Kentucky Derby Mint Julep – Starting From Scratch

Mint Julep It has always eluded me..the Mint Julep thing. Spend all that time choosing the perfect outfit.A good deal of thought goes towards the perfect Derby hat. But the Mint Julep, which everyone respectfully carries around while laying bets on the horse, is usually not so perfect – the Mint Julep.  This year I decided to research the drink, and came up with some interesting ideas. The results? Mint Juleps are incredibly refreshing and delicious when prepared correctly.

Mint Juleps are typically done by bruising (muddling) fresh mint with sugar in the bottom of a glass, filling with ice, pouring the bourbon over that, stirring gently, then topping it with fresh mint. This recipe isn’t that.

Here’s the secret I learned from an expert that takes only a little planning. A few weeks in advance get your hands on some alright bourbon , (don’t judge my bourbon-said expert said “any” bourbon will do) and a large handful of fresh mint. Wash and dry the mint, place it in a large jar, pour the bourbon over it, and cover it tightly. Maybe it’ll snow between now and the Kentucky Derby,but that bottle of golden liquid is steeping in a cupboard, infusing the beautiful mint into it’s essence. And you’ll be busy sizing up  horses and jockeys.minted bourbon in the makingminted bourbon in jar steeping

The next secret, well it isn’t really so secret, is to make a minted simple syrup. Simple syrup is a (simple) thing to do. Take a nice bunch (large handful) of fresh mint. Add it to a cup of sugar and a cup of water. Place it all in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and let it sit for about an hour. Gently press the juices from the mint into the liquid, then throw away the mint.  Strain it into a jar and keep in the refrigerator (up to a month)This way you aren’t “bruising” the mint, which is said to give the Julep an off taste.

Now for the Mint Julep:

Use crushed ice. Finer is better. Fill the glass with it. A good tip, again from said expert, is to place the ice in a canvas bag and crush it with a carpenters mallet, which gives it a perfect consistency.   Pour about 2 Tablespoons of the minted simple syrup over the ice and top it with the minted bourbon. Stir it gently with a spoon. Top it with fresh mint leaves and enjoy. Sip it slowly. It’s a sturdy drink. As the ice melts, the blending of the mint, icy water and bourbon make it all the more refreshing.minted julip on fenceThe horse comes in for his sweet feed. He doesn’t like Mint Juleps. I know that I’ve published this too late to steep the bourbon, but you can make the simple syrup tomorrow, and remember this recipe for the next horse race.minted bourbon the horse

Comfort Food By Way of Kale and Sweet Brown Rice Gratin

Kale brown rice cassarole served with spinach tomato saladBrown rice, kale, sharp cheddar cheese…it has never occurred to me in all that vast kitchen space and years of raising kids, entertaining, dieting, skimping. Just plain never did.

My husband asked for seconds! I had seconds…we considered thirds..and then I would have eaten the whole top of the gratin, but I passed the control test. If you are really looking for the ultimate comfort food experience, it might be found in the topping. I mean, what about that baked cheese studded with buttery bread crumbs?  Why bother with the rice and kale…oh yeah, nutritional benefits.

A simple salad of spinach and tomatoes goes beautifully. I drizzled it with a gluten free French dressing and some blue cheese.

Kale and Sweet Brown Rice Gratin has all the elements of perfect comfort food. It’s chewy, crunchy, rich, deliciously filling, and easy to make. Can it compete with macaroni and cheese? Sure thing!  It has the requisite crunch, chew, creamy fattening (but not) elements.  Mine’s gluten free, by the way, by turning a gluten free baguette dried end piece into bread crumbs.Kale brown rice gratin biteSee? It’s all there! Chewy sweet brown rice, cheese, fresh kale (YUMMY), crunchy breadcrumbs.  I might eat this for breakfast.

If you can make risotto, you can make this. Sweet brown rice is also short grain brown rice. I can not imagine using any other rice, as the character of this grain is what makes this gratin so special. But, Hey, you do what you want. I’m only guaranteeing excellence with sweet brown rice.

