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Summer Peach Pie

29 Aug

A double-crusted summer peach pie. Filled with slippery peaches and spiced with a cozy combination of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

There was no better way to spend my time stuck inside this rainy weekend than to bake a pie.

I baked this summer peach pie. I bought Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. I put the two together on a plate. I licked the plate clean.

Today is my dad’s birthday. Happy birthday, Pops! I love you. I wish you could eat this pie that I made. I am beginning to master the art of writing “Happy Birthday” in chocolate on a plate. This is what I do at work. I write on plates with chocolate. My hand is still a little shaky, so no plate-writing photos yet.

When it comes to pie, I am a big fan of the all-butter crust. Don’t bother with shortening or any other fats. Butter. I always have it on-hand. Butter. Use it. Cube it. Chill it. Love it.

For the filling, I used cornstarch to thicken the fruit mixture. In the past I have also used quick-cooking tapioca (see: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie). The cornstarch worked great for the peaches-they were still super juicy and had just the right amount of viscosity.

For the crust, a small amount of vinegar (or any strong acid) is added to help keep that crust nice and flaky, just the way it should be.

Summer Peach Pie

I heart JOY! she has beautiful descriptions and photos of the step-by-step process

For the Crust:

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ice cold water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For the Filling:

about 3 pounds ripe peaches (I used about 6 peaches)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

scant 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

2 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for topping crust before baking

To make the crust, the first thing I do is cube my butter and stick it in the freezer. I also drop a few ice cubes in a glass of water and set it aside. Next, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.  Take your cold, cubed butter out of the freezer and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture.  Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Measure out the ice cold water and stir it together with the vinegar.   Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the water and vinegar mixture.  Use a fork to bring to dough together.  Try to moisten all of the flour bits.  On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture.  It will be moist and shaggy.  That’s perfect.  Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two disks.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, wash and slice peaches and put them in a medium bowl (I just used the same bowl that I made the crust in).  In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, spices, flour, and cornstarch.  Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit, and gently toss together with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Place bowl of fruit in the fridge to rest while you roll the crust out.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a rack in the center of the oven, and place a baking sheet on the lower rack, just below where you’re going to place the pie.  This will catch any pie drippings without making a mess of your oven.

Remove one of the pie dough disks from the fridge.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into about a 13-inch round.  Roll the dough a few strokes, then use your fingers to move the emerging circle around the floured surface.  This ensures that the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface.  The circle won’t be perfect, that’s ok.  Try not to get any tears in the rolled out dough, but if you do, they can be patched together with extra dough.    When you roll the dough and you can see it start springing back, that means that the butter is warming and the crust shouldn’t be rolled out anymore.  Gently lift the 13-inch round from the floured surface and center in the 9-inch baking dish.  Place in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.

Roll out the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, moving the dough across the floured surface every once in a while, and creating a roughly 13-inch circle.  Remove the bottom crust and fruit filling from the fridge.  Gently pour the fruit filling into the pie dish.  Carefully remove the top crust from the work surface and drape over the fruit in the pie dish.  With a small knife, trim the crust, leaving about 3/4-inch overhang.  With your fingers press the top and bottom crusts together and fold under.  Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough.  Cut five small slits in the top of the crust so the juices and steam can vent.  Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place pie in the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven heat to 375 and bake for 45 to 55 more minutes.  Remove from the oven when crust is browned and golden, and the juices are bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before serving.  Place covered in the fridge to store.  Pie lasts up to 3 or 4 days.

Rustic Almond Plum Galette + Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

2 Aug

Stone fruit is in full swing. Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, pluots, apriums, and all sorts of cross breeds like you couldn’t imagine!

I make galettes every summer. A galette is supposed to be rustic, so I don’t feel guilty if the dough is not perfectly and evenly crimped. Here is a quick look back at some sweet galettes that I have made in the past:

Nectarine Galette

(just follow this recipe but use nectarines instead of plums and nix the lemon zest)

Summer Peach and Blueberry Galette with Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Fresh Fig Galette

Today I made you a rustic almond plum galette. The almonds are ground and are spread on the bottom of the dough, underneath the plums. This helps hold all of the juices from the plums inside and adds a nice flavor palate to the open-faced tart. I paired this galette with homemade creme fraiche ice cream. Tangy and smooth, this ice cream is the ultimate hot summer day cure.

The plums offer a nice red hue when baked. They are soft but still hold their shape.

Creme Fraiche Ice Cream right out of the machine, super soft and creamy

I still can’t believe that I am turning on the oven in this insane New York summer heat, but it is all in the name of rustic pies and good eats.

Now excuse me while I go wipe the sweat off my forehead and dip into some homemade dessert…

Rustic Almond Plum Galette

from KissmySpatula, check out her gorgeous photos!

