As is usual this time of year, I am wondering where the summer went.
I am harvesting glorious produce from the garden, visiting the Farmers Market and making delicious things to eat with all the flavorful and beautiful bounty I gather. Picking raspberries is an almost daily chore lately. The dog doesn’t mind snacking on the lower hanging berries. It’s his reward for keeping watch out for bears and other critters while I am picking.
There is lots of activity in my kitchen. In addition to preparing dinner every night, I’ve been busy making moose camp meals for the Other Fisherman, baked pie with cherries I actually got to pick myself, baked goodies with raspberries, jam and pickles.
Homer is known as the halibut capital of the world and also the peony capital of the world, but I think it should also have the designation as the raspberry capital of the world.
Brown butter tart
The brown butter in this tart gives depth of flavor to the berry filling.
7 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, diced
2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto sides and bottom of pan.
2. Bake crust until golden, about 18 minutes (crust will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Cook butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often, about 6 minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.
Arrange raspberries, pointed side up and close together in concentric circles, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over berries. Place tart on rimmed baking sheet. Bake tart until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool tart completely in pan on rack.
Do ahead: Can be made one day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.
Remove tart pan sides. Place tart on platter. Cut into wedges and serve.
Test-kitchen tip: When browning butter, use a saucepan with a light-colored bottom so that you can gauge the color of the butter.
When the Other Fisherman finds puff ball mushrooms, he proudly delivers them to me in the kitchen. It doesn’t take many to add their intense and earthy special flavor to recipes. They should be white and fairly firm with a soft texture, like a marshmallow. I like to saute them in a little butter for a short time. Important: consult a mushroom expert or guide to identify mushrooms, as many are poisonous.
White pizza with puff balls
This is a great dough recipe when you don’t have time to age your dough. You just mix it and allow it to rest while you are preparing the toppings. It yields a soft, chewy crust. I recommend you use bread flour and bake it on a pizza stone, but all-purpose flour works well too.
Makes 2 pies, about 10-by-12 inches each
I like to keep my homemade pies small for ease of handling and transferring from the pizza peel to the hot pizza stone.
1 (.25 ounce) or 2 ½ teaspoons packaged active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 ½ cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
¼ cup Provolone, if sliced, torn in small pieces, or grated
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
Fresh sweet basil leaves for garnish if desired
Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Stir flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Add oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes in bowl.
After resting, knead dough on a lightly floured surface until dough ball is smooth, about 3 minutes.
Clean out the bowl you mixed the dough in and oil it.
Add dough and let it rest again covered with a tea towel or plastic wrap while preparing pizza toppings.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round.
Drizzle a little olive oil over the surface of the dough. Spread to coat evenly.
Sprinkle a little herb salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper over oiled crust.
Evenly top with about ½ cup shredded mozzarella. Spread a few thinly sliced mushrooms over mozzarella. Randomly scatter provolone next.
Sprinkle about ½ cup finely grated aged Parmesan over all. Sprinkle a few red pepper flakes over cheese if desired.
Transfer pizza to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker’s peel dusted with cornmeal and flour. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes, depending on thickness and toppings or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
We are fortunate our community has so many good places to eat, and hopefully, next year things will be back to what they were. In the meantime though, many thanks to the eateries that are open and serving takeout food. We’ve missed dining in with you.
Stay healthy as we head into fall.