Tag Archives: pecans

earl grey mixed berry jam new way linzer torte

sometimes when i’ve got a ton of jam sitting around the house, i bake it into cakes, cookies, bars and tarts!  i started out aiming for a rendition of the classic linzer torte, but with a lot of changes:

  • pâte sucrée instead of hazelnut flour
  • covered in hearts rather than the usual basket lattice
  • earl grey mixed berry jam instead of raspberries
  • the addition of pecans

by the time i finished, i don’t think it resembled the linzer torte very much at all but it tasted good to me, and i suppose that’s all that counts in my book.

Earl Grey Mixed Berry Jam New Way Linzer Torte
(makes 1 nine-inch tart)

Pâte Sucrée 300g or 1/3 of a pâte sucrée recipe
Earl Grey Mixed Berry Jam 3/4 to 1 cup
Pecans 1/4 cup, crushed
Confectioner’s sugar 1 tbsp (optional)
  1. Prepare blind baked tart shell following steps 1-6 of apricot-almond cream recipe.
  2. Sprinkle pecans on the bottom of the cooled tart shell.
  3. Then, fill the tart with jam until the jam is about 1/4 to 1/3 inch from the edge (i had underfilled mine in the picture).
  4. Roll out about 100g of pâte sucrée until it is 1/4 inch thick. Place the flattened pastry in the freezer for 5 minutes.  Then, cut out 20-25 1.5 inch heart shapes with a cookie cutter.  Arrange on top of the jam.
  5. Bake at 350ºF for about 40 minutes or until the crust has browned and the jam is bubbly.
  6. Cool on a rack.
  7. [Optional] When completely cooled and ready to serve, dust with some confectioner’s sugar.
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a very berry jam square

the final leg of my rain saturday cookie-a-thon involved making these jam squares.  flo discloses in her book that she had admired these creations at a local coffee shop for a long time and when the baker, susie block, was getting ready to move to the midwest, she gathered up the courage to ask for the recipe.  and i’m sure glad she did!  my husband loves these jam squares. he ever so quietly popped four down the gullet before i even noticed.  they are fruity, rustic and crunchy — all at the same time.

once you get the pastry dough down, the recipe is highly adaptable. however, the recipe is really only as good as the jam that you use.  i still have a ton of earl grey blackberry jam that i made earlier this summer, and decided to pop that into the recipe. you really want to use a jam that has got more fruit than it has water / gelatin content.  the latter, once melted in the oven, would just turn the pastry dough soggy.

i decided that these were sturdy enough for shipping, and individually packaged them up in cellophane sleeves for my xmas cookie bundle.  they kinda look nicer once they’re separated into 2 inch small squares!

Very Berry Jam Square
(adapted from Flo Braker and Susie Block.  Makes about 24 squares)

Butter 2 sticks (225g)
Sugar 275g (amount decreased from the original recipe)
Eggs 2 large ones
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Flour 300g
Salt ½ tsp
Pecans 85g, chopped in a food processor (you can use any kind of chopped nuts. it doesn’t have to be pecans)
Jam 280g (about 1 cup) (you can use any kind of jam.  i used a blackberry earl grey jam)
  1. Line a 9x13x2 inch pan with foil. Leave about a 2 inch overhang on the short ends.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment until light and creamy.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.  Beat until smooth. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  4. On the lowest speed, add in the flour and salt. Mix until a dough forms.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 portions: one about 400g and the other 470g.
  6. Wrap the 400g portion in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator.
  7. Take the 470g piece of dough and fit it into the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch pan.  The easiest way to do so is to use a soda can (wrapped in plastic) to roll the dough slowly out into a thin layer to cover the bottom of the pan.  You can also use your fingers to spread the dough around the bottom of the pan.
  8. Sprinkle the pecans evenly across the top of the dough, then spread the jam on top of the pecans using an offset spatula.  Some of the pecans and jam will intersperse together.  But it will all taste great, so don’t worry about keeping the two apart.
  9. Split the 400g piece of dough (that had been resting in the refrigerator) into 8 equal pieces.  On a well floured surface, roll each piece into a rope that is about 12 inches in length.  Fit these pieces of rope in a diagonal criss-crossing fashion across the top of the jam. You’re aiming to make a lattice window frame with the dough ropes, and should be able to see some of the jam and nuts through the “windows”
  10. Bake at 350ºF for around 40-45 minutes.  The jam should be set, and the tops and bottom of the jam squares will be golden brown.
  11. When the pan has completely cooled, carefully take the large jam square out of pan by lifting it out using the foil and a spatula.  Peel off the foil and discard.
  12. Cut into 2-inch squares using a serrated knife.
  13. To store, stack the cookies using layers of parchment paper to separate.  They should keep at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container.

flo’s mexican wedding cookies

it was cold this weekend, and wet, and it snowed.  i decided to stay cooped up at home and bake…well…a lot of cookies from flo’s book.  the first cookies i made were these surprisingly simple to make mexican wedding cookies shaped into crescent moons.  they came out really well with very minimal effort.  they taste quite a bit like the velvety and crumbly russian tea cookies i made in cooking school with the benefit that one doesn’t have to be quite as careful not to overmix them.

i’m about to head over to the post office to mail out the cookies i made this weekend.   hopefully they don’t arrive at due destination as a pile of crumbs!

Mexican Wedding Cookies
(Makes 4-5 dozen; adapted and simplified)

Flour 255g
Salt ¼ tsp
Powdered Sugar 70g + more for dusting
Pecans 115g
Butter 2 sticks (225g)
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until it is light and fluffy.
  2. Pulse together powdered sugar and pecans in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. With the stand mixer set at its lowest speed, add in the sugar/pecan mixture to the butter, then add the vanilla, and finally the flour and salt until all ingredients are combined.  You may need to intermittently stop the food processor and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to help things along.  Do not overmix.  The dough will be quite soft, almost like mashed potatoes.
  4. You can make the cookies into any shape you’d like:  cutouts, slice and bake, crescents or thumbprints.  I chose to make crescents.  To do so, measure about 15g of dough (~2tsp) and roll it into a ball.  Then shape the ball into a short rope about 2 inches in length with slightly tapered ends.  Bend the rope into a moon shape and place on a parchment covered baking sheet.  The cookies don’t spread very much and can be placed about 1/2 inch apart.
  5. Bake the cookies at 325ºF for about 12-15 minutes.  The bottom of the cookies will be a light golden brown.
  6. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar when you take them out of the oven.  You can dust them directly in the pan or transfer them to a cooling rack first.  The heat from the cookies well help the sugar adhere to the cookies.

no knead harvest bread

IMG_2504

i’ve got a bread making imp that pops in every so often for a visit.  last night, i thought i’d make a no knead harvest bread recipe that i had spied over at king arthur flour. piled on with pecans, raisins and dried cherries, the harvest bread is  much tastier than the plain version.  although i’d caveat that the raisins exposed on the top of the dough will burn easily.  for future attempts, i would try if possible to make sure that all the raisins and cherries are safely tucked beneath the dough before slotting it into the oven.