Friday, July 31, 2015
1st slice. I love making homemade bagels and Peter Reinhart's recipe via Smitten Kitchen has never failed me. I generally stick to the classics-- sesame seed, poppy seed, salt, and everything-- but tend to go wild with different flavored butters and cream cheeses.
2nd slice. I shared my Pimento Cheese and Tomato Pie recipe and some Green Tomato Pie history in the Washington Post Express this week. Find the recipe here and article here.
3rd slice. If you're making pimento cheese, you're going to need some mayo. Chefs share their penchant for Duke's Mayonnaise, accompanied with illustrations by my friend Emily Wallace, in Garden & Gun.
The tasty crumbs. SAVEUR recently profiled Indiana Sugar Cream Pie. Find Hoosier Mama's recipe here.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
But until I actually sat down to research the history behind angostura, it remained something of a mystery-- a curious concoction with an oversized label and exotic name. As I know now, some of that secrecy has been purposely maintained by the company. What we do know, though, is that Angostura bitters are named after the village in Venezuela where they were invented in 1824 by the German doctor Johann Siegert. They were first dubbed Dr. Siegert's Aromatic Bitters and were initially intended as an alleviative for stomach ailments and seasickness. Imported by Britain in 1830; the Royal Navy liked to mix it with gin creating the popular nautically-inclined drink "pink gin."
In 1875, Siegert's sons moved the company to Trinidad, where it still resides, and in 1904 they changed the name to Angostura. The ill-fitting label is legendarily due to the fact that the two brothers did not discuss bottle and label sizes prior to affixing one to the other, but they decided to keep it as a trademark. The recipe however, remains highly protected-- part of the reason the Angostura shortage caused such a hubbub a few years ago.
Lately, in addition to my drinks, I've been using Angostura and other bitters in my baked goods-- a trick I learned from the 4 and 20 Blackbirds Cookbook. The flavor is subtle, once baked, but it contributes a little complexity and aromatics to the filling. I added a dash of it along with some bourbon barrel-aged vanilla to this cherry galette, and gave it the "old-fashioned" name for the pairing of those with sweet cherries. Like most cherry desserts, this is perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
"Old Fashioned" Cherry Galette
For the cornmeal crust (or use Nothing in the House pie crust, halved):
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (I used this Whole Grain Kentucky Heirloom Cornmeal)
1/2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 sticks COLD unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), cut into slices
1 large beaten egg, cold
1/4 cup ice-cold water
1/2 Tablespoon cold apple cider vinegar (I keep mine in the fridge)
For the filling:
3-4 cups sweet cherries, pitted
3-4 Tablespoons granulated sugar (depending on sweetness of the fruit)
1 teaspoon angostura bitters
1 teaspoon bourbon or vanilla extract (I used vanilla aged in bourbon barrels)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar for dusting
1 large beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon whole milk for egg wash
1. For the crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork and knife, cut in the butter. You want to make sure butter chunks remain, as that's what makes the crust flaky.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the COLD liquid ingredients (Using cold liquids ensures that your butter will not melt--another crucial detail for a flaky crust).
3. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour-butter mixture and combine using a wooden spoon. Mix until dough comes together, but is not overly mixed (it should be a little shaggy). Form into a ball, cut in half, and flatten each half into a disc. Wrap discs tightly with plastic wrap, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
4. While crust is filling, prepare filling: In a large mixing bowl, combine pitted cherries, sugar, bitters, bourbon, and lemon juice. Remove one dough disc and leave other in fridge or freezer for another use. Roll out one crust disc on a piece of parchment and transfer rolled crust and parchment to a large baking sheet.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Ladle cherry filling onto rolled crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of Turbinado sugar over the apricots, then fold up the pastry over the edges of the filling, leaving most of the cherries uncovered.
