Tag Archives: fruit

Peachberry pie, and news

11 Oct

Hello!  You may be wondering where I’ve been for three weeks.  Well, I’m still in Texas, and I have this old draft lying around that I never posted.  News at the end of the post!

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Texas it’s still summer and peach season.  I’ve made four peach pies in the last two weeks because they’re so cheap, so easy, and sooooo yummy.  I didn’t grow up eating a lot of peaches (I’m from Minnesota), but when I saw them for 88 cents a pound at the grocery store I remembered all the peach cobbler I’ve had in my travels since going to college.  Also I remembered that I still own the Moosewood cookbook, which definitely has an easy recipe for peach pie in it.

Of course, me being me I was unprepared with the number of peaches I had (I bought enough I promise but then we ate some oops), so I threw in some blackberries and strawberries I had lying around for one pie, and some blueberries in another, and the one in the oven right now is just peach.

For fruit pies, it’s nice to let the fruit macerate for a few minutes so that the sugar can suck the juices out.  So I make the filling first, then make the crust.  Peel and chop peaches, berries, etc. to make about six cups of filling.  Each medium-large peach gives a little less than a cup of peach slices, so with four peaches I had to add a dozen strawberries and a handful of blackberries.  Sprinkle the fruit with sugar and lemon juice and let sit while you make the crust.

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It’s not the secret to world peach but my news is berry exciting.

Generally with pies I buy premade frozen pie crusts because I am lazy, but sometimes I’ll do the slightly less lazy mix-and-pat in the pie pan which gives you a nice oil-based slightly salty crust that’s very flaky and tender, or I’ll do the much less lazy butter-based pie crust that I used in this pie.  Honestly I prefer pie crusts made with a mix of shortening for texture and butter for flavor, but shortening freaks me out so I don’t have it in my house.

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You’d butter scroll to the end of the post

This is the Moosewood pie crust recipe, where you cut together butter with flour and mix in cold liquid until it’s dough.  Pretty easy!  I used a knife to cut the butter into these small pieces, and a fork to break it into the dough until it looks like coarse crumbs and there’s no butter chunks bigger than a pea.

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You won’t fork-ive yourself if you don’t read the end

Then add your liquid and mix it with your fork, then with your hands, and roll it out on a floured surface.  I LOVE my French rolling pin the way I love my mortar and pestle- I’m a very tactile person and these things feel good! Roll out the dough to just a bit bigger than the pie tin, and then carefully drape it over the whole thing.  Trim the edges and make a pretty design on the crust if you want (I am not a prettyfying person so I just leave it plain).

Now you’re ready to finish the filling!  Preheat the oven now, and add the flour and spices to the filling (cinnamon goes with every fruit!)  Gently and thoroughly toss, so all the fruit pieces have some sticky flour on them.  We add flour so you don’t have soup inside a pie crust- I think adding a little cornstarch mixed with berry juices would also work.

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Glisten up, folks, cup your ears because I’ve got something to say

If I’m using a frozen pie crust/don’t have that much time, I just top the pie with the second pie crust, cut some slits in it to vent, and bake it.  But I waaaay prefer fruit pies with streusel topping.  Since I have a toddler, our house always has Ritz crackers in it.  Use a rolling pin to crush a sleeve of Ritz crackers- you can actually do this in the sleeve with little mess if you’re careful, or toss them in a plastic bag and whack away.

Then mix in melted butter, brown sugar, and that ever-present cinnamon.  Pour the fruit in the crust, pat on the streusel topping, and toss it in that preheated oven.  I like to put pie on a baking pan/cookie sheet in case of overflow (the bottom of my oven is a gross mess from previous drips).  Or put the baking sheet on the rack below.  Or forget it, like I did in this photo:

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All alone and pie-tiful in the oven.  What a pie-ty if it drips (this one did not drip though!)

Let sit for at least 15 minutes after baking so the inside cools a bit and glops up, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream (yummmm!)  We ate it too fast for me to take photos of the finished pie.

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Okay, time for NEWS/partial explanation for why I haven’t been posting.  I’m having another baby!!!  She’s due in March!  She’s also making my life a little complicated; I’d forgotten that I spent most of first trimester last time throwing up and lying down.  This time I laid down a lot, didn’t throw up a ton, but did have a lot of pain!  Now I’m into second trimester and ready to be a person again.  And by this time next year, my daughter will be becoming a person too!  Also, my son turned two last week, which is cool because those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time were there when I got engaged, married, and had my first baby.  Yay!!!

