Happy Birthday J.! To celebrate J. birthday, I was asked to make a fruit dessert. Well hello peaches. Or nectarines. Or apricots.
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 :).
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.
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!
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.
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!
I didn’t really feel the cardamom in the pie, maybe increase it next time?
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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.