I ate the whole bowl… really

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This weekend we went to visit Grandpa Saun in Logandale. The plan was to make some desserts and have a little party where grandpa could invite some friends over and enjoy a nice evening. But grandpa had been invited to an eagle scout court of honor. Most everyone he would invite to the dessert night would already be at the court of honor. Not wanting to compete, we decided we would just do a nice lunch for the three of us. We outdid ourselves.

We’ll get to lunch in the next post. But first, dessert!

We had lemon curd, whipped cream,and fresh berries. I made the lemon curd that morning so it had plenty of time to chill in the fridge. This was the perfect dessert for a hot (and I mean HOT) summer day. The tanginess of the lemon curd was a great complement to the sweetness of the berries.

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I had never made lemon curd before but was very interested in trying it. I couldn’t find a sharp peeler, until later in the day (after I wasn’t looking for them anymore). So I used a knife to peel the lemons. There was a little more of the white part of the lemon than we wanted, so Nathan used a cheese grater to get rid of the excess white part. Perhaps we should call this, double peeled lemon curd? He also didn’t have a food processor so we used a blender. The lemon peel was not as fine as it should have been, but using a food processor would have fixed that problem. It’s always an adventure at grandpas!

When heating the lemon curd, it didn’t look like it was going to thicken and become smooth. Stick with it, because like magic, all of the sudden it does. Mine took about 15 minutes, instead of 10 like the recipe says.

We hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Lemon Curd
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lemons
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • ½ cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
  2. Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

 

 

 

Why I Don’t Have Abs

Pie is a year round affair at the Wright household for as long as I can remember. Every Thanksgiving we have a Pie Party. My dad is the pie baker of the family and makes 15-20ish different pies and we have a big party! My job is the decorating. There was a time in my life for whatever reason I missed five pie parties in a row. It was a dark time in my life. Over the years pies have been added including (but not limited to) key lime, chocolate haupia, lilikoi, and candy land.

The secret to a great pie? The crust. There are a lot of pie dough recipes out there. But the secret to great pie crust is to not overwork the dough. Pie crust should be tender and flaky. If you overwork it, the crust will become tough and hard. Personally, I avoid making pie whenever I can. I find the crust frustrating and especially upsetting when it doesn’t turn out how I was expecting. But thankfully, between Nathan and my dad, I’m never stuck making the crust.

The following recipe is the one my dad most often uses.

Pie Crust
Serves: 2 Crusts
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup shortening (I use butter-flavored Crisco)
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ - ⅔ cup ice water
Instructions
  1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut shortening into the flour mixture until the particles are about the size of peas. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing gently with a fork until all the flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl. You may need a little more water.
  2. Gather half the dough into a ball and shape into a flattened round on a lightly floured surface. Roll pastry out into a round circle with a rolling pin until approximately 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Lift occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Carefully fold the pastry into quarters and place into pie pan. Unfold and press firmly into bottom and sides. For a baked pie shell, prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake at 475o for about 10 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

This recipe is Nathan’s go to pie crust recipe.
Pie Crust
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender.)
  2. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Whatever recipe you use, remember to work the dough as little as possible.

Nathan here. Let me be first to say how impressed I’ve always been with the visual perfection of Uncle Mark’s pie crusts. They are always a consistent thickness and the decorative edge is always just perfect. He makes it look easy as, well, as easy as pie. My crust recipe (and just a foreshadowing, I plan on thoroughly reading and experimenting with Julia Childs pie crust suggestions here in the future) produces a rougher more rustic looking pie crust (let’s be honest, it’s probably more me than the recipe) and many explicit interjections as I try to make the crust cooperate. When using a butter based crust I much prefer a good, thick pie crust because I love it.

 

 

Brownies for Two

For the last two years my classroom has been under construction for several months in the middle of the school year. I want my students to still have a chance to cook, even if it is in the microwave. I always have them make mug brownies.

Personally, I haven’t been thrilled with the recipes I have found for mug brownies. But, my high schoolers don’t seem to mind. They’re not bad, just mediocre. America’s Test Kitchen just came out with a molten brownie recipe that you cook in the microwave. It was a Valentines Day miracle! I made them last night and they were delicious (and quite rich)! This is the perfect recipe because it’s quick and so so good!

At the store I was having a hard time finding bittersweet chocolate. Turns out bittersweet chocolate is made of 54% – 60% cocoa. So instead of a baking bar (which was impossible to find) I grabbed some chocolate from the candy aisle and went on my way.

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Brownies for Two
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 TBSP Unsalted Butter
  • 1 OZ Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped, plus 1 oz broken into 4 equal pieces
  • ¼ C Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ¼ C Flour
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
Instructions
  1. Microwave butter and chopped chocolate in large bowl, stirring often, until melted, about 1 minute. Whisk sugar, eggs, cocoa, vanilla, and salt into chocolate mixture until smooth. In separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Whisk flour mixture into chocolate mixture until combined. Divide batter evenly between 2 (11-ounce) coffee mugs.
  2. Place mugs on opposite sides of microwave turntable. Microwave at 50 percent power for 45 seconds. Stir batter and microwave at 50 percent power for 45 seconds (batter will rise to just below rim of mug). Press 2 chocolate pieces into center of each cake until chocolate is flush with top of cake. Microwave at 50 percent power for 35 seconds (cake should be slightly wet around edges of mug and somewhat drier toward center). Let cakes rest for 2 minutes. Serve.