truly a phenomenal buttermilk biscuit, which are super quick & easy.


2 C flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/2 C buttermilk

Additional flour

2 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 500ºF. Spray a 9 in springform or cake pan with some nonstick spray.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt to a bowl and mix the ingredients together evenly. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in the butter until the pieces are no bigger than a small pea. Fold in the buttermilk until everything is just blended, and there are no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix, the mixture should still be lumpy.

Line a plate or tray with some flour and using a 1/4 C measuring cup or 1/4 C ice cream/cookie scoop or eyeball it & use your hands, scoop out balls of the dough onto the tray of flour. Flour your hands and roll each ball around in the flour to evenly coat them in a layer of flour. The dough is very wet and very sticky. Place the dough balls into the prepared pan. Place 9 balls around in a ring and 3 balls in the center of the pan. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.

Bake for 5 minutes at 500ºF (middle rack) and then lower the temperature to 450ºF and bake for another 15 minutes.

Apple Tarte Tatin


Pate Brisee

12 oz flour, sifted

1 tsp salt

8 oz unsalted butter, diced

1/4 C club soda (more or less)

Put flour, salt, and butter in food processor. Mix until it looks like grated parmesan. Add club soda a little at a time until pastry forms a ball and does not stick to sides. Dump dough onto a flat surface and push it away from you using the ball of your hand.  Do this two or three times.  Combine into a disc using your hands (don’t worry it will look pretty crumbly, which is normal).  Put dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.  Let it rest on countertop for 10-15 minutes, till a bit pliable.  Then roll for your pie pan.

Ingredients for Apple Tarte Tatin

8 tart (granny smith) apples

3/4 C sugar

1/2 stick unsalted butter

creme fraiche to serve

You need an oven proof frying pan –  cast-iron ovenproof frying pan is fine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Peel, halve, and core apples. Melt butter in pan on stove. Add sugar (just sprinkle it on top of the butter) and place the apples decoratively on top (cut side down). Cook slowly until caramelized. This can take up to one hour. Do not stir! (Clearly, low heat here.)

When cooked (check by lifting an apple and seeing what’s going on), remove from heat.

Roll the pastry, put it on top of the apples. Tuck the sides in. Cook in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove, take a flat dish and turn the tarte upsidedown. Serve warm with creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream. You can also scrape a vanilla bean into the apples at the beginning of the caramelization and let the pod sit in there with them, too, but it’s not totally necessary.

Poached Pears



2 cups Orange Muscat
1 medium red beet (1/4 pound), peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
7-8 small firm-ripe pears (3/4 to 1 pound total), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored

Bring wine, beet, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and bay leaves to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quarts saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.

Add pears and cover with a round of parchment paper. Simmer, turning occasionally, until pears are tender and liquid is syrupy, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pears to a bowl. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaves and pour syrup over pears. Cool completely in syrup, about 30 minutes.

Poached pears can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.