Posts Tagged 'fruit'

Pipe Dream #217: To Answer Precisely – Peach Cobbler + Maple Bourbon Cream Sauce

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You know those weird icebreaker questions people ask at functions/college? Not the ones you have to do as the official icebreaker, but the ones that always come up as like “interesting details,” that are actually uninteresting, but we all just pretend.
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Examples include:
What’s your sign?
What is your middle name?
Do you like peaches or nectarines better?
Seriously, that last one. I feel like people ask me that all the time. So often, in fact, that I’ve developed a pretty particular answer to the question. I mean if I have to recite my answer, I’d better know it in my head.
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There is no fruit in this world better than an in-season, perfectly ripe, non-grainy, ultra-sweet peach. In all cases other than the perfect peach, I prefer nectarines, primarily because they don’t have any fuzz on.
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The following cobbler could be made with either, depending on what’s available. The great thing about baking peaches is that all the problems you might have worried about had you been trying to eat them raw (graininess, sweetness, unripeness) dissolve in a happy amalgamation of golden pulp.
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Smothered in bizkit and maple bourbon cream sauce. This dessert was actually so good that I ate three servings of it without batting a lash. I didn’t even have to justify in my mind. I just know that this kind of most perfect peach experience only happens in my life every three years, so imma take advantage.
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So what about you? Are you a peach person or a nectarine nibbler? Does it matter? Please take advantage of any late-season stone fruit and make this. Heck, you could try it with flash frozen fruit. While not as delish, probs, the cobbler would still serve as a massively adequate vehicle to transport maple bourbon cream sauce into your mouth.
Peach Cobbler
Adapted from David Lebovitz
For the filling:
4 large, ripe peaches (abbou 2 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup sugar
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the biscuits:
1½ cups (210 g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
a pinch each of salt and nutmeg + a dash or two of cinnamon
4 tablespoons (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter, very cold
2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon whole milk, half and half or cream
white sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Halve, pit and cut the peaches into ½-inch slices; you don’t have to remove the skin. In a large bowl, toss the peaches with the 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons flour and vanilla. Transfer the fruit mixture to a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once, until the fruit is warm and bubbly.
While the fruit is baking, make the biscuit dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1½ cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, 2 teaspoons sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Grate the butter on the largest holes of a box grater into the flour mixture. Stir just to coat the butter in the flour. Pour in the buttermilk and stir just until the dough is moistened. Don’t overmix.
After the fruit has baked, drop the dough in six equally sized mounds onto the fruit. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and milk. Brush the egg wash over the biscuit dough and sprinkle liberally with extra sugar. Return the baking dish to the oven for about 20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.
Let the cobbler cool until just warm and serve with maple bourbon cream sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Maple Bourbon Cream Sauce
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman
4 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 cup Whipping Cream
3 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 tablespoon bourbon

Pour the whipping cream into a saucepan. Add the maple syrup, corn syrup, maple flavoring and bourbon, stirring over moderate heat until thickened and reduced by about one-third, which should take 15-20 minutes. Refrigerate the mixture until it is cold and thick, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t form a skin. If you are rushed, you can set the sauce over an ice bath and cool it more quickly.

So Totally Creative: A Lion King Skit + South African Fruit Pizza


We had this thing for work. It was a wine and cheese tasting event, and each department had a theme. I’d like to say it was this cookie cake that won us the ‘Most Creative’ award, but actually, it was likely the giant, homemade elephant that poured wine out of its trunk and the artful rendition of the christening of Simba that did it. I mean, it was complete with theme music.

It was kind of difficult to come up with truly South African things with which to theme our table. I mean, do you know anything that defines South Africa? Besides the innumerable spoiled princesses who live there vacationing off their diamond-mining fortunes (a fact I know because of five years of Alias storylines, no doubt). So we resorted to a Lion King skit (the most authentically African thing Americans know about) + a cookie pizza decorated with the South African flag.

Here’s the thing: If you’re going to make a South African flag, you might as well make it in the form of a classic Midwestern dessert. I mean, why not? The “fruit pizza” is an old classic in these parts due to its simple preparation and delicious consumption. It is highly transportable and a cinch to do for a crowd, so it shows up at grad parties and potlucks more often than Lil’ Smokies.

Here’s the procedure:



Slice up ya dough and press it into the bottom of a lined 9 x 13″ pan. Bake according to package directions. I didn’t even make my own sugar cookie dough. Woops. Nope, actually I feel fine about that.



Whip up your cream cheese with some sugar. This is the reason this dessert is so heart-stealing. Spread this on the cooled cookie just prior to serving.




Then, fruitify. You can use any fruit you want, and I would . Berries work nicely, kiwis add color. For some reason, I feel like people only use kiwis on this dessert. Where else do you see people use them? Maybe they do in South Africa.


