Cherry Crumb Pie + 5 Must Try Pie Links

 

 

We planted bamboo in our backyard, placing the roots in a thick plastic bag so as to prevent the invasive species from taking over our yard entirely.  The roots were then covered with a thick layer of soil and neatly outlined with gray stone bricks.  We made a choice: restrict the plant’s natural growth pattern.  Watch and see.  Wait and wonder. Will it flourish in such restrained, unnatural conditions?

Yes.  It reached for the sun, ached for it really.  Absorbed the rain like a drunk, waiting patiently for a change of state, until finally, its branches hung heavy with delicate chartreuse leaves.  It pushed itself to the very corners of the neat space it inhabited, hoping, I think, to cross the stone barrier and when it realized some things are just not possible, it reached for the moon and sun, Orion and the Big Dipper.

The bamboo tolerated dog piss, little hands shaking and pulling at it, suffocating mounds of snow, branch breaking ice, drought and heavy rains.  Many long and relentless days and nights tested the bamboo season after season and yet it stood, reaching higher every day.

Today I watch the bamboo from our kitchen, my view partially obscured by an old air conditioner rattling away, attempting to bring relief to an old house surrounded by more concrete than grass.  In the stove, a cherry crumb pie bakes.  I can smell cinnamon and vanilla build in the air while the heat from the stove thwarts the cool air blowing from the AC.  The kids play outside on the swing set.  Red-faced, dirty feet, sticky skin, happy. The dog surveys our small yard, weaving in and around the kids, the toys.  [Life’s junk, carried from one place to the next as if it holds value.]  Nose to the ground she sniffs the same smells.  [Are you hoping for something new, sweet girl?]  And the bamboo? The bamboo bends a bit with the wind.  It waits patiently, absorbing what it can, not asking too much, quietly preparing for the next growth spurt.

I envy the bamboo.

Cherry Crumb Pie

Pie crust recipe adapted from The Washington Post

Cherry filling recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

Crumb topping adapted from My Recipes

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for Pie Crust:

1 + 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose, unbleached flour

1 tablespoon raw sugar

1 + 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

16 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 of very cold water

Directions for pie crust:

Grab a medium bowl and sift flour into the bowl.  Whisk in the sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds.  Add the butter.  Combine butter and flour with your fingers until the butter resembles small peas.  Stir in the cold water, a little at a time, until shaggy dough forms.  If the dough is too wet, add a bit more dough or if it is too dry add a just spoonful of water.  Knead the dough into a ball.  Wrap in plastic, refrigerate and allow to rest while you make the cherry pie filling.

Ingredients for cherry pie filling:

5 cups of fresh cherries, washed and pitted

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 cup water

4 tablespoons of cornstarch

Directions:

Add cherries, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to a medium sauce pan.  In a small bowl mix together the water and cornstarch to make a slurry.  Add the water/cornstarch mixture to the cherries.  Stir to combine.  Over medium heat, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  **Filling can be made several days ahead.  Be sure to store in an air-tight container and refrigerate.**

Ingredients for crumb topping:

1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter

3/4 brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

3/4 old fashion oats

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions for topping:

Add all of the dry ingredients to a medium bowl and stir together.  Next, add the butter.  Combine the butter and dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Set aside or refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

Pie Assembly Time!

Preheat your oven to 350F.  While the oven is preheating, flour a work surface.  Divide dough in half.  Roll out one portion of the dough into a 14-inch round.  Place gently in pie plate, pressing into the corners.  Trim the excess to 1+1/2 inch overhang.  Fold the overhang to the middle to create a 3/4 inch border all around that sits on the rim of the pie plate.  Refrigerate the pie crust for 20 minutes before proceeding.  (While the pie crust is chilling wrap the second portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another use.   Clean up a bit and before you know it the crust will be ready!)

Add filling to pie and spread evenly.  Top cherry filling evenly with crumb topping.  Brush a bit of heavy cream on the border of the pie crust.  Place the pie in the oven on the middle rack and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 50-60 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or as is.  Enjoy!

