Kitchen Therapy


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Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars

IMG_8425.JPGThis week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie group is meant to be Pistachio Berry Slims. It looks like a beautiful cookie, however when you have anaphylactic children it is just not going to be an option.
I debated whether I should try replacing the pistachio with coconut however last minute I decided to catch up on a recipe I had missed.
Dorie said these bars are inspired from a buttermilk pie she had at Husk restaurant. I have the Husk cookbook by Sean Brock, Heritage, and love leafing though it! So I knew right then that this recipe was going to be my substitute this week.

fullsizeoutput_1216The recipe was really simple. A cornmeal biscuit crust that is baked golden, then topped with fresh blueberries and a vanilla flavoured buttermilk custard.
Seriously? What is there not to love about this?!
It is not too sweet, it almost feels like a light summery dessert. I served it with a dollop of cream however I really do not think it needs any. It is perfect the way it is.
The tanginess of the blueberries is wonderful!

I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to go back and make this recipe. It is something I will definitely make again and I think next time some sour morello cherries!
To see what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group is making this week, please click here.


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Crack Pie

fullsizeoutput_112e.jpegThis is what I love about cooking.
You can bring the world home.
I don’t have plans to visit New York any time soon, so to be able to open a cookbook and recreate an iconic recipe, from a chef I admire so much, is such a wonderful thing.
I have wanted to make Crack Pie for a long time now and watching Chef’s Table: Pastry gave me the push I needed.
I found freeze dried sweetcorn powder online from the Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot and as soon as it arrived on my door step I was ready!

The recipe, other than sourcing that one ingredient, has a few steps. However, every step is simple and the entire thing can be made over a few days (I really liked that Tosi gave instructions on how to store each step as well).

I wasn’t sure if I would like this. When there are rave reviews and hype, I think expectations rise and then I never know if I genuinely don’t like the thing in question or if I have built it up to such huge proportions in my mind that nothing could ever live up to what it has now become! So going into this I was cautious to not get too excited.

I also wondered what on earth I was going to do with TWO pies!

The family were confused about what was in the pie. I think in their minds they were thinking apple pie has apples, meat pie has meat… crack pie has…crack???

They were not keen to try it. I had to force them. It took one bite for them to finish off the entire pie in a few hours. So now we all understand why Crack Pie is called Crack Pie ūüôā

And I am glad there was a second pie in the freezer to eat at a more leisurely pace, once we calmed down from the frenzy that surrounded our first experience with this pie.
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How lucky am I to be able to experience a treat from the other side of the world in my own kitchen.

Crack Pie by Christina Tosi from the Milk Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook
This recipe makes 2 pies (which you think you don’t need but in hindsight you realise was genius!). The recipe can be found easily on the internet so I’ve added it here with slightly modified wording.
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1 recipe Oat Cookie (recipe follows)

15g or 1 Tablespoon tightly packed light brown sugar
1g or 1/4 teaspoon salt

55g butter, melted

1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe follows)

Icing sugar for dusting

1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand.
3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball.
4. Divide the oat crust evenly between two 25cm pie tins. Using your fingers and palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are even covered. Use the pie shells immediately or wrap well in cling film and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
5. Put both pie shells on a baking tray. Divide the crack pie filling evenly between the crusts. The filling should fill them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
6. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 170C. Depending on your oven, it may take 5mins or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven reaches 170C close the door and bake the pies for 5 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s eye centre but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
*In hindsight I should have left mine for another 5 minutes, I only realised this once I cut into them. As my slices sat there they slowly turned into a puddle. But who cares! The taste was still there.
7.Gently take the tray of crack ones int if the Ives and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. Then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours or overnight to condense the filling for a dense final product Рfreezing is the signature technique  and result of a perfectly executed crack pie.
8. If not serving the pies right away, wrap well in cling film. In the fridge, they will keep fresh for 5 days. In the freezer they will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pies from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost for a minimum of 1 hour before you’re ready to get in there.
9. Serve your crack pie cold!
Decorate your pies with icing sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.
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Oat Cookie Recipe 
115g butter at room temperature
75g light brown sugar
40g granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

80g bread flour
120g porridge oats
0.5g or 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
0.25g or a pinch bicarbonate soda
2g or 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Non stick cooking spray

