Friday, February 26, 2021

Meyer Lemon Marmalade


We got nine Meyer lemons from our dwarf tree this year. (Well, there were ten in all, but a squirrel got to one of them. I don’t know why squirrels would eat some of a lemon and leave tomatoes untouched, but there you have it.) I used some for a double-recipe of Meyer lemon pudding cake in a large oval dish, which was delicious. And then I decided to finally tackle Meyer lemon marmalade. I halved the amounts: 4 of my lemons weighed 1 ½ pounds, so I used that along with 1 ½ cups of sugar. It worked really well! The amounts below are the original ones. 

Making marmalade, jams and preserves in general has always intimidated me, because proper canning requires both equipment and know-how that I do not possess. So I decided to put my marmalade in two clean (not sterilized) jars and refrigerate them, making sure to use them up promptly. 

Toward the end of cooking, I wasn’t sure how to check that the marmalade had set. I remembered something about cold saucers – turns out I should have stashed several saucers in the freezer ahead of time. I did some quick googling and found this great post, which explains that another way to test it is to make sure it reaches between 217 °F and 221 °F. I may have overshot it slightly, because my thermometer takes a while to show the accurate temperature, but I was still overjoyed with the results! I thought it was absolutely delicious. 

I have the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook and I fully intend to use it someday! I think maybe I need to take a class on this, or at the very least watch a video. And get some supplies, which also means storing the supplies. But making this marmalade wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, so I have renewed enthusiasm for this future version of me that would make preserves! 

12 organic Meyer lemons (3 pounds) 
3 cups sugar 

Rinse the lemons and pat dry. Halve the lemons crosswise and juice them, reserving the juice. Using a spoon, scrape the pulp and seeds from the halves. Using a sharp knife, slice the peels 1/8 inch thick. 

In a large, heavy saucepan, cover the strips with 8 cups of cold water and bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Drain the strips and rinse under cold running water. Blanch two more times; the final time, drain the strips but do not rinse them. 

Return the strips to the saucepan. Add the reserved juice and the sugar. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then skimming any foam, until the marmalade sets, about 30 minutes. (See note above.) 

Spoon the marmalade into 5 hot ½-pint canning jars, leaving ¼ inch of space at the top, and close with the lids and rings. To process, boil the jars for 15 minutes in water to cover. Let stand at room temperature for 2 days before serving. Refrigerate any open jars.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Marzipan and Orange Blossom Morning Buns

I meant to post more last week, but my heart wasn’t in it. We’ve been hit with some very cold (for Texas) weather and were without water for a few days, so I had other things on my mind. We were lucky to have electricity, and now water is back, albeit with a boil advisory. Hundreds of thousands of people in Texas are not so lucky. The Little Prince’s school might also be closed a while longer, as it seems to have sustained the most damage in the district. But I want to get back to normal, were it only so I feel like I’ve done one thing today, and I figured that the weekend is a good time for a breakfast bun recipe. 

The original version of these buns was from Love & Olive Oil. I served them on Christmas morning, and while I loved the flavors, I wasn’t crazy about them. They were very flaky, which was nice, but also unpleasantly sticky. It was the kind of confection for which you butter a muffin tin and dust it with sugar, then bake each bun in a little tin and flip them out of the pan when they are still very warm, or else they will never come out at all (and even then, they unrolled themselves quite a bit and were baked unevenly). I was so afraid of having some sort of dental emergency while eating them that they were clearly not enjoyable! So I decided to adapt them to a non-sticky format. 

I decided to use the dough recipe from these orange sweet rolls and keep the filling from the original recipe, reducing the sugar. I ended up using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar, too, more like the chocolate tahini challah buns. I also made them in a pan rather than a muffin tin, which I find easier. And as I did for the first batch, I changed up the spices a bit (the version below is mine). This second batch was a big hit! 

The recipe specifically said to stay away from tubes of marzipan sold in grocery stores, because those tend to be rock-hard, and the key here is that you want it to be workable. I bought this one. It is 16 ounces of marzipan, so I had enough to make these buns twice. That being said, I’d consider just using more marzipan next time even if that means rolling it thicker, because I had trouble rolling it out to the proper size – feel free to use more than is called for below. 

