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Berry scones that are a flaky, honey-glazed brunch delight

The Free Press WV

These scones are a flaky, honey-glazed brunch delight, brimming with juicy, sweet berries in a buttery, rich crumb. We achieved a perfectly crumbly texture by incorporating butter in two ways, processing some with flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt for even distribution, then pulsing more into pea-size pieces to achieve rich buttery pockets.

Tossing frozen berries in confectioners’ sugar before folding them into the flour mixture prevented them from bleeding into the dough, and a honey-butter glaze, brushed on partway through baking, gave the scones a sweet sheen. Work the dough as little as possible, just until it comes together. Work quickly to keep the butter and berries as cold as possible for the best results.

Note that the butter is divided in this recipe. An equal amount of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries (halved) can be used in place of the mixed berries.


MIXED BERRY SCONES

Servings: 8

Start to finish: 1 hour

Scones

8 3/4 ounces (1 3/4 cups) frozen mixed berries

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, chilled

1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

1 large egg plus 1 large yolk

Glaze

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon honey

For the scones: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. If your berry mix contains strawberries, cut them in half. Toss berries with confectioners’ sugar in bowl; freeze until needed.

Combine flour, 6 tablespoons butter, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor and process until butter is fully incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter and pulse until butter is reduced to pea-size pieces, 10 to 12 pulses. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Stir in berries.

Beat milk and egg and yolk together in separate bowl. Make well in center of flour mixture and pour in milk mixture. Using rubber spatula, gently stir mixture, scraping from edges of bowl and folding inward until very shaggy dough forms and some bits of flour remain. Do not overmix.

Turn out dough onto well-floured counter and, if necessary, knead briefly until dough just comes together, about 3 turns. Using your floured hands and bench scraper, shape dough into 12 by 4 inch rectangle, about 1 1/2 inches tall. Using knife or bench scraper, cut dough crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 triangles (you should have 8 scones total). Transfer scones to prepared sheet. Bake until scones are lightly golden on top, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

For the glaze: While scones bake, combine melted butter and honey in small bowl.

Remove scones from oven and brush tops evenly with glaze mixture. Return scones to oven and continue to bake until golden brown on top, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Transfer scones to wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

To make ahead:

Unbaked scones can be frozen for several weeks. After cutting scones into triangles in step 4, freeze them on baking sheet. Transfer frozen scones to zipper-lock freezer bag. When ready to bake, heat oven to 375 F and extend cooking time in step 4 to 23 to 26 minutes. Glaze time in step 6 will remain at 5 to 8 minutes.

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Nutrition information per serving: 446 calories; 200 calories from fat; 23 g fat (14 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 106 mg cholesterol; 571 mg sodium; 54 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 17 g sugar; 7 g protein.

A bourbon bread pudding with a real taste of New Orleans

The Free Press WV

We started our New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding recipe by tearing a baguette into ragged pieces, which gave the bread pudding a rustic look. We then toasted the bread to a deep golden brown, which prevented the prepared recipe from turning soggy.

Once the custard set up in the oven, we sprinkled cinnamon, sugar, and butter on top and let it bake until the topping was caramelized. Then, for a real taste of New Orleans, we drizzled the bread pudding with our warm Bourbon Sauce.


NEW ORLEANS BOURBON BREAD PUDDING WITH BOURBON SAUCE

Servings: 8-10

Start to finish: 2 hours, 30 minutes

1 (18- to 20-inch) baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces (10 cups)

1 cup golden raisins

3/4 cup bourbon

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled, plus extra for baking dish

8 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar

3 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 recipe Bourbon Sauce (recipe follows)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 F. Arrange bread in single layer on baking sheet and bake until crisp and browned, about 12 minutes, turning pieces over and switching baking sheets halfway through baking. Let bread cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 F.

Meanwhile, heat raisins with 1/2 up bourbon in small saucepan over medium-high heat until bourbon begins to simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain mixture, reserving bourbon and raisins separately.

Butter 13-by 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish. Whisk egg yolks, brown sugar, cream, milk, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk in reserved bourbon plus remaining 1/4 cup bourbon. Add toasted bread and toss until evenly coated. Let mixture sit until bread begins to absorb custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. If majority of bread is still hard, continue to soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Pour half of bread mixture into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with half of raisins. Pour remaining bread mixture into dish and sprinkle with remaining raisins. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix granulated sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl. Using your fingers, cut 6 tablespoons butter into sugar mixture until size of small peas. Remove foil from pudding, sprinkle with butter mixture, and bake, uncovered, until custard is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pudding from oven and heat broiler.

Once broiler is heated, broil pudding until top forms golden crust, about 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Serve.


Bourbon Sauce:

Makes about 1 cup

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup bourbon

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Whisk cornstarch and 2 tablespoons bourbon in small bowl until well combined. Heat cream and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in salt, butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon. Drizzle warm sauce over individual servings. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)

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Nutrition information per serving: 681 calories; 361 calories from fat; 40 g fat (24 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 275 mg cholesterol; 207 mg sodium; 67 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 53 g sugar; 7 g protein.

COOKING ON DEADLINE: Parsnip and Golden Beet Soup

The Free Press WV

With the arrival of fall, my produce thoughts start moving from things that grow above the ground to things that grow under it. Yes, my fellow seasonal cooks, root vegetable season is heading our way.

