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Posts from the ‘Baking’ Category

Mom’s Oatmeal Comfort Cookies


You know the days when all you want to do is come home to some cookies made by someone who loves you, and enjoy them just out of the oven while you sit there and complain vent discuss your crappy day…?

I seem to have had more than my fair share of those lately.  Why wait for someone to come along and cheer you up…when you can just make some yourself.  (This has the added bonus…that maybe, just perhaps, no one knows exactly how many cookies you made and therefore can’t accuse you of eating the whole batch…just saying!)


Mom’s Oatmeal Cookies*

1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp.)
¼ sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. vanilla

Beat living crap out of sugar and butter, add egg and everything but flour and oats, then flour, then oats.  (Mom usually doubles, or even quadruples the recipe.)

Spoon onto baking sheets.  Bake at 375° for 12 minutes (‘though Mom finds this too long sometimes).  Be generous with sugar for more thin/lacy/crunchy cookies.

{*recipe is taken word for word from the Connelly Family Cookbook (my maiden name)}

Quick tip…when my mom was making cookies regularly for the 5 of us to nibble on after school…sometime during the day, she would plop the stick of butter into the Kitchenaid bowl on the counter and by the time she started the cookies, the butter was room temperature and ready to mix!

There was strong disagreement in our house growing up about whether oatmeal cookies should inherently contain raisins.  I think of oatmeal cookies like cake…there are many kinds and they can all be good for different reasons.  Coffee cake vs. red velvet vs. chocolate decadent vs. ice cream cake – the list goes on.  My Dad is on team raisin  and my Mom – her opinion is that adding raisins to these cookies is ‘just wrong’.  I’ll let you decide.  (and I promise, I won’t hold it against you!)

Perfect cookies to enjoy with just a small glass of milk!

{I actually had trouble eating less than two okay three anytime I walked by the cookie jar!}

What is your go-to comfort cookie?

 

 

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Hot Cross Bun(nie)s!


What do you get when you our boiling water down a rabbit hole…?

Hot Cross Bunnies! 

Okay, I kid.  But I do love some hot cross buns!  I came across a recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.  It seemed to have a nice balance of spiced dough with just a bit of sweetness not too much dried fruit.

Recipe can be found right here and the only changes I made were that used about half the total dried fruit called for in the recipe and only used currants.

I soaked them in rum as I did not have any apple juice in the house. This is a great trick to make sure that your dried fruit doesn’t steal all the moisture from your dough during the rising process.

No need to worry about the order of mixing either,  I added all the dry ingredients to the bowl, gave it a quick stir with the dough hook and then threw in the wet ingredients – eggs, milk and room temperature butter.

I happen to love the Proof function on my oven…it heats to about 80º (my guess is using the heat of the oven light), but it ensures that my rising dough stays warm and out-of-the-way of any drafts.

Note that it is not a super-puffy rise.

Just as the recipe stated, it makes 12-14 (for me – 14 exactly) and they are about the size of billiard balls.

And since I wanted warm toasty buns on Easter morning without having to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the dough going, I started it the evening before and left them formed in rolls over night in the fridge for the second rise.

I slashed the tops with a razor and let them sit on the counter to take the chill off of them while the oven heated.  Woody tried to get Cleo interested in them…which I don’t approve of.

Last step before the oven is to brush the tops with an egg white mixed with milk to help them brown up.

All seemed to go as planned although I cooked them a bit longer as they were so well chilled that I worried they would turn dark brown without the insides being cooked through.

Poof!  They magically turn into delicious and golden brown rolls,  Okay…maybe an oven was involved – at 375 for 20 minutes and at 350 for the remaining time.  In total, they baked for 30’ish minutes.  I know, very precise.

The dough only has a bit of brown sugar in it, so the icing was a nice addition.  (I can’t believe I actually advocated for icing…as I am almost categorically opposed to it…but I’ll admit…it was needed and delicious!