  • 1 1/4 cups + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2-4 tbsp ice water
  • 1/4 cup whole, skin-on almonds, toasted
  • 5 to 6 firm plums, halved, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

In a food processor, combine 1 1/4 cups flour, butter, 1/2 tsp sugar, and salt.  Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time.  Pulse until dough is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed.  Do not overmix. Remove dough from food processor and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, wipe bowl of food processor clean and add almonds, 3 tbsp sugar, and 2 tbsp of flour.  Pulse until ground to a coarse meal.

In a large bowl, toss the plums with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp flour and zest of half a lemon.  Taste and add more sugar for desired sweetness and set aside.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 13-14 inch round, about an 1/8-1/4 of inch thick.  Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet (preferably without sides) and spread almond mixture over dough, leaving a two-inch border.  Spread and arrange plums on top of almond mixture.  Fold and pleat edge of dough over fruit.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take your galette out of the refrigerator and brush the crust with egg wash and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar.  Bake until crust is golden and underside is cooked through, about 60-70 minutes, checking after 30 minutes and every 10 minutes thereafter.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

adapted from David Lebovitz and Crispywaffle

1 cup milk (preferably whole milk or 2%)

2/3 cup sugar

1/8 t. salt

5 large egg yolks

2 cups creme fraiche

First, make the custard. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium low heat until it’s steaming. Pour the milk over the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Add the milk/egg mixture back to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula. When the mixture thickens (at around 190 F) and coats the back of the spatula, pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl. Chill the mixture in the fridge for a few hours until cold.
When ready to freeze in the ice cream maker, stir in the creme fraiche. Chill in the ice cream maker as directed and the ice cream is thickened, about 20 minutes.

Buttermilk Sweet Corn Ice Cream

15 Jul

After hemming and hawing over my next ice cream flavor, I finally decided on Buttermilk Sweet Corn Ice Cream. You will kick yourself silly because it literally tastes like sweet corn with a splash of tang from the buttermilk.

Oh, and you can see from my photos that figs are just beginning to pop up! I purchased my figs from an Italian open air market in the Bronx, along Arthur Avenue, after stopping in a pastry shop for some cannoli and rainbow cake first. Sweet glory I cannot wait for more figs to arrive in season!

Oooo and I just purchased Sherry Yard’s cookbook, Desserts by the Yard from the most fun little cookbook shop called Bonnie Slotnick’s in the West Village. At Bonnie Slotnick’s, you will find all sorts of treasures–books you might find in grandma’s closet or in my case, a book that I have had my eye on for quite some time. Sherry Yard’s Nectarine Cobbler and Honey-Glazed Cornbread (both of which would go dashingly with this buttermilk sweet corn ice cream), her White Birthday Cake with Chocolate and Butter Fudge Frosting, and all of her cookies are screaming for me to bake.

Ok, back to this corny ice cream. It is pretty great. Sort of messy to make: corn kernels flying all over the place as you chop them off the cob, using your blender, using a pot, using your strainer (twice), fishing out corn cobs, tempering egg yolks, etc. etc. But the mess it worth it. You get a crazy good frozen summer treat. Man, I wish I had a warm waffle cone right now…

Buttermilk Sweet Corn Ice Cream

adapted from Simmer Down!

4 ears sweet corn

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 a vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

6-8 egg yolks (I used 6)

Remove the husks and cornsilk from the corn and break each cob into thirds.  Cut the kernels from the cobs with a sharp knife,  reserving the cobs. Put the kernels in a blender with the buttermilk and cream and pulse into a rough purée.

Pour the cream mixture into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, adding the corncob pieces, vanilla bean (scrape the seeds and add them), salt, and ½ cup of the sugar.  Bring to a boil, then cover and remove from heat.  Let steep for one hour.

Remove the corncobs and discard.  Fish out the vanilla bean and set aside.  Strain the mixture through a medium or fine mesh strainer, pressing down firmly to expel as much of the liquid as possible; discard the solids.  Return to the saucepan and place over medium heat.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining ¼ cup sugar.  Whisk in a little of the hot cream to temper the yolks, then add them to the saucepan.  Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon.  Pass through a fine mesh strainer and let your mixture cool over an ice-water bath. Once cool, refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (at least 4 hours).  Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes slightly less than 1 quart.

***SERVE WITH A DRIZZLE OF HONEY  AND SLICED FRUIT (CHERRIES, FIGS, RASPBERRIES, PEACHES…) OR ATOP OF SOME HOMEMADE PIE OR COBBLER!!!!

A Few New York Secrets + Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

27 Jun

I have a few (New York) secrets for you:

Sheep Meadow in Central Park. Like a triple cross between Berkeley’s famous Memorial Glade and San Francisco’s Dolores Park and Paris’s Luxembourg Gardens. Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic or something… Sheep Meadow is a large flat park surrounded by trees and tall buildings and beaming with sunshine in the summertime.

