Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Deep-Dish Blackberry-Peach Double-Crust Pie

I have a feeling time goes faster than I'd like it to be.  It's two more weeks until Labor Day weekend; after that school will start and I will go back to my regular work.  I really like summer time because there's time to be with family and go on an outing.  It'll be kind of sad when September rolls over.

For most of days, I've time to bake with what's available in season.  There are several recipes that I've tried but not all will make it to this blog.  There's a chocolate zucchini cake which was a disappointment, a fermented cassava cake which was still to be perfected, but most of the pies I did will be shared here though.  This is one of them, when the peaches were plenty and blackberries hung by a handful.

Each pie slice is a burst of juicy blackberries and sweet peaches and I love it when I can successfully cut a perfect pie slice--pat myself on the back.  We topped our pies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, hmmm...I wish I still had that slice.

Deep-Dish Blackberry-Peach Double-Crust Pie

Make 8 to 10 servings

Double Crust Pie Pastry:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cold water


6 to 8 small to medium-size ripe peaches
4 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Milk or light cream

To make the double crust pastry:
In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt.  Add butter, pulse a few time.  Add shortening, pulse until the mixture forms into lima bean-size pieces.  Add half of the ice water, pulse again.  Then add the last half of ice water, pulse until the mixture starts to clump and look moist.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into two balls; one ball should be slightly larger than the other; this will be the bottom crust.  Flatten each into a disk with the heel of your hand.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated at least an hour or overnight before rolling.

Once ready, take out the bottom crust disk; allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Liberally flour the work surface and roll the pastry into a 13 1/2-inch circle.  Gently fold the pastry into the rolling pin and invert pastry over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.  Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and let the overhang drape over the edge.  Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

To make the filling:
Blanch, peel, and slice the peaches into a large measuring cup; you'll need 4 cups.  Combine the sliced peaches, blackberries, and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a large bowl.  Toss well to combine and set aside for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar with the cornstarch.  Stir the mixture into the fruit along with the nutmeg, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.  Take out the smaller disk of pastry and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out the top crust pastry onto a floured surface to a 11 1/2-inch circle.  Turn the filling into the chilled pie shell.  Smooth the fruit with a spoon and dot with the butter.  Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell.  Invert the top pastry over the filling.  Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened edge.  Trim the pastry with scissors or a paring knife, leaving an even 1/2-inch overhang all around, then sculpt the overhang into an upstanding ridge.  Slash the top of the pie with a knife to allow steam to escape.  Brush top crust all over with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for for 30 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degree F and rotate the pie 180 degrees.  Just in case, slide a large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any drips.  Continue to bake until the juices bubble thickly at the steam vents and the top is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.  If the top starts to get too dark, cover it with loosely tented aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

Source:  Pie by Ken Haedrich

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Cookie Bites

Even though I'm not allergic to anything or following a particular diet, I sometime like to make healthy food options for my family.  Especially since I'm not getting younger anymore, it's best to keep me healthy by not overindulging in rich foods, right?  

When the healthy food has great taste, the right texture, and easy to make, I'd say yes to making it part of my baking/cooking repertoire.  Just like these cookie bites, these are made from wholesome and natural ingredients; and what's more they're taste awesome.  

When my husband or son comes home from work or school, they like to have something to nibble to tide the hunger until dinner time.  I think these bites are the perfect answer for that call.

I've tasted a variation of this cookies and decided to make it based on the ingredients I have on hand.  The original recipe is called Toasted Coconut Quinoa Breakfast Cookies by Simply Quinoa.  Her blog has a variety of recipes using quinoa that taste and look great.  Thanks for the recipe!

So instead of quinoa flakes, I made these with part flax meal and part oat bran.  The cookies have a darker color but taste-wise, they're equally as yummy.  I also swapped cashew butter for natural, crunchy peanut butter; my family just love peanut butter more.  As for size, they're bite-size products that is great for portion control snacking.  

It's time for you to make these and decide if they're a keeper!

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Cookie Bites

Makes about 24 small cookies

1/2 cup natural, chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut flakes, toasted, let cool
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine mashed banana with peanut butter, honey, egg, and vanilla extract.  Mix it until comes together.  Add oats, flax meal, oat bran, baking powder, and salt; stir.  Fold in toasted coconut and chia seeds.

Using a small scooper (about a tablespoon), drop a scoopful of the mixture into baking sheet until all the mixture is gone.

Bake cookies on center rack for 15-18 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Remove and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Peaches and Cream Pie

I'm at my happiest when the peach is in season.  Here in Oregon, it is usually a short season and once it is picked tree-ripened, it will not last too long.  I get my peaches from a family friend and every year I will not want to miss their juicy and sweet peaches.  Every year in July, I will come home with at least 20 pounds of peaches.  A third will be freeze for making smoothie, another third will be for fresh consumption, and the last third will usually become dessert.

This is one the desserts that I chose to make when the first batch of peaches arrive.  I'm also a sucker for custard dessert so even if this type of pie isn't in trend anymore, I will still make it.  The creamy filling has the smooth peach puree, while the top is decorated with chopped fresh peaches.  And as an added decoration, lightly sweetened whipped cream frost the edges of the pie.  It is an optional item so I'll leave it up to you.

The hard thing to do with this pie is the waiting time.  It needs to set for at least 3 hours before we can eat it, so the anticipation is building up.  It doesn't disappoint, I promise.

