Rhubarb-Strawberry-Apple Pie

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Rhubarb is back in season, and if you can remember from last year, I go absolutely crazy whenever rhubarb hits the markets.

It’s not a joke, it’s something I take very seriously! I love it. It’s just so easy to make and I love the crisp and sour taste!

Last year I made Rhubarb – Curd Cheese Cake and Rhubarb – Curd Cheese Tartlets. I was tempted to just go back and repeat these recipes because I couldn’t really find anything that tickled my fancy but then I stopped and thought “well, why not do your own thing?”

Why indeed?

Among my friends and family I’m mostly known for three things and ironically I haven’t posted either of those recipes here yet.
As it is I’m known for my Chocolate-Coffee Cake, my Chocolate – Banana Bread and my Apple Pie.

Then I started thinking – I could make that Apple Pie and just switch apples for rhubarb. And yes, it really was that easy. Kind of.
I had to tweak it a bit as I went but if you’re like me and enjoy the hands on cooking more than the fussy weighing of the exact amount of grams, then let’s get started, shall we?

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Ingredients

400g flour
40g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
200g butter (unsalted at room temperature)
1 tbsp vinegar

1kg rhubarb
400g strawberries
1 apple
200ml strawberry juice*
50ml maple sirup (honey works just as well)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp rum
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg
2 tbsp milk

* I used strawberry juice but rhubarb leaves more juice than apples so I ended up having a lot of liquid in my fruit mixture which I had to drain out again. So you can either forgo the strawberry juice (as well as the lemon juice as rhubarb is already very sour) or you can just put it in and then drain the excess liquid before you put the fruit on the dough.

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What to do

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

For the dough you mix together the flour, 25g sugar, salt, 175g butter (room temperature and cut in small pieces), vinegar and 9 tbsp cold water until you have a smooth dough.
Divide the dough into two pieces, wrap in foil and let it chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Wash, clean and cut the rhubarb and apple into small pieces. Don’t worry if they’re a bit bigger as it will cook and soften anyway. Add the strawberry juice, lemon juice, maple sirup (I usually always use honey instead), cinnamon and rum and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Wash and cut the strawberries and add them to the mixture. If you think this isn’t sweet enough you can add some (brown) sugar or more honey if you want to.
In a separate cup put together the cornstarch with 3 tbsp cold water and stir it until it dissolves. Add this to the fruit mixture and let it cook for another minute or so. Leave the mixture to cool.
If you have used the juice (or even if you haven’t) and the whole mix seems very runny, try to get rid off the excess liquid by draining it.

Grease a form with the remaining butter. Roll the dough until it fits the form, put it in and then prick the bottom with a fork.
Put the fruit mixture in the form. Roll the remaining dough and cut into stripes so you can braid it on top of the fruit.
Mix the egg yolk with the milk and brush it on top of the dough.

Bake for around 60 minutes.
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A couple of days later I basically made the same thing but without the strawberries. I also tried my hand at braiding the crust around the form. With the leftover dough I made some rustic tartlets filled only with rhubarb (cooked with honey, rum and cinnamon – basically that’s all you need!).
It really is easy and such a fun and creative way to try new things.

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Peppermint Brownies

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I found this recipe for Peppermint Brownies and I was just SO intrigued.
I will post the brownie recipe I found here but will make some notes as I am not 100% happy with how they turned out. I might even take an entirely different brownie recipe next time and just add the peppermint extract to it.

In any case, here we go:

Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, chopped, plus extra for greasing
225g dark chocolate chopped
400g caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (Note: I added almost double the amount and the peppermint flavour is still barely there. This might change with what kind of extract you use, so you might want to taste the dough before.)
185g all-purpose flour, sifted

Icing (powdered) sugar for sprinkling

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What to do

Preheat oven to 160ºC (315ºF/Gas 2–3). Grease a deep 23 cm (9 inch) square cake tin with butter and line with baking paper.
Melt the butter and 200 g (7 oz) chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the sugar, eggs and vanilla and peppermint extracts and stir until combined. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and mix in. Pour into the tin and bake for 40–45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre. Cool completely in tin, then invert onto a chopping board and remove baking paper.
Using a sharp knife, slice into 3 cm (1/4 inch) squares or small triangles, wiping after each slice to ensure smooth slices.

