oh my! blueberry pie!

pie oh my

Preheat oven to 375°

I have given you basic pie dough recipes before, and they are on the blog.

Sometimes even I take a shortcut- If I do not feel like rolling my own dough out, I purchase Marie Callender deep dish pie crusts.  They are in the frozen section of your grocery store. I did that this time.

Filling:

Ingredients:

5 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries washed and drained
1 1/4 cups of Florida Crystals Demerara Sugar
6 tablespoons of flour
1 generous teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
The zest of one medium-size lemon and the juice of half of that lemon

In a large mixing bowl mix all the filling ingredients listed above together. Fold gently and thoroughly you’re not mashing anything.

Set bowl to the side

Crumble topping:

1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Florida Crystals Demerara  Sugar
1 cup Quaker quick oats (plain not flavored)
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter cut into little bitty squares
1 1/2 f teaspoons of cinnamon
1 scant teaspoon of cardamom

Use a  pastry cutter or pair of forks to blend the topping ingredients together until soft crumbles form- Crumbles should be relatively uniform in size. Put the topping in the refrigerator for half an hour to 45 minutes.

Before you put the pie together, if you are using a fresh or frozen pie crust now is the time that you use a little  softened butter In a light coat and spread gently on the bottom of the crust in the pan. It keeps the crust from getting soft. It is a tip I picked up from watching Chef Robert Irvine on TV- used to use the Martha Stewart egg white painted along the bottom of the crust, but I like this better.
ghk-marie-callednder-pie-crust-1109-s3-mdn
Fold your berries into your deep dish pie crust and spread the crumble topping evenly on top – I tend to be slightly mounded in the middle of the pie crust. Do not overfill your pie crust or your oven will hate you later.

I make a light tinfoil piecrust covering edge for my pies before I put them in the oven, or you can use one of those pie baking rings .

Another tip: Because this is a fruit pie I generally cook it on a cookie sheet Or a shallow pan like a jellyroll pan in the oven- That way it saves on spills later

Bake the pie at 375° for  approximately 50 to 55 minutes, depending on your oven.

Pie will smell delicious and you’ll see some of the blueberries bubbling through the crunchy topping when it is ready.

When the pie is  finished put it on a baking rack to cool, which ideally should be at least four hours so the filling sets.

fl crystals
Pie is best served the day it is made I think, and should be served at room temperature. You can serve plain or with good vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

I will note that this organic Florida Crystals Demerara sugar is exceptionally good for baking fruit pies with – I tried it on a whim once because they said so on heir packaging, and guess what? They were right.

The final note is I have never written this pie recipe down before, so I hope the proportions are correct. To me baking fruit pies is like making homemade pasta – have done it for so long it is sort of instinctive – I grew up around people who cooked and baked – so from trial an error I just sort of learned if stuff felt right and so on.

Enjoy!

 

the epicurious cookbook is out!!!

As of October 30, epicurious.com released their first cookbook, and one of my recipes is in it!

You can order cookbook direct from epucurious.com or Amazon.  I am thrilled to be included, and they even feature a blurb about my recipe inside the back cover, which I also think is very cool.

I received my advance copy from the publishers about a week ago, and it is a terrific cookbook.  Truthfully, if my recipe wasn’t in the book, I would still buy it!

 

as american as apple pie

So the other day when I posted a photo of a pie I baked on my Facebook page, I had NO idea I would get so many requests via e-mail for the recipe.   I baked an apple pie with raisins soaked in Calvados and a sweet cinnamon crust and an oatmeal crumble topping. Yes my own recipe and no, not written down – in my head – so here is I hope good enough to work with….

This recipe was inspired by a pie I had almost 20 years ago at the Brinley Victorian Inn in Newport, Rhode Island. The man who used to bake these crazy good double crust apple pies worked at the B&B (maybe he was a manager, I can’t remember).  And he soaked his raisins in booze (don’t remember what, whiskey I think).

I prefer a crumbly topping on my fruit pies, so anyway, here it is, hope it is proportionate enough that a bunch of home chefs don’t complain something was off  ( it is hard to write down something your hands can pretty much make for themselves on auto pilot)

Soak 3/4 cup of dark raisins in 1/4 cup of Calvados (French apple brandy – if you don’t have that a good bourbon will do as well.)

 Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups  flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

8 teaspoons sugar

8 tablespoons or 1 stick unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into little dots

4 tablespoons ice water

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

Using pastry cutter, cut butter into flour, sugar, salt, spices.  Add ice water.  Form dough gently, do not overwork.  Wrap tightly in saran wrap and toss in refrigerator at least a couple of hours.

When sufficiently chilled roll out your dough and line a deep dish pie plate. My pie plate is like 9 inches in diameter (I *think* – it is vintage pyrex – so I do not recall exactly)

Gently rub bottom of crust in plate with soft butter.  (I saw it on a cooking show once)

Filling:

I use 8 to 10 apples of medium size. (I do not like red delicious apples so I will not use those) I peel them and slice them very thinly.  I toss into a mixing bowl with 1 cup of sugar (2/3 cup white 1/3 cup dark brown), 1/4 cup of flour, 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground mace, and 1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom.  I juice one medium to small lemon over mixture and toss. Fold in raisins that have soaked up their booze.

