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Posts tagged ‘pies’

Pies And Tarts: Blackberry Peach Pie And A Tomato Tart

In the summer it’s hard to find balance. I love to cook but it’s so hot out it kind of knocks the wind out of my sails but I was inspired to get in the kitchen after reading Teagan newest serial Thistledown.  I love the story and Teagan is so brilliant, her readers are part of the the story we were given faery names and oh well you’ll just have to read it, it’s wonderful!!! My characters faery name is Peaches Dragonfly and you might have guessed it yes, Peaches is a cook.

When I buy blackberries what I don’t eat I freeze, adding to the freezer container with each unused portion of berries. I do the same with other fruit, peaches, strawberries etc… There happened to be a rather large bag of blackberries and some peaches that I wanted to use and today the temperature is pleasant, a good day to fire up the oven and bake.

Pies are one of my favorite indulgences, especially fruit pies. They are simple to make, and are such a great dessert both homey and elegant. The combination of blackberries and peaches has always been one of my favorites and put them in a flaky buttery pastry crust and it’s pretty much heaven on earth. I’ve published the pie crust recipe I use probably more than a dozen times. It never fails, is always good and its from Julia Child.

I think I will bring both of these the pie and tomato tart to Fiesta Friday #182 the co hosts this week are Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons and Jenny @ Jenny Is Baking

Blackberry Peach Pie

Makes one 9 inch double crust pie


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz unsalted cold butter cut into pieces

4 tbs shortening (cold)

1/2 cup ice water

Whisk the flours and salt in large mixing bowl. Add the butter and shortening and using a pastry cutter or your hands break up the fat into the flour until it resembles crumbs. It’s ok to have small pieces of butter I actually prefer it the pastry is extra flaky. Mix together until if forms a cohesive dough. Divide into two disks, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Fruit and assembling the pie

approximately 3 cups blackberries

approximately 2 cups sliced peaches

2/3-1 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)

3 tbs-1/4 cup flour

pinch of salt and pinch of cinnamon

NOTE: If using frozen fruit use 1/4 cup flour + 1 tbs

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix the fruit with the flour and sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Roll out the bottom crust and place in your pie pan, add the fruit dot with some butter and place in the refrigerator while you roll out the top crust.  I made a lattice top crust  for this pie and all you do is cut strips and basket weave. Roll out the top crust and lay on the pie, crimp the edges however you like, cut a vent or prick with a fork, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Heirloom tomatoes

The first tomatoes of the season are also showing up at the green market and I love buying heirloom tomatoes, they are my favorite, different colors, sizes and shapes and other than enjoying in salad or on their own making a tart is a great way to eat them. This time of year with so much bounty and just me to eat, I end up preserving or freezing much of what I purchase. This year my basil died, not sure why and it was very upsetting so I ended up buying a huge bunch at the farmers market and thought I would make some pesto.

The tomato tart is made using Julia Childs recipe for a galette pastry, it’s very different from a traditional pie crust, you mix flour and corn meal, butter, sour cream or creme fraiche and ice water. It’s a delicious rustic pastry dough and this recipe is one I have been using for many years.

Because tomatoes are so juicy I roast the tomatoes first in the oven until they are soft and a bit drier, I made the mistake once of putting fresh tomato slices on a tart and the crust was soggy, not good.

Tomato Tart

Makes one 9 inch tart

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp salt

7 tbs cold unsalted butter

3 tbs sour cream or creme fraiche

1/3 cup ice water

Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in mixing bowl, cut in the butter until it resembles crumbs. Mix the sour cream and ice water and add to the dry ingredients. Stir until it forms a cohesive dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-4 hours.

Roasting the tomatoes and making the tart

Heat oven to 400 degree’s

Line a sheet pan with parchment, cut your tomatoes into thick slices and place on parchment lined baking sheet, bake for about 25-30 minutes they will just start to caramelize and will dry out a bit. Remove carefully so they stay whole and set aside.

