Birthdays are the best excuse for dessert

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Omg. This is GOOD.

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I know in polite society you’re not really supposed to say the stuff you made is really bomb but…. I’m going to break that rule.

Because – this tart. is. so. DELICIOUS!

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We both loved it – I made it for C’s birthday after he requested something with chocolate and berries and cream. Fave human’s birthday = great excuse to bake! Not as if I ever need one…

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Cream and chocolate complement each other so nicely – the filling of this one is light but rich, and the crust is chewy with a slight hint of salt (gotta love salted chocolate!). Add in whatever summer fruit you have on hand – for me, it was raspberries, blueberries and cherries – and you’re set for a perfect summer dessert.

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It makes amazing dessert and of course, breakfast. We did eat it with a bit of vanilla ice cream last night – no complaints there, and it made an awesome addition to breakfast this morning (by now this really shouldn’t surprise you!) post Twin Peaks 4.5 mile hike (1000′ elevation gain, not too shabby)!

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It really comes together quickly too – the crust is an easy press-in; no rolling required! This is a perfect dessert for the hot days we’re having too, since the crust only bakes for about 15 minutes, and the filling just sets up in the refrigerator. I made the crust the night before, while my apartment was cool, and then put the filling together early the next morning so it could chill all day.

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I definitely will make this again. I make a practice of not posting anything we don’t like, so of course I’d make the others on here too…. but… this one…. I want to make it again SOON! I leave for camp on Friday though so I suspect there will be no baking again until after I come back – stay tuned for cherries! I have a bunch frozen after I saw them on sale in the market a few times.

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Happy baking! See ya on the flip side when I get back from my mountainous camp sojourn in mid-July!

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Yogurt Panna Cotta Cream Tart with Summer Fruit on a Chocolate Almond Crust

A Wait are Those Cookies original! I riffed on this one and this one and came up with this. Refined sugar free, gluten free and grain free. Yield: 1 9″ tart.

For the crust:

1.75 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 c dark chocolate, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes.

With a pastry brush, coat the bottom the crust with an even layer of melted chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate sets, about 10 minutes.

Panna Cotta:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1.5 cup heavy cream, divided
1 tbsp vanilla
Scant 1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup plain greek whole-milk yogurt
more melted chocolate, for drizzling (just a few tbsp needed – use more for serving if desired)

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the cream. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1.25 cups of cream into a small saucepan. Add vanilla, maple and salt into the cream. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the yogurt until well blended. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours.

Decorate with berries and drizzle with melted chocolate (I just melt chips in the microwave) and top with berries for serving! Store in the fridge – keeps well overnight for breakfast the next morning :)

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Let’s get crisp-y

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Happy Pride! It is hard to believe we are this far into June – I’m excited, since the stone fruit season is starting to really get going, and berries are lovely right now.

This week was eventful – I gave myself a black eye with a 900 page paperback (sci-fi of course) when I accidentally (duh) dropped it on my face… such a raging Friday night! I wasn’t even asleep, it just slipped out of my hand & got me. Rude! Sometimes I impress even myself. Photo evidence, just in case you needed proof:

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Anyway, enough of my raging & back to the fruit at hand: I also love rhubarb – though I typically think of it more as a late spring thing than summer. This will probably be the last rhubarb thing on here – it gets harder to find, and I really want to play with all the stone fruit anyway!

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The California summer is definitely in full swing: the hills have gone that golden shade that is so pretty against the dark oaks and blue sky. I could do without the hot weather but… at least I have access to a very cold pool! You will find me there more than frequently ;)

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Super fun weekend over here – time with fave human, dessert, urban hikes, etc etc – a few pictures below.

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This crisp is for those who LOVE rhubarb – it’s very rhubarb-forward! We both love the tart awesomeness of it, but I know it’s not everyone’s jam. Lavender was an interesting addition – I don’t use it all that frequently in baking (I find it can get a little… soapy, sometimes) but it adds a nice floral note here, which pairs especially nicely with ice cream…

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Of course, it’s us – this got eaten for dessert and then alongside the usual breakfast. No regrets! We were both starving anyway after having woken ourselves up by walking up some hills on a nice little shorty hike.

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I hope everyone out there in my corner of the internet is enjoying their weekends! Happy baking, if indeed you do some :)

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Rhubarb, Blackberry and Lavender Almond Crisp

For those who LOVE rhubarb! This one is right in your face. Lightly sweet but seriously tart; lightly floral from the lavender and perfect with ice cream for a summer dessert or on it’s own for breakfast. A Wait are Those Cookies original! Yield: 1 crisp – I use an 8 by 8 dish that holds two quarts; you can also use a 9″ deep pie dish. Just make sure there is ample room for fruit! Serves: 2, or several… you decide!

