Coconut & Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pistachio Chocolate ChipI picked up a cookbook recently called Sugar & Spice (by Sarah Seneviratne), thinking it would have ideas right up my alley, and though I haven’t found myself in it very often, I was so happy to try this amazing recipe. The author calls this her “go-to” chocolate chip, rather than selling it as a riff on the classic. When I tried it, I thought, “yeah, this could be a new ‘go-to’ but it also is so unique!” So, I’ve renamed them to reveal a little more of what they bring to the table. Even so, my name also doesn’t give them full disclosure, because it doesn’t incorporate how much the vanilla shines through and carries the flavors together. This might be my favorite part! 

In terms of the kid factors, everyone but my littlest (who is only vanilla, all the time) loved them. That is high marks, especially because pistachios aren’t really everyday around here. So, if you’re in the process of expanding your chocolate chip recipe repertoire, here’s yet another for your basket, and it really is a keeper. 

Coconut & Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 c. (4 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. melted virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao), chopped (about 1 c.)
  • 2 1/2 oz. (1/2 c.) shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. (3 oz.) shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional but I chose without)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until creamy. Stir in the vanilla and egg. Add the flour mixture to the coconut oil mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate, pistachios, and coconut.
  3. Scoop the dough in 2-tablespoon scoops and place on the prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie with a bit of sea salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the sheets on racks for about 5 minutes.

 

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Sweet Cheese Strudel

This bread is our favorite Easter morning breakfast. In February, my oldest daughter Lucy usually starts asking me if I’ll make it this year for Easter, and she’s also been known to request it for her birthday. The original recipe comes from Beth Hensperger’s Bread for All Seasons. I’ve done everything here the same as the original, except sometimes I only use cream cheese (I don’t add the goat cheese), and I also braided this plait instead of rolling it like cinnamon rolls–and it turned out beautifully.

It’s a simple but dramatic loaf and one of the best ways to start any morning. I think perhaps tomorrow I’ll also add some blueberries into the filling–just a few! Oh, also note that it rests in the fridge overnight, so start the day before.

Sweet Cheese Strudel

Yeasted Sweet Cheese Strudel or  Cream Cheese Braided Danish

2 1/2 t. active dry yeast
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. sour cream
6 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
2 eggs
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (exact measure)

Sweet Cheese Filling
8 oz. fresh goat cheese (not Feta! that rookie mistake was embarassing), at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature [sometimes, I just use 16 oz. of cream cheese instead of goat cheese, and it is great either way]
2/3 c. sugar
1 egg
2 t. pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 large lemon

Brandied Almond Crust
1 egg yolk
1 t. good-quality brandy [or almond extract]
2 T. light brown sugar
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/2 c. slivered or sliced almonds

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the sugar over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Warm the sour cream on the stove top or in a microwave to about 105 degrees, then add the butter pieces. Stir to melt.

2. In a standing mixer (or equivalent), combine the remaining sugar, eggs, lemon zest, salt and 1 c. of flour. Add the warm sour cream and yeast mixtures. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute, switching to a wooden spoon as necessary if making by hand. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 c. at a time. The dough will be rather soft and have a silky, translucent quality. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Cover the bowl with 2 layers of greased plastic wrap and let rise in the fridge overnight.

3. The next day, make the sweet cheese filling. With an electric mixer, blend together the cheeses, sugar, egg, vanilla, and lemon zest until smooth and well combined. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

4. Using a large dough scraper, scrape the chilled batter onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion in to an 8-by-12-inch rectangle, dusting lightly with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Spread each rectangle with one-third of the sweet cheese filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Starting from a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion and pinch the seam together to seal. Pinch both ends to seal and tuck them under. (In the picture above, I spread the filling down the center and then cut the dough on both sides into one-inch strands, and folded them over each other to create the braid. I like the look much better.)

