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Posts from the ‘Pies’ Category


Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Every year I make the same meal for Thanksgiving, there is little to no variations year to year because everyone loves it that way. It makes things easier sort of, the only planning involves the shopping and of course the preparation. I try to make as much in advance as possible to save myself work on the big day. This will be Percy’s first Thanksgiving with me and I plan on giving him a plate of food along with the rest of my guests. I am excited that this year my two cousins will be joining me as well. My menu is very basic, nothing fancy but everything is homemade and has withstood the test of time. The dishes on the menu are linked to former posts so that you can see the recipes. Mashed potatoes, well, no recipe required, so my potatoes have not lumps I use the food mill and then simply add sour cream, butter and salt and pepper, thats all, the same goes for the pumpkin pie, I used canned pumpkin and follow the instructions on the back of the can, I’ve tried other methods and quite honestly the results are so similar it’s not worth the extra effort. The meal is always served with wine, this year a Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco, Sparkling blanc de blanc and I am still undecided on whether to serve a Chardonnay or white bordeaux.

Thanksgiving Menu

butter and herb roast turkey


mashed potatoes

oven roasted brussells sprouts


cranberry sauce

dinner rolls



Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake And Apple Pear Crumble With Creamy Cider Syrup


I just have to say what a lifesaver it has been to have the guest posts. I have been so extremely busy I really haven’t cooked much of anything and most of what I have cooked is not noteworthy enough to blog about. Thank you so much to everyone who has submitted guest posts, you truly are amazing. I also have been delinquent in reading and commenting on your blogs. I will not be able to catch up there are just too many, once Halloween is done I should be able to breathe and get back to my routine.


Searching through the hundreds of cookbooks I have (and rarely use) I happened upon this recipe from “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Since my latests obsession is cauliflower this immediately grabbed my attention, the list of ingredients sounds delicious, I decided this is a recipe I have to try. It does contain some flour, one cup of all purpose flour but I subbed spelt flour making it lower in carbs and more healthful. It’s a simple recipe, easy to put together and with my current crazy busy schedule this was a must. I really do love Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, the photo’s are drool worthy and recipes are not complex they use simple ingredients but how they put it all together is genius.


Cauliflower Cake

from Plenty More- Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 6-8

1 small head cauliflower broken into 1 1/2 inch florets

1 medium onion (recipe calls for  a red onion)

5 tbs olive oil (I didn’t measure)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

7 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup all purpose flour (I used spelt flour)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan or your favorite grating cheese

melted butter for brushing – about 1 tbs

1 tbs white sesame seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds (I misplaced them so just used sesame)

salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 400 degree’s

Place cauliflower florets in saucepan filled with salted water, simmer for 15 minutes until the florets are quite soft, they should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander.

Cut 4 round slices approximately 1/4 inch thick from one end of the onion and set aside. Coursely chop the rest of the onion and place in a pan with some olive oil and the rosemary. Cook for 1o minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and basil and whisk well, then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese and 1 tsp salt (I used less salt) and plenty of ground pepper stir to combine and add the cauliflower stirring gently so as not to break up the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them in the pan and swirl the pan around so that the seeds stick to the buttered sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture in the pan smooth the top and arrange the onion rings on top ( I sprinkled some of the grated cheese on top as well). Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and set. A knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should be served warm or at room temperature rather than hot.


For Dessert was an apple Pear crumble using no refined sugar and almost no flour. To sweeten the fruit and crumble I used a little bit of maple syrup and served it with a creamy cider reduction, again made completely without sugar. The natural sweetness of the cider when cooked down into a syrup is intensely sweet, I softened it with a little heavy cream (to make even more decadent you could add a little butter also) and the end product was amazing on this simple crumble. The cider syrup would be great on oatmeal, pancakes or waffles also, instead of adding cream just add a little butter.

This dessert is great and you don’t feel badly eating it, you could even use a little less maple syrup because the cider syrup is sweet enough that you would never know that this is not loaded with sugar.