**Pie can be kept at room temperature lightly wrapped in aluminum foil for a couple of days but I doubt it will last that long.**

5 Must Try Pie Links

Take advantage of peach season and make my peach ricotta pudding pie.

If a pie feels like too much work, try Whole Hearted Eats dark fruit galette.

Craving ice cream?  Try Jelly Toast’s marshmallow ice cream pie or my recipe for bourbon brown sugar ice cream pie.

Fall is just around the corner and I can’t wait to make Pastry Affair’s caramel apple crumble pie.  Yum!

Peach Ricotta Pudding Cream Pie + 5 Delicious Cream Pie Links

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“How will you nurture your soul?”

I stare blankly, not fulling understanding my friend’s question.  Nurture? My soul?

[nurture: the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing]

“I don’t know.”  

She smiles.  “You should think about that.”

I have nurtured three babies, my marriage, more or less, my parents, friends.  But to nurture my soul would take thought, reflection, care; the last thing on my to do list now becoming the first.  A real acknowledgement that unlike a stagnant body of water, I’m fluid, changing from one form to another.  A hard change for someone who prefers to anesthetize feelings and wants with an alcoholic beverage. And yet it is time, something [my soul?!] annoyingly tugs at me, repeating over and over like a mantra, a broken record, day following day, mile after mile: this is not working for you.

You thought you could hide from yourself.  

I did a pretty good job.  

And where did it get you?  He smiles, takes a long sip from his martini.

I wish you had been this insightful when you were alive.  

Me too.  He devilishly laughs.

I will address this deficiency, finally, and see where it takes me.  For now, I’ll share this peach ricotta pudding cream pie recipe because sharing part of me feels good.  And that is a start…I hope.

Peach Ricotta Pudding Pie

A cracker crust filled with a lightly sweetened ricotta pudding topped with fresh peaches and whipped cream

Serves 6-8

recipe inspired by Food 52 How To Make Any Cream Pie Without A Recipe

ricotta pudding recipe adapted from Mark Bittman

Ingredients for cracker crust:

1 + 1/2 cups (heaping) of crushed Ritz crackers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Crush crackers in a food processor or place in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling-pin.  Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or the on the stove top.  Using a medium size bowl, mix together the crushed crackers, butter and sugar.  The mixture should just hold together when squeezed.  Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie tin and freeze for at least 1 hour.  When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350F and bake until dark golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  (The crust can be made a day ahead.  Cover loosely with foil until ready to use.)

Ingredients for ricotta pudding:

1 pound fresh ricotta, drained if super moist

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (add more to taste if you prefer a sweeter pudding)

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Using a food processor with a blade attachment, mix together the ricotta, sugar, vanilla and salt until very smooth.  Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  (The pudding can be made a day ahead.)

Ingredients for peach mixture:

1 large peach, medium dice

large spoonful of raw sugar

Directions:

Slice and dice the peach and place in a bowl.  Gently stir in a heaping spoonful of raw sugar.  Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.  Drain off any excess juices.

Ingredients for whipped cream:

1 cup very cold heavy cream

splash of rum

Directions:

Using a stand mixture fitted with a whip attachment or a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream until medium peaks form or a spoon swirled through the cream leaves a soft mark.  Do not over-beat!  Just before you are done whipping the cream, add a splash of rum.  Chill until ready to use.  Whipped cream should be made just before you are ready to use it.

Assembly Time!

Spread a bit of ricotta pudding across the bottom of pie crust.  Top with drained peaches.  Add remaining ricotta pudding, spreading out evenly.  Top with whipped cream.  Make swirls in the cream with the back of your spoon.  Top with additional diced peaches and/or white chocolate shavings, if desired.  Enjoy!

(Pie will last up to a day in the refrigerator.)

5 Cream Pie Links

My roommate from college and the only person I laugh with to the point of tears, loves all things lemon.  If you love lemon just as much as she does check out Willow Bird Baking’s lemon cream pie bars and All Day I Dream About Food’s low carb lemon sour cream pie.

If you love old fashion coconut cream pie, check out Willow Bird Baking’s chocolate & coconut cream pie bars.  The addition of a rich chocolate ganache is brilliant!

