Strawberry Basil Hand Pies

strawberry basil hand pies & the first blogstar sunday supper

written by  on April 19, 2012 – 12 Comments
Categories: dessertspring foodsstrawberriessummer foodssummer recipe


strawberry hand piesWhile the strawberries on the roof deck have flowered and there are tiny berries if you look closely, strawberry season is still a month away at least. But I’ve always aimed to maintain flexibility when it comes to seasonal, local eating, and sometimes, you just need some strawberries. What I’m saying is: for dessert at the first Blogstar Sunday Supper, I couldn’t bear to make an apple dessert because it’s April and I’m just ready for spring foods. So I made strawberry hand pies.

In my mind, they were going to be adorable and perfectly made–expertly fluted envelopes of jammy strawberry sweetness. My sophistication and baking prowess would plainly be in evidence, all the bloggers in attendance would declare me a baking genius, and I would become an underground baking legend and then the regular kind of baking legend. Baking legends are a thing, right?

strawberry hand pies
strawberry hand piesIn reality, the whole wheat dough was on the brittle side (though still buttery and delicious), and the hand pies came out looking very…rustic (and a tad soggy). Alack. But hand pies are meant to be a fleeting pleasure, made to be eaten quickly, dripping juice down your arms. So they weren’t fancy or perfect, but they were real, and that’s what matters.

Luckily, all the bloggers in attendance graciously raved about my humble efforts. Feeding people can be personal, so I was relieved and happy that they liked them.

The hand pies aside, we had a fantastic time with a wonderful wine tasting from Pasanella and Sons, and meats, cheeses, breads, and munchies from Murray’s Cheese Shop and BKLYN Larder. As we left, each blogger received a personalized gift bag from Wantist, and body care products from Malin & Goetz. The supper was a fantastic experience–it was thrilling to spend the evening with so many powerhouse bloggers and entrepreneurs, and to meet and connect with some of the friends I’ve made online. Finally, I am so thankful to know and work withSarah Bryden-Brown. She’s totally my fairy blogmother. Thanks Sarah!

A note on the recipe: to feed a crowd I made my hand pies smaller, but have given the recipe for full-sized pies.

Strawberry Basil Hand Pies
makes approximately 12 large pies

for the crust (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
16 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup ice water, or more if needed

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and sea salt to combine. Slice to butter into little bits, and pulse into the flour mixture. Combine the water and sour cream, drizzle over the flour mixture, and pulse just until the dough forms a rough ball (though it’s less flaky, I often make a wetter dough since it’s much easier to work with–you can always add flour as you roll out the dough). Turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface, gather into a ball, divide in two, wrap tightly, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

for the filling (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
4 cups strawberries, stems trimmed and cut into quarters
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Blanch the basil leaves for 30 seconds, remove from water with a slotted spoon, and pat dry. Cut into thin ribbons.

In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and basil. Set aside.

to assemble the pies
1 egg white, lightly beaten
sugar for sprinkling on each pie

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut one of the dough rounds into thirds. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a 10 – 12” oval. To make the first two pies, cut the oval in half, and use a slotted spoon to pile 1/3 cup filling onto one half of each semi-circle. Quickly brush the edges with the egg white, and fold over, pressing each into a turnover shape. Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Repeat for each pie.

Before placing in the oven, brush the top of each pie with the egg white, and sprinkle with sugar. Then, using a sharp paring knife, make two 1/2″ slits in the top of each pie.

Place pies in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the dough is a light golden brown, and the juice is bubbling out.

Cool for 5 minutes, and then carefully place on a rack to cool completely. Serve as is, or with a dollop of crème fraîche.


Braised Beef Short Ribs

short rib + horseradish cream

Braised Short Ribs with Potato Purée, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

The braise on this smells so good, it moves me to cliche: It makes my knees weak and I briefly considered dabbing it behind my ears so I could keep it with me all day. In the end, I did not. Or so I tell you.

I have adapted this recipe in just a couple ways, because honestly, it’s perfect, but being not in a restaurant kitchen with dish washing help I have tried to reduce the number of pots it requires and swap the potato puree (which, if you can even get your head around this, has twice the amount of cream and butter than my recipe below and then is passed through a fine-mesh tamis twice, when I draw the line at once…) with Cook’s Illustrated’s classic mashed potatoes, which never do me wrong and have never been the cause for any complaint.

Updated [2/27/12] Note: Mashed potatoes of this yield have an estimated serving size of 4. If you (or your party) is larger or (understandably) likes a bigger helping of potatoes, it might be on the safe side to double it.