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For the filling:

3 c rhubarb, chopped*
1 c raspberries*
1 c blackberries*
1 tsp lavender buds
1/4 c maple syrup
¼ cup water (I used 1/8 c port & 1/8 c water)
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch

*I just approximate; I use however many it takes to fill my 2 quart, 8×8 baking dish
*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine

For the crisp:

1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free crisp)
½ cup firmly packed almond meal
½ cup chopped almonds
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c maple (or coconut) sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350.
Toss chopped rhubarb, raspberries and lavender into your baking dish of choice (my dish is 8×8, 2 qt capacity; 9″ square or 9″ deep pie dish would also be fine). In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple and water/port until combined. Add the arrowroot, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the fruit and toss to combine. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the filling is baking, make the crisp. In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almond meal, chopped almonds, shredded coconut, maple sugar and salt. Mix in the vanilla, melted butter and the yogurt. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly.

Once the filling has baked for 20 minutes, stir it and and redistribute evenly in the dish. Plop spoonfuls of the crisp topping evenly over the filling – no need to pack it down. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden.
Let the crisp rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, obviously! Keep leftovers, covered, in the fridge for about five days (yeah right. It would take some kind of major feat to make it last that long)

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Summer is for shortcakes

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Hi! I have cream biscuit shortcakes today.

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I’ve always thought that strawberry shortcake is just about the most June dessert there is.  I love shortcakes in most any form with pretty much any fruit, but C and I both agreed this one in particular is about the most perfect iteration. We might be a little biased since we both are obsessed with these cream biscuits, but whatever – this is pretty perfect.

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Simple, unsweetened cornmeal cream biscuits for the base, unsweetened sliced strawberries (they are just so perfect right now!), and some ice cream or whipped cream to finish it off: such a perfect trifecta.

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I did a bit of baking on Saturday morning, which was a great way to start the day. A batch of cookies for C’s studio recital, and then shortcakes for later! No complaints there – it was a good day.

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We both agree that these biscuits are also the perfect morning biscuit – not sweet, just so satisfying. They’re crumbly and flakey in the best way and go wonderfully alongside anything you might eat toast with (ie eggs and kale!). Of course, we did that – are you shocked? Ha. I didn’t think so.

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I’ll keep it short and sweet today: do yourself a favor and whip these babies out! They come together and bake up quite speedily, which is a boon when it’s hot out and you don’t want to run the oven excessively. Happy baking!

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Cornmeal Cream Biscuit Strawberry Shortcakes

Lightly sweet, perfectly biscuity. Summer dessert at its finest and most simple! Whole grain and refined sugar free. Yield: 8 biscuits. I adapted this one from my previous cream biscuit recipe; a Wait are Those Cookies original.

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For the cream biscuits:

1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 pint heavy cream + extra for brushing the tops of the biscuits
coconut sugar for sprinkling

For serving:

Sliced strawberries
Whipped cream or ice cream

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter using a fork, your fingers (my preferred method!) or a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of small peas. Stir in the cream and vanilla with a fork until blended.

Lightly knead the dough a few times in the bowl, then turn it out on to a floured board or countertop and roll out to about 3/4″ thick. Cut 6 biscuits out – either circular or square, you do you! Reroll the scraps for 2-3 more. Place the biscuits on the lined baking sheet, brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with a little coconut sugar if desired, and bake for about 17 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove from baking sheet and let cool before serving.

To serve, split them in half & pile with whipped cream or ice cream & strawberries! Simple, summery.

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Wait, is this actually a cookie recipe?

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Cookies!

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Though this blog is named after them, I find that I rarely post them on here…. which is silly, given that I make this particular recipe at least several times a month – they are perennial favorites of all parties.

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I realized after I made them for C &I this weekend (they happen to be both of our favorite cookies) that I had never actually posted this recipe on the blog so – I am fixing this now! They are so easy, just mix dry, stir in liquidy stuff, mix, bake, BOOM! Cookies. I think my record to make them is 17 minutes start to finish, including bake time (then again, I do sort of bake a lot so perhaps I am not the best metric ;)

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We ate these for dessert with ice cream (of course! can recommend mint and vanilla with high marks) and alongside a late brunch/lunch after a very sweaty hike. Of course, they are also excellent alongside a tall glass of milk (whole, if you please).

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There was some haze in the sky today but we still had a great hike/walk up to Bernal – here are some snaps:

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And a few from when I stopped at the beach on the way back from camp training to say hello to the ocean, always a worthwhile activity:

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So anyway – tomorrow is Monday, ew – do yourself a favor and take 15 minutes to whip up some cookies. The beginning half of your week will thank you!

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Oaty Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My favorite cookies – I make these more than anything else, at least a few times a month! C & I love them, fam loves them, etc etc. Whole grain, refined sugar free, dairy free & a gluten free option (just use 1/2 c brown rice flour instead of 1 c of whole wheat). Cakey, dense, chewy cookies that are great for hiking or snacks or whatever else. A Wait are Those Cookies original. Yield – somewhere 12-16.