Fall is almost here and that means all things pumpkin popping up everywhere.  Celebrate fall and make Lauren’s Latest pumpkin cream pie recipe.  This is sure to be a hit with all of your pumpkin loving friends and family!

My favorite type of cream pie is a banana cream pie.  Check out my recipe here!

 

Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream Pie + 5 Unique Frozen Sweets Links

 

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Choices.  Difficult for many, yet easy for him.  At least when it came to leaving the old mill town where he grew up.  A town where, once, a prosperous middle class and the diligent working class lived simultaneously, both believing life was simpler for the other.  [The two, now, converged forming a single body struggling to maintain middle ground.]

An American utopia of sorts, for some, where the local fishing hole was the most popular place to take a swim on a sweltering August night; a place where first loves made love behind the high school, pledging their loyalty to each other for the remainder of time. One doctor healed whatever ailed the locals, and the packie cured what medicine could not touch.  Boys went to war or college, returning to open arms, picking up the life they briefly left behind.  Others lost. Some by choice.  A place where whatever visible was all one needed.

And yet, not for him.

He needed more than what that small town could offer.  So, he headed west as soon as he could and found himself in California, gazing at a different ocean.  [Love, marriage and children under the sunshine and palm trees would follow.]

His choice: a different life than what he knew.

Decades later [and many miles here and there] he found himself in a rented car, crossing a covered bridge, his childhood home still visible in the rear view mirror, window rolled down, a joint resting in between his thumb and finger, now burning quickly in wind.  His father freshly buried in a colorless cemetery, his elderly mother inconsolable.  And his brother.  Drinking to numbness, left solely to manage their heart-sore mother.  He inhaled, blew an opaque stream of smoke into the oppressive humid air and wept.  Wept for his father, mother, brother.  Their small town.  Wept because he could leave.

Later, alone, at the airport bar, he would order a bourbon with 3 cubes of ice, no more, and smile when he heard “flight 11, now boarding.”

Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream Pie

Ice Cream Base Recipe Adapted from NYT Cooking

Cookie Crust adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 8

Ingredients for Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream:

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

6 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla

chocolate sauce, homemade or store-bought, for drizzling optional, but yummy

Directions:

Pour cream, milk, brown sugar and salt into a small pot and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks until combined.  Next, slowly whisk one-third of the hot cream mixture into the yolks and pour the yolk mixture back into the pot with the remaining cream.  Gently cook the mixture over medium-low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  Remove from heat.  Strain using a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in bourbon and vanilla.  Cover and chill overnight.
Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in air-tight container until ready to use.  It will last for up to a week.  This recipe will yield about 1+1/2 pints.

Ingredients for triple chocolate cookie crust:

**Makes one 9 inch pie crust with plenty of dough leftover for about a dozen or so individual cookies, or another 9-inch cookie crust.**

8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 ounces white chocolate chips

1 + 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 +1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cups or 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

 Melt chocolate and white chocolate either in the microwave or on the stove.  Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on high-speed until pale in color and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl each time.  Beat until very light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add melted chocolate mixture.  Next, add the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips using a rubber spatula.

Grab your metal pie pan and butter and flour it, tapping out an excess flour.  Spread about 1/3 of the cookie dough into the pie pan, spreading evenly along the bottom and up the sides.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the dough is just set.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.  Press down the dough with a spatula if it has puffed up.

Store remaining dough in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.  Bring dough to room temperature before baking.  If making cookies, use a two-inch scoop and bake for about 15 minutes.

Assembly Time!

Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to soften a bit.  Scoop out ice cream and spread evenly over the cookie crust using a spatula.  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, 24-48 hours.  When ready to serve, allow to soften a bit, as this will make cutting into the pie easier.  Drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired or serve with whip cream and a cherry.  The pie will last a couple of days, covered, in the freezer.  Enjoy!

5 Unique Frozen Treat Links

Looking for a vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened frozen treat? Head to the BoJon Gourmet for a raspberry brownie ice cream sandwich recipe that is sure to satisfy you!

