Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
This salted caramel apple pie embodies the flavors we look forward to each fall — tart apples, a rich caramel sauce, and a flakey pie crust.
READ: Salted Caramel Apple Pie

a slice of this salted caramel apple pie served on a stoneware plate with vanilla ice cream

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

This salted caramel apple pie embodies the flavors we look forward to each fall — tart apples, a rich caramel sauce, and a flakey pie crust.

READ: Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche got a peculiar rap back in the 1980s when eating it was described as something that was not masculine. I’m not sure where that came from, but in France, everybody eats quiche. As the French debate how to address gender pronouns, in a language where crème, baguette, and salade are feminine and pâté, vin, and quinoa are masculine (although quinoa is a plante céréalière, which…

Quiche got a peculiar rap back in the 1980s when eating it was described as something that was not masculine. I’m not sure where that came from, but in France, everybody eats quiche.

As the French debate how to address gender pronouns, in a language where crème, baguette, and salade are feminine and pâté, vin, and quinoa are masculine (although quinoa is a plante céréalière, which is feminine), for no reason other than to make the language more challenging for the rest of us to learn (whether tique, the word for tick, was masculine or feminine has been hotly debated), quiche is enjoyed by tous (or everyone, which is masculine) in France, without any blowback.

Got that?

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Perfect Pecan Pie

Perfect Pecan Pie
Gooey, nutty, and perfectly balanced between salty and sweet, this easy pecan pie recipe is my absolute favorite version and a must-make holiday dessert! With toasted pecans and an unbelievably flaky pie crust, this decadent pie pairs…

how to make the best pecan pie

Perfect Pecan Pie

Gooey, nutty, and perfectly balanced between salty and sweet, this easy pecan pie recipe is my absolute favorite version and a must-make holiday dessert! With toasted pecans and an unbelievably flaky pie crust, this decadent pie pairs perfectly with fresh whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream, or a drizzle of warm chocolate. Learn how […]

READ: Perfect Pecan Pie

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

I’m back on the wagon of tackling the recipes in the bulging files of recipes that I’ve been collecting and hanging on to for the past thirty years. Many pre-date the internet and were from food magazines (made of paper) that I subscribed to. A surprising number of the savory recipes have the words “adobo” or “chipotle,” and “pork” in the title, so if I ever…

I’m back on the wagon of tackling the recipes in the bulging files of recipes that I’ve been collecting and hanging on to for the past thirty years. Many pre-date the internet and were from food magazines (made of paper) that I subscribed to. A surprising number of the savory recipes have the words “adobo” or “chipotle,” and “pork” in the title, so if I ever want to write a book of well-seasoned pork recipes, I’ve got plenty of inspiration.

This one is from Gourmet magazine way back in 2004, a few years before they ceased publishing. I knew people in the test kitchen at Gourmet and they thoroughly tested their recipes, so you know they’re going to work. Gourmet was “modernized” under its last editor, Ruth Reichl, but the test kitchen remained a constant; she knew the value of a solid recipe and good testers. She also knew the appeal of a great photo and Romulo Yanes, who recently passed away, created many of the great images that Gourmet was known for.

Many questioned why Condé Nast killed Gourmet but not Bon Appétit, but the subscription numbers were more favorable for the latter, which didn’t end well, and is now undergoing another revamp. I, for one, am happy that there hasn’t been that much turnover here at the blog, but I should probably shake things up here at some point, too.

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Caramel Almond Pie

After my summer break, I came back to the blog and found out that it still thought it was on vacation…and wasn’t accepting any photos at this time. I was proud of myself for finally tackling a recipe that I’ve had on my radar for a while and spent a day baking it, taking pictures, and writing up the post. The recipe was quite a…

After my summer break, I came back to the blog and found out that it still thought it was on vacation…and wasn’t accepting any photos at this time. I was proud of myself for finally tackling a recipe that I’ve had on my radar for a while and spent a day baking it, taking pictures, and writing up the post. The recipe was quite a doozy, but with a name like Smoky Caramel Almond Pie, how could I not make it? It was a bit of a project but I persevered (in the name of smoky caramel and almonds…) but when I came to upload the photos, my blog wasn’t having any of it and said non.

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S’mores Pie (No-Bake!)

S’mores Pie (No-Bake!)
This easy no-bake s’mores pie recipe features distinct layers of graham cracker crust, chocolate filling, and a toasted marshmallow topping.
READ: S’mores Pie (No-Bake!)

A wedge of s'mores pie with a bite taken out and the tops lightly toasted.

S’mores Pie (No-Bake!)

This easy no-bake s'mores pie recipe features distinct layers of graham cracker crust, chocolate filling, and a toasted marshmallow topping.

READ: S’mores Pie (No-Bake!)