May you be the winner of every creativity contest you enter into with every unoriginal idea you’ve ever had. This is dramatic. Go forth and enjoy!


Midwest Fruit Pizza

A word of mouth classic

1 16.5 ounce roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough (though you could make your own, or use a box mix too)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

assorted fruit (berries, mandarin oranges, kiwi, etc.)

Line a 9×13″ pan or a 12″ pizza pan with parchment paper. Slice up the sugar cookie dough, and press it into the pan, covering the bottom with an even layer of dough. Bake according to package directions, something like 11-13 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let cool.

While the cookie layer bakes, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until well-blended. Spread the cream cheese over the cooled cookie layer and top with the desired fruit just before serving.

Pipe Dream #191: To Be A Healthfully Interesting Addition – Coconut Oil Banana Bread

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Coconut oil is so cool. You can read about it here. To sum up:

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. The benefits of the oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial properties.

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Clearly, coconut oil is multi-purpose, friends. In the case of me, I purposed it for this banana bread, replacing butter or liquid oil with a nutty, space-alien lookin’ fat. It has s super high melting point, so at any point below 76 degrees, the oil is solid.

Incidentally, do you remember that sweet magic shell ice cream topping you can buy? It’s liquid, but then when it hits the ice cream it hardens like a DQ dip cone. Because of coconut oil’s high melting point, you can create your own magic shell with just chocolate and oil! Sweet party trick.

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Maybe I should have included chocolate chips in this bread. It would have been like a banana split. With or without, this bread is subtly coconut-flavored and super dense, even after three days. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried coconut oil in anything else; it seems like it could be a healthfully interesting addition to any number of recipes.

I want to be a healthfully interesting addition,


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Coconut Oil Banana Bread

Adapted from Chez Us

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (or butter)
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 medium-size bananas
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil on medium speed until soft, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through. Make sure to scrape down the bowl and beaters a fair amount during the whole process; I found that things weren’t getting as well-mixed as I would have liked.  Add the yogurt and continue beating on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and bananas and mix until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing on medium speed until well combined, about 3 minutes.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Check it at 30 minutes to make sure the top isn’t browning too much. If it starts to brown too much, cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time.

Pipe Dream #190: To Find That One Gem – Cherry Breakfast Clafoutis

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I have recently been loving checking out HuffPost Taste. All the pictures are beautiful, and it points me to other blogs for inspiration. Scrolling through recipe indices is so fun for me. It’s like digging through the entire rack at the thrift store and finding that one gem.

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I tried a cherry clafoutis once before, but that was with cherry pie filling, and the effect is not quite the same. Clafoutis in their true form are easy art; the fruit displays beautifully like in a tart, but you don’t have to go through all the work of making a tart shell. Pancake tart art for Saturday b-fast? Yes please.

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The original recipe has a crumble topping which looked so amazing. Please try it like that. And bonus, clafoutis work well as dessert also, served warm or at room temperature.

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Happy breakfast-ing,


Cherry Breakfast Clafoutis

Adapted heavily from HuffPost Taste

2/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
heaping 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs
3/4 cup lowfat milk
1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 pound (12 ounces) frozen, pitted cherries

For garnish: powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, milk, yogurt and vanilla. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

Butter 8 small ramekins or a 6-cup baking dish. Arrange the cherries in the bottom of the dish(es). Pour the batter over the cherries and bake for 30-40 minutes until puffed and golden.

Whip the heavy whipping cream, adding sugar for sweetness. Dust clafoutis with powdered sugar just before serving and top with lightly whipped cream. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pipe Dream #167: To Be Perfectly Proportioned – Brown Butter Pear Crisps

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Are these photos super dark on your computer? Let me know in the comments if so, because they seem light on my screen, but when I see them on other screens, they look super dark, and I really don’t know why. I mean, probably my bad.

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These are something else. First of all, brown butter, epitome of food blog trendiness. Then perfectly ripe pears. Then CRUMBLE (which I would replace with a better one or just more next time, but whatever). All the ingredients for awesome.

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I had to split up the original recipe into four smaller portions, just to keep the awesome in check. Little individual cwisps for my family.

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Serve at room temperature so that you get the full effect of the flavors. Try and wait until it cools.

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I garnished this with a sprinkling of p sugar, but feel free to go for vanilla ice cream, whipped cream…bourbon sauce? Hello.

Hello to you too,


Brown Butter Pear Crisps

Adapted from Gourmet via smittenkitchen

For topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick oats

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

pinch salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 lb firm-ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears (about 2), peeled and coarsely chopped

4 small ramemkins

Make topping: Stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Add butter and stir until crumbles form. Cover with plastic wrap, and set in the fridge to chill  while you make the filling.