Apple Pear Crumble

Made 2

Crumble topping

1/4 cup whole oats

1/4 cup spelt flour

2 tbs toasted hazelnut flour (or any nut flour)

pinch of salt

2 tbs softened (not melted) coconut oil

1 tbs cold butter

2 tbs maple syrup

Mix everything together with your fingers until it is blended completely (it will look more like a cookie dough). Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s

2 -3 apples  (if you don’t have pear use 3 apples)

1 ripe pear

1 tbs maple syrup

pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

Peel and slice the apples and pears. Oil or butter the baking dish, mix the fruit with the maple syrup, spices and salt, lay the fruit in the pan. Add the crumble topping and pour a little apple cider over it. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crumble is browned and fruit is soft.  Note: The crumble topping was patted into place rather than dropping in crumbles, after baking I broke it up  kind of like a cookie crust.


Creamy Cider Syrup

Apple cider

Heavy cream

Pour about 1 cup cider in saucepan  over medium high heat until reduced to a very thick syrup, it took about 20 minutes. One cup of cider reduced to about 1/4 cup of syrup. The more cider you use the longer it will take to reduce of course. One cup of cider in a saucepan took a little over 20 minutes on medium high heat.

Reduces to almost nothing

Reduces to almost nothing you can see my hand reflected in the pan, LOL.

Add some heavy cream about 2 tbs and continue to cook another 30 seconds approximately. The sauce will be thick.

Spoon over the crumble and enjoy.



Peach And Blueberry Tart


This was a really busy week, I have neglected the blog, between work, the community work I do and this oppressive heat I haven’t had time or the inclination to use my stove/oven. On Thursday I got to meet one of the bloggers that I have been following for a long time, Shashi whose wonderful blog Runnin Srilankin is always chock full of delicious healthful recipes. We met at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and had pizza at Grimaldi’s. It was great finally meeting her in person.

Last weekend I went to a barbeque, and decided to be daring and try a new recipe. This is a tried and true recipe that is very popular on Food52, it’s by Amanda Hesser and she got it from her Mom.  I used frozen peaches which is not the best idea as they produced a lot of juice and some plucots. The party was great but I had to leave before dessert was served and I didn’t get a chance to try it. The feedback though was that it was amazing. The simplicity of this recipe is what drew me, a press in crust that uses oil not butter, fresh fruit and you make a sugar, flour and butter crumble topping and sprinkle it on before baking.

Today I went to the farmers market and got some great produce, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, nectarines and blueberries. Since I didn’t get to taste the tart I decided to make it today using the nectarines. Best laid plans don’t always work, the nectarines were very ripe and I put them at the bottom of my cart without thinking and 3 of them got squished, I will blame it on the heat,  for once I only bought enough for the tart, since I had some blueberries I decided to use them as well.

This tart is a winner, and I hope you give it a try. The ease of preparation, use of delicious seasonal fruit and beautiful presentation make this tart one that I will make over and over again. Next time with only peaches or nectarines, it’s not as pretty with the blueberries after it’s baked but still delicious.

This tart is coming with me to Fiesta Friday #130, Angie is away but has left the party in very good hands the co hosts this week are Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Petra @ Food Eat Love


Peach Tart

Made 1 9 inch tart (the recipe said 11 inch but I didn’t have enough fruit)

Pie Dough

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp sugar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup neutral oil (I used grapeseed)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs milk (I used half and half)

6-8 peaches, nectarines sliced thickly (I added a pint of blueberries also)

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk or stir with a fork. Add the oil and milk and mix with a fork until cohesive.

Press into tart pan with your fingers pressing on the bottom and up the sides. Make sure there are no cracks in the dough. Trim and set aside. Pre heat the oven to 425 and line a sheet pan with parchment.

Arrange the fruit however you like in the tart pan.


Crumble topping

3/4 cup sugar

2-3 tbs flour

2 tbs cold butter

pinch of salt

Mix with your hands until it resembles fine crumbs. Distribute the crumbs on top of the tart and bake until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 45 minutes. It will seem like a lot of the topping, it’s ok use all of it.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven







Plum And Nectarine Tart With Creme Fraiche/Sour Cream Sweetened with Brown Sugar


I absolutely love stone fruits, plums, peaches. nectarines, apricots are all so delicious especially when they are perfectly ripe. Biting into one is pure happiness and along with fresh berries, tomatoes and corn is one of the hallmarks of the summer season. When I visit the farmers market I always over buy, I think its a genetic defect in me, when I see something beautiful like the best of the season fruits and vegetables I always get more than I can reasonably consume. At that point I start thinking of different ways to use the fruit that I haven’t eaten. Such was the case when I found myself with an over abundance of delicious nectrarines and various varieties of plums. I had some pie dough frozen that I needed to use so thought a tart would be lovely.