Chocolate and pretzels are a well-loved, classic combo so why not make this pair into an ice cream cake?  Oh Lady Cakes has the recipe for  you.  My mouth is watering!

Vanilla caramel gelato– yes please!  Head to Diethood for the recipe.

A simple classic ice cream cake is sometimes all you need to make someone smile.  Check out my recipe!

Minimalist Baker’s boozy, root beer float with coconut ice cream is on my must make list this summer!

 

Strawberry Rhubarb White Chocolate Cheese Tart + 5 Summer Tart Links

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Tomorrow marks the start of  a much needed vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, so I will keep it short.  More stories to come, but for now enjoy this recipe: a sweet press-in, no-fail tart shell filled with white chocolate, cream cheese and Greek yogurt; topped with a sweet and gelatinous strawberry/rhubarb bite of summer.  I hope you enjoy it.  Thanks for reading and happy 4th!

Strawberry Rhubarb White Chocolate Cheese Tart

Serves 8

Recipe adapted from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Tart recipe by Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients for (1) 9-inch tart shell:

1 + 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick + 1 tablespoon super cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

Directions for tart shell:

Using a food processor with a blade attachment, pulse the flour, sugar and salt together.  Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and combine in long pulses- about 10 seconds each time, until the dough forms clumps.  Remove the dough and kneed once or twice to make sure all of the flour is incorporated.

Dump the dough into your tart pan (with a removable bottom) and press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides.*See note.*  Pierce crust all over with a fork.  Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better, before baking.

*If you find the dough sticks to your fingers too much, spray the bottom of a measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray and use the bottom of the cup instead of your fingers.*

When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Place the frozen tart on a baking sheet and place it on the middle rack of your pre-heated oven.  Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

If the crust puffs up, press it down gently.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Set aside.

Ingredients for fruit topping:

2 cups of rhubarb, sliced

2 cups of strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 ounces of water

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of water to make a paste

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions: 

Combine sugar, water and vanilla in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Add strawberries and rhubarb.  Add cornstarch paste to mixture and bring to a boil, again.  Stir in the lemon zest and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Set aside and cool completely.

Ingredients for white chocolate cheese filling:

12 ounces of white chocolate, cut into small pieces

12 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (2% or full fat)

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

white chocolate shavings- optional

Directions:

Melt white chocolate either using a double boiler or in the microwave until completely melted and smooth.  Allow to cool.

Using a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until light and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Pour in the white chocolate and beat for another minute.  Next, add the Greek yogurt, salt and lemon zest.  Beat until well combined.

Assembly:

Pour the white chocolate cheese filling into the cool tart shell and smooth with a spatula.  Spread the strawberry/rhubarb evenly over the filling.  Optional: garnish with white chocolate shavings or melted white chocolate drizzles.  Serve at room temperature.  Store the remaining tart in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  This tart looks best the day it is made, but tastes great for a couple of days.  Enjoy!

5 Summer Tart Links You Can’t Miss!

Savory Sweet Life’s granola crusted yogurt fruit tarts are on my must make list, three of my favorite things to eat in one delicious bite.

Fan of panna cotta?  Head to Hummingbird High for a rhubarb panna cotta tart recipe that looks divine.

Do not let plum season pass without making Not Without Salt’s plum tart.

Summer = campfires=s’mores, right?  How about individual s’mores tarts?  Pastry Affair has the recipe for you.

Looking for a savory summer tart topped with zucchini and cherry tomatoes?  Proud Italian Cook has the recipe.  My mouth is watering!

 

Rhubarb Strawberry Cherry Crisp + 5 Delicious Fruit Crisp Links!

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The last thing Eloise ate the day she died? A piece of rhubarb pie.  It was an ordinary day, really, nothing extraordinary to note.  She sat at the kitchen at table alone, the sound of the grandfather clock ticking away, taunting her, so many minutes in the day ahead.  Or so she thought.  The Russian Blue cat she inherited from her granddaughter many years ago sat on the kitchen table, within a short leap of her slice of rhubarb pie.  The cat gazed at her with what seemed like concern, but likely hunger. [Though she fed the cat plenty, he seemed to crave food more since Russell died.  Fancy Feast soothed his broken heart. Nothing soothed her heart.]

