8.29.14 Buckwheat Crepes with Fontina, Prosciutto and Arugula Peach Salad

Crepes were never the sort of thing I used to think about making for lunch or dinner. Dessert, sure. A snack, maybe. They never really seemed substantial enough for an actual meal. Silly me. I just hadn’t made the right crepe yet.

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There are so many different types of crepes out there. Sweet crepes, savory crepes, crepes made from corn, or even fermented rice and lentils, as in the South Indian dosa. All of these are definitely delicious, but when it comes to a good solid dinner crepe, my favorite is a hearty buckwheat crepe. Buckwheat, despite what it’s name implies, is actually not wheat. In fact, it’s a plant more closely related to rhubarb and sorrel. It has a much nuttier, earthier flavor than standard wheat flour, and in my opinion, makes for one tasty crepe. Filled with prosciutto, melty fontina and topped with a perfect little salad of arugula and peaches - that’s a crepe I can definitely get behind. Especially if it’s accompanied by a nice glass of hard cider.

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Besides their general deliciousness, one of the best things about crepes is that they are infinitely customizable. I’ll admit, I’ve been known to swap out the milk in my crepe batter for beer, which lends them a nice malty flavor. And fillings, well, you can really go crazy there. Fontina and prosciutto are fantastic, but really, the possibilities are endless. Roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, gorgonzola - if you’re feeling particularly daring, you can even crack an egg onto the crepe right after flipping, and cook until it has a perfectly soft-cooked yolk (I mean, putting an egg on top of anything automatically makes it better, that’s just common sense). And if crepes for dinner isn’t enough, add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to your crepe batter, and whip up some dessert crepes, topped with fresh fruit and a dusting of powdered sugar.

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Buckwheat Crepes with Fontina, Prosciutto and Arugula Peach Salad

makes 3 medium crepes

crepes:

  • ½ cup buckwheat flour (I like to use the flour from Lonesome Stone Milling)
  • ½ cup milk*
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • butter for pan
  • ¾ cup grated fontina cheese
  • 3 thin slices prosciutto

*can add additional milk if a thinner batter is desired

salad:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 oz arugula
  • 1 peach, pitted and thinly sliced

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, milk, eggs, and salt.

2. Heat a 9-10 inch skillet over medium heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan, swirling to coat the bottom. Pour ⅓ of the batter (a scant ½ cup) into the pan, quickly spreading the batter toward the edges of the pan (if you aren’t fast enough to spread the batter all the way to the edges before it sets, you’ll end up with a slightly smaller, thicker crepe. Never fear, it will still be delicious! If you’re having trouble, thinning the batter with some extra milk will make spreading it easier.)

3. Cook until bottom of crepe is set, about 1 minute, then carefully flip. Top with ¼ cup grated cheese and one slice of prosciutto in the center of the crepe. Continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 2-3 additional minutes. Using a spatula, fold the edges of the crepe up toward the center. Slide the crepe onto a plate, cover to keep warm, and continue to cook the two additional crepes in the same manner.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the arugula and peaches, and lightly toss to coat with dressing.

5. Divide the salad evenly atop crepes. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately with a cold glass of hard cider.

8.26.14 Summer Squash, Eggplant, and Coconut Curry

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple of weeks (or months really, for that matter), you may be wondering if I’ve somehow managed to become a vegetarian. I was in fact wondering the same thing, after a recent perusal of my posts revealed that I hadn’t posted a thing containing meat since, like, early July. In fact, I have not become a vegetarian (this would be impossible for me due to the existence of bacon). Instead, I’ve just been a little distracted from meat by all of the gloriously ripe summer fruits and vegetables I’ve been finding myself surrounded by these days.

After all, this is the time of year to make the most of the myriad of summer produce available from farmer’s markets, CSAs, and gardens. And while meat is most definitely delicious, for some reason, all I want to cook these days is vegetables. So be it. I won’t fight it. Especially not when I’m scarfing down bowls of spicy summer squash and eggplant curry. This is summer produce at its finest - floating in a spicy, creamy, coconut cilantro broth, and topped with fresh herbs from the garden and a squeeze of lime. Summer, please stay forever.

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Summer Squash, Eggplant, and Coconut Curry

serves 4

This is great with any type of rice, but a nutty whole grain rice like brown or black rice is especially tasty with this creamy coconut curry.

