Tarts/Pies Archive

Friday, October 19, 2012

apple mosaic tart with salted caramel

apple mosaic tart with salted caramel

My husband likes to joke that every other comment on this site in the month of October is, “Help! I went apple picking and I brought home 20 pounds of apples and I don’t know how to use them up!” It’s not true, of course; it’s every five or six comments. We mostly have a giggle about it because we didn’t know how one could go to an apple grove and not realize that 20 pounds of apples is an impossible amount to munch your way through, no matter how enthusiastic of an apple-eater you might be. Furthermore, seeing as quite often, only one apple type is ripe at a time, you’re not likely even bringing a mix home that might sustain your interest from apple to apple, ad inifinitum. So, you know where this is going. Guys, we went apple picking last weekend and I brought home almost 15 pounds of apples! What do I do with them?

we went apple picking. send help.
peeled, cored, plus one for a toddler

I am kidding, mostly. I have a few ideas for them. The first 6 pounds went to the largest batch of applesauce, ever, half of which is in the freezer for my resident Applesauce Junkie. The next few pounds were munched on, happily. A few pounds are on the table in a bowl, though I think Ramona Quimby must have snuck in because I keep noticing single, tiny bites taken out of each (because the first bite is the tastiest). Next, well, this happened. And once this happens, I think you’re going to be glad you have a bunch of pounds of apples left, because this is the kind of stuff that calls for a repeat performance.

slicing the apples real thin

Continued after the jump »

Monday, July 23, 2012

peach pie

peach pie

I am sure I’m not the only person who has ever been out to eat and bit into something they knew they’d love and nearly sobbed with disappointment over what could have been but was not. “Why? Why did they have to go and ‘fix’ this? It wasn’t broken!” No? It’s just me? Well, good on you for having some decorum, or at least a better poker face than your narrator. I’ve done this when I discovered curry powder in a sweet potato pirogi (really, I’m grimacing as I type this). It’s not a popular opinion, but I feel this way about bacon in chocolate chip cookies. And if everyone could stop putting cardamom pods in vanilla ice cream and custards, I wouldn’t mind one bit. I like vanilla. I don’t think it needs any flavor enhancement.

lots of peaches into boiling water
poach for two minutes slipping the peach skins off
sadly, they didn't make it peach peeling, second try

Not that I’m innocent in this area. It seems that as long as web pages need updating, magazines need printing and food shows have new seasons to fill with programming, we’re going to have “new spins on the classics,” and I too have been known to hide bourbon in banana bread, do all sorts of unnatural things to latkes, and no, I will not apologize for the time I made a red velvet cake with red wine instead of the accepted vat of food dye. I found all of these things to be worthwhile improvements on the status quo in the same way that the person about to leave me a link to their favorite bacon chocolate chip cookie (the one that will change my mind) recipe in the comments does, but no doubt someone else out there found that that bourbon clashed terribly with bananas and feels justly that I owe them some cake.

chilled pie doughs

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

pear cranberry and gingersnap crumble

pear, cranberry and gingersnap crumble

In my defense, I resisted this crumble for possibly even a single hour before going to the kitchen to assemble the ingredients. A whole hour, an hour in which we could have had a buttery, spiced gingersnap and brown sugar crumbled lid atop a glurp-ing puddle of soft, sweet pears and slumped, tart cranberries, bubbling through cracks in the rubbled surface. An hour in which I instead thought there were better things to do, like pretending to clean the kitchen while staring into space and imagining how good the crumble could be. They give out medals for this kind of valor, right?

the line-up
shedding pear skins

My husband and I, well, we’re exactly as exciting as you might imagine because we talk about pears a lot. I’ll take the blame, I’m sure I usually start the conversation, which goes roughly like, “Pears? Really? You just don’t like pears?” And he’ll say “They’re just so one note. They’re sweet and boring,” usually while slicing another of his beloved Granny Smith apples into perfect quarters. (He’s such a tidy eater people, I comparatively eat with the grace of a Hoover). And the thing is, I agree with him 100 percent, but I see these things as characteristics, not flaws. However, in baking, I agree that pears could use a little help. They like acid and they like berries; brighter fall spices like ginger play off them well and you’ll be surprised what a pinch of white pepper can do to wake them up.

de-bellied pears

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 13, 2011

apple pie cookies

As far as reentry* points to on-a-whim cooking go, these cookies aren’t the most obvious choice. I might have gone with something from the market, or something from a new fall cookbook or maybe just something practical that would feed us for the next few days, like a hearty stew.

how i make piebutter into flouruntil it's like thispie crust cookie lids, bases

Instead I went with cute. Like, unseemly cute. Borderline twee. I might as well tie a ribbon around them, had I any ribbon or the ability to tie it without yelling at it (it’s true; I’m ribbon inept), no doubt eradicating any sweetness in the gesture. I don’t know what came over me. One day I was craving apple pie because that’s what you do in October, you crave apple pie, the kind that you pull from the oven still gurgling under its vented lid, a trickle of juices making their way for the crimped edge, the kitchen smelling like fall blew up in it. But I wanted my very own pie, a pie I didn’t have to share and so the obvious place to have gone with this would have been with hand pies. But I’m finishing up the cookbook’s dessert section right now and lordy, I hardly need more butter-and-sugar laden confections lying around but, short of denying oneself pie (madness!) I wondered exactly how tiny I could make them and from there my brain latched onto the idea of cookie pies (or “tookie” pies, as my sidekick would call them). Teeny tiny adorable cookie pies. I may have finally lost it.

how to slice your appleapple insertsdip in cinnamon spice sugarcrimping

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, August 21, 2011

hazelnut plum crumb tart

hazelnut plum crumb tart

There are few paths that led to this recipe but the main one is that it instantly reminded me of the kind of crumb pies I remember from bakeries growing up, not the kind with a crumble topping but ones with a crust also composed of pressed crumbs. And guys, I love a buttery, flaky, ethereal pie crust woven over cherries and bronzed in the oven as much as the next person, but the idea of choosing it over a crumbly composite of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and sometimes nuts is pure madness. But the filling gave me pause — a custard? a custard that suspends fruit? How odd, right? Or delicious? I went back and forth over the odd-versus-delicious line for the better part of a decade before deciding to finally make it this week. A decade. This recipe was actually published in a 1999 Martha Stewart Living. I was living in Washington D.C., dating a terrible idea and trying to figure out how I could find a place in New York that didn’t charge more than $600/month rent. This recipe is ancient history, people.

toasted hazelnuts
cinnamon hazelnut brown sugar crumbs
how i like to do crumb crusts

So why this week? Like most things in my life right now, it relates to a still (yes, still) unfinished but imminently due manuscript, and my inability to think about much else, which has turned into a perfect time to outsource a bit, by dusting off recipes I’ve had on my To Cook list for eons — especially those that involve plums. I’m seeing plums everywhere these days, and I love them, but they’re always a little bittersweet to me, as they’re one of the last fruits to appear before apples, and everyone knows that while you munch through buckets of apples, late summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter and suddenly, they’re the last fresh fruit you see until rhubarb — which isn’t even a real fruit, but one that likes to pretend it is — appears in the late spring. Hm, aren’t I just a bundle of cheer today?

italian plums

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