“Shoo!”

He remained, as he sensed he should.  He wouldn’t budge, so she took a big bite of her slice of rhubarb pie.  Delicious, as always, Russell’s favorite.  A flaky, buttery crust filled with slightly tart and perfectly sweet rhubarb from their garden.  A recipe passed down from her mother.  [A difficult woman to love.  And yet.  She was loved.]

“Damn cat!  Bringing me a dead mouse at 5 in the morning.  Some companion you are!  Russell, you should be here!” she hollered into muggy morning air.

[She called to him often.  Talked to  him in her head.  Dreamt of him at night. Occasionally, he did appear to her in the quiet blue-black stillness of night;  sleeping, his chest heaving up and down, the sound of his breath lulling her to sleep.  Russell had always been enough for her.  In sixty-two years of marriage she never entertained the idea of another man.  He thought of other women, as men do, yet never sought a thrill.  She was enough.]

Eloise stood from the table, opened the front door and stepped into the damp morning air, barefoot.  [Unlike her to be barefoot, wet grass between her toes.  She loved her slippers, but she was not herself today.]

As she made her way across the yard to her jungly garden, she marveled at how good the dewy grass felt underneath her feet, the warm sun on her back, penetrating her bones. She stared at her garden, the tomatoes heavy on the vines, raspberry bushes growing wildly, engulfing the zucchini and Blackeyed Susans.  A few stalks of rhubarb remained, enough for another pie.

And with a moan, she howled  “Russell, you should be here!”

[Neighbors thought for sure the old woman was loosing her mind, calling out for a dead man.  And when they saw her skitter across the lawn faster than she had moved in years, arms held out, smiling, well they made a quick call to her son.  An hour later he would find her, curled up on the summer grass as if asleep, her body turning cold.]

It was the sound of a lawn mower that made Eloise turn.  He stood a few yards away: khakis, white t-shirt wet with perspiration, smiling, the lawnmower now at rest. “Russell?”  She walked towards him, her pale blue nightgown skimming the damp grass, her ninety-year old body outlined by the sun, visible through the thin cotton.  Eloise reached for Russell and he smiled. His damp face, his slight stubble, his dry lips all in her hands once again, the blue eyes she looked into for sixty-two years, again, looking at her.

She felt light-headed, her breath slowed and she fell to her knees.

Eloise lay on her back in the emerald grass, Russell lay on his side right next to her.  She stared at the hazy sky, the large elm beginning to sway, the wind mercifully picking up on this oppressive summer day.  She understood what was happening and a single tear fell down her cheek.  What relief!  No more marking of days, minutes too long to bare without him.  She would miss a few souls and that damn cat.  She thought of the half-eaten pie sitting on the kitchen table and wondered if the cat would eat it.  She didn’t care.  Ready now, Eloise turned her body to Russell, curled up into space between them and let go.

 

Rhubarb Strawberry Cherry Crisp

Serves 6

Recipe Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients:

2 stalks rhubarb, 1/2 inch slice

2 cups of cherries, pits removed and halved

2 cups strawberries, quartered

1/3 cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

For the Crisp Topping:

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

3/4 raw sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 stick + 4 tablespoons, chilled, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

generous pinch of kosher salt

vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Butter a 2 quart baking dish and set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and toss sliced rhubarb with cut cherries and strawberries.  Add sugar and cornstarch and mix gently to coat.  Next, add the orange juice and stir again.  Pour the berries into the prepared baking dish.

Grab another mixing bowl and stir together the flour, oats, sugar and salt.  Add the almond extract and butter.  Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until the ingredients are clumpy and resemble wet sand, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.  Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is a deep golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Allow the crisp to cool for 15 minutes or so before serving.  Serve with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

**The crisp topping can be made a few days ahead.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  The fruit should be prepared just before baking.  The baked crisp is best the day it is made.  If you have leftovers, re-heat in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes or the microwave for a few minutes.**

5 Delicious Fruit Crisp Links

Memorial Day and 4th of July are just around the corner so why not make Joan Nathan’s Red, White and Blue Fruit Crisp?

