I have taken a bit of a break. Unexpected and unintentional….
Nights where I would normally plop down and flip on the TV to something mundane and focus most of my attention on editing photos – just a bit of a tweak…up-ing the contrast or brightness – not a whole lot, because in all honesty, I don’t understand photoshop one bit. And then I try to write something down … generally the thoughts in my brain flood these pages….and more often than not, the words and thoughts have nothing to do with the recipes I post. Which is fine. And that is why I love blogging…there are no rules. You can over share, under share. It is up to you. Or me. More me than you…unless, you too, have a blog…which in that case you probably totally agree with me.
These nights of blogging haven’t been happening as of late. Vegging out on the couch with a bourbon cocktail of some sort (or hot chocolate because it is still freaking freezing here in the great state of Ohio) and watching Skyfall one more time or trying to watch Downton Abby Season 2 - which I just can’t get into. I am a minority on this one, aren’t I? My mind won’t stay focused. Half way through and I am on Twitter. Or find myself cleaning the kitchen. Or looking for brownies in the freezer. ADHD anyone? Ugh. I need Ritalin to watch Downton Abby. I think I am calling it quits. On to the next series. I am taking recommendations. Anyone?
But here I am …getting back into some sort of routine.
WIth routine comes lemon tart, naturally. There may be snow on the ground or freezing rain falling from the sky (ugh, really Ohio?)…but my daffodils are peeping through the ground and my mind is thinking spring. As is my stomach.
Lemons are full on spring. Right? Bright and sunshiny….being that they are yellow. Just makes sense.
Gather ingredients for your shortbread crust. Carry them around in your favorite pie plate you may have swiped from your grandma. The crack on the far edge makes me smile. I am a lover of imperfections.
Your crust will need a lightly beaten egg.
Egg is like food spackle. I work great with food spackle. Real spackle. Not. So. Much.
Fingerprinted crust. You will need to Instagram this bad boy. Normal, right?
I have a tendency to Instagram my weekend baking moments.
Bear with me.
Bright. Sunshine. Happy.
And if I must be honest…this tart was epic, if I may say so myself.
And I will.
Tart. Bright. Sweet.
Just what this dreary March is in desperate need of.
- 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- ⅛ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Stick Butter (1/2 Cup), Room Temperature
- ¼ Cup White Granulate Sugar
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten.
- 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 6 lemons)
- Zest of 1 Lemon, finely grated
- 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
- 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
- 4 Large Eggs
- 4 Large Egg Yolks
- Prepare the crust first. Whisk together salt and flour. Set aside.
- Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, gradually add beaten egg. Mix until incorporated.
- Add flour and mix until ball forms – it will be crumbly at first, but it will eventually come together.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10inch removable bottom tart pan. Place the dough into the prepared pan and with your fingertips, evenly press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Poke the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Place crust in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake crust for 5 minutes at 400F. Decrease oven temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare lemon curd filling.
- Prepare filling. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs and egg yolks. Set aside. Also, have a mesh strainer at the ready.
- in a medium sized saucepan, combine lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Place over medium-low to medium heat and cook until butter melts. Stirring occasionally.
- Once butter is melted, slowly whisk about ½ cup of the warm lemon mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, to warm(or temper) them.
- Scrape the warm egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining lemon mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens – about 20 minutes.
- Place mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and strain mixture, pressing the mixture through with a rubber spatula.
- Pour mixture into pre-baked tart shell and place in oven (at 350F) for about 5 to 10 minutes to set the filling.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
* lemon curd filling adapted from David Lebovitz
Or it might be a tart….
A tart pan was used in the making of this pie. Or tart. Ugh, I don’t know. A tart pan with fluted edges and a removable bottom. Very French. Also, the cheapest thing I have ever purchased from William Sonoma. That store kills me.
For the purpose of this post and my sanity…let’s call it a pie. I am more of a pie gal, anyways.
Pie is very Saturday night family dinner, served by grandmas and eaten with mismatched forks and chipped plates around a crowded kitchen table while your brothers tell off color jokes and the resident 3+1/2 year old counts to 25, skipping the number 15 altogether…every single time.
Tarts are meant for catered wedding and baby showers and fancy brunches… Tarts sound like straight back chairs and uncomfortable couches that weren’t actually meant to sit on and throw pillows that are just to be admired, never ever ever used. Boring…stuffy?
Pies get ice cream.
Tarts…just a dollop of whipped cream.
I prefer ice cream and crowded kitchen tables….
Pie it is.
But I like the look of a tart (I am so torn!) The edges standing so straight and strong…yet so flaky and buttery and fragile. The removable bottom is key to that cherished edge. You wanna know what else is key?… greasing the edges of the pan…like, really greasing the edges…liberally is not to be taken lightly. Because if the tart won’t release from the sides of the pan…that removable bottom is useless and a disaster waiting to happen. Trust me. Butter. It. Up. Or make a pie crust (like the one below) that is so buttery…that there won’t be an issue on the release. Score!
Let’s make a pie. Or a tart…Read More
Apples, quintessential fall food, right?
Sure they are great year round, but fall…fall is when they are at their peak.