For the rolls 
3 Tbsp. warm water 
1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ tsp.) 
2 Tbsp. sugar, divided 
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten, at room temperature 
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (zest the orange first and reserve the zest for the filling!) 
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil, cooled 
½ tsp. kosher salt 
1 2/3 cup cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface 

For the filling 
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted 
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest (from 1 medium orange, see above) 
1 pinch of ground cinnamon 
1 pinch ground nutmeg 
1 pinch of salt
8 oz. high-quality marzipan (see note above) powdered sugar, for rolling marzipan 
2 Tbsp. orange blossom water, divided 

For the rolls 
Pour 3 Tbsp. warm water (105 °F–115 °F) into a small bowl. Add yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar and whisk to combine. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. 

Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg yolk, orange juice, oil, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Add 1 2/3 cups flour and yeast mixture. Beat until dough just comes together. (At this point, I switched to the dough hook and didn’t need to knead by hand.) Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead several times with floured hands until smooth, about 5 minutes (dough will be sticky). 

Spray a clean large bowl with nonstick spray. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. 

For the filling 
Meanwhile, Line a 9”x13” pan with parchment paper and grease it. Set aside. 

Mix together the powdered sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a 9”x18” rectangle, with the long edge closest to you. 

Lightly dust a clean surface with powdered sugar. Roll marzipan into a 7”x18” rectangle. (You may need to knead your marzipan into a workable dough if it is on the hard side. You can also use almond paste, just knead in powdered sugar as needed until it forms a workable dough.) 

Evenly brush dough with 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water. Lay marzipan on top, lining up the bottom long edge closest to you as well as short sides. There should be a few inches of dough along the top edge; this is important for the buns to seal properly. 

Brush marzipan with remaining 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water, then sprinkle evenly with the sugar mixture. 

Starting with the long edge closest do you, tightly roll into a tight cylinder; pinch to seal along edge. Using a sharp serrated knife, gently cut cylinder into 12 even discs 1½-inches thick. Gently pull the knife back and forth through the dough, letting the teeth do the work; do not squish or press down too much. Place the rolls in the prepared pan (cut-side up would be prettier). 

Set pan in a warm spot (like on top of the preheating oven) to rise until buns are noticeable puffed, about 45 minutes to 1 hour (slightly longer if they had been refrigerated). Preheat the oven to 350 °F. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Let cool before serving. (You *could* make a glaze for them with orange blossom water and powdered sugar, but I find them sweet enough as it is.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Salade-repas au porc et aux canneberges

C’est mon amie la Maman des Zigotos qui a mis une photo d’un plat alléchant sur Facebook, en précisant qu’il s’agissait de cette salade-repas au porc et aux canneberges. Cependant, sa version avait l’air bien meilleure, et c’est parce qu’elle avait ajouté de la roquette. Je la rajoute donc dans les ingrédients ci-dessous, en précisant que vous pourriez en mettre encore davantage! 

Je l’ai faite un peu à ma manière aussi, parce que je ne voulais pas acheter de nouveaux ingrédients. Alors j’ai pris du cocktail de canneberges au lieu du jus de canneberges pur, du vinaigre de vin rouge au lieu du vinaigre de canneberges, des pignons au lieu des noisettes (on peut les omettre carrément)… J’ai aussi augmenté certaines quantités, pour avoir des restes. Adaptez à votre goût! Moi, j’ai adoré ça. 

Pour la vinaigrette 
2 c. à soupe de jus de canneberge pur 
1 c. à soupe de sirop d'érable 
2 c. à thé de moutarde de Dijon 
1 c. à thé de vinaigre de canneberge ou de framboise (j’en ai mis 2 c. à thé) 
¼ tasse d'huile d'olive 
sel et poivre, au goût 

Pour la salade 
1 pomme rouge (j'ai pris une Envy), non pelée, sans le cœur, en dés 
2 tasses de riz à grains entiers étuvé (de type Uncle Ben's), cuit (je suis partie de 1 tasse sec) 
1 ½ tasse de filet de porc, cuit, coupé en dés (j’ai fait cuire 1 filet de porc) 
¼ tasse de fromage cheddar fort sans lactose, en dés (j’en avais ½ tasse) 
¼ tasse de noisettes rôties à sec (facultatif), concassées ou entières (voir note plus haut) 
½ tasse de canneberges séchées 
2 branches céleri, hachées 
1 poivron jaune, en petits dés 
2 oignons verts, hachés (partie verte et blanche) 
1 grosse poignée de roquette (ou davantage) 

Dans un grand bol, mélanger tous les ingrédients de la vinaigrette, sauf l'huile. Verser l'huile en un mince filet et fouettant vigoureusement pour créer une émulsion. (Je fais toujours ça dans un petit pot.) 