5. Place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, at least 3 inches apart. Using a serrated knife, score each finished cylinder in 5 places across the top, no more than 1/4 inch deep. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

6. Bake in the center of the preheated oven 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the brandied almond crust. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, brandy, brown sugar, and allspice and beat briskly with a whisk. Using a pastry brush, spread the crust mixture gently over the tops of the partially baked strudels. Immediately sprinkle each strudel with one-third of the almonds. Quickly return the pan to the oven and bake until the strudels are golden, sound hollow when tapped, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, another 15-20 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the strudels from the baking sheet to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Lemon and Blueberry Teacakes

 

Lemon and Blueberry Teacakes

I was so excited to buy Ottolenghi’s new baking book, Sweet, in late fall, but have found myself so busy that I haven’t baked from it yet. Recently, though, when I was looking for a good springtime treat to share with friends, I came upon this recipe from that book. It looked terrific, and it tasted even better. I even got rave reviews from the piano movers who happened to be at our house when the cakes came out of the oven.  And since many of house in my house are lemon lovers, I’m sure I’ll use it frequently. (Note: I usually buy almond flour at Costco these days, if you are looking for an affordable and easy option.)

Lemon Blueberry Teacakes

Makes about 12 cupcakes

3/4 c. + 1 1/2 T. (190 g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/4 c. + 1 T. (45g) all-purpose flour
2 c. (190g) ground almonds
3/4 c. +  3 1/2 T. (190g) sugar
4 eggs
1/4 c. (60 ml) lemon juice
finely grated zest of one lemon
1/4 t. salt (the original amount is 1/8)
1/4 t. baking powder
2/3 c. (100g) blueberries

Glaze:
a few squeezes of lemon juice
freshly grated lemon zest of one lemon (my addition)
1 1/3 c. (160g) icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180°). Grease all 12 molds of a regular muffin pan with butter and dust lightly but thoroughly with flour. Tap away any excess and set aside.

Place the butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on medium-high speed until light, then add the eggs and almond meal in three or four alternating batches. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then add this to the mixer and turn the speed to low. Finally, add the lemon juice and eat until combined. Spoon the mixture into the molds and divide the 2/3 c. blueberries between the cakes: push them down slightly so that they sink into the batter. The reason we do this is to ensure that each cake gets an equal number of berries.

 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before tapping them out gently onto a cooling rack so that they are sitting upside down. Cool completely.

To make the icing: combine the confectioners’ sugar and zest and juice in a bowl and stir until it has a thick pouring consistency. Spoon the icing over the cakes and dot the remaining blueberries in the center (or strawberries!). Serve.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Brown Butter

If you’ve had a rice krispie treat that tastes different, and significantly better, than the ones that are typical, I bet that this is recipe that you’ve tried. This is the kind of rice krispie treat that gets accused of being laced with some other type of illegal substance, because it’s so addicting and so good. And since I’m already perhaps one of the biggest fans of these crazy simple, crazy good desserts, I’m an even bigger fan of these. So, for all my Texan cousins out there, here you go! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. The recipe comes from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook, one of my favorite baking books out there. Also, when I’m making these for a large crowd, I double the recipe and put them in a half-sheet tray, which is 18″ by 13″.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 vanilla bean [watch for these at Costco during the holidays, or buy at Amazon]
  • 2 10-oz bags marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 cups crispy rice cereal (I actually use a little more than this, maybe 1/2 to 1 cup more)

Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray [I line it with aluminum foil and then spray the aluminum foil so I don’t have to wash the pan and I can lift them out easier].

Add the butter to a large saucepan set over low heat [I set it at medium-low]. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan with the butter. The butter will melt then begin to bubble and foam [it will sound like people applauding for a little while, and then it will stop. Once the noise has stopped, swirl the pan and watch carefully]. Eventually it will start to turn brown and smell nutty – be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burned quickly.

Once the butter is browned, add all of the marshmallows and the salt. Stir the mixture constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted. Turn off the heat under the pan and add the cereal. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to coat the cereal evenly with the buttery, marshmallow liquid. Spread the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting and serving. You can store the treats in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.

Candied Bacon Salad with Goat Cheese & Figs


I have such a backlog of recipes I’d like to post, so I’m plunging in today, but who knows when I’ll finish! I’m starting with a new summer favorite: this recipe is a wonderful riff on a Jamie Oliver salad from his book, Jamie’s America.  I still feel like this book is a new acquisition every time I open it, and I’m inspired every time, although I think I’ve owned it for at least six years now. At any rate, there’s plenty for me to still experiment with there.