  • 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 medium summer squash, chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped
  • 1 14 oz can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup cilantro (loosely packed)
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Thai bird or serrano chiles (seeded if less heat is desired)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • fresh cilantro, Thai basil, lime wedges, and rice for serving

1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and salt, and cook until onions are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the tomato, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, then add the summer squash and eggplant. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are just tender, about 7-8 minutes.

3. While vegetables are cooking, combine the coconut milk, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce, chilies, and turmeric in a blender. Blend well to combine.

4. Add the coconut mixture to the vegetables in the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve over rice, with chopped cilantro, Thai basil and lime wedges.

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8.19.14 Roasted Summer Vegetable Panzanella

When I was a kid, my most hated food of all time was eggplant. There was just something about it that I found just incredibly awful. Which is funny, because looking back, I only remember eating it once as a kid (I believe in some sort of eggplant parmesan form) and thinking it wasn’t actually that bad. This was, of course before I knew it was eggplant that I was eating, and just thought it was some sort of delicious fried thing covered in sauce and cheese. Once my mom revealed the secret (surprise, it’s eggplant!), I wanted nothing more to do with it. I was a weird kid.

To this day, I still can’t think of why I thought I hated it. Maybe I truly had a bad eggplant experience that has since been blocked from my memory. Maybe it’s just pure stubbornness in response to being tricked into eating it (knowing me, it’s probably the latter). Whatever the reason, until very recently, I wouldn’t go near the stuff. Which is sad to say, because a couple of years ago, when I finally gave eggplant another try, I realized that over all of those past eggplant-less years, I’d really been missing out.

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Nowadays, I eat quite a bit of eggplant, no trickery required. It’s delicious fried ala eggplant parm, grilled, and even blended with tahini and garlic to make a tasty dip. But I think my favorite way to cook eggplant is to roast it. Simply tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper, a splash of balsamic, and roasted to perfection. You can do about a million delicious things with it, but one of the best ways to enjoy your roasted eggplanty goodness is to add it to a nice summer salad.

Of course, we’re not talking just any salad here. Oh, no. We’re talking about the panzanella, a.k.a the BEST kind of salad. Any salad where the lettuce has been replaced with crunchy homemade croutons is pretty darn awesome in my book. Adding some roasted eggplant is icing on the cake. And while we’re roasting that eggplant, we may as well roast some other summer veggies, for added variety and deliciousness. Throw in some cherry tomatoes, fresh parsley, and top it with some crumbled cheese, and boom. Now that’s a salad.

Roasted Summer Vegetable Panzanella

serves about 6

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ lb hearty wheat or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 oz crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggplant, red pepper, fennel, tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine well. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.

3. Toss the bread cubes with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until bread is crispy and edges are golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes, roasted vegetables with all of their juices,  cherry tomatoes, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with crumbled ricotta salata or feta, and serve.

8.15.14 Fettuccine with Arugula and Cherry Tomato Butter Sauce

I don’t know about you, but these days, I’m feeling particularly lazy. That tends to happen to me around August. Warm weather, long days, cicadas buzzing - I’d be content to just spend the month outside in this glorious, hot summer weather with a nice cold drink and a good book.  

And while I’d definitely be down to commit the month to general laziness, there’s too much do. Work to be done, gardens to be tended, vegetables to be cooked, canned, and pickled, State Fairs to attend, and much, much more. So much to do, but when all is said and done, I can usually still manage to enjoy a couple of lazy summer days here and there.

And on a long, lazy day, it’s always nice to be able to cook something super simple, something that requires almost no effort at all. And few things are easier than this pasta with cherry tomato butter sauce. Because if you’re like me, you’ve probably already got everything you need for this already lying around. Not to mention, it’s positively scrumptious (but you already knew that right? I mean, fresh summer cherry tomatoes, butter, arugula, hello?) And in less than 20 minutes, you’ve got yourself one lovely, lazy summer dinner. Which leaves plenty of time for evening laziness to follow. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I can definitely get behind.

Fettuccine with Arugula and Cherry Tomato Butter Sauce

serves 3

Yup, there’s anchovies in there. Don’t worry, your pasta won’t taste fishy at all, just awesomely umami-full. Trust me on this one.