I can’t wait for peach season!  Dolly + Oatmeal’s peach, hazelnut, shiso crisp with ginger ice cream and Minimalist Baker’s easy peach crisp are on my must make list this summer.  Oh and they are both gluten-free!

Can’t get enough of sour cherry desserts?  Check out my cherry oat crisp.  It is the perfect summertime treat.

Want to know how to many any fruit crisp in just 5 easy-peasy steps?  Head to Food 52 for some tips.

 

Key Lime Curd Coconut Bars + 5 Key Lime Links!

3:46 AM glows green.  My sleep swollen eyes want more sleep, but my mind has other plans.  Should I just get up? Read? Finish my key lime curd blog post?  Bake muffins? Fill them with the leftover curd?  Maybe I’ll go for a run.  Maybe not.  I turnover and watch my husband: his profile outlined by the ambient light in our bedroom, the chest I rest my weary head on nightly heaves up and down, his handsome face is relaxed, peaceful.  I want to kiss the tiny, fine lines around his eyes.  What are you dreaming about J?  Have you escaped to someplace far away?  I feel such tenderness for him.

Snore. Snore.  Ugh.  A good shove should do it.  And hate.  [Marriage is complicated in the dead of night. First light, we start again.  Love renewed…mostly.]  I turnover, face the blank wall and curl up like a newborn fresh out of the womb.  Tonight, I will chase sleep like a coy lover.  J seduced her a couple of kids ago.  Good for him.

Eyes heavy again.  I’m drifting.  Little voice: “Mama? My belly hurts.”

5:30 am and the day has begun.

Key Lime Curd Coconut Bars

Creamy key lime curd paired with a whole wheat coconut crust and drizzled with melted white chocolate is a dessert you should commit to memory!

Makes 12 bars

Key lime curd recipe adapted from Food 52 lemon curd

Coconut crust adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Lemon Bars

Bars inspired by Taste of Home Easy Lemon Curd Bars

Ingredients for key lime curd:

1/2 cup key lime juice

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1 stick + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 white chocolate chips, melted (for topping)

1/2 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut (for topping)

Directions for curd:

Pour two inches of water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Grab a stainless steel or oven proof glass bowl large enough so it will sit in the rim of saucepan without touching the water.

Using that bowl, whisk together the key lime juice, eggs, egg yolk, sugar and salt.  *Do not let the eggs and sugar sit together.  The sugar will start to cook the yolks resulting in a granular texture.*  Place the bowl over the saucepan and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes very thick, about 10-12 minutes or when it registers 180F on a candy thermometer.  You know it is ready when your whisk leaves a trail in the curd.

Remove bowl and allow to cool slightly (5 minutes or so), stirring occasionally.  While the curd is cooling, cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces.  Add the butter 1 piece at a time and whisk until completely incorporated.  Alternatively, you could use a blender or immersion blender to incorporate the butter.  The curd will be a slightly pale yellow and super thick.  If you are not making the bars right away, store the curd in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Ingredients for Coconut Crust:

1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Spray a 8×8 baking pan and line with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Spread 1/2 cup of coconut flakes on a small baking sheet and bake until the coconut is golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.  Cool.

Using a medium bowl mix together toasted coconut, flour, powdered sugar and butter until a dough forms.  Spread the dough into the prepared baking pan and press evenly, covering the bottom of the pan.  Bake crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Let cool.

Once the crust is cool, pour the key lime curd on top and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with a 1/2 cup of coconut flakes.  Bake until the curd is set and the coconut flakes are golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  Once cool, drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or overnight.  Cut into 12 bars when ready to serve.  Bars will last in an air-tight container for two days.  Enjoy!

5 Key Lime Links!

Looking to combine your love of cheesecake with your love of key limes?  The Merry Gourmet has a recipe for key lime cheesecake that will unite both loves into one delicious dessert.

