Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

It’s October!  Time to embrace apple season!!  I always look forward to apple pies, among other things.  Last year, I made an apple pie with caramel sauce.  Drizzling it over the pie is great, but I thought- why not mix it in with the pie filling?  Brilliant!  And I just had to make my favorite vanilla bean caramel sauce, but I put a twist on it.  I added more salt so we’ve got the sweet and salty thing going on here.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

This pie is fabulous.  It is beyond fabulous.  The sauce just makes it over the top.  And, I couldn’t resist drizzling it over the top of the pie either.  I made the same pie recipe since it’s my favorite.  This brings a basic, delicious apple pie above and beyond.  It’s a great way to dive into apple season!

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Yield: 1 apple pie

  • dough enough for two crusts
  • 5-6 medium/large apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon cold water (for egg wash)
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce made with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more for drizzling

Directions

On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pie dough into approximately a 12-inch round.  (Keep the other half of the pie dough chilled for now.)  Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, trimming the excess.  Place in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced apples, sugars, flour, spices, lemon juice and caramel sauce.  Toss well to combine.  When the bottom crust is finished chilling, pour the apple mixture and accumulated juices into the bottom pie crust and use a spatula to even the top out slightly.  Dot the surface of the apples with the pieces of cold butter.  Roll out the remaining pie dough on a floured work surface. Roll out large enough to cover the pie. Cut out shapes in the center with a mini cookie cutter, slice to make a lattice top, or cut a few slits in the top for steam to escape. Crimp the edges from the bottom and top crust together. Brush the top and edges of the crust with the egg wash.

Place the pie on a baking sheet (to catch the overflow. Trust me, you don’t want that on the bottom of your oven) and bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 50 minutes. If the edges are browning too quickly, make a ring of tinfoil over the edge or use a pie ring to cover the sides. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.  Serve warm or at room temperature with a drizzling of caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Source: Pie filling adapted from Annie’s Eats

Peach Vanilla Bean Pie

Peach Vanilla Bean Pie

Okay, I swear this is the last peach recipe for a while!  I just couldn’t resist sharing this recipe with you.  Vanilla beans are one of my favorite additions to any dessert.  They always add a great depth of flavor.  And, they can take any classic/plain dessert to a whole new level of greatness.  So, when I saw this recipe for a classic peach pie, I thought, why not incorporate vanilla beans!

Peach Vanilla Bean Pie

I don’t think I have ever actually made a peach pie.  So strange, I know.  Most likely because only in the last few years, I have discovered my love for peaches.  So, I was pretty excited to try this pie out.  Since the addition of vanilla beans to my favorite jam worked so well, I figured it would work well in this pie.  Boy, oh boy, I was definitely right!  This pie is pretty much like eating warm forkfuls of peach jam, sandwiched between a flaky, buttery crust.   Oh, and topped with whipped cream, of course.  I’ll wait while you go and make this pie.  Right now.

Peach Vanilla Bean Pie

Peach Vanilla Bean Pie

  • chilled pie dough for two crusts (homemade is definitely better, but store bought is acceptable)
  • 3 lbs. ripe peaches
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with the seeds removed
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoon cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water, for egg wash

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Roll out half of the pie dough to about a 12-inch round.  Transfer to a pie plate, then place in the refrigerator while making the filling.  In a large bowl, place the sugar with the vanilla bean seeds and rub together with your fingers until fragrant and evenly distributed.  Whisk in the cornstarch, flour and nutmeg.  Peel the peaches and slice them to 1/4-inch thick slices. Combine the peach slices with the sugar mixture.  Toss to coat.  Add in the lemon juice and stir until combined.

Remove the lined pie plate from the refrigerator and pour in the peach filling in an even layer.  Dot the top of the peaches with the pieces of cold butter.  Roll out the remaining pie dough to a 12-inch round.  Cut into strips with a pastry cutter or knife (a pizza cutter works well here too!) and weave together to form a lattice top.  Trim away excess dough and crimp the edges together to seal.  Lightly brush the top and edges of the pie dough with the egg wash.

Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips, then place in the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 350ºF and continue baking until the pie is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 40-50 minutes more.  Remove the pie to a wire rack and let cool until just warm, about 2 hours.  Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

Source: Roughly adapted from Annie’s Eats

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

If you have been following my blog for some time, then you probably know by now that I like to make all of my own jam.  In fact, I haven’t bought jam in several years.  I process and can several different kinds every summer, in hopes that it will last us until next summer!  And, we eat A LOT of jam.  I love knowing exactly what goes into the jam, rather than eating all those preservatives and goodness knows what else.  It also just tastes so much better than store bought.  I like to be able to play around with different flavors.  Definitely more exciting than the typical kinds you find in the grocery store.

