Tag Archives: peaches

Peach and Blueberry Pie

I feel like I should make and eat more pie. Particularly when it is filled with peaches and blueberries.What is it about pie?

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I always think food nostalgia harks back to childhood memories of foods your mother fed you. Or that you ate in the sunshine, without a care in the world. Or foods that make you feel comforted, that generate a feeling that everything will be okay. But for me, my pie nostalgia only goes back 2 years – to the summer of 2014, when I was interning at CooknScribble. It was there that I learnt to make pie; to participate in conversations about food as someone with expertise; and to investigate how people go about learning and teaching food in informal settings. And so I suppose it is a nostalgia of sorts – one associated with the USA, new friends, sunny days, outdoor swimming, cooking, baking and talking to people about food.

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But my pie enthusiasm is also not about nostalgia. It is about my love of baked fruit. There is little I love more than fruit baked with a little sugar until it is soft, perhaps slightly crunchy at the edges, and ideally, combined with oats and custard. It is why I love crumbles sooooo much. I know people write about their ideal peach being one that they bite into (or slice and eat), savouring the juices as they run down their chins. But I admit, I am not one of them really. Yes, I will eat peaches raw (or nectarines or plums or apricots) and particularly when we are in Spain, the fruit is perfectly ripe, and it is actually too hot to contemplate eating anything heated. But my favourite way to eat summer fruit is to slice it in half, sprinkle it with a little sugar and butter, and bake it in the oven. Then I can eat it warm, possibly (almost certainly) with custard. Or cold for breakfast the next day, with yoghurt.

This is why I love pie.

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This is a photo essay (with notes) of making this pie. The recipe is from Food52.

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First steps: make the pie dough. This needs to rest in the fridge. Yossy has you roll and fold the dough like you would rough puff but this did not achieve the flaky pastry I’d envisioned so I’m unsure of the purpose of this. I’m not sure why my pastry wasn’t very flaky – I may try this again to be sure but my pastry was like regular pie pastry, not like rough puff. Once you’ve rolled, folded and chilled the dough, roll half of it out and line the tin. I use an incredibly handy tart tatin tin. This has been one of my best equipment buys because it is so versatile.

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Blanch the peaches in boiling water and then shock in cold water so you can remove their skins. If your peaches are not particularly ripe you will need to do this for more than the minute advised in the recipe.

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You then toss the sliced peaches, blueberries, sugar, flour and lemon zest together. It will almost immediately get syrupy.

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Place the fruit in your pie tin and preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out the rest of the pastry into a long rectangular sheet and cut it into strips, and any shapes you like. Arrange these into a lattice a top the pie case.

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Brush the whole thing with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

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Allow to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

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On (almost) finishing. And some thyme and peach loaf cake.

Greetings dear readers. It has been a long time! Three (nearly four) whole months (ssshhh!). If you are wondering what on earth happened to me (I do hope you are), well, I finally submitted my thesis for examination. Cue dancing bears and confetti and loud bangs and cake.

Well, some of those things anyway. I am now in that weird interim period as I await my viva (defense) and start to contemplate life-after-a-PhD. This is a surprisingly scary thing. I’ve spent a very long time on one project and now I find myself at the end and the big, scary question now is, what next? And the even scarier realisation is that well anything could be next. The possibilities are somewhat endless. The good thing is that there seem to be various things happening in a range of places but I am as yet without an actual permanent job. I keep reminding myself that this is okay! I’m busy working in a cafe (making a lot of cake) and writing several things. And next week I am bonding with the mothership and princess up in the peaks for some much needed rest.

But in the meantime, I am back here. (Yay!) I will do a catch up post soon but today I’m keeping it simple. Today is all about this cake (bout this cake).

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I found this cake via Instagram, which I realise sounds odd but there you go. I follow Honey&Co and on Sunday a while back they had a ‘cook along’ which, quite frankly, is just a genius idea. Basically they posted photographs of the step-by-step process of this cake and you could cook alongside with them. I was at work (#chefslife) but I scrolled back through the feed with interest. I love a loaf cake and at this time of year I’ll take anything with peaches. Their cake is made with fennel seeds (which sounds exciting and intriguing) but in my head I had this mantra going “peaches and thyme, peaches and thyme” so I decided to do a little adapting and made this instead. This is wonderful cake – good for tea – but even better a day old, toasted under the grill and slathered with salted butter. (You can ask the girls at work. They will concur.)

Peach and Thyme Loaf Cake
Adapted from Honey & Co

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g golden caster sugar
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 eggs
120g white spelt flour
40g buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
80g all-fat natural yoghurt
40g creme fraiche
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 peaches
demerara sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a large loaf tin with butter. Line the base of the tin with parchment.

Cream together the butter, sugar, zests, vanilla and salt until the mixture is white and fluffy.

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Pull the thyme leaves from their stems. If your thyme is flowering you can also add in some of the flowers. Pull enough leaves to fill a tablespoon loosely. Add the thyme into your mixture.

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Add in the eggs and beat again. The mixture will probably look split, do not stress. It’ll come back together.

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Cut two cheeks off each peach (Honey & Co came up with this delightful phrase). Slice the cheeks finely. Dice the rest of the peaches.

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In a separate bowl, mix together the flours and baking powder.
Fold half the flour into the egg/butter mixture followed by all the yoghurt and creme fraiche.

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Fold the diced peaches into the cake batter

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Pour the batter into your loaf tin.
Arrange the peach slices on the top and sprinkle with a little demerara sugar.

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Bake until the cake is risen and cooked through – a skewer inserted comes out clean and the cake springs back at your touch. Depending on your oven this will take around 45 minutes or so.
Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out and cooling completely on a wire rack.