We are soon headed to a delicious brunch and therefore these were just a morning snack to hold us over until our 2:00 pm reservation.  Add in a steaming cup of coffee and it was a fabulous spring morning!

What are your Easter traditions?  Whatever they are I hope they are filled with delectable items and people you love and hopefully some delightful spring weather!

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

2011 Meals in Review | part two


as promised…

2011 Meals in Review | part two

July

Gorgonzola Chicken Pasta Salad (a la D’Amico & Sons)

German Potato Salad

Summer Tomato Caprese Stacks

Bastille Day & a Little Liberté with Scallion and Chive Smoked Salmon Spread

 

August

Sour Cream Verde Enchiladas

 

September

Heirloom Tomatoes Bread Salad with Burratta

Zucchini, Summer Squash and Brown Rice Casserole

 

October

Tomato and Gruyere Tart

served with a little salad

Fresh Linguine with Mizithra Cheese and Lightly Dressed Arugula

Traditional Beef Empanadas (made mini!)

A little sampling of delicious items…cheese, olives, toasts, etc.

Niçoise Salad

 

November

Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti

Brioche French Toast

No-Knead Bread

Gougeres

Red Tea, Beef & Sweet Potato Stew

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Excuse the phone photo…but that’s what’s left of a scrumptious braised rabbit with pappardelle from this place.

Chestnut Pancetta Stuffing for Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving plate…and no I didn’t overdo it!

Couldn’t be complete without a slice of pecan pie!

The morning after was no let-down with Pheasant and Waffles topped with a Fried Egg and Mushroom Thyme Gravy!!!

 

December

A weekend trip up north found us eating at the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant in St. Helena.  The Tasting included 5 delectable bites to whet our appetites.

The polenta sitting under the magnificently cooked piece of beef was quite possibly the best thing on the table.

Duck Confit with a Poached Egg and Frisee

Krumkake Christmas Cookies

Christmas Eve bites including Cremenelli Salami – a little hometown pride!

Christmas Dinner – Tenderloin of Beef, Creamy Dill Carrots and Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Turkey Tetrazzini

The BEST use of leftover beef ever…sliced beef tenderloin topped with a cold Bernaise sauce

And last but not least, Short Ribs Italiano served over Pappardelle!

 

We’re making some artichoke dip and about to head over to friends to ring in the new year!  Tonight is for looking back and tomorrow, we start fresh.

A Whole New Year!

Happy New Year!

2011 Meals in Review | part one


As I’m a bit behind these days, I noticed while perusing my photos from the past year in search of a couple photos for a new year’s card to send out, how many delicious moments we had in 2011.  What follows is not only what we made, but what we enjoyed! 

The delicious moments of 2011…


January

Rosemary Sea Salt Dinner Rolls (recipe credit: Pioneer Woman)

Creamy Pheasant and Wild Rice Soup

Orechiette with Pheasant, Bacon and Spinach

Butternut Squash, Shallot and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pot Roast…good the first time, better the second…

Cumin-scented Butternut Squash with Onions and Wild Rice

Pot Roast Ravioli

Homemade Fettuccini

Boboli’s done right…!  (yes, you are correct…that is an egg cracked on top peeking out from underneath the arugula and parm!

 

February

yummm…pancakes

Delicate Scrambled Eggs with Truffle Salt

A Birthday dinner at Bouchon

Cod Brandade with Tomato Confit and Fried Sage Leaves

Frisée aux Lardons et Oeuf Poché

Croque Madame

Back at home…Cheese Soufflé

Lump Crab Cakes

Valentine’s Day Cheese Fondue

Tempura and Cold Soba Noodles

Baby Artichoke Gratin (recipe credit: latimes.com)

 

March

Fancied-Up Burgers

Seared Scallops with Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Welsh Rarebit

 

April

April brought with it a trip to Vienna for Woody’s work…

Käsekrainer – near perfect street food

Beef Tartare with all the appropriate accoutrements

Veal Medallions

Finally in the homeland…a full plate of spätzle just for me!

