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Fall is the time of year when I revel in the embrace of a slow cooked meal, one that will warm the home while filling rooms with the scents of the season’s best offerings. It’s the season where I seek out all things squash. Blended into steaming pots of soups, roasted and tossed onto a pile of greens, or baked to sweet perfection in a comforting casserole, it’s one of those quintessentially Autumnal market staples.

For those of you seeking a new recipe highlighting the glorious butternut squash, perhaps one you could feature for your vegetarian friends at your upcoming holiday table, look no further than this delectable offering from our book A Year of Pies. As you may have read in my previous post, the book has been garnering an abundance of praise for its rich selection of seasonal recipes and pie baking wisdom.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Cheddar, and Sage Galette

Winter squashes are a bit of a misnomer, as they’re actually harvested in late summer and dried, or “cured,” for later use in autumn and beyond. Butternut squash truly shines in this galette. Its lovely sweetness cozies up to a sharp cheddar and aromatic sage, resulting in a dish that’s just as exquisite to behold as it is to munch on. I love serving this as an appetizer at autumnal gatherings, sliced into thin wedges.

Makes: 8 to 10 servings

You will need

½ recipe Basic Pie Dough (see below)

Large un-rimmed baking sheet

Filling

1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed

1 medium-size red onion, chopped

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried

1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Egg wash

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon cold water

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Basic Pie Dough (All-Butter Version)
This all-butter crust is unrivaled in terms of flavor. It’s also quite flaky, despite having no shortening. The secret is to work with very cold butter. I keep all of my butter in the freezer, transferring it to the refrigerator overnight or several hours before I intend to make pie dough. Work quickly, with cold hands on a cool work surface, and you’ll end up with a crust that’s as flaky as it is scrumptious.

Makes: Dough for one double-crust pie

You will need

2½    cups all-purpose flour
1¼    teaspoons sea salt
1    cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
¾    cup ice water

Mix the flour and salt together in a medium-large bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you should still have some rather large bits of butter when you’re done). Slowly drizzle in the ice water. Stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to clump. Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and, using your hands, fold it into itself until all of the flour is incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not feel overly sticky. Divide the dough in half, shape it into two balls, and pat each ball into a ½-inch thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Prepare the crust

Remove the chilled pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the dough to a large un-rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the filling

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Using clean hands or a large spoon, toss until well mixed and the squash cubes and onion are well coated with the olive oil and sage.

Assemble the tart

Mound the squash mixture in the middle of the chilled pastry circle. Gently spread the mixture out toward the edge of the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold the pastry border up over the filling, overlapping the edges and pressing the folds together every few inches. Whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl, then use a pastry brush to brush the wash over the folded edges of the crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the squash cubes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Cool the galette at least 30 minutes before serving.

 
 
 
 
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A Year of Pies: FREE Recipe!

August 24, 2012, 08:00 am  Posted by Nicole McConville
 

Thanks to the recent publication of A Year of Pies we’ve been raving about pies around the office lately. But who doesn’t love a buttery, flaky, heaven-filled pie, hot from the oven? For a little glimpse into the book from my earlier post, just click here. Well, today is your lucky day. In celebration of the book’s publication we wanted to offer you all a tasty free recipe right from the pages of the book.

If you’re like me, you want to get every last precious home-grown tomato out of your garden before the season is over. In most cases, that means pulling some of those not-yet-ripened green maters off the vine and finding creative (and delicious) means to showcase their savory, slightly sour goodness. Well, grab some of those gorgeous green globes, a tart pan, and get ready for a recipe that is sure to tickle your taste buds, garner a shower of compliments, and have you looking at pie in an entirely new light. Author Ashley English highlights two quintessential Southern classics here: friend green tomatoes and homemade pimento cheese. Salivating yet? Yeah, I thought so.

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

Makes: One 11-inch tart (or 6 to 8 servings)

You will need

½ recipe Basic Pie Dough (see bottom of post)

11-inch tart pan with removable bottom

Fried green tomatoes

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into slices 1/3-inch thick

¼ cup peanut oil

Pimento cheese

8 ounces cheddar cheese

1 roasted red pepper, diced

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon paprika

1 slice bacon, cooked till crisp and crumbled (optional)

2 to 3 large basil leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Prepare the crust

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into the tart pan. Trim the overhang to 1 inch, then fold it inside the tart pan, pressing it against the pan’s fluted sides. Prick the bottom of the crust 6 or 7 times with a fork, then place the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the dried beans or pie weights and parchment paper from the crust, and cool it completely before filling.

Prepare the tomatoes

Beat the eggs with the milk in a medium-size bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, granulated garlic, paprika, and salt. Dip each tomato slice into the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture, repeating the process once. Place the dredged tomato slices on a platter as they are completed. Heat the peanut oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and fry for about 5 minutes per side until lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the tomato slices with tongs to a paper towel–lined platter.

Prepare the Pimento Cheese

Coarsely grate the cheddar cheese and combine with the red pepper, mayo, paprika, and bacon (if desired) in a food processor. Puree until smooth.

