Thursday, July 28, 2011

Birthday Prezzies

My people take such good care of me. Seriously. Beautiful cookbooks with all sort of new recipes for me to try!

Look at these pies and tarts. So gorgeous and delicious looking.

Pie contest in a box! Who will take me on?

Marble rolling pin! Put it in the fridge for a 1/2 hour before rolling pie dough and the chill makes rolling easier (especially in these ridiculously hot summer months).

And this teeny tiny pie necklace! Have you ever seen anything so adorable?

Birthdays are awesome!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

French Apple Tart

It's my birthday. Shh. I don't actually usually tell people that. Not because I'm one of those women with an "age thing". The number of my age doesn't bother me. The wrinkle and sag of my age does, but that's something I can't hide. So. I'm telling you it's my birthday because you'll need to know that I'm not, as it turns out, making my own birthday cake. not on my side these days. But, I do have a fantastic husband who promised me a selection of cupcakes from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. That'll do.

I was going to make a Coconut Cream Pie this week. Truth is, I was going to make a French Silk Pie, a French Apple Tart, and a Coconut Cream Pie. But I succeeded only in the first two. My stomach/brain had other plans for me on Sunday. Coconut Cream Pie next time.

Here's the recipe I used for the French Apple Tart (you already have my recipe for French Silk Pie). It's from Baking with Julia, a series I loved watching and a book I love to use for recipes. This recipe is by Leslie Mackie. I used my own pie crust recipe, but tried to make it vegetarian, since I was taking the dessert to a party.

Bad idea. Lard is my friend. Lard is your friend. Embrace it, even if you're a veg. Seriously, even if you eat as many pies as I do each year (which you don't), you'd end up eating over the course of the year probably less than 1 cup of lard. That will not kill you! I promise. I might never make a vegetarian pie crust again. It's just so hard to work with. Blugh. It all turned out okay, but caused me no end of grief.

Anyway, I like this tart. It's not earth-moving, but it's yummy. I used quite a bit of lemon juice in it because I really dislike how apple desserts can so easily be overly sweet.

I think I found a good balance with this. It's pretty. It's yummy. With an easier to manage crust, it would be a super simple tart. Except for this one small (and weird) thing: I had to bake the tart at least twice (probably closer to 3 times) as long as the recipe says in order for my apples to turn dark brown.

Trust, I checked my oven temperature. It was just getting nowhere. And I had sliced my apples thin enough that I really thought they'd brown in no time. Maybe that was the problem? Maybe they were too thin? Next time, I might try a hotter oven. Or maybe not place the tart pan on another pan--I didn't experience any dripping anyway, so I don't really understand the point of that.

TGIP Rating--French Apple Tart--Yummy but had some mysterious baking problems. Still trying to decide whether or not I like this better than a good, old-fashioned apple pie...

Next up: Coconut Cream Pie. For real this time. Still planning to try a little something different with my pie crust. Still using lard. Let's not get too crazy now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TGIP Field Trip: The Copper Onion

You might notice that I like to go to brunch. I DO! It's one of my favorite things to do. Especially Sunday brunch. Especially here in Salt Lake, where only the SOTE (inside joke that will stay inside, thanks) venture forth to spend money on the sabbath. My people.

And now I have a new favorite place to engage in this brunching activity: The Copper Onion. Everything there was delicious. And the best thing IMO? The toast. What? Yes. They grill it or do some other magical thing to it and it is the most delicious bready thing ever. Don't take my word for it. Just go get it.

In addition to toast I had some fantastic scrambled egg thing with duck. I don't even know what was in it. The waitress said "duck" and it was mine. And then...then...we overdid it on desserts. We ordered one for each person. Overdoing. But, it gave us the opportunity to try 4 different things!

I ordered the Fried Apple Pies. For research. I still plan on making hand pies one of these days. Had to see how they did theirs. They were yummy. Not how I want to do mine, but yummy all the same.

The Tiramisu was also yummy, but *whisper* not as good as mine.

Lemon Tart? Delicious. The kicker, though...the Flourless Chocolate Torte. Holy mother of brunch. Rich, complex, with caramel sauce to put it right over the edge. We all spent so much time mooning over it I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it. I guess I'll have to go back. And while I'm there I'll also have to try the Almond Brown Butter Cake (zoinks!) and the Homemade Cheesecake (just to see how good their bakers really are...).

TGIP Rating--The Copper Onion--Highly Recommended. And for more than just their baked goods. Next time I'm going to find out if they do all their own baking or if they outsource. Also for research. Who's joining me?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blackberry Pie

Easiest. Pie. Ever.

Also, quite possibly, the most expensive pie ever. (I probably wouldn't say that if I lived in Seattle and made this pie during blackberry season)

Also, quite possibly, the most beautiful pie ever.

Will it also, quite possibly, be the yummiest pie ever? Could be, but we'll all have to wait until I cut into it on Monday to find out (I'm only posting this now so I can meet the BAKED Sunday Mornings posting deadline). I did taste the filling before I put it in the pie shell and it was dee-licious. The brown sugar gives it a little complexity that I really liked and the lemon and lemon zest give it a freshness that counterbalances that complexity perfectly. I used my own pie dough recipe though. Of course.

Stay tuned...

Update as promised...

Please witness the lake of blackberry juice:

Delicious tasting blackberry juice, but still. Seems that lots of other bakers had the same experience. Next time I use this recipe (planning a future visit to Seattle sometime during blackberry season for this very reason) I'll try some other thickening method and/or more thickener. Because other than that, it's a lovely summer pie. Fresh and sweet and perfect.

TGIP Rating--Blackberry Pie--KEEPER. Just needs some help in the thickening department.

Next up: Coconut Cream Pie. I'm going to *gasp* try something different with my pie crust for this one. Wish me luck. The rest will be a recipe mash up of sorts. Using some elements from this recipe and some from discussions I've seen on...yes...the Food Network.