Food

apple & cranberry crumble pie

Its pie season, the best kind of dessert season. We don’t eat pumpkin pie or apple pie in my family sadly, my life is full of pecan pie that I lobby against every year to no avail. However, just because it won’t be on my thanksgiving table doesn’t mean I can’t take it to a different thanksgiving. Honestly the best part of ‘friendsgivings’ is that there are no limits, multiple meals means multiple menus. So this pie (and some veggies) came to one friendsgiving already and is headed to another (along with this BA pumpkin pie) tomorrow. Its tart enough to not get lost in the richness of seasonal desserts, filled with warm spices to make it feel like autumn in the best way, and fuss free thanks to a crumble topping that saves you from latticing pie crust until you cry.

I love this pie crust from Erin McDowell (the pie queen, I am very excited for her upcoming pie cookbook), and this video is great for really showing each step! I like to leave mine in the fridge for a day or two so it’s nice and cold and saves time when it comes to assembling and baking.

pie crust

1 pie crust (the recipe above, or any other)

  • par-bake pie crust until just taking on colour (about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven) – this will keep the bottom of the pie from getting soggy from the filling and help it travel well
  • let cool before filling

filling

3 medium tart apples (peeled and sliced)

2 c cranberries

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 c brown sugar

3 tbs butter

2 tbs cornstarch

  • in a large pan on the stove, melt butter and add spices and sugar
  • add in cranberries and apples, cook until cranberries have burst and apples have softened
  • add cornstarch tbs at a time until filling is thick, but still easy to stir

crumble topping

1/4 c brown sugar

1/4 c demerara sugar (or granulated sugar if you don’t have it)

4 tbs butter

1 c oats

1/2 tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom

  • combine in bowl, rubbing in butter until crumble forms

assemble and bake

  • pour filling into pie, and top with crumble in the middle
  • in a 400 degree F oven, bake for 20 minutes or until crumble is golden. If using a glass pie pan, crust will have take on colour
  • let cool before slicing, but the filling should hold its shape to slice. best with ice cream and or spiced whipped cream

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Food

blueberry cardamom scones

scones are the kind of baking you can do half asleep before anyone else is awake without sacrificing much sleep yourself, which means they are probably the only baked good anyone wakes up to in my house. Luckily they’re endlessly riffable and everyone loves a scone, so I haven’t heard any complaints.

blueberry muffins are one of the best foods on earth, but blueberry scones don’t always have the same magic. These scones are dense but soft, and lean away from the buttery sugary richness of muffins into a less sweet and layered flavour that passes as a breakfast food a little easier.

Blueberry Cardamom Scones

2 c flour

2 tbs baking powder

2-3 tbs sugar (adjustable as to how sweet you’d like these to be, also good without sugar in them and just the glaze or sugar on top)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cardamom

2/3 c butter, cubed and cold

1 c blueberries

1/2 c dair (milk, heavy cream, or a mixture of milk with greek yogurt – the later two lends extra moisture to the scones)

  • mix dry ingredients, then rub in cold butter until fully combined. Mixture should hold together when squeezed, but not have visible pieces of butter remaining
  • add milk/cream, bit by bit, until dough fully forms. As it does, fold in blueberries, trying not to overmix.
  • turn out onto a floured surface, and pat into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 8 triangles. Place on baking tray lined with parchment paper

before baking top with raw sugar or after cooled top with the glaze below

  • bake at 350F for 15 minutes, until edges pick up colour

Cardamom glaze

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/3 c powdered sugar
  • milk

in a small bowl slowly add milk to combined sugar and cardamom until thick glaze forms. after scones are cooled top with glaze

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Food

peach jam

If summer was a fruit, it would be a peach. It’s peaches from road side stands all over the city, the strange feeling of peach fuzz against your tongue, peaches over vanilla ice cream.

It turns out even though peaches don’t grow all over england like they do central texas, summer is still peach season and therefore there have been peaches in my kitchen non-stop for a month now. Occasionally creative things are done with them, savory dishes, interesting salads, but mostly they’re eaten over the sink with juice dripping everywhere, as god intended.

However, a large number of peaches were made into jam this summer as the filling for this chocolate and peach cake I made for a friend’s birthday. It had been a while since I’d made a layer cake, and to go all out and make the jam as well. And while peach and chocolate may sound like a strange combination, they absolutely work wonders together.

