Monday, July 25, 2016

The Pies of Summer: Apricot Pie

Today is the 10th anniversary of JennyBakes (if you count my first actual baking post and not my introduction.) Happy blogiversary to me! That day was peaches, so this day will be apricots.

I have been waiting for apricot season ever since I saw this recipe in Ruth Reichl's My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life. It sounded amazing. I was in Oregon for a week starting on the 4th of July, and mentioned it to my Mom, but assumed that it was not yet time for apricots in Oregon. Instead I found out that she "has a guy" who "she can call" and "meet in a parking lot" for some types of fruit. And somehow their season started early, so that was the last week to order apricots. She ordered a big box, and I made this for my belated birthday dessert with my family.

I was surprised by the incredible tartness of this recipe. I suspect that unless the apricots you are using are just about to turn, they are so ripe and sweet, that this pie may be too tart for you! It was too tart for me. I ended up making another version where I left out the crust and just did fruit and topping, and that was a step better. I think I might try mixing apricots with other fruits.

But it also may be that the tartness is the thing, that you aren't sure at first but it's the taste that brings you back, that becomes summer to you. It's a clear favorite among Ruth Reichl's friends and family, so there must be something to it. Try it and report back!

Apricot Pie
(as seen in book above and
1 recipe pie dough (for a single crust pie)
2 pounds apricots (Jenny's note: I used 16!)
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
fresh nutmeg

Roll out the pie dough, fit it into a 9 inch pie pan, crimp the edges and put it into the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Break the apricots apart with your fingers; do not peel them, but remove the pits.

Melt the butter.  Stir in the sugar (brown sugar is fine), then the flour.  Grate in a bit of nutmeg.
Put the apricots into the unbaked shell.  Cover them with the sugar mixture and put the pie on the bottom rack of your oven. After ten minutes turn the heat down to 375 and bake for 35 or 40 minutes more, until the top is crusty and golden. Transfer to a cake rack and cool before serving.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bakery Review: Asheville Biscuitry (Asheville, NC)

I made a visit to the Asheville Biscuitry earlier this summer. It was an accident that I even came across it, all because I got lost trying to go south from the UNC Asheville campus. My bad sense of direction meant another bakery adventur e.

The sign says biscuitry but they must be in the back; doughnuts on the other hand are everywhere! The menu has biscuit sandwiches and grilled doughnuts, and you can also get a cinnamon bun. And being Asheville, there are plenty of options for vegheads.

I chose four square filled doughnuts - two boston cream and two mango-coconut. I was most definitely not disappointed!

The most pleasant surprise comes from the obviously handcrafted flavors. The coconut cream had actual coconut, and the boston cream filling had vanilla beans. These are not commercial doughnuts only dipped in sugar, these have a nuance of flavor and a skill in preparation. Definitely worth a trip! And I'd like to return to try some of the creative sandwich creations.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Crispy Grain-Free Waffles

This is our favorite lower-carb, grain-free waffle recipe yet! We've tried a lot of stinkers but this one had a great texture. The tiger nut flour is completely optional - I only used it because I ran out of almond flour and had some on hand. But who knows, maybe it is the answer to why these tasted so good. We enjoyed ours with fresh strawberries and whipped cream

Crispy Grain-Free Waffles
(adapted from a recipe on Simply Nourished Recipes)

  • 2 cups almond flour (or 1.5 cups almond flour and .5 cup tiger nut flour)
  • 1 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  1. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, tiger nut flour, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, and baking powder. Whisk or stir to combine well.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined.
  4. Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter at a time and use waffle maker as directed.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Cherries

I made these cookies because a friend liked them so much she posted about them in Facebook! The chewy texture and bittersweet chocolate make these divine, the perfect adult cookie.

I made a few changes right off the bat. 12 oz of bittersweet chocolate in the original made sense if you were melting it and it was a major component of the batter, but just to chop it up and add to the cookie seemed expensive and excessive. I should have bought a bag of chips. As it was I only used one of the Ghiradelli bars (4 oz).  I also found tart dried cherries everywhere but not really "sour" so I just went with it, also with probably 5 oz instead of 9. The online recipe also directs the baker to make cookies out of 1/4 cup dough for each cookie - um, no, that's crazy. They'll never bake! I will post the recipe I made and not Martha's, although surely her recipe will be more decadent. It will also be more difficult to handle since there is less batter holding the cookies together, and a higher percentage of things that melt.

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Cherries
(adapted from Dark Chocolate Cookies with Sour Cherries by Martha Stewart)

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cups dried cherries, firmly packed (5 ounces)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture, and beat on low speed, until just combined. Do not overbeat. With a wooden spoon, fold in chocolate and cherries. (Dough can be frozen at this point, wrapped well in plastic, up to 1 month; thaw completely before baking.)
  3. Use a cookie scoop or form balls of roughly 1- 1.5 inches. Bake until puffed and cracked, 9 to 11 minutes but do not overbake.Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, up to 3 days. 
Recipe Notes from JennyBakes
  1. There is a lot of controversy on Martha's website; I think at some point there were no eggs listed. Clearly the recipe needs eggs, so just use what I have listed. There was also confusion over whether 1 1/4 cups of butter is the same as 2 1/2 sticks. It is in the USA... just go with 20 tbsp.
  2. If you really want to use 12 oz bittersweet chocolate, buy a bag of chips! Having to chop up the chocolate and then mix it in is a killer.