Baking with Julia – Blueberry Nectarine Pie

So this one had me doubting the recipe again and I want to say right off the bat that I was wrong to do it. I mixed up the dough on Friday night and I decided to just do the whole recipe because it didn’t seem easily halvable (math is not my strong suit peeps) and I checked the book about 6 times before I put in the shortening because it just seemed like SO MUCH! I also decided to follow the instructions and use my paddle instead of the whisk attachment that I normally use when making pastry in my stand mixer and that seemed wrong to me as well. I like using the whisk because it seems like it acts more like a pastry cutter while the paddle seems more meant for blending. Looking at the dough in the bowl I was very, very doubtful. I make pie a lot and my pie dough doesn’t usually look anything like the cookie-doughish consistency that this one took on. But I separated it into four pieces and wrapped it up to wait for a day when I had time to bake.

The fruit portion of this was a cinch – after I managed to de-pit the nectarines that is. I don’t have a lot of experience with stone fruits. My parents never bought them growing up and I never seem to think to do it myself. I maybe should have cooked the fruit a little longer because I didn’t feel like the juice ever really thickened. I didn’t end up adding any lemon juice at all because I thought it tasted very nice without it. Then I took out the dubious crust and guess what, it rolled out like a charm! Oh me of little faith! I did think it was a little floppy and hard to manipulate decoration-wise though. I usually like to make mine look a little fancier but it wouldn’t cooperate with me very much even after the 20 minute chill. I slipped it into the oven with an aluminum foil lined baking sheet on the rack underneath with a little bit of worry. I just was not sure that this crust was going to work out, but as you can see I was totally wrong:

Perfectly golden and crusty looking, no? I didn’t cut it until this morning and everything about it was delicious. I distributed it to all my regular taste testers at work and the vote was unanimous – it’s a winner! I never would have put these two fruits together on my own and I’m so glad I’ve tried it now because I know I’ll make it again. This is definitely one of my favorite pies I’ve made this year. I hope all the rest of the TWD bakers liked it as much as I did! If you want to have one for your very own, check out Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake or Hilary at Manchego’s Kitchen for the recipe.

Fun with Vanilla Ice Cream, Plus a Really Pretty Pie

I used those ridiculously expensive, ridiculously good Vosges cookies to make some ice cream sandwiches using the Ugandan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home and wow guys, they were good. I’ve made several different ice creams this summer and I have to say that this plain ol’ vanilla one is definitely my favorite so far. Ugh, just so GOOD! Tristan had his last night with some Coffee Caramel Sauce from Stonewall Kitchen:

I will definitely be making this again. FO SHO! I know I am pushing this book hard these last few weeks but I have just really been loving it. I got The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz from the library but I haven’t made anything from it because I kind of hate that you have to use so many egg yolks. WTF am I going to do with all those whites people? There is only so much meringue I can make. I’m not going to take it back until I make something though, so stay tuned. But back to meringues, check out this pie I made the other day:

I can’t whip these up too often or they’ll lose their shine – I feel like nothing gets as many oooohs and ahhhhs as a beautifully toasted meringue. One more shot with a piece missing to show the lovely lemon filling:

I used the recipe from one of my favorite books – Pie by Ken Haedrich – and it has never failed to produce a delicious and amazing-looking pie. If you don’t have it, get it! Okay I’m done pushing cookbooks for now. Have a good weekend everyone!

French Fridays with Dorie – Lemon Barley Pilaf

This is definitely a recipe I would never have chosen on my own for two reasons, the first being that I’ve never cooked with barley ever in my life and the second being that Tristan is not a fan of rice or rice-like things. But it seemed easy enough and the 1/2 cup of barley only cost me 33 cents so here we are.

I really liked the look of the barley toasting in the pan with the slightly cooked onions – plus is this not the prettiest spatula ever? I use it for everything. My love of Le Creuset is immeasurable and never-ending.

I did end up subbing in some sun-dried tomatoes for the red pepper and some parsley is taking over the role of “greens” for the scallions but I think I got the idea Dorie was going for. I really had no time to run to the store before making dinner so I used what was available. I made it with the magic chicken and some peas for me (but not for Tristan). I also whipped up some poor-man’s garlic bread – just toast with butter and garlic powder sprinkled on. I did zshush it up a bit with some pretty Celtic fleur de Sel but it was pretty basic other than that.

I liked this more than I thought I would but I have to say I probably will not make it again unless a toddler is over for dinner. It just reminded me of like every recipe in our Cooking for Baby cookbooks at the store. Can’t wait to see what everyone else did with this one!