stick to it: lamb chops & pie pops
Okay, so it's been a while since I last wrote. As in a month. What is time. How is it already February?! I'd like to say it crept up on me, but the truth is I should've taken the Valentine's Day stuff more seriously when it started appearing in stores (but seriously, in November? I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself).
ANYWAY. This post isn't going to be a full-fledged recipe post because we half used a recipe/half didn't.
But my friend James and I did some cooking last week, and the theme was: Things On A Stick. Yeah. So we made what he likes to call "lamb chop lollipops" (or rather he made them and I carefully observed).
He just marinated them in some olive oil, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper for about 20 minutes, and then tossed them in the oven for 30. And they came out gorgeously. I don't think I've ever eaten lamb faster in my life.
Just look at them:
It was tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone...everything lamb should be. And it was so easy, too. I had no idea. Will definitely be making again soon.
And then for the part with the recipe, I made Berry Pie Pops, which I saw featured on a TV show on the Cooking Channel called Kelsey's Essentials (I think I used her chocolate pudding recipe a while back). I like to watch it at the gym while I'm on the elliptical, so I'm always really hungry when I leave. Counterintuitive? Maybe. Worth it? You tell me.
I've actually made pie pops before, but I used a different method...I lined mini muffin pans with pie crust and filled them, and made little lattice-tops for them. These are much prettier, although I think I prefer the mini muffin method for taste, because there was a lot more filling...these were laid flat, so you couldn't fill them too much or the filling would spill out the edges when we were sealing them. As a result, some bites were all crust and no filling, which isn't that good when there's no sugar in the pie crust.
BUT, these were still delicious. And pretty. And super-easy to make...I actually had all of the ingredients in my house already except for the lemon and cornstarch. The crust was great, really buttery and flaky, and crunchy because we brushed them with egg and sugar before we baked them. And the filling was like blackberry jam. I saved some to use on toast. I may try these again using the mini muffin pan and I'll add some sugar to the crust recipe.
You'll need lollipop sticks! Unless you just want mini-pies. We found ours at Michael's.
BERRY PIE POPS
Yields: About 10 pie pops, depending on how big you cut them
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
1½ cups assorted berries (or really any fruit you like)
¼ cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1½ tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Place the berries in a saucepan over medium-high heat. I used a bag of frozen berries + a half-full carton of blackberries I already had. Stir in the ¼ cup + 2 tbsp sugar, 1½ tbsp cornstarch, and 1 tsp lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook until thickened but still has viscosity. Like a thinner jam. Don't burn it! Remove from heat and cool in the fridge, until you're ready to use it.
½ cup flour
1½ sticks unsalted butter
6-8 tbsp ice-cold water
½ tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, cream the 1½ sticks butter, then add the ½ cup flour and ½ tsp salt. You kind of mush everything together until it starts forming a nice dough. Keep turning it over in the bowl, making sure all of the butter is combined with the flour and salt. Gradually add the 6-8 tbsp water, while continuing to work the dough with your hands. I'd recommend adding some sugar, especially if you're making this version, because it's straight pastry dough AKA not sweet at all. It's meant to be complemented with something sweet, like the filling.
Roll the dough out on a flat surface, so it's about 1/8 inch thick. Flour the surface, and cut shapes out using a cookie cutter or a small glass (I'd recommend small ones because the pie pops get a bit heavy once they're on the stick). This recipe made us 20 small discs, so 10 pie pops.
Fill half of the discs with a spoon, place a lollipop stick in the center, and cover each one with another disc. Crimp the edges with a fork, and bake them for 20 minutes. Brush with the 1 beaten egg.
And then you're done! SUPER easy, but super-cute. Great for dinner parties or when you want to impress people, especially for people who don't usually bake. It's very difficult to mess these up.