Tag: Spring

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cinnamon Raisin Bread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cinnamon Raisin Bread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cinnamon Raisin Bread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I like being home. Traveling the world is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I will happily go on adventures like the one to Vietnam any time. But there is something about coming home to your own bed, your own shower, and your own kitchen. I feel like I need to give all my kitchen tools little hugs and tell them I’ve missed them. Which, at this point, I’ve basically done, because I’ve been cooking up a storm this week.

Portland, however, is being slightly less welcoming than my kitchen. Mostly just in its weather-related mood swings. Seriously, this whole week has been days of sporadically alternating sunshine and rain. Sometimes each lasts 5 minutes, sometimes an hour. But it’s making it awfully hard to cook. What I’m going to make is always determined by my mood, which is often influenced by the weather. Between the rain and sun breaks, I can’t decide if I should be making spring recipes or winter recipes.

This cinnamon raisin bread is the perfect balance between spring and winter, though I already know I’ll be making it year round. It’s homey and warming thanks to the springy crumb and the way it fills your kitchen with the most comforting smell. But the raisins and cinnamon bring a little fruitiness and fun to the mix, a little surprise if you will. This isn’t just plain ol’ bread, you know. This has a beautiful swirl of cinnamon sugar and beautifully juicy pops of fruit throughout it.

This recipe made two loaves, and I thought for certain I’d freeze one loaf, because my roommates just don’t usually eat that much bread (unless it’s beer bread). But I was wrong. In two days, we are down to half a loaf left. Everyone has been enjoying this bread, toasted, slathered with butter, or raspberry rhubarb jam, or nutella for breakfast and dessert and a snack here and there.

Point is, make this bread and your house will smell like heaven, your friends will love you, and you’ll be perfectly toeing the line between the seasons.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

2 1/4 tsps (1 package) dry instant yeast
2 1/4+ cups warm water
3 Tbl and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbl salt
3 Tbl butter
6 -7 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins
canola/vegetable oil
1 Tbl cinnamon

Instructions

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or not. If you don’t have one, this can easily be made with the strength of your own two arms.) combine 1/2 cup warm water, the yeast, and 1 Tbl of sugar. Set aside and let sit until it’s foamy. In another bowl, cover the raisins with warm-hot water, at least 2 cups. This step is optional, but it will plump the raisins, making them a bit juicier in the bread. After about 3 minutes, pour 1 3/4 cups of the raisin water off into a measuring cup and discard the rest. Pour the raisin water into the mixing bowl with the yeast, in addition to 2 Tbl sugar, the salt, 2 Tbl melted butter, 3 1/2 cups of flour, and all of the raisins. Mix with the paddle attachment until thoroughly combined, adding up to 3 more cups of flour until the dough is smooth enough to handle, but still moist. Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook, and knead for about 7 minutes (10 minutes if you’re kneading by hand). Dump the dough out onto a floured surface, coat the mixing bowl with canola or vegetable oil, and put the dough back into the bowl, turning it to coat, and cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel. Set the bowl in a warm spot (I like to turn on the light over my stove and set it under that) and let it rise for about an hour, or until it’s doubled.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbl of cinnamon and mix well. Butter two bread pans. When the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl onto a floured surface and punch it down, then divide it in half. Roll out one half of the dough into a rectangle that measures roughly 16 by 8 inches. Once rolled out, sprinkle the dough with 1 Tbl of water, and half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough up starting from the short end, and pinch the seam shut. Drop the roll of dough into one of the greased loaf pans. Repeat with the second half of dough. Brush the top of both loaves with the remaining 1 Tbl of melted butter, and cover them again with a clean dishtowel to let them rise for another hour in a warm spot.

About 15 minutes before your bread is done rising, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Bake the bread for 30 minutes, or until the loaves look beautiful dark brown on top. Remove the loaves from the pans (beware, as cinnamon sugar may have oozed and become rather sticky – aprons are your friend) and set on a cooling rack. I recommend slicing into one of these bad boys when it’s still pretty warm. You can toast it and put a nice layer of cream cheese on top, like I did with my cinnamon raisin bread when I was younger, but a little butter will do nicely as well. Enjoy.

Baked Rhubarb with Lemon and Cardamom

Baked Rhubarb with Lemon and Cardamom // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Baked Rhubarb with Lemon and Cardamom // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Baked Rhubarb with Lemon and Cardamom // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

It’s raining in Portland. I know, surprise, surprise. But it wasn’t that long ago that the sun was shining and I even got a sunburn. Seriously! Last weekend, Jonah’s mom and Grandma were in town for the day, and we took them to the PSU Farmer’s Market, which has got to be one of my favorite things about Portland. The sun was shining, I wasn’t even wearing a jacket, and there was beautiful crimson rhubarb everywhere! Rhubarb has got to be one of my favorite ingredients of all time, so I was excited, to say the least.

