sweets

Strawberry Jam Tartlets

by Anh-Minh on May 21, 2015

StrawberryJamTartletsIf you’re still figuring out what dessert to make for a Memorial Day get-together, we’ve got just the thing: Melina Hammer‘s Strawberry Jam Tartlets.

The recipe was originally published in Issue No. 19/Spring 2015 of Anthology … but reader Christine contacted us after she noticed that the amount of butter seemed off. And she was right. After some additional testing, we realized that the pastry turns out better with 1/2 cup of butter—rather than the amount (2/3 cup) that was in the published recipe.

Below is an updated version of the Strawberry Jam Tartlets recipe. My mouth is watering just thinking about these!

Strawberry Jam Tartlets

Makes 24 tartlets

PASTRY
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 free range egg
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
zest of 1 lemon
2-3 tsp heavy cream or whole milk

FILLING
1 10-oz jar strawberry preserves
3 tbsp Grand Marnier, triple sec, or other orange liqueur
confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

1. For the pastry: Place flour and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse just until the mixture has pea-sized bits throughout. Add the egg, nutmeg, and lemon zest, then pulse just to combine. If the mixture looks crumbly, add cream or milk one teaspoon at a time. Pulse again briefly until the dough comes together, then turn out onto cellophane, pat into a disk, wrap in cellophane, and refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4″ thickness. Using a fluted cookie cutter about 2-1/2″ in diameter (slightly larger than the holes in a mini-muffin pan), cut rounds. Re-roll any scraps to make more tarts. Gently press the rounds into the mini-muffin pan, so that the fluted edges come up the sides. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, chill it in the refrigerator again before pressing into the molds.

3. For the filling: In a mixing bowl, stir the preserves and liqueur together. Drop a teaspoonful of the mixture into each pastry shell. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Allow tarts to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool a few minutes more before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and enjoy!

{ Image and recipe by Melina Hammer }

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anthology-mag-blog-food-strawberry-roundup-7Strawberry season starts early here in California, and already I’m seeing the beautiful red berries pop up at local farmers’ markets. I fully intend to enjoy as many strawberry-filled days as I can this year—sampling jams, juices, sorbets, and more so that when peak harvest hits in summer, I’ll have my favorite recipes down to a science.

If you’re still looking for a fun Mother’s Day surprise, may I suggest whipping up a batch of fresh strawberry buttermilk ice cream, or showing up on her door with an almond cake piled high with red, glistening, plump strawberries? I can’t know for sure, but my guess is, she’ll be pleased as punch—strawberry punch, of course.

{ Image above: Strawberry Cream Cake via Simple.Pretty.Sweet }

anthology-mag-blog-food-strawberry-roundup-8{ Gluten-free Strawberry Mousse Mini-Tartlettes via The Kitchen McCabe }

anthology-mag-blog-food-strawberry-roundup-6{ Strawberry Goat Cheese Sherbet via My California Roots }

anthology-mag-blog-food-strawberry-roundup-5{ Strawberry Popsicles via Renee Kemps }

anthology-mag-blog-food-strawberry-roundup-1{ Strawberry Almond Cake via Gather & Dine }

anthology-mag-blog-food-strawberry-roundup-3{ Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream via  Fork To Belly }

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Lemon Meringue Pie

by Anh-Minh on May 1, 2015

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I am definitely a dessert person, but I prefer my sweets to be simple, not overly complicated with too many flavors and embellishments. Which is why this pie by Melina Hammer is right up my alley. Plus, I love that it comes with a heartfelt story, one that might just prompt you to whip this up for Mother’s Day. Of course, you could do a test run this this weekend, too! — Anh-Minh

One of my favorite desserts always on rotation is my mother’s lemon meringue pie. I have fond memories of her dabbing and twirling the meringue before sliding the pie into the oven for that golden kiss on its top-most surfaces, the final touch before we kids eagerly devoured it.

This pie is both rich and light. Its textural variety—with the crumb crust bringing it all together—is perfection. As far as desserts go, this feels like a great way to celebrate spring, and makes for a satisfying but not too-heavy end to any meal.

As I’ve encountered lemon meringue pies over the years I realize that her creation resembles a key lime pie more than the customary gelatinous lemon meringue pie—often similar to my mother’s in name only. I have never liked lemon meringue pies made with corn starch, which when used imparts a gelatin-like, bouncy filling.

Her recipe was passed to her from her mother and uses sweetened condensed milk. Its addition produces a filling more like lemon curd, and is fantastic in its custardy richness.

This time around baking the pie, I made a few tweaks. Some which I would repeat, and one that I wouldn’t. I normally use a typical pie tin, and this time around chose a fluted tart pan. It isn’t well-suited to a crumb crust. It worked out, but there were a few profanities uttered once I realized the extra work I made for myself. The other choices were great: I added an additional egg, I baked the crust rather than simply chilling it, and I baked the filling briefly to set it before adding the meringue, which, as it sat out, proved to be quite useful in preserving its shape.

As recipes go, this has stood the test of time and will be a favorite pie I return to forever. I hope you’ll love it too, making this lemon meringue pie delight a steady go-to in your own home.

