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Showing posts with label pie crust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pie crust. Show all posts

Friday, August 7, 2020

Pear Streusel Pie

 


The fruits of summer are bountiful and sweet! There's nothing quite like the summer in the city, except when you are in your 30s and you live in the American Midwest or South. Then, it's just awful, especially if you are an *ahem* ample person of the feminine persuasion, such as myself. (Sweat happens to humans with bosoms and thick thighs in a way that I wish not on others.) Summer sucks. It's hot. It's humid. I'm going to tell you that I hate humidity, so I count the days until fall occurs. I relish the changing leaves, and I mark days off my calendar until I can go apple picking. There is, however, the wonderful fruit that ripens just before the apple does, and I can get my crisp fruit pie fix...the pear. 

Pears are wonderful fruits that don't get nearly enough love. They're crisp and cool, they have delicious varieties that are vastly varied, and they grow on trees so you can pick them while imagining your perfect life in the south of France as you do it! They are not always as sweet as the apple, so therefore you can use them in savory and sweet applications. A grated pear in a marinade for a Korean-style beef marinade will add a note of freshness and sweetness without being overwhelming. How wonderful! 

I'm sure you've seen pears with cheese plates and your parents will remember poached pears with ice cream in fancy restaurants in the late 80s to early 90s. Heck, I myself am guilty of putting the retro-classic poached pear on a modern dessert because I love it so much! There's just something about the pear that heralds in the changing of the seasons for me. It bakes in a wonderful end-of-summer pie.  Here's how to make it!



End-of-Summer Pear Pie

Pie Dough

  • 4 oz vegan butter
  • 7 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 oz raw sugar
  • 1 oz dark rum, more as needed
Pear Filling
  • Four medium-sized local pears, peeled and sliced thin
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3.5 oz raw or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp good Mexican vanilla
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  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Chinese long pepper, ground
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Honey Streusel
  • 5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1 oz local honey
  • 3 oz vegan butter, cold

This is my standard pie dough, and I absolutely love making it because it's suitable for decorating as well as tasty eating. Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl along with a fat pinch of salt. Roughly chop the butter into cubes and rub into the flour-sugar mixture with your fingertips, almost as if you were snapping your fingers. You only want to combine the flour until it looks like cornmeal, and then add in the rum. Turn all of this out onto a cool, marble surface and smear together, folding all the dough back on itself over and over again until everything is smooth and combined. Scrape together, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour, ideally overnight. 

Take your pears in a large bowl and toss it with the lemon juice and zest first before adding the sugar and spices. Cover this beautiful stuff and let it sit for 20 minutes at room temperature. The sugar and spices will draw pear juice out, and this beautiful liquid is going to make your pie taste delicious! Why don't you go ahead and turn on your oven to 350 F while you wait?


Meanwhile, lay more plastic wrap on your counter turn your dough out onto the surface. Rolling out your dough on plastic wrap or greased parchment paper will save you a lot of cleaning time! The idea is that you want to sandwich your pie dough between the parchment or plastic wrap and roll it out this way, so you don't have to add excess flour. Roll this out nice and thin and line a glass or ceramic pie dish and press into the corners so it's well-set. Let it hang out on the counter for about five minutes so the pie dough can relax a little before you trim the edges. This will prevent excessive shrinking! Once the dough has relaxed, trim the edges with a sharp paring knife and pinch around the edges to make a pretty scalloped finish. Take this opportunity to think about what kind of decorations you'd like to have on your pie! I chose feathers. 



I have this wonderful set of teardrop-shaped cutters that I discovered at a garage sale some years ago. All you have to do to make feathers is to take the excess dough that you've cut off, roll and cut out the shapes, and then use the back of the knife to make your cuts and indents. You can get really creative with what you put on your pie, so feel free to let your imagination run wild! Remember, any sort of decorative pie crust touch you make will need some egg wash to stick.

To make the streusel simply mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon. You'll be chopping and stirring the fat until everything sort of comes together in a kind of loose and lumpy sand, which shouldn't take long at all. Streusel is ready once it comes together when you ball it in your fist and it keeps its shape but quickly crumbles apart when tapped with a spoon.  

