Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Peach and Almond Custard Pie

For me, summer means peach everything. They're my favorite fruit to bake with and my favorite thing to bake is pie. I had some peaches in the crisper drawer and my go-to peach dessert, my mom's peach pie, on my mind...and then my husband and I started wondering what other types of peach pies there were that I hadn't tried yet.

The answer to that, my friends, is peach custard pie. And it is just as amazing as it sounds. Flaky pastry, juicy peaches, a custard spiked with almond extract, because I just can't have a peach pie without almond. So in that respect it tastes quite a bit like the pie I talked about here years ago, but custardy! I think it might be a new favorite here. 

The original recipe calls for thyme in the custard and cinnamon in the crust. I love them both separately, but together? I'll definitely be trying this one in the future; I'm intrigued by the combination. But for this pie, I wanted the familiar pairing of peach and almond. It was simple and delicious.

The only other change I would make is to cut the peaches in smaller, bite-size pieces. The slices look beautiful, but they weren't very easy to eat. My pie took a whole lot longer to bake than the recipe called for, but my crust didn't burn and the custard didn't separate, so although I was worried, there was no reason to be. It turned out perfectly!

Peach and Almond Custard Pie
makes 1 9" pie
A side note about the crust: I happened to have exactly 1/4 cup buttermilk in my refrigerator to make this, but if you don't have any on hand, use whatever crust you are comfortable with, or the crust recipe included in my previous peach pie post. This was delicious and fairly easy to work with for an all butter pastry, but I'm not sure I would have known there was buttermilk in it if I didn't know about it already.

1/2 c. butter, cubed
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1/4 c. buttermilk

2 eggs
1 1/4 c. milk (I used half and half)
3 T. flour
1/4 t. almond extract
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
3 c. sliced (or chopped) peaches

For pastry: Combine flour, salt and sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender until crumbly. Slowly add buttermilk, tossing with spoon after each addition, until dough comes together. ( I didn't even need the whole 1/4 cup, maybe about half of that.) Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 1 hour. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface to 1/4" thickness. Roll dough onto rolling pin and transfer to pie plate. Fold edges under and crimp as desired. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, flour, extract, sugars and salt until smooth. Place peaches in crust and pour custard over. Place on baking sheet and bake 40 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes (that's really how long my pie was in the oven before the custard finally looked set. I was a little nervous...) or until pie is only slightly jiggly in center and feels firm to touch. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving. Cover and chill if you don't eat it all in one sitting. (We were tempted.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Greek Salad with Egg and Greens

I've missed blogging. I'm ready to get over the reasons I gave myself to stay away (not happy with my photography, my lack of cute props, my writer's block, my lack of original recipes....). I miss making great food and sharing what I've learned and created here with whoever might drop in. I'm welcoming myself back and welcoming you, as well. Let's talk about some food!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Quinoa, Spinach and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing

Summer is nearly here. It's just around the corner (or around the weekend...) and I can't wait to get the garden planted and fire up the grill for the first time. The baby vegetable plants and herbs are getting put in the ground today. Just a few months until we get jewel-bright tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for salads and snacking. Until then, I decided to make this salad with baby heirloom tomatoes we found at a little grocery near us. It has a big produce section, a deli and tons of bulk foods.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chili with Sausage and Jalapeno

It feels like it's time. Time for soup making and bread baking and more specifically.... time to try more chili recipes. There are so many recipes out there for chili. They can be 38-ingredient-long labors of love or simple throw-it-in-the-pot kind of recipes. This was one of the straight-forward, classic tomato sauce and cumin types, but with sweet Italian sausage added for a boost of meaty flavor and fresh jalapenos to turn up the heat.

 We both loved this bowl of chili. It's nice and thick (perfect for scooping into a tortilla chip) and has just the right amount of heat....for me, anyway. Someone may have doused his serving with hot sauce....There aren't any beans in this version and we really didn't miss them. I loved the green peppers and the fresh spiciness that the jalapenos added. We may have found  our new favorite chili recipe...until I make the next one on my list, anyway. This is a great "classic" chili, perfect for people like my dad, for instance, who just want the basics. No frills, no experiments, no surprises. Just chili. And that was exactly what I wanted for dinner.

