butternut bundt with sour cream glaze

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Thanksgiving came and went.  I didn’t cook much, but I was so lucky to enjoy a lovely meal at my friends, they made everything to perfection and I kind-of screwed up my green bean casserole because I suck at frying (onions) and I ran out of paper towels.  And then something hit me, it’s basically December and I gotta step up my game.  Not just in cooking and baking, but I need to start knitting, my favorite winter past-time.  I finally broke out the needles this weekend, home alone with many episodes of Downton Abbey.  I finished one easy project and then got excited about the others I want to do and it just keeps hitting me, how much I need to do!

But baking and cooking is definitely on my list.  I have some Polish Christmas classics to tackle and perfect and some cookies to bake and some jams and preserves as well.  And of course I need to keep drinking my ginger tea and kombucha (homemade!) and move everyday (get a home routine) and force myself to do some cardio.

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I made this bundt because I love cakes that are not too sweet, but moist and with lots of flavor.  I mean it’s basically a vegetable cake.  And there is olive oil and sour cream.  I also like to use different flours when I can, rye is great here, you can’t even taste the difference.  And a bit of sugar because it’s a cake.  I also really love alliteration foods.  You can use pumpkin as well but it’s more fun to say butternut bundt isn’t it?

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Butternut Bundt with Sour Cream Glaze

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup rye flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup butternut squash purée (about one small squash cut in half, with holes poked, baked at 350 degrees, cooled, scooped out of skin and mashed)

1/3 cup olive oil

3/4 cup sour cream

for glaze:

2 tbsp sour cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

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-make sure you have your squash purée ready!

-preheat your oven to 350 degrees (F).

-mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl.  mix the sugar with the eggs in a separate bowl until smooth.  mix in the rest of the wet, again until nice and smooth.

-mix wet and dry together until everything is incorporated.  prepare bundt pan with butter and a sprinkle flour.  pour in batter.

-bake about 45-55 minutes, until toothpick come out clean.

-let the cake cool and make the glaze.  if it is too thin add a bit more sour cream and if too thin add more sugar.

-jrad

lemon lavender farmer’s cheese pie

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I am a pie person.  I would make pies all day over cake hands down.  Cakes are pretty and delicate, like your friend who doesn’t leave the house without blow drying their hair and always has their nails painted.  Pies are like your friend who wears pony tails and whenever they paint their nails they chip in two seconds anyway so they gave up doing that (me).

Last summer, and probably the summer before, I was making lots of pies and one time I got a really bad burn that gave me a good scare.  I didn’t have pie weights or dried beans and instead thought I would just put a small pot on top of the crust. All good but when it was time to take the pie out I totally forgot that the pot had been in the oven and I just picked it up, and obviously dropped it right away, and then I freaked out for about an hour.  I was home alone but my neighbor who happened to be in nursing school came up and basically told me I was okay I just had a bad burn (it felt a lot worse) and I did all that he said.  And then I still took my pie and went to my party and just had a couple drinks to numb the pain.  A couple months later my friend who I saw that same night gave me pie weights and a pie case for my birthday!  You live and learn and now I have an awesome pie case that everyone loves.  (I was not scarred by this experience, I will forever be making pies.)  I have another bad pie story, but I think that is enough for today.

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I am indulging in the fact that spring smells so good that I just want to eat flowers so I’ve infused this with lavender.  As for the cheese, it doesn’t really taste like cheese.  Farmer’s cheese is a pretty mild cheese so you can flavor it really nicely and it tastes great with honey.  If you can’t find it you can make it!  (This version is the best but it might take a couple of days – and I am hoping to make some using buttermilk! and post it).

Or use ricotta.

I have also really been liking putting rye flour in my pie dough, and I think it’s a good choice here.  It is a little tougher to work with, so know it isn’t as smooth and elastic.

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Lemon Lavender Farmer’s Cheese Pie

dough:

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup rye flour

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces – plus more for pie pan

3 tbsp ice water (plus extra in case you need more)

splash of apple cider vinegar

pie:

2 cups farmers cheese (or ricotta)

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup honey

3 eggs

1 tbsp edible lavender flower buds

juice and zest half a lemon

-first infuse the milk with the lavender.  pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the lavender.  bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it sit until you need to use it.  make sure to stir it a bit too, the milk can get a layer of film if you don’t.

– to make the dough mix the flours with sugar and salt.  i like to keep my chopped butter in the freezer for a minute or two while I get the flour and water ready.  the cold water I also keep in the freezer with an ice cube and a splash of apple cider vinegar already in it.  mix the cold butter pieces into the flour and use a pastry cutter to blend until you have little pea sized butter pieces, make sure not to blend all the butter and make sure it stays cold.  add a tablespoon of water at a time mixing with your hands to form a dough that is not too sticky or to dry.  add more water if too dry and more flour if too wet.  make a flat disk and wrap it in plastic to let it sit in the fridge for at least a hour.

– the crust will be partially pre-baked.  so preheat your oven to 425 degrees and spread butter in a 9-inch pie pan.  roll out the dough and place in the pan leaving some on the edge.  poke a few holes with a fork.  leave it in the fridge until the oven is ready.  fold the edges however you like, here are some options.

– place parchment paper on the crust and place either pie weights or dried beans on top.  bake 15 mins until just slightly golden but not fully cook.  remove and let it cool.  I put mine in the fridge for a bit after it cooled to room temp.

– strain the milk and squeeze out the milk from the lavender buds.  mix the cheese with milk, honey, lemon juice and zest.  mix it well and add the eggs one at a time.  pour into your cooled pie crust and the whole thing can sit in the fridge.

– preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  place the pie on a baking sheet on the middle rack and bake the pie for 35-40 minutes, rotating half way through.

– let it cool for about 2-3 hours before eating.

-juliaradish