When you're ready to bake, brush your pie shell, edges included, quite well with egg wash. Add the flour to your pear pie filling and stir well to coat. You can use cornstarch if you like, but flour works just fine. Scrape your pie filling into the dough shell and arrange so that the slices are generally flat. Sprinkle your streusel all over the top to cover it, and decorate your pie as you so desire to. I really love the random look of these feathers strewn here and there! You can do whatever shapes you like; this is your pie, so you choose!

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and everything's golden-brown and delicious-looking. Your house is going to smell amazing! Turn off the oven and crack the oven door, and let it cool in the oven for about half an hour. Remove from the oven and let sit on the counter for at least 3 hours. Why? Pectin!

Pectin is this wonderful stuff that's found in high amounts in apples, citrus fruits, and - you guessed it - pears! It's a natural thickener and is essential for making homemade jams and jellies. The only thing about pectin is that it needs to set on its own, so that means you shouldn't cut this pie until it's cool to room temperature and the pectin is set. This way, you'll get much cleaner slices and you'll be able to enjoy that picturesque view of a non-soggy-bottom when you go back for a second, third, or fourth slice of pie. If you cut this pie before the pectin sets, the liquid will burst out and soak up your crust from the bottom, and it'll never set again. 

But what if I want warm pie??? 

Easy! Once it's all cooled, you can reheat it by the slice in the oven or - if you must - the microwave, and serve with some ice cream or sweetened ricotta cream. My general rule is that fruit pies should be served plain with coffee, but if you absolutely must indulge in some sort of ice cream, then I simply cannot stop you. Let go and let G-d, I say!

I love this pie because it's not too sweet but satisfies my sweet tooth in a much lighter way than an apple pie does. Pears are quite fragrant in a sexy, sophisticated way. I like to think of apple pie as your cute neighbor that just loves to wear bright patterns, whereas pear pie is that sexy stranger at the end of the bar wearing just enough of that expensive cologne or perfume...but when you get to the bar you see it's your neighbor, all along, in a new light. 

Thanks so much for reading along and spending some time of your day with me. It means so much to me to be able to pass on these awesome skills I've acquired over the last decade to you. I hope I inspire you to make this delicious pear pie. Happy cooking and happy eating!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Pandan Custard Pie


Do not adjust your screens! This pie really IS that green!

If you didn't find me on Instagram I applaud you. If you did, you probably saw my little precursor on what pandan is and why you should be getting it for yourself to try. If you don't have it already at home, you're going to have to get it delivered, but there are a LOT of options for that! Even better, I can assure you that - as someone who's been shopping at Asian grocery stores for a fair portion of her life - that they've been using gloves, sanitizing, and wearing masks long before this whole pandemic nonsense started. In fact, I would say that I shop at the Asian markets more than I tended to shop at the western markets before this all happened. Where else am I going to get my 50 lb bag of rice and canned coconut milk and all those dried and preserved veggies that have kept me inside and healthy?

To sum up before I get into the recipe: pandan extract as we know it comes from the leaves of the pandan plant, which grows in southeast Asia. It has a gorgeous fragrant coconut-like flavor and colors everything bright green. I love a pandan angel food cake, or pandan macarons. You can use the leaves as wrappers for steamed cakes or cook and blend them for your own extract. I personally find it way easier to just have a supply of the extract in my baking pantry. Anyway, here's the recipe, since I promised I'd do my best to put the recipe at the top of the page and not go on a 30 paragraph rant on what pandan is and what it means to me.

Pandan Custard Pie

  • 1 Pie Crust, blind baked
    • 4 oz (1 sticks) vegan butter
      • of course use dairy butter or shortening, if you like
    • 7 oz all-purpose flour
    • 2 Tbsp cane sugar
    • Enough vodka to pull it all together, usually an ounce or two
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 160 g (about 3/4 cup) cane sugar 
  • 2 tsp pandan extract
This pie truly couldn't be easier. The hardest/longest part of the process is the crust! You'll see that I included a pie crust recipe up there, but if you have your own pre-made pie crust or a favorite crust that does well, I highly encourage you to use it. I've made a lot of pie on this site, and that's not even touching all the stuff I don't document. The point is I understand the value of a good pie crust that you've come to like and trust. So use that as a single-crust and decorate the rim however you like.