  • 8-9 oz fettuccine (preferably fresh - I love using RP’s for this!)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 anchovies, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (any cherry tomatoes will work, but Sungolds are particularly awesome here!)
  • 2 Tbsp white wine
  • ½ tsp red chile flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups arugula leaves
  • shaved parmesan, for serving

1. Cook pasta in salted water until just tender, about 7-8 minutes for dried, 2 minutes for fresh.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat butter in a large high sided pan over medium heat.

3. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute

4. Add the anchovies, cherry tomatoes, and wine. Cook until cherry tomatoes burst and sauce begins to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the chile flakes, salt, and pepper. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.

5. Add cooked and drained fettuccine to the pan, stirring to coat evenly with the sauce.

6. Reduce heat to low, add the arugula, and mix in until arugula just begins to wilt, about 30 seconds.

7. Remove from heat, top with shaved parmesan, and serve immediately.

8.12.14 Blueberry Skillet Cornbread with Maple Butter

Hello friends! We’ve returned from our travels in one piece! And let me just say, what a wonderful trip it was. Never having been to most of New England before, I was excited for all of the general awesomeness I knew I was sure to encounter. I was not disappointed. Our basic plan was to drive from Boston, up through New Hampshire and Maine until we reached Acadia National Park, stopping at as many microbreweries, lobster shacks, ice cream stands, and beaches as we could along the way. It was a tough undertaking, but all in all, I’d say we were pretty successful.

Of course, I made it a priority to eat as much seafood as humanly possible on this trip. Lobster, crab, shrimp, clams, oysters - you name it, we probably ate it. All of it, delicious. We also made sure to eat a semi-ridiculous amount of blueberries (both plain and in pie form), and partook in many of the region’s delicious assortment of potent potables (8 microbreweries, 1 distillery, and 1 kombucha fermentory). We ate from food trucks, roadside stands, oyster bars, lobster piers, and even whipped up some delicious clam chowder in a tiny cabin in the woods with a teensy gas burner and no running water. Let me just say, we ate very well on this trip.

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Oh, and let’s not forget the scenery. Beaches, mountains, forests, islands, coves, rivers - it was unbelievably beautiful. We swam, we hiked, we waded around in tide pools, and just generally spent lots of time enjoying the lovely summer outdoors. It was a fantastic trip. And while part of me wishes it was just a little bit longer, I do have to admit that it’s also pretty nice to be back home and cooking in my own kitchen again.

Cooking up things like this amazing blueberry cornbread. You might think that after all the blueberries I ate in Maine, I might be getting sick of them. Well, think again! I could eat blueberries forever. Which is how I got the idea to add them to cornbread. We all know cornbread is one of the best kinds of bread (probably because it’s basically a cake disguised as a bread). And if you add blueberries, some lemon, and top it with maple butter, well, you’ve just taken cornbread to the next level. I’m not sure if this would be considered a dessert, a breakfast, a snack, or something else entirely. I’ll leave that up to you. All I can say is that you might as well make up a double batch, because it won’t last long!

Blueberry Skillet Cornbread with Maple Butter

cornbread:

  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp flour, divided
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

maple butter:

  • ¼ cup (4 Tbsp) butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Toss the blueberries with 1 Tbsp flour until coated (this will help keep them from all sinking to the bottom of the bread)

3. In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

4. In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, melted butter, eggs, and maple syrup.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stir until just mixed. Stir in the lemon zest, then fold in the blueberries.

6. Pour batter into a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Place skillet into preheated oven and bake until the top is golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the bread comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

7. While cake bakes, make the maple butter by combining the softened butter and maple syrup, and stirring together until smooth.

8. Allow bread to cool slightly after removing from the oven, then serve with plenty of maple butter.

8.1.14 Herb Marinated Tomatoes with Baked Ricotta + Other Summer Food Fun

I have good news and bad news. The good news is, it’s time for some summer vacation fun! That means Wisconsin from Scratch will be spending the next week vacationing (and eating, duh) in Maine! The bad news is, while we’ll surely be gorging ourselves on lobsters and far too much blueberry pie, we’ll be missing you dearly. Which is why we’ve compiled some summer culinary fun, based on kitchen experiments and cooking we’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks, to share with you here! Hopefully this will tide you over until our return!