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

Of all the kinds of jam I have made, this is one of my all-time favorites.  I made it last year for the first time, and couldn’t wait to make it again this summer.  Vanilla beans are a wonderful addition to anything, but combining with peaches?  Amazing!!  I love how there are little chunks of peaches in the jam.  Especially when I spread it on toast, it’s like little flavor explosions in each bite.

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

This is a no-pectin jam, but don’t let that intimidate you.  Even if you don’t cook it as long as it should, it will still taste great.  So, grab the last of the summer peaches, and make this jam.  It is well worth the effort!

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

Yield: about 6-7 half-pint jars

  • 3 pounds ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out, pods reserved
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine all ingredients (including vanilla bean pods) over medium heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce to a simmer.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has partially caramelized and turned a dark orange color, about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours.  To check if the jam is ready- spoon a little on a small plate.  Place in the refrigerator or freezer until cool.  Then, run your finger through the center.  If the jam separates then slowly returns to the streak, then it is ready.  Remove and discard vanilla bean pods.

Divide the jam evenly among sterilized half-pint jars and can using the water bath method. Process the jars for about 15 minutes.  Or store in sterilized jars in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. (They may last longer, but I have never experimented, so do so at your own risk.)

Source: Cook Like a Champion

Rustic Peach and Strawberry Tart

Peach and Strawberry Rustic Tart

I still can’t get over that there are so many apples on our trees already.  I am looking forward to picking/eating apples, but I am still holding on to summer fruits.  I still have a couple of peach recipes to share with you all, so bare with me!  (The next one I am going to share- you definitely don’t want to miss!)

Peach and Strawberry Rustic Tart

Believe it or not, I don’t think I have ever made a rustic tart before (also known as a galette).  Strange, I know.  I guess I just have never really seen a recipe that peaked my interest.  That is, until I saw the recipe for a peach and strawberry tart.  I had several peaches sitting on the counter that were just begging to be baked.  I had a pint of heavy cream in the refrigerator left over from something else, and a quart of strawberries.  I love it when things work out like that!  It was meant to be.

Peach and Strawberry Rustic Tart

This tart is super simple, and super delicious.   I opted to sweeten the fruit with honey instead of sugar, but you can do either! It’s even better topped with freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  It is a perfect treat to celebrate the dwindling days of summer.

Rustic Peach and Strawberry Tart

  • 2 ripe fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (or sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cold water, plus more as needed
  • 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
  • additional sugar for sprinkling

Directions

To make the filling, mix the peaches and strawberries together in a medium bowl.  Add the honey and vanilla, tossing well to coat the fruit.  Set aside and allow the mixture to steep as you prepare the crust.

To make the crust, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs.  Add 1/4 cup of the cold water, stirring with a fork until completely incorporated.  Add up to 2 more tablespoons of cold water if the dough seems dry.  Gently knead the dough a few times in the bowl until it all comes together. Shape the dough into a ball and slightly flatten.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Once the dough is sufficiently chilled, preheat the oven to 425°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.  Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the fruit (not the juices) into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-3 inch border all around.  Gently fold the edges of the dough over the fruit, overlapping the dough as necessary. Press gently to seal the edges. Spoon a couple tablespoons of the reserved fruit juices over the fruit.

Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The tart is best served the day that is made, but can be kept well wrapped in the refrigerator for three days.

Source: Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Peach Pie Scones

peach pie scones

As the summer progresses, I always look forward to the certain fruits that come into season.  Berries are my favorite, but, I am slowly starting to look forward to peach season as well.  I was never a big peach fan as a kid, but as an adult, I love them!  My particular favorite thing to do with peaches is to cook them.  So, when I stumbled across a recipe for peach pie scones, I couldn’t resist.

peach pie scones

These scones are moist, flaky, buttery, sweet, and just downright delicious.  I couldn’t wait to have to these alongside my coffee for a few mornings in a row.  They are the perfect indulgence to enjoy the last of the summer flavors.  Speaking of which, I can’t believe I am already seeing pumpkin flavored drinks around and Halloween isles in the stores!  I am looking forward to comfort foods and curling up by the wood stove, but I am definitely not ready to give up fresh summer vegetables and fruits.

Peach Pie Scones

Peach Pie Scones

  • 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh peaches, diced
Vanilla glaze
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then, cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the heavy cream, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.  Gently fold in the peaches until combined.

On a well-floured surface, turn out the scone dough and pat into a small disk that’s about a 1/2″ thick. Cut into 6-8 slices, and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush each scone with just a little bit of heavy cream.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or just until golden brown. Allow to cool.

