butterscotch pudding dirt cups

It is October 8th, which, in most other years, would mean that sugar beet harvest is about halfway done. I’d be making my grocery lists and putting together recipes for the end of harvest party and waiting for Eggboy to give me the go ahead to start prepping the brisket and baking the cakes. The light at the end of the sleep deprived tunnel would be near and visions of Thanksgiving in sunny Florida would be filling up our brains. 

But this year is not like other years!

Winter came so unfashionably early, with two snowfalls already and an expected four inches of snow on Wednesday, that harvest has been at a total standstill for almost a week. It’s wild! I’ve never seen so much October Eggboy before in my life. We’ve been eating lunch together, we went to an art fest this weekend, and tonight we’re making squash soup! We’re cramming in all of the fun fall things now because as soon as the ground dries, it will be back to crazy harvest hours. At this point though, it’s really hard to tell when that will be. All of my fingers and toes are crossed that when harvest can get back up and running it will run smoothly, and that this insane weather delay hasn’t caused too much of a raucous. 

And, ok, I’m not that superstitious, but I meant to post these sugar beet butterscotch pudding dirt cups last week as a celebration of the beginning of harvest but because of my quick bop out to New York I couldn’t get to it until the weather shutdown, so I never posted my annual beginning of harvest sugar beet thing and what if I jinxed it??? What if I disrupted the tradition and that set a wave of bad luck into the air and mother nature was like screw it, we’re going in?? 

Or maybe I’m giving too much power to marzipan shaped into beets. 

This pudding is just one of the many beet-centric sweets that I made this year in celebration of harvest. Our deep freeze right now is packed with sugar beet cookies, cupcakes, blondies, and donuts, waiting to be defrosted for all of the drivers and other folks who help out this time of year. Most of these sweets were made from old standby recipes but I made this pudding as the new official 2018 harvest dessert.

Growing up, butterscotch pudding was always Stoopie’s thing, and it turns out that Eggboy is also a butterscotch person, so I’m going to attribute this to the fact that Stoopie and E-boy both have November birthdays. The November birthstone is kind of butterscotch-esque in some lights? I think I wasn’t too into butterscotch when I was little because it tends to be so cloyingly sweet and one-noted but when Eggboy suggested it with these cute little marzipan beets I couldn’t say no. 

So I brainstormed and brainstormed and somehow came across a very specific lightly caramelized flavor with a fuzzy mouthfeel that was buried deep somewhere in my memory. It occurred to me that I’d had what I wanted in a butterscotch pudding, I just needed to remember where. I sat on my couch, listing everywhere I could have eaten this thing I was thinking of, and a few more thinks later realized that I was dreaming of the pumpkin pie filling that Eggboy totally nailed last year at Thanksgiving. Up front it was creamy and milky, and it was backed up by a faint yet complex caramel flavor. It was very lightly spiced because he couldn’t find most of the spices in my mom’s house and he used Sarah’s recipe but made a few substitutions, namely he substituted more heavy cream for crème fraiche because he wasn’t confident enough in his pronunciation of crème fraiche to ask what it was or if we had it. I realize that pumpkin pie filling is not butterscotch pudding but there are so many similarities that I’d have been remiss not to use that as inspiration. So I tinkered with that filling and came up with this pudding. It doesn’t have pumpkin, but it does have brown sugar which gets caramelized, so that makes this butterscotch. (Did you know that?? Caramelized white sugar = caramel, caramelized brown sugar = butterscotch.) 

The rest of the ingredients, mainly the spices and the maple syrup, contribute to making this one helluva a butterscotch pudding. Does it need the cookie dirt and marzipan sugar beets buried within? No. But it needs a topping, something crunchy like a cookie or pie crust crumble would work, or a dollop of fresh whip, and perhaps a sprinkle of flaky salt. Oooooh yeah. Consider me a butterscotch pudding convert. 


butterscotch pudding dirt cups

serves 8

ingredients

1/4 c (56g) unsalted butter

½ c (100g) brown sugar

¼ c (50g) granulated sugar

¼ c (78g) maple syrup

¾ tsp kosher salt

2 1/2 c (600g) heavy cream

½ c (118g) whole milk

2 tb (14g) cornstarch

3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg


To decorate:

Sprinkles

Crushed chocolate cookies

Marzipan and rosemary “sugar beets”

clues

Combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a large heavy pot, stirring until it begins to bubble, and then stop stirring. Cook over medium high for 7-8 minutes, until it turns a dark amber color and begins to smoke slightly. Carefully add heavy cream and whole milk (it will get a lil wild when you pour this in) and stir gently until the caramel melts back down (it will firm up when the milk goes in). Reduce heat to medium. In a separate heat safe bowl, whisk together cornstarch, eggs, and egg yolks. When the milk/caramel mixture is steaming, add a ladle of it to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously, and then pour the egg mixture into the pudding while whisking. Whisk continuously for a few minutes, until it thickens. When it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into serving glasses, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, until cool and set. 

To serve top with sprinkles, crushed chocolate cookies, and hide some marzipan beets in the cookie dirt.


apple and honey pizza + wheat harvest!

Today is the last day of wheat harvest! It was earlier than expected this year because it was such a hot and dry summer. The wheat fields are soooo pretty so I'm kind of sad they'll all be picked now but one perk of this earlier wheat harvest is that Eggboy will have some breathing time before beet harvest, some of which will be spent at summer camp!!! Since it’s been a good few years since I took a camera out to the fields, I thought it would be fun to have Chantell and Brett come out and capture the harvest, the wheat, and a fun thing to do with the wheat: mill it into flour and make pizza with it! 

Wheat harvest is less intense of a harvest than sugar beet harvest because you can only harvest the wheat when it’s very dry, meaning that you can’t really start until 11am, and then you have to stop at sundown, so there’s still time at night to sit on the couch and eat a taco and watch half an episode of Breaking Bad. (Sugar beet harvest goes 24 hours a day… no time for couch or TV.) But that doesn’t mean it’s less dramatic!! The way the fields are so golden and create big poofs of dust when the combines roll through creates the coolest scene. 

Once it’s harvested, the wheat, which is hard red spring wheat, gets brought to the mill in town where it’s ground into flour and shipped all over the country. Some of it becomes King Arthur Flour! Some goes into pancake mix. And some of it (the high protein variety) gets sent to the Bronx to make bagels!!!

And then there’s like .00000001% of it that Eggboy has brought in for me to blend in the Vitamix and play around with. I added some to challah and it came out reeeeally dense. It was bad. But that density works really well in pizza dough, so I’ve been adding it to my current favorite pizza dough, which is based on the recipe in Bread Toast Crumbs. It’s a no-knead recipe that only needs to rise for an hour and a half, so it’s the best on pizza Fridays when I forget to make dough the day before. And the nutty whole wheatiness of our home-milled flour goes splendidly with this new concoction: apple and honey pizza! With apples from our trees!!!

Apple and honey pizza is a Rosh Hashanah-ready recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a while and it works because sharp sharp cheddar, pepper-y arugula, and punchy balsamic all balance out the sweetness of the apples and honey so it definitely does still feel like a good salty savory situation. In a slightly dainty move, the crust here is really thin and crisp, so you could totally house the whole thing for supper or serve it as an appetizer flatbread thing. There’s no real sauce, just some slow cooked olive oily onions, and brie would be en excellent alternative to the sharp cheddar. Overall it strikes a perfect combo of sweet, salty, and acidic, so it's fully ready for a sweet (yet balanced!) new year!

apple and honey pizza

serves 2-4

ingredients

Dough:

1 1/3 c (173g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2/3 c (86g) whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 c (236 ml) lukewarm water

Toppings:

1/4 c (50g) olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 oz (170g) sharp cheddar, shredded
1 apple, thinly sliced
leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
Black pepper
Kosher salt
4 tsp honey
Crushed red pepper
2 handfuls of arugula
A drizzle of balsamic glaze
 

clues

In a medium bowl combine the flours, salt and yeast. Mix in the water until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours (or overnight).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat and add the onion and thyme sprigs and cook for about 45 minutes, until very very soft.

Preheat the oven (ideally with a pizza stone) to 500ºf, cut out two big sheets with parchment paper, and dust liberally with flour. Divide the dough into two parts, and place each on a piece of parchment. The dough will be very sticky, so don't be shy in dusting it with enough flour as needed to handle it. Roll out until the dough is very thin, just a little thicker than 1/4” (and again, feel free to dust dust dust with flour as you're rolling). 

Discard the thyme leaves from the onion mixture and transfer the onions and the excess olive oil to the dough, spreading it around to distribute evenly. Top with the cheese, apple slices, rosemary, and black pepper, and sprinkle the edges with salt. Using a pizza peel or baking sheet, slide the dough onto baking stone and bake until the cheese is splotchy with brown marks; begin checking for doneness at 7 minutes. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can simply bake on a baking sheet. 