Finally, we doubled the recipe so of course your portions will look a tad tinier.

Serves 4 (generously) to 6

6 large beef short ribs, about 14 to 16 ounces each (if ribs are tinier, buy by weight, not number)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 dozen small pearl onions
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups port
2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bunches Swiss chard, cleaned, center ribs removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Horseradish Cream (recipe follows)
Potato Purée/Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)

Season the short ribs with 1 tablespoon thyme and the cracked black pepper. use your hands to coat the meat well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking, to come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season them generously on all sides with salt.

When you take the ribs out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the pearl onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them about 15 minutes, until tender. When they have cooled, slip off the skins with your fingers and set aside. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.

When it’s time to cook the short ribs, heat a large Dutch oven [or a large saute pan, if you would like to use a separate braising dish; I aimed to use fewer dishes] over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the short ribs in the pan, and sear until they are nicely browned on all three meaty sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to sear the meat in batches. Do not crowd the meat or get lazy or rushed at this step; it will take at least 15 minutes. [I find this takes closer to 45 minutes if you’re really thorough. Be thorough!] When the ribs are nicely browned, transfer them to a plate to rest.

Turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme springs, and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar, port, and red wine. Turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Arrange ribs in the pot, lieing flat, bones standing up, in one layer. [If you used a saute pan for previous steps, transfer the ribs to a braising pan at this point.] Scrape any vegetables that have fallen on the ribs back into the liquid. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours.

To check the meat for doneness, remove the lid and foil, being careful of the escaping steam, and piece a short rib with a paring knife. When the meat is done, it will yield easily to a knife. Taste a piece if you are not sure. [If you would like to cook these a day ahead, this is where you can pause. The next day, you can remove the fat easily from the pot — it will have solidified at the top — bring these back to a simmer on the stove or in an oven, and continue.]

Let the ribs rest 10 minutes in their juices, and then transfer them to a baking sheet.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F.

Place the short ribs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to brown.

Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. Skim the fat from the sauce (if you made these the day before, you will have already skimmed them) and, if the broth seems thin, reduce it over medium-high heat to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Tear the Swiss chard into large pieces. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the pan, and stir in the cooked pearl onions. Add half the Swiss chard, and cook a minute or two, stirring the greens in the oil to help them wilt. Add a splash of water and the second half of the greens. Season with a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of ground black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until the greens are tender.

Place the swiss chard on a large warm platter, and arrange the short ribs on top. Spoon lots of braising juices over the ribs. Serve the potato puree and horseradish cream (recipes below) on the side.

Horseradish Cream

3/4 cup créme fraîche
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the créme fraîche and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning.

Mashed Potatoes
Cook’s Illustrated’s Master Recipe

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed (I used Yukon Golds)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), melted
1 cup half-and-half , warmed
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Ground black pepper
Chives for garnish (optional)

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with 1 inch water. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender (a paring knife can be slipped into and out of center of potatoes with very little resistance), 20 to 30 minutes. Drain.

2. Set food mill or ricer over now empty but still warm saucepan. Spear potato with dinner fork, then peel back skin with paring knife. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Working in batches, cut peeled potatoes into rough chunks and drop into hopper of food mill or ricer. Process or rice potatoes into saucepan.

3. Stir in butter with wooden spoon until incorporated; gently whisk in half-and-half, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Ramen Crust Pizza


[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

About the authorJ. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

YIELD: Serves 3 to 4
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: 10-inch cast skillet
THIS RECIPE APPEARS IN: Pizza Lab: How to Make Ramen Crust Pizza


  • 2 packages instant ramen noodles, noodles only
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces grated mozzarella or Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup homemade or store-bought pizza sauce
  • 2 ounces grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • Toppings, as desired


  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook, breaking them apart with tongs, until flexible but not completely softened, about 2 minutes. Drain carefully.2

  2. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add noodles and press with the bottom of a spatula into an even later that completely covers the bottom of the skillet. Reduce heat to low.

  3. Spread half of mozzarella or Jack cheese evenly over noodles, then spread sauce, going all the way to the edge of the pan. Spread remaining mozzarella or jack on top along with half of parmesan. Top pizza as desired, then place in oven. Bake until top is browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Allow to cool slightly, then use a thin metal spatula to loosen edges from skillet. Carefully slide pizza out onto cutting board. Slice, and serve immediately.

