Colby seared hanger steak in a cast iron skillet until it was nice and charred around the edges, then plated the tender slices of meat with roasted baby potatoes and chimichurri the color of fresh-cut grass. Megan, with help from the couple’s then 3-year-old daughter Madi, made individual strawberry cobblers topped with a golden sugar cookie crust.
As the cobblers baked and bubbled in their cute white ramekins, the kitchen took on the summery, floral aroma of strawberries, vanilla and orange zest. I talked to the Garrelts about the cookbook they had been working on and their still-unnamed second restaurant, which became Rye.
After 20 minutes, Megan removed the cobblers from the oven. Her homemade sugar cookie crust, flecked with bits of lemon and lime zest and dotted with fresh cream, looked and smelled heavenly, with molten strawberry lava seeping up through the cracks.
Megan, the pastry chef behind Rye’s strawberry rhubarb pie, carrot cake, and sour cream ice cream, is known for taking ordinary Midwestern recipes and turning them into something extraordinarily delicious. Her individual strawberry cobblers, served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar, are no exception.
The surprising part: They’re really easy to make at home, especially if you make the dough in advance or use store-bought sugar cookie dough. And you can customize the recipe by swapping in whatever fruit you have on hand.
Blueberries and strawberries would make a patriotic statement at a Fourth of July party -- especially with a dallop of fresh whipped cream. Peaches, my personal favorite, are fitting for high summer. And come fall, apples or pears will be perfect.
Serves 4 to 6
3 cups strawberries, hulled
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound sugar cookie dough (recipe follows, or use store-bought cookie dough)
¼ cup heavy cream
Cinnamon sugar (2 tablespoons sugar mixed with ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
Whipped cream for topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Butter four 8-ounce ovenproof ramekins or 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, toss the strawberries together with the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, orange juice and zest, ginger and cornstarch. You should be able to taste each ingredient.
Mound the fruit mixture into the ramekins or baking dish. The fruit will collapse as it bakes, so heap it so that the fruit domes beyond the top of the baking vessel.
Roll the sugar cookie dough out to a ½-inch thickness. Cut the sugar cookie dough into ½-inch cubes and top the cobbler with as many dough cubes as possible, distributing it evenly over the fruit.
Using a pastry brush, dab the dough with the cream. Sprinkle about ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon sugar over each ramekin, or distribute about 1 tablespoon over the cobbler if using a baking dish.
Bake the cobbler until the cookie dough is golden brown and the fruit begins to bubble, about 20 minutes. Serve the cobblers warm, with whipped cream.
Source: Megan Garrelts
Sugar cookie dough
Makes 1 pound
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 large egg
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and lime juice and zest. Scrape down the sides, then beat in the egg.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in thirds, scraping the bowl down between each addition.
Continue mixing until a loose dough forms, about 1 minute.
Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, and chill the dough until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Source: Megan Garrelts
For more recipes from Colby and Megan Garrelts, read the full feature in Ink. To read Colby Garrelts’s recent interview with the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, click here. And did you know Bluestem’s lounge was mentioned in GQ recently?
Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes dining and bar guides for Ink magazine. She also writes a monthly cooking feature for The Star’s Food section and tweets @sarah_gish.