Drizzle the pizzas with honey, sprinkle with crushed red pepper, top with arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Enjoy! 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

apron by enrich and endure, necklace by marian bull

chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

Sugar beet harvest is well underway!!!! It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s by far the busiest and the sleepiest, but also the most exciting. Eggboy has a weird, vaguely nocturnal sleep schedule which has me waking up way before him (this has been a little nerve wracking since he’s the only one who knows how to operate our very complicated coffee grinder) but it means that I can make a big breakfast when he wakes up in the afternoon. Tonight will be my first night home during harvest since I was away over the weekend and I intend to just binge Pretty Little Liars and restock the freezer with pita and soup for quick harvest break snackees. Good thing there are enough PLL seasons to take me through even the longest of harvests, which luckily this doesn’t seem like it’s going to be. Based on my extremely limited knowledge, I’m gonna bet you a dollar that this harvest will take shorter than last year’s verkakte muddy harvest but longer than the easy breezy beautiful year before that. Which affects you and me in the sense that it determines how many baked goodies I make for the crew. I filled our deep freeze with pumpkin bread, blueberry scones, and a funfetti cake last week before I scampered off for a quick trip to Harbor Springs, Michigan, for a Molly on the Range event and then to Boston for the Forbes Under 30 summit. 

Wow, Harbor Springs is one of the prettiest cutest places in the world! I could eat it all up. Or at least see myself going back again and again to crash the book festival and look at the beautiful houses. I got to stay with Maureen, who wrote one of my favorite cookbooks, Rose Water and Orange Blossoms, and we made raw kibbeh!! It was a dream come true. I’ve been wanting to make raw kibbeh since reading about it in her book but was never confident enough in my butcher finding skills to get clean enough beef that could be eaten raw. So I waited until I got to Harbor Springs, and then we feasted on raw kibbeh, baked kibbeh, fattoush, hummus, knafeh, and this amazing sticky date cake with orange blossom caramel. I also got to hang with Nicole and a whole bunch of new sweet people. It was heaven! 

After Michigan I zipped on over to Boston for a quick day and a half at the Forbes Under 30 summit, surrounded by break fast at Mamaleh’s (with a truly inspirational kasha varnishkes), brunch time tahini buns, sofra with family, and then sofra again with friends, and some hardcore catching up with old college homies. I was in a cloud of congestion and snotty tissues (ew gross sorry forget I said that) but came home with a full heart and a full suitcase of saffron gummies, aleppo pepper, the la boîte halva mix, and Maureen’s nougatsA+ souvenirs

Ok one last thing before we get to cake: Molly on the Range turns one today!!!!!! I can hardly believe it! This last year has been a year filled to the brim with your sweet posts and messages about recipes you’ve made from MOTR and they make me the happiest bean in the world. I love seeing you guys celebrate birthdays and holidays with MOTR cakes and challah and schnitzel and I am so freaking happy that I've gotten to meet and hug so many of you at book events. I cannot thank you enough for how much joy your support of Molly on the Range has brought me over this past year. I am going to try and express all of my gratitude by making some of your favorite foods though!! Since so many of the recipes in MOTR were homemade versions of my childhood favorite foods (lunchables, pigs in blankets, you know…), I want you to hop over here and tell me some of your crazy childhood favorite foods and then I’m going to pick a few to recreate from scratch! If yours gets picked, you’ll get a special one of a kind edition of Molly on the Range :) Head to Instagram for more details.

Alright, cake time!!!! Because all of this harvesting and book birthdaying is calling for celebration. Eggboy put this cake out for all of our harvest helpers on the first day of harvest and from what I can tell, it got gobbled up immediately. It’s your basic super rich chocolate sheet cake covered in a buttercream that has my current obsession, pistachio butter, all up in it. It’s the same pistachio butter that was in these pudding pops but now that it’s getting a little colder I’m giving you a more weather appropriate use for it. Pistachio butter, the fanciest of the nut butters (?), is so great in this buttercream. Just think of how great peanut butter frosting is and then... make it pistachio. This frosting is rich, pistachio-y, a little lemony, and almondy. AKA basically perfect and greenish, the best color. Hooray!   


chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

makes one 9" x 13" sheet cake

ingredients

for the cake:

1 3/4 c (350g) sugar

1 3/4 c (223g) all-purpose flour

1 c (85g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

1 c (240g) buttermilk

1 tb vanilla extract

1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil

3/4 c (178g) boiling water

for the frosting:

1 c (128g) roasted pistachios (preferably unsalted)

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt (omit if pistachios are salted)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 tb heavy cream

clues

for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease and line the bottom of a 9" by 13" pan with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. whisk in the boiling water.

pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. let cool in the pan.

for the frosting: 

first, make the pistachio butter. in a food processor, blend the pistachios, scraping the sides occasionally, until very creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes.

with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and pistachio butter until creamy. add the powdered sugar and mix to combine and then mix in the salt, vanilla, almond extract, lemon zest, and then heavy cream. 

spread all over the cake, decorate as desired, and enjoy! 


