Late Summer Sentiments // Fresh Peach Pie

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It seems like another summer has slipped through my fingertips — alas, it’s not quite over yet. I always just start itching for cool weather a bit early. The heat has never agreed with me, and I can practically smell all the fall baking wafting from around the corner… pumpkin spice, cinnamon apples, hearty cloves, nutmeg and sweet potatoes… dessert is the point of fall after all, right? Ok, I digress. Summer isn’t over yet! We still have about a month left of sunshine, lemonade, and mosquitoes. Those damn mosquitoes.

 

So, it’s quintessentially difficult for me to pick a favorite fruit, as I love them all and refuse to discriminate. But peaches are soooo close to being my #1. I’ve been (im)patiently awaiting peach season all summer so I can bake a pie or a cobbler or snack on these lovely things whenever and wherever — oh, there’s juice dribbling down my chin? Who cares. Did I offend you with my sticky peach fingers? No worries. I’m in heaven! Bless this mess!

You can imagine my excitement picking up a carton at the public market yesterday. This was only a few days after we picked up a bunch at a local farm stand, but hey — now there’s plenty. And I know just what to do with them all.

As I was waiting for my pie to bake, I was reminded of a passage from Bunny Crumpacker’s book The Sex Life of Food (a wonderfully tasty read) which involved a Chicago pastry chef correlating pie preferences with personality types:

Apple pie, of course, is exactly what you’d expect: safe and secure. It speaks of home, even if you buy it frozen at the supermarket. Middle of the road, says the chef. Sweet potato pie, he says, is family, but not specifically Mom, and it’s warm, welcoming, and hospitable. Blueberry: outdoorsy and determined. Cherry: so sweet — in fact, too sweet! Not entirely trustworthy. Chocolate: seductive, strong, suave. Lemon: bright, energetic, and with a sharp tongue. Peach: for sun worshippers. Pecan: simplicity, but looking for love. Coconut cream: needing an escape from reality. Pumpkin: sentimental but comfortable. Mincemeat: intelligent, perhaps a bit pretentious. Banana cream: so relaxing! Rhubarb: split between old-fashioned and hipsters. And if you add strawberries to the rhubarb? Life is full of adventure.

By all accounts above, count me a sun worshipper. This peach pie, made with fresh, juicy late August peaches, is my favorite way to celebrate summer’s end. It’s not a sad goodbye, more like a peachy little landmark of the remaining golden weeks ahead. Best served warm out of the oven with a dollop or two of your favorite vanilla ice cream!

Ingredients

*For an 8-inch pie

  • Pastry for an 8-inch pie, store-bought or homemade (homemade always wins)
  • 4 cups sliced fresh peaches (about 7 medium sized peaches)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ²/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 pats butter or margarine
  • cinnamon sugar, for dusting
  • 1 egg

To make the pie crust, simply combine 1 ¼ cup flour and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cut in a ½ cup cold butter until the dough is crumbly and coarse. Stir in the water a spoonful at a time until you can form the dough into a ball or flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, if you’re planning ahead.

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 425°. Roll out your pie crust and press it into your pie pan.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the sliced peaches and lemon juice. Stir in the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Try not to eat the whole bowl as is, because it will already smell too good to resist.
  • Spoon the peach mixture into the pie. Dot with 3 pats of butter.
  • You can either cover the top of the pie with a streusel topping, a traditional pie crust, or a lattice crust. I opted for the lattice. Simply cut even strips of dough using a sharp knife or pizza cutter and weave the strips over the pie. If you’d rather do a good ol’ fashioned crust, fold your remaining dough over the peaches and cut some slits for the fruit to breathe. Do whatever floats your boat!
  • Beat 1 egg and brush the eggwash all over the pie. This is what makes it so golden and inviting. Dust with cinnamon sugar.
  • Place it into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble.
  • Cool and enjoy with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Easy as Pie: Quick and Delicious Blueberry Pie Bars

These bars are easy as pie — perfect for when you want blueberry pie without all the hassle!

blueberry pie bars, fresh flowers from the garden

This recipe comes together in a flash and is bursting with decadent berry flavor, a hint of lemon, and cinnamon! It’s an ideal treat to make when you’re looking for a classic dessert, but still want something a little bit unexpected to keep everyone on their toes. Plus, these delicious treats work just as well as breakfast bars for busybodies on the go.

blueberry pie pars

For the crust/crumb topping:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold butter, sliced into chunks
  • 1 large egg

Berries:

  • 4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

  • Preheat oven to 375° and grease a 9 x 13″ pan.
  • In a medium bowl, combine sugars, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and zest. Use a fork or your hands to blend in the cold butter and egg. Mix together until the dough is crumbly. Pat ½ of this mixture into the pan and set the rest aside — the rest will go on top of the blueberry layer for a nice, crumbly topping.
  • In another bowl, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Gently fold in the blueberries. Once combined, pat the blueberry mixture evenly onto the crust, then follow up with crumbling the remaining dough on top of the blueberries.
  • Pop into your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack completely before slicing. You can even store these bars in the fridge, they will keep longer and hold together nicely. Enjoy!

blueberry pie bars

It only took a day or two before the entire pan was completely devoured in my home, but these bars should keep nicely in the fridge or out for up to a week. You could even substitute another berry if you wish — I think raspberries would be lovely in this recipe and might try it out soon.

