Tag Archives: baking

Stone fruit/blueberry pie

I’m eating the last slice of this as I type. Delicious. I’ve had a string of crust-related pie failures recently — too much experimenting/trying to go too fast – so it was nice to have one turn out this nicely.

The last time I baked, it was cupcakes and they took approximately one million hours to complete. Conclusive evidence that pie is better than cake – it’s way easier to make, tastes better and doesn’t take very long.

For this crust, I stuck with what I know: a simple, all butter crust. This is for a double crust pie:

  • 2 sticks of butter, really cold. I think this crust turned out so great because I got the butter super cold and then was just really patient with how long it took to break it up into the flour.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups of flour.
  • 1 cup of cold water.

To make it just do the following:

  • Sift the flour into a big bowl. Mix it with the sugar and salt.
  • Mix in the cold butter with your hands. Keep rubbing it into the dry mix until it’s really small – the size of a pea.
  • Mix in half the cold water. Knead the dough together with your hands. Mix in the rest of the water slowly, pulling the dough up from the bottom.
  • Form two balls from the dough. Squish into disks, wrap in was paper and put in the fridge for an hour.

This is what my kitchen looks like during the rolling of the dough. (Yes, that power outlet is installed upside down. That’s pretty much how the shack I live in rolls.)

The filling is also super easy:

  • Cut up a bunch (like four or five) of nectarines. Cut up the same number of apricots. Throw them in a bowl.
  • Throw four cups of blueberries in there too.
  • Mix with about a cup of agave syrup.
  • Mix with 1/4 cups of flour to thicken the fruit so it’s not all watery and gross.

Roll out the shell dough, transfer it to the pie tin. It was hot in my kitchen so I stuck the shell in the freezer for five minutes to make the dough easier to shape and more likely to hold up under two pounds of fruit. It was a good call.

I love how pretty a fruit pie looks right before you put the top crust on.

Then, on goes the top crust and the whole thing went into an oven pre-heated at 350-degrees for an hour. After 40 minutes, I turned the heat up to 400-degrees.

Must have turned out pretty good because Oliver won’t stop talking about it. It lasted us about three days and, surprisingly for a fruit pie, held up without getting mushy. Definitely a prize winner – at least relative to recent pie disasters that have come out of our kitchen.

 

 

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What should I turn these babies in to?

Maybe it’s because I’ve been too sick to run (really – tried it Saturday, banged out five miles.. couldn’t really breathe for 4.5 of them) but I’m feeling really bleak about winter coming.

I think it’s because I had to wear tights to work this morning – I was hoping to last until November without them. Last night I also did the ceremonial putting away of the summer clothes. (Along with the ceremonial boxing up of things to give to my sister.) Both activities come with a ceremonial mess:

Grim.

To cheer myself up I made pumpkin puree following this recipe from No Meat Athlete – it’ll probably turn into a pie at some point this Saturday. I’m trying to remind myself to revel in what is great about fall and try not to think about my poor pasty legs being shoved into black tights for the next 6 months. If nothing else I can take pleasure in planting spring flowers which will come out to cheer me up just when I’m sure I can’t take another second of winter.

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Something new and not really sweet.

I’m not really a fan of Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side? Barf.) but I’m now definitely a fan of her sister. Gesine Bullock-Prado is a marathoner and baker who’s Long-Run Cake was recently featured in Runner’s World. Even though it’s not my usual sweet – I’m on team pie, obviously – I gave it a try this weekend. I really like how it turned out, though it’s not very sweet at all. It’s kind of like a homemade Cliff Bar. Next time I think I’ll add dates to sweeten it up a bit without adding sugar.

Ingredients for Long Run Cake: 1 cup apple sauce, 1 can black beans, 1.5 cups flour (I used whole wheat), 1 cup cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup agave syrup, 2 bananas (I used these instead of eggs, because that's what I'm into right now), 1/4 cup coffee, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

The steps are pretty simple too:

  • Blend the apple sauce and black beans in a food processor. (Note: I do not have a food processor so I had to use a weird combination of a milk-shake mixer that I have and my hands.)

This is called adventures in not having a food processor.

  • In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt
  • With an electric mixer, (or milkshake mixer if you’re me) whip together the bananas and agave. Then, mix in the coffee.
  • Add in beans and apple sauce. Then add in the flour/cocoa mix and beat them together until it’s all smooth.
  • Pour into bread pan and bake until cake springs back when poked. (In my oven this took 35 minutes, the recipe from the magazine said 25.)

The cake definitely lives up to its name. I ate it for breakfast this morning to get ready for my Sunday long run and it gave me enough energy to both run and do five epic loads of laundry. Not bad.

Breakfast. (Bad habit of eating it in bed on Sunday mornings...)

 

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I have a new favorite quote, stolen from my friend Amy, who stole it from The Splendid Table, who stole it from Carl Sagan:

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” — Carl Sagan

I do feel like master of the universe in the pie kitchen sometimes.....

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On the run

I totally meant to bake and blog this weekend, but then the sun came out and the outside was all “come hang out” and I had to say “ok.”