I used plums that were just perfectly ripe and white and yellow nectarines, tried to make a pretty pattern with the fruit, sprinkled some sugar, cinnamon and flour on, dotted with butter, added a few strands of orange zest and baked. It is really delicious and even better when served with creme fraiche or sour cream gently sweetened with brown sugar.

Since it’s that time again, you know the every Friday event that I rarely miss, Fiesta Friday and what better dish than a delicious stone fruit tart to share with my fellow party goers. It’s Fiesta Friday #123 this week and Angie’s co hosts are Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere


plum and nectarine tart

makes one 9 inch round or rectangular tart

your favorite pie or tart crust (I used my usual Julia Childs flaky pie crust recipe)

2 ripe nectarines washed and skin left on and sliced

4 plums whatever variety you like, I mixed 2 varieties , sliced

2-3 tbs sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit and your taste)

1-2 tbs flour (depending on how juicy your fruit is)

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of salt

butter for dotting on pie

turbinado or natural sugar to sprinkle on top

optional orange zest

Line your tart pan with pie dough, dock with fork and freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile pre heat oven to 400 degree’s. When dough is done remove from freezer, line with parchment and fill with pie weights, beans or whatever you like to use, bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes just so it’s very lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on rack.



Slice the fruit and when the pie crust is cooled layer fruit or dump it in whatever you like, sprinkle with the flour, sugar,cinnamon mixture or you can mix the fruit with the mixture and then arrange the fruit, dot with butter, sprinkle a little orange zest (optional) and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Juices will be bubbling and the crust will be a golden brown. Let cool completely before serving.


Another super easy and delicious recipe is homemade creme fraiche, all you do is add 2 bs buttermilk to 1 cup heavy cream stir to combine , use a glass or ceramic jar, cover with damp paper towel  and secure. Let sit at room temperature (ideal is 72-78) overnight and up to 48 hrs until thick, if your room is cool then it will take longer. Refrigerate after, use generously it’s delicious.



Lemon Meringue Tart


I’ve been wanting lemon meringue pie or tart for a while now. I planned on making it last week but got sick. I have had this recipe in my to do pile for a while now and since lemon is one of my favorite flavors it went straight to the top of recipes I wanted to try. Usually when I make a lemon tart I use the tartine lemon cream recipe, It has the perfect consistency and holds up beautifully giving  a perfect slice. Most recipes for lemon meringue pie that I have tried have been really tasty but are a bit on the runny side. When I saw the photo that came with this recipe I thought I had found nirvana, a lemon meringue pie that looks perfect, produces a clean slice and sounds like it’s very tasty. This recipe is all that except that it is still a bit on the runny side even after sitting overnight in the refrigerator. Don’t get me wrong it tastes amazing but it does not produce a clean slice. Next time I will add more cornstarch, while I was making it my gut instinct was to add more but I held myself back. Oh well, should have gone with my gut.

Pate Sucré

Makes 9 inch tart or 6 tartlets
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
8 ounces cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
3 egg yolks from large eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Put the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor, pulse to combine, add the butter and pulse until it resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk and cream and pulse until the dough comes together, it will be shaggy but thats ok, test it by pinching a piece and if it holds together it’s fine. Divide in two, press into disks and refrigerate for an hour. Pre heat the oven to 375, line tart pan or tartlet pans, prick with fork and place in freezer for 30 minutes. Place a piece of parchment in the tart pan or pans and pour in pie weights or beans. Bake 20 minutes remove the parchment and weights and place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on rack.


Lemon Filling

Fills a 9 inch pie or tart

1 cup water

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch (Next time I would add an additional 1-2tbs of cornstarch)

pinch of salt

4 eggs separated – the yolks are for the filling and whites for meringue

5 tbs cold unsalted butter

4 tsp lemon zest

In medium sauce pan add the water. lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and salt and whisk to combine so there are no lumps. Turn heat to medium and cook stirring constantly until mixture is thick, Whisk the egg yolks and slowely add the hot lemon mixture whisking while adding. Pour back into the pan and cook for 60 seconds (1 minute). Remove from heat and add the butter and lemon zest. Let come to room temparature and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


Swiss Meringue

4 egg whites

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of the stand mixer over a double boiler and cook, stirring occasionally, until the egg whites are very warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved.  Whip the egg whites on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Add in the salt and vanilla extract and whip to combine.