(Source)

Notes:
Why it says 225g chocolate in the ingredients but then you only need 200g, I have no idea. I used 50g less sugar than the recipe says and it was still very, very sugary sweet. Also, I never melt chocolate over simmering water, I just don’t have the patience for it. The recipe doesn’t mention baking powder, you might want to add that as well and bake for a little longer than the recipe says. I baked it for about 40 minutes, the skewer came out clean and the dough is still super, super soft, almost not quite done yet.

Like mentioned before, if you have a trusty recipe for brownies and you want to give them an extra touch you can do this with the peppermint extract. It’s a subtle but great note and goes really well with chocolate. I will definitely try this again, though I’m not sure it’s going to be with this particular brownie recipe ;-)

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Plundergebäck (Danish Pastry)

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The other day I still had some apples from our tree and I was slowly running out of ideas what to make with them. There are only so many apple pies you can bake, you know? So I thought I’d try something new and then I found ready-made dough for Danish pastry. I had no recipe so I just grabbed random ingredients which I thought could taste nice and oh my God, they did.

This is of course, no professional recipe, but if you’re willing to experiment, maybe it can be some sort of inspiration for you :)

Ingredients
1 package of curd cheese
1 cup of vanilla yoghurt
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
sugar or vanilla extract (depending on how sweet you want the filling to be)
some honey
Apples and/or peaches
Ready made dough for Danish pastry

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What to do
Okay, so since I didn’t have a recipe for this and did most by taste this is what you’ll have to do as well.

Pre-heat the oven to the temperature needed for the dough.

Peel and cut one apple in small slices. I added lemon juice, honey and cinnamon for taste and cooked it for a few minutes. Take care that the fruit doesn’t get too soft.
Then I did pretty much the same with the peaches, but left out the cinnamon.

Mix together the curd cheese and some of the vanilla yoghurt (again, just as much as you think tastes nice). Add vanilla extract (syrup or whatever else you have). Add sugar if you want to (I didn’t. Mostly because I’m trying to reduce my intake of sugar when it’s not absolutely necessary, like in coffee or tea :)).

Cut and fold the dough. I found this tutorial and it worked really well! Put the curd cheese – yoghurt mixture on it and top it off with the apples or peaches. Then put it in the oven and bake it for the required time.

If you want to you can coat the pastry with an egg/milk mix before you bake it as well.

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Zwetschkenkuchen (Plum Cake)

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Let’s embrace the fact that there’s still a lot of seasonal fruit out there right now. Like plums. I love plums because you can do so many things with them. Cake, jam, compotes,…
So yes, needless to say that I was super, super happy when my neighbours brought us a basket full of them from their tree.

This is another really quick and easy recipe if you have a lot of plums but no idea what to do with them or no time to make something more elaborate. The added cinnamon gives it a slightly autumnal touch, which is sadly, very appropriate these days.

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Ingredients
Plums (sliced in half or even quartered)
120g or 1/2 cup butter
150g or 2/3 cup finely granulated sugar
75g or 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
100g or 3 1/2 oz ground almonds
3 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Butter to grease the pan (or baking parchment)

What to do
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.
Cut the plums in half (or quarters, however you prefer) and toss with the cinnamon. Leave to the side.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one after the other. Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in gently with a metal spoon. Fold in the ground almonds.
Pour the batter in an appropriate (and greased, or lined with baking parchment) tin. Place the plums on top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

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Marillenkuchen (Apricot Cake)

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Apricots are in season and this is kind of a tradition. We make cake every year and my gran makes enough jam to last me the entire year. So much goodness.
So when I was about to bake Coconut Cupcakes today my mum just raised an eyebrow at me and then nodded to the entire bucket full of apricots that was standing in the middle of our kitchen. Point taken, thank you very much.
This is the first recipe I found and one of the quickest, easiest recipes for dough I’ve ever made. Seriously.

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Ingredients
200g butter (unsalted)
200g powdered sugar
200g all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 packet vanilla sugar
1 pinch of baking powder
300g apricots (pitted)

Butter to grease the form (or baking paper, if you prefer).

What to do
Melt the butter, let it cool for a while then mix with powdered sugar until smooth and white. Carefully add the eggs and vanilla sugar. Mix and then slowly add the flour and baking powder.
Pour the batter into a greased form (about as thick as one of your fingers) and put the sliced apricots on top.
Bake at 150°C until a skewer comes out clean.

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