As for the original recipe, I switched out the clementine slices and pomegranate seeds, which is what Oliver originally calls for, because I was so happy to find fresh figs at the market. So, here’s a little bit of a riff; I added the cheese to compliment the figs and also to lighten the appearance of the salad (which doesn’t have the prettiest appearance anyway, but the flavor is enough to make up for that).

I think we’ve made this salad three times this summer, and I hope to get another time or two in, but the figs may have already disappeared. I’ll have to switch to pomegranates next.

Candied Bacon Salad with Goat Cheese & Figs

For the dressing
6 T good-quality extra virgin olive oil
3 T white wine vinegar
1 heaped t mustard
1 heaped T natural yoghurt
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad
10 to 12 slices of smoked streaky bacon
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 slices of fresh white bread
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 heaped t sugar
10 fresh figs
2-4 oz. goat cheese
5 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves, washed and spun dry
A small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked

To make your dressing, put all the ingredients into a large serving bowl, whisk together, and season to taste. Put to one side.

Get a large frying pan on a medium heat, add the bacon slices and cook until lightly golden (but not really crispy), turning them every so often. Remove the bacon to a plate. Squash your garlic clove and add it to the pan, then turn the heat up a little and tear your bread into medium-sized chunks. Drop them into the pan so they suck up all the grease and become crispy. If your bacon didn’t release a lot of fat and you think the bread needs a little help to crisp up, simply add a lug or two of olive oil. Add a pinch of black pepper and shake the bread around until crispy and golden, then remove to the plate with your bacon.

Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper, then put the bacon back in with the sugar or honey and the juice of 1 clementine (or a squirt of lemon juice). Stir everything around in the pan so the syrup starts to stick to the bacon. As soon as the bacon is perfectly caramelized and sticky, use tongs to carefully move them to an oiled plate and leave to cool down for a minute. This process is quite quick so keep your eye on it, so it doesn’t burn.

Whatever shape you leave the bacon in at this point is how it will set, so give the rashers a bend or a twist.

Slice your figs and crumble the goat cheese, if needed.

Grab your bowl of dressing and add your salad leaves. Add the figs, and mint leaves, then use your hands to toss and dress everything thoroughly. Lightly toss your croutons through the salad and lay your candied bacon on top. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the whole salad.

Cranberry-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip

cranberry-cream-cheese

My sister brought this dip to a little family get together a couple years ago, and I just thought it was so incredible. Bright and beautiful, with interesting flavor. Kind-of the perfect foil to the many heavy party dips that usually accompany winter. So, I woke up early in January thinking about it, and happily found it quite easily. I was surprised that there was so much sugar (1 cup!!!) and decided to start with less and see how I liked it. I actually love it with less sugar–I’ll continue to take it down from what I now do at 1/3 c. and see if I can get it even lower, but for now, I love this dip. Really. I’ve made it three times in the last three weeks, and can just sit and enjoy it with a spoon, and even no cream cheese, all by myself. I’ve slightly adapted this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

Cranberry-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries (I’ve used frozen, which bleed a little, but taste fine)
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/3 c. sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 2 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese, light or regular, softened [I use less, just to make a thin layer at the bottom of the dish, or none at all]
  • Crackers or Tortilla Chips, for serving

  1. Pulse the cranberries in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped (alternately, you can do this task by hand). Add the green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, sugar, cumin, lemon juice and salt and pulse until the ingredients are well combined and finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a covered bowl or tupperware and refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to overnight) so the flavors have time to develop and the cranberries lose a bit of their tartness.
  2. When ready to serve, spread the cream cheese in an even layer on a serving plate or 9-inch pie dish. Top with the cranberry-jalapeno mixture, spreading evenly over the top of the cream cheese.
  3. Refrigerate for up to an hour before serving. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Chocolate & Cream Yule Log

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The Christmas and New Year Season has died down, the kids and my husband and I are all back in school, and I’m finally getting a moment to record the fun baking we did at Christmas this year. My favorite part: the Buche de Noel. This Christmas cake is a tradition my dad brought home with him from France, and he’s usually the one who bakes it each year, but I was excited that he let me make it this year.

