Growing up in Arizona did have it's downfalls in terms of fresh produce. I never truly understood the concept of "in season produce" as tomatoes and fruit seemed to be prevalent year round. I knew about garden's and tried my hand at growing one of my own when I was in second grade. The only thing that grew in my climate and soil were the radishes. I remember being so proud of them, that I even gave one to my teacher. In my mind, there was no difference between the radish and an apple and Ms. Moore seemed to be pretty amused by it.
Besides my radish crop for one season, in my family, it's my sister who became the topic when it came to garden's. Not for her ability to grow and cultivate any sort of crops, no. She was known for what our family calls: The Strawberry Incident.
You see, my sister was always curious as a child and the strawberry patch my mother had planted (and we never had since) was raided not by a mole, birds or anything of the sorts, but by my sister. She must have been around four at the time when my mother found her in the patch eating ALL of the strawberries. No, these strawberries weren't ripe but green. Some, things are just too good to wait for I guess.
It wasn't until I moved to North Carolina and discovered farmer's markets that I truly embraced the concept of cooking with locally grown, in season produce. There are many things that are too good to wait for, although I have to. Strawberries would be one of those.
Besides, strawberries are every little girl's favorite. Hello! Strawberry Shortcake?! What little girl didn't want to live in Strawberry Land and have a cat named Custard while working at The Berry Bake Shoppe? I thought those Strawberry Land days were behind me. That was until I visited my niece and she went ballistic when she lost her Strawberry Shortcake doll. I would have gone ballistic too. No one would get between me and Strawberry Shortcake. No one.
Since moving to Richmond permanently this past week, I had one thing on my mind. The farmer's market. Usually, I just go pick out what looks best and go home and make something, anything out of whatever my treasures are. This week, part of those treasures were strawberries and herbs amongst other things. I knew that I would make my go to strawberry recipe. Strawberry Pie from the Biltmore Estate Cookbook and pair it with a basil mascarpone whipped cream from Martha Stewart's new cookbook; Pies and Tarts.
If you have never been to Biltmore in Asheville, NC, you are definitely missing out. Fun winery, great mountain biking trails, amazing food and oh yeah. There is this little thing that Biltmore is known for. The mansion where the Vanderbilt's lived. Absolutely gorgeous! So, when I saw this cookbook featuring recipes that are prepared across the grounds, I jumped on it. There are so many favorites that I find myself returning to this book time and time again. Enjoy!
Flaky Pie Pastry
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking
5 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons cold lard
1 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons ice water
Cut the butter and lard into 3/4 inch thick pieces.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix on low speed until blended, about 10 seconds. Turn off the mixer, add the butter and lard, and then continue mixing on low speed just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas, about 20 seconds. Add the ice water 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix on low speed just until the mixture begins to hold together, about 20 seconds. The dough will form large clumps and pull away from the sides of the bowl, but will not form a ball. To test, stop the mixer and squeeze a small piece of dough; It should hold together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface. Shape the dough into a 6-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour or for up to overnight.
To Prebake the Crust
Roll out the dough and place into a 10 inch pie plate. Freeze the pie crust until it is firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the frozen pie crust with a piece of foil. Fill the foil-lined crust with pie weights or beans. bake the lined crust until it dries out, about 15 minutes. Check to see if the crust is ready by pulling up one corner of the foil. If the foil sticks, the crust is not fully dried out. Return to the oven and check every 2 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
Continue to bake until the crust is lightly browned on the edges and dry looking on the bottom, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the crust to a wire rack to cool.
What to do with the pie crust scraps? Why make snacks of course!
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the crust scraps and cut out to whichever shape you would like. Brush with heavy cream and place whichever toppings you would like on top. This particular topping is a pinch of cinnamon, cayenne pepper and sugar sprinkled on top. You could also top with gruyere cheese and paprika. Or paprika with poppy seeds. Bake for 12 minutes.
Basil Mascarpone Whipped Cream
Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, patted dry and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1. Combine the cream, basil and 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over (not in) a pan of simmering water, and stir until sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add mascarpone, and whip in a mixer with the whisk attachment until medium peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 hours.
Biltmore Our Table to Yours
Chef's Selection Cookbook
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, sliced
1 10 inch pie shell
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons bread flour
3/4 cup cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 quarts strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly browned
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in a bowl. Mix with your fingers until crumbly.
For the pie, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the sugar, bread flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Add the strawberries and toss to coat evenly. Add the lemon juice, melted butter, milk and vanilla and mix gently. Spoon into pie shell and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for one hour. Let cool on wire rack. Garnish with the basil mascarpone whipped cream.