Ajouter d'abord les dés de pomme dans le bol de vinaigrette et mélanger pour enrober, afin de prévenir le brunissement des pommes. 

Ajouter ensuite le reste des ingrédients (sauf la roquette). Mélanger délicatement et ajuster les assaisonnements au goût. 

Répartir la roquette dans des assiettes creuses, puis garnir de la salade.

Tofu magique

J’avais déjà entendu parler du tofu magique de Loounie Cuisine, mais je ne l’avais encore jamais apprêté. Il a suffi que Chère Sœur m’en vante les mérites récemment pour que je me lance! J’ai fait une double recette, pour avoir des restes (que j’ai réchauffés au four plutôt qu’au micro-ondes). Quand les enfants ont demandé ce que c’était, j’ai appelé ça des « croquettes » et je les ai servies avec du ketchup. Le Renard a daigné y goûter, ce qui est une victoire, et le Petit Prince en a redemandé! Les adultes ont bien aimé ça aussi. J’ai servi ça avec une salade de légumes à la thaïlandaise. Les quantités ci-dessous font 4 portions. 

Je partage également le lien suivant (en anglais), un excellent guide sur le tofu publié dans Bon Appétit le mois dernier. 

1 bloc de 450-454 g de tofu extra-ferme, épongé dans un linge sec 
1 c. à soupe de vinaigre de cidre de pommes ou de jus de citron 
1 c. à soupe de sauce soya ou tamari 
1 c. à soupe de sirop d’érable 
2 c. à soupe de fécule de maïs 
30 g (½ tasse) de levure alimentaire en flocons 
1 c. à soupe d’huile végétale, pour la cuisson 

Préchauffer le four à 375 °F. Tapisser une plaque de cuisson de papier parchemin ou d’un silpat. 

Dans un bol, défaire le tofu avec les doigts en morceaux de la grosseur d’une bouchée. Les morceaux n’ont pas besoin d’être uniformes. (Je trouve que c’est justement le fait que le tofu soit déchiré avec les doigts, plutôt que tranché, qui fait son charme!) Ajouter le jus de citron, la sauce soya et le sirop d’érable. Bien mélanger. Ajouter la fécule de maïs et la levure alimentaire. Bien mélanger à nouveau pour enrober tous les morceaux. 

Déposer les morceaux de tofu sur la plaque préparée. Cuire 25 minutes, ou jusqu’à ce que les morceaux soient bien dorés. (On peut aussi les faire cuire à la poêle, mais je préfère ne pas me compliquer la vie! J’ai profité du temps de cuisson pour faire ma salade en accompagnement.)

Monday, February 15, 2021

Cheater Cassoulet

It is *really* cold in San Antonio this week, and we’ve even got a significant snow fall. I mean, I know it’s colder-than-average in most of North America right now, and I’ve certainly known much colder temperatures in Canada. But here it feels more worrisome, because South Texas just isn’t built for it. For one thing, the houses aren’t insulated nearly as well as the last places where I lived in Canada, so it’s quite cold even indoors. (This is a constant annual complaint of mine – the ground floor of our house, like many, is tile set directly on the foundation, and the ceilings are high. Great to keep the house cool in summer, but absolutely freezing in the winter, to the point where I am often physically miserable.) Plus, even when the wind chill factor brought it down to – 40 degrees in Canada, we didn’t have freezing pipes. But here, there’s the very real threat that the pipes will freeze – if not in the house, then a water main in the street – and there could be a power outage. Of course, people don’t have winter tires, there are no trucks to clear snow, and no one to spread sand or salt, so driving is very hazardous as well. Schools are closed tomorrow, perhaps even longer. 

