Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars
These bars are soft, sweet, and the pineapple makes you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. They’re made in one bowl, without a mixer, and even though they’re a layered bar, the crust and topping are made from the same mixture to save time. There’s an abundance of pineapple chunks in every bite, which are surrounded by a custardy, creamy filling. The bars are tender, delicate, and the firmer crust, in contrast with the soft, custardy interior, and the crumble topping make for so many great textures in each bite.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sour cream (plain or vanilla Greek yogurt may be substituted)
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
one 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained (fresh or frozen could likely be substituted)
Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
To a large bowl, add the butter, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and optional salt. Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut butter into dry ingredients until a sandy mixture with peas-sized buttery bits forms.
Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture; set aside.
Transfer remaining mixture into prepared pan and using your fingertips or the back of a spatula, lightly press crumbs evenly into pan to form a crust.
Bake for 10 minutes. While crust bakes, make the filling.
In a large bowl (same one used to make the crust mixture is fine) add the egg, 1/2 cup sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, 1/4 cup flour, and whisk until smooth; set aside.
Remove crust from oven and top evenly with pineapple chunks. About 90% of the surface area will be covered with pineapple; chunks will be very close to each other but not quite touching.
Carefully and evenly pour the sour cream mixture over the pineapple, making sure to get it into the corners.
Evenly sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top to create the crumble topping.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until edges and top are set. Place pan on top of a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you keep them covered and as time passes, the topping becomes softer, less pebbley, and looks less like a true crumble topping due to the overall moisture level in the bars from the juicy pineapple.
Boston Baked Beans:
In honor of Patriots Day, we are sharing one of the most famous of many versions of baked beans to come out of New England, stars very few ingredients, the main ones being no more than beans, molasses, and salt pork. The secret is a long, slow cook in a dry oven to gently tenderize and partially break down the beans, while a deep, dark crust forms on top for the best possible flavor.
- Adding aromatics to the bean-cooking water, while not traditional, provides layers of deep, complex flavor.
- Starting the pot of beans on the stovetop reduces the time it takes to come to a simmer, which in turn enhances browning and flavor development in the oven.
- Par-cooking the beans reduces the time it takes to bake them in the oven.
- The secret to a rich, thickened glaze isn’t ketchup or tomato paste; it’s the bean starch itself.
- 1 pound dried small white beans (about 2 cups; 450g), such as navy beans
- Kosher salt
- Assorted peeled, halved, and trimmed aromatic vegetables (such as 1 yellow onion, 1 carrot, and 2 cloves garlic), optional
- 2 sprigs of a woodsy herb (such as rosemary, sage, and/or thyme), optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup (120ml) dark molasses (not blackstrap)
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) Dijon or brown mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound (225g) salt pork or slab bacon, rinsed of excess salt if necessary and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (see note)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 8 ounces; 225g) (see note)
- Apple cider vinegar, to taste (optional)
In a medium bowl, cover beans with cold water by several inches and stir in 1 tablespoon (15g) salt. Let beans soak at least 12 hours and up to 1 day. Drain and rinse.
Combine beans with aromatic vegetables and herbs (if using) and bay leaf in a large pot and cover with water by several inches. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, topping up with water as necessary, until beans are fully tender, about 45 minutes. Using tongs, discard vegetables and aromatics.
Meanwhile, pour molasses into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add mustard, a very generous dose of freshly ground black pepper (let it rain!), and a pinch of salt.
Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Add enough bean-cooking liquid to molasses mixture to bring the volume up to 2 cups (475ml) and stir until molasses is completely dissolved. Reserve remaining bean-cooking liquid.
Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). In a Dutch oven, cook pork over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pork is beginning to lightly brown, about 4 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is very tender and just beginning to turn golden, about 6 minutes. Add beans to pot.
Add bean water/molasses mixture and stir well to combine. Add enough reserved bean-cooking water to just barely cover beans, then stir once more, leveling out beans so that none are sticking up above the liquid level. Bring to a simmer.
Transfer beans to oven and bake, uncovered, until beans are extremely tender but still mostly whole, with only a small fraction beginning to burst, about 4 hours. Check beans once or twice per hour during baking, adding remaining bean-cooking liquid (switching eventually to boiling water if you run out) as needed to prevent the beans on the surface from drying out. Stir beans twice during the baking process to submerge the top ones, leveling them out each time; over time, a dark, browned crust will form on the surface of the beans (this is good). The goal throughout is to keep the liquid level just high enough that the upper beans don’t desiccate, but not so high that the surface doesn’t brown. Stop adding liquid during the last hour of baking unless the level becomes perilously low.
Remove beans from oven and stir them very well. The sauce should form into a thickened, starchy glaze. If it’s too dry, add boiling water sparingly until a glaze is achieved; if it’s too wet, simmer briefly on the stovetop until reduced to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If beans are too sweet for your taste, a small splash of cider vinegar can help balance the flavor (though I never thought my beans needed it).
Keep warm until ready to serve. Beans can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Reheat in a saucepan, adding water gradually as needed to loosen them back up.
Lemon Caper Artichoke Chicken Piccata:
This recipe is a keeper. Lemon Caper Artichoke Chicken Piccata – a refreshing and elegant twist on the classic with the addition of lemon, capers and artichokes . If you’re not a fan of artichokes, skip them completely. Feel free to add some spinach to have some more healthy veggies with your chicken piccata. Make this even more Mediterranean by adding some chopped sun-dried tomatoes, feta, olives, or make this a seasonal spring dish by adding some green asparagus, some more yogurt, and lemon. Makes 4 Servings.
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour seasoned with a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- 1 lemon juiced
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 4 large frozen artichokes (or jarred), sliced
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat and add in the butter.
Coat the chicken generously with the seasoned flour and shake off any excess.
Sear the chicken in the butter for 2 mins per side until nice and golden.
Remove the chicken on a plate and add in the remaining butter to the same skillet without washing it.
Add in the garlic, lemon slices, fresh thyme, capers, artichokes and medium-high for a minute.
Add in the lemon juice and stock, then place the chicken back in the mixture and let it cook over medium-high heat for about 3-5 mins (depending on the thickness of your chicken).
Add in the yogurt and take the skillet off the heat. Mix the sauce to blend, season and serve.
So here’s the challenge … imagine what it’s like to make this dish for 100 people or even 25 people. Wouldn’t it be easier to just call Fat Freddy’s Catering? Chef Gile has created his own variations of this recipe for our lunch menu and yet another variation for our dinner menu – Chicken Limon, using an Airline Breast of Chicken.
Fat Freddy’s Catering