food amongst family and friends

A Little Piece of Pie Heaven – Roasted Plum Mascarpone and Saskatoon Pie September 17, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Desserts,Make Ahead,pastry — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:56 pm
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It’s been so long since I have managed to post that I now have two pie recipes that desperately need to be shared. These are two very different pies, but both are in my top three pies ever tasted (the third is peach pie). About the Plum Mascarpone pie, let me first say, this picture is terrible and does not do justice to this pie, but it was late and dark and I just wanted to eat it. Secondly, if you have never tasted a plum post-roasting, you are missing out on something truly amazing. Seriously, go roast a plum, right now, then thank me for elevating your taste buds to a new level. Add to that plum a vanilla bean and whipped mascarpone and creme fraiche and you might tear up a little. This, my friends, is pie taken to new heights.

And about the saskatoon pie, it’s nothing special, plain old ordinary pie as it should be; a showcase for the fruit at the peak of the season, with a berry that actually holds up to an hour of baking. In other words, nothing short of fantastic. But do yourself a favour and have it with some sort of cream; heavy clotted cream poured over, ice cream, whipped cream, or this Vanilla Mascarpone cream. The point is, cream will always take a berry pie to the next level.

Saskatoon Pie – recipe from my Mom’s best friend Janice, the best cook I know

On batch of Sour Cream Pastry, or pastry for a double crust pie of your choice

5 cups Saskatoons, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup water

2 1/2 Tbsp corn starch

1 Tbsp lemon juice

dash of nutmeg

1. Mix together water through nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium low heat, cooking and stirring regularly until clear and thick. Add saskatoons and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the pastry.

2. Preheat oven to 450. Roll out half the pastry to fit your 9″ deep dish pie plate. Place in bottom. Fill with berries, then cover with second half of pastry. Trim and tuck in the edges, then pinch to seal. Cut 3 or 4 vents into the top crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and cook for another 40 – 45 minutes, covering the edges with tinfoil or an edge protector if they start to get overly brown.

3. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

Plum Mascarpone pie – barely adapted from Bon Apetit

1/2 batch Sour cream Pastry or single pie crust of your choice, fully cooked and cooled (I cooked the sour cream crust, liberally fork holed, for 10-13 minutes, or until golden brown all over)

4 – 5 lbs plums, pitted and halved, skins on (I used a combination of Italian prune plums and red plums)

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste, divided (or a whole vanilla bean, divided)

8 oz mascarpone

1/3 cup creme fraiche (sour cream works if you can’t find it)

2 Tbsp honey

whipped cream for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, stir together plums, 1 1/2 cups sugar, lemon juice and half the vanilla bean paste (or scrape in half the bean). Toss to coat, then divide the plums between two 9×13 glass baking dishes, cut side down. Suggested roasting time was 40-60 minutes, I roasted mine for 40 minutes, and thought it was a little too long, so I would recommend checking in a few times during the roasting. You want the juices bubbling and the plums soft but not yet falling apart.

2. Let plums cool slightly, then remove to a cookie sheet with a slotted spoon, reserving juices. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (I did mine the day before. In fact, I did everything the day before and then just assembled the pie a few hours before serving).

3. Pour juices into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced to an approx half cup. Set aside (or refrigerate until assembly, microwaving slightly with a Tbsp of water to loosen back up before use)

4. Combine remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, remaining 1/2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste, mascarpone, creme fraiche, and honey in a large bowl or stand mixer. Beat until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat as mascarpone can curdle.

5. Assemble your pie: take your crust, spread mascarpone mixture on bottom, then add plums in spiraling layers so it peaks in the middle, then liberally brush the whole thing with the glaze, reserving some to put on top of the whipped cream for serving. Hello Masterpiece!



PS Shout out to Katie for having a pie, cheese and sangria party for her 30th birthday party; it was foodie heaven! Plus she’s the one who introduced the plum pie to my life.




Apple Pie – It’s Gouda! October 20, 2011

Filed under: Baking,pastry — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:23 am
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Usually when I make apple pie it’s an assembly line attempt to use up all the apples from my tree, and I don’t really put any thought or effort into it. But this time I had come across some lovely honeycrisp apples from Washington and the first bite made my brain scream pie, so I thought I would step it up a bit. I also had some lovely Grizzly Aged gouda from Sylvan Star Cheese Farm, and since gouda and apples are a match made in cheese heaven, I thought I would try my hand at a gouda crust. I will be making this again for sure; the apples were perfect for pie and the gouda crust let it stand well on its own (although the Bourbon Ice Cream Katie brought topped it off beautifully as well). I also made some savory crackers out of the leftover crust that we all agreed were perfect for having with wine and olives (or maybe a tapenade?). Anyway, cheese crust will make it into my regular pie rotation for sure; so many cheeses, so little time.


