Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

To make these, mix up the batter using the recipe found here. Pour into foil-lined muffin cups about 2/3 full. For the streusel topping. Mix together (with fingers) 1/4 c. butter, 3/4 c. flour, 1/2 c. oats, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. sugar, and 1/4 c. chopped pecans. If the streusel is too gooey, add a little bit more flour and/or oats. The topping should be moist and crumbly. Place a spoonful of the streusel mixture on top of each filled muffin cup. Bake at 350F for about 30 min, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the tops are brown and crispy looking. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Give us your poor and downtrodden" Rhubarb Pie

In general, I think of pies as being rather decadent desserts. Yet they also hark back to something fundamentally American. A piece of the American spirit, a basic pie is an unfussy and filling way to use ingredients one has on hand. Pies are vessels, especially in summer, for the season's freshest locally available fruits - often things one can forage for. In my opinion, no pie is more of a workhorse in this regard than rhubarb pie. Granted it's not for everyone, but it's a real pie of the people. Rhubarb plants are cheap, need very little maintenance, and keep yielding fruit from the beginning of spring through fall. Luckily, most of my family enjoys rhubarb. I made this pie for a trip up to see my father and stepmother in law. My father in law in particular is a real glutton for my pies. I happily continue to bake them to stay in his good graces and bind the family together with a bit of butter, flour, fruit, and sugar.

This rhubarb pie comes from the "Straight Up Rhubarb Pie" recipe on pages 42-43 of the book "Humble Pie", by Anne Dimock. I made the 9-inch pie. My only changes were that I used less sugar (1 heaping cup instead of 1.25 cups), more cinnamon (1/4-1/2 teaspoon), and more rhubarb (probably an extra cup).

Current Pie Tally: 24

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Pecan Pie

Granted the height of summer does not exactly call to mind this nutty pie common to Thanksgiving feasts, but it was the hostess' favorite so I obliged. Thanks for a great 4th of July party, Cathy & JP! The recipe I used as a base for this called for corn syrup instead of the molasses and maple syrup mixture that I used. This is the second one of these pies that I've made. For the first, I substituted straight blackstrap molasses for the corn syrup. I really wanted to use locally produced sorghum for the most recent version, but alas we exhausted our supply and have to wait for our next farmer's market outing to restock. Next time, I aim to use a mixture of equal amounts of sorghum, maple syrup, and honey. Also, for this iteration of the recipe, I used some grated lemon rind instead of the orange rind the original recipe calls for and decreased the brown sugar to 1 cup. The resulting pie this time was incredibly rich and velvety with a very strong molasses flavor. Perhaps not for everyone, but all the party guests I polled had nothing but rave reviews.

Current Pie Tally: 23