Nectarine Cardamom Vanilla Pie – for a Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday J.! To celebrate J. birthday, I was asked to make a fruit dessert.  Well hello peaches. Or nectarines. Or apricots.

Millions of peaches, peaches for me.
Millions of peaches, peaches for me.

J. is kind of an old soul stuck in a young body. Or as he puts it, in an old body. What is it with men and feeling older than they are? Isn’t it better to feel young and spry? It’s a mental game people! J. is also a longtime fan of The Unappreciated Baker (thanks!) and a lover of all things fruity desserty. And so, for his birthday – fruit dessert! Coincidentally, I love fruit desserts as well :).

Nectarines!
Nectarines!

Going back to nectarines.  I like to bake with nectarines as opposed to peaches because then I don’t have to worry about peeling them.  While I don’t mind the fuzzy peach peel in my desserts, others do. So if I bake with them, I need to peel them.  Due to the special occasion, I broke out my mini pie plates so that everyone could enjoy their very own peach pie.

Pie crusts ready to be filled.
Pie crusts ready to be filled.

I thought about going with my tried and true pie recipe, but then I thought about changing it up a bit – after all, isn’t that the point of this blog? To try new things. I found a recipe that flavored the peaches with vanilla and cardamom, not a combination I have used before with peaches. Testing time!

One pie all filled up.
One pie all filled up.

I did stick with my tried and true pie crust recipe, because, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. With my regular double crust recipe I had enough dough for eight crusts and seven lattices. One ended up being a snack on Friday afternoon :).

The Little Rocker and I snacked on the sample and we enjoyed it a lot.  She was a little disappointed that she did not get her own pie to sample, but I told her that at the party she would have her own so it was okay to share this time.

And the others follow.
And the others follow.

On a related note, Squeaker just started eating solids and while she is not such a fan of the peas and sweet potatoes, she loves her some peaches. I mixed the peas and peaches and wham – at the whole bowl. Peach season for everyone!

The finished product.
Ready to be

I didn’t really feel the cardamom in the pie, maybe increase it next time?

And here we go!
And here we go!

We know what J.’s birthday means – Rocker Dude’s birthday! Amazing how close friends can have their birthdays so close together. Rocker Dude asked for a plain sheet cake for his birthday – can you see what I am working with?? A plain yellow cake??? With icing!! I hate working with icing. I am not talented in that way – drawing was never my forte, and the icing is always so sweet. It is always the part of the cake that I take off so that I can eat the actual cake.

So here is the cake that I made. My friend M. was kind enough to lend me a guitar shaped cake pan so that I didn’t have to try and cut out a guitar shape from a rectangular pan. That would have been disastrous. The Little Rocker had such a fun time watching the cake take shape, especially putting in the food coloring. I didn’t make the icing that bright as I hate putting in more than a few drops of food coloring. It may be weird but if I do then I feel like I am coloring my insides.

Happy Birthday Rocker Dude!
Happy Birthday Rocker Dude!

I have included the recipe for the cake because I thought that the cake was delicious on its own – with a bright citrus flavor. It’s perfect for birthday cakes and cupcakes.

And speaking of summer (weren’t we?), there are a few things that are ubiquitous to summer – baseball and ice pops. Here is a picture of Squeaker in an NY Yankees outfit that we originally got for the Little Rocker.

Yankee Fans!
Yankee Fans!

My father is a lifelong Yankees fan and if there is one thing I learned as a kid, it was that you root for the Yankees, or you’re not a real Schachter. Lucky for me, Rocker Dude is not into sports so I don’t have to keep up with his favorite team stats and stuff.

And ice pops! The Little Rocker remembered this picture of her “eating” my ice pop when she was a year old or so, and so she asked me to do it with Squeaker as well.

Eating ice pops.
Eating ice pops.
Squeaker tries to eat an ice pop.
Squeaker tries to eat an ice pop.

This time I just gave her a closed ice pop of her own, but she knew better. She still kept trying to grab my ice pop.

Nectarine Cardamom Vanilla Pie (makes 8 4-inch pies)

Recipe:
Crust:
A double crust recipe of this recipe, prepared through

Filling (based on this recipe from The Pastry Affair):
6 large (7 medium or 8 small) fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 vanilla bean, halved with the seeds removed (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white
2 tbsp. sugar for sprinkling

Whipped Cream:
250g whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Prepare the dough through the refrigeration stage.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine all the ingredients for the filling and set aside while you roll out the dough. Roll out one disc of dough to a 1/8 inch thickness. You don’t want to leave the dough too thick as the pies are small. Cut out circles that are slightly larger than the circumference of the pie plates. Gently place each circle in the pie plates and trim the edges. Refrigerate the pie crusts as you make them to keep the dough cold. Then add filling into each of the pie plates and return to the refrigerator while you roll out the lattice top. Roll out the second disc to a 1/8 inch thickness. Slice into thin (about a finger’s width) strips with a very sharp knife or a pizza wheel. Carefully weave the lattice strips onto the tops of all the pies.

