Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Linzer Torte

This is my last baking project of 2013! And it sort of sums up where I think my baking is headed. I think.

I have never tasted a Linzer Torte before now. I've had cookies that are sort of reminiscent of it (in both flavor and design), but that's the closest I've come. It has always seemed like an exotically European dessert and, it turns out, that's exactly what it tastes like. In all the best ways. Yes, the crust is a little difficult to handle. But other than that, it's a very easy recipe. And frankly, the fact that the crust behaves the way it does isn't really a big deal. By the time it's all put together and baked, you can't tell what is crust and what is filling, and whether your lattice is an honest-to-goodness lattice or a cheat (spoiler, mine was a cheat).

The taste is sweet, but not too sweet. The texture is complex and nutty and crunchy. It tastes distinctly European, and I don't even know how to describe what I mean by that. Just trust me.

And here's why I think it's a good summation of my baking style--it's rustic. Not particularly fancy-looking. But the taste is perfect. A little tart, a little sweet, a little complex. The more I bake the more I discover that I'm just not one for fancy desserts. I think they have their place. But that place is decidedly not in my kitchen.

TGIP Rating--smitten kitchen's Linzer Torte--KEEPER. It might become a Christmas tradition. Festive and delightful.

Next up: I feel like I didn't do much baking this year, but I'm going to do a 2013 Year-in-Review anyway. Revisit and see what stands out.

P.S. In other news, I filled my first pie order. One cherry and one apple (plus some pie dough cookies) for a dear woman I was fortunate to share the stage with this year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Eggnog Pie

Remember how easy Buttermilk Pie was? This is the same thing. Literally. Okay, I made a couple of adjustments because of the extra sweetness of eggnog. You'll want to taste the mixture before you pour it in your pie crust, because different brands of eggnog have varying levels of sweetness. Add a little more sugar if you need to, a little more spice, a pinch of salt to punch up the flavors that are there. Do it! It's easy! And festive!

Okay, this is a cheat. I forgot to take a picture. So this is from last Christmas when I made eggnog pie but it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. 

Here's the recipe.

1 stick butter (melted)
1 cup sugar
3 Tbls. flour
3 eggs (beaten)
1 cup buttermilk
1-¼ tsp. vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (or nutmeg, depending on tastes) (extra pinch/shake or so, to taste)
1/4 tsp salt (extra pinch or so, to taste)

Whisk ingredients together and pour into a 9 inch pie crust (I prebaked my crust and was happy with how crispy it stayed, but you don’t have to). Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes.

TGIP Rating--Eggnog Pie--Now that I've made adjustments (mainly in the amount of sugar), it's a KEEPER.

Next up: I'm doing only the smallest amount of holiday baking this year. This. That's it. And maybe a pie order for a woman who played my mother on stage. Only for her.