Being flaky is a bad thing, if you’re a friend or colleague. If you are pie crust, it is an excellent thing. You can add extra flake to your crust but keeping your ingredients very cold, (cold butter, ice water, sometimes I even put the flour in the fridge) and, by substituting your ice water for icy alcohol. Depending on the finished product, you can use any alcohol of your choosing, (tequila is a nice touch for apple pie), but I usually stick with vodka since it is flavorless. Of course, if pies are your friends, you might want to stick with a simple butter crust.
Pate Brisee, extra flake
Makes two 9-inch pie crusts or one double crust
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, cold, cut into pieces
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 Tablespoons sugar (omit if making a savory pie)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup ice cold vodka
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar (optional) and salt. Add butter and pulse until pea sized and slightly sandy in consistency. With food processor running, pour vodka in feeder tube until dough just comes together. Shape into disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 days before using. Dust all surfaces with flour before rolling out as dough may be sticky.
Like actually in a top hat, not wearing one. As cute as that would be it wouldn’t really drive home my point which is that brunch is kind of magic.
I don’t care what anyone says. Brunch is a really special event. As a kid, you don’t have brunch. You have sugar coated cereal before Saturday morning cartoons, (okay, in my house it was more like pancake snowmen while reading the WSJ, but I digress). But adulthood, filled with its pitfalls of job searches, rent, taxes, and vaccuming, has this wonderful silvery lining called brunch. Bunch is the excuse for a non productive weekend. I couldn’t do laundry, brunch took up the whole day! A little sunshine and suddenly it’s okay to sit at an outdoor café gracefully chipping away at the ice layer on your espresso with a faux vintage demitasse spoon. Brunch makes it permissible to put a birthday candle in a bloody mary garnish.
Less filling than early afternoon football, brunch is the perfect excuse for a mid day cocktail like a belini, mimosa or cosmo. Or a boozy baked good. But there is one downside: cupcakes are traditionally NOT served at brunch. Cupcakes smack of teatime and are wildly inappropriate served alongside a quiche, (it is a known fact that the French look down upon frosting). Muffins, however, are totally acceptable. Especially these. Light and airy, they do not lead to other kinds of muffin tops.
- 6 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teas vanilla
- Zest of one lime
- 1 Tbs lime juice
- 3 cups plus 2 Tbs all purpose flour
- 3 teas baking powder
- 1 teas cinnamon
- ¼ teas ground nutmeg
- 1 teas salt
- 1 oz vodka
- 7 oz milk
- 1 2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two standard muffin pans with paper liners. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and lime zest and juice. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, combine vodka and milk. Add flour mixture to the butter and eggs in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture until just combined. Do not over mix. Fold in cranberries. Spoon into pans, sprinkle tops with sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool or serve warm.