August 28, 2011

Catching Summer in a Mixed Fruit Pie

Catch summer before it's gone. Just a slice of this sweet and tangy mixed-fruit pie will have your mouth puckering into a smile, filled with thoughts of candlelit patios, dripping popsicles and wide-brimmed sun hats. All of the good things of these fleeting, wonderful months.

Be creative with the fruits you use, it's okay to put in what you have on hand. I used blueberries, strawberries and even a few diced mangoes and peaches. The result was bright, yet complex in the marrying of various textures and flavors. This oozey, gooey layer is complimented by the irresistible crunch of cinnamon brown sugar cobbler topping.

Just be ready with a pint of vanilla ice cream to top it off.... and maybe a camera to capture the smiles for a few months from now, when you'll need to escape into a daydream of summer.

Summer Fruit Pie
1 frozen pie crust, thawed
5 cups of mixed berries and fruits, larger fruits diced to about 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 t. lemon zest

crumb topping: stir together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, and 1 t. vanilla extract. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in 3 T. butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9" pie plate with the pie crust and place on a cookie sheet to catch drips while baking. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, fl
our, and half of the fruits. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes or until the fruit filling has slightly thickened. Stir in the rest of the fruit and the lemon peel. Pour filling into the pie crust. Evenly sprinkle the crumb topping over the pie to about 1/2 inch from each ed
ge. Cover the edge of the pie crusts with foil to prevent browning, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 25-30 more minutes or until filling is bubbly and pastry golden. Cool on a wire rack, and serve while warm.

August 16, 2011

Mini Peanut-Crunch Ice Cream Sandwiches

I really went MIA there for a few weeks. Sorry. You see, we decided to move, then had to find a new house, then we actually had to move. And that means weeks of packing and then unpacking again. Needless to say, I am exhausted, and have just begun to use my new kitchen. Hurrah! How I did miss the stove.

These are some goodies that don't require the stove. On the contrary, they require only the freezer.

Start with a pint of ice cream. Not frozen yogurt, but ice cream, the good stuff.
I used chocolate gelato. You want it to be firm enough to hold its own. Got it? Good.

Now finely chop a handful of roasted peanuts. Put them in a small dish.

Take a box of vanilla wafers, a spoon, and get to work. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of ice cream and spread it high and evenly on one vanilla wafer. Top with a second cookie and gently press down to make a sandwich.

Roll the sides of the sandwich in the peanuts. Peanuts should be sticking to the ice cream. Perfect! Now place the cookie gently in a plastic tupperware and into the freezer, keeping the tupperware open for easy access as you add cookies.

Repeat until one of your ingredients are gone. Now cover the cookies and freeze overnight. The next day they will be firm, yet gently yielding when eaten, with deliciously nutty crunches in every bite. The best part is that the vanilla wafers get even better with time, as they become softer.

Enjoy these frozen few-bite treats as often as you like! They're a perfectly portioned snack or dessert, waiting and ready for those warm nights when the stove is taking a rest.


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