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The Perils of Peach Pie

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The Perils of Peach Pie

I *heart* pie. The phrase, “It’s high-time for pie!”, runs through my head with awkward regularity. I’m not sure where it comes from, I only know it means I should be looking for something with crust and a fruity filling. This is not to say that all pie is created equal. They need to be in season, no pumpkin at a summer picnic or cherry  by the winter fireside, and the filling shouldn’t be too saucy (unlike me) or too dry (like my wit).  While the filling is important, what makes a pie a *PIE* is the crust.

I will now share something with you, I fear the crust. Not on the plate, but in my hands. It strikes fear in my heart. Duh-Duh-DUH. I decided to face my fear, with the support of my Junior Chef and an excess of ripe peaches. Armed with my scale and copy of Michael Ruhlman‘s book Ratio.  I tried to remember everything I’d read about pie crust method from Jeffrey Steingarten‘s The Man Who Ate Everything. For the filling, I referenced Baking Illustrated. I decided to forgo the poaching and skinning of the peaches (reeks of effort, I did take the time to remove the pits) and I didn’t have the recommended potato starch or tapioca starch, so I used corn starch, but cut down the amount to keep the pasty taste at bay.

So, my first peach pie AND my first lattice top crust! When the pie finally cooled, I dished up some slices and served it to Chef. He took one bite, said I’d done a great job, then informed me that he doesn’t like peach pie. Well, I guess after 13 years together we still have a lot to learn about each other. Fortunately, Young Fresh Chef was a fan of the pie and it only took a couple of days to finish it off. I think he especially liked taking it to school in his lunch!

Banana Dippers

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Banana DippersMy junior chef is always looking for ways to make fruit more fantastic. Inspired by Lik-M-Aid. The comic features JC’s current top three dips. It’s really fun to rummage through your cupboards and try different dipables! So far we’ve sampled:

sprinkles – way fun

malt powder – in my top 3!

skim milk powder – good for combo dips

hot chocolate powder – another top 3 for me

grape koolaid – not so good if it’s unsweetened

Real Lemon and Real Lime powder – tangy and mouth puckering

ground almonds – subtle flavour with a nice texture

Orange/Lime Combo Dip

shredded cocoanut – rounding out my top 3

Combo dips make it even more experimental.

It reminds me of the potions we used to concoct as kids, then dare each other to try. I find that Junior Chef consumes much more fruit when there are dippers present and he is smiling and giggling the whole time. Further variations include: Pear Dippers, Apple Dippers and Green Grape Dippers. So, go check your cupboards and commence dipping!

Radioactive Blackberry Crisp!

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Radioactive Raspberry CrispAhhh… the joys of a fruit crisp. The easiest way to turn excess fruit into a baked dessert that fills your kitchen with the aroma of fruit and spices. This crisp started with a stroll through our neighbourhood, only a block away from home Young Fresh Chef and I found a blackberry bush just begging to be unburdened of its bounty. I came back later and filled a container with berries, the squishiest ones somehow ended up in my mouth.

I always seem to end up with new combinations of fruits for my crisps. I ransacked by fruit bowl and found some plums that would balance the ripe berries quite nicely with their firmer texture. I knew they didn’t have a lot of flavour, but the berries were meant to be the star anyway. I sliced up the plums and tossed them with white sugar and the juice of a lemon in a small ceramic baking dish.

Knowing that this crisp was intended for my darling Momette, who is on the nuttier side of the health food spectrum, I made the topping from whole wheat flour (no, it was not home ground, sorry Momette) and added walnuts, flax flour, wheat germ and hemp seeds. I stuck with my guns on the butter and brown sugar (I don’t dig on lethicin spread or stevia). For spices, I went with a healthy dose of cinnamon and a fine grating of a whole nutmeg. Whole is the way to go with nutmeg, since it keeps its flavour longer and it is loads of fun to grate. Plus, I save the end bits for spicing apple cider.

I picked up a container of Stonyfield Farm Gotta Have Vanilla Ice Cream, which even impressed my darling Executive Chef with its flavour and mouth feel. The crisp was welcomed at Momette’s and was a fitting tribute to the last days of summer.

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