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Saturday I had a run in with some fruit at the farmer’s market and ended up with more than could fit in my  smallish fridge.

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I found some blueberries, and some lovely ripe yellow apples. I set the apples on the counter in a bowl, and my house started smelling like September…time to throw everything in the pot to jar and fill the pantry.

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I mixed blueberries, a package of frozen dewberries, apples, and the juice and zest of two lemons. I added some sugar, but not too much. I simmered the whole thing for about 20 minutes or so, and then let it sit for a few hours. Then I reheated it, and processed the jars in a hot water bath. Image

I am planning on making fruit tarts with pastry cream in the fall and winter. Nothing like opening a can of fruit dump pouring it into a pie shell and calling it homemade. Very easy later on down the line.

oats and pie

April 14, 2013

My friend Darin posted a picture of oatmeal pie on her blog a few weeks ago, and I have been wanting to make it ever since.

holding pie

I started to think about all the things that I like about oatmeal. Milky, sweet, buttery…

I found a few recipes, and altered them a bit to find something that I thought would work. I don’t like things super sweet, so I cut down the sugar a lot. I also really like the toasted flavor of lyles golden syrup (my mom carries it at the At Home Store), so I substituted it for the corn syrup I saw in many recipes. And I added a lot of chopped pecans, some cream, and a dollop of yogurt for good measure.

The final recipe came out  like this.

 

Pie dough for one 9″ pie crust, no top (1/2 the recipe)

 

Mix the following dry ingredients and set aside:

1 cup old-fashioned oats

2/3 cup roughly chopped pecans

a shake or two of salt

eggsandsyrup

In a separate bowl combine the following ingredients:

2 eggs

1/4 cup cream

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup lyles golden syrup

1 t vanilla

3 T melted butter

1 dollop (a healthy tablespoon) of yogurt or sour cream

mixing oats

Stir the wet ingredients until everything is nicely mixed together. Add the dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Pour into 9″ pie crust. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. It will be a little bit golden on the top.

Cool on a metal rack.

The pie isn’t very sweet, and is a little bit crumbly, but I like it that way. It is very rich, but can almost pass off as healthy because of the lower sugar content.

pie with path

photo credit Chloe Hennesy (My guest, and excuse for pie baking!)

denise’s chocolate cake

September 8, 2011

One of my favorite easy cake recipes. Rich, not too sweet, and full of chocolate.

First was to butter, flour, and paper the baking tins. I learned the hard way not to skimp on this step. The cake comes right out of the pan, no problem, if you do this!

Next I melted the chocolate pieces. (I used 8oz semi-sweet baking chocolate from the store. ) I melted the chocolate in an improvised double boiler, and set it aside to cool.

I mixed the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda), and added the slightly cooled chocolate, and then all the liquid ingredients (water, sunflower oil, vanilla, and vinegar).

The vinegar and baking soda worked to raise the cake (it was eggless). The mixture looked a little funny at first, but with a bit of mixing everything worked together well.

I poured the batter into three 8″ cake pans. (According to my mom, three 8″ cake pans are the equivalent of two 9″ cake pans.) The smaller pans make a cute round and tall cake with more layers.

The cakes baked for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I made the frosting, which I somehow messed up and it wasn’t very smooth and creamy. I think that I might have melted the butter by mistake…

I made a mixture of preserved peaches and rose petal jam and put this in the layers along with chocolate frosting.

The end.

 

pita bread

June 12, 2011

A friend gave me a box of za’atar, a spice mixture with sumac and sesame seeds (and I am not sure what else..) and so I made some pita breads for it.

The yeasted dough is left to rise, and then divided into small balls,

flattened, and baked on a hot pizza stone (in my case, several cast iron pans) in a 500 degree oven.

The breads puff up quickly, and then flatten and soften as they cool. It is important to put the cooling pitas in a container to soften.

I didn’t last time and ended up with an awfully hard batch, which was remedied by storing the cooled breads in a plastic bag with a damp tea towel.