Brush egg white onto the tops of the pies and sprinkle with sugar. Place the pies in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is bubbling. Let cool on a rack.

To serve, beat the whipping cream with the confectioner’s sugar and dollop a generous spoonful on top of each pie.

Yellow Cake (From The Kosher Palette):

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the a large mixing bowl and stir until well blended.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the oil, orange juice, eggs and vanilla. Beat until lightened in color. Add the dry ingredients in one shot and mix until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

This cake also freezes well.

 

Peach Pie Crumble – Summer is here!

Millions of peaches, peaches for free. Millions of peaches, peaches for me. It’s stone fruit season! Woohoo!

Stone fruit season is the harbinger of summer.  Let me tell you, I didn’t need a peach to tell me that the temperatures were going up and that the sun has come for good and doesn’t plan on giving us a rest until November. When the laundry dried in under five hours, it was kind of a giveaway. Also, if you go outside and it feels like someone has a blow dryer blowing on you – also kind of a giveaway.  Though, I have to admit it is not unbearable yet. There are even some days when we don’t need to turn on the air conditioner. There is something about this weather that just calls out for a nice juicy peach.  That has to be the reason why they ripen just at this time of year.

Last week’s special was peach pie… with a crumble topping.  So peach crumble… in a pie crust. So peach pie crumble! (Actually I used nectarines, so Nectarine Pie Crumble if we want to get technical.) I was so excited to make the first stone fruit dessert of the season.  I got a whole bunch of peaches and nectarines and then I didn’t know what to do with them.  I spent Friday morning browsing through the cookbooks, thought about making peach dumplings, but wasn’t in the mood. I wanted to make a peach pie and I couldn’t find the recipe that I was “feeling”. Also, I didn’t have the energy to try and steal five minutes on the computer from Rocker Dude to browse online. In The Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer I found a list of easy fruit pie fillings.  One was a peach pie. So this pie is inspired a bit from there, and a bit from what I had in the house.

A slice of pie. Sorry for the poor lighting, it was late and there was only one piece of pie left. I didn't want to wait until morning when there would be no pie left.
A slice of pie. Sorry for the poor lighting, it was late and there was only one piece of pie left. I didn’t want to wait until morning when there would be no pie left.

The little bro came over for the weekend, and even though he is usually a fan of my baking, he decided to have babka for his dessert instead.  (Granted, I made that as well, but apparently he wasn’t feeling the pie thing.) I was very disappointed in him.  I guess if I had made a strawberry shortcake, he would have dug right in. At least this time, Rocker Dude liked the pie.  Which is interesting, because I used almond extract in the filling and he hates almonds and almond extract.  Don’t tell him that he liked something with almond in it – I have to win somewhere :).

Peach Pie Crumble
Peach Pie Crumble

I had some crumble topping in the freezer left over from an apple crumble that I made who-knows-when, and I am really attempting to clean up what is in the house and use what already exists before I go shopping for more. Ergo, use already made crumble topping on pie – great solution. I was worried that the crumble might get soggy in the peach juices but it totally stayed crunchy.  I recently read somewhere that in restaurants, in order to keep the crumble crunchy, they bake the fruit and crumble topping separately and then right before serving, they reheat the fruit with the crumble topping to make a cohesive dish.  Great trick!

I can’t wait to make more things with the new crop of peaches, nectarines and apricots! Stay tuned!

Recipe:

Crust:Half of this recipe, made until the chill step
1 egg white

Filling:
6-7 medium sized peaches, peeled, or nectarines, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon juice

Topping:
1 stick butter or margarine
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

While your dough is chilling, mix together the ingredients for the filling. Let it macerate while you make the topping and roll out the dough.

Place all the topping ingredients into a bowl.  With a pastry cutter, or your hands, gently incorporate the butter/margarine into the dry ingredients until it is crumbly and holds together when you squeeze a bit in your hands.  Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about an 1/8 inch thickness.  Gently place in a 9 inch pie pan and crimp the edges decoratively. Using a pastry brush, brush egg white over the bottom of the crust to help prevent sogginess.  Then add the filling, mounding it slightly in the center. Generously sprinkle the crumble on top of the filling and place the pie into the oven.

Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven, until the crust edges are slightly browned and the filling is bubbling. Let cool on a cooling rack. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Mississippi (?) Galette

The name for this dessert comes straight from Rocker Dude.  I’m not 100 percent sure why he picked his specific name, but it is what it is.  A Mississipi Galette is a simple stone fruit galette that makes the most of the summer abundance of fresh stone fruit, and I love stone fruit.

Mississippi Galette

I was inspired by a post written by Tartelette, but when I started to make the tart I didn’t have time to check her blog, so I just made up the filling as I went along.