If you don't know how to put a pie crust together, it's easy:

Simply combine butter, sugar, and flour in a bowl with your fingers, rubbing the tips into the butter as quickly as possible, sort of like you're trying to snap your fingers with the butter in between. The idea is you want to push the flour into the butter as quickly and as cooly as possible. Once the butter is looking piece-y and pea-sized, add vodka. Yes, vodka. You're not going to get a gluten-y crust with vodka! And since it's vodka, it's likely that you're already chilling it, so bless. All you must do is add enough of it for the dough to come together to a single mass and then cool, roll out, and lay in your pie dish of your choice. I have collected a plethora of tiny cutters over the years (at least half of which I bought in culinary school when I was obsessed with garde manger) so I always have fun decorating my pie crust. With this one I used a fork on the whole rim and then added tiny leaves around halfway, mostly because I think asymmetry is visually interesting.

Please note that you can freeze a pie crust and keep it for up to 3 months before using!

When you blind bake something, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and gently prick the bottom and sides of your pie crust before lining with either parchment or aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is a gorgeous golden brown. I like to use ceramic pie weights to fill the inside, as they hold heat well, but you can use rice or beans. I wouldn't recommending eating the baked grains or legumes, however, so just let them cool once done and save them in a jar for later blind-baking purposes. 

Once baked, please remove weights and allow to cool, then fashion a pie crust shield out of aluminum foil. Simply take a long-ish-sheet of foil and slice longways into thirds. Press gently and easily around the rim of the pie to protect the crust from burning during that second bake, so that way the filling can do its thing without ruining the look of the whole pie. 

As for the filling, simply combine the coconut milk, sugar, eggs, pandan, and a little pinch of salt in a blender, running on the lowest setting for 30 seconds before pouring straight in to your baked crust and then baking at 350 for 25-30 minutes. (Don't forget that  You'll want to watch for the stage at which it's still a hair loose in the middle - it should be jiggly without being slosh-y. (Yes, those are technical terms.) When it reaches that stage, simply turn off the oven and let sit with the door cracked for an additional 10 minutes. Evacuate and let sit, undisturbed, for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before cooling in the fridge. I like this pie bruleed, so it really does need to be quite cool before I torch it. If you don't have a torch, just enjoy as is, with a cup of hot coffee or tea. 

While you eat it, remember that you're one of the lucky few that gets to sit at home while our healthcare workers fight for us and die for us facing this pandemic. Show love and respect to them by staying home, washing your hands with hot soap and water, practicing social distancing, and keeping yourself sane and occupied enough to help them survive this. I know that there's a group of people out there protesting the stay-home orders, but please know that they're just a very small, very loud group of people that are sick of not getting what they want to get when they want to get it. As far as I've seen, these are people that don't want to go back to work but want others (namely us) to go back to work so they can get their hair cut, eat a burger at a restaurant, etc. 

I know it sucks. I want to go back to work. I know a lot of my friends want to go back to work. But trust us, it's not safe. There are so many other people looking at the bigger picture and there are so many people out there that are out there and being responsible about it. The sooner we all hold on, the sooner we can all get on with our lives. So hang on, bake on, and carry on. 




View this post on Instagram

Do not adjust your screen! I repeat, do not adjust your screen! 😋 This gorgeous Pandan Custard Pie is hundo P Pinterest worthy, and couldn't be easier to make. What's pandan, you ask? . . Pandan is an extract that comes from these fragrant leaves found in southeast Asia. It's beloved not just for it's yummy flavor, but it instantly turns anything a GORGEOUS verdant green color. 💚💚💚 You can make your own at home by cooking and blending your own pandan leaves, but it's just as easy to get the good extract at the Asian grocery store. (Here in Kansas City, I prefer Pan-Asia Market for baking supplies!🤫) It tastes like a mild, young coconut - so it's a gorgeous twist on a coconut custard pie. You can use the extract to make pies, cookies, cakes, waffles, and more! I personally love a pandan angel food cake. . Look for the recipe on Wannabgourmande.com later today at 11 am CST. Because you may as well create something new today while you're staying home and saving lives! . . . #wannabgourmande #piesofinstagram #instafood #baking #kosherbaking #coconutmilk #dairyfree #dairyfreerecipes #green #piecrust #pie #pastrychef #culinaryarts #discoveringchefs #chefsofinstagram #quarantinelife #stayhomesavelives #pandan #foodphotography #kansascity #kcinfluencer
A post shared by Chef Kolika (@wannabgourmande) on


