Category: Pies

Mesa Apple Tart and Other Miracles

Mesa Apple Tart and Other Miracles

While our world feels like a fearful, indescribable mess — and it is, dear friends — I can handle it better if I’m baking. Especially for a holiday and, like it or not, Easter’s coming. Think renewed life, rebirth, clean beginnings — positive thoughts for anyone of any faith or none. We need this now, even if only two are gathered. A holiday for a duet is a tender occasion and while there’ll be a gorgeous lamb chop a piece and not our huge traditional Italian roasted leg of lamb for a crowd, we’ll also have dessert to remember this spring by.

One of my Easter tables.

I’m looking at Susan Hermann Loomis’ recipe for lamb chops. You might, too. (Do you know Susan’s work? She’s one of my very favorite cooking teacher/writers.) I squirreled away the chops weeks ago, but there’s still time for you to get some. Or something else you fancy more.

Need more Easter or Good Friday ideas? Just type “Easter” into the search window. You can also type “brunch,” “eggs,” “lamb,” “Friday Fish,”etc.

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She’s a Peach! Brown Sugar and Spice Peach Pie

She’s a Peach! Brown Sugar and Spice Peach Pie

My good friend, next-door neighbor, and sometime cooking student, Mike (below), knows that if you really don’t want to make pie dough, it’s fine with me that you use purchased refrigerator case pie dough (not frozen). I’d love for you to bake pie however it happens. Hopefully next time –or sometime–you’ll try to make dough; practice definitely improves the product. Take it from me.

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Cherry-Berry Pie for the 4th of July

Cherry-Berry Pie for the 4th of July

BEST SUMMER SIDES FROM MORE TIME AT THE TABLE HERE.

It’s more than ironic that many of the best fruit pies need to be made when the weather is sizzling, sultry, humid, or plain old drippy hot. As a cold-weather fiend, I particularly find this one of the most unhappy cooking situations. I am thus incredibly blessed to live in Colorado where the summer days may be hot, yes, but might also occasionally dip down into the 40’s and even more often into the 50’s with the advent of a good, old-fashioned hail and/or rain storm. In fact, nightly fifty-some temps aren’t unusual even without rain. (Of course that’s why our tomatoes don’t do squat. Thank God we have the best beer in the country to partially make up for that.)

Continue reading “Cherry-Berry Pie for the 4th of July”

Mother’s Day Bluebarb Pie with Violet’s Pie Crust

Mother’s Day Bluebarb Pie with Violet’s Pie Crust

Chris, left and Violet, right

I think of Violet as my loving friend Chris’s mom because that’s who she was to me. Of course Violet was VIOLET. And if you lived in Atwood, Kansas (population 1,222), you knew who that was.  You knew her rather well indeed if you happened to be a member of Atwood United Methodist Church where she directed the choir, organized many church suppers, and was the leader of the Altar Guild for oh-so-many years.

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THANKSGIVING BAKING FAVORITES FROM MORE TIME AT THE TABLE

THANKSGIVING BAKING FAVORITES FROM MORE TIME AT THE TABLE

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 More Time’s Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie 

More Time’s Thanksgiving Basics and Organization

More Time’s Thanksgiving Starters, Soups, and Sides

More Time’s Vegan and Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Buffet

More Time’s Cranberry Thanksgiving or How to Get the Kids Involved

Baking at Thanksgiving. It’s a big deal to some people and a late afternoon stop at the grocery for others. Perhaps because often folks are cooks OR they’re bakers and rarely both. The pumpkin pie may have all the memories the turkey never garnered and the homemade yeast rolls and butter just might be why your grandson shows up.  On the other hand, it could be all about the dressing, gravy or even the ham at your house where no one looks twice at dessert. I once brought turkey and dressing to a summer potluck, where a close friend refused to eat a bite. When I asked why, she said, “You didn’t make gravy. I don’t eat dressing without gravy.” She truly had some serious food traditions and it’s not unusual.  Listen to your friends and family talk about Thanksgiving and you’ll see.

Continue reading “THANKSGIVING BAKING FAVORITES FROM MORE TIME AT THE TABLE”

Peach-Blueberry Pie

Peach-Blueberry Pie

As the bittersweet arrival of the last of the northwest blueberries coincides with the happy coming of the first glorious Colorado peaches, the two together feel exactly like a match made in heaven in my kitchen on a beautiful cool morning.  With just a smidge over 5 cups of beginning-to-pucker and wilt Oregon blueberries in the fridge, I had not quite enough for a 9-inch pie. A case of peaches sat wafting their keen aroma from the mudroom, so I followed my nose out there and snagged a couple of not-too-ripe beauties to peel and slice for the bottom of the pie, filling that empty extra inch of space. The buttery sweetness from the berry mixture on top would provide plenty of juicy goodness for the still somewhat tangy peaches.  Making something with peaches that aren’t quite ripe or up-to-snuff?  Add a pinch of ground mace to increase their flavor.

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Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie and Being a Food Blogger at Thanksgiving

Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie and Being a Food Blogger at Thanksgiving

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Other food bloggers or food writers will get this:  Thanksgiving is so over photographed, written about, schmoozed on, slobbered over, that we usually just don’t know what to do with it that hasn’t been done ad nauseum.  (How about another post on SIDES??? Another torch-browned turkey on the front of a magazine?)

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Blueberry-Strawberry Pie with Lattice-Crust for Mike’s Birthday

Blueberry-Strawberry Pie with Lattice-Crust for Mike’s Birthday

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There’s this odd baker’s conundrum every summer and it’s all about having the best fruit of year on the days when it’s really too hot to bake.  Even with air conditioning.  I usually get up really early –you’ll know this if you’re a regular reader– and get it done before light comes over the eastern plains horizon.

