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Tiny Almond-Apricot Bonbons

2013-05-31 20.09.14When I was a child, I had a cookbook published by Nitty Gritty books, Yum, I Eat It! (I think) that had a recipe for “No-Cook Candy”. All I remembered was that it had a lot of confectioner’s sugar in it. Searching for that led me to this recipe at cooks.com. I substituted honey for the corn syrup.

The first time, I made the recipe mostly as it’s written.

And then I got carried away.

Since I live around the corner from a craft store, I hiked over there and got some candy coating to melt in the microwave. My sister gave me some ginger flavored sugar, so I used that instead of sprinkles. I chilled the candy in a roughly rectangular slab wrapped in plastic wrap. When I was ready to coat it, I rolled half of the pieces in the sugar. Then I coated according to the instructions on the package. Crunchyness aside, I thought they were a bit bland.

So–

Enter the dried apricots and almond extract. Because I have those things lying about.Apricot Bonbon

In addition to the ingredients (using honey again), I chopped up 4 dried Turkish apricots (the brown kind, I found them in the bulk bins) very fine. Instead of the 1/2 tsp vanilla, I substituted 3/8 vanilla and 1/8 almond extract. You might have to eyeball it with the 1/4 tsp measure. These went in before the confectioners sugar.  This made a slightly wetter dough that previous, so I added confectioner’s sugar until it was the right consistency. I chilled for a couple hours, then I melted the chocolate coating and dipped each square. I left out the sprinkles/granulated sugar. I would recommend getting better chocolate than I did. It would make a huge difference.

The original recipe is a blank slate to add dried fruit nuts, extracts or other stuff. I would love to hear from people who have experimented with this recipe in the comments.

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Strawberries, Rhubarb and… Cheese?

RhubarbStrawberry QuicheI had a recipe from Mollie Katzen’s The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, (p129) called “A Quiche Formula”.  I did a lot of summarizing when I copied it down. Essentially:

You need:

1 unbaked pie shell
cheese (1/4 -1/3 lb) cubed or grated (Swiss types, or cheddar or something semi-soft)
filling such as sauteed vegetables, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, or fresh herbs (or steamed veggies etc.)
3 eggs
1 C milk
sprinkling of paprika

Spread the cheese over bottom of the crust. Place the filling evenly over the cheese. Beat eggs and milk and pour this over the filling. Dust with paprika. Bake 35-40 minutes.

SUPER simple and very versatile. From that model I made up a rhubarb and strawberry custard pie.

There were  couple things I did to the recipe that might changed the outcome, but I’m pretty confident in Mollie Katzen’s quiche, so I used her methods and times.

I baked mine with a water bath (it’s a long story and probably unnecessary). It’s common to do this for custard things, but usually the quiche seems to come out fine without doing that so I skipped it in my instructions. Also I pre-cooked the filling. Again it might not be necessary, but I did not want to chance the filling coming up uncooked. Cook or no- cook, take your pick. My creation came out a bit runny, but not inedible.

I used “Arthur’s Italian Cuisine” Parmesan which is a strangely mild cheese I had on hand, but most Parmesan cheese might be too strong. Find something milky and only slightly sour tasting ( I originally thought I might use cream cheese or mascarpone as a crust sealer. It might work…).

This is on the tart side. I didn’t add any sweetener besides strawberries. You might want it sweeter, if so, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the filling mix when you cook it or to the custard as you beat it.

If you make any of the changes I mentioned above let me know what you did! (And if anything is unclear or I left anything out, let me know that too).

Rhubarb and Strawberry Custard Pie

1 unbaked 9″ pie shell
Grated Mild Parmesan cheese (enough to cover bottom of pie crust)
a dusting of cinnamon

Filling
1 1/2 C chopped strawberries and rhubarb (about 1 1/2 stalks)
1 TBS butter (scant)

Custard
1 C milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375′ F. Keep crust in freezer until ready to use. Warm rhubarb and strawberries with butter, until butter is melted and fruit is wet.

Beat eggs and milk and add vanilla.

Pull crust out of freezer or fridge. Line the bottom of the crust with the grated cheese. Spread filling over cheese and pour custard over that. Dust with cinnamon.

Place the whole thing in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes.

FYI, I’m not a professional baker, and I’ve never even taken a baking class. I make no guarantees beyond my own meager experience (and I even wonder about that sometimes). Apparently I have some strange tastes, so I guess what I’m saying, bake at your own risk.

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