Tag Archives: pie

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

One thing to love about The South’s culinary history is the abundance of old-timey cookbooks and recipes. Collections of church-ladies’ hand-written cards complete with illustrations, Junior League “receipts” full of whiskey and gelatin, and faded, stained scraps of paper hidden inside cupboards or messy drawers. If the author of “Julie & Julia” had worked her way through a Southern church cookbook, I would have been way more impressed than Julia Child’s novel of a cookbook. Because these old recipes are crafted off generations of memory, without exact science and a good deal of guesswork on the part of the reader.

For example, “Add enough milk” and “Add dessertspoon butter” And “Sprinkle with xxxx sugar.” Part of the fun is guessing, or calling your Southern mother/grandmother/friend to help translate.

For Christmas, one of Grant’s sisters gave everybody a copy of an old family recipe from Ms. Nell Bennett, “Granny’s Strawberry Yum Yum Pie.” Description: “This is an old fashion way of making fruit pies (or cobblers). My! What flavor the juice in this pie has.”

And so it does.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

I made this for a small crowd recently, all who loved the cakey batter made soft with strawberry juices and caramelized bits around the edges. I probably took the baking a bit too far, but the recipe wasn’t exact – I shall learn next time.

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Ingredients (I altered for the modern reader):

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T cold shortening
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • milk (I probably used 1/2 c.)
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries
  • 2 T cold diced unsalted butter
  • 2 T sugar

Mix flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening to resemble coarse meal. “Add enough milk to make a soft batter” = use a wooden spoon to stir in up to 3/4 c. milk (I used whole milk), until it comes together like a cake batter. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle strawberries evenly over, then cover with 2 T sugar. Dot with butter.

Bake at 400 about 25 minutes, increasing the heat to 450 to brown the top, if needed, for the last 10 minutes. The batter rises to the top and forms a nice crust around the strawberries. Again, I let mine brown a little too far, but no matter.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Set aside to cool to your liking, then scoop onto plates.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

It is wonderful at room temperature or even cold, but is so easy to warm up, which people seem to prefer. Would be fabulous with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Tomato Pie

I have a new relationship with tomatoes now that I live in The South. I walked into the office lunch room last week and a coworker was making one of Grant’s favorite things: tomato sandwich. Tomato slices, cracked pepper, mayo, bread. A BLT without the B and the L. Okay, I thought…

Then, I went to a dinner with my closest girlfriends. We all made something and the official debutante of the group came with two tomato pies: premade pie crust + garden tomatoes + caramelized vidalia onions + mayo + sharp cheddar cheese. It was SOOOOO good. I took extra home and decided to make my own.

So I turned to my Food Network Magazine and tried their cover recipe: heirloom tomato pie. Homemade cornmeal crust, then manchego and mozzarella cheese with caramelized onions, chives, thyme and parsley; topped with farmers’ market tomatoes and baked until tender.

Just delicious. I beg you to try it – get rid of those tomatoes that are about to go too soft on your window sill. If making for a week-day, just make the crust in advance.

Tomato Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded manchego cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/4 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh basil (for garnish)

Make the crust: Pulse the flour, cornmeal and fine salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and 3 tablespoons manchego; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough comes together; add 1 more tablespoon ice water if necessary. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes (or up to 3 days).

Put the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 13-inch round (I had to let mine get the chill off first). Transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the crust with foil, then fill with dried beans. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue baking until golden all over, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and toss with 1 tsp kosher salt in a colander. Let drain, gently tossing occasionally.

Make the filling: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Combine the remaining 3/4 cup manchego, the mozzarella, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons each chives and parsley, the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper, and the sauteed onion in a bowl. Spread in the crust.

Arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes.


Slice big wedges and serve with fresh basil.

There’s nothing wrong with this. The mixture of cheeses, herbs, onion, sweet crust and juicy tomatoes = the best.

Perfect for your next summer party. Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Peach-bourbon hand pies

Me: “These pie crusts are made with sour cream. Do you think I can use creme fraiche?”

Mom: “Do they have butter?”

Me: “Yeah, two sticks.”

Mom: “Oh…how’s your waistline?”