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Rhubarb-Raspberry Almond Crisp or Stewed Rhubarb with Greek Yogurt

Rhubarb-Raspberry Almond Crisp or Stewed Rhubarb with Greek Yogurt

IMG_7555There seem to be fruit people and chocolate people when we’re talking dessert.  You know who you are.  I, for instance, am definitely not crazy about apple pie. (I love fresh apples.)  I make a mean one and will have one small slice on the day it’s baked.  It then belongs to Dave, his Dad, Sean, or whoever else is a pie lover.  I love chocolate.  Dave’s never loved chocolate, though in the last few years he’s begun to eat some.  No longer are all the chocolate things in the house exclusively mine. At formal dinners when chocolate mousse or cake was served, both portions ended up in front of me; for years, he wouldn’t touch them.  Then one day, he began eating his chocolate dessert, leaving me in the dust.  He occasionally drinks a cup of decaf coffee, too.  I don’t know what’s happening to my world. The coffee pot has always been totally mine.

I’ll admit, though, that I’m crazy about rhubarb or pie plant, (which is now in season in Colorado) just as I am about cranberries.  The two have a lot in common when it comes to cooking and eating them.  Both are so rude, crude, and sour that they’re inedible without some sweetening and cooking.  Both are gorgeous, glorious, royalty red.  I adore either mixed with other fruits; apples do well as a companion for rhubarb and cranberries.

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  Last year, I made a much larger Rhubarb-Blueberry Crisp with cinnamon and oatmeal: recipe here.

And, of course, all berries happily couple with each.  Both of these red gems freeze perfectly with no great work.  Throw the cranberries in a heavy plastic bag and dip into them for a year for muffins.  Chop rhubarb in the spring, place just as it is in quart freezer containers, and you can have rhubarb-apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas Day brunch. Stewed rhubarb or cranberry sauce can be frozen in small or large amounts; I like the small containers for topping yogurt or ice cream:

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To stew rhubarb:  Heat 2 cups chopped rhubarb with 1/3 – 1/2 cup granulated sugar and water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and cook until tender–maybe 15 minutes.  Cool and place in two small freezer containers or serve on yogurt or ice cream. Also good on a peanut butter or a cream cheese sandwich. Makes about 4 small servings.  Can double or triple, though make sure and taste the liquid as it cooks to see if you’d like more sweetener. (Optional:  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon for each 2 cups rhubarb.)  You can also make rhubarb sauce. Just continue to cook until the rhubarb is mushy and mash with a potato masher.

Since Colorado springs are long and complicated–often punctuated by big snow or ice storms–our spring crops come later than in the rest of the country; rhubarb and other true spring happinesses are only now showing up. Asparagus is at the market now late in May, and gorgeous birds, like this Western Tanager in my side yard, are now making nests or filling up before flying on…

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If you’re still into spring or just have some rhubarb (I notice the newest food magazines are all summery-grilling issues), enjoy a little crisp. There might not exist a faster baked dessert for your inner pie-lover:

RHUBARB-RASPBERRY ALMOND CRISP

6 servings

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 While vegetable gardening isn’t exactly possible up here on the mesa with our herd of daily deer, there are places in which things do grow. My Colorado rhubarb plant died while we lived in Saint Paul, so this crisp  is made from rhubarb bought at the store.  The cashier says, “Is this chard?”  I’ll plant a new patch this fall.

  • 4 cups trimmed rhubarb cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups raspberries (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup each: all-purpose unbleached white flour, brown sugar, and granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter
  • Ice cream or whipped cream for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in the center of the oven.

To an ungreased 2-quart, oblong baking dish, add the rhubarb, raspberries, salt, and almond extract; toss. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together  the flours, sugars, cinnamon, and almonds.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until well combined — big crumbs — using a pastry cutter, your fingers, two knives, or pulsing slowly in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pour out the flour mixture on top of the rhubarb and raspberry mixture, spreading evenly.

Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 40-50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Store totally cooled leftovers tightly wrapped on the counter for 2 days and then in the fridge for another 2 days. (Basic fruit desserts without cream or eggs needn’t be refrigerated. They are best warm or at room temperature.)

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Truth in Recipes:  The basic idea and proportions for my crisp came from an old ’70’s BETTY CROCKER cookbook, which appears periodically as a much-loved guest in my blog. I hope you’ve just such a good old dependable cookbook in your kitchen arsenal.  I’ve jacked the basic crisp up with the berries, the almonds and almond extract, and changed both the kind of sugar and amount called for. Perhaps the recipe is nearly mine by now, but I’m happy to share credit with Betty any day.

TWO-DOG KITCHEN

Just a no reason shot of “the babies,” Tucker and Rosie, whom we often call “Miss Bo-Bo,” as she’s just a tad nutty about running from window to window announcing every person, dog, cat, bird, and bunny that just might be visiting our yard while I bake or nurse a bad cold. I live with a pocketful of kibble trying to persuade her to act otherwise. Exhale.

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Sing a new song; sweeten up a little rhubarb today,

Alyce

Sour Cream-Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel-What to Do on a Snowy Day

Sour Cream-Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel-What to Do on a Snowy Day

%0A EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  Ok, now on to the pie…

I make this apple pie for special people. Special times. I make it when I have a little extra time to think and bake.  It’s not simple. I can never remember exactly how to make it. I have two recipes and I never use either one.  I use a combination of the two with my own little caveats including a crust I’ve come up with over the years. I think I might have actually documented it now.  Make it and let me know. Continue reading “Sour Cream-Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel-What to Do on a Snowy Day”