I found this recipe in one of the funnest baking books I own, called Baked. I will include their directions, though I changed them a bit. I’m not as big of a fan of malted milk balls as they are, so I substituted chestnut paste  (which is a more traditional French flavor) and I also made it into the more traditional log instead of a stump. Otherwise, I was super happy with how it turned out. Hope it goes this well again next year!

Chocolate & Cream Yule Log

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water (I would cut this down to 1 T. next time. I thought it was the dominant flavor as is)
  • 1 dozen large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Malted Buttercream and Dark Chocolate Buttercream
  • Meringue mushrooms, candied cranberries and candied rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional; see Note)

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheets and line them with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all of the short sides. Butter the paper and dust with flour.

In a small bowl, whisk the 1 cup of flour with the cocoa and salt. In another small bowl, combine the chocolate and espresso. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the egg yolks with 2/3 cup of the sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk and beat at high speed until the yolks are pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture along with the vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.

Thoroughly wash and dry the mixer bowl and the whisk. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar on moderately high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar and continue beating at high speed until the whites are glossy, about 2 minutes longer. Whisk one-fourth of the egg whites into the cake batter, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.

In a small bowl, whisk the melted butter with 1/2 cup of the batter; fold this mixture into the batter. Working in 2 batches, sift the cocoa powder mixture over the batter and gently fold it in. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading it out to fill the pans. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the cake feels springy and dry; shift the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the pans to racks to cool completely. Run the tip of a knife around the edges, cover with parchment paper and a baking sheet and invert; peel off the parchment on top.

Spread the Malted Buttercream over the cakes. Using a ruler, cut each cake precisely in half lengthwise, cutting through the paper; you should have four 6-by-17-inch strips of cake. Roll one strip into a tight coil, leaving the paper behind. Roll the 3 remaining cake strips around the coil in the same way to form a very wide, short jelly roll. Set the cake on a large plate, spiraled end up. Frost the outside of the cake with the Dark Chocolate Buttercream. Refrigerate until set, at least 8 hours. Decorate the cake with meringue mushrooms, cranberries and rosemary sprigs and serve, cutting the cake into wedges or horizontal slices.

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Chocolate & Malted Buttercream

  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup malt powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 12 malted milk balls, crushed (I used chestnut paste instead. Or, I think I would just use vanilla bean paste)

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are just warm to the touch. Return the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the vanilla and beat the egg whites at high speed until firm and glossy, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, whisk in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. If the mixture begins to look curdled, continue to beat until smooth before adding more butter. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the buttercream to a bowl and whisk in the melted chocolate. Beat the dissolved malt powder into the remaining buttercream, then beat in the milk balls.

 

Christmas Cookies!

I know it’s been awhile, but with the last ounce of grading for the semester under my belt, I’m back to kitchen, and loving this year’s Christmas collection. I’ve already posted many of these recipes, but will post more as time allows. Such a wonderful time of year!

christmas-2015

Pictured above are White Christmas Dream Drops, Brown Sugar Rugelach, My Ginger Cookies, Peanut Brittle, Pizzelles, Pink and White Pinwheels, Italian Cherry Cookies, Chocolate Thumbprints with Salty Caramel, Candied Orange Peel, Mint Chocolate Cookies, Lemon Glazed Cookies, Russian Teacakes, and Pfefferneuse. I have most of these recipes on my site, but will get the rest soon. Hope something appeals!

Pear, Fig & Onion Quiche

IMG_2328

It’s been such a busy month, I haven’t had a second to breathe! Finally, though, middle school, elementary school, and now preschool have started, and I’m back to teaching at the university as well. That doesn’t sound like things are going to get less hectic! However, at least now there’s more of an enforced bedtime around here, and a chance to sit and look over what I’ve been wanting to post.

This recipe was an easy favorite of the last few weeks. I made it for a shower of a dear friend; it sounded like the perfect shower food, and perhaps a little too indulgent for just a weeknight meal. The recipe comes from Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen cookbook, but he titles it Pear and Blue Cheese Quiche. The blue cheese flavor was soooo mild, though, that I hardly think we need to mention it in the title, since it will turn away all those who think they hate the stuff, when they probably won’t be aware that it’s in there if they try it. So, I’ve retitled, and also added figs, simply because I could get them, and I don’t know of anything prettier on the top of a festive summer food.

