master pie crust

“Master Pie Crust”
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine
Yields enough dough for a double-crust pie

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup [2 sticks] cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup ice water

Method:

Pulse flour, butter, shortening, salt, and sugar in a food processor until crumbly. Slowly pour in ice water until dough comes together. Divide dough in half, shape into discs, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate at least one hour before using.

blueberry lattice pie

I really actually despise hot weather.

I should also clarify that anything above 80 degrees is ‘hot’ for me.

Perhaps it’s after two decades of mum warning me not to go out in the sun for fear of tanning until I’m black as night, but mostly it’s that I’m not particularly fond of having my shirt sweat-stick to my back the second I walk into a marginally cool building after strolling outside for less than 10 minutes.

And maybe that’s more information than you wanted.

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rhubarb bakewell slices

I’m not sure if you recall, but rhubarb has been the bane of my culinary existence for the past three or four years. Not because I dislike the thing, but because I’d never been able to find it. Between Whole Foods and farmer’s markets, you’d think I’d catch a glimpse of it at some point, but no. It was like the vegetable that always eluded me; either snatched up by other shoppers before I could make my trek downtown, or actually just invisible.

By early May, I was starting to think it didn’t actually exist and that the entire rhubarb market was a fabrication designed specifically to make me think I was insane.

It almost worked.

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rhubarb-strawberry jam

Rhubarb is, technically, a vegetable, but its strong, tangy flavor pairs beautifully with heapings of sugar and berries. Commonly, rhubarb stalks are chopped and used in fruit pies, but their flavor and color lend themselves just as wonderfully in a simple, tart jam.

Here, I’ve added comparatively few strawberries than you’d find in a typical rhubarb-strawberry jam, as I wanted to focus on the rhubarb, but you are welcome to alter the proportions as desired. Keep in mind the ratio of sugar and lemon juice needed if you do so.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam
Yields about 2.5 pints of jam

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup hulled, chopped strawberries
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup water

Method:

Place the fruit, sugar, lemon zest, juice, and water in a large bowl and stir so all the fruit is well-coated. Let sit for about an hour. Have 2-3 pint-size mason jars prepared. I myself do not can for long-term preservation, but if you plan to do so, sterilize your mason jars and prep them as appropriate.

Heat a large pot over medium-high flame. Add all the contents of the bowl to the pot and bring to the boil. Cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 mins until fruit has softened. Take care to remove any scum from the surface of the jam. Once cooked, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally so the jam doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pot. Cook for an additional 10-15 mins.

At this point, you can take an immersion blender to the jam to puree it (as I like to do for a smooth, almost-compote), otherwise remove the jam from the heat, allow to cool for 10-15 mins, and pour into the mason jars. Continue on to processing the jars in a water bath if you plan on preserving them.

Jams stay good refrigerated for up to 10 days, or preserved for up to 12 months.

battenberg cake

Food and English history. An ironically delightful combination. At least, in my eyes.

I’ve always found English food appealing, despite its historic reputation for…ignominy. But I mean, for a nation responsible for scones, Sunday roasts, and Harry Potter, the cuisine of England has always emanated an aura of warmth and whimsicalness to me. So to finally try my hand at a recipe that combines aforementioned whimsicality with a historical tale that allows me to pretend I live in Buckingham Palace was a joy.

(Perhaps, though, it’s actually my intense desire to somehow become English, but nuances.)

In any case, I’d seen this lovely dessert flutter rather surreptitiously around Tastespotting on occasion, and, having finally finished up with a fracking exhausting spring term, had been dying to try my hand at it. So I called Tommy up, presented him with the idea, and the two of us met in my tiny apartment earlier this afternoon to make it happen.

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something old, something new

Yes, I have moved! Not that I did not love the old blog dearly, but I decided it was time for a little change; a bit more structure, a bit more polish, a bit less clutter. End of finals, end of a less-than-satisfactory semester, end of an old blog.

Kind of like cleaning out my life a bit, but with every bit of optimism for the future.

Hence, this new [old] thing. The original TheBakedBeen is still running, and I have transferred some old recipes and memories over to this thing, but all new updates will be done here. I apologize for those that have been following the old one; I hope this isn’t too inconvenient of a change for you!

And for those that are new to this thing, welcome and happy eating. 

I do hope you’ll stick around for dessert. :)

pineapple upside-down cake

“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”
-Tenneva Jordan

Mother’s Day is always somewhat of a blur; I mean, spending the 2 weeks leading up to the weekend with nothing but caffeine running through one’s veins and a mountain of books strewn across every flat surface in an attempt to teach oneself a semester’s worth of financial math is enough to leave one feeling exhausted and irritable, let alone in the right state of my mind to remember such an event even happens.

But this year is this last year my grandmother will be spending with us here in the States, so mom wanted to make it special.

And, since she’s my mum and all, I figured the least I could do was help a bit.

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momofuku crack pie

Finally getting around to a long overdo pie.

April 26, 2012

Holy. Guacamole.

So, I now understand why Momofuku oh-so appropriately dubbed this a ‘Crack Pie.’ I mean, if I were in need of a serious hit, I’d rather dish out $44 for one of these than the more illegal alternative.

[Not to mention it’s probably the cheapest crack you’ll find in the US.]

Or I could, you know, just bake one of my own for the fraction of the cost, and get it whenever I need it.

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key lime pie [and unproductivity]

Making the most of a sick day.

April 15, 2012

I don’t take well to being sick. Mostly because illnesses hit me hard. It’s been one of those weekends: unprompted illness surfacing yesterday – a common cold blown out of proportion in the drama-queen-esque way aspects of my life are wont to do, most likely – leaving me with a head full of cotton, throat sore and swollen, and achy limbs screaming out in protest of any sort of physical exertion.

Incidentally, I had set an alarm to get up early enough to hit the Farmer’s Market with Noosh. This resulted in me returning home with a cup full of vegan curry and rice and falling into a 4-hour nap that took up the entirety of what could have been a highly productive afternoon.

Well, damn it all, I hate losing precious time to silly things like napping.

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baked brie with mint-strawberry jam

Another old post, a weekend at home, a break from a busy semester.

April 7, 2012

It has finally reached that point in the semester when my motivation has been almost totally zapped. Not that I’ve stopped, you know, actually doing work, since that’s out of the question.

But that physical pain that you get right in your gut when you hear your alarm go off in the morning, the unbelievable amount of willpower necessary to swing your legs over the side of the bed, the sheer dread that shakes your core at the thought of removing the covers and having to face the day…

Oh man, it has hit full force.

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