It's always been such a comfort to me to know that no matter what your day has in store for you or what the world has in store for you, you can come home and know with absolute certainty that if you add eggs and sugar to coconut milk, it'll get thick and custardy when you cook it. If you can use your cooking as a little bit of therapy, I invite you to do so.  Chin up, guys. Happy cooking and happy eating!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Cheesecake Tart with Candied Walnuts and Pomegranate Honeycomb



This is a little fancier than my normal posts, but I've been doing so many 'homestyle' cooking things at home and on my blog lately that I just had to do something chef-y. Wedding season is coming up which means lots of wedding cakes for me, and it's far too cold for ice cream so I can't sell that at the bakery. This means it's a lot of time for experimentation, which is good for me and the cookbook.

I wanted to talk a little bit about how I decide what to write and when to write it. Like the cookbook, I try to write, cook, and eat seasonally. Each chapter in the book will be about the wheel of the year and how the seasons will turn. This will have some fun history and neat things there in the margins, but it's mostly going to be about cooking sustainable and with the seasons. March is here, and it's my favorite month of the year. The full moon is the Chaste moon, and it carries the time of fertile Pisces, perfect for planting your garden. Another one of the reasons for my love of this month (or, rather, this season of spring) is a little holiday called Purim.

Purim is a sort of Jewish Halloween - and we all know how I love Halloween. There are plenty of religious bits about it but honestly this is the one holiday of the calendar that's easily the most-fun. It's a holiday in which we're encouraged to cross-dress, get drunk, and throw a rocking party. As always, you donate money to charity, or do a mitzvah, a good deed. There's, of course, a ritual food that comes with it, but we're not covering that in this blog. That post will come on March 16th, the weekend before the holiday on the 21st. (Spoiler alert: it's my own version of hamentaschen.) The whole month of March, though, is going to be full of fun foods that you can make for Purim! What's that? You'd like a little backstory as to what this holiday might be? Well...

Disclaimer: this is a super trite version that I'm about to tell you, but I think you'll get the reason it's a celebration.

In the ancient Persian empire there was this King called Ahasuerus who had his wife Vashti executed. Apparently, he asked her to dance naked for him and she was like "um, no???" so of course she was beheaded. He then goes on a search for a new wife in his kingdom and finds this smoking gal called Ester (whose Hebrew name is Haddass), whom he then weds.

Ester slays the game as a royal until she overhears the plan of this really gross and creepy royal adviser, Hamen, who has this plan to kill all the Jews because that's just kind of what seems to happen, historically. Ester's uncle, Mordecai, overhears this plan and goes to see his niece in secret and tells her all about Hamen's plan. She comes up with a really brave and brilliant plan: throw a party!

She throws this massive ball where there's food and drink and lots of fun ancient world shenanigans going on. At some point during the dinner, Ester says to the King: "Hey so Hamen is wanting to exterminate all the Jews and you totally can't do that because I'm a Jew." His mind is blown but instead of having her executed he has Hamen executed instead and the Jews are saved.

Ester saves the Jews! Hooray!

Of course, there's the proper version of this story, but all you need to know is that every spring, Jews have this amazing holiday called Purim where it's encouraged to get drunk, cross-dress, wear costumes, and just have a rocking good time. The idea is to get crazy and have fun with this topsy-turvy holiday, so where you can't tell who's the hero and who's the villain. Purim is a story of bravery and redemption, and that you're more-likely to get what you want if you know how to throw a good party.

What does this have to do with cheesecake?

Everyone loves cheesecake because it's delicious, so it's easy to get people to like it for a party. This cooks exponentially faster than your normal cheesecake would (3-4 hours) and so it'll be perfect for a party if you forget that you have one in the evening. This recipe is easily made pareve, which is known as a neutral food. This means it contains neither meat nor dairy and can be consumed with or after consuming either. As I'm sure some of you are aware, kosher law dictates that meat and milk shouldn't be on the same table.