As I was getting ready for Passover dinner on Tuesday, I decided to nix the matzo crunch in favor of something a little more reminiscent of springtime: some baked rhubarb. After doing a little recipe hunting and finding this recipe on Food52 and this recipe on Orangette, I decided to do a little adapting. This recipe is so easy and delicious – I love the slightly sour flavor of the rhubarb and the hint of lemon, cardamom, and earl grey. I balanced the tartness with some fresh whipped cream, but ice cream, fresh ricotta, or yogurt are also great options.

Baked Rhubarb with Lemon and Cardamom

Ingredients

6 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1 meyer lemon, juiced
1/8 tsp cardamom
3/4 cup steeped and cooled earl grey tea

optional: fresh whipped cream, ice cream, fresh ricotta, or yogurt for serving

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, combine rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, cardamom, and tea. Stir to combine. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool. You can serve the rhubarb warm, room temperature, or chilled, all are wonderful. Yes, that’s it. Can you believe how easy this is?

P.S. The leftovers, if there are any, taste delicious stirred into your yogurt and granola the next morning. Or on top of pancakes. Just saying.

Rhubarb Thyme Hand Pies

Rhubarb Thyme Hand Pies

Rhubarb Thyme Hand Pies
Rhubarb Thyme Hand Pies

It’s early spring. Do you know what that means? It means rhubarb. Yep. I couldn’t be more excited. Jonah and I went to the farmer’s market and I picked up about two pounds of the it and I decided to make Rhubarb Thyme Hand Pies. Now, I have only made hand pies once before, and they were delicious. I followed a recipe from the Dahlia Bakery cookbook, so the dough was specifically for hand pies, as was the filling. But I didn’t really have a recipe for these, so I decided to wing it.

Part of my concern with kind of winging it was that the dough would be too delicate and flaky to hold up as a handpie. Second, I worried that the filling, being mostly rhubarb which falls apart as soon as it’s cooked, would be too liquidy, not enough solid. So I did a little research, and while I wasn’t completely happy, it was certainly a first step. I think I made the pies a bit too big. I didn’t really want to do the 3.5 inch circular cookie cutter route (cutout two circles, run milk around the edge of the bottom one, fill inside the milk edge with filling, put another circle on top and seal the edges), so instead I divided my dough into 8 pieces and rolled each one out until it was about 1/4 inch thick. I like the way these are shaped better, a little more rustic seeming, but I do think that they might’ve held up better if I had gone the cookie cutter route. The dough was, as I was concerned about, a little too delicate and started to crumble when you picked it up. And I certainly could’ve put more filling in each pie (the leftover filling is in a tupperware at home, and I’m looking forward to stirring it in with some Greek yogurt for a snack later).

All that being said, they were definitely tasty, and I would recommend them! But hopefully I’ll be trying another batch here soon with a few changes. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Rhubarb Thyme Hand Pies

Ingredients

Pie Crust

2 cups flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks), cold, cut into cubes
1 tsp salt
up to 1/4 cup water

Rhubarb Filling

4 cups rhubarb, in a half inch dice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp fresh thyme
Milk for sealing

Instructions

Pie Crust

In a mixer or a food processor, combine the flour, butter, and salt. If the dough is not coming together, add water, 2 Tbl at a time, until it does. Form dough into two discs, wrap in saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Rhubarb Filling

While the dough is refrigerating, put cubed rhubarb, sugar, and thyme into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, cook the rhubarb until it breaks down and simmers for a couple minutes. Allow the filling to cool while the dough finishes up in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Divide each disc into 6 even pieces (I only did 4 and the hand pies were too big, in my opinion). On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into as circular a shape as you can. You’re going to be folding them in half, so even if they’re not so round, symmetrically misshapen is best. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and assemble the pies on the baking sheet. What does assembling them entail? Well, dunk your fingers in milk and wet the edge of your circle of dough. Fill half of that circle, inside the milk line, with the rhubarb filling, and fold the opposite side of dough over the filling. Press around the edges, allowing the milk to seal the two sides of the dough together. With a fork, press around the edges, and use a knife to cut three little slits in the top for steam (this way the pies are less likely to explode). I was able to fit 4 on a pan, but because yours will probably be smaller, you may be able to fit 6. Bake for 20-35 minutes or until the dough looks cooked and the edges are golden brown. Allow to cool for about an hour before digging in.