Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese

Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese This Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese is the sweet, spicy, buttery, cheesy vegetarian main you didn’t know you needed. Heck, I didn’t know I needed it until last week when the idea hit me about two minutes before I was going to fall asleep.Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese I got up to write it down, thereby ruining the effect of my melatonin, but it was totally worth it because this tart is ridiculously good, as almost all spicy things with blue cheese are.Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese You should make this tart this weekend. You’ll be glad to have it while you take down your holiday decorations or watch football or yell at the TV during the Golden Globes (that last one might just be me 🙂 ). Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese Beyond being absolutely delicious, this savory tart is incredibly simple to make. And it’ll make you look very fancy. It’s hard not to look fancy when you make your own Habanero Honey.Quick Habanero HoneyQuick Habanero HoneyQuick Habanero HoneyQuick Habanero HoneyAnd speaking of Habanero Honey, you’re going to be really happy to have this stuff in your fridge. It takes all of 25 minutes to make and is delicious painted onto butternut squash, of course, but I think it would also be great drizzled over fried chicken, as a flourish on a cheese plate, or even swirled into tea (if you’re feeling adventurous). You could even tie a ribbon around a jar of Habanero Honey and give it as a hostess gift!Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese But back to the tart. I mean, do you see this thing? What are you waiting for? Get to it, y’all!Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese
Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese
makes 1 tart, about 6 servings

Rough Puff Pastry:*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

For assembly:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
12-15 1/8-inch thick slices (8 ounces) butternut squash (from the neck)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
a few grinds of black pepper
2-3 tablespoons habanero honey (recipe below)
3-4 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles

Special Equipment:
2 quarter sheet pans, preferably matching

Make Rough Puff Pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

(This is a good time to make the Habanero Honey. Recipe below.)

Make the tart. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed quarter-sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment.

Make an egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to apply egg wash over any exposed crust.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to the prepared pan. Trim any overhang to 1-1 1/2 inches. Dock center of the dough with a fork. Brush entire surface with egg wash. Arrange butternut squash slices in an overlapping pattern over the docked area. Fold overhang toward the center and brush exposed pastry with more egg wash. Refrigerate for 15 minutes if dough becomes too sticky.

Cover tart with a sheet of parchment and place another quarter sheet pan on top. Bake 10 minutes to lightly steam the squash. Remove tart from oven, lift off top pan and peel away parchment. Brush squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Bake an additional 20-22 minutes, or until edges are puffed and golden brown.

Let tart cool 10 minutes in the pan. Brush exposed squash with habanero honey. Let sit 5 more minutes before using parchment to remove it to a cutting board. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Slice and serve.

Tart is best eaten the day it’s made, but may be refrigerated for up to three days. If stacking slices, use wax paper as a barrier.

Note:

You may use frozen all-butter puff pastry instead. Thaw according to package directions and begin the recipe at the paragraph that begins “Make the tart.”

Quick Habanero Honey
makes 1/2 cup

1-2 fresh habanero peppers
1/2 cup mild honey

You may want to use latex gloves when handling hot peppers.

Slice off habanero pepper stems and slice in half. Remove seeds with a spoon, if desired. Mince peppers and put into a small saucepan. Wash your hands immediately. Do not touch your face or anything else.

Pour honey over minced peppers. Bring pot to a simmer over medium-low heat. Do not boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes before straining out pepper bits.

Pour honey into a jar and let cool completely.

Cover jar and store in the refrigerator for up to three months.
Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Habanero Honey & Blue Cheese Quick Habanero HoneyQuick Habanero Honey

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Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork

Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkHappy 2019! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are refreshed and ready to get back to normal. I am dragging my feet about the whole thing, but keep reminding myself that this is only a three day work-week. Thank goodness.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the last couple of months have left me a little sick of sugary baked goods—not enough to quit making them or anything, but I need a little break. This is a yearly pattern so predictable that I’ve organized my blogging calendar around it. January on E2 Bakes means lots of savory dishes, including many weeknight meals. There may be a dessert or two as well, but that remains to be seen.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkThe first recipe of the year is one of my favorites: Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork. I started making it about four years ago and haven’t looked back.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkI realize that you probably already have a pulled pork recipe that you love. Slow cooker pulled pork became ridiculously popular in the 2000s—one quick google search of those four words will yield approximately a gazillion variations on putting a pork shoulder in a slow cooker and letting it cook for 8 hours or so before being shredded/pulled, combined with barbecue sauce, and served on hamburger buns.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkBut, um, unpopular opinion: I don’t like slow cooker pulled pork. I’m sure yours is great (!)—not trying to yuck your yum—it’s just not for me. You see, every slow cooker pulled pork I’ve ever had has been soft, mushy, stringy, too wet, too saucy, bland, or some combination thereof. I have eaten it when it’s been offered because when other people cook for me I eat what they make, but I just don’t like it. I can’t help it. Every time I eat slow cooker pulled pork, I wish it were more moist and less wet (if that makes sense) and had a simpler, pork-ier flavor. Oh, and crispy bits. You simply can’t get crispy bits with a cooking method that doesn’t allow air circulation…but you can in an oven.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkWhen I found Cara Nicoletti’s pulled pork recipe a few years ago, I felt the need to make it immediately and then many times since. It was pretty perfect already, but I’ve made some adjustments over time to suit my own preferences and now…well, I make the pulled pork I want to eat.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkSlow-Roasted Pulled PorkSlow-Roasted Pulled PorkThis stuff is moist and meaty and not at all stringy or watery. It has an unabashedly porky, slightly salty flavor—perfect piled high on a roll with some crunchy vegetables and a drizzle of barbecue sauce (I go for a mustard-based sauce). It freezes like a dream. Oh, and it has plenty of crispy bits.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkSlow-Roasted Pulled PorkMaking pulled pork in your oven is not as easy as just throwing a pork shoulder in there and calling it a day. It takes time and lots of it—this is a weekend project for sure—but only about 60-90 minutes of it requires your immediate attention. Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork is coated in a mixture of Kosher salt, sugar and black pepper before chilling uncovered in the refrigerator for 12-48 hours. This is called a dry brine, and it’s magical: all the flavor of a traditional brine, but without the big vat of liquid taking up space in your fridge.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkAfter the brining time, the pork is rinsed and dried before being roasted at a low temperature for 6-7 hours. I like to throw some apple cider vinegar in the roasting dish—it adds moisture and flavor over the long cook time.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkSlow-Roasted Pulled PorkAfter the slow roast, the heat goes way up to crisp the skin. One short rest later, those cracklings are chopped and mixed with the finished pulled pork. Then it’s time for sandwiches. And picking at the leftovers every time you pass the fridge.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkSeriously, good luck not eating it all.Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork

Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork
adapted from Cara Nicoletti
makes 12-16 servings

1 6-7 pound bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar

For serving:
sliced rolls
barbecue sauce (I use a mustard-based sauce)
pickles, onions, cabbage/slaw

Read recipe completely before beginning. This is a multi-day process, but requires minimal hands-on time.

A day or two before:

Remove pork shoulder from any packaging and place on a large cutting board. Dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.

Use a large, very sharp (the sharper, the better) chef’s knife to slice a crosshatch pattern into the skin side of the shoulder. Do not slice into the meat.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together Kosher salt, granulated sugar, and black pepper. Use your clean hands to apply mixture to the entire surface of the meat. Place in a large pot or roasting dish (I use my dutch oven), skin-side-up.

Place pork shoulder, in its dish, into the refrigerator. Leave uncovered for at least 12 hours or up to 48.

The day you want to eat pulled pork:

Line a large cutting board with a clean kitchen towel or couple of layers of paper towels.

Remove pork shoulder, in its dish, from the refrigerator. Some liquid may have accumulated.

Lift pork out of its dish. Rinse well in cold water—there may still be some specks of black pepper, even after a few minutes. Place pork on prepared cutting board. Dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Let sit a room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 275F. Place pork skin-side-up in a clean, dry oven-safe pot or roasting dish (I wash and reuse my dutch oven). Pour apple cider vinegar into the dish. Roast pork for 6-7 hours, about an hour per pound. The internal temperature (not taken near the bone) should be 180F. Some liquid may have accumulated.

Turn oven heat up to 500F. Let pork cook, rotating every 5 minutes, until crosshatched skin is dark golden and crispy. Remove from oven.

Let pork sit a room temperature for 20-30 minutes before slicing off the skin/cracklings. Give it a rough chop and aside.

Remove meat from the bone, discarding any excess fat. Place meat in a large heatproof mixing bowl and toss with cracklings.

Serve on rolls with barbecue sauce and other toppings, if desired.

