Posts filed under 'Farmer’s markets'

Peach pie with speculoos crust

In a previous posting on this page, I’ve mentioned speculataas, a kind of cookie it has become traditional for my family to bake during Christmas season. They are spicy, brown cookies, adorned with the occasional sliced nut, and nearly everybody who eats them, loves them, and secretly covets the recipe. (Sorry, folks, I’m not going to reveal the secret recipe here!)
Anyway, my sister recently got the idea that I should make a peach pie with a speculataa cookie crust. (i.e., one giant speculataa for mankind!) Preparatory to this, we mounted a family expedition to a farmers’ market, and got the peaches, which are in season, as of this writing. I can understand her reasoning, after all, the vast majority of peach pie fillings have just a leetle bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to kick things up, and these particular cookies have those spices (and more) as major ingredients. And she thought making a crust would be as simple as making a batch of the cookie dough and rolling it out into piecrust form. Then, to ensure the crust/giant pie-pan formed cookie would be done all the way through, blind-bake it for some time (I chose 5 min) before adding the filling. I wasn’t nearly as confident, but I agreed to make a test pie to try it out.
One thing she failed to realize: most peach pies have a top crust. I ran into 2 problems here: 1) There wasn’t quite enough of the dough in just one recipe for the cookies to make a double-crust for a standard-sized pie, 2) how do you blind-bake a top crust. I ended up placing the partial top crust I had on top of the pie filling raw and baking it as is and hoping for the best, while I blind-baked the bottom crust as requested.
Rolling out the crust proved much more difficult than expected, even though I had kept the dough in the fridge overnight as I would if I were making it into the cookies. Either the early July heat completely undid the chilling of the dough, or it was going to be incredibly sticky anyway and under any circumstances it is handled, but it became incredibly sticky and fell apart quite easily when I tried to roll it out. I had to just take little bits and smush ‘em into the bottom & sides of the pie pan, basically pushing segments together, like putting together a puzzle of Pangaea. I hope it comes out in a reasonably edible form. Stay tuned.

Add comment July 3rd, 2013

Purple Peruvian Potatoes, White Tomatoes, and Dandelion Greens

Some people have allegiance to a particular supermarket. I shop ‘em all, but being a New Yorker, the Greenmarket is always an option, and as my family has decided to boldly try more “healthy” foods, I have recently started to frequent the Union Square greenmarket with its plethora of unusual exotic vegetables, free-range meat, locally-produced honey, flour, and more. Earlier this week, I bought white tomatoes, popcorn on the cob (more about this in a future posting), and dandelion greens, among other things, including but not limited to Peruvian purple potatoes (these were my sister’s request).
I had tried dandelion greens at my grandfather’s house years ago when I was a kid. I found them too bitter for my taste, but I had wanted to appreciate them at the time, because my grandfather made a big deal about what a gourmet item it was.
So, with a lot more years and dress rehearsals of eating arugula and drinking coffee under my belt, I bought the big bundle of dandelion greens. As per the farmers’ market suggestion, I squeezed lemon juice over them before serving. It cut the bitterness, but only somewhat. They weren’t as bitter as I remembered, perhaps being a larger and broader leaf version than my grandfather’s backyard lawn weeds, but they were still too bitter for comfort, and still a little too tough for my sister. I had used only about a quarter of the dandelion greens in the salad with the white (really pale yellow) tomatoes (which taste just like regular tomatoes, but have slightly tougher skins), and, since they came with the roots still on, stuck the rest of the bundle in a coffee mug with a little water in the bottom before putting ‘em in the fridge. To my dismay, I discovered that a lot of the leaves (enough to be conspicuous) had nevertheless wilted and withered. So, I found a recipe for cooked dandelion greens on the double…here’s hoping there are enough left unwilted to make this successfully:

Add comment November 19th, 2010


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