Peachberry pie (adapted from the Moosewood cookbook and allrecipes).

Crust: 1 c flour

4 TB (half a stick) very cold butter

2 TB cold water or milk

Filling: 6 c sliced fruit (6 peaches, or peaches and enough berries to fill in the rest)

1/4 c sugar

2 TB lemon juice (or squeeze half a lemon)

3 TB flour

1 tsp cinnamon

Topping: 1 c crushed Ritz crackers (about one sleeve)

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 TB (other half of the stick) butter, melted

  1. Mix the fruit with the sugar and lemon juice, let sit.
  2. Cut the butter into tiny pieces and mix with the flour for crust, until very small pieces (smaller than a pea) remain.  Mix in liquid teaspoon by teaspoon until a dough forms.  Roll out to bigger than the pie pan, and carefully place into pie pan.  Trim crust.
  3. Mix the flour and cinnamon for filling, gently mix into the macerated fruit mixture.  Pour into prepared crust.
  4. Preheat oven to 375.
  5. Crush the Ritz crackers, mix with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Melt the butter, and mix with the topping mix.  Pat filling evenly onto pie.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, until bubbly on the edges and golden brown on top and crust.  Serve warm with ice cream

I am [not a] bro (sia)

5 Dec

The first time I had ambrosia was in my college’s dining hall salad bar, senior year.  I saw the label “ambrosia” and noticed mandarin oranges, so I grabbed a scoop.  FOOD OF THE GODS.  Who knew mini marshmallows, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and coconut went so well together with whipped cream?

Since I’m sometimes interested in health (or since I always dislike the idea of cool whip and sometimes dislike the idea of washing my mixing bowl and beater), I used full-fat yogurt + honey + vanilla instead of whipped cream.  Honey makes everything better!  The tang of yogurt + honey really complements the pineapple and sweetness of everything else.  I also added some green grapes and toasted pecans for color and texture.

I had to make an extra broceries trip since I don't usually have mini marshmallows in my house

I had to make an extra broceries trip since I don’t usually have mini marshmallows in my house

This is one of those cut up everything, mix, and let sit sort of “salads”.  More like a dessert which happens to live in the salad bar.

The bodega downstairs is called Go Grocer, but only men seem to work there so my friend calls it Bro Grocer

The bodega downstairs is called Go Grocer, but only men seem to work there so my friend calls it Bro Grocer

I wish I could tell you how to cut pineapple.  If I wasn’t operating on such sleep debt I would have looked up several links/researched, then taken step by step photos of the process.  But instead I just hacked at the pineapple and tried to cut out the eyes using a paring knife, which didn’t work great.  The point is, you need your pineapple in bite size chunks.  Canned pineapple would also work, but theoretically fresh will be better (because it’s not soaked in syrup).

I wonder if the star of The Pianist was in a frat.  They'd call him Adrian BROdy.  Oh they already call him that.

I wonder if the star of The Pianist was in a frat. They’d call him Adrian BROdy. Oh they already call him that.

My husband prefers ambrosia without pecans- I’ve made it three times since having the baby, with/without grapes and with/without pecans.  I like the nuttiness that helps weigh down the salad, but that also keeps it from tasting like angels are breathing into your mouth, which is maybe the point of ambrosia.  If you opt for pecans, chop em up and throw them into a frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes.  I left them for as long as it took me to cut the pineapple and grapes.  You can tell when they’re done because they’ll start smelling toasty and nutty and yummy.

According to urban dictionary, I am not a bronut- I am not your friend willing to share my donut.  Nor am I a crazy friend.

According to urban dictionary, I am not a bronut- I am not your friend willing to share my donut. Nor am I a crazy friend.

So you’ve got half a pineapple, a big handful of grapes, a handful of pecans, about a cup of mini marshmallows, a can of mandarin oranges, and a cup of shredded sweetened coconut tossed together in a bowl.  Now stir up your yogurt + honey + vanilla, and toss the whole thing with the dressing.  Let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to meld, and enjoy.  I think it’s better if you let it sit overnight so the marshmallows and coconut melt a little bit due to the acidity of the pineapple.

