August 24, 2009

Time to collect prune plums from the fruit-ladened branch..

I love to make pies. This is my absolute favorite. Hands down!

Seventeenth Century Bottom-crusted Plum Pie

2 cups unbleached flour,
1 3/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, sliced
1/4 c ice water
pinch of salt

3 cups Italian prune plums, quartered and seeded
1/2 c sugar
squeeze of half a lemon , avoiding seeds
2 T of flour
a few slices of butter
a touch of cinnamon

Prepare the dough by mixing the flour with a pinch of salt and the cold butter. If using a bowl, take two knives and cut butter into flour, creating a cornmeal texture. Use the pulse button to create the same effect if you are using a food processor. Add water slowly, looking for the right amount of moisture in your dough. Try not to overwork, or make too sticky. Toss dough on a hard clean surface, preferably marble.
Sprinkle a bit of flour on the surface to prevent sticking, then proceed to roll out using a rolling pin. Start from the center of the dough and roll out in all directions, until you have created a thin 1/4 inch round. Use a light touch, and remember, don’t overwork!
Center rolled-dough over your pie plate with the excess hanging over. Put a few fork-marks in the bottom to prevent swelling in the oven.
Place quartered plums, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice, in a bowl. Toss well. You can even let it marinate for a little while. Slip the mixture into the pie. Sprinkle the flour randomly over the fruit, and dot with butter slices.
Cover the pie filling with the excess pie dough hanging over the edges, as if you were using it as a piece of cloth to cover bread in a basket. That is why it is called ‘bottom crusted’. One crust rolled out then folded over the fruit. I like to use an egg wash, and decorate the top to look like lace. You can use a toothpick or any sharp point to create a detailed effect.
Bake at 400 for around an hour. When you start smelling the fruit, the pie is usually done.
Keep and eye on the crust. Don’t be alarmed if the juices come up over the crust. It is fine!
It makes for one delicious, old fashioned looking pie.

Here is one small sort that I made with peaches with left-over dough. This is the concept.
I can't show you the real McCoy until I get my lovely large shallow bowl from Thea Tenenbaum
and Raffaelle Malferrari. Their bowl, not unlike this small one.. works the best. This is similar to
a galette, but not necessarily.

( To pick up rolled-out dough off a hard surface, pull dough from one side to about half way center. Place your arm in the center and fold the dough over it. Gently pull the remaining dough off the surface and put your other arm underneath and center over the plate. Otherwise, you can pull one side of the dough to half-way, fold it very gently onto the other half creating a half moon. Pick up both ends and center over the pie plate, carefully unfolding it to its original roundness.)

Here is an open-faced prune plum tart. This one is the simplest. I threw it together for a friends birthday rather quickly. It will be fine eaten on it's own or with a nice dollop of cream? Sheep's milk
yogurt? Whatever you fancy..!


August 23, 2009

August 11, 2009

BLT with watercress and fried green tomatoes

When life gives you unripe tomatoes, fry them.

Summer series: Saturday's at the Farmer's Market

In summer, everyone else is out with their gear, maps, packed cars and travel itineraries,while I prefer to stay still. I would rather spend peaceful days, moving little, taking in the splendor of my favorite season in Colorado. I frequent the farmer's market with my grand-daughter Makena,3 1/2, who loves to make the rounds. Pete (Oxford Gardens) gives her fresh carrots to nibble on, Lara (Cure Farm) gives her flowers, and her basket fills with love.

Makena doesn't like peaches, (I could faint) but she likes to bake. Peach pies are a mainstay.

Peach Pie with Clotted Cream

6 organic peaches, skins left on, sliced
1/2 c sugar
1 lemon, sliced in half

2 cups of unbleached white flour
1 stick and a half of butter
a few T's of cold water
pinch of salt


tart pan

This informal recipe is meant to give you a relaxed approach to pie making.

Put together your pie dough, by cutting butter into your flour with two knives(or use a cuisinart, pulsing the blade to cut the butter into flour). Add a pinch of salt. Add cold water a tablespoon at the time to bind the dough together. Form into a ball. It should feel like a 'babies behind'. Put it in the fridge for 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, slice peaches into a bowl. Add sugar to taste and 1/2 lemon, juiced with your hand.Set aside.

Roll out dough on a floured surface, starting from the center and rolling out in all directions until you have a thin round. Center it over your tart pan, trimming the edges.

Press dough gently along the sides where the edge meets the bottom. The crust needs to bake on it's own before putting in the filling at 350F. weighted. Use a piece of aluminum foil over the crust and add beans, or other filler to keep the dough from rising. I've even used a glass bowl, turned upside down. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove
weight and foil and cook another 10 minutes.

Take crust out and add your peaches in a uniform fashion all around the tart pan, spiraling into the center. Bake for 20 minutes. Add cream by pouring over the top of the pie about half way. Let bake another 10-15 minutes. The cream will clot and the peaches will look wilted and rustic with their skins. Let cool for a moment, then unmold the tart from the sides. Enjoy.