A little runny but delicious

A little runny but delicious


A Pi Day Surprise


Yesterday was Pi Day, to celebrate Pi we cooks and food lovers take just a little liberty and make it all about Pie. Now I just love pies, fruit pies, cream pies, tarts, galettes, savory tarts and pies. They are all good. I love making pastry crust, I always have frozen pie dough in the freezer in case I need it.

I was busy, lots going on with work. I didn’t check my spam folder as I normally do every day until later in the afternoon and when I did I saw an email from Kate at Food52, she wondered if I would be home today between 1-5PM, they wanted to deliver a surprise. Honestly, I was flabbergasted and intrigued. I love surprises and rarely get one. At 5PM on the dot one of the Food 52 staff hand delivered this pie in this amazing pie box (which I have been meaning to order and now I need to get another one or 2), how cool is that? It made me feel really really good, they thanked me for being a long time member, it made me feel so special. Thank you Food52 for making my day!! Oh and I can’t forget to mention the pie was a salted honey pie, with an amazing flaky buttery crust. SO DELICIOUS!! I ate way too much pie!!

Pi Day Surprise

Pi Day Surprise

I also want to update everyone on sweet Percy, he is doing really really good. He was a little under the weather yesterday, I think it was the rain and cool temps but today he is doing great. He is very happy in Brooklyn and has adjusted to his new life, made lots of doggie friends and is getting to know his neighborhood.

Rolling in the grass

Rolling in the grass

Handsome boy

Handsome boy

Lamb Pot Pie With Saffron Pastry

IMG_0388 Read more

Chocolate Orange Cream Tart



The lastest contest at Food52 is all about tarts, Your Best Tart to be exact, I have to say that making pies and tarts is something I love doing,  I put my thinking cap on because I wanted to come up with a recipe that was a little different and creative.  Buttery pastry with an assortment of fillings whether sweet or savory is comfort food at it’s best IMHO. I was already in the cream or curd mode after making the scones so I whipped up another batch just using oranges and tangerines, it has substance from the addition of cream cheese which give a little tang also, the crust is adapted from Martha Stewarts recipe for Pate Sucré.  The combination of chocolate and orange has always been one of my all time favorite flavor combinations so I covered the orange cream with a ganache gently flavored with orange thanks to the addition of Grand Marnier. A simple whipped cream garnish and some candied orange zest make this a lovely dessert.

I know I posted this already but I decided to bring my little tarts to the party, Fiesta Friday #103 the big event Angie is hosting and her lovely co hosts this week are two of my all time favorites  Your co-hosts this week are Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love. YAY!!!

Makes 9 inch tart or 6 tartlets
Pate Sucré
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
8 ounces cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
3 egg yolks from large eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Orange Cream
6 egg yolks from large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange or tangerine juice
4 teaspoons orange zest divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese softened
4 ounces dark chocolate
4 ounces milk chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or orange liquor
Tart Crust-Put the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor, pulse to combine, add the butter and pulse until it resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk and cream and pulse until the dough comes together, it will be shaggy but thats ok, test it by pinching a piece and if it holds together it’s fine. Divide in two, press into disks and refrigerate for an hour. Pre heat the oven to 375, line tart pan or tartlet pans, prick with fork and place in freezer for 30 minutes. Place a piece of parchment in the tart pan or pans and pour in pie weights or beans. Bake 20 minutes remove the parchment and weights and place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on rack.
Orange Cream-Zest the fruit and juice and set aside. In mixing bowl add the egg yolks, sugar and a pinch of salt. Beat with hand held mixer until creamy and light. Whisk in the juice and 2 tsp of zest and pour into sauce pan. Cook at medium low heat stirring constantly until the sugar has melted and it’s hot to the touch. Now add the butter one piece at a time stirring constantly until the butter is melted. Place thermometer in and continue cooking until it reaches a temperature of 175 degrees. Remove from heat. Pour through a sieve into a bowl or large measuring cup, add 1 tsp of orange zest stir to combine and cover with plastic that sits directly on top of the curd, allow to come to room temperature then refrigerate overnight. Pour the chilled curd in the blender with the cream cheese and the rest of the orange zest and blend until thick and creamy. Spoon into container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Ganache-Heat the cream to scalding, chop the chocolate and place in mixing bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth, add the liquor and stir. Let the ganache come to room temperature stirring frequently. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to thicken a bit you want the ganache to be thick but still pourable.