I hope you enjoy these blueberry pie bars and please let me know what you think in the comments!

Cinnamon Banana French Toast

 

I don’t eat sweet breakfasts often enough. I love the idea of them, but sometimes it just seems like too much fluff — that is, until I dig in and realize what I’ve been missing. This morning, I had a hankering for a sweet breakfast.

I spy 1 ripe banana and 1 loaf of fresh bread from the bakery with my little eye. Hmmm… only one thing to do.

 

This is a ridiculously easy recipe you can throw together quickly if you’re looking for something with minimal effort but fantastic results. You’ll only need some key ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen!

 

  • Bread (I used a thickly-sliced multi-grain, but use any kind you prefer)
  • Eggs (adjust the amount for however much french toast you want to make — I used 2 for my short stack here)
  • A splash of milk
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
  • Optional: walnuts for garnish
  • Pure maple syrup

 

  • Slice the bananas into small rounds
  • Heat butter and honey over medium-low heat in a skillet
  • Combine cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg together in a small bowl and coat both sides of the banana slices in the mixture
  • Cook the bananas in the skillet until golden brown on each side. Set aside.
  • To make the french toast, combine eggs, milk and about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a ¼ teaspoon nutmeg in a bowl and coat both sides of bread in the mixture. Adjust the measurements depending on how much french toast you want to make.
  • Cook the french toast in the same skillet with the melted butter and honey and cook until golden brown — a few minutes on each side.
  • Scatter bananas on top of your french toast or even in between layers. Garnish with walnuts if desired and serve with pure maple syrup. Enjoy!

 

Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar)

 

Cinnamon buns are a classic treat to enjoy with coffee or to munch on in the morning. They make a perfect sweet breakfast for a lazy Saturday, or any day really, because who could say no to a cinnamon bun?

Skip the goopy glaze for these bad boys. This ain’t no cinnabon. They’re already perfectly spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, and warm brown sugar — I think a glaze might even be overkill. Topped with a little egg wash and pearl sugar, this is the perfect recipe for a sweet treat.

Time: 2½-3 hours

Yields: About 15-20 buns

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk (I used skim since it was all I had, but whole milk or almond milk would be even better)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick room temperature unsalted butter
  • ¼ – ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • pearl sugar for garnish
  • vegetable oil

  • Begin by scalding the milk in a saucepan. Make sure you have it over low heat so as not to boil the milk — you will know when it’s ready when bubbles start to form around the edge, like a foaming ring. Once you see this, take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Once the milk has cooled enough, transfer it into a large mixing bowl and add in the yeast. Whisk this together until light and foamy.  Add the sugar, the egg and egg yolk, the vanilla, cardamom, and salt then whisk until combined.
  • Gradually add in the flour and knead until a soft and stretchy dough forms.  You can knead your dough in an electric mixer with a dough hook or just use your hands. I always use my hands – nothing fancy. It’s important to add the flour in slowly, because you may not even need the extra half cup — only add in as much as you need. The dough should be silky, not at all rough, but if the dough is still sticking to your hands after kneading and kneading, add more flour in by spoonfuls until it cooperates.
  • Mix in 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter a few pieces at a time until mixed into the dough. This will make your dough much smoother. (And tastier.) Set the rest of the stick of butter aside — you’ll be using it for the yummy cinnamon filling. Shape the dough into a ball.
  • Next, either clean out your large mixing bowl or get an entirely new one and very lightly dab a paper towel or tissue into some vegetable oil. Coat the bowl so it’s not greasy but just a little oily so the dough doesn’t stick to the bottom and sides. Then plop your dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel. Leave it to rise for 1 hour.
  • While your dough is rising, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, and a pinch of salt and mix until incorporated. Set aside.
  • After your dough has risen, roll it out onto a floured surface with a rolling pin. You want to make sure to roll it into a rectangular shape, about a 12-inch-by-18-inch rectangle, but it doesn’t have to be totally exact (i.e. no ruler necessary).  When you’ve got your rectangle, spread the cinnamon filling onto the dough using a knife. Be sure to spread it all the way to the sides.
  • Then we roll! Take an edge and begin rolling your rectangle into a big sausage. It will kind of look like a jelly roll. Once you have your roll, take a sharp serrated knife and cut into about 15-20 equal pieces.  Lay them on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper or a silpat. Cover them with some plastic wrap and let them rise again for 1 hour.
  • I begin preheating my oven to 350° about 15 or so minutes before the last hour of rising is up. When they’ve rested for an hour (those terribly needy little things), lightly beat 1 egg with a fork to make a wash. Brush the eggwash generously onto the buns and sprinkle them with a little bit of pearl sugar.
  • Bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they’re a beautiful golden brown. Cool them on a rack — but not for too long, they’re best served warm!