-yeh!

garlic sesame broccoli rabe with panko crusted chicken

sugar beet harvest is more than halfway done! i couldn't believe it when eggboy told me this news yesterday. he's expecting it to be over by friday, making it a contender for the smoothest harvest in my three-harvest history on the farm. it is at once a joy, because once it ends there will be more eggboy time for me (!!), and a shame because i've been liking the weirdness of the harvest schedule and the excitement of having all of the extra workers and their significant others around.

a typical day for eggboy this past week has been a midnight to noon shift in the fields and then another few hours being a man about the farm. a typical day for me this past week has been:

6am: wake up! before the sun! eggboy is long gone, which is kind of lonely at first but then i realize that 1) he has left me coffee and it's already cooled to a temperature where i can chug it at the speed of light, and 2) i can do all of the beyoncé dance workout videos on youtube without anyone seeing me.

7am: let out the chickies! this is normally eggboy's job but i've been doing it this week and getting a perfect shot of cold crisp air in the morning as i shout with glee, good morrrrrrning chickies! as if they are all at summer camp and i am the camp director wishing everyone a swell morning over the p.a. then i count them to make sure they're all there. and then i take in the creamsicle sunrise. 

sometime before noon: make a baked good for all of the drivers to enjoy when they get off their shifts and then run it out to the sweet table that i've set up in the workshop. this is extra fun! it makes me feel like i have a little bakery.

sometime between noon and 5pm: have lunch with eggboy. by this time he is exhausted and trying to adjust his eyes to going to sleep, so he wears sunglasses. and i don't know if he lost his or what but he's been wearing my iris apfel ones and it's completely absurd.

5pm: tuck eggboy into bed, do a little more work, and then parrrrrrrtay. either with all of my new cookbooks and prime time television, or with the other "harvest widows," as i think we're called. but i hate that name. so i'm just gonna say emily and sheila

nightfall: put the chickies to bed. another job that eggboy normally does but that i've been doing this week. it's a little scary to walk the five feet outside into the dark spooky nighttime but it's making me a stronger lady. 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

meals this week have been a lot of things that don't have to be eaten immediately. sweets that can sit out in the shop at my little pop-up bakery, soups kept on the stove, quiche (lots of quiche)... and salads of various types. this broccoli rabe + chicken salad is inspired by a tasty situation that i had multiple times at lemonade in los angeles this summer. theirs was pineappleish and coconuty with some green beans scattered within, but when you zoomed out the main takeaway was that it was crunchy, salty, sweet, and vegetabley. so good. so while my version is sweetened with honey, flavored with a variation of mum's magic sesame sauce, and greened up with broccoli rabe, all of the elements i loved about that lemonade salad are there. yeah, it's essentially fancy chicken nuggets cut up and tossed with sautéed broccoli rabe. and yeah, it is perfect either hot or cold. so make some for supper and then pack the leftovers for lunch! 


Garlic Sesame Broccoli Rabe with Panko Crusted Chicken

makes 4 servings

ingredients

Chicken:

2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey mustard
3/4 tsp kosher salt
10 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Broccoli rabe:

Salt, to taste
10 oz broccoli rabe, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 tb flavorless oil, like canola
4 cloves garlic, minced

Dressing:

1 tb soy sauce
1 tb sesame oil
1 tb honey
2 tb tahini
a pinch of crushed red pepper

clues

Chicken:

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set it aside. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and submerge the chicken. Cover and let marinate for 5 minutes at room temperature. 

In a separate dish, mix together the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, the bread crumbs, and the toasted sesame seeds. When the chicken is done marinating, using tongs, work a few strips at a time to transfer it to the bread crumb mixture. Coat all sides of the chicken in the bread crumbs, and then transfer it to the baking sheet. 

Lightly spray the tops of the chicken strips with cooking spray and then bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. 

Let cool slightly and then chop into 1-inch pieces.

Broccoli rabe:

While the chicken is baking, prepare the broccoli rabe. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli rabe. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then drain, rinsing under cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat the broccoli rabe dry.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, and then add the broccoli rabe with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for 5 more minutes. Taste and add additional salt if desired.

Assembly:

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.

Place the broccoli rabe and chicken in a large bowl and drizzle on the dressing. Toss to coat. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!


-yeh!

thank you, andy boy broccoli rabe, for sponsoring this post!