A celebratory meal at Meinl am Graben began with a Veal Carpaccio for Woody

Tortellini with Consommé and Crisped Prosciutto

Honestly…I can hardly remember what exactly this course entailed…but I DO remember that it  was incredibly amazing!

The third course of our prix fixe…again…perfection!

Although I can’t say the name of the place…the fare was delicious

A trip to Vienna without Viennese coffee would be a crime!

Back at home…Pacific Spiny Lobster with Fava Beans and Meyer Lemon

Grilled Cheese Invitational…who says no to that…?

Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes…there were plenty more sandwiches and a lot more cheese, but most disappeared before I could get a shot!

And of course, an annual batch of Deviled Eggs for Easter!

 

May

Fried Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

Onion & Bacon Tart

Minted English Pea & Lemony Feta Crostini

Another birthday was cause for a trip to the Los Olivos region, some wine tasting and of course a meal or two…

Bistro Burger

Spring Vegetable Pot Roast

Ebelskivers

Savory Lentil Salad

House guests meant a trip to the Original LA Farmer’s Market and an Oyster Po’ Boy

June

Chicken Garlic Sausage & Swiss Chard Flatbread

Potato Salad – Two Ways

Poppyseed Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone Frosting

Part two coming soon…

DLW: Zucchini, Goat Cheese & Pasilla Pepper Tarts


We’ve discussed my love for tarts in the past…and here is yet another example.  Throw it in a crust and I’ll love it.  Put some simply dressed greens next to it…and I just might swoon!

This is a great way to use up small portions of leftovers.  I chopped an onion, diced a zucchini and a pasilla pepper and sautéed them all together with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice.

Pre-baked the tart shells for a few minutes and spooned in the filling, topped with crumbled goat cheese and baked them again for another 5-10 minutes.

Voilá!  Dinner is on the table!

Beef, Olive & Raisin Empanadas (+ a veggie option!)


My love for savory fillings bound by a crispy flaky crust knows no bounds!

Empanadas…a South American calzone/pasty/meat pie.  In other words, a perfect bundle!  Recently we had reason to celebrate…Woody was named a Packard Fellow and while this is huge for his science…for me, it was an excuse to cook up something wonderful for a dinner in his honor at a colleague’s home.  Empanadas fit the bill…finger food, great warm or room temperature, no-plate-necessary and dipping-sauce-optional – good choice for a crowd and easily transportable!

There are many empanada dough recipe’s available on the interwebs, and to be honest, even pre-made pie crusts from the grocery store work very well for this recipe.  We made two separate fillings as there were a few vegetarians who attended the celebration; beef with olives, raisins and eggs and black bean, corn and raisin.

Beef Empanadas
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen | Beef Empanadas

Makes 4 dozen mini-empanadas

2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped into bits
3/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
dash of cayenne
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped
1 recipe of your favorite savory tart dough…or if you’re in a time crunch – 2 packages of pre-packaged pie crust dough

1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water for egg wash

To start, hard boil at least 2 eggs. I made a double batch for the party so I needed 4 eggs for the recipe and it never hurts to have a few in the fridge to make egg salad in a pinch for lunch.  We use Henrietta (the chicken) for cooking our eggs.

She tends to do a decent job and is relatively no hassle.  There are plenty of egg cookers out there…but you can get the same results via a multitude of methods.  For something different, check out Alton Brown’s baked hard-boiled-eggs.  Cool the eggs in an ice-water bath and set aside.

Heat a large skillet on medium high and add the olive oil to the pan.  Once hot, add the onions and sweat.  There is no need to brown the onions as there is plenty of sweetness in the filling that comes from the raisins.  Add the garlic, and once the onions have released a bit of their moisture, turn the heat to high and add the ground beef to brown.

One of my standard practices is to season with salt and pepper at every stage…this will give you the best chance that the finished dish is properly seasoned.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the diced canned tomatoes.

Golden raisins may seem an odd addition, but they are a quintessential ingredient for an authentic empanada!

If I made the mini-empanadas again, I would give the raisins a rough chop first as they plump up with the moisture and can overwhelm the flavor a bit.

