Cherry Cobbler

This is definitely my favourite time of year.  I can go to any farmers market and be overwhelmed with choices of what to make for dinner AND what to bake.

I stopped by the farmers market in Trinity Bellwoods yesterday and one stand in particular was overflowing with cherries. Believe it or not, the only thing I’ve baked with cherries is clafoutis. I figured I better expand my horizons and bake my first cobbler!

I was surprised at how easy it is to make cobbler. Basically prepare the the fruit, throw it in a pan, stir together the cobbler ingredients, scoop the dough on the fruit and bake! For something so simple, it’s insanely delicious and perfect for a last minute dessert necessity.

PS – this is definitely best warm from the oven!

Filling Ingredients

  • 6 cups cherries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1.5 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • Pinch of ginger

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • Raw sugar, for sprinkling

Steps

Preheat oven to 375F and butter a 9 inch cast iron skillet or pie plate.

Pit the cherries using a pitter, or with this trick: take an empty wine bottle, place stemmed cherry on top of the bottle mouth. Hold cherry in place and poke through the middle with a chopstick. The pit should fall out into the bottle.

In a large bowl, stir together pitted cherries, sugar, lemon juice, arrowroot and spices. Pour into prepared pan or skillet.


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Pour in cream and stir together until just combined (it will be a wet dough).


With a large spoon, scoop dough onto prepared cherries in large blobs until the pan is mostly covered. Brush dough with cream and sprinkle with raw sugar.


Bake for 45 minutes, until dough is browning and juices are bubbling. Allow to cool slightly and serve with ice cream!



Concord Grape Pie

Okay I’ve totally become a concord grape convert.

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The first time I had heard of them was in the Four and Twenty Blackbirds book, then I finally saw them at the market this season and today I took the plunge and bought a basket.

This grape is so intensely grapey, like grape juice except fresh, and it has beautiful dark skins that create an amazing colour when the filling is all mixed together.  Perfect with a flaky butter crust!

As for the crust design… I saw the Arkells last night and had a blast, danced for two hours straight.  You could say I was a little inspired, so here’s an Arkells pie. (FYI if you’re looking for little letter cutters, the kitchen supply store at St Lawrence has a great set!)

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Ingredients

  • Prepared double crust pie shell, laid out in pie plate and ready to assemble (see Rhubarb Pie post)
  • 2 pounds concord grapes, stemmed (I got one basket)
  • Pinch grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp ground arrowroot
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Egg wash (1 large egg mixed with 1 tsp water)
  • Raw sugar, for sprinkling

Steps

Preheat oven to 400F.

Squeeze the pulp out of each grape into a medium bowl and keep the skins on a cutting board.  I found the most efficient way to do this was squeeze a bunch in my hand and the pulp would slide through my fingers and you can pick out any remaining in the bowl.  You can also pop them out individually (maybe get a friend as it’ll take longer).

Place pulp in a saucepan over medium low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until pulp softens.  Pour through a sieve into a large bowl, pushing the pulp through with a spatula, leaving the seeds and allow to cool 10 minutes.  Finely chop the grape skins and add to the pulp, stirring to combine.

Add lemon juice, zest, both sugars, arrowroot, allspice, cinnamon and salt to the mixture and stir to combine.  Add egg and stir in thoroughly.

Pour filling into pie shell and assemble lattice/lyrical pie top as desired.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Place pie on a baking sheet and place on lower oven rack.

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Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, until pastry sets and is starting to brown.  Lower oven temp to 350F and bake until golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 40-45 minutes.  Allow to cool 2-3 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbird cookbook

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Well, Fall is officially upon us so we may as well go big or go home.

This pie goes big.

The salted caramel sauce really differentiates this pie from other apple pies and is amazing to have on hand for ice cream, cookie filling or just on a spoon.  I think any sweet and salty combination is a dream and this one is right up there.

I used a mix of golden delicious and granny smith apples and they created a nice flavour combination.  The granny smith slices still had some bite on them post-baking which I liked whereas the golden delicious slices were softer, yet sweeter.  It’s important to use a mix to get this flavour profile on point.