During my childhood, fall was always filled with apple desserts….not pumpkin. Apples. Apples were always in abundance because mom and grandma would take us apple picking. A small orchard (and in all reality I haven’t a clue to the real size of the place…I was young, but telling you it was small makes sense for some reason) anywho….we would pick apples by the bushel and when we were done, a tractor pulling a flatbed trailer would sweep by and pick us up. This was my favorite part. A tractor ride. And would still be today…swear, you just can’t take the country/child out of this girl.
Apple pie, crisp, applesauce, stewed apples, apple dumplings…this is what my fall tasted like.
I went through a long stretch of falls where apple picking didn’t happen…you know high school where it wasn’t really cool to be picking apples with your grandma…but it totally should have been…Dear teenager self…go pick apples with grandma. She will enjoy it, as will you.
Thankfully in college…I started it back up again, this time with friends and roommates. We would traipse out into a local orchard, in old jeans and hoodies, cups of coffee and warm apple cider, and empty bushels. We would pick way too many apples…eating more than intended, climbing higher than advised, and looking forward to the apple crisp and pies that would be made.
I haven’t been apple picking since college. It currently is on my fall bucket list…But until I can make my way to an orchard, I depend on the grocery/farmer markets. Which I am thankful for, because last week, I needed apple pie. Or wanted. Such a thin line I walk. I spent the entire weekend stealing sweet cinnamony apple slices from the depths of a flaky pie crust with each sweep through the kitchen. Boy do I love pie.
- 1 Double Pie Crust
- 5 Small Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 4 Medium Fuji Appels, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
- ½ Cup White Granulated Sugar
- 1 + ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Roll out bottom pie crust and fit (do not stretch) into 9 inch pie plate, leaving edges hanging over and place in freezer until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, combine apple slices, corn starch, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss to combine.
- Pour filling into bottom pie crust.
- Roll out top crust and lay over apple filling. Crimp edges together using either a fork or pinching with thumb and pointer fingers.
- Brush top with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Cut small slits in top of crust to let steam escape.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes until crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Sorry to be so perky on a Monday morning, but I figure if Mondays are necessary (and they are, whomp whomp) we might as well face them with a smile and hint of cheerfulness. Plus, we get to look forward to another weekend. A weekend that will be three whole days long…if you are one of the lucky ones. That, my friends, is something to smile about.
Other things to smile about on this Monday… At least in my world and maybe in yours too…
The possibility of a rain shower/thunderstorm.
A good playlist on the drive into and away from work.
A good sweat session.
A crisp apple.
A warm cardigan when I get chilled at work. So darn cozy.
A hot shower.
Avocado in my salad.
Internet access at work I swear, I only use it for work purposes. Only.
Remembering that this week brings about a paycheck. Woohoo!
Driving home with the windows down and the wind in my hair.
Sunglasses that tint the world a wonderful amber color. It is like looking through my favorite Instagram filter.
Pineapple pie is a special treat that we had growing up. One of those treats that you enjoy so much, that you just assume that pineapple pie happens in every household. Like chocolate chip cookies or apple pie. But as I have aged and talked incessantly about pie with other pie eating folk, I have found that pineapple pie is not a common dessert. Or even heard of, for that matter. You poor souls!
My grandma is responsible for this pie and while I am not sure where she derived the recipe, surely the back of a can of Dole pineapple or from a Country Living magazine, it is one of my all time childhood favorites. Years ago, when I asked her to jot down the recipe, she of course didn’t have exact measurements. What grandmother does, right? A can of pineapple ( not the small real small one, but the next size up), some cornstarch, a bit of salt, and some sugar…cook it for awhile on the stovetop, and then bake it in a pie with a double crust. And this was the recipe she gave me. So it took me a bit of trial and error to get the exact measurements , but in the end my pie tastes pretty darn close to grandmas. I just wish I could eat several slices without feeling the need to run several miles. Oh to be 12 again.
Simple and fool proof, this pie will definitely bring a smile to your face. Promise.
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
- 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, diced, and frozen.
- ¼ Cup Vegetable Shortening
- ½ Cup Ice Cold Water
- 1 – 20 ounce Can Crushed Pineapple with juice
- ½ Cup White Granulated Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- pinch of salt
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt.
- Add diced, frozen butter and vegetable shortening and pulse several times until mixture resemble course meal.
- With the food processor running, slowly add water in a small steady stream until the dough starts to form a ball.
- Empty contents of bowl out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into two even balls. Form dough into rounded flattened disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Place them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed pineapple, sugar, corn starch, and salt. Place over medium heat.
- Bring mixture to a slow boil and cook, stirring often, until mixture has thickened and is no longer cloudy, but clear (about 3 to 5 minutes). Remember to keep stirring so the mixture doesn’t scorch.
- Once thickened, remove from heat and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- When the dough has chilled, remove one disk from the fridge and on a floured surface, quickly roll it out into a circle, 12 inches in diameter. Fit dough into a 9 inch pie plate ( do not stretch dough) and let edges hang over.
- Pour filling into pie shell.
- Remove second dough disk from fridge and on a floured surface, roll it out into a circle, about 10 inches in diameter. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 9 equal strips.
