So, as you may know, next week is my last week at work.
And my feelings were still kind of hurt about that failed onion tart, so part of me just wanted to say to heck with all of my coworkers. But now I’m getting a little nostalgic and so I’m going to try to cover all of my bases and maybe try to get a lot of baking out of my system because I’m not sure if I’m going to have time to bake (and, quite frankly, I’m really not going to have willing subjects to dispose of everything either) in the coming months.
At the same time, folks have been asking me about recipes, too. So…I thought I’d outline what exactly I plan to make for the poor bastards who won’t be working with me for much longer.
1. Peanut Butter Pie
Epicurious, February 2000
Feelings Café, New Orleans, LA
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Makes 2 9-inch pies.
1 12-ounce box vanilla wafers, crushed in a food proccessor (3 cups crumbs)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 14-ounce condensed milk (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
8 to 10 ounces Cool Whip (3 cups), more for garnish
Semisweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
Unsalted peanuts, for garnish
1. Heat oven to 350 °F. Place vanilla wafer crumbs in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir to combine. Divide equally into two 9-inch pie tins. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool completely.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, and condensed milk. Mix until smooth. Add confectioner’s sugar. Using a large rubber spatula fold in 3 cups Cool Whip. Pour mixture into cooled pie shells. Decorate cake as desired with more cool whip. Garnish with chocolate shavings and peanuts. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
2. Flourless Chocolate Cake (Thanks for letting me cut in line for the bathroom, Garbotron!)
(I should confess I haven’t used this *exact* recipe before, but 94% of the people who found it on Epicurious would make it again!)
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.
Makes one 8-inch cake.
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling
Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)
Gourmet, November 1997
3. Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies (Happy Birthday, Electric Abs!)
from Endless Feasts, April 2003, edited by Ruth Reichl
The best recipe I have for brownies comes from a friend who got it from a magazine article about Katharine Hepburn. It is, apparently, her family’s.
1. Melt together 1 stick butter and 2 squares unsweetened chocolate and take the saucepan off the heat.
2. Stir in 1 cup sugar, add 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and beat the mixture well.
3. Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (In the original recipe, 1 cup chopped walnuts is added here as well.)
4. Bake the brownies in a buttered and floured 8-inch-square pan at 325°F for about 40 minutes.
You can cut these brownies into squares, once they have cooled, and eat them out of the pan, but it is so much nicer to pile them on a fancy plate, from which people are going to eat them with their hands anyway. If you want to smarten up your act you can put a square of brownie on a plate with a little blob of créme fraîche and a scattering of shaved chocolate.
4. And then a little something for the cheesecake enthusiasts…(I haven’t made this one either, but it also got good reviews…and I just talked to one of the aforementioned cheesecake fans and he suggested something with fruit. Plus, the reviewer on Epicurious says it was made for a moving away party…which is almost like a going away party for work, isn’t it?)
Cheesecake Tart with Tropical Fruits
Bon Appétit, January 2001
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup guava jelly or crab apple jelly
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup guava jelly or crab apple jelly
3 small red-fleshed papayas, halved, peeled, seeded, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 kiwis, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 large ripe mango, halved, pitted, peeled, diced
2 passion fruits, halved (optional)
For crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and cut in, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 2 tablespoons ice water and egg yolk in small bowl. Add to dry ingredients and blend just until soft moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13- to 14-inch round. Transfer dough to 11-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Press in overhang, forming double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 30 minutes. Bake until golden brown, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles or slips, about 30 minutes. Transfer crust to rack. Spread jelly over bottom of crust and cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
For filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, then vanilla. Add sour cream and beat just to blend.
Pour filling into tart crust. Bake until filling is slightly puffed and center moves slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 35 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
For topping: Melt jelly in heavy small saucepan over low heat. Brush over top of cheesecake. Overlap papaya slices atop tart in circle. Arrange kiwis in overlapping slices in center. Sprinkle mango around edge. Spoon pulp of passion fruits into center of tart, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 hours.