Not weird

The cookie: Molasses cookies

The speakers: Sakura-Con attendees Hsien-Ko from Darkstalkers, Ezio from Assassin’s Creed, and Jorge from Halo: Reach


The story:

Me: Why dress up this way and attend conventions like Sakura- con? What’s the point?

Ezio: Ezio is one of my favorite characters and his costume is badass. Plus, I get to kill everyone.

Jorge: It’s just like Halloween. Everyone loves Halloween, right? You can become a completely different person if you want to. I think that element of escapism is very appealing. Plus, I get to spend time with family and friends who do the same thing.

Me: You all have family who dress up like game characters, too?

Ezio: No, not me. My family thinks it’s a little odd, to be honest.

Hsien-Ko: The other kids used to tell me I was weird, too, when I dressed up as video game characters for Halloween. But when I got older and found out other people were doing it, I was like “Score! I’m not weird!” And this is where I go to prove that and cover myself in blue makeup.

In case you don’t know anything about Cosplaying, these folks did an awesome job. Here are some pics for comparison’s sake:

Hsien-Ko didn’t have hands so she couldn’t eat a cookie. Sad.

The recipe: Rhubarb hand pies, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

So. The original recipe called for ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, but I only had ¼ cup in my opened carton of cream and didn’t want to open the second for a measly 2 tablespoons. So I got cute and added the yogurt (because I did have about a tablespoon of that left) and the vodka, because I read somewhere that vodka makes pastry dough flakier. Why lemon? Because that’s what I had. I know, I’m difficult. Honestly, I’m sure these would turn out fantastic with or without my slapdashery, but I wanted to be honest about my method. Just don’t put too much sugar in the rhubarb. And don’t skip the zest. Rhubarb needs orange like… people not from Seattle need sunshine. Trust me.

Dough

1 cup corn flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup fine cornmeal

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces

¼ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon lemon vodka

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rhubarb filling

2 cups rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces

¾ cup sugar, or to taste (I like my filling tangy in comparison to the sweet, salty dough)

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Start with the rhubarb filling—this can be done day-of or at some point previous to making the pies. Wash the rhubarb stalks, remove any green leaves (those are poisonous, yo) and chop them. Marvel at how pretty and red they are and then swear when you realize the red has stained your cutting board, and then get over it. Put the pieces in a quart saucepan and add sugar and zest. No need to add water—the rhubarb will cook itself in its own juices. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until the rhubarb has softened. Cook another 3 or 4 minutes with the lid off to boil off some of the water; you don’t want the filling to be too runny. Cool.

While the filling is cooling, tackle the dough. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until combined. Add the butter pieces and pulse in short bursts until the mixture has pea-sized lumps of butter left in it. Add the wet ingredients (yolks, cream, yogurt, all that) and pulse until combined. The dough will look crumbly but comes together when you give it a little love.

The cool thing about this dough is that it’s easier to work with when it’s warm, so roll it out right away on a floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Depending how big you want your hand pies, cut 4-inch diameter circles with whatever implement you’ve got handy—I had a vase. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined sheet and place a tablespoon of filling in the middle. A tablespoon doesn’t seem like a lot, I know, but you want to be able to close the pies up. Brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough circle and fold one half over the other. creating a moon shape. Seal the pie and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back tines of a fork. Slit each pie so they don’t inflate with air and puff in the oven. Freeze on cookie sheet for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake tarts straight from the freezer for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are brown the rhubarb bubbles out from the slit. If serving warm, put a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on that mother. They’re awesome at room-temp as well, or pretty much anytime.

And here are some bonus chibis. Because who doesn’t love chibis?

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