The recipe comes from a gal from Seattle, named Heather. Here is her recipe for Brown Rice and Kale Gratin. I tweaked it only in that I added TONS of kale, and used some chicken stock to replace 2 cups of the milk. I also, in hind sight, would definitely add some salt to the recipe while cooking. Maybe my sharp cheddar cheese wasn’t as sharp and salty as her choice, and that would make a difference in need for salt. I’m going to check out her other recipes, now that we’ve tried this one. It is a keeper.

Here it is ready for the oven kale brown rice gratin ready to bakeAnd the finished product?kale brown rice gratin

Violets In My Champagne

It’s February 7th, and I’m itching for Spring to have…SPRUNG!

Boston is expecting the blizzard of the century tomorrow. The Laurel Highlands is expecting balmy 45-50 degree weather; the sun is warmer than it was a month ago; a lovely bird was absolutely belting out an early morning promise – acapella – at 7am this morning.  And I started envisioning fields of violets. Yes, a gentle breeze, air pregnant with rain, gurgling brook emptying to the pond, dandilions everywhere, and patches of violets. I come from a long line of wild violet lovers.april 19 beautiful violetLast week my favorite husband and I went to a Champagne and Tapas bar in Pittsburgh. It was a fascinating experience that certainly broadened our minds to embrace Champagne and sparkling wines as we never had before. Since I consider myself to be fairly ignorant  on the subject, Jennifer, the bar manager, treated us to quite an evening. Here’s the happy girl:

champagne and bartender Her pleasant personality, breadth of knowledge, and passion for champagne took us to another world in the land of bubbles. Although most of the Champagne “drinks” disguised the subtle perfumes of Champagne, and who’d want to do THAT, there was one that was particularly fetching.  The Kir Yvette Champagne Cocktail was fascinating to drink, to look at and, maybe most important in February, to think about. The scent of crushed violet petals, mixed with a touch of blackberries and, well read this.

Excited, yes?

Here’s a nice little line up of some of the drinks we enjoyed. The Champagne Yvette Cocktail is in the middle. The famous Bellini to the left, a lovely California Rose Sparkling Wine to the right.Champagne cocktailsWe discovered that most Champagne cocktail drinks mask the beauty of the Champagne, but not the bubbles. So, depending on the “why” of sipping bubbly, there were drinks that reminded me of a daiquiri, all the way to the Yvette, which was so subtle and delicate that it has become quite the fascination for this OCD leaning gal.  🙂  Imagine being told you’re sipping on crushed berries and violet petals – and it is the dead of winter 10 degrees and gray, and the sun will never shine again – and here you are all wrapped in your mink coat (faux, if this vision rubs you the wrong way) – soft lighting and music are making your heart merry –  and you’re with your best ever boyfriend. Ladies?

I share this with you because while most of my friends who love the out doors will be playing in the soil in April, as will I. I will also be gathering violets by the baskets, washing them, destemming them, and crushing them into a bottle of good quality vodka with just the correct amount of sugar (or honey). Then I’ll place that concoction into a clay jar, cover and let set for a month.  I shall have Creme de Violette.  And shall make bubbly cocktails from it in the dead of winter, when everything is gray, and a toasty fire is in the hearth, and Spring is calling me.

Amen.violets after a rain ready for sugar coating

Apple Raspberry Pie is a Gluten Free Wonder

Who’d have thought? Apples make an almost creamy suspension for little jewels of raspberry; a combo never before in my kitchen or on any menu I’ve ever seen before. The flavors melt into comforting warming goodness with no need for sprucing up using spices -of course a dollop of cream or ice cream makes it…Mmmmm – but isn’t that kind of simplicity what makes comfort food comforting?  Making it gluten free is easy if you use the Pate Brisee recipe I posted back in February. That recipe makes enough for two lattice pies. It’s no big deal to replace the flour in the fruit with gf flour.

I’m not going to spend too much time on this, but I’ll tell you a little story and then refer you to the Martha Stewart recipe I (sort of) followed.

A few weeks ago my sister, daughter and I loaded up the car to go visit my youngest daughter (KJ to you). That’s right, my blogging partner. She’s in grad school at a beautiful university in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Late October was gorgeous with the leaves beginning to turn, the orchards full of ripe apples and vineyards offering those emerging wines. We spent a few hours lulling in the sun at this cool orchard where the price of a bushel of apples was shamefully cheap. So I bought Golden Delicious and Red Rome apples, brought them home and have been enjoying them ever since. Here we are. 🙂Yep! It was a picture perfect day, designed for play.