Press the dough into your tart pan or roll it out and place in the pan,  put in the freezer for approximately  15 minutes or until partially frozen. Remove from freezer and weight it down by placing a parchment sheet on the pastry and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake on sheet pan for 20 minutes, remove parchment and weights and place back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Spread some pesto on the bottom of the tart crust, sprinkle with some cheese and layer your tomato slices. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.



What Will You Serve For Thanksgiving?

Dressing or stuffing

Dressing or stuffing

Some of you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but here in the US this is probably the biggest food holiday of them all, it’s also a time to remember how much we have to be thankful for. For me the Thanksgiving meal is steeped in tradition. Every year I make the same meal, I have tried adding something different but in the end, the best is always the tried and true recipes.

Do you try new recipes or stick to the tried and true?

Is it Potluck or do you do all the cooking?

What do you make, or do you go to someone else’s house for the meal?

I bake pies for friends, this year I am making apple, pumpkin and pecan for both my table and for my friends. I have will have 6-8 people over, family and friends.

How many will be around your table?

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Thanksgiving 2014

Butter and herb roast turkey– compound butter under the skin and steam roasted

Dressing– cornbread and bread with a lot of other things. My signature dish.

Mashed potatoes- Yukon gold, sour cream and butter. I like super creamy smooth potatoes so I use a food mill.


Brussels Sprouts- I am going to make this recipe this year from my friend Bevi, it’s a Food52 contest winner


Cranberry orange sauce (see recipe below)

Homemade potato rolls

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

For Dessert

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Apple pie right out of the oven

Apple pie right out of the oven

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice + 1 tsp orange zest
1 12-ounce package Fresh or Frozen Cranberries ( I always buy Ocean Spray)
Combine sugar and juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups. Optional- add the zest of 1 orange for a stronger orange flavor. I always make a double batch because I must have it for the leftovers.

The Wine

Can’t forget the wine, this year I have a magnum of Christian Bernard Select Black Gamay (A beaujolais), I also have Rioja, 2001 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia,  Pernand-Vergelesses 2008, premier Cru Sous Fretille (Grand Vin du Bourgogne) I’ll pop the bubbly with dessert and serve coffee too. What are you drinking?

Thanksgiving Pies And The Wine

I bake pies, lots of pies for Thanksgiving. Not just for me but for some friends as well. For my family it’s just a pumpkin and pecan. I am also making sweet potato, pumpkin and apple for friends. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pie, it’s a staple and everyone loves it.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone that celebrates the holiday and to all that don’t I hope you have a wonderful day also. The holiday season officially starts after Thanksgiving and it’s a very short time until Christmas. Have a wonderful day with friends and family and enjoy a fantastic meal, there is so much to be thankful for and on this day we want to remember just how lucky we are to have each other, delicious food on our table and the warm home that we live in,

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

I use Joy the Bakers recipe for the sweet potato pie. If you have never had one you should try it, it’s delicious. I actually prefer to pumpkin pie. Joy’s recipe is fantastic.  I made a couple of very minor changes to Joys recipe, I bake the sweet potatoes until they are very soft and caramelized, then I process in the food processor until they are silky smooth. She uses two 5 oz cans of evaporated milk, I use 5 oz of half and half and 5 oz of heavy cream. I also omit the coriander.  It’s very similar to Meta Givens Pumpkin pie rccipe which is what I use for my pumpkin pie. NOTE: The baking time for the sweet potato pie was different than that in the recipe. Joy has you bake at 450 for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 325 and bake for 1 hour. well my pie was completely baked in 45 minutes and my oven temperature was accurate. Every stove varies so this doesn’t mean it will not take an hour for your pie but mine did not.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

I also make Pecan Pie, I posted the recipe last year so click on the link to see the recipe. It’s tooth achingly sweet but that is the way pecan pie is and it’s absolutely delicious.