First up, let’s talk about this rhubarb gin I recently made. Besides being super easy to make, and having a lovely color, I think this is going to make a fantastic negroni, don’t you? To make it, I just chopped up 4 or 5 small stalks of rhubarb, smashed them a bit with the flat side of a knife, threw them into a jar with 1 ½ cups of gin (Death’s Door of course) and let it sit for about 3 days. Strain out the rhubarb, and tah-dah! Awesomeness in a jar.

Now that you’ve got some home infused libations, you’re going to need the perfect summer snack to accompany it. And shishito peppers are just the thing.  I’ve been seeing these at the farmer’s markets recently, and yeah, they’re awesome. There’s probably a million things you could do with these, but I like to keep things simple. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in a cast iron over very high heat. Once hot, throw in your peppers, and allow them to blister, turning occasionally so all sides get a nice char. This will take about 3-4 minutes per side, but depends on how hot your pan is. Once nice and blistered, throw the peppers on a plate, drizzle with fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with sea salt. They won’t last long…

Of course, on a hot summer day, you’re going to need a cool treat. Now I am always a huge fan of ice cream, or popsicles, but in a pinch, a frozen peppermint patty makes for one quick, but satisfying summer chiller. I always keep a jar of them in the freezer so they’re ready at a moment’s notice. Even better, I decided to try making my own. Surprising, it was super easy, and, not surprisingly, pretty darn tasty.

And finally, let’s talk about two of my favorite things about summer - eating outside, and tomatoes. What better way to combine the two, than with this delicious recipe for marinated tomatoes with baked ricotta? It will put all those fantastic tomatoes you have lying around, as well as your herb garden bounty to great use. Plus, there’s cheese involved. Serve it with some crusty bread and fresh greens (purslane or arugula are great here), and it’s pretty much the perfect thing to eat al fresco for a light summer lunch or dinner. What more could you want? Happy summer!

Herb Marinated Tomatoes with Baked Ricotta

serves 2 nicely

The longer you can let the tomatoes marinate, the more flavorful and awesome they will be (if you can wait that long).

tomatoes:

  • 1 lb tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh herbs, roughly chopped (basil, thyme, oregano, or a mix)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp red chile flakes (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

assembly:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp bread crumbs
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • crusty bread and greens for serving

1. Combine tomatoes, shallot, herbs, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, chile flake, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer tomato mixture and any juices to a jar, cover, and let sit while you prepare the ricotta.

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Place ricotta in a small ovenproof dish, such as a ramekin. Top with breadcrumbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and some freshly ground black pepper.

4. Bake until top is browning and cheese is bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool slightly, and serve with the marinated tomatoes, crusty bread, and greens.

7.29.14 Roasted Corn Fritters with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

This week, I’m happy to report that I faced one of my cooking fears. That’s right, my fear of fritters. It’s silly I know, but every time I think about making fritters, I picture a big, gooey, soggy mess. I think it’s because I’ve heard too many sad stories of fritters gone wrong. Soggy steamed dough blobs, rather than lovely crispy golden brown delights. But with so many fantastic fritter-worthy summer veggies at hand, I decided I had to give it a go. It was time to face down those fritters and get frying.

Of course, it helped that I had some wonderful fresh sweet corn to work with. Low in excess moisture (the bane of a light, crispy fritter) and high in lovely, summery flavor, I figured it was the perfect thing for my first batch. And, I have to say, not only were they tasty, crispy, and golden brown, but they weren’t even hard to make. Silly, me, what was I so worried about? Of course, things are surely a bit more tricky when you move up to making more complicated fritters with high moisture veggies like summer squash or eggplant. Too much moisture in your veggies, and you risk steaming your fritters into a globby mess (as I always feared), instead of crisping them up properly. Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough.

Today, though, I’m not going to fret over any future fritter adventures. I’m happy enough to just enjoy these lovely roasted corn fritters. They’re pretty fantastic. And of course a creamy green-hued avocado and cilantro sauce for dipping just sweetens the deal. Let’s face it, pretty much everything’s better when there’s avocado involved, right?  So there you have it. Fear conquered, and some delicious fritters to boot. Not too shabby.

Roasted Corn Fritters with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

makes about 10 fritters and 1 cup sauce

avocado cilantro sauce:

  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ c scallion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 serrano chile (seeded if less heat desired)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup water

fritters:

  • 4 ears corn
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 3 oz (6 Tbsp) light beer
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • salt, lime wedges, and hot sauce for serving

1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until a smooth consistency is reached. Set aside while you make the fritters.