For the glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. If the glaze is too thick, continue adding in heavy cream, one 1 tablespoon at a time, until it has reached the desired consistency. Pour over warm scones and serve.
These can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Source: A Latte Food

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

chocolate strawberry shortcakes

Okay, I promise, this is my last strawberry post for a while.  Peaches are now in season!  I have several, very exciting recipes to share with you in the near future.  I just have to take advantage of fruit whenever it is in season.

As a child, I wasn’t a huge fan of strawberry shortcakes.  My mom, who wasn’t a huge baker, would either buy the store bought biscuits which were always dry and crumbly and stick-in-your-thoat kind, or she would make biscuits.  Those weren’t much better either, they were always not quite sweet enough and usually dry, because she always got distracted with a million other things while baking.  (A mother of four, a nurse practitioner, on a farm with many animals and large gardens- do you blame her for getting distracted!?)  So, needless to say, I wasn’t a fan.  I usually would eat the strawberries and whipped cream and maybe take a few nibbles of the biscuit.

chocolate strawberry shortcakes

As an adult, my experiences have been much better.  The more I bake, the better I can understand a recipe to know if it’s going to be decent or not.  (At least I like to think so-ha!)  I have made several different shortcake recipes that really haven’t made me jump for joy.  So, when I saw Annie’s recipe for chocolate shortcake, I couldn’t believe how genius it was!  One of those moments where the lightbulb comes on.  I made the whole batch, then froze what we didn’t use to have for future desserts.  These were rich, chocolatey, moist and perfectly sweetened.  Just the way the ideal shortcake should be.

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

Yield: about 12 shortcakes

For the shortcakes

  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the strawberries

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3-4 Tablespoons sugar
  • lemon juice

For the whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 2-3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • dash of vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, vanilla and egg.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/2 cup of sugar together.  Add in the butter and toss to coat the butter in the dry ingredients.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives, until the pieces of butter are no larger than small peas.  Mix in the chopped chocolate and stir to combine.

Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir gently until a sticky dough forms.  Very gently knead the dough just until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Be careful not to overwork the dough.

Scoop the dough in about 1/3 cup mounds onto the baking sheets, leaving a few inches in between.  Gently pat the mounds to about 1-inch thickness.  Sprinkle the tops with sugar.  Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the shortcakes are puff and give just slightly when lightly pressed, about 15-18 minutes total.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the strawberries, combine the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl.  Toss well to coat the berries with the sugar and let macerate at least 30-60 minutes.  If desired, mash lightly with a fork.

Just before serving, make the whipped cream.  Place the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on high speed until medium-stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat.

To serve, split each shortcake horizontally.  Top the bottom half of each shortcake with a dollop of whipped cream, spoon some of the berry mixture over the top, and replace the top half of the shortcake.  Serve immediately.

Strawberry Jam

strawberry jam

I am sorry that this has taken me so long to share this recipe.  I hope, that since it has been so long, that you are still able to find some local, fresh strawberries to make this jam.  But, if you are not able to, the imported kind will suffice.  But, definitely use local if you can, it will yield a much better taste!

Anyway, this jam is killer.  It is sweet, and just bursting with strawberry flavor.  As you all probably know by now, we eat a lot of jam.  Mostly in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that are consumed daily by the boys in the family.  My favorite way to enjoy homemade jam, is on a buttered piece of toasted homemade bread.  With a cup of coffee alongside.  Perfection at its’ simplest.

strawberry jam

On a completely different note, I am super excited to share with you that we are slowly changing the kitchen.  I finally painted over the hideous yellow with white.  It feels so fresh and crisp and like a whole new room now!  I was recently so generously given a gorgeous, large piece of granite on a metal table for my island which makes a HUGE difference.  I have been baking nonstop for the last two days just because I’ve been so excited to use the table.  Next up, is painting the cabinets!  That, and installing a dishwasher, because washing dishes for the amount I cook and for 5 people is just not fun.  Also, I want to take down a single awkward cabinet and put up a few open shelves for all the dishes we use.  I can’t wait!! I promise to share a few photos when I am done with the painting.  (Can you tell I am excited or what?)

Strawberry Jam

Yield: about 8 half-pints

  • 2 quarts strawberries, hulled and washed
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 7 cups sugar

Directions

Place strawberries in a large, heavy bottomed pot.  Crush with a potato masher until there are no large pieces remaining.  Stir in pectin and lemon juice and place over medium-high heat.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.  Add sugar and stir until completely dissolved.  Return to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner, or refrigerate for 1-2 months.

Source: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving