Peach Pie

My inner Southern bell wanted to make an appearance this week in the form of peach pie.  Although peaches are great on their own this time of year, peach pie is a fantastic way to use them as well. They soften and sweeten even more, and when blanketed in buttery crust they become dreamy.

This recipe incorporates a crumble, and I am not sure if anyone can turn down a crumble, consisting of flour, butter, sugar, and some spice. Everything nice.

A lattice crust seems like it might be a tough task, but it’s actually not bad. You just weave the pie crust strips. Crimping the edges…that takes practice and I am not a professional by any means. Just try your best because once you start eating the pie, you’ll forget about what it looks like, whether your crimping is perfect or slightly imperfect.

Ingredients:

for pie crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold and in a 1/2″ dice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 to 7 tablespoons water
for pie filling:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • pinch salt
  • 6 to 8 large fresh peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • course sugar for topping

How To:

For pie crust, place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size granules of butter. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture begins to clump together. The dough will be ready if you pinch some and it holds together. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.

Remove dough from processor and place in a mound on your work surface. Slightly knead dough into 2 disks, but do not over knead. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

When ready to roll out dough, remove crusts from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes in order to soften. Roll out on a lightly floured surface (with a lightly floured rolling pin) to fit a 9″ pie plate, about 1/8″ thick. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the filling, in a medium bowl, use a fork to combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Mix until crumbly.

Mix almond extract with peaches gently to coat. Spoom half of the peaches into the pie crust. Top with half of the crumbly sugar mixture. Layer more peaches and more crumble mixture. Top the pie with second pie crust by making a lattice top. Roll out pie dough and create slices with a pastry wheel or knife (you can also roll out dough as a double crust, cut four slits and skip the lattice).  Weave slices on the top of the pie to create lattice and crimp edges to seal. To crimp edges, pinch thumb and index finger with index finger on opposite hand.

Combine the whisked egg and tablespoon water. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse or granulated sugar. Bake on the center rack in the oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Pie is done when crust is golden brown and peach pie filling is bubbling.  Allow to cool slightly. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

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Breakfast Cookies

You can have cookies for breakfast. They can be something you look forward to when you go to bed at night and still be nutritious.

They aren’t a guilty pleasure even though they kind of feel like it. With coconut, almonds, dried cherries and dried dates, these cookies are full of good stuff.

I love that they are chewy, crunchy, oat-y and yummy. You can grab one and be on your way. So I am telling you they are not only tasty and fairly healthy, but easy as well. Are you still thinking? You should just be baking.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Melt the butter in the microwave, about 1 minute. Remove and add the brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Combine the flours, baking soda, oats and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter sugar mixture to the dry ingredients. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and add to the mixture. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Add the dates, almonds, coconut and cherries. Mix well. Place onto baking sheets, about a tablespoon per cookie. Bake for 12 minutes or until tops are lightly golden and dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Tomato Bean Salad

Tis the season for tomatoes. They are in the markets, super fresh and perfectly ripe. You can find them in all colors and shapes, which means it’s time to make colorful salads.

Multicolor cherry tomatoes with white beans is the base for this salad. You can add any other vegetables you choose. I decided on some diced crunchy green pepper. Add some herbs, fresh or dried, salt and pepper, and a little olive oil and vinegar (balsamic works great) and you have a terrific side. It could also be a main dish because you have so many nutrients coming just from the beans.

But what is really great about this salad? It’s incredibly tasty. The tomatoes are refreshing, the beans are creamy (and satisfying), the herbs make it fresh and the dressing brings it all together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, multicolor if available (they’re prettier!!)
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 can Northern beans
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
How To:
Cut medium to large cherry tomatoes in half; leave small ones whole. Drain and rinse beans. Combine tomatoes, green pepper and beans in a medium bowl. Add herbs, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir, making sure every tomato and bean is coated. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Tomato Corn Pie

If you are going to bake one thing this summer, it should be this. It is that good.
The ingredients are simple and combine to make an awesome savory pie. Tomatoes, corn, cheese and some fresh herbs…nothing fancy, but it looks like you may have fussed over it for hours. Not the case.
The whole process can be done in an hour – including baking time. So really, you are only busy for 30 minutes. Seems like a small amount of time for something so delicious.
I think of this pie as a celebration of summer – it has all the best flavors and even though it may be hot, you still want to sit and enjoy it.
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (can use a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes (2 large or 4 – 5 small)
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (from about 3 ears), coarsely chopped, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, divided
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded asiago cheese, divided

How To:

Add flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add cold butter several cubes at a time and pulse. It should resemble coarse meal. Add buttermilk and pulse until mixture forms a dough, but don’t over mix. Dump dough out onto a floured surface and gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one half to fit a 9″ pie plate (1/8″ thick). Roll dough lightly over rolling pin and lift onto pie plate. Pat the dough down and trim to fit.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and place in a large pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove with tongs and place in an ice bath.  Remove tomato skins – tomatoes should peel very easily. Slice crosswise to 1/4″ thickness and remove some, not all, seeds and extra juices (or you will end up with a lot of extra tomato water in the bottom of your pie). Place half of the sliced tomatoes in the bottom of the crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of the corn, half the basil and chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper, 3/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese and half the asiago. Now layer with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Combine mayonnaise and lemon until smooth. Pour mixture over the filling and top with remaining cheese.

Roll out other half of dough to fit over filling, folding edges over the bottom crust, pinching in the most decorative way you know how or if you are like me, just make sure the two halves are sealed. Make vents on the top of the pie (to let steam out) and brush the surface with melted butter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Serve warm. This pie is also excellent chilled.