Leftover pork may be frozen in freezer bags for up to 3 months. Bone may also be frozen for use in stock or soup.Slow-Roasted Pulled PorkSlow-Roasted Pulled Pork

Most Popular Recipes of 2018

Hello! How was your Christmas (or your Tuesday, if you don’t do Christmas)? I had a ball eating and laughing and gallivanting around Austin with my family. We cooked like crazy and spent most of the rest of the time loving on these three sweet pups. Don’t you love their matching jammies?Most Popular Recipes of 2018It’s hard to believe that 2018 is ending—how was Maine four months ago? how am I now closer to 34 than to 33?—but here we are.

My year-end blog tradition is to do a rundown of the ten most popular recipes on this site over the last 365-ish days, so…well, let’s get to it, shall we?
Most Popular Recipes of 2018Most Popular Recipes of 201810. Caramel Pudding/Wedding Cake. July feels so long ago now that I almost forgot I spent half that month making my biggest single baked good to date: a three-tiered eighteen-layer wedding cake with alternating layers of chocolate and caramel pudding! Every recipe that went into the finished cake is on this site (and explained in further detail in my Let’s Make a Wedding Cake series), but this caramel pudding is the surprise hit of them all! It’s made completely from scratch and is just as good by itself as it is layered with vanilla cake.
Most Popular Recipes of 20189. Blueberry Kolaches. If you’ve never heard of a kolache before, you must never have driven from Dallas/Fort Worth to Austin! For the uninitiated, they’re a pillowy-soft filled Czech pastry. This version is made with blueberries, but if you’re looking for something a little more seasonal, check out my recipe for kolaches filled with fresh grapefruit curd.Most Popular Recipes of 20188. Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy. I was raised with Texan grandmothers, so you know I love a fluffy, flaky biscuit. This is my second go-round with this southern staple (the first is here), and while they’re pretty great by themselves, they’re even better with rich, silky chocolate gravy.
Most Popular Recipes of 20187. Banana Pudding Cookies. Y’all sure do love banana pudding! There’s been a twist on that classic on every top 10 list so far. Maybe I’ll make the real deal in 2019, but until then, I’ll get my fix with these cookies. They don’t contain any pudding mix, but they taste *exactly* like banana pudding. The best.
Most Popular Recipes of 20186. Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws. Who doesn’t love a cheese straw? Crispy, flaky, cheesy—perfect with a cocktail or mocktail, or just on their own. These Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws have been a favorite this holiday season and were even featured on Buzzfeed a few weeks ago! #isthisreallife
Most Popular Recipes of 20185. Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Pecan Crust. We’re all familiar Pumpkin Pie—it’s spiced and wonderful and it’s simply not Thanksgiving without it. But did you know that you can make it without eggs, granulated sugar, and pastry crust? And that this vegan, gluten-free, pecan-crusted version might actually be better than the original? Give it a try and you may agree.Most Popular Recipes of 20184. Maple Layer Cake. Wedding Cake aside, this might be my favorite layer cake of the year. It’s stunning, simple, and bursting with maple flavor!
Most Popular Recipes of 20183. Toasted Oat Graham Crackers. These crispy, crunchy, non-traditional graham crackers were created for the express purpose of eating vegan gluten-free s’mores while on my annual trip to Maine. They’re super easy to make (the dough comes together in a food processor!) and they’re so much more than just a vehicle for melty chocolate and toasted marshmallow…although they’re reeeeeeally good at that. If you’re into making things with gluten-free oats, check out these Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies, too. So dang good.Most Popular Recipes of 20182. Silky Smooth Sweet Potato Pie. I was surprised to see this pie in the top 10, but I shouldn’t be. I mean, what’s not to love about sweet potato pie?! This version is made with a twice-sieved filling, so it’s rich, dense, and not at all fibrous.Most Popular Recipes of 20181. Chocolate Mousse Cake. This cake was originally published in 2017, and I’m so glad to see it getting its due now. This triple decker grain-free beauty is made with my favorite flourless chocolate cake, an easy chocolate mousse, and a thick layer of whipped cream—need I say more? Make one for your New Year’s Eve celebration; it’s the perfect way to move into 2019.Most Popular Recipes of 2018
Did your favorite E2 Bakes recipe make the cut? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Happy New Year ❤

Gingerbread Blondies

Gingerbread BlondiesIs anyone else having a hard time concentrating today? I feel like I’m free, but I keep having to remind myself that I still have to

