Monday, October 4, 2010

Peaches and Cream Pie

This is actually the only picture of the recipe that I have. You’re going to have to excuse me, I’d never made piecrust in my life before and I was quite stressed out about the entire thing. Before I knew it, I had the pie in the oven and nary a picture in sight. You think I would have learned my lesson from that and at least taken a picture of it when it was sliced. Sorry all, but if you’re looking for a blogger who has any type of common sense, you’re reading the wrong blog.

I swear I still make tasty baked goods however. And apparently, despite my fear of popping oil and aversion to touching raw meat with my bare hands, I’m a pretty decent cook. Or so my family says. They could just be lying to me. I’d like to think they’re not.

Anyways, back to this pie. I made this pie while I was in DC with the rest of my family helping Helen move. Another reason why it doesn’t have any pictures of it sliced is because it disappeared too quickly. So quickly that I was planning on saving a slice for my college roommate that there was none left when I wanted to pack up a slice into Tupperware.

Not that I’m exactly complaining. My roommate sort of did. She loves peaches. But I suppose anybody would love peaches when they’re baked like this. Warm, cinnamon, with a creamy and smooth custard enveloping them. Encased of course by a rich, flaky, buttery crust. It makes me wish that I had a slice sitting in front of me right now.

Alas, this pie was made a month ago. Back when I wasn’t back at school yet and had tons of time to just stand at a counter and roll, and fold, and roll.

Next recipe I promise will be one done in my brand new kitchen (well new to me but technically old since I’m only renting the place) in my quaint little college town! You’ll finally get to see how a real college student foodie eats and cooks in little time and even less kitchen tools!

For now however, I leave you with something even better than prepackaged curries, frozen dumplings, and the occasional homemade goodie – peaches and cream pie.

peaches and cream pie

Pie is definitely one of my favorite desserts. There’s something so quintessentially American about it that it just seems to make you feel happy and cozy eating it. This recipe actually comes together very quickly once you have the dough made – the filling is ridiculously simple. This was my first time making a lattice crust and I think it shows. Next time, I would make the crust thinner and the little pieces for the lattice thinner also. All in all though, I think this recipe proves that if you are a piecrust novice, you have nothing to fear. Sure, there’ll be some kinks to work through, but at the end of the day, you’ll have pie. And that’s something worth smiling about.

Also, here is a great handy dandy step by step (with pictures!!!) guide on how to make a lattice:

Pie crust recipe from smitten kitchen and filling recipe from baked and wired



2 ½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter


5 fresh peaches, peeled and each cut into 6 slices
¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
½ cup heavy cream
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk – save the white for pie assembly!
Cinnamon to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees f.


Fill a liquid measuring cup with about one cup of water or so and then add in a few ice cubes. Put aside. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 ½ cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut up the butter into ½ inch cubes.

Spring the butter cubes over the flour and work it into the dough. I used a fork here because as a poor college student, I have not yet invested in a $10-$15 gadget – I use that money on soy chair lattes. If you have one, do use it. A fork works just fine however, or at least it did for me. Continue to work through it, redistributing and stuff until everything has been worked upon evenly. Once the butter pieces are about the size of small peas, stop – despite its ununiformity.

Then drizzle in about half of your water into this mixture. Gather the dough together with a spatula of some sort. I ended up adding a bit more water until it all sort of came together. Make sure to add the water slowly and as needed though. Then gather into your hands and make sure it all sticks together including the leftover lumps. I had to squish it a round a bit to get it to all stick together - remember, add water when you feel like it is not sufficiently sticky, but not too much!

Divide the dough in half, wrap in saran wrap and flatten them into discs. Not too flat though. Set aside into the fridge for at least one hour. It would be better at two though!


Whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, cream, whole egg, and egg yolk. Told you - way easy.


Roll out one pack of the dough so that it fits into your pie pan.

Arrange the peaches in the crust. Pour the cream mixture over the peaches until it is almost to the top of the crust. Not all of the liquid may be needed. Then sprinkle with cinnamon!

Arrange the lattice according to that handy dandy guide I gave above.

Stick into oven for one hour and wait for tasty deliciousness on a fork. Here you can choose to serve it either with ice cream or without. In case you couldn't tell by my last post, I am a huge fan of ice cream over warm desserts.

Peach and Blueberry Crumble

This is about 2 months late... I figured we needed a little taste of summer in the midst of this new cold weather, and hey, better late than never right?

I absolutely adore anything that has some type of crumble or crumb topping on it. Muffins, dutch apple pie, apple betties, shortcake - I will eat all of it. I feel like I could only eat the crumble. In fact, sometimes I want to only eat the crumble. If I'm going to be perfectly honest with you all, I actually usually do just eat the crumble...

