Tarting up February!

mmmm, CRUST!

I like to think I know myself pretty well, in terms of food-type oddities and  proclivities. As such, I know that February irritates me. It’s such a bleh month in the middle of everything, and there is a distinct lack of interesting produce. I’ve already gone nuts over squash, waaaay back in the fall… I love sweet potatoes but I eat them all the time anyway…and there is a depressing amount of fruit available. As in, local and seasonal fruit, if you please (Besides, strawberries in winter just look sad. All pale and anemic. I would much rather eat them in the summer, thankyouverymuch).

BUT.

I discovered a solution to this problem.

Waaay back in September, over Labor Day weekend, I procured some fresh peaches (thanks, Dave Lakey!). I fought the urge to eat them immediately, and instead sliced them up and threw them into the freezer. All neat and nicely labeled, I was determined that they would remain in there, until the dead of winter (aka February), when nothing grows and I was itching for some summer fruit. Genius, clearly.

Over the weekend, when I spent a bit more time thinking about/researching/drooling over pie and tart recipes than actually thesising, I realized the time for peaches had arrived! And oooooh was that a good decision…

THIS. Is what happened.

peeeeachesss!

Fresh peaches in February! Can you ask for anything better? It’s like summer in a bite. And a healthy bite, no less! The crust has healthy fats from olive and canola oil, and the custard is made with yogurt instead of cream. And fruit is the most important part! It’s totally justifiable to have this for breakfast.

okay, so the pictures of this weren't super fantastic... but the crust was beautiful! clearly my favorite part.

Peach Custard Tart

Crust is slightly adapted from the Garden of Eden blog, and the custard is adapted from Eating Well, here. Makes one 11” tart.

For the crust (most low maintenance tart crust EVER):

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 2 tbsp milk of some kind (I used plain soymilk)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl, stir together flour, salt, and sugar (no need to sift). In another small bowl, whisk together olive and canola oil, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Add liquid into dry, and gently stir until just combined (be careful not to overstir). Gather this up and plunk it down into your tart pan (in the absence of a tart pan, a pie dish is fine)… then flatten the dough on the bottom and up the sides by pressing gently with the flats of your fingers (this is the fun part!). Try to get it to an even thickness all around and up the sides, about 1/8″.

messy, but delicious.

For the filling!

  • 4-5 peaches, sliced (mine were frozen. I ran them under cool water until I could separate them into slices, but didn’t defrost the completely to prevent peach mush)
  • 3/4 c turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 c lowfat plain yogurt*
  • 3/4 c milky beverage (soymilk again for me)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp organic cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

*The original recipe called for greek yogurt… but Kira and I, being the frugal/practical types that we are, decided to try it with regular yogurt, since that was what we had on hand. Excellent decision, as it turned out deeelicious. Either type is fine!

This is ridiculously easy: dump all the above ingredients in a bowl (except peaches), and whisk until smooth. See? Easy.

I told you the crust was pretty!

Preheat the oven to 400. Arrange the peaches around the bottom of the crust (they don’t have to look pretty). Pour the custard over the top, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the edges with foil to prevent excess browning (I did a rather ineffectual job, but I like the rather caramelized edges, so… not a big deal!). Reduce oven temperature to 350, and pop it back into the oven for another 40 minutes to an hour. Mine was done at about an hour and 10 minutes—I checked it at 40, and then put it back in for 15 minute intervals. You want a knife to come out clean when inserted into the center. Let cool before eating, about an hour and a half, to make sure the custard has time to set.

This is EXCELLENT cold. In fact, I think it might be better cold the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to get to know each other. It is also excellent with a blob of vanilla ice cream, of course.

uh oh... evidence!

Chiseling mortar off of a 35 foot chimney…

This is what happens when you do labor on Labor day weekend! You make things to eat afterwards, duh!

Thanks to my lovely course schedule and a little national holiday, I had a four day weekend (hoooorayyy!). I decided to take advantage of the lack of work and lack of homework (what thesis??) to take a trip up to Govy to see Carl and Suz! YAY! Little did I know going in that I would, over the course of the weekend: wash 3 cars, watch the Ducks lose to LSU (We’re just going to pretend this didn’t happen, ok? ok… moving ON!), pick a quart of huckleberries, and chisel mortar off of a 35 foot chimney, after climbing said 35 feet of scaffolding to get up there. Can you say BALLER? Yes. I thought so. Anyway, it was a super fun and relaxing (yes, you read right) weekend… ideally I’ll be repeating it in the near future. (Although if there’s snow, the chimney might be a tad out of the question. ha.) Carl and Suz are probs the best people to stay with… and Whomp kitty is suuuuper cute.

Lookin' fierce with my chisel and Carl! Working hard? Or hardly working?

 

Working hard, obvi!

So.

Let me get back to the food, which is undoubtedly the reason you put up with my blather in the first place (and the whole reason for this blog’s existence… right. anyway.)