2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup lard

6 Tbsp sour cream (or yogurt)

1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded old gouda (easy subs would be aged cheddar or gruyere)

1. I used my food processor to shred the cheese, then switched the grater for the blade and added in the flour and salt, then pulsed a couple times to mix. If you don’t have a food processor just stir it together in a bowl.

2. Cube the lard, then add to flour mixture. Either pulse or use a pastry cutter until crumbly looking, then add in sour cream, a tablespoon at a time until it starts to come together (I almost always use all 6 Tbsps).

3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until everything is staying together. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for half an hour.


2 1/2 to 3 lbs baking apples (I used 7 big apples), peeled, cored and sliced about 1/4 inch thick

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/3 cup each, white and brown sugar

1 rounded tsp cinnamon

1 or 2 dashes each, nutmeg and allspice (I like apple pie fairly spicy, if you don’t, cut the cinnamon in half and skip the allspice)

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch

1. Toss apples with lemon juice, then stir in sugars and spices (through salt). Allow to sit and macerate for at least half an hour, and up to 3 hours.

2. Drain the juice out of the apples and into a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the butter and bring to a simmer to reduce the liquid. I had about a cup of juices and I reduced them roughly in half, however, I don’t think you would want much less than 1/2 a cup of liquid, so reduce accordingly.

3. Meanwhile, toss the cornstarch in with the apples, stirring until the cornstarch is no longer visible. Once the juices are reduced, add them back in with the apples and stir to combine.

4. Take out your pastry and cut in half. Roll each pastry out to fit your pan (I have become a big fan of metal pie plates, as the bottom crust crisps up much better). I found this dough a little trickier to work with, so flour your surface and rolling pin well.

5. Place bottom crust in plate, then add filling and top with your second sheet of pastry. Trim and pinch your crust, then slice a few vent holes in the top.

6. Bake at 450 for ten minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for another40-50 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned and the filling is bubbling (you can see in the vent holes). After the first ten minutes, add an edge protector or cover the edge of the crust with foil to prevent over browning (I was out of foil, as you can probably see from the picture).

7. Let cool for a couple of hours before serving.




Peach Pie in a Sour Cream Pastry June 21, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Desserts,Make Ahead,pastry — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:30 am
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I know I’ve been on a bit of a dessert kick lately, and I meant to stop, but I ate a peach the other day that for no apparent reason made me think “Pie!”, like I was a cartoon character with a light bulb above my head. The strange part about this is I have never actually had or made a peach pie before in my life, but there was my thought bubble and I couldn’t get rid of it. So, since my husband requested grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries for his father’s day dinner, I figured the least I could do was a pie. And I happen to know that Meagan is the queen of pies, so I borrowed her recipe for the filling and used my favourite sour cream pastry recipe that I stumbled across years ago, wrote down and have yet to discover it’s equal. That said, I have no idea where it came from, so I’m unsure where to give credit, but thank you whoever you are, because before this, I was more of a filling than a crust girl. Also, while moving my grandmother last weekend, she gave me some enameled tin pie plates, and told me the best pies are made in metal pans, because they crisp up better. Not surprisingly, she was right. This is easily the best pie I have ever made or consumed. That’s all I’m telling you, now you have to make it for yourself, and do it while the peaches are in season!


2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup shortening (I’m a Tenderflake fan)

6 Tbsp sour cream (I admit I used greek yogurt this time and it more than got the job done)

1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles rolled oats.

2. Add in sour cream 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring a bit between each addition. Once all is added, turn out and knead a bit to get it to just come together, but don’t overwork it or the pastry will get tough.

3. Cover and place ball of pastry in the fridge until you are ready to roll it. Makes enough for one large double crust pie. (The trimmings made a nice little rough peach tart to deliver to the neighbours)


5 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (this was 5 large ones for me, but I would have a few more handy just in case)

1 tsp lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/8 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp butter

1. To peel the peaches, x the bottoms with a paring knife, then drop them in a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove them from the boiling water and drop them into a large bowl filled with ice water. The skins should come off of the ripe peaches quite easily at this point. I found the peaches that seemed slightly under ripe to be much harder to peel, so it’s best to get them at their peak.

2. Stir together peaches and lemon juice, then add sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

3. Preheat your oven to 450. Cut your pastry ball in half and roll out one half so that it is big enough to fill the plate and hang over the edges a bit. Make sure not to stretch the pastry to fit in the corners or it will shrink back.

4. Place in pie plate and fill with peaches. Dob the 2 Tbsp of butter over the top (this helps to thicken the sauce) and then add the second crust. Trim the excess pastry off the edge and pinch the crusts together. You can use a fork to decorate the edges if you wish or start harassing Meagan for pie decorating lessons, because hers are way prettier than mine.

5. Cut a couple of heat vents in the top and cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust with foil and turn the heat down to 350 and cook for another 35 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for 30 minutes or so before serving.