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Best of Summer Crumble

I really, really like baked fruit. I possibly like baked fruit even more than I like fresh fruit. Which is saying something. (Possibly about traumatic raw food experiences as a child, I don’t know.) But my preferred way to eat fruit is to have it baked, with an oat topping. I’m predictable and slightly boring, I am aware. This crumble highlights the best of the summer fruits current available at my local fruit and vegetable shop, Fred Hallam in Beeston if you’re wondering, which happen to be peaches, cherries (from Kent) and blueberries.

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I was invited over to cook (that sounds strange when I write it) for American friends yesterday – they do a Sunday dinner thing – and we ate outside in the garden. There was a vegetarian amongst us so I decided the easiest (and cheapest) was to do an all-vegetarian menu. I made tomato cobbler with blue cheese biscuits (from Joy the Baker, which I will post about separately), a squash and rocket salad and this crumble.

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There is no recipe for this crumble. I apologise, I just wasn’t organised enough to weigh everything out and I make crumble by sight (I was also ridiculously hungover from a hen night and couldn’t be bothered to stand upright longer than was strictly necessary). But I thought you’d enjoy the photos anyhow. I used four peaches, about 500g cherries and a handful of blueberries. The crumble was made with oats, plain flour, some demerara sugar, a generous handful of chopped pistachios and some butter (about 50g worth). I served it with crème fraîche but you could do cream/ice cream/yoghurt. I had the left-overs today after dinner but it works equally well as breakfast.

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Peach Cobbler

Last Thursday was July 4th and an American friend of mine had a gathering to celebrate. I made this peach cobbler – I found a recipe in the July issue of Delicious – as I figured a dish from the deep south was as good as any to take to a 4th event. I was also arriving late so dessert was the logical thing to take and it had to be peach based, because, you know, I’m currently obsessed with peaches. It’s a beautiful summer dessert, perfect eaten late in the evening, as the sun is finally setting and it’s cooling off. We ate it late, after hot dogs and smores, in plastic cups…

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Apparently cobblers came about with early British settlers. Some of what I read said cobblers emerged because settlers didn’t have ingredients for desserts like steamed puddings and cobbler was a compromise, but others write that cobblers were a variation on pie, which the British had been able to make in brick ovens and which they adjusted to cooking over open flame in America. A pot was filled with fruit and then a dough was placed on top, the lid was put on and it was cooked over a fire. Cobblers became popular in the South, where peaches were abundant. It doesn’t really matter does it? Although food history is fascinating. Cobblers are different from crumbles or crisps, the latter are made with oats and cobblers have batters that are more like scone mix (the Americans would say biscuits).

As I said before, my recipe is adapted from the July Delicious magazine, which had a whole special on American food. I used lime in my peaches and sour cream in the batter as well as half gluten-free self-raising flour.

Peach Cobbler

Adapted from Delicious Magazine

10 peaches

100g golden caster sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime

100ml sour cream

80ml whole milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g plain flour

150g gluten-free self-raising flour

60g golden caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

90g unsalted butter, cold

The peaches need to be blanched in boiling water and then refreshed in ice cold water. This will allow you to peel them easily. I put them into the boiling water for about a minute and then put them into the ice water. They then need to be stoned and sliced. (No one wants peach skin or stones in a cobbler.)

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Preheat the oven to 180C. You can lightly grease a deep ovenproof dish – I used a glass pie dish (24cm) and didn’t grease it.

In a bowl, toss the peach slices together with the 100g golden caster sugar, cornflour, and lime and lemon zest’s. Place them in the pie dish and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

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Whisk the egg, cream, milk and vanilla together in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix together the 60g golden caster sugar, flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Rub the butter into this mixture, until it resembles crumbs and becomes golden in colour. Add the liquid mixture to this and form a dough. Take the peaches out of the oven and dot balls of dough over.

Dough mixture

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden and the peach juices bubble up around the edges. Serve with ice cream or cream.

Peaches, Roasted with White Peach Balsamic

Greetings dear readers,

I made it back from the USA last week (via three flights and one delay) and then worked at Open Days all weekend; after a whirlwind birthday celebration with the Princess in London (whatever you do, go and see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s possibly the best theatre show ever. We both agreed it is the most fantastical/magical/mind-blowingly-clever stage production we’ve ever seen. It made me laugh and cry and filled me with that glorious feeling of the magic of the world in a way only good children’s stories seem to do.) So I am rightly over tired at the moment. And tomorrow I am going back to school to do some follow up visits (before I can finally get down to tackling the vast amount of stuff I have accumulated as part of my field work, and make it all make sense…) I am going to tell you all about Chicago and MSU very soon, as well as Petersham Nurseries (another fantastic London find) but until then, I leave you with this very simple dish.

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The best days of summer are upon us, the longest day is past and it is thus very necessary to celebrate soft fruits and sunshine. I realised whilst I was in Chicago that this blog is very much a journal of my eating experiences and ideas and any attempt to make it anything else is just silly. So you’ll probably be seeing a lot of practical eating in the next while – especially since I have to cook for myself until September. I do hope you like.

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There isn’t a recipe here. (I’m not big on recipes, I won’t lie.) Basically I found this fantastic white peach balsamic in Chicago (on a food tour which I will write about soon). What better way to roast peaches than with a little olive oil, balsamic and brown sugar? So that’s exactly what I did. I halved the peaches, drizzled some balsamic and olive oil over them, and then sprinkled them with brown sugar. I roasted them in the oven for about 40 minutes, at 180C, until they were soft through and the juices and vinegar had caramelised. I served them warm with yoghurt, some pistachios and a few strawberries. (You can embellish a lot here – add in herbs you have, I like thyme with peaches – or some oats for a more crumble effect. You can serve the peaches with ice cream or cream or sweet biscuits. The choice is yours really. Just use slightly under ripe fruit for the best results.)