The raspberries were winding seriously down to about 1/2 cup a day. This pie was a way to blend the summer flavors of fresh berries with the fall apples. And it was a great marriage of flavors. Keep in mind that there were no spices needed.  I made this pie twice and the 2nd time I chose to try a deep dish pie. It was equally wonderful and of course used more apples. I always go heavy on fruit and light on sugar if possible. So I barely added as much sugar as the following recipe calls for and added 2 more apples to the pie recipe than she called for. For the deep dish version I added another 4 apples. Used golden delicious and red rome combination. For the pie, like the pastry, I used a gluten free flour mix. My choice is always either Jules or Domata Living Flour.

And (here is a good option to feed more people) this makes a great slab pie, similar to my Strawberry Rhubarb Slab Pie from earlier this summer.

Click here for the recipe: Martha Stewart Apple Raspberry Pie

Peaches and Cream Angel Food Tunnel Cake is Gluten Free. Yeah Baby!

This is the Peaches and Cream Angel Food Tunnel Cake I just made!

This is the Strawberry Angel Food Tunnel Cake my sister made for Dan and Kelly’s wedding celebration.  It was made from a boxed angel food cake mix.  It looks delicious. I heard it was amazing..except some of us…ahem, ahem…Scott, Missy, Marcia….couldn’t eat it because it contained gluten.

My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow and angel food cake is her favorite. She has committed herself to being gluten free.  For the first time ever in this house ( ‘this house‘ because I did try one years ago and said ‘ehhh, a lot of work and not as good as boxed’) we will have a gluten free angel food cake celebration.  The birthday girl just happens to be coming off a week of liquids because of intense mouth pain  and so the light silkiness of an angel food cake is just what the doctor mother ordered. Maybe I’ll make the same Strawberry Angel Tunnel Cake pictured above, maybe not. We’ll see what the girl can eat.

Let’s go over what makes this cake successful before we get into the fray. Egg whites, sugar and flour are the most important ingredients.

It doesn’t matter if the egg whites are cold or at room temperature. It is the speed used to inflate them that counts, and you don’t have to own a power machine because some people use a wire whisk – imagine that!  Always start the eggs at a low speed and mix until the big bubbles disappear around the edges and the whites barely begin to form what might look like meringue before adding anything else.  In this recipe ingredients are added a little at a time and, using an electric mixer, you never have to go above medium speed.  You’re not looking to spackle the walls with it!

Sugar can be granulated or superfine. I chose superfine because it incorporates more quickly.  Superfine is hard to find so I make mine by whirring it in the blender for a few seconds, just long enough to make the granules less visible.  Adding it slowly assures thorough blending.

Flour is a big deal too.  There are plenty of gluten free options out there and most everyone has their own preference.  I’ve tried most of them and, let’s be honest, I can’t adjust to having flour taste like hummus or cardboard.  With an angel food cake the goal is to have a light silky end product. I turn to Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour when I want a superior product.  Her flour is as close to what I grew up with as I’ve been able to find. It’s a big deal to make something where no one has to ask if it’s gluten free.  One flour I used to use tasted like I’d mixed sand into it. It was awful!  Sifting is important with angel food cakes.  Light and no lumps is required. If you don’t have a sifter – I don’t – just whisk it with a wire whisk several times and even whisk it as you add it into the mix.

Slow baking, bottom shelf, turning it upside down once it’s finished and allowing it to fully cool that way for a few hours are all important.

Here goes:

You’ll need about 1 dozen eggs to make almost 2 cups of egg whites only. I found you can freeze the yolks. I did it in baggies of 4 yolks so that I can make things like Hollandaise Sauce and Pasta Carbonara. Pound Cake takes more yolks than whites too.

Place oven rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.

1 dozen large egg whites (what ever it takes to equal a little more than 1 3/4 cups)

1 cup Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (my preferred choice)

1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided into two equal *3/4 cup parts

Sift the other 3/4 cup sugar with the flour.