1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a free standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle or flat beater attachment and cream together on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy an duple yellow in colour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium high land beat for 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white. 3. On low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix for a minute until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Spray a 25x31cm baking tray and line with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Plop the cookie dough in the center of the tray and with a spatula, spread it out until it is 5mm thick. The dough won’t cover the entire tray and this is OK.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie – caramelised on top and puffed slightly but set firmly. Cool completely before using. Wrapped well in cling film, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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Crack Pie Filling
* Tosi states for this recipe you must use a free standing electric mixer with a paddle or flat beater attachment. Also the mixer is to be kept on low speed through the entire mixing process. If you mix at a higher speed you will incorporate too much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey – which is the essence of crack pie.
300g granulated sugar
180g light brown sugar
20g milk powder
24g freeze dried sweetcorn powder
6g or 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

225g butter, melted

160g or 180ml whipping or double cream
2g or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 egg yolks

1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, sweetcorn powder and salt in the bowl of a free standing electric mixture fitted with the paddle or flat beater attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.
2. Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
3. Add the cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
4. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine. Be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low speed until it is.
5. Use the filling right away or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


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How a Cheating Kristen Stewart ruined my Blueberry Pie

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Blueberry Nectarine Pie.
It’s winter here in Australia, so there are no nectarines to be found.
I replaced them with strawberries.
What could go wrong…?

Now please indulge me for a second as I digress…
While buying the ingredients for the pie I saw this magazine sitting on the shelves as I sat in the grocery line waiting to pay. The look on Kristen Stewart’s face caught my attention.

I’ve come across that look many times in my career.
Reason and caution go out the window.
You are fully immersed in your drama and all your senses are alive!
Ideally people would be striving to achieving this mental state in a healthy way by identifying what is missing in their lives and setting goals that would satisfy these needs.
Unfortunately, through my work, ¬†I’ve come to understand¬†achieving this in a¬†healthy¬†way ¬†is really hard work!
So the distractions of choice are usually affairs and drugs!
(Or in my case, food!)
So with this all going through my mind, I somehow decided that this pie would be so mind blowingly great I too would lose sense and reason!
Yes, in hindsight I can see it’s bonkers and what was I thinking!
But I wanted the pie to be that good!!!

My husband and kids enjoyed it.
I thought it looked good, but I really didn’t like it at all!
My husband thought I was crazy until I told him of my expectations.
After he stopped laughing, he assured me no pie was going to live up to those expectations and to try it with ice cream! We need someone sane in the family!

To check out the recipe¬†visit Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake or Hilary at Manchego’s Kitchen.


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Chicken B’stilla

I love cookbooks! I love to read them, take in the photos and then stack them lovingly on the bookshelf, full of good intentions to return soon and often!

But if I’m to be honest, I don’t return soon enough or often enough. And if I’m to be really honest, when I decide to make something from one of my beloved books, it’s usually something I am comfortable with. You know… we all have our comfort zones. Our grooves… Okay! Our ruts! I admit it! As much as I like to think I’m open minded and expose myself to new experiences, my initial reaction is “play it safe!”

Now that’s no way to live life!

And that’s why I joined French Fridays With Dorie. I knew myself enough to know that I would follow through on a commitment and I would cook recipes that I would normally dismiss.
Recipes like this one!

A “sweetly spiced” chicken pie which has “as it does in Morocco, a dusting of cinnamon sugar over the crust.” Ummm… no thank you!

But I made a commitment…

So I found myself marinating the chicken in onions and spices.

 

Boiling and simmering ’till “falling-off-the-bone tender.” Then whisking, reducing and thickening some more.

 

Spooning into stacked and buttered filo sheets.

 

Then topping with some more stacked and buttered filo sheets before tucking the edges in “as though you were making a bed.”

 

Baking ’till golden brown and serving warm.

 

Yes, I skipped the dusting of cinnamon sugar on the top (what can I say?! I really wanted the kids and husband to eat it!).
I also skipped the almonds (my daughter is allergic).

The final result… everyone loved it! Even my 3 year old!

The only issue we had was that it was so rich and flavourful we couldn’t eat too much of it so I had to make sure we had other bits and pieces to fill up on.

Best of all… feeling amazingly good about myself for stepping out of my comfort zone!

Thanks French Fridays With Dorie!