9/20/15 Triple Berry-Rhubarb Curd Bars

Today I decided to make curd bars. I was thinking of a lot of different pie variations, but everything that I thought of with regular flour crust had to be baked at a high temperature. My oven right now only goes as high as 250 degrees, so I scratched the pie crust idea but not the pie idea altogether. If I could only figure out a crumble crust that I had to par-bake at a low temperature than I could make some kind of pie.

So I decided to blend animal crackers and ritz together in the blender, until I got crumbles and then slowly add a melted fat to it, like I have seen in videos both online and on the television when making a crumble crust. I pulsed them good with some fat I used shortening but I think butter would have worked better. I then pressed it into an already greased Pyrex bar pan. I put it into my low temperature oven until I knew it was done, it was a nice golden brown and it smelled toasted.

I knew I wanted pie bars. I have been dying to make pies in bar form lately and I am not sure why, probably because cheese cake sounds better in a bar form, but I already used the cream cheese I had. But I still had plenty of great ingredients for pie I realized because I just got my schwans order.

I did get a bag of frozen berries from schwans and although I had some wonderful ice cream pie ideas I was mulling over, better thoughts prevailed and I made some berry-rhubarb curd instead. I also had some rhubarb frozen in a jar that I had gotten from the food bank and saved. It was perfect for this pie bar.

I made the curd by first making a sugar syrup then adding the rhubarb and frozen berries to it. After the berries and rhubarb had boiled for a long while and all but mashed into a juice I took the berry syrup off the heat and poured some out into a big bowl. Then I added about 3 whipped egg yolks to that bowl and mixed it with the still hot berry syrup. Then I added some corn starch to thicken it up, then I put it back into the pan of the rest of the syrup, (off the heat), and mixed it all in well together.

You see you do not want your egg yolks to get too hot or you will have scrambled egg yolks inside of berry syrup instead of a berry curd. I did it pretty well. And it was a purple wonder, I wish I would have taken pictures here. But these kinds of experiments I never like to ruin with progress pics, sometimes its more distracting to try and take pictures when you are making something technical, so I wait until it is done for my more technical recipes.

I baked the curd at 250 on top of my cookie crumble crust until it was a little overdone, I could smell it and see that the color almost faded around the corners so I knew that the curd had cooked because it had changed color on me. I was praying that it was still purple inside, because the outside had turned a bit brown on me.
But even though I had a once purple now brown curd creation sitting on the counter, I still pressed on and made the final layer, the meringue. I love meringue. Ever since I made myself learn how to make a lemon meringue pie from scratch have I love making meringue, its just so perfect. And who doesn’t love marshmallow on top of their pie bar? My son calls it marshmallow. He always eats the meringue off of anything I make for him first.. I love it so much I wrote a blog on how to make it right, I’ll add a pingback to it here asap.

https://momsorganicbohofoodfun.com/2015/05/15/meringue-troubleshooting-and-macaroon-help/

So I made some meringue and plopped it on top of the brown curd. I was afraid I was wasting meringue until after I cooked the meringue and waited for the bars to cool and cut into them and got the greatest surprise, purple berry curd had survived and not only that but the bars cut perfectly and they were sweet enough and yummy. My son and I had a bar each with a scoop of ice cream and a sprinkle of leftover animal cracker crumble on top, it was a great way to end a horrible weekend and an awesome way to start a new week. With sweet treats to eat already.

Here are some pictures of the bars.

first couple bars
first couple bars
perfect layers; cookie, curd and meringue
perfect layers; cookie, curd and meringue
cut into bars
cut into bars
one bar
one bar
perfectly toasted and set meringue
perfectly toasted and set meringue
look at those layers!
look at those layers!

6/21/15 Ice cream with meringue

“Blog a Day” Foodie Challenge Day one

June 21 2015

Today is Fathers Day. I tried to start the day right today, but had a little bit of a bumpy morning. I tried to get coffee served on time and I ended up making a later breakfast of Krusteaz belgian waffles in the waffle maker.

Its the 2nd week of having food this month, I say. In our house we do not get our food stamps until the 10th of the month, so I see the month as a little askew. I know that the 10-17th we will have our best week of cooking all month, and the 17-24 the 2nd best week and so forth. I realize things are bad when I resort to waffles for breakfast. We must have had a great first week this month because I am down to the frozen cooking packages of bacon and we are out of the small frozen packages I make of breakfast sausage. So I made waffles. And not in a good mood either, but feeding everyone makes me feel better, even if I cannot eat that waffle mix.