This recipe made 2 jars of jam (someday I’ll measure things, but today is not that day). Most of one went into the 3 layers of cake, so it’s one you could easily cut in half if needed. Peaches don’t have quite the pectin content of something like berries, so there is a fair amount of lemon juice in here.

  • 4 (ish) lbs of peaches (peeled and cut)
  • 3 c white sugar
  • 3 tbs lemon juice

to peel peaches: boil a large pot of water. Cut an ‘x’ into the bottom of each peach. Drop peaches into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then place directly into cold water. This should help the peel come off easily. If not, turns out a vegetable peeler works pretty well (thanks Q for peeling all the peaches that went inside the cake)

Remove pits and cut peaches into pieces, (quarters or slices work).

Add all ingredients to a large pot and stir till combined, bringing to a simmer. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, peaches will fall apart. From here, begin the wrinkle test (I do this by putting a spoon or two in my freezer while the mixture comes to a boil and then testing if the jam sets when dropped onto it), jam should come up to about 220F if you like to measure things by temperature.

When the jam is set, feel free to run an immersion blender through it (off heat) if you want it smoother.

Store in sealing jars, or can if you so desire!

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Food

apple & pecan cake

There are currently 5 cakes in my house. 4 of them are actually layers for one massive cake, but still, it’s a lot of cake. The layer cake is a story for another day (*fingers are still crossed it all works out*) but this one is worth sharing now.

I had a few apples I needed to use up, and since every other ingredient is a pantry-staple, it’s the kind of cake that’s easy to throw together in a few minutes. It’s dense, sitting closer to a bread than you’d expect, and the almond really compliments the apples. While it’s not a flashy, decorative cake, it’s the kind that gets better as it sits on your counter and is perfect to serve with coffee.

2 apples, cored and chopped (approx 1/2 inch pieces)

1 tbs ground cinnamon

3 tbs sugar

chopped pecans (optional)

1 3/4 c (230g) plain flour

1/2 tbs baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 c oil

1 c sugar

2 tbs lemon juice

2 eggs

1-2 tsp almond extract

  • core and chop apples, add pecans and toss with cinnamon and 3 tbs sugar in a small bowl
  • preheat oven to 350/180
  • stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl
  • whisk together oil, sugar, lemon juice, eggs, and almond extract (make it as almond-y as you like)
  • mix wet ingredients into dry and mix till incorporated
  • here the mixture will look way to think, close to dough rather than batter, that’s okay!
  • in a greased and lined loaf pan, layer half the batter, then the apples, then the other half of the batter over top (the top half of the batter may be difficult to spread, doesn’t have to be perfect!)
  • bake for 45 minutes to 1 hr (when checking, make sure you test the batter all the way to the bottom, making sure the batter underneath the apples is cooked)
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Food

blood orange curd

Apparently, lots of people hate the word ‘curd’, but since people also hate the word ‘moist’ I’ve decided to stop listening when people hate the way words sound. Languages are strange, yes, though I will agree its strange because it comes from/means coagulated milk and unless we’re talking about butter there is no milk in this kind of curd. Cheese curds obviously, but those are also delicious. Curds of all kinds are welcome here.

I have a deep and longtime love of lemon curd. I’ve made it many times over the years, given it as gifts, eaten it with most imaginable pairings (and with a spoon), and my favourite pie is made with it. But after falling in love with blood oranges this year, I wondered why I had never really had much less made any variation on the traditional lemon. So after many a google and search through my favourite recipe blog, I found enough varieties to get comfortable with the kinds of changes involved in switching out the citrus.