Per Se. “The urban interpretation of the French Laundry [in Napa, CA].” The wine list is on an ipad. The cocktails are out-of-this-world. The servers are dressed in fancy suits. Sitting at the bar and ordering a drink is what you need to do. NOW. You will pay for your expensive cocktail and your server will bring you popcorn with truffle oil and large roasted peanuts. Sitting at the bar is actually sitting at your own private table. What a steal!

Bakeri and CB I Hate Perfume Gallery. Bakeri is a cute cute cute little shop with a blue painted entrance and an outdoor garden with a mini waterfall. Grab a light lunch, a coffee, and a little sweet snack and bask in the adorable-ness of this little joint. CB I Hate Perfume is right down the street from Bakeri. Tantalize your nose with perfumes that literally smell like Roast Beef, Bell Peppers, Graham Crackers, Snow, Rain, A Walk on The Beach, and Burnt Leaves. How does he do it?!

-Peeping at naughty nude bodies in the Standard Hotel’s Boom Boom Room. You are on the street. Nude bodies are way up at the top of the hotel. Voyeurism at it’s finest.

When I’m not exploring the “secrets” of New York City, I am exploring how to better myself in the kitchen (both at home and at work). I present to you an ice cream flavor that lies in the realm of decadence and sin and a pleasure that is meant to make you want to rip your clothes off.

Caramel-Buerre-Salé. Salted Butter Caramel. This ice cream tastes exactly how it sounds. Totally rich. Totally in love.

After tasting the famous ABC Kitchen Ice Cream Sundae (salted caramel ice cream, popcorn, candied peanuts, chocolate sauce, whipped cream) last week, my mind started to race. I began reminiscing about the Caramel-Buerre-Salé ice cream that I licked right off the cone last summer in Paris at Berthillon. How have I not already re-created this mind-blowing experience in the form of ice cream yet?

Here you go:

Caramel-Buerre-Salé Ice Cream (Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream)

From David Lebovitz

**A SECRET FROM DAVID LEB.: “The secret is to cook your sugar into a caramel far enough so it’s very-slightly burnt; otherwise it just tastes like syrupy sugar. You want to take it to the edge of darkness, then stop it there with the addition of a few pads of salted butter.”

makes 1 generous quart (liter)

2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, divided
 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
 4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted butter
 scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
 1 cups (250 ml) heavy cream
 5 large egg yolks
 ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

approximately 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or Maldon salt flakes

Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they’re floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts/liters) over the ice, pour 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.

Spread 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved (Or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later). Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it’s just about to burn. It won’t take long.

Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go. The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk.

Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens.

Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, drizzle in about 3/4 teaspoon of flaky salt.

**Even in the freezer, the ice cream will stay quite soft, which is exactly how I LOVE my ice cream texture to be. Perfect.

Care for another stellar albeit less decadent-tasting caramel ice cream from David Lebovitz? You are just one click away.

Rhubarb Ice Cream

8 Jun

Today has certainly been a whirlwind in the kitchen. After a day of lounging and swimming in the pool, my good friend Sara and I cooked up a feast: ricotta blintzes from scratch with homemade lemon curd, a veggie cheesy fritatta baked with breadcrumbs, and rhubarb ice cream for dessert.

Today is the Jewish Holiday known as Shavuot. In short, this holiday is a celebration of the Israelites receiving the Torah and of the seasonal harvest of wheat. Most of what I remember from this holiday is the FOOD. Dairy is the name of the game on this holiday. There are all sorts of explanations given as to why it is customary to eat dairy on Shavuot (see wikipedia). Anyway, I saw today as the perfect excuse to make some ice cream.

Rhubarb ice cream.

So easy to make. First you chop your rhubarb, then you simmer it for 15 minutes until it softens.

(The black piece is a vanilla bean)

Then you combine your braised rhubarb with some milk and some cream. Let it chill. And freeze in the ice cream maker. OOooo this tastes HEAVENLY. And it is the most precious pink color.

Here is my pal, Sara, scooping out the last bits of the ice cream. Check out that smirk on her face, she is going to get every last drop out of that bowl!

Rhubarb Ice Cream

from Not without salt

3-3 1/2 cups rhubarb (I used 6 medium sized stalks), washed and cut into half inch pieces

OPTIONAL: 2 oz (1/2 stick) butter ***I just nixed the butter and threw in a splash of water

1 vanilla bean, seeded

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup brown sugar, not packed (you could probably use regular granulated sugar, too if you prefer)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

Combine the rhubarb, butter (if using), vanilla bean, vanilla extract, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Cover and place on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has softened. Remove the lid and break the rhubarb up with a wooden spoon or spatula.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream and milk and add the braised rhubarb. Cover and let it chill completely in the fridge or an ice water bath. Churn in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.