There's a lot of debate on exactly how long you have to wait between each meal before it's acceptable to eat meat or dairy, but the point is that if you have cheese on the table then it should either be a vegetarian meal or have fish. If you have meat on the table, you should have vegetables but no milk or cheese or butter. If you're going to a party with people that keep kosher or even just are lactose intolerant, it's a nice thing to do to keep it a neutral food. My husband is severely lactose intolerant, so I don't even keep dairy in the house. But that doesn't mean I can't have cheesecake still!

With a tart, there's quite a bit of surface area that you can decorate it in any way you like. Purim requires lots of sparkles and decorations, so feel free to use bright colors. I'll be showing a couple of great little garnishes you can make, not just for this but for any item you want to add a little pizzaz to.

Cheesecake Tart with Candied Walnuts and Pomegranate Honeycomb
yield 1 11" tart

Pie crust
  • 8 oz butter (or vegan butter substitute, such as Earth Balance)
  • 14 oz flour
  • 1 oz powdered sugar
  • Spiced rum as needed
Cheesecake Filling
  • 8 oz cream cheese ( or tofu cream cheese)
  • 4 oz sour cream (or tofu sour cream)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 fat pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Pomegranate Honeycomb candy
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 3/4 c water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Candied walnuts(recipe follows)
Gilded raspberries

For the crust, make a pie crust as usual. Cube the butter into very small pieces and rub it into your flour mixture. Once the pieces are about the size of peas, add in some spiced rum, a spoonful at a time, until the dough resembles a sort of damp sand that stays together when clumped. Turn out onto a marble surface and gently knead together. You don't have to worry about gluten forming because you've used alcohol, not water, so bring it all together into one nice disc. Wrap it in plastic and let chill for at least 30 minutes in the freezer. 

In the meantime, you may preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and make your custard mix. 

Using a large bowl and a whisk, whip together your cream cheese and sour cream. You want it to be very smooth indeed with absolutely no lumps. Add in both sugars and the vanilla, stirring quite well. Don't worry about whipping air into this mixture, otherwise the texture won't be quite right. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, and being sure to not move on until each egg is 100% fully incorporated. This is very important with a cheesecake mixture that you don't rush and curdle your batter, so please don't rush it. After all, you have a crust that's cooling and that's something you don't want to rush. 

Once all the eggs are absolutely without a doubt mixed in, you may add in the remaining ingredients and whisk gently. You're not looking to incorporate air, but to create a very smooth custard. Set aside.

Between two sheets of parchment that have been liberally sprayed with pan spray, roll out your tart dough disc. You'll want to beat it up a little bit, just to soften it, using your favorite rolling pin. I like these French-style rolling pins because the less moving parts you have, the less you might have to repair later. Plus, it makes me feel like Julia Child when I whack stuff, and these are the kinds that she used.

You want to roll out your dough between parchment sheets because:
  • It's just about the quickest and easiest cleanup in the world
  • You already have enough flour in the dough, so why add more
  • Because you have less flour in there, the risk of overworking anything is far less


I personally like to use these round fluted tart pans from Sur la Table, but this 11" fluted tart pan on Amazon will do you just fine if you don't have a Sur La Table anywhere near you. For the record, I do encourage you to shop at businesses that actually pay their taxes and don't exploit their workers the way another company might. The best part about these tart pans is that they have a removeable bottom, so you can take it out and flip the dough over onto it and then lower it inside the fluted edge with a great deal of ease. Please note that the dough will be rolled quite thin, almost a quarter of an inch thin. You want this!

Once your tart pan is lined with your ultra-thin dough, fill it with your cheesecake custard. Open up your oven and place it on the bottom rack. (Remember, we always put pies on the bottom rack of the oven.) On the top/middle rack, place another pie dish full of ice and then lower the temperature to 300 degrees. This will help to create some steam and keep from forming too much of a skin, as well as having this lovely stuff bake evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center is wobbly while still being a touch firm. If the filling puffed up a little, that's absolutely okay. Evacuate the tart from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes before refrigerating. It's now the time for you to make your garnishes!