It's quite difficult for me to ever find a pasty or dessert that I will consume the entirety of. I'm the type of person that likes certain components of a dessert. I don't simply stick the entire morsel or bite into my mouth, I poke around at it a bit. Eat around the stuff that I'm not too fond of and devour all the good parts. Nobody really likes sharing desserts with me needless to say... Granted, I get around to eating the rest of the not quite as tasty stuff, but it takes a bit of prodding.

Towards the end of summer, my house was overflowing with white peaches. My dad loves planting and finally struck the gardening jackpot when he managed to plant this white peach tree that yields a huge amount of bounty every year. By late August, my kitchen table is filled with peaches. This year, instead of simply giving away what we couldn't eat before it went bad, I decided to turn it into a fruit crumble.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think I may have finally learned how to eat the entire dessert rather than just the topping. Peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, zest, and just a hint of cinnamon all piled high into little ramekins. This here is the percent accompaniment to that buttery and crunchy goodness we like to call crumble.

peach and blueberry crumble
I took the crumble recipe from Smitten Kitchen and the peach/blueberry filling from Ina Garten

Try to use the freshest and juiciest peaches that you can find. It doesn't matter how big they are, as long as they are soft and sweet smelling. I love to pair my crumble with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, but hey, to each his own. This is delightful with or with out the ice cream.


1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar [I used Sugar in the Raw]
zest from one lemon
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

2 pounds peaches (about 6 to 8) - cut into slices
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
a teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 pint (1 cup) fresh blueberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f.

To make the topping, combine all ingredients into a bowl. Mix with your fingers until small and large clumps begin to form. Set aside.

To make the filling, combine the peaches, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and flour into a bowl. Toss with your hands until well combined. Add in the blueberries and mix gently. Allow the mixture to rest for about 5 minutes.

Scoop into ramekins.

Top with the crumble.

Then place ramekins onto either a sheet pan or a larger baking pan - place into oven.

Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and the filling is bubbly.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Feel free to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if wanted! Enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crunchy Nectarine Salad

The first ever edible creation that I made were sugar cookies when I was in the 6th grade. Mind you, I had helped Helen bake before, but this was my very first, my very own lone endeavor in the kitchen. I can't quite remember how they tasted but I do remember the care that I took measuring out the ingredients. Flour was carefully scooped in to cups and then leveled off with a butter knife and vanilla was carefully poured into a teaspoon. There was almost something calming to the whole process of measuring and stirring and scooping. Ever since then, I have been an absolute stickler for following recipes to a T. Needless to say, I tend to panic when something goes wrong.

Helen on the other hand, is the exact opposite. If there's one thing that she hates the most, it's measuring. And if there's one thing that's most essential to baking - it's measuring. Which is why generally, she tends to be the savory cook and I the sweets baker. It's a system that's worked pretty well. After all, she could care less for actually using a measuring cup and I'm afraid of the stove top and popping oil.

During a trip over to DC during my Spring Break however, she threw me for a loop. She offered to make a pasta dish and told me to put together a salad with just her pantry ingredients. Pantry ingredients? No recipe? I can do it. Right?

Something went wrong. I panicked. Helen calmed me. I took a deep breath. And then I whisked and I chopped. Everything slowly came together. I breathed.

By the time we sat down to eat and I took a bite of my salad, I think that I started to learn a bit more towards Helen's approach to cooking. Recipes and measuring spoons may not be all that they're cracked up to be - not when you can have crunchy nectarine slices marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing over a bed of crisp butter lettuce.

Who knows, maybe next time Helen will actually break out the measuring cups when she's baking. For now however, we can continue to eat impromptu salads.

Crunchy Peach Salad

This recipe is essentially the result to under ripe nectarines and panic in the kitchen. Therefore, while it is extremely simple, we may not have discovered it had I not panicked. Make sure that when you are buying nectarines/peaches (because either will work here) they are still firm to the touch. The best part about this salad is the peaches that have been marinated in balsamic vinegar, we found ourselves snacking on the peaches even before they had been placed into the salad... While Helen's kitchen was lacking in parmesan, we both agreed as we were eating that a couple grates of it would have been a perfect complement. Also, while we used butter lettuce, we think that you could definitely substitue it with other leafy greens that are similar in texture.


1/2 head of boston lettuce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 firm nectarines or peaches
salt and pepper to taste


Wash your lettuce thoroughly and then spin dry, place into a large bowl

Slice your nectarine as thinly as possible

To make the dressing, combine the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste

Put nectarine slices into dressing, make sure that all of the slices are submerged, marinate for at least half an hour to an hour - this is the key step so make sure to do this!!!

Toss the salad with dressing and nectarines when ready to serve