All this to say that given this cold, cold day, I want to eat something warm and comforting. Cassoulet would hit the spot, but the real thing takes something like 3 days to make from scratch, whereas this version from Real Simple takes about an hour. When I made this, I used pork andouille (the only one I could find), but it was too spicy for my liking. I’d use a smoked sausage next time. It was really great otherwise! 

¼ cup olive oil, divided 
1 12-oz. package andouille chicken sausage (see note above), pricked with a fork 
1 cup panko 
1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt, divided 
1 yellow onion, chopped 
1 carrot, grated 
4 cloves garlic, crushed 
1 lb. ground pork 
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
2 Tbsp. tomato paste 
1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes 
2 sprigs thyme, plus leaves for serving 
1 15.5-oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add sausage; cook, turning often, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add panko and ¼ teaspoon salt to pot; cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 

Wipe pot clean. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add ground pork, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; cook, breaking up pork with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook until darkened and coating pork, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1¾ cups water, crushed tomatoes, and thyme, scraping up browned bits; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring often, until sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, diagonally slice sausage. 

Add beans and sliced sausage to pot. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with panko and thyme leaves before serving. (The seasoned panko can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days, while the rest of the stew is refrigerated and warmed up before being topped and served.)

Friday, February 12, 2021

Buttermilk Biscuits

I ended up making two different kinds of buttermilk biscuits recently. First, I tried the ones in Jessica Fechtor’s Stir. They were quick and super easy to make as well as delicious, especially when warm, even though they were a bit homely-looking. I was delighted with them when they were fresh out of the oven, though! I got a total of 14 biscuits, so I froze 6 of them and later pulled them out to make creamed chicken and biscuits; I served the first batch with cream of carrot soup

Then I decided to try the (apparently) famous biscuits from the Fox in the Snow bakery (just scroll all the way down for the recipe and a video demonstration with a lot of explanations). I found them via The Kitchn and Instagram. They call for a whole lot of flour and butter and are so flaky that they’re more like the lovechild of a traditional biscuit and a croissant. They are also the tallest biscuits you’ve ever seen, coming in at about 3 inches. Mine fell over while baking, but you know, aim for the moon and you’ll still land among the stars and all that! The original recipe has you brush them with salted honey butter and serve them with jam, which sounds fabulous, but I decided to go the less decadent route and serve them plain. 

What I need to make clear about these biscuits is that… they will ruin you for all other biscuit recipes out there. I mean, I was disappointed when I saw that they had fallen over, but OMG, they were *so* good! And they’re actually pretty quick to make, too. There’s nothing to redeem them from a nutritional standpoint, so I can’t justify making them too often, but their memory is haunting me… 

5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface 
1 ½ tsp. granulated sugar 
3 ½ tsp. baking powder 
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt (I used half as much Morton brand kosher salt) 
½ tsp. baking soda 
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) lactose-free butter, chilled 
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 Tbsp. vinegar topped up with lactose-free milk) 
¼ cup lactose-free cream (or coconut milk or, in my case, just lactose-free whole milk) 
2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend (I used 1 whole egg) 

Preheat oven to 375 °F. 

Pulse 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and chilled butter in a food processor until largest pieces of butter are the size of a nickel. Transfer to a large bowl with the remaining flour and toss together until butter appears evenly distributed. Add buttermilk over entire mixture all at once and knead mixture until a shaggy dough forms and almost no dry is left at the bottom of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a thick, roughly 12”-14” rectangle. 

Begin by doing a tri-fold: starting from the left, fold the dough halfway to the center, and then fold from the right over top of the first fold. Press down to make sure dough is compact and flatten out again to make a rectangle shape. Rotate dough 90 degrees and fold the dough from the top down. Again, press dough down and reshape into a rectangle. Rotate 90 degrees again, and fold from left to right. Repeat the process 2 more times, ending with a fold from left to right. (I found this description to be confusing – I folded the dough like a letter, and kept folding left-right after I rotated 90 degrees so that it felt more “even”.) 

Using a rolling pin, adjust dough to desired thickness, about ¾ of the height of your biscuit cutter (I left mine taller, more like in the video). Dip biscuit cutter into the flour to prevent sticking, and then cut straight up and down, careful not to twist the biscuit cutter (twisting it would prevent the biscuit from rising properly). You should get about 4 biscuits out of your first rectangle (I got 6). 