Topping:

3/4 cup oatmeal (Quaker quick oats, not the instant or steel cut or flavored)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

5 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon each of ginger and cinnamon

Blend all together with pastry cutter in small bowl and set aside.

Toss your apple mixture into your pie crust.

Evenly spread crumbly sugary topping over top of pie

Place in an oven preheated to 425 degrees and bake at 425 for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 to 45 more minutes depending upon your oven.

Hopefully my proportions are o.k.  This is as close as I can get – again – have been making this pie out of my head for years.

roasted butternut squash soup

October = Fall = start of soup season.  I like butternut squash soup.  Mine is different because I roast my squash (roasted vegetables add more depth to soups) and I add garam masala, mace and ginger, instead of just nutmeg.  I will be making this later today, thought I would share the recipe now.

I was over at Sugartown Strawberries yesterday afternoon and was inspired to make soup due to the perfectly beautiful squash fresh picked by Farmer Bob. (And as a related aside, Sugartown Strawberries starts hay rides next weekend I think)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1       medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and seeded (mine today is about 3 pounds)
  • 4      tablespoons   butter
  • 1      large white onion, minced
  • 2      carrots minced
  • 6      cups chicken stock
  • 2      tablespoons corn starch
  • 1      pint light cream or fat-free half and half
  • 6      fresh sage leaves chopped fine
  • celery salt and ground pepper to taste
  • mace and ground ginger to taste
  • small  dash of garam masala to taste

Directions

Halve your squash and remove seeds.  brush with olive oil, dust with salt and pepper and place face down on a sheet pan lined with non stick foil or parchment paper and roast skin side up about 40 -45 minutes at 350 degrees (you want squash to be roasted and cooked to be able to easily slide out of the skin.)

When squash is done, remove from oven and leave to cool

Place butter in dutch oven or soup pot and melt.  Add sage leaves to pot, followed by onion, carrots and a little celery salt. Over lowish heat gently cook onions down to the point just before they caramelize. Remove from heat.

By now your squash should be hopefully cool enough to handle.  Remove from skin and put small pieces into your soup pot with the onions and stir. Fully incorporate your squash (yes, there will be an unattractive mush in your pot at this point) and next quickly whisk in corn starch and incorporate.  Slowly and gently whisk in light cream or fat-free half and half – do not boil but bring the heat up almost   so all is incorporated.

Add the broth. Stir, stir, stir until all is incorporated and blending together and broth is heated through.

Reduce to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes covered.  Next take a hand blender (you know one of those little blender wands and puree your soup right in the pot.

Check salt level and adjust accordingly.  Add ground pepper and additional salt to taste and add a good shake of both ground ginger and mace and a judicial  pinch of garam masala.  A lot of people do this with just nutmeg, I think the garam masala, mace,  and ginger taste better.

Keep on simmer/warm stirring occasionally until you serve.  This is a soup you can serve the same day or heat up the next day.

This is a soup that does NOT freeze well, so make it fresh and finish in a couple of days.

Additional serving suggestions:

Garnish with rough chopped flat leaf italian parsley and  a smattering chopped toasted pecans and a teaspoon of crème fraîche in the center of each soup bowl  or serve plain.

 

 

 

do you dream in buttercream?

Well I don’t actually  dream in buttercream, but it makes for a jazzy sounding post title.

So I have been working and working on a buttercream frosting worthy of posting and I accomplished it with a birthday cake I baked last weekend.

So here it is:

Dreamy Vanilla Rosewater  Buttercream  Frosting

(frosts a 9 inch layer cake and 2 -3 dozen cupcakes depending on how frosted you want things)

1 cup of butter softened (1 stick salted, 1 stick unsalted)

4 cups of sifted confectioners sugar

7 teaspoons of half and half (maybe a smidgen more, maybe a smidgen less depending on what you want)

1 Teaspoon of rosewater (as in used for COOKING)

1 1/4 Teaspoons of a good vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon of salt

Combine butter, sugar, and salt until well blended and smooth (use a mixer and use a large bowl and don’t splatter)

Add half and half and vanilla and rosewater and beat until smooth – between 4 and 6 minutes.

Come on people, how easy was that?  Why use frosting in a can?