P.S. I have often frozen both apple and saskatoon pies once filled and trimmed but before baking, so I see no reason why you couldn’t do the same here. That way you could have a fresh peach pie in the dead of winter. Just cover the pie with foil and then wrap in a couple of plastic bags and make sure you freeze it flat. I try to set it out about an hour before I want to cook it, so the pastry thaws a little, then cook the same (10 minutes at 45, then lower the heat) but a little longer on the end, maybe 10-15 minutes, depending on how it looks.


Pretending it’s spring Potato, Leek, and Feta Tart March 28, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Mains,pastry,Sides,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:37 pm
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I just realized how terrible this picture is; apparently I need to work on my framing. Or, I need to not set the hot cookie sheet on a towel on the floor in order to get the last of the daylight for the shot and then have to rush it because my 2 year old is about to burn her pretty little toes. One of the two, or probably both. Either way, the picture doesn’t do it justice, this was lovely, and it almost (if I didn’t look outside at the snow falling) made me think it was spring.  I found this recipe at Real Simple and adjusted it a bit to my tastes and used a homemade spelt pastry (recipe here at Deanna’s Daughter) instead of a store bought one. The spelt pastry was an excellent compliment to this rustic tart, although next time I want to use a slightly bigger piece of pastry (the equivalent of 1 1/2 pie crusts) as this was a bit full; check out the side view. So I am giving the instructions for spelt pastry that I think should make the right amount for this much filling.

But all said, this was fantastic and I can’t wait to make it with the first of the spring crop, as this is definitely a recipe that shows off good vegetables.


1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp each, spelt and all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed

1/8 cup shortening, cubed

up to 1/4 cup ice water, as needed (or 1/4 cup sour cream, which is what I will use next time – I’m a sucker for sour cream pastry and I think the flavour would work well here)

Whisk together or pulse in your food processor the first three ingredients. Add butter and shortening and either cut in with a pastry cutter or pulse in food processor until it looks crumbly. (Side note: this is the first time I have made pastry in my food processor and I can’t believe how easy it was. There is no going back) Add water a few tablespoons at a time, either through the feed tube of your processor while it’s turned on, or just using a spoon. Stop when the pastry starts to come together (I’m not sure how the sour cream would work in the food processor, I find it usually requires a bit more working together with your hands to stay together, so do what you have to to make it stick together). Dump it all on the counter and work it until everything sticks together and then put it in the fridge for an hour or so before you roll it out.


2 tsp olive oil

3 small leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into half moons

2 smallish zucchini, cut into half moons

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup crumbled or cubed feta

2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (depending on how much you like dill)

2 small (but not baby) red potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced

Heat oil in a large skillet and saute leeks, zucchini, salt and pepper until just soft. Set aside to let it cool for a minute.

Preheat oven to 375 and roll out your pastry into a 14-15″ circle on a big piece of parchment or silicone, then move the whole thing onto a cookie sheet, letting the sides hang over the edge.

Stir the feta, dill, and potatoes into the saute and then dump the whole thing in the middle of your crust, leaving about a 3″ border around the edge (if possible). Fold the sides up and in as neatly as possible and pop in the oven. Bake for 50 – 60 min (I did mine for a full 60 min). I didn’t find that the crust became overly brown, but if you find yours is, just cover the edges with some tinfoil.

We had ours with my favourite new salad and a lovely old vine garnacha; yummy! But in the future I could see this as a lovely brunch dish with some nice sausages for a treat.





Pain au Chocolat February 22, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Breads,Make Ahead,pastry — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:06 pm
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It turns out that long weekends spent with your sister in your mom’s kitchen is the perfect time for 2 day baking projects that require, apparently, a lot more muscle than we had individually. This recipe was taken from Dinner with Julie almost verbatim, so I am not going to re-post all of the instructions here, just provide some tips we thought of as we went along, and of course, after 7 or 8 taste tests.

1. She did not let the yeast sit to activate, looking back, I think it would be a good idea to let it get foamy before moving on the the next step, as ours could have risen a bit more than they did.

2. We could not get as much flour in our dough as she did and I think we may have consequently over kneaded a bit; I would suggest stirring as long as you can, even when it seems too difficult.

3. Have someone on hand to trade off with on the rolling unless you have really beefy arms.

4. We decided you could increase the butter content (health conscious readers beware). We noticed that the last couple of layers, where we realized we had to use more butter or risk not getting it all in there, separated better in the baking process. Adding another 1/4 – 1/2 cup of butter to the total certainly wouldn’t hurt anything (other than your heart and your butt/thighs/waist/etc.)

5. If using an oven that is foreign to you, bring a thermometer; turns out my mother’s oven cooks REALLY hot.

Even with all those little changes, this was definitely worth doing and fairly easy if you have the time. The dough can be frozen after all the layers are put in, so this would be an impressive and fast breakfast for weekend company if you made up the dough a month ahead of time. Overall, I am pretty happy with our first attempt and would love any tips anyone else might have.