Peaches and Cream Pie

Makes 8 servings

1 9-inch graham cracker crust pie shell

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
4 large ripe peaches
2 1/2 cups (approximately) light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Extra cream to make whipped cream, optional

In a medium non aluminum saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt; do not heat.  Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and beat well with a whisk.  Peel and slice 2 of the peaches, dropping them into a 2- to 4-cup measure.  Pour enough cream into the cup to get an even 2-cup measurement.  Pour the cream and peaches into a blender and puree.  Pour the puree into another non aluminum saucepan, add 1 more cup of the light cream and heat gently, just until hot to the touch.  Remove from the heat.

Whisk a ladleful of the heated mixture into the egg yolks.  Stir this into the saucepan with the dry ingredients and turn the heat on low.  Gradually add the rest of the liquid, stirring almost constantly and slowly increasing the heat to medium.

When the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat down a little and cook, stirring, until quite thick, about 3 minutes; get your spoon into the bottom crease of the pan so it doesn't stick or burn there.  Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the vanilla and then the butter, several small pieces at a time, waiting until it melts to add more.  Press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the filling so it doesn't form a skin.  Cool for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, assemble the pie.  Peel and slice the remaining peaches, cut them into small cubes.  Ladle the filling into the pie shell, then drop cubed peaches on top, press lightly to submerged the fruits.  Let the pie cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with a foil tent; it should touch the pie's surface.  If desired, frost the pie's edges with sweetened whipped cream.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Source:  adapted from Country Baking by Ken Haedrich

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Shrimp Burgers

Now that I'm finally home, I'm trying to enjoy summer by getting back to cooking again and doing more baking.  This was said with my fingers crossed :)  It hasn't been easy enjoying summer in Oregon when the sun isn't making its presence lately.  July has been a cold one, I think, compared to springtime.  But the weather has taken a turn this week, in fact, the rest of the nation on the east coast is experiencing a sweltering heatwave.  Not us, fortunately!

This shrimp burger is something that I enjoy making in the summer.  The grill is clean and ready, so why not utilize it to make something as tasty as this?  The good thing about this dish is that it isn't pretentious.  Armed with cheap white and soft buns, sliced tomatoes, maybe butter lettuce if you want it more elevated, and punchy tartar or cocktail sauce; it will satisfy hungry mouths at dinnertime.  My husband and I enjoy drinking shandy with our burgers, what about you?

Shrimp Burgers

Serves 6

1 pound medium (40-count) shrimp
3 tablespoons finely diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup bread crumbs--I used panko
3 tablespoons good-quality mayo
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A few dashes of hot pepper sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
6 cheap white hamburger buns
Lettuce for serving
Sliced tomatoes for serving
Tartar Sauce--recipe follows
Cocktail Sauce--recipe follows

In a 3-quart saucepan, bring 1 quart water to a full boil.  Add the shrimp, cover, and remove the pan from the heat.  Let the shrimp steep for 4 minutes, then drain.  Put the shrimp in a large bowl and cover them with ice to cool.  When the shrimp is cool enough to handle, peel and devein them, then roughly chop them.

In another bowl, mix the shrimp, celery, green onion, parsley, and lemon zest.  Stir in the breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, and egg. Take a wooden spoon and beat the mixture until all the ingredients are well blended.  Season with salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce to taste, and stir once more to incorporate throughout the mixture.

From the mixture, make six 3-inch patties.  If you wet your hands with water, this process will be a little easier.  Heat the oil in a nonstick saute pan until hot and shimmering.  Cook the patties, three at a time, for about 3 minutes per side, or until they are golden.  Drain them on paper towels.

Serve each patty on a hamburger bun with lettuce, tomato, and tartar or cocktail sauce, if desired.

Tartar Sauce

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped dill pickles or sweet pickles
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dill or sweet pickle juice

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Cocktail Sauce

Makes about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained, or more if desired
1/4 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce

In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, horseradish, and Worchestershire sauce and stir until well combined.  Let it sit for 30 minutes before serving.  This will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for about 1 week.  Let it come to room temperature before using.

Source:  The Big Book of Fish and Shellfish by Fred Thompson

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Raspberry Mousse Pie

I hope it's not too late to post a raspberry related dessert?  I made this when my aunt and her friend were staying with us so we have a large group to help polish off the pie.  Both of them liked the pie very much and complimented me for choosing it to end the meal.  But I thanked Martha Stewart for providing us with the recipe.  The raspberries were very fresh because I U-picked them at the same week.  Big, juicy, local raspberries are the best!

Raspberry Mousse Pie

Serves 12

Nonstick cooking spray
7 graham crackers
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
 21/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin (from one 1/4-ounce packet)
5 cups fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup plus 2 tabelspoons sugar
2 cups cold heavy cream

Lightly coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.  Arrange graham crackers in an even layer in pan, breaking them to fit as necessary.  Place lemon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin.  Let sit until gelatin softens, 3 minutes.  In a blender, puree 2 cups raspberries until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed.  Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup, pressing on solids (you should have about 1 cup of puree); discard solids.

In a small saucepan, combine raspberry puree and 1/2 cup sugar over medium. Cook until bubbles form at edge.  Add gelatin mixture and cook, stirring constantly, just until gelatin dissolves, about 1 minute.  Transfer mixture to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature, 20 minutes.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and 2 tablespoons sugar on medium-high until firm peaks form, about 4 minutes.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold in raspberry puree mixture until combined.  Pour over graham crackers.  Smooth top with an offset spatula and arrange 3 cups raspberries on top.  Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours (or up to overnight).

Using parchment, gently lift pie out of pan and place on a serving plate.  Peel away parchment from sides of pie; trim excess paper with scissors or a sharp knife.  Cut into 12 pieces to serve.

Source:  Martha Stewart