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If these captions aren’t enough I can just tell you straight up I know zero about bro culture.

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Health-conscious frat guys love their brogurt!

This dish just bros me away

This dish just bros me away

Ambrosia- cobbled together from the internet

1/2 fresh pineapple or a can of pineapple

1 c mini marshmallows

1 c green grapes, halved

1 c shredded sweetened coconut

1 c pecans

1 can mandarin oranges

3/4 c plain yogurt

1 TB honey

1 tsp vanilla

Toast pecans in a frying pan over medium heat until fragrant, maybe five minutes while you cut up the pineapple and grapes.  Mix yogurt, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss.  Leave in fridge for at least an hour, preferably 6-8 or more.

 

Something delicious I’m drinking right now-cantaloupe smoothie

8 May

Today was the first 80 degree day in Chicago!  It’s summer!  I went to Mario’s Lemonade earlier this afternoon (they opened this week!!!  They’re a possibly-famous seasonal Italian ice stand-see Food Network) and got a cantaloupe lemonade.  It had chunks of cantaloupe in it!  So delicious!  So delicious, in fact, that when I got home half an hour ago I decided I wanted something similar.  LUCKILY, I had half a cantaloupe in my fridge- we ate the other half yesterday wrapped in proscuitto.

Anyways,  I put half a cantaloupe, a tray of ice cubes, half a teaspoon of sugar, and some mango juice in a blender.  This is SO GOOD.

I was just BOWLED OVER by this drink

I was just BOWLED OVER by this drink

Anyways, this was a bit of an impulse blog post, but I liked this so much that I wanted to tell you about it immediately!

Summertime!

Summertime!

Also I wore shorts today.  It snowed here three weeks ago.

Real blog post coming soon.

Go shortcake, it’s your birthday

4 Oct

As summer wound down (very very quickly) I thought I’d grab the last of the fresh peaches and make a lazy peach shortcake for a Sunday afternoon treat.  Now that we’re full into fall I guess this recipe isn’t as relevant, but maybe for my California family- this recipe works with any fruit.  Strawberry is the obvious choice, but any kind of berry or mix (blueberry-peach?  raspberry-mango?) will work.  Don’t be stingy with your whipped cream and you’ll be fine.

Basking in bis(cuit ma)king

Basking in bis(cuit ma)king

Biscuits are super easy.  They’re one of the first things I made when I was studying abroad and had a teeny tiny kitchen in Budapest.  We had no measuring spoons and didn’t really know how to use the oven, but we made delicious little bumps of dough that turned out great.

Oh biscuits, I'd whisk it all for you

Oh biscuits, I’d whisk it all for you

Again, you want to use a whisk or sifter here.  No one likes baking powder clumps in their baked goods.

Chip chop in the bowl

Chip chop in the bowl

The party don't stop no

The party don’t stop no

I’m used to using two knives to cut in butter, but a pastry blender would be better.  Or a food processor!

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There there, batter, everything’ll be okay. Just need a few pats (of butter)

The recipe I used called for rolling out the batter and cutting out biscuits, but why would I do that?  Clumps of dough totally work.

Step up to the plate, boys, and watch the mound- he's got a good one in there

Step up to the plate, boys, and watch the mound- he’s got a good one in there

Yeah?  Him and what army?  Oh.

Yeah? Him and what army? Oh.

While the shortcakes bake, you can cut up your fruit and sprinkle a little sugar on it to let it macerate in the fridge.

Feeling peachy!

Feeling peachy!

And then whip the cream, just as we did for the pavlova.

P1010351 P1010352 P1010353 P1010356 P1010357Remember that this takes a few minutes but the results are so worth it.

Then assemble!  I didn’t feel like doing it myself so I just put out all the ingredients for everyone to make their own.

DIY dessert

DIY dessert

Worked out pretty well!

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Peach shortcake (From David Lebovitz, but lazier)

2 c flour

2 c baking powder

1.5 TB sugar

1 stick butter

2/3 c buttermilk (I put 1 TB white vinegar in a measuring cup, then add enough milk to make it to 2/3 cup.  Let sit for a few minutes)

4 peaches

1 TB sugar

1.5 c heavy cream

1/4 c powdered sugar

Dash vanilla

First, you can cut up the peaches and throw some sugar over them for as long as you like before you start.

