Tonight’s dinner involved Cacio E Pere: pecorino, pear, and mascapone concealed in ravioli reminiscent of pillows, bubbled in a skillet of butter and thin, caramelized onions.
The process (pictured below) was altogether daunting yet therapeutic, tedious yet rewarding, and I found myself eating extra filling like cookie dough once the last bit of salty burnt caramel was scraped from the pan. Everything was arguably the best part, right up to the black pepper that dusted each plate.
Shout out to two of my lovely readers, Lily & Lilian! Thanks for never doubting me or my blog captions!
1 tsp kosher salt
4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb grated pecorino
1 c mascapone
salt & pepper
9 Bartlett pears, peeled and grated
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- In a standing mixer with a dough hook, mix flour and salt. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, then the oil and a few teaspoons of water until a dough comes together.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let sit for an hour.
- Meanwhile, stir together the cheeses and pear, then refrigerate.
- Split the dough in half, then roll out thin. On one half of the dough, place rows of about a tsp. of filling at least 1 inch apart. Brush some water around each mound of filling, then fold over the other half of dough and press down around each ravioli. Using a ravioli cutter or a knife, cut out each piece of pasta.
- In a large skillet, caramelize the onion in about 4 tbsp. of butter over low heat. Add some sugar (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining butter and cook until the butter is slightly browned.
- Cook the ravioli in salty boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through. Then, transfer the ravioli to the skillet with a slotted spoon.
- Garnish with pepper and pecorino.
If you’re like me, you get nostalgic about your food. If you are me, it’s breakfast food specifically. Like anyone who subconsciously memorizes the little things, the smell of a relative’s basement, which light switch controls the lights as opposed to the ceiling fan, and how you hold a doorknob in place just the right way to open your bedroom door, (to name a few), there are sentimentally valuable aspects to what you ate as a kid when you revisit them as a slightly older kid. For example, I’m occasionally ridiculed for prioritizing Lucky Charms as my snack of choice. However, it isn’t just the emotionally and physically drained feeling that comes with a bowl of sugar cereal that I love, it’s the fact that it tastes like those times I was successful enough to be granted permission to eat charms for breakfast. Pop-Tarts are another example, but these are on a whole different playing field. There’s nothing that comes close to the integrity of an original frosted strawberry Pop-Tart, but these blackberry ones are the ones you want to eat.
Make the Pop-Tarts
- 12 oz blackberries
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. water
- 2 9-inch pie crusts (store-bought or homemade)
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 tbsp. milk or water
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. juice from the blackberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, heat the blackberries, zest, sugar, and water over low heat. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing the berries with a wooden spoon, until the jam is thick and syrupy.
- To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar, milk, zest, and blackberry juice. If the glaze isn’t thin enough, add another teaspoon of milk.
- Roll out the pie crust and cut 5 x 4 inch rectangles with a pizza cutter. To make each shape uniform, first cut out a rectangle of cardboard and use it as a stencil for the other crusts.
- Spoon a few tablespoons of the blackberry jam onto the middle of a rectangle. Brush the borders of the pop-tart with egg wash (egg yolk + 1 tsp water), cover the rectangle with another section of crust, and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. Brush the pop-tarts with more egg wash.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pop-tarts are golden brown. Once they’re cool, frost them with the lemon-blackberry glaze.
As I tested this recipe earlier today, I was told, “Whatever you’re making smells delicious,” but at this point in time there were only two things on the stove: nearly three sticks of salted butter browning in two separate saucepans. One would eventually bubble into a toasty caramel with sugar and a little bit of milk, while the other would be joined by even more butter for the cookie dough. This situation sums up the inspiration for these cookies: the happy power of butter, which, in this case, provides all the flavor for the recipe. Three major reasons for the different uses of this ingredient in these cookies: brown butter offers an insane depth of flavor where normal chocolate chips cookies lack, caramel is all I need in this crazy, crazy life, and how else would I come up with pretentious recipe titles without it?
Tip: If you don’t have/can’t find chocolate “chunks,” melt a bag of normal chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals and stir smooth, then fill a piping bag (no tip) or a Ziploc bag (snip the end) with the melted chocolate, and pipe chocolate chunks onto baking sheets lined with wax paper. Let them cool until they’re set.
Make the Cookies
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 1/4 tsp of baking powder
- 2 sticks of butter
- Chocolate chunks (24 oz)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- caramel (recipe cut in 1/2)
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- In a saucepan, brown 1 stick of butter on low heat, swirling occasionally until there are dark bits at the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the second stick of butter. Stir until melted.
- Pour the butter into a large bowl and mix in sugar, then the eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and stir until combined, then add the chocolate chunks.
- Scoop dough onto the prepared pans and bake for 10-12 minutes. At around 8 minutes, drizzle them with caramel and return them to the oven to finish baking for a couple minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and more caramel.
The difference between fresh pasta, an honest pile of flour fused with a few cold eggs to form a resilient yellow dough, and store bought shapes punched dry with an instructional cooking time ranging from 8-12 minutes, is peace of mind. First, it’s the thought of something so unmistakably rustic that it must be homemade, coinciding with the thought that the substantial difference between the flavors of store bought and homemade is reason enough to do it yourself, even if it takes patience. Then, it’s the flavor of the pasta itself.
Here’s some dinnertime footage from last night’s pasta night:
2 1/4 cups of flour
a lil salt
In this world– in these trying times– only a few things surpass the satisfaction of Lucky Charms with cold milk.* The unmistakable faulty blue tint of the milk once you’ve finished the marshmallows and dry cat food always evokes nostalgia, mostly because sugary cereal still tastes like rebellion. The milk, once again, full of sin when the charms are finally gone, is arguably the best part of the entire process.