Blacker Berry Galette

My Netflix queue has gotten out of control and is entirely too long. And to make matters worse, I keep adding to it. Being out of the U.S. for so long, I missed watching binge-worthy, must-watch classics like The Wire and Breaking Bad when they came out, and I’d love to sit down on the sofa for another few months and watch them now that…

My Netflix queue has gotten out of control and is entirely too long. And to make matters worse, I keep adding to it. Being out of the U.S. for so long, I missed watching binge-worthy, must-watch classics like The Wire and Breaking Bad when they came out, and I’d love to sit down on the sofa for another few months and watch them now that they are streaming, as well as rewatch all five seasons of Six Feet Under, which was one of the best shows that’s even been on television. How they managed to make a show about death so human is beyond me, with a finale that’s lauded as the best ending for a television series ever. Which also made me wonder how they could have left the end of The Sopranos, another incredible show, land with such a thud?

The pandemic and confinements were certainly good for whittling down those “Watch Lists” but one show that jumped to the top of the queue was High on the Hog. It’s an eye-opening, unnerving, and emotionally difficult look at the role that African-Americans, who were brought to America as slaves, had in shaping American cooking. The subtitle of the show is “How African-American Cuisine Transformed America” which sounds like a big bill for fill, but the four-episode show traces how that happened.

And lest anyone doubt the rich contribution African-Americans have made to our cooking, author and Cook’s Country editor Toni Tipton-Martin pointed out in the program that Black Americans have been used by food brands for decades in America to denote quality, by brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, which gave host Stephen Satterfield pause as well, flipping the narrative about those culinary characters (or caricatures) that many of us grew up with.

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No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

In the heat of summer, I am always looking for fun low (or no) cook ways to…

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In the heat of summer, I am always looking for fun low (or no) cook ways to make and enjoy a little dessert. Give me all of your icebox cakes, no bake bars, and no bake cheesecakes! No bake cheesecake has all of the rich cream cheese flavor of it’s baked counterpart, but it is a bit lighter in texture and so easy to make. There are no water baths to fuss with and no worry about the top splitting on you.

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This no bake cheese cake is a great base for all sorts of summer fruit, but it would also be delicious with caramel or chocolate drizzled over the top instead. This version uses a literal heap of gorgeous fresh blueberries.

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The salty pretzel and nutty browned butter crust comes together quickly too, no baking required. It also ensures that the whole dessert is nice and balanced, and not too sweet. For a sweeter version feel free to substitute graham cracker or biscoff cookie crumbs for the preztels. You could even skip browning the butter in favor of just melting it, but the browned butter adds a ton of great flavor so I wouldn’t!

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The topping is a combination of fresh and cooked blueberries, the cooked ones make it a little saucy and help the blueberries stick together instead of sliding all over the place. I topped the whole thing with a few small leaves from my basil plant that look little little blueberry leaves. Mint would work too but the herbs are totally optional.


No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

Salty pretzels make a perfect base for this not to sweet cheesecake, but you could use graham crackers or biscoff cookie crumbs for a sweeter version - use gluten free cookies to make this desert for your gluten avoiding friends and family. The blueberry topping is partially cooked which creates some sauciness that helps the blueberries stick together, but if that’s a bridge too far for lazy summer cooking, you can just pile the top with lots of fresh blueberries. They may roll of when you slice it though!

 

Crust

175g/ 1 1/2 cups finely ground pretzels

50g/ 1/4 cup granulated sugar

340g/12 tablespoons unsalted butter

Filling

450g/ 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

100g/ 1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract

240ml/ 1 cup heavy cream, cold

Topping

490g/ 3 1/2 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Mint or basil leaves if desired


To make the crust: Combine the pretzels and sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook the butter while scraping the bottom and sides of the pan occasionally with a rubber spatula. The butter will foam, then the solids will turn deep golden brown and smell nutty. Once the butter has browned pour it over the pretzels in the bowl then stir to combine. Let the mixture cool for a minute or two then pour it into a 9-inch pie pan. Carefully press it evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan, a 1/3 cup measure is a great tool for this. Set the pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese and sugar on low speed until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure even mixing. 

Add the vanilla and lemon and stir to combine.

Switch to the whisk attachment and with the mixer on low, add the heavy cream. Turn the mixer up to medium high and whip until the mixture comes to stiff peaks, about 3 minutes.

Spoon the filling into the chilled crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate for about 8 hours or overnight. 

To make the topping: When you are ready to serve the cheesecake put 280g/2 cups of the blueberries in a large bowl and set aside. Combine 140g/1 cup of the blueberries, 2 tablespoons of water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pot and cook until the blueberries have burst and released their juices, about 2 minutes. 

In a small bowl stir the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water, slowly pour it into the blueberry mixture in the pot while stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly for 45 seconds, until thick and glossy.

Pour the mixture over the blueberries in the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the blueberries over the chilled cheesecake and scatter the remaining 70g/ 1/2 cup blueberries over the top. Sprinkle mint or basil over the top and let the pie sit for a few minutes before slicing. Store leftovers in the fridge for a few days.  

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Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie

Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie
Learn how to make the decadent Milk Bar Pie (Crack Pie) with an oatmeal cookie crust and sweet, gooey filling. It’s a pie everyone will love!
READ: Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie

A square photo of a crack pie with a slice cut in the pan in the bottom right side of the pie.

Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie

Learn how to make the decadent Milk Bar Pie (Crack Pie) with an oatmeal cookie crust and sweet, gooey filling. It's a pie everyone will love!

READ: Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie

Real Deal Cherry Pie

I had the good fortune of a day off right at the beginning of sour cherry s…

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I had the good fortune of a day off right at the beginning of sour cherry season last week (What, you don’t mark the weeks of summer using hyper-seasonal fruit as a guide? Just me?) so I put on some sunscreen and a hat, hopped in the car, and went in search of a u-pick farm. I was not disappointed to find a row of trees, heavy with fruit and not a soul in site at a farm a few hours from Brooklyn. It was a hot, hot day and the scent of the last strawberries in the field nearby filled the air as I filled up my bucket with precious sour cherries. 

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When I got home with my bounty, pie was the only choice. Instead of a traditional round, I went slab style and baked it in a quarter sheet pan. If you don’t have a quarter sheet pan or two, I highly recommend picking one up. At roughly 9x13x1, they are the perfect size to bake focaccia, a few cookies, toast nuts, or roast just about anything…but back to the sour cherries.

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Pitting cherries can be kind of a pain, but since sour cherries are so soft, I usually skip the pitter and just use my thumb to ease out the pits. It’s a bit of a sticky, drippy process so you can move your operation to the sink to make clean up super easy.

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I like my fruit pie fillings pretty simple, especially when the fruit is so special (and hard earned). This one is just sweet enough to highlight the cherries without totally overtaking their tart bite. I also added a bit of vanilla bean paste to round out the flavor, but a little bit of extract will do the trick too.

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The all butter pie crust has a bit of rye flour and brown sugar for toasty depth that is delicious with just about any fruit if sour cherries aren’t available where you live. It might be a little intimidating to roll out such a big piece of dough, but don’t you worry. To add both flakiness and structure to the dough, this recipe calls for a series of folds. The folds will make the dough both exceptionally delicious and easier to roll out and move around. Win-win. Check out the gif above to see how it’s done.

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Don’t worry if your dough rips a bit when you roll it out though, you can always pinch it back together. If you have time, make your dough the say before you plan to use it. A long rest will hydrate the dough and make it easier to roll out.

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I realize, it is a little unfair to share this recipe because sour cherries can be hard to get your hands on, but you still have a few more weeks to seek them out. Frozen will work in a pinch too, or substitute an equal amount of your favorite summer fruit - you will need a little less sugar for sweeter fruit.

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Real Deal Cherry Pie

Makes one 1/4 sheet slab pie

This pie makes the best of one of summer’s most fleeting pleasures, sour cherries. They are only available for a few weeks in late June/early July, but they are worth the wait, and the trouble of pitting them. The crust uses a bit of rye flour which adds some nutty and creamy flavor to the crust, and pairs beautifully with fruit desserts. Use an equal amount of all purpose flour if you have rye flour on hand. This filling recipe was lightly adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, who adapted from Martha Stewart, and loves sour cherries as much as I do. 

Rye Crust

340g/2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

170g/1 1/3 cups rye flour (I used Abruzzi Heirloom Rye from Anson Mills)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

10-12 tablespoons ice water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

340g/1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

Filling

900g/about 6 cups pitted sour cherries

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (165g) sugar (I used a natural cane sugar here, but granulated works too)

30g/1/4 cup cornstarch

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Pinch salt

 To finish

1 egg, for egg wash

Turbinado sugar to finish

To make the crust: Add the flours, brown sugar, and salt to a large bowl. Stir them together until combined. Add the apple cider vinegar to the ice water. Working quickly, add the butter to the flour and toss to coat. Then use your fingers or the palms of your hands to press each cube of butter into a flat sheet. Keep tossing the butter as you go to ensure that each butter piece is coated with flour. The idea is to create thin, flat shards of butter that range from about the size of a dime to about the size of a quarter. Sprinkle about 6 tablespoons of the water over the flour mixture and use your hands to mix gently, making sure to get all of the way down to the bottom of the bowl. Continue to add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. 

You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together easily without it falling apart. 

Press the dough together, then pat it into a rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, then split it in half, form each half into a rectangle and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight. I prefer an overnight rest if possible.

When you are ready to bake the pie, heat your oven to 400ºF.

Add the pitted cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla bean paste, and salt to a large bowl and stir gently to combine.

Roll one piece of the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 11x15. Gently tuck it into a metal quarter sheet pan, letting the excess hang over the sides. Roll the other piece of dough into a rectangle about 10x14. 

Pour the cherries into the dough lined pan and top with other piece of dough. Gently fold the bottom dough up and over the top and press gently. Refrigerate the pie until the crust is firm, about 15 minutes.

While the pie chills, beat the egg with a few drops of water to make the egg wash. When the pie is nice and chilled gently brush the surface with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut a few vents in the top then bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 45-60 minutes.

Let the pie cool on a rack before serving warm or at room temperature. Ice cream is optional, but highly suggested.

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