Pear, fig & onion Quiche

Crust
1 c. (140g) all-purpose flour
1/3 c. (55g) cornmeal
1/2 t. sea salt or kosher salt
8 T. (4 ounces/115g) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 large egg

Filling
1 T. olive oil
6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (I used two small red onions, hence the name!)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large, firm, ripe pear, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch (1.5cm) cubes
1 c. (130g) diced cooked (boiled) ham (or bacon, or omit for vegetarian)
1 1/2 c. (375ml) heavy cream or half-and-half
8 oz. (225g) cream cheese
Freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. (150g) crumbled blue cheese or Roquefort (or goat cheese)
2 T. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 T. fresh thyme (my addition)
2 fresh figs, sliced, for decoration (also my addition)

  1. To make the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl, by hand with a pastry blender), combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the butter and beat on low speed until the butter is broken up and the mixture is sandy. Add the egg and mix until the dough begins to clump and come together. Use your hands to gather the dough and shape it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.)
  2. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s 14 inches (35cm) across. Wrap aluminum foil around the outside of a 9- to 10-inch (23 to 25cm) springform pan to catch any leaks, and then transfer the dough to the pan. Press the dough against the side, allowing it to come a bit more than halfway up the sides of the pan. If there are any cracks, patch them with a bit of dough from the edges—you don’t want the filling to leak out during baking. Chill the dough in the pan while you make the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  4. To make the filling, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots with some salt and pepper until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced pear and ham.
  5. In a large bowl, blend together the cream, cream cheese, a few gratings of nutmeg, the eggs, and the yolks until smooth. Stir in the blue cheese, the pear and ham mixture, and the parsley and thyme.
  6. Set the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the filling, using a spoon to make sure the ingredients in the filling are evenly distributed. Please figs in a pattern on top, if using. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned, the filling still jiggles, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool until firm enough to slice, then serve warm or at room temperature.

    Pear Fig Quiche

Honeyed Apricot Flatbread with Rosemary

Apricot Flatbread 2

It’s truly summer. Lots of time away, running our five kids to swim, play, hike, visit cousins and squeezing in a vacation or two. So, I’m missing my normal kitchen time just a little. As part of my hopes to reconnect (with my kitchen), I started a sponge for ciabatta last night. Unfortunately, I was thinking about the timing today very well, and since we had a crazy day of violin lessons, meeting with middle school counselors, celebrating the birth of my cousin’s baby, and swimming, there was no chance for the ciabatta to become ciabatta. So, instead, I turned it into flatbreads to serve along with a fresh tomato soup, and then starting digging through the fridge for toppings. I did a couple with cheese and pepperoni for the kids, two with fresh figs and goat cheese, and then I tried something new, needing to use all the apricots on my counter (obviously, I just used a couple, but the rest are now happily stored in my freezer). I think I will do this one again, perhaps with plums or peaches next time. This idea is a riff from a memorable appetizer in Lisbon many years ago where I had the marriage of honey and rosemary and cheese for the first time. Still beloved!  So, here’s a little idea, if you need one, for a fun, and a little bit sweet, summer meal.

Honeyed Apricot Flatbread with Rosemary

pizza dough (any kind, but here’s my favorite)
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
4-5 fresh apricots (or peaches or plums), sliced in half and pitted
2 T. honey
a handful of rosemary

Preheat oven to 475 degrees, with a pizza stone, if you have one placed in the lower half of the oven.

After the pizza dough has had its final rise, shape it by stretching into a circle or oblong and place on parchment paper. Top with ricotta, dolloping it and then lightly spreading it. Then, place apricots on top, with the skins on the bottom. Drizzle honey over the entire flatbread, then sprinkle rosemary and a little bit of salt.

Using a pizza peel, place the flatbread on the pizza stone. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until browned on top and bottom. Remove to a rack to let it cool for at least ten minutes before serving.

Apricot Flatbread 1