  • make a dinner party tonight
  • frost a cake
  • zip uptown to Zabar’s
  • buy wrapping paper
  • wrap gifts
  • pack those gifts and all my stuff into a suitcase
  • get on a very early flight to Austin

WHEW.Gingerbread BlondiesBut first—Gingerbread Blondies. I promise they’re worth adding to your to-do list.Gingerbread BlondiesI mean, chewy, winter-spiced blondies with fluffy frosting and a jewel-like ginger garnish are basically always worth it.Gingerbread BlondiesGingerbread BlondiesGingerbread BlondiesGingerbread BlondiesGingerbread BlondiesLike Wednesday’s Eggnog Cookies, these holiday-perfect blondies don’t require any skills you don’t already have. Just whisk together a quick batter, bake it, cool it, frost, garnish and slice it.Gingerbread BlondiesBoom—all the sweet Christmas cheer your heart desires, ready to go in just a couple of hours.Gingerbread BlondiesThese Gingerbread Blondies are my last recipe post of 2018. I’ll be taking next Wednesday off to spend time with my family, but I’ll be back on Friday for my annual 10 Most Popular Recipes list.Gingerbread BlondiesIf you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a merry one! And no matter which holiday you celebrate (or lack thereof), I wish you all a sweet end to 2018.Gingerbread Blondies

Gingerbread Blondies
makes one 8-inch pan

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Garnish:
1/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I use turbinado)

Vanilla Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch square pan, line with parchment, and grease again. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, and molasses. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt, and whisk until combined.

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs. Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

While the blondies are cooling, make the garnish. In a small bowl, toss together candied ginger and coarse sugar. Set aside.

Make vanilla buttercream. In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla and heavy cream.

Use an offset icing knife to frost bars. I like to do this in the pan so that the edges are clean. Scatter candied ginger garnish over the top.

Use overhang to carefully lift bars onto a cutting board. Gently peel back edges of the parchment. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into 16 bars, wiping the knife clean between cuts.

Serve blondies. Store leftovers in an airtight container with wax paper between layers. They will keep at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Gingerbread BlondiesGingerbread Blondies

Soft & Chewy Eggnog Cookies

Soft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesWe’re getting down to the wire, folks! Christmas is less than a week away. The time for complicated baking has come and gone…Soft & Chewy Eggnog Cookies…so let’s make something uncomplicated, okay? Okay.Soft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesThese Soft & Chewy Eggnog Cookies are a simple drop cookie with big holiday flavor.Soft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesCreamy eggnog + a little spice + white chocolate chips = one festive cookie!Soft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesThese guys don’t require any skills you don’t already have—if you have ever made chocolate chip cookies or snickerdoodles, you can make Eggnog Cookies.Soft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesThis recipe requires 1/4 cup of eggnog. Normally I’d advise against adding a liquid ingredient to a cookie recipe (liquid + cookie dough = cakey cookies), but by swapping the usual egg whites for an equal volume of ‘nog, you get all the flavor without sacrificing soft & chewy texture.Soft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesI decided to make these cookies on the smaller side, using just one tablespoon of dough per cookie. I tested them in a larger size (2 tablespoons) and while I liked the texture, flavor, and basically everything else, I wished they were smaller. I am the kind of Christmas cookie snacker who wants to be able to try lots of different things—smaller cookies mean I have more room for other holiday food. You know, like Peppermint Mocha Fudge.Soft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesI clearly have my priorities in order.Soft & Chewy Eggnog Cookies
Looking for more eggnog? Check out these cute sandwich cookies, this showstopping puff pancake, or this festive bundt cake!

Soft & Chewy Eggnog Cookies
makes about 4 dozen small cookies

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) full-fat eggnog
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips + more for decorating

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar until combined. Add egg yolks one at a time, followed by eggnog and vanilla. Next, add the flour mixture in two installments. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop the dough in 1 tablespoon* increments. Roll dough into balls, and set them two inches apart on your prepared pans. Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the halfway point. Cookies are ready when the tops no longer look doughy and edges are just barely starting to turn golden. Let cool on the baking sheets for 7-10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Dot the tops of the warm cookies with additional white chocolate chips, if desired. Repeat baking process until all dough has been used.

Eggnog Cookies may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

For larger cookies, use 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie and bake them for 11-12 minutes.Soft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesSoft & Chewy Eggnog CookiesSoft & Chewy Eggnog Cookies