 

Next week is Thanksgiving, which means double pies next weekend, stay tuned…

Pie Ingredients

  • Prepared dough for double crust pie (see rhubarb pie post)
  • 6 apples (3 granny smith and 3 golden delicious), peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup demerara sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • One grind black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp coarse or flake sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • Egg wash (Egg whisked with 1 tsp water)

Salted Caramel Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Steps

For crust braiding steps, see Blueberry Peach Pie post.

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Begin by making the caramel sauce.  In a saucepan, whisk sugar and water and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, whisking occasionally.  Add butter and bring to a slow boil, cooking continuously until caramel turns dark golden brown.  Remove from the heat and slowly add cream (be careful with the steam).  Whisk together and pour into a bowl, allowing to cool while making the pie.

Mix apple slices with the lemon juice in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tbsp sugar, lightly mixing again.  Allow to sit for 20 minutes to “sweat” the apples, removing excess moisture.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix demerara sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla, pepper, salt and flour.  Remove apples from lemon juice, leaving excess liquids behind and add to spice mixture.  Mix lightly with your hands to ensure all slices are evenly coated.

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Layer the apples tightly (I did a haphazard circular pattern) in the prepared pie crust, placing more in the centre of the pie.  Pour just over a half cup of the caramel sauce over the apples and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp coarse/flake sea salt.  Assemble lattice and crimp as desired.

Allow pie to chill for 15 minutes and preheat oven to 400F.

Brush pie with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar and coarse/flake sea salt.

Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and place on the bottom oven rack, baking for ~25 minutes until crust is beginning to brown. Lower oven temperature to 375F and move pie to centre rack, baking 30-35 minutes until juices are bubbling and the crust is a deep golden brown.

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Cool for 2-3 hours.

Recipe adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds

Peach Pie

I was reading an article recently and it mentioned “garbage can peaches”, meaning a peach so juicy and messy you HAVE to eat it over a garbage can.  I love that image, because you honestly can’t beat a good peach.


Another thing you can’t beat? A slice of peach pie on a summer day after a day at the pool.  This pie showcases the delicious peaches in season right now and also is lightly spiced with allspice.

Honestly right now I’m just debating having a slice for breakfast. I probably should.

Ingredients

  • Prepared double crust (see rhubarb pie recipe), pie plate lined with one crust
  • 5 cups sliced peaches
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tsp water)

Steps

To make it easier to skin the peaches, cut an X into the bottom of each and drop into simmering water for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into cool water and once peach is cool enough to handle, scrape off the skin starting from the bottom with the edge of a knife.


Preheat oven to 425F.

Slice peaches into 1/2 inch slices and sprinkle with lime juice. Add sugars, arrowroot, spices and salt and mix well.


Sprinkle 1 tsp each of sugar and flour on bottom of crust to absorb excess juices while baking. Using a slotted spoon, spoon filling into crust, leaving excess juices.  Arrange lattice top and crimp as desired (for tips, see rhubarb pie post).


Chill pie for 15 minutes and brush with egg wash.

Place pie on lowest rack of oven and bake at 425F for 20 minutes or until pastry begins to brown. Lower heat to 375F and bake for 30-35 minutes until pie is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Allow to cool for 2 hours.

Blueberry Pie

Oh boy.

I went to the market this morning and it was overflowing with all good things: strawberries, cherries, peaches, blackberries, raspberries and of course blueberries.  I love how small and flavourful wild blueberries are and they’re perfect for pie.  Typically, I’ll buy about half wild and half regular so I don’t drop $30 on them and the pie is still delicious (of course).

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This pie is super juicy, so to avoid a soggy crust, try sprinkling a bit of flour and sugar (1 tsp each) on the inside of the crust before pouring in the filling).  It will keep it crisp and flaky.

This pie just screams summer and is perfect post BBQ with ice cream (or post-Summerlicious 3 course meal like I’m about to do tonight…Treat yoself!)