Lemon Meringue Pie

graham cracker crumb crust

  • 9 full graham crackers – just over 1 ½ cups
  • 3 tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

pie filling

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (choose organic if possible)
  • 4 free-range eggs, yolks and whites separated, yolks used here*

*Free range yolks have a more richly orange hue due to the variety in the chickens’ natural diet, and the yolks are more muscular, sitting much taller than regular flabby supermarket eggs. These are a better choice for all cooking.

meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  1. Construct a pouch out of parchment paper, folding a sheet in half and then creasing both sides over a couple times to close them. Place the graham crackers inside the opening at the top. Lean your weight onto a rolling pin and rock back and forth, crushing the cookies into crumbs. Move across the pouch up and down, side-to-side. Check for stray larger pieces and repeat the process as needed. I enjoy the rustic quality of this toothier crumb, but if you prefer them more fine, just go over with the rolling pin a bit longer, or nix the pouch and give the crackers a whiz in a food processor.
  2. Empty graham crumbs into a mixing bowl. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir together. Pour melted butter in and mix to combine. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to spread and press the mixture evenly into the pie tin. Check for evenness, carefully pushing thicker areas thinner, and gently pressing to compact. Press along the sides of the tin to ensure the crust edge is even all around. Chill for at least a half-hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Combine lemon juice and zest and whisk in condensed milk. Once incorporated, add the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour into room temperature crust and bake 10-15 minutes, until just-set and not browned at all. Cool again on a wire rack. This can be done a day ahead and placed in the refrigerator to chill, and bringing the pie as-is out from the fridge when you are ready to make the meringue. Two tips for meringue: Use a scrupulously clean steel, copper, or glass bowl, and do not attempt to make meringue on a humid day. The moisture in the air will prevent a light and airy meringue from forming.
  5. Add cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer until just stiff enough to hold a peak. Gradually add sugar a tablespoon at a time and beat in between, until glossy, stiff peaks form.
  6. If you did make the pie a day in advance, preheat the oven to 325°F. Otherwise, lower temperature to 325°F. Scoop the meringue onto the pie filling. With sweeping motions, spread meringue to the edges, all the way to the crust. Use a rubber spatula to make swirling gestures in the meringue, and then bake for about 15 minutes. Start to check after 10 minutes on the doneness of the meringue—you’re looking for brown-kissed peaks, ultimately. Continue to bake if necessary, checking every couple minutes until ready.
  7. Cool on a wire rack, serve, and enjoy. See if you don’t devour every last bit.

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{ Photos and Recipes by Melina Hammer for Anthology Magazine }

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Donut Time

by Kate on April 10, 2015

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{ Warning: this is a propaganda piece about donuts. }

I can’t speak for my fellow editors, but for me there’s no better vehicle for decadent culinary pleasure than the donut. Donut versus cupcake? Donut. Donut versus pie? Donut. Ice cream? Waffles? Cake? Nachos? I choose donut, every time. Round, glossy, golden, puffy, colorful, textural … What’s not to love?

It only recently occurred to me that I could make my own donuts at home, and luckily there are so many great recipes online. The challenge is simply choosing which one. I’ve provided a variety of types here, as I know donut preferences may vary: cake or fluffy, baked or fried, creme-filled or sugared or glazed … You get the idea. There’s really no wrong option here, so pick one of these amazing recipes and make some donuts today.

{ Image above: ForYourArt’s 24-hour doughnut event at LACMA in 2012. Photo by David Gilbert }

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 { Peanut Butter and Jelly Donuts, via Broma Bakery }

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 { Pistachio Baked Almond Donuts, via Gather & Dine }

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 { Chocolate Hazelnut Long Johns, via O & O Eats }

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 { Pink Strawberry Mini Donuts by Lexy Ward, via Proper }

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 { 15-Minute Donuts from Scratch, via Cooking Classy }

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 { Banana Chocolate Chip Baked Donuts with Caramel Pecan Glaze, via Twigg Studios }

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 { Strawberry Glazed Brown Butter/Buttermilk Doughnuts, via The Kitchy Kitchen }

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 { Passion Fruit Malasadas, via Use Real Butter }

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 { Baked Donuts, via Design Love Fest }

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 { Could donuts look more joyous than this? I doubt it.  Photo by David Paul Schmit }

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Foreign Japanese Sweets

by Kate on March 12, 2015

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There’s no end to the satisfaction I get from seeing things neatly organized, and I’m hardly alone (which is probably why the famous tumblr devoted to this very thing is still going strong after five years). Presenting objects in a clean, graphic layout abstracts them, bringing their color and shape and texture into focus in a wholly surprising and delightful way. Foreign Japanese Sweets, a cookbook created by designer Moé Takamura that provides classic Japanese dessert recipes using ingredients found in Western countries, illustrates yet another reason why this form of styling is so wonderful: It’s remarkably helpful!

His bird’s-eye view of the mixing bowl, measuring cup, or sauce pot at each step is both visually enticing and highly informative. As a result, Japanese Foreign Sweets transcends your standard cookbook: It is artwork, recipes, and even a language lesson all bound into one. And that cover? Scrumptious in every way. You can pick up a copy here.

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