Ice Cream Bread

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What do you get when you combine two pints of ice cream with three cups of flour? Bread! That’s right, you read correctly. I have stumbled upon something that will blow your mind. A recipe for bread, that only contains two ingredients. I found this recipe when I was perusing Pinterest for baking inspiration.

I was visiting Matt when I stumbled upon this recipe. Since he doesn’t have quite the stockpile of baking ingredients as I do in his kitchen, I’m always looking for an easy recipe that I can make at his house. Enter the idea of two-ingredient bread which gives a totally new meaning to the concept “quick bread”.

Now, before I go any further, it’s time for some real talk. Although this recipe blew my mind with the awesome idea of only two ingredients, I found it a little bit lacking. The texture seemed a little off, almost like it wasn’t quite moist enough. However, considering the fact that you only need two ingredients, I would recommend this for anyone that was looking for a creative project in the kitchen. I would suggest adding a chocolate ganache topping to the bread to give it some additional flavor and moisture.

Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Bread Recipe

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Ingredients
2 pints Chunky Monkey ice cream, softened
3 cups self-rising flour

Optional Add-Ins
1 very ripe banana
1 chocolate bar, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour bread pan. Mix melted ice cream and flour until well combined. Add optional mix-ins. Pour into prepared bread pan. Bake for approximately 75 minutes, check for doneness after 60 minutes. If the top starts to brown too much, cover it with aluminum foil and continue to bake. Bread is done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
For once I can say this recipe is pretty fool proof. With only two ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong with this one! Enjoy experimenting with your favorite ice cream!

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French Strawberry Tart

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It’s no secret that early summer brings a host of fresh berries to local farmers markets and grocery stores. I fell victim to the two-for-one strawberry deal at the grocery this weekend. With two pints of strawberries on hand, I knew I had to do some baking. Last time I was home in Minnesota my dad shared a strawberry tart recipe from the Chicago Tribune dated March 23, 1978. The article was titled Make Strawberry Tarts the French Way. So exactly what is the French way of making tarts? Consider a pastry rich in butter, a creamy custard filling, and a glazed strawberry topping.

Tart recipes are easy to make when you need an elegant dessert. I didn’t have a particularly special occasion for this tart, but I will say that it was delicious. It had just the right amount of strawberry flavor without being cloyingly sweet. If you add in some homemade whipped cream as a garnish, this recipe is the perfect addition to your summer dinner or lunch.

French Strawberry Tart

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Pastry Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/3 cups ice water

Custard Ingredients
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 cups hot milk
2 tablespoons kirsch
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze Ingredients
1 quart fresh strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kirsch

Directions
Combine flour, sugar, and alt. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Stir in just enough water to form ball. Chill dough about 1 hour for ease in handling. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness on lightly floured pastry cloth or board. Transfer to 10-inch tart pan by rolling dough on rolling pin. Trim edge by pressing dough against edge of pan. Prick bottom and sides of tart shell. Line with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and fill with uncooked rice or dry beans. Bake at 400 degrees about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove plastic wrap with rice. Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

For custard, beat egg yolks with electric mixer. Gradually beat in sugar until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and forms ribbon. Beat in flour. Pour mixture into heavy saucepan; add hot milk in thin stream. Heat and beat until thickened. Beat in kirsch, butter, and vanilla. Cover and chill.

For glaze, wash and dry strawberries. Slice enough berries to measure 1 1/2 cup; mash and pour into small saucepan. Stir in sugar and kirsch. Heat to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Pour glaze into blender; process until smooth; strain and set aside. Slice remaining berries. Pour custard into cooled crust, spreading evenly. Arrange sliced berries in attractive patter over custard. Spoon glaze over. Chill until serving time. Tart may be served with sweetened whipped cream, if you wish.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
When making pastry for a French tart, remember to use cold butter and ice water. Cold ingredients help prevent the development of gluten in the flour, as does chilling after mixing. Gluten is a protein that causes toughening of the pastry—although needed in yeast breads to form the structure of the loaf, it is not desirable in pastry. The more you handle the past, the more gluten will develop. Light rolling and light mixing are essential. Also be careful not to stretch the pastry once you roll it. When placing it in the tart pan, gently coax it into the edges of the pan—don’t stretch it from the center, but pull it in from the edges to make it fit.

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Strawberry Crumble Pie

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Springtime in Washington DC is a short and sweet affair. It seems that no sooner than the cherry blossoms have shed their flowers, that the heat and humidity that signal summer begin creeping into the air. Last week I had a pleasant reprieve from the DC heat during a trip back to Minnesota to visit family and friends. It’s clearly still spring in Minnesota and one of my favorite spring fruits were in full abundance—strawberries!

Whenever I think of strawberries I remember going strawberry picking with my mom and grandma when I was younger. It was always a grand excursion that resulted in more strawberries than you could possibly come up with ways to use. Even after multiple pies, jams, and cakes had been made—there would still be plenty left over to freeze. When I was back in Minnesota, my mom made a trip to the grocery store and picked up some strawberries. Upon seeing them in the fridge, I was inspired to make a pie. We were having BBQ for dinner and I thought the pie would be a perfect way to finish off our meal of chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and corn on the cob.

I made this pie in advance and it cooled while the rest of the dinner was being prepared. It looked so good we had to sample a piece of it before dinner. You might feel the same way when it comes out of your oven looking delicious. Enjoy!

As a side note, it’s okay to cheat with this recipe and buy a pre-made crust. After all, we’re all only human and don’t have hours to slave away in the kitchen. However, if you’re feeling adventurous you should definitely make your way over to Smitten Kitchen where you will find an excellent tutorial on making your own pie crusts.

Strawberry Crumble Pie Recipe

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Ingredients for the Pie
1 9 inch prepared pie crust
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Ingredients for the Topping
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup granulated sugar
large pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes OR coarsely chopped pecans

Directions
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the pie crust from the freezer and thaw on the counter for about 15 minutes. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust dough with a fork. This helps prevent bubbles from forming in the crust as it bakes. Place the pie crust directly on the oven rack in the center of the oven. Bake the pie about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cool the pie crust completely before filling.

To prepare the crumb topping, whisk together flour, oats, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the cold butter chunks and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the mixture until well incorporated. Some butter bits will be the size of peas, and smaller. Add the coconut (or pecans if using) and toss to combine.

To make the filling, place cleaned strawberries in a deep bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and cornstarch. Gently coat berries with this mixture; be careful not to crush berries. Pour berries into prepared pie crust mounding them in the middle; mounding is necessary as the berries will sink as they bake. Cover berries with crumb topping and top crumbs with about 15 pea-sized blobs of butter.

Bake pie at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 40 minutes. When there are 10 minutes left of baking, sprinkle a little extra sugar over crumb topping and then finish baking.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
To keep baked edges from getting too brown, cover the edges with foil after the first 15 minutes of baking. Use a 12-inch square piece of foil. Cut out a 7-inch circle from the center, and gently fold the foil “ring” around the crust’s edge. Be careful, the pie will be hot!

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