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1 c almond flour
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c shredded coconut
1 c whole wheat pastry flour (or 1/2 c brown rice flour for gf)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
Flax egg or regular egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c melted coconut oil
1/4 c maple
Chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips, your call)

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix dry, toss in melted coconut oil, flax/egg, vanilla, maple, chopped chocolate; mix – these are not finicky cookies! Roll into balls and place on lined baking sheet, flattening them slightly. Bake for 10-12 on parchment at 350 if using whole wheat flour; bake for 12-16 if using brown rice flour.

Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. I like to store mine in the fridge – they get extra dense and chewy that way. They do best wrapped in foil on the counter or in a slightly less than airtight container on the counter (I prefer plastic over glass since glass can make them go soft).

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Holiday weekends require dessert!

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Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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This dessert could not be more well timed – of course, holiday weekends call for dessert but more obviously – I inadvertently made a patriotic dessert on Memorial weekend! I love when things like that happen.

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Mostly I got lucky – blueberries and strawberries are amazing (and on sale! woohoo!!) right now, so of course I have those sitting in my fridge in spades. I always feel that tarts like this need some embellishment, and BOOM! Helloooo, berries.

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This is light and fresh – just what you want for a summer dessert.

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We ate it with softly whipped cream for dessert (I haven’t had whipped cream in far too long, I’m glad we fixed that particular travesty) and then again – of course – for our brunch/lunch thing around 1p. Is that lunch? Or could it be brunch since we didn’t eat anything except a bit of chocolate and a banana after sleeping in, before hiking?? Hmm. I think it can still be brunch. Anyway… it tasted especially good the second time around; we’d just finished a great hike up to Twin Peaks – somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 miles and over 1000′ elevation gain in less than two hours. Booyaaah! No wonder we were hungry.

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Hike stats! I am a nerd and as such I find these things fascinating. And pictures, of course.

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The weather was beautiful, with a really nice breeze off the fog (since my body is still having major issues these days, especially with regulating its temperature, cool breezes are a MUST).

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We both loved this tart – it’s delicious on its own, or with whipped cream. Highly recommended – we blew through this thing in two sittings (well, the hike definitely helped the second go-round, ha!) and I think there are about two servings left… although that could have changed since I last assessed the situation.

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Happy holiday weekend! Enjoy the extra day and do some baking :)

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Lemon Ricotta Berry Tart on a Walnut Coconut Crust

Light, lemony and a perfect for a summer dessert: the lemon ricotta filling is tart and creamy, balanced nicely by the walnut-oat-coconut crust. Fresh berries are a must! Gluten free, refined sugar free and whole grain. For those who like their desserts a little on the tart side ;) Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves… several, or else two really hungry people who just took a long hike! A Wait are those Cookies original.

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For the crust:

1 c rolled oats
1 c walnuts
1/4 c shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 c almond flour
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350.

Add oats into a food processor and pulse until finely ground (you’re making oat flour). Dump that out into a bowl, and add the walnuts into the processor – pulse these until very finely ground, but be careful you don’t end up with walnut butter! Add walnuts to the bowl, followed by the coconut, almond flour, maple, sea salt, melted butter and vanilla. Stir until everything is incorporated, then press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie or tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

For the filling:

1.25 c (9 oz) full fat ricotta
1/2 c heavy cream
scant 1/4 c maple syrup
2 egg yolks
1 egg
zest of 3 lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice

This is as easy as it gets: toss ricotta into a large bowl, and stir in the rest of the ingredients: cream, maple, egg yolks + egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mixing well to prevent any lumps (heaven forbid).

Tart Assembly:
Pour the ricotta filling into the baked and cooled tart shell. Place in the oven at 350 and bake for 35-45 minutes – the center of the tart should be set when done. Let cool completely before serving. Slide the tart pan ring off before serving if you used a pan with a removable bottom like I did.

Top with berries and shredded coconut if desired! Serve with softly whipped cream – I highly recommend it. Keep refrigerated until serving. Keeps well overnight in the fridge, covered loosely in plastic wrap – arguably it’s almost better the next day, of course for breakfast!

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Strawberry Season!

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Happy Weekend!

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The strawberries are perfect over here right now – so, so perfect! I picked up a carton over the weekend and knew I needed to do something with them, besides just eat them over my sink.

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I love the idea of olive oil cakes – olive oil is one of my favorite things anyway, and putting it in cake just makes it that much better. Obviously all of my desserts trend not-so-sweet, and this one is no exception: the strawberries provide the necessary sweetness against the more mellow, lightly fruity cake.

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We decided that the cake itself is somewhat of a cornbread – shortbread hybrid (not so much in texture but in taste) – especially when eaten with ice cream and strawberries; we both go bonkers for cornmeal & polenta over here so it’s a win all around.