Biko (Filipino Sweet Sticky Rice)

ivoryhut biko recipe

Makes one 9×13 pan

You need to use sweet rice or sticky rice (sometimes called glutinous rice) for this recipe. Coconut cream is found in most Asian and ethnic stores but if you can’t find it, just use the the thick cream from the top layer of a good quality can of coconut milk. Don’t worry if you end up with less coconut milk to use with the rice—simply add enough water to reach the desired amount of cooking liquid.

This recipe can easily be halved. If you like crunchy rice edges, cook the biko in muffin pans or brownie bar pans. Be careful when you pull it out of the oven; the caramelized brown sugar is very hot and can burn you if you try to taste it immediately.


3 cans (14 oz. can) coconut milk
4 cups sweet rice
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup coconut cream

Pour coconut milk and about a cup of water into a pot and let it come to a simmer over medium heat. When simmering, add in the rice and stir constantly to prevent burning. Lower the heat if necessary. Preheat oven to 350F.

When rice is fully cooked, sticky and almost dry (it will look like sticky risotto), about 10-15 minutes, add 1 cup brown sugar. (Note: If rice is already sticky but not yet fully cooked, add small amounts of water, stir and continue cooking. Rice must be fully cooked before it goes into the oven.) Stir well and take off heat. Pour into a lightly buttered 9×13 pan and smooth the top. Mix the remaining 1 cup brown sugar and coconut cream until smooth and pour it over the rice.

Bake for about 1 hour or up to 1 1/2 hours, until topping is dark brown and has thickened. Cool slightly before serving.


Mixed Berry Pavlova

truly awesome

Mixed Berry Pavlova
Inspiration from Ina Gartenmeringue directions adapted from Joy of Baking andShuna, and raspberry sauce of my own creation

Meringue Cake
4 large (120 grams) egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 cup (200 grams) superfine (castor) or regular sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot powder

Preheat oven to 250°F (130°C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the paper.

Pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small cup. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn’t use cream of tartar.) Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.)

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)

Jaworski notes: You can make the meringue cake several days in advance. Just store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container. However, once the whipped cream and fruit are placed on the meringue, the dessert should be eaten immediately as the meringue will start to soften and break down from the moisture of the cream and fruit.

Raspberry Sauce
This is as good for desserts as it is over plain yogurt. Keep it refrigerated.

1 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar

Puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with three tablespoons of sugar, until it is heated through and the sugar is dissolved.

99 percent of the time, I find the consistency of this sauce to be perfect, as is. If you like your thicker, add between one-half and one full teaspoon of cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot powder to thicken it, stirring to make sure it’s fully dissolved.

Cool the sauce.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whip the cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar gradually and then the vanilla, beating the cream until firm. Be careful not to over-do it, or might end up with a bowl of homemade butter.

Mixed Berry Topping
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries

Mix these with 1/2 cup of the raspberry sauce (recipe above).

Pavlova Assembly
When the meringue disk is cooled, put it on a plate. Spread the top completely with the sweetened whipped cream. Add the mixed berries and sauce mixture, spooning them carefully into the middle of the pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.

Strawberry Avocado Tequila Popsicles


– 2 cups diced avocados (about 4 small avocados)
– 1 cup sliced strawberries
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup water
– 4 ounces tequila
– 1 ounce lime juice

– popsicle molds
– blender


1. Start by making a simple syrup. Mix one cup sugar and one cup water in a pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from heat and set aside.

2. Dice avocados.

3. Thinly slice strawberries.

4. In a blender, puree diced avocados, simple syrup, tequila and lime juice. .

5. Combine avocado puree and sliced strawberries in popsicle molds.

6. Freeze for four hours or until completely solid.

Margarita Pie

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
– 1 cup butter, softened
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– lime zest from 1 lime
– 2 cups flour
– 1/2 cup butter, melted
– lime zest from 2 limes
– 1/2 cup lime juice
– 2 tbsp tequila (optional)
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2/3 cup agave nectar (can substitute honey)
– 1/3 cup whipping cream
– 5 eggs
– 2 tbsp coarse sea salt (we recommend Maldon brand)

To make crust:  Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.  Add sugar and salt, mixing until well combined.

Add flour and zest.

Mix on low until dough starts to come together but is crumbly.

Press crust into a 9-inch shallow pie pan.  Set aside.

To make filling:  Melt butter in microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until melted.  Whisk in remaining ingredients.  Pour into prepared crust.

Bake for 45-55 minutes until firm but still slightly jiggly.  If edges start to brown during baking, loosely cover with foil.  Allow to cool completely on the counter or in the refrigerator.  Liberally sprinkle with sea salt right before serving.