For these milkshakes, the inspiration is the color, flavor, and ultimate fulfillment that Lucky Charms cereal imparts on whole milk. Don’t even bother if you’re too scared to buy whole milk. I’ll bully you if you use 1%.
*There are only a few things I dislike more than the feeling about an hour after eating Lucky Charms in the middle of the day.
Make the Lucky Shakes
For the marshmallow fluff (optional):
- 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
- 1 tsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp water
- drop of green food dye (optional)
- Stir everything together and microwave in 10 seconds intervals, mixing in between.
- Stir until smooth and set aside.
For the shakes (serves 2)
- 5 big scoops of vanilla ice cream
- 2 cups of whole milk
- 2 cups of Lucky Charms
- Whipped cream (optional)
- In a large bowl, steep the cereal in the milk. Cover and let sit in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. Strain the lucky milk into another bowl.
- In a blender (I use a Kitchen Aid for thicker shakes), blend the ice cream, adding the lucky milk gradually until you reach a desired consistency. If you use a standing mixer, stir the milk and ice cream on low until you get a thick consistency.
- Garnish with Lucky Charms marshmallows, green marshmallow fluff, and whipped cream.
A healthy alternative for those who love eating lead-based paint. An unhealthy alternative for vegetables and other health-related food items due to the fact that they’re cookies.
The method is simple: alternate piping thick films of dyed icing onto the center of a sugar cookie until the colors create a marbled rainbow effect and spill over the sides.
Here’s the cookie tutorial!:
For the icing:
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 6 tsp milk
- 6 tsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Food dye (I used the 3 primary colors)
1. Whisk together the milk and powdered sugar, then add the corn syrup and vanilla.
2. Divide the icing into 3 portions and dye each with your colors of choice.
Alternate piping thick films of dyed icing onto the center of a sugar cookie until the colors create a marbled rainbow effect and spill over the sides. Use cooled, flat sugar cookies for the best results.
Unlike cookies, pies, or ice cream, when I decide to make a cake, it becomes my baby for the following 48 hours. Maybe because the time it takes to complete the entire process is highly underrated, but it’s probably also due to the fact that a really good cake takes a lot of figuring how to go about the smallest details. Some are obvious, such as what flavor of cake you’re really in the mood for, but the very same flow chart that begins with chocolate or vanilla leads to a plethora of other options, leading to decisions, which then leads to the task of executing them.
In any case, there is a specific satisfaction that comes with baking something for fun, no matter what the dessert, as opposed to baking for an event or even for someone in particular. Exhibit A would be taking less than a minute to marvel at your finished product before slicing into it with a knife and a fork.
Check out the video of my cake process here!
Make the cake
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 3 cups white sugar
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups room temperature milk
- 5 egg whites (@ room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- a pinch of ground ginger
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter & flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and shortening together, then add the sugar gradually. Once incorporated, add the egg whites gradually, then add the orange juice and zest.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour + spices + baking powder)
4. Alternate the wet and dry ingredients while mixing into the butter/egg mixture (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
For the frosting
2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter
1 cup shortening
1 bag (2 lb, 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
4 tbsp. milk
rosemary syrup (1 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar + 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary — simmer together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes then chill and strain)
1. Beat the butter and shortening together, then add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Beat in syrup and milk and mix until the consistency is light and fluffy.
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Lauren at Sweet and Southern Lifestyle.
5-ingredient microwave Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
Pro-tip: make in the cheesiest mug possible
3/4 cup milk
3 tsp white sugar
1 tsp water
1/4 cup chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
marshmallows (optional but how dare you if you opt out)
1. In a glass, heat the milk in the microwave with 30 second intervals, or until hot.
2. In a mug, dissolve the sugar in the water, and microwave at 15 second intervals, swirling in between, until the caramel is golden brown and bubbling (be careful! It’s very hot).
3. Pour the hot milk into the caramel mug and stir constantly, until the caramel is incorporated and the milk is tinted light amber. Add a pinch of salt.
4. Add the chocolate chips and wait a minute before stirring to combine. Enjoy!
For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a mint-flavored anything. Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or candy, I have always steered clear of mint chip, thin mints, and peppermint patties, respectively. If it registers as the same flavor of my toothpaste, I’m not into it. However, I will say that the difference between the flavors of fresh mint and bottled peppermint oil or tictacs is too immense not to call them by completely different names. The fact that all mint is considered to be on the same playing field is devastating, my point being that I enjoy desserts made with fresh mint, and do not enjoy desserts made with artificial mint flavoring. In the title, I made it my business to clarify: this is strictly fresh mint and nothing else.
Make sure the pastry of your tart shell is cooked all the way through before filling, or you’ll have a hard time making clean slices. Also be sure to leave some excess dough around the edges, as the puff pastry will shrink as it bakes.
Make the tart:
- 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream (+ more for whipped cream)
- 10 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or 10 oz chocolate chips/chunks)
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 1 cup of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out a sheet of thawed puff pastry dough and lay it in a 9 in pie plate, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. (The middle will puff up, but once removed from the oven, press it down with a spoon.
- To make the mint syrup, crush the chopped mint with the sugar in a small saucepan with a wooden spoon. Add 1/2 cup of water and turn the stove on medium-low. Let the mixture simmer until it’s thickened slightly and is tinted light green. Strain the syrup through a sieve and set aside.
- In another saucepan, heat the cream with the corn syrup until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the mint syrup and stir until combined.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the puff pastry shell, cover and refrigerate for an hour (or until completely cool). Make whipped cream and add 3 tablespoons of mint syrup to the cream before whipping. Spread the whipped cream over the tart and refrigerate until set.
Enjoy! <3, B
Happy anniversary, RDD! More (several) things (dessert) coming (soon)!