Bring on September – Sweet Inspiration No. 4

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I hope you had a nice Labor Day! These past couple weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind with work and some leisure travel. B and I were actually in Napa during the earthquake…kind of terrifying. Excluding “napaquake”, the trip was just what I needed to relax and recharge. (Especially because it involved the above (insert dramatic pause) chocolate-dipped salted caramel macaron from Bouchon Bakery…you guys…omg.

Given all of the recent travel, I haven’t been baking up as many treats (but I still have some coming this week), so we are going to do the round-up out of order this week. Given that we are entering the best part of summer (in my mind), which is to say the part that is about to be fall, some of these recipes are just begging to be made in order to soak up the last bits of the delicious summer bounty.

Weeknight Cobbler for Two from Joy the Baker
Good-NESS this looks delicious. Plus, it’s individualized, which means I can’t say that I’m making dessert and that I will “bring it in to work”, but really just hoard it all myself.

No-Bake PBJ Cheesecakes from Sugar and Cloth
For those that still don’t want to turn on the oven, but are looking for something tasty (and a little nostalgic), this might fit the bill.

Mojito Ice Cubes also from Sugar and Cloth by way of Lulus
Because porch-sipping and weekend day drinking don’t only happen in the summer (Plus, gives you the taste of a mojito without the alcohol, if that’s your jam)

Caramel Strawberry and Brie Toasts from Lady and Pups
Can we all just agree that brunch should be allowed everyday and that this should always be served?

Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary from Food in Jars
Canning and preserving was one thing that I really wanted to get into this summer, but still haven’t. Maybe it’s going to be on my agenda for the weekend because I want to do is spread these preserves on toast with some really good, really fresh goat cheese. Yum!

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Summer Fruit Pie

So this week has been a little crazy to say the least! I actually sprained my ankle this week on my way to work and am now dealing with the unfortunate items that are crutches. Hoping to be up on my feet and actually walking soon (and then hopefully training for my Thanksgiving 8K).

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In the meantime, at least we have pie. And not just any pie, but the kind of pie that makes the best use of the huge bounty of ripe juicy summer fruits at this time of year. I made this pie with cherries, blueberries, strawberries and the couple plums I found in my fridge, but use what you have on hand. I used a new pie crust recipe that I didn’t like as much, so I’m going to recommend my usual pie crust. Let me know what you think.

For methodology on working with pie crust, check out Smitten Kitchen here, here, and here. The key is to keep the dough cold so that the butter melts in the oven and not on the counter. Then you get flaky pies.

Summer Fruit Pie adapted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon

Crust (for a double crust pie)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
1/4 – 1/2 cup water, very cold (I pour 1 cup and add ice while I work, then measure 1/4 – 1/2 cup from it when I need it)

Filling
7 cups mixed fruit
3/4 cup sugar, adjusted to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons Pie Dust
1 egg
Raw Sugar (optional)

Pie Dust
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar

To make the crust, put the flour, sugar, and salt into a medium bowl and mix together. Add the cold, cubed butter to the dough and mix by hand until the bits of butter are about pea-sized and the dough looks like course crumbs. Slowly add the water over the dough and continue to incorporate until the dough just comes together. If at any point, the butter starts to melt too much, put the mixture in the fridge to cool. Form into 2 equal disks and wrap in plastic and place in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Put 3 cups of the fruit and the 3/4 cup sugar into a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit softens and releases some juice, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining berries and toss. Taste for sweetness; add more sugar if needed. Stir in the melted butter, lemon zest, and cornstarch and let cool to room temperature.

Remove one disk of dough from the fridge and roll-out on a cool, floured surface, rolling into a 13-inch circle. Rotate the dough every roll 2 to 3 inches. Once the dough is the correct size, roll the dough up onto the rolling pin and then unroll into a 9-inch pie pan. Gently press the dough into the pan and sides, removing any air pockets. Trim any excess dough. Chill the crust for at least 15 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and center the rack in the oven. Cover the bottom of the crust with pie dust (created by whisking or sifting the flour and sugar together). Fill the pie with the fruit filling, being careful not to overfill. Roll-out the second disk of dough (if using both crusts). You can cover the pie entirely, but be sure to cut vents in the top crust, or you can create a lattice pattern by interweaving pieces of dough. I find it easiest to start with the top and interweave one row at a time. Be sure to work quickly. (the Smitten Kitchen links above have good advice on lattices). Crimp the crusts together and brush the top with a beaten egg and raw sugar (if using).

Place pie on a baking sheet (to catch any fruit spillage) and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Cover the edges of the crust with a pie ring or with foil and continue cooking for another 25-30 minutes until the visible crust is golden brown. Once the crust is golden brown with no translucent areas, remove the pie ring or foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rake to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Sweet Inspiration – No. 3

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What do you all have on tap for the weekend? That picture is what I have planned for my weekend. Porch and rooftop sitting with some wine or “day punch” (aka adult juice aka wine spritzer, but I like calling it day punch…it makes me feel better). These treats also caught my eye…

Red Fruit Galettes from Apt 2B Baking Co – I mean first off, these photos are straight up stunning. But then I was staring at them and realized (1) I was salivating and (2) that I was having a daydream about host a lovely dinner party in a Parisian flat where at the end of the party I walk into the room holding 2 of these galettes #swoon

Blackberry Thyme Muffins from The Faux Martha  – I.LOVE.BLACKBERRIES. full stop. Berry season is in full swing and these look so delicious. Plus, I love bringing in herbs that typically are used in savory dishes to let them shine in something sweet. I’m making these muffins when we get blackberries

Florentines from Fifteen Spatulas – Confession: I love cookies. Oh, you already knew that? Phew, then let’s make these. I love florentines. they are so delicate and caramel-y and this version is one that i’m aching to try (and try and try and not share and eat them all before you know it)

Deviled Eggs from Joy the Baker – Ok, Ok, so deviled eggs aren’t really “baking”. And they don’t use sugar or butter (ooo could we make them sweet?), but I can totally relate to Joy’s thoughts on deviled eggs and it totally has me dying to whip up another batch. Now I just need to find a party to take them to…

Popsicles from Lady and Pups and from the Faux Martha (twice in 1 round-up!) – I am so happy that popsicles are making a come back. If I had any room in my freezer right now, I would be running out to the nearest place that sells a popsicle mold (how is it that I don’t already have one, not sure?!) and just spending the whole weekend making popsicles of a grown-up variety…boy, I love summer

Have a great weekend!!