Assemble the Tart

Spoon the pimento cheese into the prepared crust, smoothing it level with a spatula. Carefully place the largest fried green tomato slice in the center of the tart. Cut the rest of the slices in half and arrange the halves radiating out from the tomato in the center toward the edge. Roll the basil leaves into a cylinder and cut into thin strips. Scatter this basil chiffonade evenly over the surface of the tart. Serve chilled or at room temperature, removing the sides of the pan before serving.

Basic Pie Dough Recipe (All-Butter Version)
This all-butter crust is unrivaled in terms of flavor. It’s also quite flaky, despite having no shortening. The secret is to work with very cold butter. I keep all of my butter in the freezer, transferring it to the refrigerator overnight or several hours before I intend to make pie dough. Work quickly, with cold hands on a cool work surface, and you’ll end up with a crust that’s as flaky as it is scrumptious.

Makes: Dough for one double-crust pie

You will need
2½    cups all-purpose flour
1¼    teaspoons sea salt
1    cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
¾    cup ice water

Mix the flour and salt together in a medium-large bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you should still have some rather large bits of butter and shortening when you’re done). Slowly drizzle in the ice water. Stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to clump. Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and, using your hands, fold it into itself until all of the flour is incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not feel overly sticky. Divide the dough in half, shape it into two balls, and pat each ball into a ½-inch thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap (or try the alternative tip on page 22) and refrigerate for at least an hour.

 
 
 
 
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Cake Ladies: Free Recipe

May 11, 2012, 17:00 pm  Posted by Nicole McConville
 

When I was young, I absolutely loved spending time with my mom in the kitchen. Whether it was being tasked with the important responsibility of mixing up the cake, brownie, or cookie batter in the bowl (and licking the spoon afterward!) or simply watching her cooking process while soaking up any worthwhile wisdom, I was fascinated by it all and felt great comfort in those special moments together. As an adult, that mother-daughter kitchen time is usually relegated to holidays and happens much less frequently than I would like (and is therefore all the more precious).

As you take time to celebrate the importance of moms this weekend, I suggest creating some kitchen memories of your own. Make something together that can be shared together.

Cake Ladies celebrates the importance of women’s stories, the power of baking within families and communities, and the simple joy of sharing something sweet with those you love. So grab an apron and a mixing bowl, enlist your mom or your own child, and bake up something wonderful.

We offer here a free recipe for Applesauce Spice Cake, one of my personal favorites from the book since it reminds me of my own grandmother’s cake I savored as a child. Enjoy with someone you love!

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE: Applesauce Spice Cake

 
 
 
 
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FREE PROJECT: Crafty Appliqué T-Shirt

February 24, 2012, 16:29 pm  Posted by Nicole McConville
 

You know that old t-shirt tucked in the back of your closet that you don’t seem to wear anymore but just can’t bare to part with because of the delicious, well-worn fabric or fabulous color? Transform it into something new and stylish with this fun and easy project from Signature Styles. Designer Amy Tangerine’s offers up a simple reverse appliqué technique that you could follow exactly as offered, or you could experiment by trying out your own shape or word to suit your personal style.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE PROJECT HERE: Crafty Tee PDF

Find out more about Amy at www.amytangerine.com.

 

 
 
 
 
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Few things say “I’m sweet on you” quite like chocolate. This season has droves of us seeking out delectable little morsels to serve as tokens of our affection and appreciation. Something about the endorphin-releasing, swoon-inducing, eye-rolling indulgence of chocolate meshes well with the similar passions associated with love. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with great flair this year by showing your confectionery powers. This incredibly simple (but absolutely divine!) Mixed-Nut Dark Chocolate recipe will surely have you bestowed with hugs and kisses this or any time of the year. Taken from the beautiful book Sweet Confections, it aims to please. Let the wooing begin.

Just click here for the FREE recipe:  Mixed Nut Mixed-Nut Dark Chocolate Truffles

 
 
 
 
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The mad and joyful rush of the holiday season is now behind us, and the clean slate of a new year is right before our eyes. It’s just the right time to focus some intention on those things we want to be a little more mindful about as we move through the months ahead. For me, each and every year I have the same thing on my own personal list of resolutions: gratitude. I think it’s essential to truly feel and demonstrate a sense of gratitude toward our blessings and the people that fill our lives. Something as simple as a hug, a smile, or a handwritten note can do wonders in communicating that spirit to others.

When I was young, my parents instilled in me the importance of the thank-you card ritual. It was my duty to take crayon or pen (depending on my age) to paper to give thanks to those who had been kind enough to bestow upon me birthday or holiday gifts. Sure, there were some years where the gratitude was mixed with stubborn “Do I have to?” pouts and tantrums, but the ritual of it became a habit. Now, as an adult, I see the value of giving thanks to others in simple but unexpected ways. In an era of quick emails and even quicker texts, the gesture of the handmade card is even more meaningful.

In that spirit, we bestow onto you this sweet (and easy) little handcrafted card project from the appropriately titled Thank You Notes: 40 Handmade Ways to Show You’re Grateful. This happy card is so simple you could whip up a few at a time, crafty assembly line style. If you can’t get your hands on a thank-you stamp similar to the one used in the project, just do a little hand lettered message, making the gesture even more personalized.

Happy New Year, and THANK YOU for visiting Lark Crafts!