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Besides that, it’s a very easy cake that comes together in a snap and doesn’t require any overly unusual ingredients. We ate it for dessert and also (because it’s us!) for breakfast yesterday morning – no photos since it was a hurried morning, but never fear – it was eaten alongside the usual eggs, kale and coffee!

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Still loving the photos from last week’s hike to Twin Peaks – here is another of my favorites. This looks like it could be the Elysian Fields or something of that nature!

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Anyway – seize the moment of perfect strawberries, and put them on cake! Happy weekend!

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Olive Oil Polenta Cake with Strawberries

Fruity, very lightly sweet cake that is something of a cross between cornbread and a shortcake – we really noticed the comparison to shortcake with eaten with ice cream and strawberries, but it is also great for breakfast of course, with a little extra olive oil and strawberries. Gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. A Wait are Those Cookies original! Yield: 1 8″ cake.

1/2 c olive oil
1.5 c almond flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c maple
4 eggs
zest of one meyer lemon
3 tbsp meyer lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
strawberries for serving

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8″ cake pan – if not using a springform, cut large strips of parchment paper to go underneath the cake with their edges hanging over the pan edge to make for easy removal.

Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs until pale yellow in color. Beat in olive oil, maple, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in batches, beating until just incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack completely for about an hour before serving.

I cut up strawberries a few hours before serving and tossed them with a drizzle of olive oil and meyer lemon juice – I let them sit until serving and they were DELICIOUS. Highly recommended.

Serve with strawberries and ice cream and maybe an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Cake keeps really well covered in foil on the counter overnight & is excellent for breakfast – I’d eat it within three days for maximal freshness.

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For the Horde!

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Brace yourselves for another Nerd Pie!

This one is…. FOR THE HORDE! Obviously.

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I thought the red/purple-y color of the filling seemed like an appropriate Horde color, so there you go – Nerd pies strike again!

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I have it on good authority that the leftovers didn’t even last a day, so I consider my mission accomplished. This pie is definitely a winner if you like tart things – there is barely any sweetener in here, since we very clearly like tart things around here. I love unadulterated rhubarb – it smells SO good when it’s baking!

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Pie for breakfast? …. Obviously, have you met us?!

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In other news, aside from pie…

Great hike/walk up to Twin Peaks with fave human and some beautiful wildflowers. Thankfully, this world never stops being beautiful – no matter what else is transpiring.

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Also, I made my mama some Mother’s Day cookies (because she is amazing and in Scotland as of today so it had to be something portable) and this one kind of looks like the Millennium Falcon…? No? Just me?

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Keeping it short because it’s (the end of!) Monday and I’m tired… and can’t quite believe we’re already halfway through May! What?!

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Happy baking!

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Rhubarb, Blackberry and Ginger Pie on a Whole Wheat Crust

Refined sugar free and whole wheat. This pie is for those who love all things tart but naturally sweet: the rhubarb is allowed to be its true self! Sugar need not apply. Sweetened very minimally with a little maple – feel free to eat with whipped cream, ice cream or just plain as you see fit. Yield: 1 9″ pie. Recipe is a riff on the many pies that have shown up on here, such as this one or this one.

For the pie crust:

2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 c unsalted butter
1/3 c vegetable shortening
5-6 tbsp ice water
For the filling:

4 c rhubarb, chopped*
2 c blackberries*
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c whole wheat flour
zest of 2 meyer lemon
juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
1/4 c candied ginger
1/4 tsp salt

*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine

For finishing: 1-2 tbsp butter, 1 egg for egg wash

To make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the dough and add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time – mix as little as possible when incorporating the water to avoid overworking the dough. Once it will stick together, you’re good to go. Divide it into two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, blackberries, maple syrup, whole wheat flour, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and salt. Let sit for at least 10 minutes — easiest to do this while you roll out the pie dough.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment or on marble, whatever you have – I like parchment for easy removal. Aim for about 1/8″ thickness, and lay the bottom crust into a lightly greased pie dish. Shape it with your fingers, evening out the top as per your pie plate or design you want — this crust will make a double crusted pie, so keep that in mind. Toss in rhubarb filling goodness and dot with butter.

If you want to get fancy and get all Horde-pie nerdy…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Horde crest. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I use a beaten egg + 1 tbsp water). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, and brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired.

Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the rhubarb filling. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven when done and let sit to cool for at least an hour, preferably more so that the filling will set. Serve warm or at room temp, and store any leftovers overnight on the counter, loosely covered, or in the fridge for longer (assuming it lasts that long). Pie can be made a day in advance if needed and reheated briefly in a 375 oven to crisp the crust and warm the filling – 10/15 minutes. The pie filling will firm up if stored in the fridge overnight, making slicing easier.

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