Chili with Sausage and Jalapeno
serves 8
from Bon Appetit

4 T. olive oil, divided
1 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 lb. Italian sweet sausages, casings removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes in puree
3 T. chili powder
2 T. cumin
2 T. light brown sugar, packed
1 T. ground black pepper
2 t. dried oregano
2 t. dried basil
pinch cayenne pepper
2 T. lime juice (optional- I left this out; my tomatoes seemed plenty acidic already)
Hot pepper sauce
Grated Monterey Jack cheese
Chopped red onion
Sour cream

Heat 2 T. oil in heavy large pot over hight heat. Add beef and sausage; cook until brown, breaking up with a spoon, about 8 minutes. Transfer meat to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add remaining oil to pot. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapenos and bay leaves. Cook until vegetables are soft, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Return meat to pot. Mix in tomatoes and next 7 ingredients. Simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in lime juice. Season with salt. Serve in bowls, passing condiments on the side.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blueberry Oat Scones

It's high time I started baking again. I love it, but unfortunately, I have a hard time sharing. Luckily, my mom and dad were here for a visit and helped give these scones a good home. I love this recipe for a number of reasons....

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Carrot-Ginger Soup and Scallion Meatballs with Snow Peas and Shiitakes

It's been a while since I've made something that made me this happy. I'm not sure whether it was just the taste, or if it was the satisfaction of making a meal that my husband raved over, or if it was the knowledge of time well-spent on a Saturday night, or a combination of all of these. But just know that every slice of the knife, every second spent reducing the sauce, every penny spent on ingredients-- it's all worth it. This is a comforting, and yet exhilarating, combination of flavors and textures. You really do need to try these recipes. They have to be experienced to be believed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bananas Foster Oatmeal

Maybe this is how blogging is supposed to be. I took this picture on the spur of  the moment, after I took one bite, looked down and thought, " That's beautiful." So I decided to post it and share my creation with you. It started out as banana nut oatmeal, which I had made before and my husband loved. As it's his birthday today, I wanted to create something extra special for him and bananas foster oatmeal was born.

Up until now, I've posted recipes that I thought would be delicious, or would take a good picture. I would spend days, and even weeks and months trying to find the perfect recipe. And nothing would get posted.  I have a lot less time these days to cook since I've started working two jobs, so that's affected my blogging/cooking/baking routine, too. But even more than that, I would try to plan, to perfect the dish and the plating and photography in my head so I would have something "blog worthy". But I'm going to try to be more organic in my posts, sharing what I make because it's something I think everyone needs to have in their lives. This is one of those things. It's a decadent bowl-- definitely something for special occasions and it's quite possibly the most elegant way to dress up your breakfast ( or brunch, if you're like us and wait until 12:30 to think about eating on a Sunday). I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Bananas Foster Oatmeal
serves 2-4

3 c. water
1/2 t. salt
1 c. stone-ground oats (we love Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted
3 T. butter, divided
2 ripe bananas, sliced at an angle
scant 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
grated nutmeg
milk/ cream, to taste

Bring water and salt to a boil in medium saucepan. Add oats slowly, whisking to prevent clumps. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 2 T. butter in pan. When foam subsides, add bananas and cook 3-4 minutes and turn over. They should be softened and warmed through, but not mushy. Add brown sugar, pinch of salt, cinnamon and a few gratings of nutmeg; stir gently to melt the sugar, being careful not to mash bananas. Cook 3-4 minutes longer, stirring gently, then add 1 T. butter and continue to stir until melted and smooth. When oatmeal is cooked, taste for seasoning. I like to add a little more salt and a bit of sugar to bring out the flavor of the oats. Stir in milk or cream to taste ( a creamy oatmeal will balance the sweetness of the topping). If you like, stir in about half of the caramel from the bananas, leaving just enough to coat them and some extra for drizzling. Portion oatmeal into bowls and top with bananas, caramel sauce and toasted walnuts.