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Posts Tagged ‘Fruit’

Last of the Apples Pie

One of the first things Catherine and I bonded over in the kitchen was pie.  We’ve made so many pies together, while studying, that I’m pretty sure our roommates/partners actually liked living with us during those stressful exam times (you can correct me if I’m wrong).  We even got together on pi day (3.14, aka March 14, which is coming up) and baked numerous pies (sadly not pi pies, which would be difficult), both savoury and sweet.

One reason I like making pies is they really are useful: when you’ve got those last apples or pears that are getting too soft to enjoy on their own, they make delicious pie!  So consider pies both delicious treats and very useful dishes that help reduce food that might otherwise be wasted… or not properly enjoyed.  Even better, there really is no limit (well, stick to good combos) as to what you choose to put in.  They can be berry pies, apple/pear pies… eventually (but a recipe is probably a good idea), they can turn into chocolate pies, butter pies, nut pies…

Here’s my take on an apple-pear medley, which just happened to be what was on hand.

The hardest part of pie is not eating it all at once! It's also fun to bring to school/work for lunch because everyone is envious.

Ingredients (1 pie)

Crust

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2/3 cups butter, cubed and as cold as possible (if using food processor, you can even freeze it)
– 2 Tbsp sugar
-1 glass ice-cold water

Filling

-3 apples (I really like Macintosh), peeled, cored and diced
-2 pears, peeled, cored and diced
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 Tbsp brown sugar

Directions

For the crust, stir together the flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Cut butter up into 1cm cubes, and incorporate into flour mixture using a pastry cutter until pea-sized lumps remain.  Add 1 Tbsp of cold water, and mix to incorporate everything into a ball.  If it’s too dry, add another Tbsp of water, and continue, until it forms a ball but is still overall crumbly.  Often, I need approximately 3 Tbsp water.  Do not knead, or overwork the dough, as it turns rubbery otherwise.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.

While the crust is resting, peel and cut the fruit.  Mix in the lemon juice and toss the fruit so it is covered and won’t brown.  Add the flour, sugar, and cinnamon, and mix, until everything is coated.

Once the dough has rested,  roll it out into a thin sheet (I like to do this on wax paper).  Grease a pie dish, and place dough in dish.  Remove excess and re-roll it.  This dough recipe usually has enough to also create a cover for the top of the pie, or at least a lattice.  Use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust all over.

Pour the fruit mixture in, and cover with the pastry lid.  Brush the top with egg yolk (my favorite) or milk or whole mixed egg, make a hold in the centre for steam to evaporate, and cook at 350F for 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and fruit is tender.  It’s delicious alone, and even more of a treat with a slice of sharp cheddar (believe me, it’s delicious.  I was skeptical before I tried it) or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

-Sitelle

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Cranberries!

I thought a good complement of Catherine’s chocolate extravaganza post would be an antioxidant-packed entry full of cranberries galore (typical of the nutritional scientist I guess) – they are so delicious and yet most people associate them in one of three ways: cranberry juice (which is usually more grape juice than cranberry), dried plain or chocolate-covered cranberries, or cranberry sauce to eat with turkey.

Cranberries are much more than that.

Cranberries, in my opinion, are wrongfully neglected.  For one, they are grown somewhat nearby, in Central and Northern Ontario, for example, and are a delight to come by on a camping trip in early autumn.

They made a delicious cranberry crumble and cranberry pancakes way off in Wabakimi  Provincial Park.

They make delicious sorbet where you have access to an ice-cream churner.

They are simply beautiful to look at as substitutes for ice-cubes in water (that one I learned at Batifole, a favorite restaurant in Toronto).

In short, cranberries are a Canadian ruby-coloured gem whose potential is unknown (or unthought of) by most.  And their radiant colour is also a strong hint of their nutritional virtues in the antioxidant area.

Cranberries in the Boreal Forest

Cranberry Recipes

Cranberry and Apple Crumble – a super easy and delicious dessert

Ingredients (if you’re camping just make a pre-mix for the topping so you can just add butter):

Finding treasures like this oven while on a remote canoe trip bring out the chef in us!

Filling:

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

2 cups chopped apples (if you’re camping 1 cup dried ones is fine)

1/2 cup honey or brown sugar

2 Tbsp butter, cubed

pinch of salt

Topping:

1 cups rolled oats (or prepackaged porridge for camping)

1 cup Flour

1/2 -3/4 cup brown sugar (or more if you like a sweeter dessert)

3/4 cup butter, cubed

2 Tsp cinnamon

1/4 Tsp cloves and nutmeg

Pinch of salt

In a glass cake dish (or something with high enough sides like a pot if you’re camping), mix fruit and sugar/honey.  Sprinkle the cubed butter and pinch of salt over top and mix.

In a separate bowl, cut butter into sugar.  Add flour and oats, and work the whole mixture into a coarse and lumpy mix.  Sprinkle spices and salt and mix all together.  Pack the flour/oat mixture over the fruit mixture and cook in oven at 375F for approximately 30 minutes, until the top has browned, the scent is unbearably delicious, and the top is bubbling.

Cranberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 recipe of your favorite pancake mix (home-made or store-bought).  I love the Joy of Cooking’s traditional recipe, page 644, and the oatmeal pancake recipe, page 645 in the 2006 edition).

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Just add the cranberries after mixing the wet ingredients in.  They add a delicious pungency to the pancakes which is even better when the pancakes are smothered in melted butter and maple syrup.

Cranberry Sorbet

This recipe comes from an amalgamation of several recipes, and my own substitutions, measurements and additions so I think it qualifies as my own.

Ingredients (remember to chill your ice cream maker bowl 24 hours in advance)

5 cups washed fresh or frozen (but thawed) cranberries –

2 cups water

1 cup white grape juice (purer is better – I like white concord grape juice)

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

2 Tbsp + 1 Tsp (aka 7 Tsp) Grandmarnier

Oranges, chocolate, or grandmarnier/brandy snaps for garnish.

Mix water and sugar together in a saucepan.  Bring to a slow boil and mix to dissolve all sugar.  Add the cranberries, and stir occasionally while simmering uncovered, until all the cranberries have burst, around 15-20 minutes.  Once they have all burst, remove them from heat and purée them carefully in a food processor or blender, and then pass this mixture through a sieve and into a bowl.  Mix in orange juice and white grape juice.   Cool the mixture completely in the fridge, and then add to the ice-cream maker.  Mix for approximately 25 minutes in the ice-cream maker, and then add Grandmarnier (the alcohol reduces the freezing temperature, so don’t add it too soon or else it will stop your sorbet from freezing properly).  Once you’ve added the Grandmarnier, let it mix for 4-5 more minutes, and then remove it from the ice-cream maker bowl and into a container and freeze in freezer for 2 hours (or more) before serving.  It’s a always a delicious surprise!  Garnish with citrus fruit, some thin crispy caramel or cookies, or chocolate.

– Sitelle

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