If you’ve ever made curd before, you know its much easier than it sounds. And varying the fruit involved is just as easy – I think it comes down to adjusting the sugar ratios to make sure you have the right flavour at the end. After all, not many fruits are quite as sour as lemons. So after a few batches, here a not too sweet quick and easy blood orange curd! This makes essentially a personal sized amount, as in you could eat this before it goes off on your own, about 1 1/2 cups I think.

blood orange (or any citrus) curd

5 egg yolks (I always save the egg whites and only use them about half the time)

3/4c sugar

zest and juice of 4-5 blood oranges

7tbs cold butter, cubed

  • zest and juice oranges
  • in a small saucepan simmer juice until reduced by about half
  • Over a double boiler (heat proof bowl sitting over not touching a pot of boiling water) whisk together eggs, sugar, zest, and concentrated juice
  • add butter cutes one at a time, whisking until combined before adding the next
  • whisk constantly for approximately 10 minutes until thickened
  • strain if desired to remove zest and any possibly cooked egg (I never do, but it may remove some bitterness from the zest)
  • store in air tight jars, refrigerated
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Food

strawberry and rhubarb crumble bars

brought to you by my love of not-too-sweet desserts and El’s grandmother’s garden, which provided rhubarb when no store near me had any.

all my favourite desserts are probably fruit based (I’m turning into my mother and find things too sweet regularly) and rhubarb is probably the absolute best. It’s not very sweet and it has the most beautiful color. It holds its texture well, giving a little bit of bite. These bars get most of their sweetness from strawberries, plus a some sugar to hold it all together. the measurements for the fruit really are a loose suggestion, you could easily go over on either depending on what you have around – I finished off the container of strawberries putting it closer to 1 2/3 c in the end since I didn’t have a lot of rhubarb.

strawberry & rhubarb crumble bars

1 1/4 c rolled oats

3/4 c flour

1/4 c brown sugar (I used light but I think dark would be lovely here)

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

6 tbs melted butter or refined coconut oil (easily switched vegan option)

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (aka cornflour in the UK)

2 tbs lemon juice

1 c diced rhubarb

1 1/2 c strawberries, sliced or diced

2 tsp granulated sugar

  • preheat oven to 375F/180C
  • mix oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon, stir in melted butter until clumps form
  • set aside 1/2 c of crumble mixture
  • press remaining crumble into baking pan, probably an 8×8 is best
  • bake for about 10 minutes to firm up the bottom crust, not necessary but I think they hold up a little better as bars this way
  • while that’s baking, chop up your fruit, divide in half
  • toss half of the cut fruit with lemon juice, cornstarch, and 1 tsp sugar
  • remove tray from oven, top with coated fruit, then plain fruit. sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp sugar
  • cover with remaining oat topping
  • bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbling and crisp on top

they hold their crisp best in the fridge

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Food

Blood Orange Loaf Cake

I’m going to breeze past the fact that the fact that the last thing I wrote was about my 21st birthday and I’m a month away from 22, and instead write about a cake I made last week!

Winter is citrus season, and my love for it has resulted in a series of jokes about how I’ll never get scurvy. There are orange peels everywhere and my microplane is constantly in use zesting something. I couldn’t be happier. In addition to this I’m working out the kinks in a blood orange curd recipe so maybe I’ll keep up the writing and share that? Planning ahead, who knows!

Anyway, I saw a recipe for this cake on instagram and decided at 10am on a Tuesday morning to make it. I’ve definitely tweaked it since, as my desire for intense citrus flavour is too much for most recipes but it was incredibly easy to make and only gets better as it sits!

loaf cake sitting on wooden cutting board covered in pink glaze

Blood Orange Loaf Cake 

adapted from this recipe from Broma Bakery

½ c vegetable oil

2 eggs

3/4 c sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

Zest of 4 blood oranges

2 tsp blood orange juice

½ c Greek yogurt (I used skyr since its what I had on hand)

1 ½ c flour

  • preheat oven to 350F, line loaf pan with parchment paper
  • whisk oil, eggs, sugar, baking powder and soda, zest and juice together
  • alternate adding flour and Greek yogurt to the mixture, be careful to overmix. I sifted my flour in the second time and it helped prevent overmixing!
  • bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown
blood orange sits cut open on wooden countertop

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

Juice of 2 oranges (use from above)

½ c sugar

  • reduce juice and add sugar, stirring until dissolved
  • when the cake comes out of the oven, poke small holes across top and drizzle syrup over the top

Glaze

Juice of other 2 oranges

1 tsp vanilla

1tbs milk

1 ½ c powdered sugar

  • reduce juice from remaining two oranges, remove from heat and add vanilla, when cool add milk
  • sift in powdered sugar, stirring between ½ cups until desired thickness
  • drizzle over cooled cake
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