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

The ticket for success with angel food cake is the way you mix it. More power doesn’t equal a taller or lighter cake. I learned that there are many methods to increasing volume and sturdiness of meringue. So follow this and trust me, I’ve done a lot of research…..of course we don’t know how it will taste yet, do we?

Place egg whites in large clean bowl.

Beat on the lowest setting of your mixer until  large bubbles around the edge disappear and soft tight bubbles begin to form a bit of mounded shape. Add in the cream of tartar.

Then add 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing at medium speed.

Mix this until the meringue is shiny and soft peaks are forming. Don’t mix till peaks are stiff.

At this point go ahead and add the lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts.  Mix just until blended. You can put the mixer away at this point and use a firm spatula for the next phase of folding in the flour/sugar mixture.

Fold the flour/sugar mixture and salt into the batter, 3 Tablespoons at a time, until all is folded in and no lumpy flour pockets remain.

This process should take about 5 minutes.

Once this is done you’re ready to pour the mixture into the angel food cake pan that has a removable bottom.  Run a spatula through the batter once it’s in the pan, then tap the pan a few times on the counter to make sure there are no bubbles left in the batter.

Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes until it is golden on the top and springs back when pressed firmly.

Oh baby, this looks like the real deal!  We shall see!

Invert the cake over a glass bottle or turn upside down if the pan has prongs on it like mine does.  The goal is to leave it that way for several hours until it is completely cooled to prevent it from falling back into the pan and becoming dense….I mean it IS Angel Food.

Since this cake will probably be covered in whipped cream and currently has little crumbs all over it, take a food brush and dust it off. That way it will be prettier and ready for icing.We’re ready to decorate.  My mother always used fresh flowers rather than making decorations out of icing.  Make sure if you do this you choose flowers and herbs that are not sprayed with chemicals and are edible choices. Mint, lilies, pansies, lilacs, violets, carnations and lemon verbena are some obvious choices and so pretty.

To prepare this tunnel cake take about an inch off the top of the cake and set it aside.Next create a tunnel inside the cake, making sure the bottom stays intact, and remove the pieces. Set pieces aside to be folded back in later.To prepare the filling you will need 15 1/2oz. sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup heavy whipped cream, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1/3 cup lemon juice and 10 oz. chopped peaches (or 10 oz. frozen sliced strawberries) and the cake pieces that were removed.  The birthday girl chose fresh chopped peaches instead of strawberries.  2 more cups of whipped cream are needed to frost the cake.

Mix condensed milk, extract and lemon juice. Fold in the 1 cup of whipped cream. Chill 10 minutes. Take 1 1/2 cups of this mixture and fold in the little cake pieces and the peaches or strawberries. Spoon this mixture into the tunnel.Replace top of cake and prepare for frosting by brushing the crumbs away.

Now is the time to frost the cake. Because I used peaches I decided to add some peachy food coloring to the remaining frosting.  I used a combination of red and yellow to achieve a pretty pastel color.  It’s easier to frost a cake that has had the crumbs dusted off.  The frosting (in this case cream) sticks to the surface better.On to the transformation.  I washed and dried mint leaves and day lilies, then decorated the base of the cake with them.  Gold sugar sparkles made it festive!It was amazing with a touch of fresh raspberry sauce!

Meringue Swirls of Lavender and Lime

All spring we’ve been making these puffy clouds.  Cinco de Mayo brought orange and lemon flavors in red and green stripes; Kelly’s bridal shower produced orange and lime in a pretty apricot shade; today a walk through my garden gave me an idea.  

Lavender is amazing.  Beautiful, fragrant and delightful to cook with.  As a member of the mint family it has a refreshingly astringent taste.  Each year I gather stems just as the buds are opening and hang them to dry.  Then I keep them in airtight containers for cooking.  Pretty soft lavender blossoms are pretty sprinkled over cakes; steeped in milk and then strained out for lavender scones and lavender panna cotta.  When my children were small we’d make a drink called Lavender and Lime.  It was delicious and refreshing  for a summer afternoon by the pond.  Why not swirl lavender and lime zest into meringue cookies?

This morning as I considered how to describe what makes meringue cookies so special (I confess I had never once chosen them from a cookie tray).  Until you sink your teeth…not so, no teeth required… until you press one to your lips you haven’t encountered the beauty of pillows of flavor bursting in your mouth.  If we could dine on clouds!Elle snapped this photo at a  picnic in the Laurel Highlands.