- Lay 4 strips across the pie, parallel to each other, and evenly spaced.
- Fold back every other strip, about half way. Take a strip of dough and lay it right up agains the folded back strips and perpendicular to the strips laying flat. Unfold the strips, so that they lay flat over the new strip.
- Repeat this pattern until the lattice is finished. Trim off extra and crimp edges.
- Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream!
Man, are we in the dog days of summer. And if I were a dog, I would be begging and pleading to be shaved. And as the person hearing a dog talk, I would oblige, because all that hair has to be hot and I have always wanted to shave an animal. I can’t explain it. It is like I should have been a sheep farmer. They get to shave/sheer animals all the time. I bet they don’t even enjoy doing it. I think I missed my calling.
Did I just really confess my desire to shave animals? Oy. If you don’t believe me, my mom will tell you stories of me growing up pleading with her to let me shave our dog. Poor Winston. I did, however, hit him in the head with a bat and he had seizures the rest of his life. Oh brother…I am not looking very good in the eyes of animal lovers. Or anyone. It was on accident…swear. He was chasing the same ball that I was trying to hit. Can we blame my grandma? She is the one that was pitching. Oh geez…now I am hitting dogs with bats and blaming grandmothers…I am just going to stop.
Peaches anyone? Nice sagway right?
These peaches are from my CSA bag last week. After a few days on my counter, they were ready to eat…at the same time, all in one day. Argh! Don’t you love how that happens? The only way I know how to use 7 ripe peaches in one day is to make a pie. And seriously, why do I have 7 peaches? I definitely know how to feed an army, but for one? I wonder if I will ever figure that out. Until I do…sweet ripe fruit will be finding its way into flaky pie crusts and sometimes, if I am feeling funky…crumb topping will be piled sky high. Butter and sugar atop ripe summer fruit, all wrapped up in a buttery flakey pie crust…need I say more? No. I don’t. Never. Ever. Again.
You are gonna need pie crust. This, you can do. I have total and utter faith in you…Be bold. Get to it!
And ripe juicy peaches. Pit those suckers and don’t bother peeling. That is a pain in the arse and not necessary if your peaches are thin skinned. Being thin skinned has its perks…if you are peach.
Slice. Toss. Do it with a gentle hand…no mashing those delicate peaches. They are dainty…how southern of them. Yes, I assume most things that are southern are dainty. Never said I was right in the head.
Pile those peaches high. Pack them tight. Leave no wiggle room. We are making peach pie, not air pie. Seriously, this is why I love summer.
And now the tricky part…crumb topping without making a mess. Ha! Handful by handful, pile it high. Those lost crumb pieces…they were delicious. But again, it is butter mixed with sugar…
Pie complete. Well, almost. It has a date with the oven. A hot date.
PIE! Peach crumble pie…Oh I want to curl up in this pie and eat my way out. Have I mentioned my love for pie? Because I LOVE pie.
- 1 Cup Flour
- 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, very cold
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Granulated White Sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons Ice Water
- 6-8 Medium Peaches, pits removed and evenly sliced
- 1 Cup Granulated White Sugar ( can cut down to ¾ Cup if peaches are sweet)
- ⅔ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ⅛ Teaspoon Ground Coriander
- CRUMB TOPPING
- 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ Cup White Granulated Sugar
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted and slightly cooled.
- Prepare Crust. I prefer making pie crust in a food processor. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse several times to combine ingredients. Add very cold butter and vegetable shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds.
- With food processor running, slowly add ice water in a steady stream until the dough starts to form a ball. You do not want the dough to be wet or sticky. The amount of water needed can vary each time dough is made. It is best to add water slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon until the dough starts to come together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape in a round, flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- One hour later…Roll dough out into a circle, 12 inches in diameter. After a few strokes with the rolling pin, rotate the dough, making sure it isn’t sticking to the work surface. Carefully, fit dough into a pie plate (don’t stretch) and crimp edges. Place in freezer until ready to use.
- Prepare crumb topping. In a medium bowl, combine 1 Cup oats, 1 Cup flour, ¼ Cup white and brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 stick melted butter. Mix to combine and place in fridge until ready to use.
- Prepare filling. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, ⅔ cup flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon coriander.
- In a larger mixing bowl, toss sliced peaches with ½ teaspoon almond extract and the juice of 1 lemon.
- Sprinkle dry ingredients over sliced peaches and toss carefully to coat peaches.
- Remove pie crust from freezer and evenly place peaches in pie crust.
- Carefully top pie with crumb topping. You will need to gently press the crumb topping onto the peach filling, ever so carefully.
- Place pie onto a cookie sheet (will catch any drippings) and transfer to preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake for an additional 45-60 minutes until the crumb topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. The crumb topping will brown before the juices begin to bubble. Wait for the juices to bubble! If the crumb topping or crust begin to brown too quickly, tent with a piece of tinfoil.
- Remove from oven and place on wire rack and a let cool completely before slicing.
- If it is humid out, the crumb topping my begin to soften within a day or 2. Do not cover pie until completely cool to avoid crumb topping from softening.