2. Turn the broiler in your oven on high. Shuck the corn and put the ears on a foil-lined sheet pan. Put the sheet pan on the top rack of your oven, and let the corn cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the kernels on the top side of the corn start to turn golden brown (check often to prevent burning!). Turn the ears of corn ½ turn to brown the other side, and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the kernels on this side turn golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool while you make the fritter batter.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and chipotle powder in a large bowl, stirring to mix well.

4. Whisk together the beer, lime juice, and egg, then add to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

5. Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs, and add to the batter, along with the chopped cilantro.

6. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large, high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot, drop a couple of heaping spoonfuls of fritter batter into the pan (I was able to cook about 4 fritters at a time). Cook fritters until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Continue to cook fritters in batches of 3-4 until all of the batter is gone.

7. Sprinkle fritters with a little salt, then serve immediately with lime wedges, hot sauce, and plenty of avocado cilantro sauce for dipping. A cold beer on the side is highly recommended.

7.22.14 Sour Cherry Hand Pies with Brandy Crust

Now, that it’s cherry season (finally), I’ve been eating sweet cherries like it’s going out of style. But besides snacking incessantly on the somewhat ridiculous amount of Door County sweet cherries currently residing in my kitchen, last weekend I picked up some beautiful, bright red sour cherries. I figured some pie making was in order. And not just regular old pie. Hand pies. Because there’s something super awesome about having your own tiny pie all to yourself. Something very awesome indeed.

And a tiny pie bursting with sour cherry goodness is about as good as it gets. You could probably even get away with eating one of these for breakfast (it’s full of fruit, so it’s basically healthy, right?). But I still haven’t gotten to the best part yet. The part that has to do with my latest pie crust epiphany. Are you ready? Okay here goes.

Let me explain a couple of things about pie crust. I realize you all are probably nowhere near as big of a food nerd as I am, but bear with me. The thing about a good pie crust is that you want it to be as tender and flaky as possible. I think that’s something we can all agree on. The enemy of a tender, flaky crust is gluten. Gluten is the product of two partial proteins present in wheat flour, which forms when water is added to the flour. Gluten is what makes that nice loaf of bread you’re eating deliciously chewy, but in pie crust we want to avoid gluten to keep things nice and tender. Somewhat recently, some genius discovered that if you replace some of the water in your pie crust with vodka, you end up with a more tender crust. It makes perfect sense - less water, less hydration, less gluten formation, and the alcohol bakes off in the oven, leaving you with one deliciously tender crust. Genius.

Well, obviously I had to give this a try. Also obviously, I decided to take it a step further. Vodka is a great choice to add to your dough if you’re looking for a nice, neutral flavor. But if we were to add, say, brandy instead, well what then?  Not only would it have the same wonderful effect as vodka, but now we’d have an extra delicious brandy-flavored crust; a perfect compliment to that delightful cherry filling. So there you go. As if you needed a reason to make sour cherry hand pies even more awesome. You’re welcome.

Sour Cherry Hand Pies with Brandy Crust

makes 6 pies

Yes, pitting cherries is a huge pain. I usually don’t recommend buying single use kitchen gadgets, but a cherry pitter is going to save you loads of time and energy here. You’ll be thankful you have one.

crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, very cold
  • 1 oz very cold water
  • 1 oz brandy 

filling and assembly:

  • 1 heaping pint sour cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • sugar

1. Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Being careful to handle the butter as little as possible, cut the butter into small pieces, then add to the flour. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour until the pieces are small (about the size of a pea) and the mixture has a grainy texture.

2. Add the water and brandy, mixing until the dough is all incorporated into a ball. If dough is still very sticky, add a bit more flour a little at a time, until dough is workable. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15-20 minutes before working with it further.

3. Mix cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla in bowl until cherries are evenly coated.

4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. On a floured surface, roll out your dough into an approximately 12 x 15 inch rectangle. Cut into six 5 x 6 inch rectangles. Brush edges of each piece of dough with water.

6. Divide cherry mixture evenly between the six dough pieces, fold dough over, and seal edges tightly by crimping with a fork. Transfer pies to parchment lined baking sheet.

7. Cut a couple of small slits in the top of each pie with a very sharp knife. Brush the top of each pie with beaten egg/water mixture, then sprinkle with sugar (raw or turbinado sugar works great for this).

8. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until pies are golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool slightly, then devour.