I always feel a little like a homesteader when I cook with root vegetables. I think of 19th century families setting up homes out West, filling their root cellars with all kinds of tubers, readying themselves for the cold winter ahead. I summon up my best Laura Ingalls Wilder self as I contemplate the piles of knobby, bumpy, often dirty vegetables, knowing that this is what the vegetal landscape is mostly made of until spring.

Ok, I’m clearly over-channeling here, but there is something about the humble sturdiness of a root vegetable that can be very pleasing, and even inspiring.

First stop — soup! This soup highlights the pale golden colors and slight sweetness of yellow beets and parsnips. You could also use red beets and make this into a pinkish-orange soup — which would be just gorgeous, too. And you could use carrots instead of the parsnips, which will make the soup a more orangey yellow. In short, the colors of the root vegetables you choose will dictate the tint of your soup.

You can definitely leave out the cream if you don’t want it, and a little squirt of hot sauce is a brilliant addition at the end (but not too much — no point in overpowering the delicate sweetness of the vegetables).

Another great way to cook beets is in the oven, especially if your oven is already cranking for another reason. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Trim the tops and roots from the beets, give them a scrub, and then wrap them in foil. Place the foil-wrapped beets in a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. When a knife slips into the beet easily, it’s done.

And note that using vegetable broth gives you a vegetarian soup.


PARSNIP AND GOLDEN BEET SOUP

Servings: 4

Start to finish: 1 hour, 20 minutes

1 1/2 pounds (about 4) golden beets

1/2 pound (about 4) parsnips, peeled and sliced

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, or more as needed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving

1/2 cup heavy cream, light cream or half-and-half

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Trim the tops and roots from the beets, and wash them thoroughly, using a brush if you have one. Place the beets in a saucepan and add cold water to cover. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the beets, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes until a sharp knife slides easily into them. Drain the beets and allow them to cool (you can also submerge them in cold water to speed the process). When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and cut the beets into chunks.

Meanwhile, combine the parsnips with 4 cups broth in a pot and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 30 minutes until the parsnips are very tender. Remove the parsnips with a slotted spoon and place them in a food processor or blender with the cooked beets and 1 teaspoon thyme. Add about 1/2 cup of the cooking broth and puree together until smooth. Stir the vegetable puree back into the pot with the remaining broth.

Return the soup to the pot over medium-low heat, stir in the cream, and season with salt and pepper. Add more broth if the soup is too thick. Stir for 1 minute to allow the cream to warm through, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm in bowls with a few thyme leaves sprinkled over the top.

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Nutrition information per serving: 227 calories; 104 calories from fat; 12 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 41 mg cholesterol; 388 mg sodium; 29 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 5 g protein.

The secret to a deep-dish apple pie? Precooking the apples

The Free Press WV

There’s no better way to enjoy fall’s abundant apple harvest than in a towering deep-dish pie. Unfortunately, this dessert often yields unevenly cooked, shrunken apples swimming in an ocean of their own exuded juices atop a pale, soggy crust.

We wanted each slice to be dense with juicy apples, framed by a buttery, flaky crust. A combination of sweet and tart apples, tossed with a little brown sugar, salt, lemon, and cinnamon, promised a perfectly balanced filling.

Precooking the apples solved the shrinking problem, helping them hold their shape in the oven while also eliminating any excess liquid, and thereby protecting the bottom crust. We mounded the cooled slices in our pie plate, covered them in the top crust, and baked. Our sky-high apple pie emerged golden brown and chock-full of tender apples, filling our kitchen with the homey, comforting aromas of this autumn favorite.

Good choices for tart apples are Granny Smiths, Empires, or Cortlands; for sweet we recommend Golden Delicious, Jonagolds, or Braeburns. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


DEEP-DISH APPLE PIE

Servings: 8

Start to finish: 1 hour (plus 3 hours for chilling and cooling)

1 recipe Basic Double-Crust Pie Dough (recipe follows)

2 1/2 pounds firm tart apples (about 5 large), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 1/2 pounds firm sweet apples (about 5 large), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed (1 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Roll 1 disk of dough into 12-inch circle on lightly floured work surface, then fit into 9-inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over edge; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll other disk of dough into 12-inch circle on lightly floured work surface, then transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Toss apples, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt, and cinnamon together in Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are tender when poked with fork but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer apples and their juice to rimmed baking sheet and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 F. Drain cooled apples thoroughly in colander set over bowl, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Stir lemon juice into reserved 1/4 cup apple juice.

Spread apples into dough-lined pie plate, mounding them slightly in middle, and drizzle with lemon juice mixture. Loosely roll second piece of dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it over pie. Trim, fold, and crimp edges and cut 4 vent holes in top. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F, rotate sheet, and continue to bake until juices are bubbling and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Let pie cool on wire rack until filling has set, about 2 hours; serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


Basic Double-Crust Pie Dough:

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled

6-8 tablespoons ice water

Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined. Scatter shortening over top and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer mixture to large bowl.

Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Stir and press dough together, using stiff rubber spatula, until dough sticks together. If dough does not come together, stir in remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.

Divide dough into 2 even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling dough out, let sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.

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Nutrition information per serving: 525 calories; 270 calories from fat; 30 g fat (14 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 73 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 62 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 50 g sugar; 2 g protein.

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