We had a bit of a busy day on Friday, with the Little Rocker’s graduation party from preschool.  They moved it up so that we could go as we will be flying in a week and a half to the US to visit the family and they didn’t want us to miss the party.  (The theme was health, so there was a long of singing and things having to do with vegetables.)

The Little Rocker, Queen of the Tomatoes

Then we had a party for friends of ours who essentially got married, but without the ceremony and the name change.  We had a lot of fun! Since this is a food blog I will mention the food – it was spectacular.  A smorgasbord of ribs, dim sum, fish and chips, and focaccia.  The n a main course of two types of chicken and steak and assorted salads and veggies.  But of course for me, the best part was the dessert.  They had mini tarts with fresh blueberries and raspberries!  Do you know how hard it is to get fresh berries here?  Berries do not do well in a summer of 95 degree heat.  It was sooo good, the taste of the raspberries was heavenly.

A Slice of Pie.

And due to us getting home only three hours before Shabbat, I planned in advance and made the dough in the morning (yay for advanced planning and being organized!) so that it could chill while we were gone.  All I needed to get done was the cutting of all the fruit and rolling of the dough. I wanted the opportunity to mix all kinds of stone fruits, instead of making one single filling, but there weren’t any cherries or apricots left :(, their seasons have ended. So I took the plums, peaches and nectarines I had lying around and diced them all up. The filling came together in about 5 minutes.  Then I just had to roll out the dough, dump the filling in the middle and fold the ends over.

A bite of summer deliciousness.

The end result was a great tart with the a bit of tartness from the plums and sweetness from the nectarines and peaches.  The galette really let the flavors of the fruit come through.  Rocker Dude loved it and even ventured the opinion that I should make it to compete in the Middlesex County Fair this summer.  Yes that’s right, going to NJ again in a few days!  So if you don’t hear from me for a while (because I am so good at posting on time :P) it’s because we are on vacation!  So make this tart while I am gone and enjoy it! (And yes Abba, when I come I will make it for you too.)

 

Recipe:

1 recipe Sweet Tart Dough, prepared until chill step

Filling:

4 cups of diced stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, or plums)
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar as needed (if the fruit is very sweet you might not need as much sugar)
1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg white
sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix filling ingredients together.  Let sit while you roll out the dough.  Roll out the dough to a circle about  a 1/4 inch thick.  Place dough circle on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Dump the filling into the middle, mounding it a bit in the center.  Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, leaving a bit of the filling showing through.  Brush the top of the galette with egg white and sprinkle with some sugar.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Crunchy and Custardy Nectarine Tart

This week’s recipe was hosted by Rachel of sweet tarte.  She chose the crunchy and custardy peach tart.  I have actually made this recipe a couple of times already, each time a bit differently.  The first time I made it with canned peaches because it was the middle of  the winter and there were no fresh peaches to be had.  The second time I made them, I forgot to specify to dear Rocker Dude when he bought the fresh peaches that I would need them the same day, so they were really hard.  I have to say that I liked the tart better with the canned peaches than with the underripe fresh ones.  This time, we are at the height of peach season, so I was going to do this right, well, sort of.

Pitted nectarines. Not the neatest job in the world.

I used nectarines so that I wouldn’t have to peel them before putting them into the tart.

Tart crust ready to be baked.

I also decided to slice up the nectarines completely and make a spiral pattern in the tart instead of partially cutting them and spreading the nectarine half.  I did this with the canned peaches (because they came sliced) and it came out looking really nice.  I used an extra nectarine half because I made a ten-inch tart instead of a 9 inch one.

Nectarine filling

The recipe is really east to make.  The topping takes about 1 1/2 minutes to mix up, then get your tart crust going add filling (which requires no pre-cooking by the way) and bake the whole thing!

We just came back from America on Wednesday, so it has taken the Little Rocker a while to get back to the right time zone, giving us a few hard nights.  Friday morning, when I made this tart, I was only about half-functioning.  And the Little Rocker and I walked out to the farmer’s market in the 108 degree heat – we got the greatest pickles ever!  (And some fresh mangos and grapes too.)  So when we came back I was pretty wiped and all I could think about was if I had enough freezer space I would have tart crusts already frozen and then I wouldn’t have to procrastinate baking.  Haven’t we all had those days?  Granted, I procrastinated by finding cool things to bake, but it is procrastination nonetheless.

Crunchy and Custardy Nectarine Tart

We brought this tart to our friend S.’s house for lunch on Saturday and it was well received, though Rocker Dude did say that he did not like the tartness of the nectarines with the creaminess of the custard filling.  Oh well, can’t please everyone.

Close up. Looks delish!

Check out the recipe on Rachel’s blog here and see what other TWD bakers did here.

P.S. Can you tell that I am still recovering?  This post was all over the place!