I also meant to run and blog, but then I started reading The Hunger Games on Saturday afternoon and I couldn’t stop. I still ran but only to avoid guilt, and it was joyless because all I could do was wonder what was happening in the book. I read all three in the span of like 10 hours.

I will say that thanks to The Hunger Games, I got faster this weekend. I shaved 30 seconds off my usual pace-per-mile and am officially in the sub-10 minute club. So… I guess next time I need to get faster, I need to find a series of books that I can’t/won’t put down.

Suggestions?

This coming weekend will be a pie-a-palooza as I’m signed up to bake something like four or five pies for a cousin’s reunion we’re having in Tucson so I expect to have something neat to show you by Saturday.

I’m also riding a major anxiety wave this week which is making it hard to concentrate or shape actual thoughts worth reading. My brain feels… itchy? I think that’s the word I’m looking for. This is actually the main reason I run — to make my brain less itchy — and I have a half-formed post I want to write about it, but will have to wait until I’m a bit more focused.

I’ll leave you with my current favorite song to run to:

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Pizza, Pizza

This is my second time making this pastry — the first time I liked it so much Oliver and I devoured it before I could even snap a photo. I’m glad I took a week to think about how to make this version turn out even better because it gave me the chance to think about how to improve some of the details (hello, agave “sauce”) and get a little better at hand molding the crust. This is another one that’s quasi-improvised — the crust is from my pie cookbook, but the topping I made up because once again Ken Haedrich and I disagree on the amount of sugar you need to add to fruit to make it taste good. (Hint: none.)

This fruit pizza is SUPER easy to make and would be perfect to bring to a summer BBQ to impress your friends with almost no effort.

I wish you could smell this as well as see it right now. It seriously smells SO good. Can't wait to eat.

I started baking this after a day out with Oliver that ended in happy hour, so I got a little loopy with the pictures…enjoy!

Yeasted Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 5 tablespoons of cold butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Step 1: Mix the yeast and warm water — stir quickly with a fork — let it sit for 5 minutes

Step 2: Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl and add the butter. Mush it together until the butter is pea sized.

I know you all know how to sift flour, but I had to put this in because don't I look like Nanny from Muppet Babies?!

 

Step 3: Mix the egg yolk into the yeast water. It will look really gross. See?

All I could think here was how I used to play Truth or Dare with my middle school friends and we would mix together the nastiest possible drinks and dare each other to drink them. Yeast and egg water would have been a GREAT and disgusting dare.

Step 4: Mix the egg-yeast-water in with the flour. It is really sticky. I was not feeling it, but I’m anti-food processor for making pie crust and I wasn’t gonna give in today.

You could use this exact mix at your next Halloween haunted house right next to the peeled grapes that represent eyeballs. It feels gross, but it tastes good.

Step 5: Roll it in a ball, put it in a bowl, cover with wax paper and let it rise someplace warm for an hour.

Step 6: After an hour roll it out onto wax paper. It’s going to be sticky so I recommend being liberal with the amount of flour you cover the wax paper and your rolling pin with. Try to keep it the same thickness.  Once your crust is rolled out turn it over onto a greased cookie sheet and peel the paper off.

Step 7: Mold the edges of the crust into a free standing crust, like a pizza. I find this is easiest to accomplish by rolling it up then pinching it into the shape you want. Stick the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes. This make it a little bit sturdier before you put the fruit in it.

Step 8: Once you’re done making the filling, take the crust out of the freezer and brush it with agave (or honey if you want) syrup, then arrange the filling on top.

Speaking of the filling… I feel silly even making an ingredients list or telling you what steps to take because you literally just cut up some fruit that you like and let it juice in a bowl for a while. I decided to use peaches, strawberries and blueberries.

I was really happy with the strawberries I found -- they were actually ripe for once. CAN'T WAIT for it to really be summer berry season.

Step 9: After you’ve arranged your fruit as artfully as you can, drizzle more agave (or honey) on top and put in the oven (preheated to 400 degrees) for 15 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 375 and rotate your pizza 180 degrees to help it cook evenly. Let it cook another 10 minutes before taking it out.

Step 10: Let it cool about 20 minutes, heap some peaches and cream ice cream on top and pig out!

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Megan’s Mango-Berry-Coconut Lazy Person’s Pie

Even Nacho liked it

I’ve been procrastinating posting about this pie for a few days, but now I’m procrastinating something else (which is what happens when I start working at 7 a.m. By noon, I’m sure that I “deserve” a break) so here we go.

Saturday I was the laziest person who ever lazed about. I slept in until noon and then watched four episodes in a row of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before even getting up to brush my teeth. I really needed the sleep and rest, but by the time early evening rolled around I was feeling mighty gross so to reclaim a shred of self esteem I went for a run and then decided I needed to bake. Sometimes when I spend all day doing nothing it makes me feel better to produce something tangible so that I can say the day wasn’t a total waste.

So this pie was special for three reasons. One: it made me feel less lazy and lame. Two: I made up the recipe on my own (except the crust). Three: It turned out sooooooooooo good. Check it out:

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