Make filling and bake crisps: Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.

Put butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is browned, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

While butter browns, stir together sugars, flour, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Add pears and vanilla and toss to combine.

Pour the browned butter over the pear mixture. Spoon filling into dishes and sprinkle with the chilled crisp topping, mounding it slightly in centers. Bake until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool and serve at room temperature or a little warmer.

Pipe Dream #149: To Be As Good As Grandma – Apple Pie in a Jar + Grandma’s Apple Crisp

I promised you a died-for apple crisp a while ago, I think. It is here, friends. It is here.

These are not the best pictures in the world, which is why I’m starting off with this one. I’ve deemed it the best of the lot because of the inclusion of bacon in the photo. Yes, this was my kitchen one fine Saturday morning, and yes, I deserved all of the bacon I ate after processing the thousands of apples my dad reaped from a friend’s laden tree.

With all these newfangled tools, you’d think slicing and dicing thousands of apples would be a cinch, but actually, it was pretty sticky. And the contraption that did it is by no means newfangled.

Sidenote, other things that are not newfangled, but that are related to this post.:

Quick Cherry Crisp

Quick Blueberry Crumble

Wild Berry Betty

Regardless, the apple crisp recipe you can find below is, without one doubt, the best possible thing you could make for yourself immediately. You could even make it for your friends. Or your family. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

With all the apples floating around, I couldn’t resist sticking a crisp in the oven quicker than you can say, “Cut in the butter.” I used fresh apples with a bit of spice and sugar thrown into the mix, but why not try my mum’s Apple Pie in a Jar? That’s what we did with all the processed apples. It’s perfect for cutesy holiday gifting, and ensures that you will have fruit stored up through the winter. We hoard ours in the laundry room and bust out an apple crisp whenever SAD threatens to overwhelm our winterized hearts. Because, obviously, food fixes everything. (False. The Gospel fixes everything, but food is a good Band-Aid.)

And now a few words about this crisp topping. It is my grandma’s recipe, which happens to be classic. And it is perfect. And it is my grandma.  If I could bake half as well as her, there would be no point in having this blog.

‘Til then,


Apple Pie in a Jar + Grandma’s Apple Crisp

For the apple filling:

4 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup corn starch
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
10 cups of water

Lots of apples

Combine all syrup ingredients together in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until syrup is thick and bubbling.

Peel and slice apples.  Tightly fill seven quart jars with sliced apples.  Cover with syrup that has been cooked until thick and bubbly.  Process in a pressure canner at 5 lbs. for10 minutes, or in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.

For the crisp topping:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup quick oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick or 8 tablespoons butter, cold

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Heat oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, spices, sugar and oats. Cut in the butter with two knives, or rub it in with your fingers until butter is about the size of small peas. Refrigerate until needed.

Dump one jar of apple pie in a jar into an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ baking dish. Spread evenly.

Cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Bake until crisp topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes. I would check it at 30, though, just in case. You don’t want the crumble getting too brown.

Serve with whipped cream. (But really, you needn’t serve it with anything if you don’t want. It’s delectable sans toppings. Your life, do what you will.)

Pipe Dream #141: To Be Perfectly Precise, A Question of Pride – Plum & Nutmeg Tart

I’ve gotta say. I worked pretty hard to make this look pretty. And I am pretty dang proud of it. Do you think all pride is bad? I hope this is pride in a good way, because I would have a really hard time repenting of this pride in my work. Maybe I’ll say I am really “pleased.”

Here’s why I’m so pleased: I have a hard time being so precise, usually.  Remember this galette? I had such naive aspirations about making the apple slices all picturesque and aligned just so. But after peeling dozens of wild apples by hand, I was kind of at my wit’s end with the whole project.

Not that I’m making excuses. Lack of precision is definitely one of my amateur baking flaws. I would say that I got it right on this plum tart, but before I actually post a Got It Right post, I want to test out any newfound precision skills. Once is chance. Two times coincidence. But three times is pattern.

The crust on this was some kind of wonderful. I added nutmeg into the recipe for a little bit of kick. It was just the right thing to do.



Plum & Nutmeg Tart

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), diced, plus 2 tablespoons for dotting

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 pounds firm, ripe Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the flour, walnuts, nutmeg and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix until the mixture is crumbly and sticks together in clumps.

Press the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan (or tart pan, as this is a tart. ha.). Arrange the plums in the pan, skin side down, to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.

Bake the tart for 20 minutes. At this point, I removed it from the oven and dotted a bit of butter over all of the plum slice. They were looking a bit dry. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until it is lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer the tart to a flat plate. Use a serrated knife to cut. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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