6. Place galette in freezer for 20-30 minutes while the oven preheats. Once chilled, remove galette from fridge and brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Bake tart in the middle rack of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and pastry is golden brown. Let the tart cool completely. Serve just warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
Apricot Galette with Cornmeal Crust
"Old-Fashioned" Peach Blackberry Pie
Sour Cherry Pie
Sweet Cherry Pie with Cornmeal Streusel
Monday, July 13, 2015
Blueberry pie has long had a place on 4th of July menus. It's an American classic, for one, particularly in the North. A recipe appears in Fannie Farmer's 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (though strangely calling for six de-seeded green grapes to improve flavor) and is the state dessert of Maine (though wild low-bush berries are the standby there).
The timing also aligns-- the little blue berries (or blue bellies as I called them when I was little) generally ripen shortly after the first day of summer. Food Timeline's 4th of July Food History, blueberry pie is prescribed on Good Housekeeping's suggested menus of both 1949 and 1955, in the latter to be served with "Spiced Sour Cream and Hot Coffee (instant)."
This year a deep-dish blueberry skillet pie found its way onto my 4th of July table. I spent the weekend on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland with my friends Elizabeth, Grant, and Chickpea the dog. Along with the pie, our Independence Day menu consisted of homemade pizza, American beer (some fancy, some cheap), and homemade coffee ice cream. We enjoyed it on the balcony amidst a 360 fireworks display while Chickpea took cover under the bed.
Nothing in the House pie crust
6 cups fresh blueberries, washed and de-stemmed
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
Splash of lemon juice
1 egg (you can use remainder from crust) + 1 Tablespoon whole milk or cream for egg wash
Turbinado sugar (for dusting)
1. Prepare Nothing in the House pie crust as per the directions. After chilling the dough for at least 1 hour, roll out half of the crust and fit into a 9-inch greased and floured pie pan or a greased 9-inch skillet. Place pan and unrolled crust back into the fridge while you prepare the filling.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine berries, cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt. Stir together to combine.
3. Pour the filling into the pie crust and arrange so that its mounded slightly in the center. Sprinkle on the lemon juice.
4. Roll out the remaining pie crust and cut and arrange into a lattice or crust design of your choice. Seal and crimp edges. Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.
5. Bake pie on a baking sheet (this is to catch any drips) and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F. Lower heat to 350 degrees F and bake 40-45 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout. Once baked, let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Blueberry Basil Jam
Blueberry Hand Pies
Blueberry Icebox Pie
Thursday, July 02, 2015
I'm not always the most patriotic person. Lately I've been pretty heartbroken and confused about the state of our country and it's hard to feel like we've really made progress in dismantling institutionalized racism and injustice. But there have also been real sparks of hope: Marriage equality. Bree Newsome. Obama's "Amazing Grace."
Sometimes food-- not to mention food blogging (and about pies no less)--in the context of all of this can feel trivial and frivolous. But food can also be that glimmer of hope, a reminder of our culture and people power. It's sustenance to ground us in place, a reason to gather, something for the hands and body to do while the mind is reeling.
This fourth of July will be a space to think about it all-- the contradictions, the tragedies, the successes. A good time to catch up on some reading and writing, share some food with friends, celebrate the progress we've made as a country and think about what's next.
Here's a round-up of some berry pies and desserts from this blog and other favorites for your holiday gatherings. I'm not sure what I'll whip up this weekend, but I'm planning to let the berries lead the way.
Blueberry Hand Pies
Blueberry Icebox Pie
Blueberry Shortcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese
Plum and Blueberry Galette
Raspberries & Blackberries
Lime & Raspberry Italian Meringue Pie
Peach Blackberry Cobbler
Peach Blackberry Pie
Wild Blackberry Lemon-Goat Cheese Tart
Pickled Strawberry Piescream Sandwiches
Strawberry Creme Tart
Strawberry & Fresh Cheese Tart
Strawberry Icebox Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Berry & Apricot Galettes with Saffron
Campfire Skillet Crisp
Currant Syrup, Switchel, and Gooseberry-Black Cap Pie