After all the exertions of the day, I wanted dessert! And food. But I have to prioritize, right?? Suz had a bunch of Hood River peaches (aww yeeee, locovore!) waiting to be sliced and eaten, so we turned them into a rustic peach galette. It was excellent on its own, but even better with a blob of ice cream! Duh. Like when would I EVER recommend that you eat anything WITHOUT ice cream?! I’m an a la mode girl, obvi. And apparently that’s an inherited trait, since my paternal grandfather is perpetually asking for a la mode. See? It’s in the genes, I’d like to see YOU try to alter your genetics! Ha. So there!

I’m not entirely sure where Suz got the recipe, and I’m adapting it loosely here. It’s insanely flexible—use whatever fruit you have on hand that’s seasonal, or I’m sure frozen would be fine too.

Rustic style

Rustic Peach Galette

For the dough:

2.5 c whole wheat flour (in this case NOT ww pastry flour, but it makes little difference which one you use here)

1 c butter (salted)

3 tbsp brown sugar

2/3 c ice water

scant 1/2 tsp salt

Filling:

A lot of peaches. Essentially however many will fit into your tart.

Sliced almonds are nice.

Vanilla extract.

Brown sugar. Flour.

Combine flour, sugar, and butter. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand (I find that your fingers are most effective for this). Add egg and ice water, and mold into a ball. Cover and let sit in the fridge while you go pick huckleberries (or something… not to rub it in, heheh).

Slice lots of peaches. Or other fruit. Or whatever is going in the middle of your tart. Galette. Whatever.

All sprinkled

After dough has chilled a bit, roll/flatten/rustically stretch your dough out so that it’s big enough to contain your filling. I crimped the edges on mine to hold it all in, but you can make a more traditional galette and pull the edges up and over the filling if you like.

Pile your peaches in a tasty-looking heap in the center of the dough, and sprinkle with almonds, brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of flour. Toss your filling just a bit and then sprinkle the top with more sugar and a few more almonds/vanilla. I’m not giving measurements for these because a) this tart is supposed to be RUSTIC, and b) I actually didn’t measure when Suz and I made these, and c) if I told you how to do everything it would be boring! Anyway. Sprinkle away, to your heart’s content. When you’re done sprinkling…

Place galette (s) on a lightly greased/oiled cookie sheet, and bake until juices are bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Ours were probably somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes (Sorry for the inexactness, I was off doing other fun things and not really paying all that much attention). Still. They’re delicious! Not too sweet, and perfect for breakfast or a late afternoon snack. The flavor of the peaches really comes out, so make sure whatever fruit you use is super fresh and ripe!

Enjoy your rustic galette, in all of its lovely rusticness. It’s so rustic, the recipe is unspecific. Rather nice, don’t you think? Definitely a forgiving recipe—it would be easy to play around with it.

Happy 4 day work week, YAYY!

Three-day weekends call for PIE!

Patriotic-ish Pie
Star spangled? hehe.

I’m not exactly one for making a huge deal out of the 4th. However. This is amended if it gives me an excuse to bake. (Despite the fact that it’s around a hundred degrees in the shade, which is a quarter of how hot the oven is. ew.)

Since I get to go skiing this weekend (and go swimming at a high elevation, teehee), thanks to abnormally ridiculous amounts of snow this winter, I thought I should make something slightly patriotic. Or whatever. I really just wanted pie. With peaches, because a) I love them and b) why would I even need another reason? Pie is excellent. Especially for breakfast. Or following a day of summer skiing. With ice cream. Yessss. (I can see you drooling, you know.)

That being said, I don’t make a lot of pies, which is why I’m so proud of this one.  It looks downright professional despite coming from a pie-newbie. Thanks to Mutti for getting in a bicep workout rolling out the dough :) I think I’ll add  pie to my repertoire. It has fruit. Fruit=healthy. Never mind the sugar and butter… It even has a whole wheat crust! See? Healthy. Breakfast.

Peach Pie (For the 4th of July! Ha. It  rhymes. Ewww. sorry.)

Adapted from Annie’s Eats, here: http://annies-eats.net/2007/06/17/a-slice-or-two-of-heaven/

3 cups whole wheat pastry
½ tsp. salt
6 oz. unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), chilled and diced
5-6 Tbs. cold water  (Mine took more like 8 tbsp to come together)

6 peaches, peeled and pitted, and 2 nectarines
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter. Cut the butter into the flour or rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumb-like. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of water over the mixture. With a fork, toss gently to mix and moisten it. Press the dough into a ball. If it is too dry to form a dough, add the remaining water. Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

To make the filling, place the peaches in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat well. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add to the peaches and toss to combine.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up a bit. Preheat oven to 425°.

Cut the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one half into a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Try to keep the dough as round as possible. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to a 9-inch pie dish. Flute the edges by poking the dough outward with your fingers, and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork (to prevent a soggy crust). Roll out the pastry for the top crust and use star shaped (or any shape, really) cookie cutters to cut out bits of dough. Pile the fruit mixture into the pastry-lined pan and dot with bits of butter. Lay the stars over the top in a circular pattern, leaving space for the steam to escape.

 Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until the juices are bubbling and the top is browned, about 25 minutes more. If the top is browning too fast, make a foil tent to cover it. I covered mine with about 9 minutes to go on the total baking time. Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.

Ad astra per aspera!