Don’t be frightened by past meringue failures. Meringue always flopped for me until I finally researched.  If you think meringue is difficult this recipe should help.

SOME TIPS

1. Egg whites room temperature and not fresh from the hen

2. Oven temperatures very low and it takes a long time

3. Best to use metal or glass bowls

4. Even a tiny amount of egg yolk or fat/oil will prevent eggs from whipping properly

5. Don’t do this when it is humid in the house.

If this information discourages you maybe you should not try these – but come now – are you kidding?  Think of it as an art experiment.

8. There are three methods of making meringue: Swiss, French and Italian. I encourage you to look this site over http://www.epicureanpiranha.com/2010/meringue-types-techniques/. She has done her homework.  I’ve tried them all and they all work as long as you apply the aforementioned 5 rules.

While this recipe uses lavender and lime, you can just as easily make them vanilla bean, orange, lemon, almond; use your imagination and have fun.

*The tiny holes you see in the meringues I made are because I did this last night and I think we were at 80% humidity. Should have seen that one coming – we’ve had torrential rainfall since midnight.

YOU WILL NEED:

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or vinegar

pinch salt

2 tablespoons dried lavender buds

1 teaspoon lime zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped

parchment paper or Silpat

food color gel

small paint brush

pastry bag and large tip (I’ll show you)

Great tool!

METHOD:

Divide eggs. Save yolks for something like Pasta Carbonara or pound cake

Take the lavender buds and sugar and whirl them in a food processor until they are blended and the sugar isn’t completely powdered but fine. Then stir in the lime zest.To the bowl of room temperature egg whites add the cream of tartar/vinegar, vanilla and pinch of salt.  With electric mixer beat whites at high speed for about 30-45 seconds until white and foamyContinuing to beat on high speed add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat just until all is incorporated.  Following are some photos that will show the stages the meringue goes through until it is ready. It has to be very firm to hold it’s shape through the baking process.

Starting to hold shape

NOT YET

PERFECTION!

At this stage the meringue can take on any shape at all and hold it beautifully.

Now how to make those swirls:

Take the assembled pastry bag with the large tip on the end, lay it on the counter and make sure it’s open.  If you use a jar, take a tiny paint brush and draw three very thin lines, spaced evenly, up the sides of the bag -starting from down at the base and draw lines to about two inches from the top.  If you use a tube of gel it will make a perfect line, no brush needed. Then place the bag carefully inside a sturdy glass or something similar so that you can fill it with meringueCarefully fill the bag with meringue, pushing it gently down to the bottom.  Don’t worry if a little of the gel smears, it will still work.Twisting from the top to add pressure and force the meringue out, start making small circles on the silpat or parchment on a cookie sheet.  As you make the circle use less pressure as you reach the top and allow it to form a peak.Space them just so the edges don’t touch.

Place them on the middle rack of a preheated to 250 degree oven (for meringues that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter).  If you choose to make larger meringues you may want to use a 300 degree oven.  Bake them for somewhere between one and two hours, checking to see that they don’t brown.  The goal is to cook them very slowly, which allows them to dry thoroughly.  It is advisable to then turn the oven to off and let them remain in the oven with the door closed for several more hours or over night.  A test when you are checking them is that they don’t feel at all sticky when touched lightly.  And beyond that test is that they don’t adhere at all to the parchment or silpat when lifted.  When all that is good, turn off the oven and leave them to finish drying.  Not doing this will result in gummy or deflated meringues-pillows-clouds

Orange and Vanilla Bean Meringues – why won’t this photo turn upright?

Giant Lemon and Orange Meringues make pretty Bridal Shower favors

Strawberry Rhubarb Slab Pie

Would you believe amazing, awesome, incredible, delicious, fantastic, best ever ever ever’s?  Well here goes: this is THE best pie and crust I’ve ever made, served and eaten.

Gluten free! Check out that crust.The subtle scent of orange plays beautifully with strawberries and rhubarb.  Not too sweet, enjoy hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or with fresh cream. For breakfast enjoy it guilt free – warmed with a generous spoon of vanilla yogurt.  Eating doesn’t get much better.