My mom was joking, but the deliciousness in these little pies is no laughing matter. And I must say they are better a day or two after baking – somehow the crust is better flavored.

The combination of peaches, vanilla and bourbon is magical. The two-day process of making the crust is intolerable cruelty. But the end result will get you rave reviews from those who matter.

My reco: make these on a weekend, when you have all the time in the world. And bring them on your next road trip – they hold up surprisingly well!

This is adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Peach-bourbon hand pies

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 16 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 c. creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. ice water

For the filling:

  • 5 ripe peaches, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • One egg beaten with 2 T water

To make pastry… in a bowl, combine flour and salt. Put butter in another bowl. Put both bowls in freezer for 1 hour. Remove from freezer, combine and blend with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal – this took a while for me, maybe 10 min., because the butter is frozen! Make a well in the center. In another bowl, combine creme fraiche, lemon and water. Add  half to well and mix with your fingertips. Gradually add rest of the water mixture and mix/gently knead until a soft ball comes together. Cover in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight.

Divide cold dough in half. On a floured space, roll out one half to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 4.5-inch bowl (because I don’t have a cookie cutter that size), cut rounds in the dough and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out the scraps and continue with second half, then refrigerate rounds for 30 min.

Now, make the filling: Mix peaches with flour, sugar, salt, bourbon and vanilla. Taste it, so good…

To assemble: Let chilled dough rounds stand at room temp for 2 min., then spoon 2 T of the peach filling in the center (I put in as much filling as it could fit).

Brush a little water around the dough edge, then fold in half and seal with your fingers. Press edges with a fork; repeat with remaining rounds. Now, put these back in the fridge to chill yet another 30 min.

Finally…

Preheat oven to 375. Remove hand pies from fridge, cut small slit on each top, then brush with egg wash. Sprinkle sugar over the top and place in oven. Bake until pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 35-45 min. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Look at those layers!

Amazing.

The only way these could be better is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce…but don’t go crazy!

Enjoy your taste of summer, friends! xoxo

Peach and creme fraiche pie

Peaches and the Sunday Times

On the eve of Summer Solstice, I found myself curled on a wooden garden bench, looking up at delicate paper lanterns strung like glowing peaches hanging from a young tree. The terraced garden sparkled with glass-held candles expertly placed between geraniums, hostas, hydrangeas and others. A few cicada cries competed with the swaying summer music and fireflies burned green-yellow blurs near the grass’ edge.

Nights like these are well met with a juicy glass of wine and a thick slice of fresh peach pie cradled by the flakiest of crusts. You’ll want a crust so flaky that the fork competes with it, as if the crust wants you to work for that perfect bite of buttery pastry, sweet peach and creamy creme fraiche … but of course, you’ll be eating a peach and creme fraiche pie. And once you have this pie, you won’t go back to normal peach pies, which are often too sweet and with “soggy bottoms,” as Julia Child would say.

In all honesty, a lifetime of bad peach pies had turned me against the beauty of a really perfect peach pie. A pie unlike the others. A pie for non-pie-makers. A pie from Martha Stewart.

So came Smitten Kitchen, whose food pictures flirt with me daily. Smitten is very sensitive to people plagiarizing her recipes, so I’ll let you print it off yourself by clicking here for the crust recipe. All-butter pie crust? Lord! I’ve never had a crust like this before. Maybe I toasted it a bit too much, but it was so nice to have a crust with some integrity.

Once you make that, preferably the day ahead, prepare the pie filling with streusel topping. You will think that the creme fraiche has made it too watery, that it won’t set up. Have faith – it works like a dream, and the creme is such a perfect, slightly sour friend to the peaches. Like peaches and cream, but better.

Before you do anything, you must get really great peaches that are nice and ripe.

We traveled down to peach country, on the way to the Carolina beaches, through small towns with names like Wind Blow. While you’re at it, stop at one of those road-side stands for peach ice cream. The treat is worth standing in line behind 12 children in various stages of temper tantrums.

Peaches you get off a farm are covered with a much thicker fuzz. But don’t worry, you’ll remove it before you make this…

And slice it into this…

Flaky, flaky flaky!

Eat it, and feel all peachy, friends! xoxo