Nostalgic, handheld desserts are the best kind of sweet treat.  Head to Martha Stewart for her key lime whoopie pie recipe.  Who doesn’t love a whoopie pie?

Key lime doughnuts? Yes, please! A Zesty Bite has the recipe for you.

Part cake, part custard; Foodness Gracious has a recipe for key lime magic cake that is sure to win the hearts of all!

Foodess’ no bake whipped key lime pie is on must make summer dessert list.  I’m drooling…and dreaming of summer.

 

Oven-Roasted Nectarine Cakes + 5 Nectarine Recipes!

 

rnc1022dThe temperature dropped just slightly in the Boston area, so I turned on my oven.  Time to measure, sift and whisk.  Time for some flour on  the counter, maybe some in my hair; softened butter, room temperature eggs and sugar, lots of it.  Time to mix it up until just combined.  Time to bake.  My hiatus from baking left me wandering and unsatisfied.  I made ice cream, fruit crisps, cold Israeli cous cous salads and Alice Water’s potato salad.  I utilize the veggies from weekly CSA as if the end of days were near.  And yet, something was missing: my oven.

When I came across these beauties at the market, I knew they required more than just a crisp or cobbler.  They deserved to be nestled in a butter and sugar batter.  Showered with raw sugar; baked until they turned into delicate crumbed butter and sugar cakes, all just the size of a 6 ounce ramekins, a sweet and personal treat.

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Baking with Julia provided the inspiration and I ran with it.  I swapped out the plums for nectarines, orange zest for lime zest and added a healthy sprinkling of raw sugar.  Twenty-five minutes later these sweet little nectarine cakes were ready for us to eat.

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We ate them without the addition of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream; they were delicious.  The nectarine caramelized just slightly.  The cake was delicate and light with an unexpected, slight tartness from the lime.  When I make them again, I’ll add a dollop of unsweetened whip cream and maybe a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.  A creamy, cold liquid is a great way to ensure every last crumb is scooped up.

Oven-Roasted Nectarine Cakes

Serves 8

Recipe adapted from Baking with Julia’s Oven Roasted Plum Cakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons, packed, light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup buttermilk

6 large nectarines, halved and pitted

1/4 cup raw sugar for sprinkling

Cooking spray or melted butter for coating ramekins

Special Equipment: 8 ramekins

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly coat the inside of the ramekins with cooking spray or melted butter. Place them on a baking sheet and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a few more minutes.  Add one egg and beat on high until the egg is incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl and add the second egg.  Beat until incorporated, about 30 more seconds.  Add lime zest and vanilla extract and continue to beat on high for another minute.

Lower the speed of your mixer and add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and mix for less than a minute. Stop the mixer and finish combining the ingredients with a spatula. Do not over mix!

Assembly

Drop about 2 tablespoons of cake batter into each ramekin. Place half of a nectarine, cut side up, into each ramekin. Push down just a little. You don’t want the cake to rise over the nectarine, although some of mine did.  Sprinkle a bit of raw sugar on each nectarine.  Place ramekins on baking sheet and put on the center rack of your oven.  Bake from about 25 minutes, but start checking them at 20 minutes. When the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, they are ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the ramekins for 10 minutes.

Once cool, run a butter knife around the edge of the cake. Lift the cakes out with a small spatula or butter knife. You want to keep them right side up. If this seems too hard, turn the ramekins upside down, lightly tap out the cakes and then place the cakes right side up. Serve the cakes warm or at room temperature. A little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is a great addition to these cakes, but not necessary. Enjoy!

**Cakes can be kept for up to a day stored at room temperature in an air-tight container.**

Don’t let summer pass without checking out these 5 fantastic nectarine recipes!

Looking for fresh twist on a tart or buckle recipe? Head to Smitten Kitchen for Deb’s nectarine brown butter buckle or nectarine, mascarpone gingersnap tart.  Yum!

Martha’s nectarine cupcakes are on my must make list.

If it’s just too hot to turn on the oven, how about making nectarine ice cream?

If you want an interesting twist on your next caprese salad, head to Shutterbean for Tracy’s nectarine caprese salad.  This looks like summer!