Assembling and serving:
tart shell or shells
orange cream
whipped cream and orange zest to garnish
Spoon the chilled orange cream into the tart shell filling the shell halfway. Pour the ganache on top of the orange cream and return to the refrigerator where it needs to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and some candied orange zest.


Happy New Year, Some Favorites And 2015 in review

Taken from Pinterest

Taken from Pinterest

I wish each and everyone of you an amazing, healthy, happy, joyous and prosperous 2016. I want to thank you all for being such great friends, for leaving such uplifting and kind comments and for being my source of inspiration. Below is the report compiled by the WordPress helper monkey’s. I don’t really keep track of the stats, but do appreciate the work that WordPress puts into these reports, thank you to the good people at WordPress!! Both 2014 and 2015 were hard years for me, harder than I can even express. The start of a new year brings with it hope and we also reflect on the past year, the good and the bad, the sad and the happy, triumphs and failures. Life can sometimes be like a rollercoaster ride.

Going into my 4th year of blogging in January is quite momentous for me. I can’t believe I am still doing this,  have made such great friends and learned so much. Hope you all have a wonderful time on New Years Eve and joyously welcome 2016, peace, love and joy to all. Below are some photo’s I compliled with some of my favorite dishes both sweet and savory.

Savory favorites

Savory favorites

Baked, desserts and the epic biscuit!

Baked, desserts and the epic biscuit!


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanksgiving Preparation

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom for food52

I don’t know where the time went, next week is Thanksgiving. It dawned on me today so I started prepping. I make the same thing every single year, no change there would be a coup if I did. Part of me didn’t want Thanksgiving to get here even though it’s my favorite holiday, it’s my first without Izzy and Nando and I feel sad.  That said I have started prepping, write the shopping list, order the turkey, make what I can in advance, bread cubes are drying in oven as I type this. Took a whole chicken out of the freezer to make stock. There is a lot of work and planning that goes into one meal and I do what I can in advance. Is that what you do? I usually have 8-10 here for Thanksgiving. How many do you have over?


What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Do you cook/host the meal or go to friends or relatives. Have you started preparing? Would love to know what everyone does, I know that some of you from other countries do not celebrate Thanksgiving. What is on the menu at your house? Traditional or non traditional or a mixture of both. Here is my menu with links to the recipes.

Butter and herb roasted turkey


mashed potatoes- yukon gold, sour cream. butter salt and pepper

brussels sprouts- oven roasted

corn – steamed and served with some butter

homemade potato dinner rolls

cranberry sauce- use the recipe on the ocean spray package but sub fresh squeezed orange juice for the water and add some orange zest.

pumpkin and pecan pie – I usually just use the pumpkin pie recipe on the can of LIbby’s pumpkin, may do something different this year from my good friend Johnny at Kitschen Flavors.

I have a pretty strict time line making as much as I can in advance.

Done in advance:

Make chicken stock (need for dressing)

Make cornbread and air dry (2 days before I make the dressing)

Dry bread cubes for dressing (doing that today)

Cranberry sauce made ahead and refrigerated (making it this weekend)

Make compound butter for turkey (Monday)

Make pie dough and refrigerate (Tuesday)

Day before:

Prep the turkey putting the compound butter under the skin, and refrigerate.

Make dressing cover refrigerate.

Make the bread dough, form into rolls, cover and refrigerate until a few hours before baking them.

Make the pies plus an extra for a friend, the apple and pear tart

Thanksgiving Day:

We eat late around 5:30 or 6PM. I’ve heard that most eat early like lunch time. This is actually the easiest day, I have already done a lot of the work. Set the table, get the wine ready, refrigerate the white, let the red breathe/decant.

Turkey goes in at around noon – I get at 18-20 lb turkey and it’s done in 3 ish hours because of the fast cooking method I use in my graniteware pan.

Peel potatoes and cut and let sit in cold salted water until ready to boil. (Usually around 4PM)

Make the corn and brussels sprouts.

Bake the dressing

Bake the rolls right before dinner is served so they are hot.

Whew, it’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Love Thanksgiving!!

Izzy And Nando

Izzy And Nando