Mix dry ingredients for biscuits (flour, sugar, baking powder), then cut in butter using two knives until it’s the size of corn kernels (wow, nice job, David Lebovitz!)  Add the buttermilk and mix until just blended.  Knead lightly, then form into 12 small biscuits or 6 big tall ones if you like cutting them in half.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.

For whipped cream, whip the cream for a long time, until it starts to have some volume and density to it.  Then toss in the sugar and keep whipping until it looks like whipped cream.  Add in the vanilla and whip until mixed.

Assembly: cut the big biscuits in half or layer little biscuits in a sandwich with peaches and cream.  Yumsters!

 

Cranberry cookies from the bag recipe

9 Mar

Whenever I’m idling somewhere I have a tendency of reading everything in sight.  For instance, at the dentist’s office I like trying to anagram the words on the posters while I’m waiting.  (Cancer: nothing.  Medicine: I end mice!  I am the mouse destroyer!  Rawwwr!)  Anyway, I was eating oatmeal the other morning and noticed a recipe on the brown sugar bag, so thought I’d try it!  Yum!

You cran do it; put your bake into it

You cran do it; put your bake into it

There’s not too much to these delightfully fluffy, slightly spicy fruit cookies (it’s like light fruitcake in a cookie).  I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  I also use yogurt in place of mayonnaise (like egg salad etc.)- just add some lemon.  Anyways, I thought I’d make a challenge to myself to wash as few dishes as possible: one bowl, one whisk, one measuring cup cookies.  I ended up adding a measuring spoon too.

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I wonder if the author of Mme Bovary’s friends ever said things like “That’s so Flaubert.” (a la that’s so raven). And maybe they’d shorten it to “that’s so flau”. Or if there was something he’d really like more than the first thing, it’s ever more flau, or flau-er. Probs not cuz they were French and it was the 1800s.

Usually I use two bowls: one for wet ingredients and another for dry, then mix them together.  This time I whisked up the flour, baking soda, and spices in the bowl, and then dumped the blend onto some parchment paper (which I would later use to bake on, so I wouldn’t have to wash the cookie sheet).

Next, as usual, you should cream your butter and sugar.  Since this was on the brown sugar bag it called for only brown sugar, which was surprising but also great.  Brown sugar has this beautiful depth to it which really works with the spices and fruits.  There’s a reason sugar cookies are made with white sugar.

Oh sugar sugar, you are my cookie base... and you got me wanting you

Oh sugar sugar, you are my cookie base… and you got me wanting you

Next we finish off the wet ingredients with yogurt and an egg.  Next time I’d probably also add a splash of vanilla.

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Yo yo yo yippee yo yippee yay-gurt

I couldn’t take a picture of me putting the flour into the wet ingredients because it used both hands, but be assured it was awesome.  I just picked up the parchment paper and the flour easily slid right down the chute.  So great!

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These raisins sure are raising the bar for these cookies. (But really it’s the baking soda that does that.)

Finally you mix in a handful of golden raisins and a handful of dried cranberries.  To make pretty cookies, the next step is key, which is why I didn’t do it.   Use a tablespoon or even a tablespoon and a half measuring spoon to make perfectly round little mounds on your parchment paper.  These cookies don’t spread very much so how you plop them is basically what you get.

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Drop it like it’s hot makes sense, but for cookie dough you more drop it like it’s lukewarm.

Bake that for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.  When these babies came out I thought they didn’t quite have enough flavor, so I heated up some leftover coffee until it was almost boiling (aka for 45 seconds in the microwave) and the stirred some chocolate chips into it.

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Do you want less cha? No, mocha!

Then I drizzled this very beautifully over the cooling cookies while my lovely children played quietly in the garden with the buckets of 100-dollar bills we had won last week in the raffle.  I’m just kidding, my kids would never play quietly.  But I’m seriously kidding, I don’t have buckets of dollars.  Or kids.  Anyways.  I threw the chocolate on the cookies.

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Oof I better wrap this post up because I’m running a little (choco)late

These were pretty good at first, but they were AWESOME after a few hours of sitting.  The sweet chocolate was a perfect offset to the warm spicy rich flavors with a curiously light and fluffy texture.