This pie will easily feed 16 hungry pie loving men.  Or 8 women.  Or 4 Brits.  Brits have a thing for rhubarb. 🙂

I found that the recommended crust recipe is very close to the Pate’ Brise’ recipe I’ve already shared, but doubled.   I didn’t want to risk anything so I used this new recipe with  great results.  It can also make dough for two double crust pies.

Pie dough:

5 cups gluten free flour, plus more for rolling dough (Eh, if you aren’t gluten free use regular flour.  I simply exchanged Jules flour for regular)

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 cup ice water (the flour I used needed a bit more)

Filling:

6 cups hulled strawberries, cut in half

6 cups cleaned rhubarb, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup dry quick cooking tapioca

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons of the squeezed juice

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water to brush over crust

1/3 to 1/2 cup large granulated sugar for dusting the crust

To make:

Mix flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl.  Add in cut up butter, using either a pastry blender, fingers or two butter knives to blend into the flour until only a few pea sized pieces of butter remain.

Add in the water, about 1/3 at a time, using two forks to lightly toss the mixture as you add, incorporating the water until the mixture holds together and is able to be formed into oval mounds that don’t fall apart (this is why mine needed a little more water).

Once you’ve formed two  good rounds, wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

*This is as good of a place as any to discuss gluten free flour.  Everyone has their favorite mix.  Some prefer to mix from a variety of flours; almond, rice, corn, sorghum, coconut and so many others.  GF flour, even more than wheat flour can be so dry that you can’t exactly guarantee the outcome of the product unless you’ve used it before and know how it acts.  I have made plenty of expensive delicious brick door stops that were supposed to be  cakes or breads.  I can tell you what I like and have seen work well, so if it doesn’t work for you – take a look at your flour.  I use Domata Living Flour for everyday use, sometimes adding a bit of sorghum or almond flour to add moisture.  My favorite beautiful flour for something fancy is Jules GF Flour.  She did the hard work of coming up with a formula that, while pricey, works

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you prepare the pie.

To prepare filling:

Cut up rhubarb and strawberries and place them in a large bowl.

Add in the tapioca, both brown and granulated sugars, orange zest and juice.  Mix and let stand while you roll the dough.

You can refer to the pate brisee in a previous blog in April to see how to roll, but you want a clean dry smooth surface to work on.  Sprinkle some gluten free flour on surface, place mound of dough on it, flour the rolling pin and roll the dough out big enough – about 12″ x 16″ to fit into a 10″x14″ jelly roll pan *cookie sheet with 4 sides.  Roll out the dough and slide it into the pan.  Once it’s in the pan add the fruit filling.  Roll out the other mound of dough exactly the same way and place that on top of the mixed fruit.

Okay, so Martha Stewart makes every thing look easy and perfect.  I’m no Martha (deep sigh of exasperation)!  To get the dough off the rolling area you may need a long spatula to loosen it or it will tear.  It might tear anyway and you may want to wad it up and throw it against the wall or the first person who walks in and says something like “What’s that?”
Or “Hello Honey”. Do not do that.  You can piece it together if it is torn.  I did and no one cared.  Roll the edges of the bottom and top crust together and using your thumb and two fingers flute the edges all the way around.  If there are places where there is too much dough, cut it off and use it where there is too little dough.

BE PATIENT

It takes time to work with dough and this one’s pretty forgiving.  Just realize that it may not be beautiful but it will taste beautiful and ice cream goes a long long way towards presentation.

So once that 2nd sheet is on the top, flute the edges and cut vents into a pretty pattern with a sharp ended knife in the top crust.  Then brush the surface with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Place in 400 degree oven and immediately drop the temperature to 375.  Bake for 55 – 65 minutes until it forms a deep golden crust and the filling is bubbling up in the middle through the vents.

Cool on wire rack 

Really really good old fashioned pie!

Equally good a week later…I polished off the last piece this morning, warmed with a touch of yogurt and then did a boot camp workout to try and counter the possible …

..we’re not supposed to talk about the bad side of eating this, are we?

Try it with other fruits and combinations.  I can’t wait to try Peach-Raspberry and then in the autumn I’ll try a Pear-Blackberry combination with a touch of orange zest.  Heavenly!