My friend Evelyn, introduced me to the tradition of making the “baby dinner” for a couple who has a baby. I thought it was such a great tradition to have, that I started doing it for friends who have a baby. The whole concept is really easy, make a homemade meal, package it up nicely and drop it off for the new parents. This way they have something home cooked to eat and have to do little preparing. Our baby dinners are pretty much the same, homemade pesto (enough for them to enjoy and freeze), some quality pasta, occasionally I toss in a package of great sausage, salad with homemade vinaigrette, a bottle of wine and a dessert. Dessert, is usually the highlight of the meal it seems. I usually make these outrageous brownies and once in awhile lemon bars. People love getting this gift and it really puts a big smile on their faces more so then another receiving blanket would.
Our friends, Daniel & Samantha had a baby boy, Dashiell, right before the holidays. With Christmas, New Years and traveling we never got a chance to take the “baby dinner” over until recently. This particular dinner I made a nontraditional Pesto, this batch was made with spinach, arugula and toasted walnuts. I did not get a chance to try it on pasta but on the spoon it was pretty good. Since we have pounds upon pounds of grapefruit I decided to make something else that is nontraditional with the “baby dinners, I made grapefruit with candied ginger bars. Thanks to the twitters I got the idea, so I added the ginger which was a great addition. I made a traditional sable crust for the base of the bars. Then I made an ultra rich topping of grapefruit juice, lots of zest, eggs (lots), sugar and flour. The bars came out gooey (in a good way), a little tart and a little spicy, a bit too sweet (will cut the sugar down next time), they had a slightly crispy crust and overall, they were fantastic! Definitely one to something good here!
Recipe: Grapefruit Bars
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1½ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cold water
¾ cup all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup grapefruit juice
Zest from grapefruit
3 tablespoons minced candied ginger
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Sift confectioner’s sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with dough attachment. Add the flour and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse to combine. Add water and pulse until smooth dough forms. Press into the prepared pan evenly into the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides of the pan. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake until the crust turns a deep golden brown about 30 minutes.
While the crust is baking prepare your filling. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, add the sugar and whisk until blended. Add the grapefruit juice, zest and ginger and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk until blended. When the crust is ready, remove from the oven, take out the pie weights and pour the filling onto the hot crust. No need to let it cool. Reduce the heat to 300 and bake for 45 minutes or until the center is not jiggly. Let cool completely before slicing and cutting. You may dust with more confectioner’s sugar before serving. Serve. Eat.