Recipe, adapted from the Domino brown sugar bag:  I only made a half batch because I ran out of flour, and it’s sort of closer to a third of a batch also.  This recipe makes some number of cookies (about 2 dozen):

Beat:

1/3-1/2 c brown sugar (I used 1/3 to offset the sweetness of the chocolate, but if you don’t want to do the chocolate drizzle, use 1/2.  You should probably use 1/2 anyway.)

1 stick butter

Until creamy.  Then beat in:

1 egg

1/4  c yogurt

Separately, whisk together:

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg

Beat wet and dry ingredients together, then stir in:

1/2 c dried cranberries

1/2 c golden raisins

Bake 8-10 minutes at 400 until the edges are lightly brown and the tops look dry.  While letting cool, heat up:

1/3 c coffee

And then stir into the hot coffee:

1/2-3/4 c chocolate chips

Until the chocolate chips are melted and you have a good texture.  Then drizzle your melted chocolate-coffee beautifully over your cooling cookies (parchment paper is good for this).

These are best after they’ve cooled, with a cup of tea.

Weekly Baking: Fruitcake!

28 Nov

I’ve either got the flu, mono, an iron deficiency, the stomach flu, or nothing wrong.  In any case, during algebraic topology class today instead of paying attention to applying the Lefschetz fixed point theorem to the homology of spheres, I started googling on my phone for ‘fruitcake with ginger’.

Right now I have six cups of dried fruits soaking (“macerating”) in brandy.  Wow fruitcake is expensive!  And time consuming.  Well, go big or go…. I guess just go big.  Because I’m already home.

Probably not grammatically correct

Exacerbating the macerating is exasperating

I’ve never bought brandy before.  I was surprised by the cork top!

Brandy! Not the teen star.

Also both my peeler and grater were hopelessly dull so I ended up chopping up some orange and lemon peels with a sad little paring knife.

All work and no play makes Grater a dull… grater?

After 24 hours in the brandy, I started putting together the rest of the recipe.  So many dry ingredients and spices later, I realized that I needed a POUND AND A HALF OF BUTTER.  Holy clogged arteries, Batman!  Good thing my house shops at Costco.  I found some in the freezer and melted it over low heat so as to not brown it, licking my fat-loving lips the entire time.  Err I meant I was disgusted.  By how gross it was.  Deliciously gross.  (Last few sentences are on behalf of my health-conscious boyfriend).

butter

I wish you could see how much butter this is. It’s SO MUCH BUTTER.

I whisked the eggs into the melted butter, which I was afraid would poach the eggs in butter (and come on, how delicious would that be??), but luckily the butter had cooled by then.

Eggs in a blanket of butter

Getting ready to put another egg in that golden soup of deliciousness

This is about when I realized that I had already used my two of my largest b0wls, one for the alcoholic fruit, and one for the 10 cups of dry ingredients.  There was no way to mix them with the pot of golden splendor.  So I ended up mixing about half of all the things together at one time, and then the other half.

This is a very expensive bowl of Christmas miracle

Finally, I slapped about three spatula-fulls of batter into each of my mini-loaf pans, which I bought because they were on sale at the store and came with teeny lids, and threw it in my 275 degree oven.

Precious, precious babies

All that’s left is to let them cool, wrap them up, and baste them in brandy every few days for a few weeks.  I’ll update later on how this turns out!

Here’s the recipe, adapted from a random recipe on allrecipes.

Macerate overnight:

1 cup brandy

3 cups golden raisins

1 cup chopped candied ginger

2 cups dried cherries, pineapple, and cranberries

zests from one lemon and one orange

Sift together:

2 cups EACH brown sugar and white sugar

6 cups flour

2 TB baking soda

1 TB ground ginger

4 TB cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg

Then mix:

3 C melted butter

8 eggs

4 TB vanilla

with the fruits, the dry mix, and 3 C toasted walnuts.

Pour into N greased and floured mini loaf pans (I had N=10, but I think N=8 or 9 would also be fine), and bake in a 275 oven for 2 hours.

Let the cake cool completely, then wrap in foil.  Sprinkle 2 TB of brandy over it every other day until you forget about it.  Eat about a month later.

Making the world a fruitier place… one teeny-tiny loaf at a time

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