Archive | August, 2012

Peachy Earl Pockets

29 Aug

There is nothing quite like a pocket of peachy goodness…am I right? Especially when that pocket is made of butter and sugar and all that fun stuff. Let’s be real: any kind of food item that relies on butter and sugar is good in my books.

The awesome thing about pie pockets is that you don’t have to worry about the messy awkwardness of sharing. Grab your own, fool! A personal pie. Portable, at that. Although…funny story about these pies and being portable…I don’t recommend trying to bring them along to work if you’re riding a bicycle. I baked them fresh one morning and proudly rode to work. I was strutting around (cycling around) just knowing what was inside my carry bag. Or did I know? Upon my arrival, I discovered that they had been crushed. Crushed peach pie morsels! At that point…sharing was indeed a little awkward. Most people never ventured into the container of pie rubble. Their loss. I gobbled most of it up myself.

What I’m trying to say is…make these…just don’t pull a Fabi. Keep them flat and safe. I do recommend eating them fresh though, as the dough is delicate and smooth, but it tends to lose it’s texture as the days go by.

Oh…and I did indeed throw a few generous teaspoons of ground loose leaf Earl Grey tea in there. How could I not?

Peachy Earl Pockets

Dough

adapted from the Loveless Cafe

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 icing sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter (6oz)

2 egg yolks

2 tbsp cold milk

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to mix.

Add the butter and pulse until it is cut in and resembles coarse meal.

Add the egg yolks and milk and process until the dough is smooth and evenly moistened. Remove from processor and form into two disks, wrap well and chill for at least 30 minutes before working with it.

Filling

2 large peaches, diced

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp chopped loose leaf Earl Grey tea (optional)

Roll out the dough, and cut into 6 rounds per disk. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle and fold the dough over, pressing the edges with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and poke a fork in the top to allow air to escape. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar, then bake at 375 F until they are golden brown.

Plum Crazy Cake

13 Aug

I’ll admit, I may be addicted to plums. More specifically, those tiny yellow ones that come out near the end of summer. I buy lots, and shove them in my mouth like popcorn. Lord, I wish I was joking. The addiction continues as I fill up on plums when the different varieties appear at the farmer’s market. By the end of plum season I’m usually sick of them and never set eyes on another plum for approximately a year, until those sinfully delicious plums make their appearance all over again. It’s a vicious cycle. You should see my fruit drawer right now; so many plums.

This week’s market visit yielded a mixed basket that the wonderful lady at Warner’s Orchards offered to put together for me: purple, yellow, peachy, big, small, and a new variety apparently developed in Vineland: the vampire plum.

How utterly appropriate that while I baked this plum cake I was watching True Blood…my secret shame in the form of a television show addiction.

What about this cake, you ask? Well, I’m only one person; my manfriend does not share the same silly hunger for fruit that I do unless you include bananas. But who doesn’t like bananas? Bananas are generally adored by all…no? There is just too high a ratio of plums to Fabi.

Ok, back to plums. This cake is a very simple way to use up fruit….any fruit, really. I grabbed a handful of plums and nestled halves into a simple cake batter. The excitement of the process is mainly in making your plum cake look all artsy and delicious at the same time.

Baking for 40 (ish) minutes and waiting for it to cool are the only things standing in your way of eating this cake. Perhaps the fact that it’s cake will save me from putting too many plums into my belly. Wish me luck. I wish you the same.

Plum Crazy Cake

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil (or any mild oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
5-8 Plums, halved and pitted (depending on size)

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together.

Beat the butter until it’s soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for approximately 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the oil and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients but mix only until incorporated.

Make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into a 8 inch square pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes during which time the plums juices will seep back into the cake then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Once cool, I dusted mine with powdered sugar. No biggie.

You can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.

Peach Streusel Tart

9 Aug

Peach season is upon us.

This makes me feel shame; shame because the summer of 2012 was not the summer of Fab. Fab went through some rough patches, a move, a severely drastic lifestyle change, and several other super fun events that I like to categorize as “real life.”

Baking hasn’t really happened. I frequent the local farmer’s market (which, golly gee, is a mere hop skip and a jump from my new humble abode) every week and I do purchase many things that lead to yummy goodness for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Baked yummy goodness, on the other hand, has not made an appearance. Shame.

These peaches were sitting at the farmer’s market last Thursday. I said hello; they blushed and smiled back. It made me realize that summer is almost over and I have barely taken advantage…and I have let you down. I purchased said peaches, and took them home with baking on the brain.

I have a smaller sized oven and a smaller kitchen in general. It was a slight adjustment to my last apartment. Counter space has been challenging…pantry space: an improvement (thank the kitchen gods). It shall take me some time to get accustomed to this new kitchen dance but I feel that this tart was a good place to start.

The tart just kinda happened. I just happened to make a simple pie crust and just happened to slice up those beautiful niagara peaches and throw in some sugar and spices for good measure.

This tart can happen to you too. The streusel topping is optional….but encouraged. Ice cream is a requirement. Sharing…..permitted.

Peach Streusel Tart

Crust:

adapted from Joy the Baker

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ice cold water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Combine all the dry ingredients and butter into a food processor. Pulse until butter has been incorporated. Slowly drizzle the water and cider vinegar just until dough comes together.

Chill.

When chilled, roll out dough and press into a tart shell. You can also use a pie plate if you so desire.

Filling:

3-4 large peaches, sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup minute tapioca

Combine all ingredients together. Boom.

Streusel:

1/2 cup butter, cold

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup flour

Combine in a food processor.

Pour the peaches into the tart shell, top with streusel and bake at 375F until streusel is just starting to get colour, and filling is bubbling slightly.