Smelling those particular waffles cooking always reminds me of cupcakes though, I am not sure why. Maybe its the fluffy way the krusteaz waffles come out of the iron. They just remind me of cupcakes, and they smell so good while cooking. I took the time while everyone was eating them and doing other things to throw together some “ Fathers Day cupcakes”. Taking inspiration from the waffles and some of the waffle flour, and using the last of the meringue I had leftover from making pies yesterday.

Here’s the ingredients I used but I dare to say this is the only time I have made these thus posting the recipe could be bad, for it worked for me and it may not work for you,.. lots of variables go into cooking and especially baking so bare with me as I make up crazy recipes as I learn how to cook.

“Fathers Day Cupcakes”

Dry

1 ½ cup flour

1 cup Krusteaz Belgian waffle flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cocoa

Wet

2 eggs

1 tbs vanilla extract

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup sugar (you can cut this down to ½ cup or less, depending on your taste)

Fold into batter:

3-4 whipped egg whites (meringue)

mix dry. Mix wet. Mix wet with dry well. Fold in egg whites. Pour into cups 2/3 high and bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean. About 15 min on 350 degrees.

fathers day cupcakes
fathers day cupcakes
moist and fluffy inside
moist and fluffy inside

And this was just my morning. Before making those I took out the last pie crust dough out of my ridiculously cold fridge to defrost a bit, cause it was hard as a rock. I am waiting for that to roll into some kind of rhubarb-strawberry treat and may not do a pie, cause I am staring at most of yesterdays pies not eaten in front of me.. we have mostly blueberry left. And cupcakes, so even though I baked on a whim, I still need to use the ingredients I defrosted to bake some more.

I am also planning a Fathers Day BBQ dinner for my man, I am steaming some peeled red potatoes now for my best whipped mashed potatoes in the world and gunna chop some carrots for some maple glaze-carrot roast, and also defrosting-boiling some bone in pork chops to bbq in a few. Its getting late so I will finish this after dinner.

Its now after dinner and boy did I cook a lot. I made BBQ slow cooked pork out of schwans butcher cut -bone in packages of pork chops, by slow cooking them in BBQ sauce in my casserole dish in the oven, they stay moist and everyone loves the slow cooked affect. I also baked some carrots in a cast iron with a little bit of water and some maple syrup. After steaming the red potatoes in my rice cooker, I added some butter and half and half, salt and pepper and whipped it to perfection. Whipped steamed potatoes are better then boiled and mashed any day. And my family loves them so much!

daddys dinner plate
daddys dinner plate
serving dinner
serving dinner

I also made a strawberry- Rhubarb streusel topped pie. I cooked the rest of my frozen schwans strawberries with the stalk of rhubarb that I got from the food bank on Friday. I cooked them down until they were mushy with some sugar. Added some corn starch and stirred the lumps out. I rolled out my pie crust that took forever to defrost, and put it into my new tart pan. My neighbor just gave it to me. I added the cooked strawberry mix into the pie crust and folded over the sides. I added some streusel that I had saved from another recipe, and baked until the pie crust sides started to crack and look golden. Thankfully I was able to make this pie at the same time and temperature as the pork and carrots. While that all cooked I made some buttercream frosting for the fathers day cupcakes.

assembling pie
assembling pie
pie all done
pie all done
cut pie
cut pie
perfect filling
perfect filling

Easy Butter-cream frosting:

Cream melted butter and powdered sugar ( amounts depend on how much you need), if too dry add some half and half, if too wet add some corn starch.

frosting with buttercream
frosting with buttercream

And now to get to the ice cream. Yesterday I made a batch of sweetened condensed milk, with about a ½ a quart of half and half, some sugar, a dash of vanilla extract, and a lot of butter. I reduced the mix in a sauce pan until It was half the size I started with. I saved some and used the rest to make creamy vanilla ice cream.

I also had some ripe plums from the food bank and a few tangerines, I poached the plums chopped in some boiling simple syrup and then blended it up with some oranges in the blender. I saved some of this mix for a unique summer flavor for the ice cream.

Combined with some leftover meringue from making strawberry and blueberry meringue pie yesterday, I managed to make an incredible ice cream.

Without an ice cream maker!

No Churn Plum-Orange Ice Cream

4 cups sweetened condensed milk

2 cups soft peak meringue (egg whites)

Fruit flavor about 1 cup frozen

Combine fruit flavor and condensed milk, whip until foamy with bubbles. Add soft peak meringue and whip until bubbles are through out. Put into a freezer container and cover and freeze overnight. Makes about a quart of ice cream.

vanilla-plum ice cream
vanilla-plum ice cream
vanilla plum ice cream
vanilla plum ice cream