Friday, July 8, 2016

Rhubarb Pie & Almond Rhubarb Chevron Bars

Rhubarb. I'm sure I had it in a pie paired with strawberries in my youth. Not my
favorite but my hubby not-so-secretly lusts for pies so we gave the recipe from
The Barefoot Contessa a try this 4th of July. Turned out a little runnier than I'd
hoped for but overall not bad.


Still oh-so-hopeful as I brushed on the egg wash.


And even while it was baking. Although you can start to see the pond of juice forming.


When it was baked and had cooled for a couple of hours to hopefully firm up, (never
happened) I removed at least a fourth cup of juice and 3 slices. You know, to taste.
It finally started to look more like what I'd hoped for. Except for the soggy lattice at the
top. Next time I'd use more cornstarch or drain the juice after the fruit had been sugared
and setting for a bit. Still quite yummy in the flavor department although not exactly a
feast for the eyes.

While someone else (ahem) has eaten all but one slice of pie, I've been saving my appetite / 
calories for these delicious looking Almond Rhubarb Picnic Bars instead. Amazing just how
much pie can disappear when someone "neatens up" the edges. Does this happen at your
house too? My husband is an expert in this area. And not just self-proclaimed. I learned that
he is guilty of the same behavior in the office kitchen.

Moving on . . . it proved a little difficult to locate fresh rhubarb here this time of year but when 
I did, I couldn't wait to give these a try. The chevron pattern intrigued me and I love the blend
from light green to deep pink.  Here's a shot of the original recipe by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.

My bars weren't so lucky. The recipe said to top the baked bars with either powdered sugar
or jelly. I ended up choosing seedless strawberry jam since nearly all of the color baked out
of the rhubarb and ended up being more monochromatic than the gentle ombre in the original.
You can see one outburst of red in the lower corner and hints of green but the jam was really
the only other option to try and bring some color back to the plate.


Hubby is on his way home so we'll wait to give them a try so he can properly neaten
up those squares. We'll let you know how they stood up to his taste test!


Pretty certain he won't even notice the color or lack thereof. Stay tuned . . .



Monday, July 4, 2016

Surprise Inside Patriotic Pinwheel Ice Cream Cake

Happy Birthday America!!!


Hope you're enjoying some cake and ice cream to help celebrate the occasion!

This cake has you covered for both. Which is why I couldn't decide between the
fork or the spoon as the appropriate tool. Or just your tongue.

Cake pinwheels hidden inside the most delicious and creamy vanilla-y vanilla ice
cream. The best news is that it uses store bought ice cream instead of cake for
the white background. Step away from the oven and put down those oven mitts!
Well, not completely. The pinwheels had to be baked.

The bad news is two-fold. 1) I didn't anticipate that the vibrant red frosting would
leave a pink streak when cutting the frozen slices with a hot knife. The Swiss
meringue butter cream took an unusually large amount of both super red and
burgundy to get the color I was after. Which brings us to number 2) Color. What
WAS I thinking?!?! Actually . . . I was thinking a more trendy blue would be fun.
But I lost my nerve when it came to the flag exterior. It was wrong. Next time I
would do the inside blue the same as the outside. Shield your eyes from the
offensive blue pinwheel!

The shot above was taken after the cake went back to the freezer during the first
photography session. Working with ice cream is a little trickier than regular cake.
Kinda reminds me of Hans Solo being frozen but that's another cake all together,
now isn't it?

The frosting style was inspired by this burlap ribbon flag project

I fell in love with the way the folds piled over each other. The original plan was to
use smooth stripes but the ridged side of the piping tip won out.

Wilton basket weave tip #47 did the trick and was just the right size for the planned
number of stripes. Did I say *planned??? One more stripe was "planned" but since
WHEN do things EVER go according to plan? I removed one stripe and soldiered on.

The stars are made from bright white candy melts but regular old white chocolate
would've matched the frosting much better. Okay. So the problems were at least
three-fold. You caught me. At least I always learn from my mistakes. Most of the time.
make a LOT of mistakes. So I'm getting pretty darned smart. One would think.

Hope you're smart enough to cool off with some ice cream & enjoy the rest of your 4th!

miss smarty pants (aka Deborah)