Today we are talking cookbooks. Our firsts and favorites.
It is like first kisses and dates….but less awkward.
Mom and grandma both had very similar if not identical versions of The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Red, with what I imagine were once white pages but now light brown with age and use. Pages torn and lost and re-found and replaced out of order, page 57 following 135 without anyone ever correcting…as we just became accustomed to searching for that cake recipe among the cold salads. Grandma stored hers in the cabinet below the microwave and allowed me to dig it out with each visit. Mom’s was in the hutch, in the cabinet on the left hand side and always jammed in just so because I was normally the last person to put it away, and well, organized I am not. I wrangled mom’s out when I wanted to make the chocolate chip cake that she once made dad when they were first married or when we ran out of pancake mix and my bro was determined to have pancakes for breakfast, come hell or high-water. Betty and her cookbook … we had some good years.
All this cookbook talk began when Colleen of Souffle Bombay, one serious food blogger and friend , gathered up 17 food bloggers and asked us one of the hardest questions EVER…favorite/most inspiring cookbook? Gah! Seriously!?! And before we knew it and with a bit of generosity, #CookbooksandCalphalon was birthed. Or born. And a mad search for my favorite cookbook began…
Nowadays, I find myself jumping back and forth between cookbooks and the Internet. However, if I had to choose…cookbooks would be my ultimate choice. I like the physicality of a cookbook (plus, I like to romanticize their worn, stained pages). In my house, right now, the most used cookbook I own is one of pies and pies alone. It’s back is broken and pages are smudged and smeared and are beginning to fall out. Recipes are dog eared and there are notes scribbled in the margins. It has been shown a lot of love.
Those same 17 amazing bloggers, myself included (yippee!), are posting today our favorite or inspired recipes from cookbooks that have kept our culinary fires burning. As I mentioned above, I based my final decision on the cookbook that was stained and broken beyond any others. So, today…I have a dessert inspired by an entire book of pies.
And the best part of this whole shindig? A GIVEAWAY! You can’t cook without cookware and you can’t use cookware unless you can cook…right? That is why the first prize winner will win 6 (yes, SIX!) amazing cookbooks and a Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 14×16 Roaster Set.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.jsLike, whoa! Right? The second prize winner will win 3 equally fantastic cookbooks (one full of booze!?! Dear winner, I will invite myself over for Happy Hour – you have been warned!) and a lovely Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick Panini Pan and Press. OK…I am coming over for booze and a panini. a Rafflecopter giveaway//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js
So take a moment to enter our awesome Cookbooks & Calphalon Giveaway! I wish you all the luck in the world!!
I hope these cookbooks become a source of inspiration for you, in your kitchen, as so many of mine have become in my kitchen.
When you pick a book of pies as your favorite cookbook, it slowly dawns on you – crud, you will need to bake a pie… in the midst of summer … when sprinklers and popsicles are much more enticing than a sweltering kitchen. Thankfully we have a few tricks up our sleeves allowing us to cut a few corners and still have a dessert that is at its core, a pie. We are talking all the flavors of pie – flaky buttery crust and sweet jammy fruit filling, without the fuss. The fuss that I totally love in October, but want very little of in August.
Plums and pluots are shoved, crowded, and layered into a roundish pie crust, that is folded up and around the fruit, holding all the jammy sweet goodness in with its crisp yet flakey edges. Plums are plums…we all know about them and their gloriousness … but pluots? A simple (ha!) hybrid of plums and apricots and they are downright delightful. So damn juicy and sweet that I feel like I am cheating the diet gods and sneaking a piece of forbidden candy. I would recommend buying more plums and pluots than is recommend for the recipe, because if you are like me…you won’t be able to resist the urge to eat just one (or two or three) plums or pluots while perched over the sink with deep purple juice dripping off your chin.
- Pie Crust
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 2 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water
- 6 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoon almond meal or ground almonds
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 plums, pitted and thinly sliced
- 2 pluots, pitted and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- Begin by making crust. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and sugar. Cut cold, cubed butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingertips. Work until butter pieces are the size of large peas, while others will be the size of rolled oats.
- Sprinkle ice cold water over dough, tablespoon by tablespoon, and stir dough together with a fork or fingertips until it begins to form into a ball. Add extra water, one tablespoonful at a time, if dough seems too dry. Shape dough into a round flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in fridge for at least one hour to rest.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 13 inch circle (rough approximation). Transfer crust to prepared baking sheet and place in freezer for 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons sugar, almond meal, and flour.
- Evenly spread almond/flour/sugar mixture over dough, leaving a 2 inch border. Place plum and pluot slices over almond/flour/sugar filling – layering and squeezing slices to create an overlapping pattern. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the filling, pleating the dough every few inches. Dot fruit with diced bits of butter. Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar over filling and crust.
- Place in preheated oven and let bake until filling is bubbly and crust is a deep golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
A big thanks to Calphalon for making fun blogging paarrrrtaaay a bit more fun with such a fantastic giveaway!
Head on over to the following blogs for more great recipes and cookbook inspiration!