I happen to LOVE green olives.  When I was a tiny person, black olives were one of my absolute favorite vegetables…and although it took me some time to warm up to the green versions…they are now my absolute favorite.  I can think of no better pizza topping than chopped green olives!

Add the chopped olives and raisins to the pan and toss them around.  Deb at Smitten Kitchen mentioned that the flavor was a bit flat, so I added a few things to enliven the mixture.  I started with some smoked paprika.

Add the paprika, cumin, dried oregano, chili powder and a dash of cayenne – while this simmers a bit, peel the hard-boiled eggs.

The egg slicer is another one of our kitchen tools that I love as it makes quick work of dicing the eggs on 3 different planes.

Add the eggs to the beef mixture, and after gauging the moisture content, add some of the reserved tomato liquid.

While that is coming together, roll out your dough (empanada dough, tart dough or pie crust).  I rolled it a bit thinner for the mini-empanadas to make sure that the crust didn’t overwhelm the filling.  Heat the oven to 400° F.

I cut rounds with the largest round cookie cutter I have and then rolled each round out again to get it to the right size.  The beef mixture needs to cool quite a bit before you can scoop it onto the dough rounds.

When making mini’s of anything, efficiency es muy importante!  Unless of course you don’t mind pinching empanadas for hours and hours.  I snagged a dumpling press (shown below) just before making Pierogies, and I could not have been happier to have it for this project as well.

(image credit: BagelHot)

For the press, place the dough on the open mold, spoon in a teaspoon or so of the filling and then fold to press the edges together.  I was a little ambitious with the amount of filling I tried to pack in there, hence the torn spots and seeping edges.

Place on a sheet pan and just before baking, brush with egg wash.

Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes depending on size, remove once they are golden brown and delicious!

Black Bean, Corn & Raisin Empanadas
Adapted from this Recipe.

Makes 2 dozen mini-empanadas

1/2 cup golden raisins
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons adobo seasoning
5-6 scallions, chopped fine
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp. green taco sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Sauté onions in a pan with oil and then add black beans, corn, and all seasonings and heat through.  Add the raisins and half of the green onions and cook for another 5 minutes.  Check the seasoning and then let the mixture cool.  Fill the empanadas and bake them in the same manner as described above.

After baking, let cool just enough and serve immediately, or go ahead and let them cool completely and serve room temperature.

Voilá!  Empanadas!

Poppy Seeds + Strawberries + Mascarpone = Cake!


I’ve become a big blog reader.  It is certainly cutting into my reading of real pages made of paper…but it is still reading.  From the moment I read the title of this blog – Not Without Salt…I was hooked!  I have a small addiction (read: complete obsession) with salt and the amazing things it can do.  Anywho…she made this amazing cake with mascarpone and poppy seeds, and anything with this much fruit has to be (somewhat) healthy…right?  That’s what I thought!  With the impending quarter century birthday of this lady, I had the perfect occasion to bake this beauty up.

As mentioned…the recipe for Poppy Seed Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone Frosting can be found here and is the work of Ashley over at Not Without Salt! (I’ll let you visit her blog yourself and discover it for yourself!

In a similar fashion to red velvet cake, there is a touch of vinegar in the cake recipe and she uses Champagne Vinegar…which just makes everything a bit fancier.

The buttery, eggy color of this makes me think it would be a great wall color…maybe just not for me!  I added in a little bit of lemon zest into the batter as well.

Can we talk about poppy seeds, please?  Small, crunchy and delicious…they add interest to everything from bagels to cookies, cakes and muffins, and one of my favorite applications is tossing them with buttered and salted wide egg noodles served alongside pork chops!  Since I love poppy seeds, a recipe that calls for ¼ cup could use up the entire small spice bottle that these little-stick-in-your-teeth-seeds typically come in.  If you can, try to buy them in bulk.  I’ve had good luck finding small bags at World Market (aka Cost Plus).