You can add a couple of squares of unsweetened baking chocolate melted to turn this frosting chocolate.  You can add about 2/3 cup of shredded sweetened coconut to make coconut dream frosting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

just cooking along…chili and some other fun

So today was a pretty cool day.  Today my frittata recipe which is being featured in The Epicurious Cookbook being released this October landed me on the front page of Epicurious.com, and while it doesn’t make me Julie Powell or Amanda Hesser or Ina Garten or Martie Duncan or Julia Child, my oh my it is still very cool to me :<}

Epicurious Cookbook Spotlight: Carla Joy Zambelli and  Marsha Klein

by Carolina  Santos-Neves
on 09/12/12 at 11:00 AM

Read More  

Sooooooo….in the kitchen sink of it all, I have another recipe to post.  Easy as pie.  Make ahead and freeze, or make and eat the same day.  And in case you are wondering why so many recipes end up as the kitchen sink of it all, it is simple: a lot of my recipes evolved out of what was fresh and in my kitchen needing to be used.

Kitchen Sink Chili 

2 ears of corn – take kernels off the cob

1 onion (nice large and preferably sweet or red) chopped

2 LARGE cloves of garlic, minced

2 ribs of celery, minced

2 diced or chopped red bell peppers or red sweet peppers (sometimes they are long and red, not bell)

2 teaspoons each rough chopped: fresh basil, oregano, cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Jayshree Chili Powder (start with 2 tablespoons)

1 packet of Sazón Goya

1 teaspoon mild or sweet paprika (Spanish)

1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika (Spanish)

1/4 teaspoon Chipolte chili powder

1 package ground turkey (28 oz)

3/4 lb. of beef round boneless chipped beef for a stir fry – chopped up small

1 15.5 oz can Goya small red kidney beans

1 15.5 oz can Goya black beans

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes in puree (I like Red Pack or Tuttorosso)

1 15 oz can of Kuner’s of Colorado Southwestern Chili Tomatoes (or tomatoes of the same size can that have Mexican or Italian spices)

1 6 oz can tomato paste

Cook onion, garlic, celery in a Dutch Oven with canola oil ( a few tablespoons – like 5)- to this add chipolte powder, Sazón Goya, paprikas, salt.

Cook over medium to low heat until translucent.

Add red peppers and corn.  Cook about 5 to 7 minutes then add beef.  Cook about 8 minutes more.  Add ground turkey and cook through – keep everything moving in the pan so it doesn’t stick – medium heat, incidentally.

When turkey cooks through add beans (which have been DRAINED of can liquids).  Blend in.

Add tomatoes.

Add tomato paste.

Add chili powder and herbs.  Allow to come up to almost a boil and then reduce to a low simmer.  Check and stir periodically to keep from sticking to bottom of pan.  Taste a couple of times as well to adjust for seasoning – in case you wish to add more chili powder or salt and pepper.

Serve with your favorite chili extras…..chips, sour cream, shredded jack/cheddar, and so on…..

Enjoy!

just bananas/just desserts

Ok, what happens when I am supposed to be resting on a sprained ankle? I get restless.

The result: Banana Cake with Banana Buttercream Frosting. (I had leftover bananas to use up )

Banana Cake:

350 degree oven (pre-heat)

Grease and flour two round cake pans (mine are 9 1/2 inch) and line bottom with parchment or brown paper (cut out a circle just like your mom used to do.)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk powder *

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1  teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (regular not large crystal sea salt)

3/4 cup sour milk**

1 cup smushed ripe bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup white raisins

1/2 teaspoon EACH of cinnamon, green cardamom powder, ground ginger

* = sour milk is regular milk with 2 teaspoons of white vinegar added. Stir in vinegar to mix, let sit 5 to 10 minutes

**= buttermilk powder can be gotten at baking supply places or online.  It must be refrigerated when opened.  You can use buttermilk powder AND sour milk OR regular buttermilk.

Take nuts and raisins and toss in a tablespoon or so of flour and set aside in small bowl.

Mix all dry ingredients.

Add bananas.

Add buttermilk or sour milk.

Add vanilla

Add butter

Beat everything on a low speed until blended and then pop up the power to medium high for about 2 minutes

Split batter evenly between prepared pans. Sprinkle nuts and raisins evenly over both plans (split in other words)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until toothpick or skewer comes out clean.

Cool in pans on rack for 10 – 15 minutes.

Remove cakes from pans and cool thoroughly.

When cool remove parchment or brown paper from bottom. Carefully or you will take chunks of cake away

Banana Butter Cream Frosting:

1 cup butter

1/2 smushed banana

4 cups confectioners sugar

scant 1/4 cup meringue powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 tablespoons soft cream cheese

2 tablespoons of milk

1/2 teaspoon EACH of ground ginger and cinnamon

First cream butter and cream cheese.  Add vanilla and spices and banana.  Add sugar. Add milk.  Beat with hand mixer until frosting is smooth and creamy.

Frost the cake.  I will note that after I frost this cake I place four evenly placed wooden skewers in the top and place cake in refrigerator for frosting to harden.  This is a cake that has to have leftovers stay covered and refrigerated. I will also note that I decided to add the meringue powder (also available at specialty food/baking supply or online) to this because the banana makes the butter cream frosting too soft I think.  The meringue powder which I generally keep on hand for royal icing stiffens the frosting up nicely.

I don’t think I left anything out.

Enjoy!