Press remaining dough together and reshape into a small rectangle. Cut out 2 additional biscuits. Repeat as many times as necessary until only a small amount of dough remains. (My biscuit cutter was 3” in diameter, and I made 6 biscuits the first time around and 9 more from the scraps. Were the first 6 more beautiful than the next 9? Yes. But would it have been a sin not to make the next 9 to get as much as I could out of that dough? Also yes.) 

Mix egg yolks and heavy cream with a fork until blended. Brush tops of biscuits lightly with mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. (You could also freeze some of them for later.) Serve with whatever makes you happy.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Pain orange-cannelle au goût du jour


Quand j’étais jeune adolescente, notre voisine d’en face, Mme F., avait une recette de pain-gâteau à l’orange et à la cannelle. Sa recette faisait deux pains-gâteaux, alors c’était pratique pour en faire congeler un – ou le donner aux voisins, et voilà comment nous avons découvert ce pain! J’ai retrouvé la recette dans mon cahier récemment et j’ai décidé de la refaire; ça faisait plus de 10 ans que je n’en avais pas mangé! 

Il fallait de la graisse alimentaire (shortening), que je n’utilise que très rarement maintenant. Et les deux pains-gâteaux étaient… très plats, beaucoup plus que dans mon souvenir. On en a passé tout un pour déjeuner, c’est dire! J’ai donc décidé de revisiter la recette. 

Pour la graisse végétale, c’est vrai qu’il existe plusieurs options, mais j’ai préféré un substitut. Alors après avoir lu ceci, j’ai décidé de la remplacer par du beurre et d’enlever un peu de liquide. Et tant qu’à râper le zeste d’une orange, pourquoi ne pas en utiliser le jus? J’ai donc remplacé le lait par une quantité moindre de jus d’orange. Les quantités ci-dessous sont les miennes. Et je n’en fais qu’un pain, qui dure environ deux jours chez nous. 

2 tasses de farine tout-usage 
1 ½ c. à thé de poudre à pâte 
1 c. à thé de bicarbonate de soude 
½ c. à thé de sel 
1 tasse + ¼ tasse de sucre 
2 c. à thé de cannelle zeste d’une orange, râpé 
½ tasse de beurre sans lactose, à la température de la pièce 
2 œufs 
1 c. à thé de vanille 
1 tasse de crème sure sans lactose 
2 c. à soupe de jus d’orange frais 

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Graisser un moule à pain de 9"x5". 

Tamiser ensemble la farine, la poudre à pâte, le bicarbonate de soude et le sel; mettre de côté. 

Dans un petit bol, mélanger ¼ tasse de sucre avec la cannelle et le zeste d’orange râpé. Mettre de côté. 

Dans un grand bol, défaire en crème le beurre avec 1 tasse de sucre jusqu’à consistance légère. Ajouter les œufs et la vanille et bien battre. Incorporer la crème sure et le jus d’orange, puis ajouter le mélange de farine et bien incorporer. 

Étaler la moitié de la pâte dans le moule. Soupoudrer la moitié du mélange de cannelle sur la pâte dans le moule. Recouvrir du reste de la pâte, puis saupoudrer du reste du mélange de cannelle. Avec un couteau, tracer des spirales dans la pâte. 

Faire cuire de 50 à 55 minutes. Laisser refroidir avant de démouler.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Vanilla Custard Slices


This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, and it’s a simplified version of the British classic. Simplified in the sense that it has been scaled down to use Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, the most widely available here in North America, and the methodology for the custard is also Deb Perelman’s “shortcut” version. If you’ve never seen this dessert before, you can think of it as an easy napoléon or a mille-feuille that’s missing a few pieces. It was easier to make than I expected, the slices held together quite well for transfer to a plate (though they are always a bit messy to eat), and it was delicious! 

2 8.5-oz. sheets ready-rolled puffed pastry, defrosted [from a 1.1-lb. (490-g.) package] 
¾ cup (150 g.) granulated sugar 
6 Tbsp. (50 g.) cornstarch 
¼ tsp. fine sea salt 
1 ½ tsp. vanilla bean paste, or 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 large eggs 
2 cups lactose-free whole milk 
¾ cup lactose-free cream or coconut milk 
3 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, diced 

Preheat oven to 375 °F. 