Here is my favorite recipe and at least for me it’s no fail pie dough or pastry whichever you would like to call it. It’s from the master, Julia Child and is simple and foolproof. She uses butter and shortening, all purpose and cake flour. I like to use leaf lard instead of the shortening. I gave instructions if you want to use a food processor, for me it’s by hand only for a flaky pie crust. I like to use the food processor for tart dough (pate sucre’)

Julia's Kitchen Wisdom

Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

Juilia Childs Pastry Dough

Makes enough dough for a double crust 9 inch pie

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz cold unsalted butter cut into tbs size pieces

4 tbs shortening or leaf lard cold

1/2 cup ice cold water

You can make this either by hand or in the food processor. To make by hand, put flours, salt, butter, lard or shortening into mixing bowl, use pastry cutter to combine until it resembles pea size crumbs. Add water mix with fork, gather with your hands, divide dough into a 2 discs and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In Food Processor, add the flours, salt, butter and shortening or lard into the bowl of the processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles pea size crumbs. Add the water and pulse a few times until it becomes a cohesive dough.  Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

For the Thanksgiving meal I feel like picking a wine is like a crap shoot. There is such a variety of dishes how do you pick something that compliments the meal? I know with poultry or fowl you usually pair white wine but I like red with my meal. I purchased a variety of wines but the star of the show for the meal will be 2010 Christian Bernard Fleurie Select Block Gamay – Beaujolais I got a magnum. I feel that it will not compete with the meal but compliment. Hope I’m right. I can’t take credit for picking out the wine, my friend and owner of Gnarly Vines in Brooklyn is the expert and he guides my choices. Excuse the messy table I quickly shot a pic of the wine before it went into the wine cooler. What wine are you serving with your Thanksgiving feast?

Thanksgiving wine

Thanksgiving wine

Pie Party NYC

What a wonderful time I had last night (Thursday) at the totally fabulous pie party hosted by Ken (hungryrabbit) and Jackie (divathatateny). There were more pie’s than I think I have ever seen in one place and every single one absolutely delicious. The event was held at the GE Monogram design center located in Manhattan on 58th St on the Upper East side. I was drooling not just about the pies but the beautiful stoves, wall ovens, cook tops etc… The pie party was sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka, Kerrygold Butter, Dubb Pies NYC ,Harvard Common Press and GE Monogram.

I met so many of my food blog and Twitter friends in person and was so happy to get to talk and hang out with them. I met the amazing Abby Dodge, Susan (littleredkitchen), Kate (foodbabbles) Chris  (the Peche) and many more including our fabulous hosts Ken and Jackie.

The setting was beautiful, imagine yourself surrounded by top notch kitchen appliances in a gorgeous showroom filled with some of the most amazing food bloggers, writers and cookbook authors, pies both sweet and savory as far as the eye can see, drinks flowing and delicious appetizers cooked fresh in the GE demo kitchen, it was a night to remember.

Drinks flowed

Everyone brought pie, that was a must, after all it was a pie party!! We all set our pie’s out on tables, mingled, drank and ate, watched a demo on how to make a fabulous pie crust and then we all dug into the pies. I brought a pecan pie (the pecans were macerated in cognac and then oven dried) and a goat cheese/ricotta tart topped with brandied figs and this was nestled into a tart crust with ground toasted walnuts. I cannot even begin to tell you what my favorites were they were all so good, we were encouraged to take some of each pie to taste and take home. I have a lot of pie waiting for me in the refrigerator.

Cooking Demo

When we left were given a beautiful gift bag,containing Abby Dodge’s new cookbook Mini Treats And Held Sweets, Fine Cooking magazine, stainless measuring spoons, a cake/pie server, our choice of salted or unsalted Kerrygold butter and a lovely box of Dubb pies.

Fantastic bag of goodies

Thank you Ken and Jackie for putting together a wonderful night of friends and food in the amazing GE Monogram Center. I know it must have been a tremendous amount of work and I have to say it was flawless!! I should have taken more pictures but I was so busy talking and eating and meeting people I forgot to snap the pics, I did manage to get a few pictures of the sweet pie table before we dug in.

Beautiful Pies

More pies

And more pies!!

How about more pies!!