Winter fruit pie with almonds

This is where “easy as pie” must come from! This is a close cousin of fruit crisp, and is easier and simpler than a traditional apple pie.

Almond pie shell (aka “crust”) and almond topping for my wheat-flour averse friends. Added benefit: pie shell involves no rolling out; quick and easy!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

Almond pie shell:

1-1/2 c almond flour (168 g)
3 T sugar (37.5 g)
3 T (1.5 oz) butter, melted
pinch salt (optional: pinch cinnamon)

Combine almond flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl with whisk, then stir in melted butter with a spoon. Press into pie pan, and bake about 20 mins until just turning golden. Remove from oven and let cool, or jump on in and make filling.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Almond topping:
Almonds, slivered, 3 oz, chopped coarsely
Almond flour, 3+ oz (or use wheat flour, part WW pastry flour)
Brown sugar, 5 oz+
Cardamom (not too much!)
Dried ginger
Sea salt, fine, pinch
butter, 6 T melted, and cooled a bit

Mix together and then chill to get butter to clump up the mixture.
Can be made well in advance and refrigerated.
Fruit filling:

Dried fruit
Mix together:
Currants
Diced apricots
Crystallized (candied) ginger

Fresh fruit
apple, 1, cored, peeled and sliced 1/4”+ thick
pears, 2, prep same as apple (optional: add 4 oz cranberries, picked over and rinsed)

Sugar, 3 oz — 1/2 vanilla sugar, 1/2 light brown sugar
Cardamom (not too much!)
Lemon juice

Directions:

Mix together sugar and spices. Juice one lemon, and de-seed. Keep on hand.
Cut apple and pears in half, core, peel and slice. Put one at a time in bowl. Add lemon juice, toss with hands, sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with remaining fresh fruit.
Mix in dried fruit mixture.
Mix in 2 T cornstarch, and mix well.

Line baking sheet with silpat and place pie pan on top.
Dump fruit mixture into pie shell. Place topping on top.

IMG_6352
Bake at 375 degrees for 50+ minutes until fruit juices are bubbling around edges.
If crumb gets too dark, cover lightly with foil.

Inspiration
Which is from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber & Julie Richardson

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Blueberry Buttermilk cake

Perfect in late July!

Ingredients:

Flour AP, 240 g
baking powder, 1 t
baking soda, 1 t
Salt, 1/2 t

Butter, 8 T, softened
270 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon

eggs, 2 (room temp)
1 t vanilla extract
Buttermilk (well-shaken), 1 c / 226 g

2 c blueberries (10-11 oz)

Directions:

Take out butter, eggs, and buttermilk to come to room temp
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, conventional or convection; position rack in middle of oven
Prepare baking pan: 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper, hanging over sides of pan (to create handles). (Spray or butter parchment?)

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Break eggs into small bowl.
Measure out/weigh buttermilk

Measure sugar into mixing bowl. Zest lemon into sugar and mix with fingers to release oils of lemon. Add cubed butter and mix about 2 mins at medium high speed until pale and fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour in 3 batches alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just combined.

Empty contents into prepared baking pan, smoothing out with spatula. Sprinkle on blueberries on top. Sprinkle on an additional 3T sugar on top.
Bake about 30-35 minutes until golden, and toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan and place on rack to cool.
Very delicious still warm, perhaps with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

 

Variation:
Raspberry buttermilk cake: Substitute 2 c raspberries (10 oz) for blueberries; omit lemon zest, perhaps adding 1/4 t almond extract with vanilla.

 

Source: Gourmet Magazine Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Late Summer Fruit Salad

Let’s say you want to try to watch your calories/waistline after months of saying “yes” to every ice cream opportunity. Try fruit salad! Fruit is still fresh, local and flavorful in the Northeast. From poaching fruit for apple and pear tarts, I happened to use the reduced poaching liquid for an impromptu fruit salad. Sublime.

Here’s a re-creation:

105 g water (approx 1/3 c.)

15 g sugar (approx 1 T)

juice of ½ lemon, divided

2” piece vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scraped into pot with water, then pod thrown in too

 

  1. Heat water and sugar in small pot to dissolve. Stir with wooden spoon. Add ½ of the lemon juice and all of the vanilla beans and pod, and cook for about 6 mins. Let sit out to steep or put into refrigerator to cool quicker.
  2. Cut up:

½ melon, cut into large chunks

½ pt strawberries, hulled and cut in half

½ pt blueberries

one apple, quartered, cored, peeled and cut into medium chunks.

  1. Mix sugar syrup, fruit and squeeze lemon onto apple, and mix.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend. Take out at least ½ hour before serving to warm up a bit; though cooler than room temp is desirable.

 

Other options to explore:

Omit vanilla; use lemon verbena and/or mint

Try stronger flavoring such as cinnamon stick (& star anise?) with or without vanilla bean