On a lightly floured counter, roll each sheet of puffed pastry to roughly a 9-inch square. Place each on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dock all over with a fork. Place another piece of parchment paper on top, then another 1 or 2 baking sheets on top of the parchment paper to weight it down. Bake in oven for 18 to 20 minutes, then remove the baking sheet weights and top sheet of paper and bake for another 5 to 10, or until golden brown. If pastry isn’t lightly browned, it will not stay flaky and crisp against the custard. Set pastry aside to cool completely. 

Line the base and sides of an 8”×8” cake pan with a large sheet of foil so the excess goes up the sides. It can help to first mold the foil over the outside of the baking pan and then transfer it inside, for fewer tears. 

Place first cooled square of pastry on a cutting board and use bottom of cake pan to cut it into a square that will fit tightly inside the pan. Repeat with second square. Place first square inside the pan; save second until needed. Set aside. 

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, starch, and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth and no pockets of sugar-starch remain before adding the second. Whisk in vanilla bean paste, and then, very gradually, whisking the whole time, pour in milk, then cream. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking the whole time. As the custard begins to bubble, it will thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until it is fully melted. If you want it extra silky-smooth, pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve before continuing (I didn’t bother and it was fine). 

Immediately pour the warm custard into the baking pan over the first sheet of puff pastry and spread evenly. Place the second sheet of pastry on top, pressing gently to secure in place. 

Wrap the pan in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the custard to fully set. Once chilled and set, use the foil to carefully lift the mixture from the tin. Dust with powdered sugar — you could use strips of paper to create a decoration — then use a sharp, serrated knife to cut it into slices. 

Stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, these will keep for a couple of days. They will keep for up to 5 days, but the pastry will soften a bit.

Rustic Pie

I came across this recipe for pizza rustica last Easter, as it is traditionally an Italian Easter pie. But I didn’t serve it at Easter, and I didn’t even call it pizza, because it’s nothing like what we know as pizza, and my kids would be entirely deflated if they heard the P-word and were served something else! (For etymology buffs, “pizza” just means pie in Italian, but in North America it’s definitely a very specific type of dish!) This rustic pie is more akin to a super-thick double-crusted quiche. 

It came out of the oven looking fabulous, but unfortunately, it wasn’t cooked all the way through! I’m not sure how to check for that, short of poking through the top with a thermometer? Would it be worth cooking the eggs to a soft scramble beforehand? It was still really good (I used pasteurized eggs, so I wasn’t really bothered by cross-contamination or anything) , and it was structurally better after a day in the fridge. You could make this vegetarian by using vegetables instead of meat – perhaps mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes would be a particularly good choice here. For the ricotta, I always make this recipe; to get the 16 ounces called for in this pie, you’ll need 8 cups (2 liters) of lactose-free whole milk. I didn’t have enough milk left, so I made 8 ounces of ricotta, used 4 ounces of lactose-free cream cheese that I had in the fridge, and was generous with the other cheeses in the recipe to compensate. 

For the crust 
4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tsp. kosher salt 
1 cup (2 sticks) lactose-free butter, cold and cut into cubes 
3 large eggs, beaten 
6 Tbsp. ice water (I needed 8 Tbsp.) 

For the filling 
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
3 cup baby spinach 
8 large eggs 
16 oz. lactose-free ricotta 
1 cup lactose-free shredded mozzarella 
½ cup freshly grated parmesan 
4 oz. salami, chopped 
kosher salt 
freshly ground black pepper 
egg wash, for brushing 

For the dough 
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add butter and cut into flour with a pastry cutter or your hands until pea-size and some slightly larger pieces form. Add eggs and knead with your hands to combine, then add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together. Cut off ⅓ of the dough. Form both pieces of dough into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour. 

For the filling 
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 minutes. Add garlic and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, combine eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, salami, and cooled sausage mixture. Season with salt and pepper. 

Preheat oven to 375 °F and grease an 8" springform pan with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger piece of dough into a 16" circle. Transfer to prepared pan, guiding dough upward and letting excess hang over the sides. Roll smaller piece of dough into a 12" circle. Pour filling over bottom crust, then top with smaller crust. Trim overhang to 1" then pinch crusts together and crimp. 

Cut slits in pie crust for steam to escape. Brush top with egg wash and bake until golden, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes, then remove springform ring to serve.