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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.

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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.

Gluten-Free (And Vegan, NBD) Frosted Brownies

4 Apr

For those of you who have to live a gluten-free lifestyle because of medical reasons….you may want to listen up. I have something to say:

I’m sorry, but I cannot marry you. Thanks for the offer though.

For those of you who live a gluten-free lifestyle by choice: I take my hat off to you. I don’t think I would want to live in a world without gluten. Knowing that I had the option of eating gluten would be absolutely unbearable. Well. I could do it. I’d just be bitter about it.

At August Restaurant, we offer many gluten-free options, so I have dabbled in gluten-free baking for quite some time now. Let me tell you…there have been many gluten-free shamecakes and the like since I’ve been learning about gluten-free baking. Lots of learning about xantham gum, and how you should NOT let it explode everywhere and try to clean it up with a damp cloth. Lots of learning how some flours taste really bad, no matter how much chocolate you put in there.

I decided a while ago, after visiting the bakery in New York City, to purchase the Babycakes cookbook. I must say the recipes are quite specific and well thought out, that is for sure. After tasting what they had to offer in New York, I trusted the recipes and tried out a few. I measured everything to a tee and read the instructions diligently. The results? YUM!

This recipe was adapted from that cookbook. Bless them. They are pretty smart folks at that bakery. These brownies are even vegan!

They came out super moist, cakey yet fudgy, flavourful and downright unacceptably delicious. It’s just not fair sometimes. Add a little lavendar cream cheese icing, and you’ve got yourself a one way ticket to Delicious Town.

Gluten who? You won’t miss that guy in these brownies; no sir.

Gluten-Free (and Vegan) Frosted Brownies

1 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour

1/4 cup potato starch

2 tbsp arrowroot flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup applesauce (I used a prune puree instead. Don’d judge me)

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup hot water or coffee

1 cup chocolate chips (vegan or otherwise)

Mix together all the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix the applesauce, oil, coffee and vanilla together, then pour into the dry mixture until the batter is smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed.

Bake in an 8″by 8″ square pan at 325F for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Not that either of us should be worried, but they are best served warm and will only keep for a few days covered. You’ll have them gone by then anyway though. Not to worry.

Lavendar Cream Cheese Icing

4oz softened cream cheese

1/4 cup butter

1 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Beat until it resembles….well….icing. Go figure.

Don’t Make These Donuts

15 Dec

So I bought myself a donut pan for my birthday. (Which is today….by the way….no big deal!) How awesome is it to get a box of goodies in front of your door from none other than yourself! Happy birthday me!

I tried to make some super yummy chocolate cake donuts like the ones you get at Tim Hortons…

They looked pretty darned good.

They tasted….bleh.

I tried again: This time I tried to make chocolate yeasted donuts, I figured they’d be more authentic tasting and delicious.

The taste was ALMOST there. But I totally messed up and didn’t account for the rising in the oven. I should have cut the donut holes bigger….

I may or may not have collapsed with laughter while pulling these out of the oven.

Anyway.

What I’m saying, is that I’ve been working on chocolate candy cane donuts and I haven’t succeeded just yet but succeed I will.

You just sit tight. Have some coffee.

I got this.

Promise.

Apple Tarte Tatin Bread

27 Nov

Things I do before I go to bed:

1. Engage in some minor snackage.

2. Moisturize.

3. Brush teeth. More recently, rinse out the holes where my wisdom teeth once lived. (TMI?)

4. Write a to do list for the next day.

5. Set my alarm clocks. Not a typo. I have several.

6. Read a book or magazine.

7. Fantasize about upside down apple-y bread things.

Yes, it’s true. I fantasized about some sort of love child between an apple tarte tatin and bread.

I clearly had no choice but to make it come true….otherwise I’d be losing sleep over it for days.

This came out so beautifully, I think I might have outdone myself.

Picture this as some sort of amazing breakfast treat….a half sweet, chewy but fluffy bread semi-soaked in apple/caramel sauce. Does that not sound like the greatest thing? It was.

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Cheesy Sweet Potato Pockets

16 Oct

So, I made this cake.

Turns out, sweet potatoes don’t come in convenient measurements. You pretty much have to cook whatever mother nature decided to give you. That is why, I had leftover sweet potatoes. I see this more as a blessing than a nuisance. How else would I make these amazing pastry pockets of goodness?

After we had baked the cake, my mom and I decided that the only solution would be to team up, yet again, and attempt to make my grandmother’s specialty. They’re actually called “bourekas.” She would show up with a greasy-bottomed paper bag full of them every Friday night, without fail. Sometimes she’d surprise us with something more amazing, like her spinach-parmesan rolls (boulemas) or meat filled pastries (pastelikous sp?). But these were a staple. I truly miss all of her amazing treats. She was a damn good cook.

We tried to do her justice!

When we broke into one and I took a bite, I knew she would have approved. They were mighty fine eatin’ I’ll tell you that much.

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Blueberry Clafouti

17 Aug

A blueberry what?

That’s what I heard every time I offered someone a piece. Shall I spell it out phonetically?

Cla-foo-tee.

Sounds fancy right?

I feel fancy just thinking about it….think about how fancy you’d feel if you ate some.

When I worked elsewhere with my chef ┬áBeth we would have raspberry or cherry clafouti on the menu sometimes. As far as I know, cherries are traditionally what you would use. To be honest, I never actually made clafouti. It was always made by someone else in the kitchen…and I had never tried it either.

A few weeks ago Beth made some pretty awesome emergency raspberry clafoutis for a last minute catering. I ate my first piece. MAGIC. It’s like a cross between a cake and a custard, and I regret having waited so long to try some.

So why blueberries? Why NOT blueberries. I don’t usually eat berries when they’re out of season (yucky out of season berries are so not worth eating) therefore it has been ages since I’ve had fresh blueberries. My friend picked some up for me from a reliable source. Oh so sweet and delicious, and laden with blueberry goodness! What else was I to do?

I got the recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine. Can I be honest? I loved this. To bits. But I was slightly disappointed with the result of the texture. The flavour was there, and it looked good but the texture was not like Beth’s; more custard-like than cakey. Oh well. Could have been the recipe, could have been the lack of Beth’s magic touch. It’s still amazing. I will bug Beth for her recipe, however, you should make this. It’s ultra-yum.

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