To top the pitas, I strained some radiance dairy yogurt and topped it with some of our new Tunisian olive oil, and za’atar. Simple and delicious!

a pear tart

February 27, 2011

It is very exciting to turn these…

…into this….

…and this.


Emily and I picked these pears from a tree in my friend Mary’s back yard. They are seckel pears, a small, sweet, and delicate variety! Heli-Claire, my dad and I peeled them and preserved them in maple syrup with brown sugar and lemon juice last fall. Today I made tarts. I love the simplicity of opening a jar of preserved food, and having an almost instant dessert.

Tart crust: a basic pie dough. One recipe of dough makes two tarts.

Press the dough into tart pans and bake until dough is cooked through.

One quart jar of sickle pears preserved in maple syrup.

Reserve juice for boiling down into syrup.


Part of a vanilla bean, one cup cream, 1 T sugar, 1 T cornstarch, 1 T butter. Mixed, heated, and thickened to form a pastry cream.(Enough for one tart)

Layer the pastry cream in a baked tart shell. Place pears artistically on top. Don’t remove stems. (They were lovingly left in tact in the first place…) Drizzle tart with reduced maple syrup pear juice. Serve right away.

babka

January 4, 2011

I feel like this should be my grandmother’s recipe. But it isn’t. I found it in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison. A babka, from my understanding, is a cake made with a rich yeast dough, and filled with various things. In this case, almonds, cherries, etc.

I started with the dough. It is a simple yeasted sweet dough, with a bit of sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs. I mixed it with my mom’s Polish dough whisk, which is my new favorite kitchen tool. By far! The way that it incorporates the wet and dry ingredients is almost magical, and so much easier. I think it has to do with the way the wire is shaped. And the handle is lovely to hold, too. So well thought out!

I set the dough aside to rise, in a buttered bowl, covered with a tea towel. In a cold room, as I was going out for a little bit too long. I never seem to be able to match up my rising and baking times with when I can actually be home to let the dough rise, shape, bake, etc…

I made up the dough and filling, went out for a bit, and returned to a balloon of dough in my red bowl. It punched down nicely, and I shaped it into a large rectangle.


The filling is made up of finely chopped toasted almonds, chopped dried cherries, an egg, sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Oh, and butter!

I spread out the filling and sprinkled the cherries on top.


Then rolled the entire thing up into a log, and made a crescent.

And covered with a tea towel and set to rise again. This time more quickly, right above the fire.


And then into the oven. Bakety bake bake bake. I was tired, so I set the oven timer and went to bed, thinking that I would wake up when it dinged. I am not sure that I did… When I got up, it was still cooking, and ‘nicely browned’ on the top.

This years babka might be a little bit drier and crisper than last years, but still quite yummy. I need to have some coffee for it!


borken pecan pie

November 25, 2010

Pecan pie, from a recipe from my dear friend Jeanne McCanless. Jeanne passed away last week, and we are all thinking of her, and all that she shared with us, taught us, and gave us. She is someone who I am particularly thankful for today!

Here is her pecan pie recipe. Due to a slight spelling error it has turned into “borken” pie, which is how I will definitely remember it.

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie (Borken Pecan Pie)

4 eggs
1-1/4 cups clear Karo syrup
1-1/2 cups borken [sic] pecans
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Boil sugar and syrup together three minutes. Beat eggs (not too stiff) pour in slowly the hot syrup, add the butter, vanilla and pecan meats. Turn into a raw pie shell and bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly…which is typical. I was afraid to add the eggs right into the hot syrup, so I whisked the butter and syrup into the eggs, bit by bit.  I also added an extra 1/2 cup pecans…

The pecans came from my dad. I think that he got them at the Dutchman’s Store, and they are this year’s crop from Missouri. Yum!

Jeanne got the recipe from a coworker when she was a telephone operator. According to Jeanne’s son Jamie, they would actually have the pie on Christmas Eve, as it is super rich! It would be a treat all by itself.