Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creamiest Lime Pie

I was really excited about this week's pick! I'm not great with meringue, so I subbed whipped cream. I made some little pies in a muffin tin (bad crust). I thought with the currants they looked like little storybook cakes.

I used up the leftover lime curd and whipped cream with some of Dorie's sables. This was my favorite. The red currants were really nice, especially with the extra richness of the whipped cream. Very tasty!

Thanks to Linda of Tender Crumb for the great pick!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Peach Jams

I've really been enjoying trying to do some preserving this summer. Lately, I've been on a peach kick: Honey Peach with Cardamom, Peach with Lemon Verbena and Raspberry-Peach with Mint. I also made a plain Honey Peach, but no photo, it pretty much looked the same as the cardamom one above.

The Honey Peach Cardamom was based on Ferber's Lavender Honey Peach, but using a local honey and cardamom. The Lemon Verbena was Ferber's, too. I really like the way her jams set (when they've set for me!).

The Raspberry Peach Mint started as Topp's recipe, but it was not setting, so I added more raspberries, a little more peach and just made the recipe in the Certo package and added the mint. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't taste the mint, but maybe it'll be more obvious in the ones that got to set. It's a good jam, but trying this next to Ferber's, it just couldn't compete.

I'm hoping to get some more Honey Peach done for family before the season's over. And then I'm excited about the apples and pears! I tried a Caramel Applesauce, generally based on Ferber's Caramel Apple jam. It was really tasty, though I used yellow transparents (the first apples at our farmers market so far!) so the color was really unattractive - so no pic :) Anyway, I'm really looking forward to trying more apple jams and jellies and some pear preserves!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bing Cherry Granita

I've been buying cherries like crazy but no one in the house was really eating them anymore, so I tried a granita. I used Peggy Fallon's recipe as a base, but I used less sugar and more water.

about 1- 1 1/4 pounds Bing cherries
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c water
1 TB lemon juice

Boil cherries with water til soft, press through chinois or sieve. Freeze and stir/scrape periodically til frozen.

It still ended up quite sweet - I liked it quite a bit paired with a lime granita. It was also pretty good with the chocolate flakes - kind of like chocolate covered cherry.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brownie Buttons

I really just like plain brownies, so I didn't do the frosting, so these weren't very photogenic. I tried "piling them in a bowl" as Dorie wrote, but that didn't end up as an appetizing picture. So here's just a loner on a plate (still not the prettiest). Whatever they looked like, these were tasty, and they would be great for snacking!

Thanks to Jayma of Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen for this week's pick!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Red Currant Tart

So now with my red currant jelly, I was finally able to try a tart! I still don't have a tart pan (let alone a mini), so I just cut rounds and used a muffin tin. This go around, I just made a baked custard tart, topped with currants and then the heated currant jelly as a glaze. It was a little messy, but very tasty. I'm hoping to try the recipe from the Pie and Pastry Bible before the currants run out!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Red Currant Jelly

Since I was so thrilled to find red currants, I thought I'd try to make jelly. I've made lots of freezer jam before, but only a couple cooked jams. And as far as I can remember this is my first jelly. I used my grandma's china cap (anyone know another name for this that doesn't sound like a slur?). I decided to try Christine Ferber's recipe from Mes Confitures. Basically it's
1.5 kg currants
1 kg sugar
200 g water
juice of 1 lemon

Weighing out my currants (the kids helped clean, and it
still took 2 hrs!).

Ready to make the juice:

After the boiling:

What I didn't know about making jelly was how long straining the juice takes. At first I left my water bath going thinking I'd be putting the jelly jars in right after the 5 min on the stove - ha!

Here's about 1 minute's worth of straining, a photo about every 5 seconds or so.

I don't know if you can really tell from the pictures, but that was 2 drops a minute.

It was just laughable. It took about 4 hours for the juice to strain. Part of the issue was pressing too much on the fruit in the china cap. And I didn't have a jelly bag so I used a flour sack set up, and then when I saw how long it was taking, I also put a coffee filter in the china cap and about 4 coffee filters in another strainer (propping them up against each other). Honestly, after this, I couldn't believe that people really used to make jelly every year. I was so discouraged and couldn't believe I wasted my time on this....until the jelly actually set....

and it looked so pretty - even on the kids' crooked picnic table. :)

Cherry Clafouti

After making my grandma's raspberry custard pie, I was reading Dorie's Paris Sweets and realized that the custard pie was basically the same thing as a tart (and a little richer). I made the cherry clafouti from the book, but had to use a pie pan (no tart pan yet!). I used the cream version, and I did leave the pits in to try to be a little more authentic :)

Sadly, this just did not work for me. Besides the fact that I left it too long, and it got so dark. Maybe it was my cherries - I didn't like the texture much and they didn't seem that flavorful (though they seemed great fresh). And you can see from the pic (isn't it horrific!) I had problems with the custard - the white spots and bubbles. Maybe I'll try this one again with one of the different fruit variations - maybe a raspberry one. But til then I'm sticking with grandma's :)