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This dessert was a confluence of coincidences. I had rhubarb on hand, which I had bought Saturday morning to make apple rhubarb pie.  But we had too much fun at the Kellybrook cider festival on Saturday, and in the end, I forgot to buy a bag of apples! I’ve also had lemon curd on the brain, since lemons are just coming into abundance at the trees in the neighborhood.  So I searched around, and came up with this concoction to put my rhubarb to good use:

rhubarb curd tartlets

1 portion sweet short crust pastry
6 stalks rhubarb
1/3 cup sugar (or honey)
6 egg yolks
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs butter, chopped

1. Wash rhubarb and chop into small pieces (always remove all leaves, they are poisonous!).  Mix with sugar (or honey) and stew over low heat for 20-25 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and puree in a food processor.

2. Roll pastry, cut and shape into greased mini muffin or tartlet pans. Bake for 10 minutes until golden.

3. To make curd, whisk eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a heat proof bowl.  Add 1 cup of rhubarb puree and place over a saucepan of simmering water, whisking constantly.  Add chopped butter and continue whisking for 5-10 minutes until thickened.  Cool, and pipe into tartlet shells.

I’ve always loved rhubarb, and typically stick to the classic apple or strawberry plus combinations. But this curd really allows the rhubarb to shine through on its own.  Sweet and oh so tart; what a fantastic experimental coincidence.

As for the cider festival, I did manage to remember to bring home a liter of scrumpy from Kellybrook…

(the merry men dancers at Kellybrook Cider Festival)

You may have already seen the bounty that was our Thanksgiving dessert table.  On the night prior to, Kelly & I had ourselves a pie and hot tub night:  we rolled out Kelly’s pre-made crust (spiked with cinnamon, that secret recipe stays with her I think), filled it up, popped the pies in the oven, and rewarded our efforts with a few glasses of champagne and dunk in the hot tub…

The cherry pie was totally impromptu.  Kelly had made extra crust, and when gathering provisions at the grocery store I noticed cherries were $5 a pound.  Cheap berries are few and far between down here outside of the seasonal bounty, but in late November and December there happens to be a bonanza of fresh cherries to be had.  When life hands you cherries….

The pumpkin and apple pies were the clear winners; but just as good by me….  Cherry pie for breakfast!

Kelly’s apple pie

6 or 7 tart apples

2/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten,

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Slice apples, skin on for flavor.  Combine with all ingredients. Fill pie, and top with lattice pie crust.  Bake 55 to 65 minutes at 350 F (260C).

impromptu cherry pie

1kg (2 pounds) fresh cherries

1 shot brandy

1/4 cup sugar, or to taste

Pit cherries (and be prepared dig cherry juice from under your nails all weekend) but leave roughly intact (halved)  Combine with sugar and brandy in a small saucepan.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes until cherries are well coated and softened.  Fill pie crust, top and bake at 250F (260C) for 40-45 minutes.

nutella, pumpkin pecan pie

1 jar nutella (or other chocolate spread / melted chocolate)

15oz can pumpkin

3/4 cup milk & 3/4 cup cream

1 cup brown sugar

3 egg

1/4 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, or to taste

100g pecans

2 egg whites, whisked

Heat pumpkin, sugar and spice over low in saucepan, until lightly browned.  Add milk and cream and continue to risk.  Blend with egg .  Layer 1/4 inch of nutella in the bottom of the pie crust, then pumpkin mixture. Toss pecans with egg whites and scoop on top (try to avoid pouring in, which can lead to too much goopy egg whites settling on the top of the pie).  Bake 55 to 65 minutes at 350 F (260C).

Disclaimer, this version of pumpkin pecan pie was delicious, but not really the right texture for me for a pumpkin pie.  It was very soft, likely from the blending process, but ever so tasty.  It might benefit from a few extra minutes in the oven (covered), or prompt serving (since we baked the night before serving and stored in the oven overnight).

Another basic and simple recipe that packs a flavorful punch.  So tasty and easy, you’ll never eat canned applesauce again.

baked applesauce

2 apples, skin on

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, dash of clove

Roughly dice apples, and place in small baking dish.  Cover with sugar and spice mix.  Bake at 220C (400 F) for 30-45 minutes until soft.  Mash with a potato masher, leaving rough and chunky.  Garnish with cinnamon stick and serve.

I hate cranberry sauce, so I dished this up with the Thanksgiving turkey.  Also would be great for that timeless classic, pork and apples. Yum!

I heart this recipe for caramelized onions

Actually, let me rephrase.  I ate an entire batch of caramelized onions (4 onions, and I’m not going to add up the # of tbsp of butter) in 2 days flat. Dressing for veal ravioli with olive oil and parmesan, check.  Topping for mixed greens, sliced pear and fennel salad, double check.  Snack-time with a spoon straight into my mouth, you guessed it, CHECK.

I’m pretty sure that kinda of love qualifies for just this side of obsession / desire.

The duo at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide has an awesome step-by-step tutorial, so rather than do it injustice by replication here just wander over there… you may find you like them as much as I do!