The recipe can make either 3 cakes in 8 inch cake pans or 2 cakes in 9 in cake pans.  I only had the 9 inch pans, and wish I had gone with the 8 inch ones for an additional layer.  Next time, I’ll still use the 9 inch pans, but perhaps slice them horizontally to make it a full 4 layers…’cause who doesn’t like more strawberries and mascarpone frosting!?

Another trick is to grease the pans but also use a parchment round on the bottom.  I know they sell these rounds already cut out and perfect…but there’s no need to buy when you can DIY!  Get out your parchment paper, and tear off a piece that is plenty big to cover the bottom of the pan.  Fold in half width-wise, then fold in half again, and again, and again, and maybe even again!  You should end up with a thin and very long triangle’ish shape.  Using the point of the parchment and getting it close to the center of your pan, estimate where you should trim it – cut the shortest side of the triangle.  Now, unfold, you’ll have something pretty close to a circle, and you can see if it will fit into the pan – if not, fold it back up and cut a little more off the edge…I try and err on the side of it being just slightly too small rather than smushing the corner of the cake by wrapping around.  (see photo above for parchment that is slightly too big)  This trick works well as an impromptu lid on a pan…and is perfect for glazing carrots – it nests right now on top of the veggies!  (thanks Cordon Bleu!)

Yummmm…strawberries!  It’s berry season…actually, it’s now getting a little past some of the berries prime.  These beauties came from our CSA and were perfect for the job of adorning this cake!

All they needed was a quick wash and some drying time!

Most anyone who knows me realizes that frosting is not my thing.  Chocolate is better than plain old buttercream, but I actually prefer cake with little to no frosting…which is why I’m shocked that I liked this frosting.  Let me repeat…I. Liked. This. Frosting.  It’s even hard for me to write it.  But I did…I can’t lie.  Sweet, not overwhelming, good texture…delicious!  From here on out…mascarpone frosting and I are besties!

Spread the frosting all over the first layer.

Pluck the tops off the strawberries and slice them into quarters.

Pile them on top of the first layer, squeezing as many in as you can.  (Unless you have a couple more layers in there…then ration them to make sure you have enough for all layers and for the top as well.)

This looked so good, I had to hold myself back from cutting a slice right there and then…this was after all, a birthday cake!  Patience!

Add the second cake layer on top and press down just a bit.  Frost the top generously and top with the prettiest strawberries of the bunch!

Since I was taking this into work, I refrigerated it overnight, brought it in and left it on the counter for an hour or so before we served it!

Happy Birthday Miss Jennie!  I will eat cake for you anytime!

Apologies for the cell phone picture…but is was delicious and needed documenting – also…this photo reinforces my recommendation for slicing the two 9 inch cake rounds horizontally to get more layers of frosting and strawberries!

Pear Clafoutis


Perfectly ripe pears are like gold…(think Harry and David fruit packed in foam delivered to wintry doorsteps).  Pears rarely need much to improve them…and this dish is simply a different vessel to deliver pear goodness!

This recipe is originally from my training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (hence the metric measurements).  A traditional clafoutis is made only with cherries, using any other fruit (including pears or berries) the dish is called a flaugnarde.  I still call it a clafoutis…as it has been a family favorite for 10 years now.

Pear (Flaugnarde) Clafoutis

  • 100 grams (2/3 cup ±) Sugar
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup ±) Flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 ml (1 cup ±) milk, lukewarm
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup ±) cream
  • 5 grams (1 tsp.) baking powder

Butter and lightly sugar a heavy tart pan, or similar shallow baking dish.  Chill.

Place fruit in a single layer in the chilled dish.  Quantity is up to you, but pieces of fruit should not touch.

Mix all other ingredients for batter.  Pour into dish without displacing fruit.  Bake at 160°C (350°F) for 40 minutes until just beginning to brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or garnished with powdered sugar, cream or a fruit coulis.

 

 

Spiced Sugar Doughnuts!


