Low fuss desserts for strange times

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Hello from week three of shelter in place! It’s finally April? I think? As a friend said today on a virtual zoom coffee date, every day is Blursday and she is NOT wrong.

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I’m following a pretty typical daily routine at this point, which is weird even to think about but I guess I’m a routine type of person and that helps make it all feel more… normal? Short walk around the neighborhood and up some hills as soon as I get up, then french press coffee + frothy milk (oh yes) and work until the end of the day when I take another looooong walk for at least an hour. Probably TRX in there somewhere so my arms don’t fall off from lack of lifting (waaah).

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Hourly pacing around / shadowboxing and/or dance parties highly recommend to keep from becoming one with your chair! Ha.

Weekends are for baking something fun! I might make cookies or quickbread during the week, but I like to reserve weekends for something slightly more involved. Plus, I actually find the challenge of baking the pantry really fun, so there’s that.

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This pandowdy (‘dowdy’ pie crust, for those of you who don’t know – you cut it up partway through baking so the fruit can bubble up from underneath) was a happy occurence due to the gift of some vacuum sealed plums from a friend’s yard that had been in C’s freezer for a bit. I knew they’d be really juicy once thawed, so I cooked them down a little & drained some of the juice before turning them into pandowdy filling. I recommend you do the same, unless you’re using fresh plums and baking in season!

It’ll be dessert tonight with ice cream and breakfast tomorrow, I have no doubt. The gingery plums are punchy and tart – I added a bit of lemon zest and maple to round out their flavors. The cinnamon crust is SO easy and smells amazing. It’s easily subbed out for a gluten free or dairy free crust if you can’t do gluten or butter – I’m working through what I have on hand, so this is a whole wheat butter crust.

Added bonus of baking this: it will make your apartment / house / kitchen smell like a graham cracker in the BEST way!

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It’s rainy today and I love that. I’m giving myself permission to stay in – usually it’s GO GO GO to get in a long hike/run/walk at some point in the day, but my knees are feeling the pavement so I’m giving myself the day off to spend with my plants, minus some TRX work.

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Kuzco says hello from his new hanging perch! I’m pretty sure he loves it, and I absolutely do too.

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A shot of the urban jungle on a sunnier day. I’m trying on new names for the apartment – I called it the Eyrie when I moved in, since I’m on the fourth (top) floor and the wind tends to whistle around a lot up here. Now that the plant fam has grown so much though… do we like the Urban Jungleow? orrrr…. the Fogforest? hahaa.

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I hope you’re going easy on yourselves, too. This is a weird, weird time and everyone should cut themselves a little slack. I definitely suggest baking something awesome :) Happy Saturday!

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Plum and Ginger Pandowdy with a Cinnamon Crust

A Wait are Those Cookies original. Easily made with either fresh or frozen plums – I had been gifted a bounty of vacuum sealed, frozen plums from last summer from a friend’s garden, so I thawed those for use here. Yield: 1 9″ pandowdy, serves several. Refined sugar free! If you’re gluten free, sub in your favorite single-crust gluten free crust here and use that. I used whole wheat, since that’s what I have on hand and I’m doing my best to cook/bake my pantry :)

for the filling:

a whole lotta plums (I had a big thing of vacuum sealed, frozen ones from the summer; fresh would be fine too)
zest + juice of one lemon
1″ piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 c chia seeds
3 tbsp maple
pinch of sea salt

Combine everything in a large stockpot / dutch oven / sauce pot / whatever you have that fits, and bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Drop the filling into a deep pie plate (mine is 9″) and set aside while you make the crust.

for the crust:

1/2 cup unsalted butter diced and chilled
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c cornmeal
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons ice water
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour cornmeal, cinnamon, and salt in food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Add butter; process until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water a tbsp at a time until the dough forms a ball – you’ll be able to tell when it’s ready! If it still looks dry, add water 1 tsp at a time. Turn the dough out a floured surface (ie marble slab, or countertop, etc) OR use two pieces of parchment paper like I do for less mess – no need to flour. Roll out the dough to be roughly circular (no need to be perfect here – pandowdies are pie’s unfussy cousin), and lift the dough onto the fruit. Tuck in the edges, leaving a rim of dough between the edge of the pie dish and the fruit – I crimped mine because I’m an overachiever and I also had extra dough, but no need to do that. Chill the assembled pandowdy for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400.
Make a few slits for steam to vent in the top of the crust, then brush the top with egg white and dust with coconut sugar. Pop the whole beautiful thing into the oven for 40 minutes; best if you line the rack beneath with foil or a large baking sheet – the juices runneth over!

Once you hit the 40 minute mark, take the pandowdy out, and use a sharp knife to break up the crust, thus ‘dowdy-ing’ its looks. Stick the pandowdy back in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely before serving; it will be gloriously juicy and delicious so might I suggest serving it in bowls? Ice cream is… optional, sort of. You do you!

Store any leftovers (who are you) covered in the fridge, but make sure to save some for breakfast. You’ll thank me later!

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