Ingredients

  • Prepared crust for double crust pie (see recipe in my rhubarb pie post here or blood orange pie here)
  • 1 small granny smith apple
  • 5 cups blueberries (~2.5 pints)
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp ground arrowroot
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 tsp water
  • Raw sugar, optional

Steps

Follow pie crust steps here and have it ready to be filled.

Peel and shred apple with large holes on a grater.

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Mix apple with blueberries, lemon juice, 1/2 cup white sugar, brown sugar, arrowroot, allspice and salt in a large bowl.

Sprinkle 1 tsp each of sugar and flour at the bottom of your crust and mix around with your fingers.  Pour in filling just to the rim of the top of the crust, being careful not to overfill (so the juices won’t overflow).  Arrange lattice on top according to your preference and crimp crust using your thumb and pointer finger on one hand and thumb on the other to push and pinch, or follow steps here.

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An example of the crimping process on a single crust pie.  For double crust, after laying out the lattice, roll the crust overhang over the lattice strips and pinch into a “wall”, then crimp like above.

Chill pie in fridge for 10 minutes and preheat oven to 425F.  Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven.

Remove pie from fridge and brush with your egg wash (this will make your crust nicely browned) and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake on the baking sheet on the lowest oven rack until crust is set and starting to brown (~20 minutes).  Lower heat to 375F, move pie and baking sheet to the middle rack of oven and bake until the crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling (~30-35 minutes).  Allow pie to cool for 2 hours on wire rack.

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Recipe adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds

Cherry Clafoutis

When I was in France last summer, I had my first clafoutis overlooking the rolling hills of Provence (sorry..).  I loved how the custard was slightly caramelized around the edges making certain bites chewy between the perfectly ripe cherries.

Since I had a bag of cherries to get through in my fridge, I thought making a clafoutis would help.  This recipe is based on that from David Lebovitz’s blog (HIGHLY recommend his books as well), and it brings me back to that authentic clafoutis.  It’s super easy and perfect for a quick dessert (or heck, a decadent breakfast, it has 3 eggs after all).

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Cherries lining the dish
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Batter
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Clafoutis pre-sugar sprinkle and bake

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Ingredients

  • 1.25lb sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • Softened butter (to grease dish)

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and grease a shallow 1.5-2L baking dish with butter.
  2. Line the bottom of the dish with a single layer of the stemmed and pitted cherries.
  3. Mix the eggs, flour, vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar and milk in a blender or whisk in a large bowl until smooth (if you use a whisk, be sure to use a sieve when pouring batter over cherries).
  4. Pour batter over cherries (again, use a sieve if there are any lumps left) and sprinkle the top of the batter and cherries with remaining sugar.
  5. Bake until just set, about 45-60 minutes.  A knife in the centre should come out relatively clean.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

Caramelized Apple Pecan Cake

Do you ever see a good deal on something and just go for it without thinking of the ramifications or whether it will fit in your fridge/closet?  That was me this weekend.

I bought a big basket of apples because I love Fiji apples and it was a good deal, then got home and realized one whole crisper was just apples and one person can only eat so many apples.

When this happens, you usually enlist a cake for help.

This cake is a take on a tarte tatin, with soft, caramelized apples on top and a dense cake underneath that is perfect with tea (or a spot of breakfast when running out the door).  Eat it at any temperature, but for some reason I like it right out of the fridge.

Which is ironic because it means even less fridge space…

Ingredients

  • 1 large apple, sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans

Steps

Preheat oven to 350F and butter 9-10 inch pie plate, arrange apple along bottom of pie plate.

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In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water over medium heat and cook until it is golden/light amber.  It will bubble and reduce, swirl if colour is uneven and be careful not to overcook.  Remove from heat and pour evenly over apples.

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Caramel in saucepan once almost done

In a large bowl, cream butter, olive oil and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.  Add each egg, mixing well after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in a separate bowl and add gradually, mixing until just combined (do not overmix).  Fold in pecans.

Pour batter over apples and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then place a plate over top and flip to release cake.

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