 

I couldn’t wait…I had to take a bite…and then several more.  These are seriously good.  But c’mon…who could say no to homemade doughnuts…?  My neighbors couldn’t…my husband couldn’t, I couldn’t, and my poor office mates who receive many-a-baked-good…could not say no!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Recipe thanks to Alton Brown

Yeast Doughnuts!

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
  • 2 packages instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)
Directions

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.


In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes.


After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Bet you didn’t know what fresh nutmeg looked like, did you?  It looks like a nut with very pretty insides once you start to grate it.  Fresh nutmeg was a revelation to me when I was living in France…it’s all they use.  The nuts left whole will keep for quite a while, and it is a much fresher taste than the already grated stuff you find in the spice aisle.


Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.


Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.


On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side.

Transfer to a cooling rack or paper towels placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for a few minutes before rolling in your spiced sugar.

The makings of spiced sugar – ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon, I added just a touch of black pepper as well.

Mix it all together and once the doughnuts have cooled off, drop the doughnuts in the sugar and shake, roll, toss…whatever you need to do to coat them in wonderful delicious spiced sugary goodness.

Don’t forget to sample your finished product – very important step.  Pile high on platter, marvel at your work and then deliver to whomever is deserving of such love in the form of pure doughnutty heaven.


Peach & Blackberry Crumble with Lavender!


I should eat more fruit.  I know this.  I am trying.  We’ve received many a peach in the last few weeks of our CSA box…and peaches happen to fit into that category of fruit that I know I should like…but they just don’t make my top five list.  Especially the whole fuzzy skin thing…I have a little trouble with fuzzy fruit.  So…what better way to prepare our multitude of peaches than to peel and make a crumble out of them.  Even I like fruit when you put crunchy goodness on top and bake it.

Peeling peaches is much like tomatoes…and highly satisfying.  With a paring knife, score the bottom of the peach.  Drop into boiling water for at least 30 seconds and probably no more than 2 minutes.  The time it takes depends entirely on how ripe the fruit is.  (for tomatoes…you should never need more than 45 seconds)  Pull them out with a slotted spoon and drop them immediately into ice water.  Once they’ve cooled, using a paring knife…and being extremely careful…grab the corner of the skin where you scored it and peel.

The skin should come off fairly easily…if not, let it sit in the ice water for a little longer…or dunk it back in the boiling water for another bit of time and then back into the ice water.

Despite not loving eating peaches…I think they’re a beautiful fruit and somewhat unexpected.

I wanted to make this a bit different from the standard fruit crumble, with a little something you can’t quite place…but still it adds just enough mystery to stick out in your memory.

Enter:  Lavender

Toss the peaches with sugar, brown sugar, a little cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and flour.

Secret ingredient time…add the lavender.

I also had just enough blackberries to toss those into the mix as well.

For me simpler is better with desserts.  Did you know that the word dessert comes from the French verb desservir, which means to clear away.  So at the completion of a meal, the plates would be cleared away…and room would be made for small tastes of sweets, and so dessert was born.  Fun fact.

I would argue that the topping for any crumble is more almost more important than the fruit itself.  Based on my experience, it is difficult to get the right consistency for the topping, it can’t be soggy, or too floury, it shouldn’t be greasy, or too granular, it should have some substance, but combine well with the top layer of fruit.  I have finally found the secret.  Previously, I has always cut the flour/sugar mixture with butter or shortening.  Don’t be fooled, that is wrong…wrong wrong wrong.

I stumbled upon this fabulous blog while researching my topping options and I finally found the solution to my topping issues.  Instead of butter, add one egg well beaten and mix it in with your hands.  Then once it is sprinkled atop the fruit, melt some butter (you thought I’d leave it out…?) and spoon it over the top of the dish before putting it into the oven at 375° for 30-40 minutes.

For the topping: (courtesy of Orangette)
Scant ¾ cup granulated sugar (about 4 to 4 ½ ounces)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, beaten well
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

It’s just as delicious at room temperature as it is warm and a coop of vanilla bean ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream would be a welcome addition.

Enjoy!

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