citrus

Picture Perfect Pies

My oh my, I LOVE pie! Whether you’re celebrating a holiday, enjoying a summer time BBQ, or having a casual family dinner- pie can be the perfect dessert for any occasion. Strawberry lavender rhubarb, meyer lemon meringue, salted caramel pecan…the flavor combinations are endless!

I love a fresh berry pie with grated lemon zest added to the filling. Warm from the oven and topped with a big scoop of classic vanilla ice cream- yum!

It’s no secret that apple is crowd favorite flavor too. Choose a new variety of apples from the farmers market to switch things up, and then try adding dried cranberries or currants to the mix. If you’re really in the mood to try something different, add Tillamook cheddar to the crust- one of my personal favorites.

And you don’t have to stop there! Get creative with your crust. I like to add goodies such as sliced almonds, fine chopped walnuts, or poppy seeds. The crunchy texture pairs perfectly with a flaky, buttery pie dough.

Celebrate summer with your next pie! Picking fresh fruit at a local you-pick-farm is such fun and a great way to get the whole family involved. And once the hard work is done, treat yourself by making my Free-Form Stone Fruit Hand Pies. Happy baking!
-Kathy

Free-Form Stone Fruit Hand Pies
Makes 8 pies

Almond Crust
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cold, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup shortening, cold
1 large egg, beaten
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons ice water

Stone Fruit Filling
2 1/2 pounds assorted stone fruit such as: sliced fresh peaches, (peeled) nectarines, apricots, plums, or pitted cherries (about 7 1/2 – 8 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup (4 ounces) marzipan or almond paste, optional
Sugar for sprinkling on top, optional

To make the Almond Crust: Mix the flour, almonds, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening and, with a pastry blender or clean hands, combine until mixture forms pea-sized particles.

In a small, separate bowl, mix together 2 TABLESPOONS of the beaten egg, the vinegar, and the ice water. (Reserve the remaining beaten egg for egg wash.) Stir this mixture into the dry mixture and mix until the liquid is just incorporated. (This dough should be fairly moist and pliable, not crumbly. If the dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time.)

Form the dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour before rolling out.

To make the Stone Fruit Filling: Place the fruit in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, flour, and cinnamon together and reserve.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly spray 2 or 3 large baking sheets with nonstick vegetable spray and set aside.

After the dough has chilled, cut it into 8 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Keep the other pieces covered with waxed paper or plastic wrap while you work. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, keeping the rolled-out circles separate and covered.

Sprinkle the fruit with the reserved sugar mixture and toss very gently. Coat the fruit thoroughly; no dry mixture should be left in the bowl.

If using the marzipan or almond paste, divide it into 1/2-tablespoon pieces. Flatten out each piece and tear it into several pieces. Place pieces on tart shells.

Divide the Fruit Filling among the tart shells, placing about 3/4 heaping cup in the center of each. Gather up the crust edges around the filling, bringing about 1 1/2 inches of pastry all around over the fruit to make an open-faced, rustic-looking tart or hand pie.

With a spatula, carefully transfer each tart to a baking sheet. (You will be able to fit about 3 to 4 tarts on each sheet.)

Whisk 1 teaspoon of water into the reserved beaten egg and lightly brush the exposed dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle the tarts lightly with sugar, if desired.

Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, or until the crust is cooked through and golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Chef’s Tips:
It is very important to allow 1 hour for the Almond Crust to chill before rolling out.

The fruit and dry ingredients are mixed at the last minute to avoid drawing too much liquid from the pears, which could make the crust soggy.

Recipe © 2017 Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on June 22nd, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Fruit, Kathy Casey, citrus, dessert

Juicing for Joy

As you walk the isle of the grocery store these days, you’ll soon notice the rows and rows of new juices readily available. What is all this juicy business? Well for starters, it’s an easy and d’lish way to get your recommended daily allotment of fruits and vegetables, and not to mention lots of vitamins and nutrients.

So what to do? Got the bucks to buy a bottle? It is pretty convenient to pop into a shop and pick up your favorite blend but over time it can be more expensive than your daily cup of joe.

How about buying a home juicer? Making juice from home can be an investment in time and money up front but with a little planning it truly is the best way to enjoy a juice filled lifestyle and the fresher the juice, the better the health benefits too!

Here’s a favorite blend of mine that you can play with the proportions to fit your pallet. I suggest doing 3 parts veggie or root juice to 1 part fruit juice and any salty, spicy or sour juices should be added to taste.

Beets ( In addition to being sweet and oh so pretty, they are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory benefits)
Celery (It has a touch of natural saltiness, bright flavor, and it’s a natural diuretic)
Slice of fresh ginger
Apple
Lemon Juice

Want a powerful punch of antioxidants? How about whipping up a delicious Green Juice like this one from Sunkist.

 


Photo from Sunkist.com
 

Made with fresh squeezed grapefruit and orange juice, fresh pressed cider , ginger, and kale juice.  Yum!

Oh and did I mention that fresh veggie juices are great  as a mixer for cocktails too! That’s right. The juicing trend is moving into Happy Hour. Here is one of my favorite cocktails for spring: Make it with your favorite gin!

Carrot Collins
Honey Mint Carrot Collins
 

The carrot juice adds a subtle sweetness and a beautiful color, while playing well with the botanicals of the gin. Find this recipe and more at www.liquidkitchen.com

Happy Juicing!  –Kathy

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