Add the sugar meant for the pomegranate honeycomb with the water and honey to a pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Start it on high and then bring it down to a rather low boil until it comes to 300 degrees F. Turn off the flame. Meanwhile, take some whole walnut kernels on wooden skewers and stick gently, yet not all the way through so you won't break the nut. Dip each nut in the molten sugar, being very careful, and lay the skewer atop the rim of a glass, which is atop a silpat mat or a parchment sheet. You want the hot sugar to sort of drip down and form a point.


You can do this as many times as you like to make as many candied nuts as you like, so long as the syrup is warm. You can also make candy floss with this by using two forks and whipping them over a mat to create threads. Don't do this, though, if you don't feel like a mess to clean up. When you're satisfied with the amount of candied nuts you've made, turn the heat back on and add in the pomegranate molasses.

Bring your sugar syrup up to a nice boil and add in the baking soda. Stir it with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula and pour out onto a silpat mat. Work fast and work carefully!


I cannot stress this enough: Work fast and work carefully! Sugar syrup, when cooked to 300 degrees, is quite dangerous, so please don't attempt it with small children, who like to stick their fingers in everything. If you do get some hot sugar syrup on your hand, here's what you must do:

  1. Put everything down and turn everything off immediately
  2. Get safely to the sink and turn on the hot water
  3. Cuss a lot, because it hurts
  4. Let the sugar dissolve and then go to cool water, not cold
  5. Let the cool water run and then dab, not wipe, with a paper towel.
  6. Apply mustard to the burn
  7. Apply a bandaid.
  8. Cry a little, if needed.
  9. Continue working.

So honeycomb candy is known by that name because of the gorgeous texture it creates. You can snack on it on its own or dip it in chocolate when cool and dry. You may have even heard of candy bars using honeycomb!



Please be mindful that the aeration will make everything grow, especially considering the acid in the pomegranate molasses will react with the baking soda, so do be sure that you've got plenty of room on your silpat mat. Allow to cool entirely before breaking off into pieces. We'll talk about later storage in a few minutes.

For the rest of the decorations, you can use fresh berries, gold leaf...you can even roll some fresh raspberries in luster dust of any color of your choosing and decorate. You want a lot of different textures, of course, but you want it all to be cohesive. Every component in any composed dessert must be harmonious, even if it looks a little crazy. The idea, though, is to create interesting textures that will elevate a dish to the best it can be. I chose lots of crunchy things for this because the cheesecake itself is rather soft.


I love these color combinations of red and gold on a white background. You can add anything you like to dress this up for a party. You'll only need a few pieces of the honeycomb, so store the rest in an airtight container, ideally with a silica gel packet in the bottom to keep it from melting. You won't let the candied walnuts last, I assure you - they're too tasty of a snack. You can do this technique of candying with any soft nut!

Now, you can talk about assembly. If you aren't travelling far for the party, I highly suggest traveling with the components separate. If you're hosting, feel free to assemble up to 20 minutes before the guests arrive, after you've showered and made sure you're done cleaning, but before you've set out the chips and dip. Gather all of your components together and take a look as to what you'd like to do. I chose honeycomb, candied nuts, and fresh raspberries. You ultimately can choose whatever you like, but I chose these for color, for texture, and for flavor in mind. If you do go with something else, please post it on instagram and tag me! Just remember to stay organized and you'll do great!

Invest in some tweezers and a small offset spatula that's dedicated to helping you garnish cakes, pastries, and more. 
One tip I can't stress enough is that restraint is often a little better to exercise than excess. Even though you might make this for Purim, it'll look far more elegant and composed if you make use of negative space. This just means that you can always add, but you can't always take away. I think it's far more beautiful to have clusters of garnishes here and there instead of having it all over, because it's going to have a little more of an impact. Pay attention to height, especially, when thinking about your presentation. To serve, have more garnishes available if your guests really like them!

I hope you've enjoyed this post! For the month of march I'll be posting a lot of topsy-turvy fun things. March really is the best month, as it often contains some of my favorite holidays. Purim, the first day of Spring (or Ostara), St. Patrick's Day, and - of course - International Women's Day, which happens to be my birthday. Of course, there will have to be a great birthday cake post. I'll be 31!



Happy March! Happy cooking! And, as always: Happy Eating!