Swampy Pandowdy. Need I say more?!

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Can I just say that I’ve recently discovered swamp pie, and I will never be the same again.

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Sometimes, the messiest food is by far the best food, and the less-aesthetic desserts are actually the tastiest. And sometimes, they have ridiculous names and it just gets better and better!

Ugly and strange sounding, but delicious. I promise. Would I lead you wrong in the dessert department? I think not.

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Let’s talk verbiage for a minute…

Swamp.

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Best word ever. And also, hilarious (and slightly unappealing I suppose, if you’re normal… unlike me) connotations when we’re talking about food. Side note, I was Bride of Swamp Thing for Halloween one year, and I think it might be one of my more inspired costumes to date.

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Typically, it’s pies that are swamped (i.e. have cream poured into them so not only are you getting pie, but you’re also getting this delicious mash up of cream and custard and pie and all the goodness, all at once), but since I’d never made a pandowdy, I decided to swamp that instead.

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Swampy pandowdy.

What a great combination of words!!! Swampy pandowdy. Which sounds potentially unappealing but I promise it isn’t.

Pandowdies are basically pie’s less fussy cousin. Or maybe they could be considered pie’s artsy, bohemian cousin who comes to visit once a year, bakes, does art things and wears colorful, ridiculous jewelry and lots of scarves and… omg that’s me! I’ve apparently found my spirit food. Or food totem? As in, if I was a food, I’d be a pandowdy. Low maintenance, boho weirdo… that sounds about right. Actually, I’d probably be a swampy pandowdy because that’s even weirder and more awesome. But, y’all like me for my weirdness, right?! So it’s fine. I’m at peace with having my spirit food be a swampy pandowdy.

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Though the origin of the word is technically unknown, I’ve read the theory is that pandowdies apparently get their name from “dowdy-ing” its looks by mucking up the crust. I just enjoy playing with my food, so you’re not going to hear any complaints from this corner.

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AND THEN not only that, but you get to pour a bunch of cream in there, which is an experiment in and of itself if/when you realize you don’t actually own a funnel, and careful pouring is going to have to do.

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It’s fun! It’s delicious and makes great dessert and breakfast (especially breakfast). And there are great words involved…

Happy pandowdy-ing!

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Cherry, Peach and Raspberry Swampy Pandowdy

Refined sugar free, lightly sweet, whole grain, and perfect for the late summer stone fruit season! I’m all over the stone fruit lately… Pandowdies are like pies, only way less fussy and much more messy and fun. They’re kind of like pie’s artistic, bohemian cousin (that’ll be me, later in life… oh wait. It probably already is) – only a top crust, and you get to mess it up and play with your food! Besides that, I love love love cream, so what better excuse to eat some than to flood your pie? Swamp pies are a thing. Also, I love the name. Pandowdy crust lightly adapted from Food52, here and the swamp business is adapted also from Food52, here! I didn’t do much to the crust, the recipe was pretty much perfect as is. Yield: 1 9″ pandowdy, serves… several. 2 if you eat it for breakfast too ;)

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For the crust:

  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • 9 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed into small pieces
  • 3-5 tbsp ice water

Add whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sea salt, and lemon zest to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in butter, toss to coat, and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas (I prefer to use my fingers for this since I a) like the feeling of having my hands in flour and b) have greater control over butter-chunk sizing). Add ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough just begins to hold together when pinched between two fingers. It’ll look a little crumbly, but that’s fine.

Toss the dough out onto a clean counter or wax paper (I prefer the counter method; less fuss), and use a bench scraper to gather the dough into a rough rectangle. Using the heel of your hand, smear the last fourth of dough away from you, against the counter. Repeat until you smear all the dough (see? playing with your food!), then gather the dough back into a rectangle and repeat, smearing it all away from you. The dough should be cohesive by this point, so gather it up into a disc, wrap in plastic, and stick it in the fridge for at eat an hour, or up to overnight.

For the filling:

  • 3 c cherries (mine were Bing cherries; I think Ranier would be awesome here too)
  • 2 c peaches, sliced
  • 1.5 c raspberries*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • egg white & 1 tbsp coconut sugar for glaze
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 c heavy cream

*I used some that had been frozen; if you do as well, bake them straight from frozen instead of letting them thaw beforehand

In a large bowl, combine the cherries, peaches and raspberries. Add vanilla, arrowroot, lemon juice, and maple, and toss to combine. Pour all this goodness into your pie plate or skillet of choice – 9″ pie plates are fine as long as they’re the deeper variety; a 10″ cast iron skillet would also work well.

Preheat the oven to 400. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out to be roughly circular (no need to be perfect here, like I said – 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. Make a few slits for steam to vent, 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! In a liquid measuring cup with a spout, and let it sit at room temp.

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 (now begins the really fun part). Carefully pour the cream into the new breaks in the crust, filling each – some of the cream will pool under the crust, and some will sneak out on top, which is fine. Just be careful not to drown the whole crust! Go slow, and fill each vent/break. Stick the pandowdy back in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cream is just set and barely jiggles in the center. 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, if you’re out of cream; otherwise, this can be served even swampier with extra cream poured over the top. 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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Messy, delicious pre-camp cobbler

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It’s that time of year again! I leave tomorrow for my home away from home: camp, under the tall pines and in the crisp Sierra air.

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I have this strange tradition of always making some kind of fruit dessert before I leave – something about the combination of mindful baking that takes my mind off the trillion things I have to do before I leave, plus the freshness of the fruit that I miss while I’m at camp. I have no idea when this started, but for the last 5 years or so, it seems that I always make something the day before I leave. So! Cobbler. Here ya go. At least it was a change from the shortcakes – I looked back into the archives & apparently I made shortcakes the last three years. I suppose there’s something to be said for consistency?!

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And after I finish the trillion things it feels like I need to do today…. CAMP! YAY! It really is my home away from home – an awesome family who I only see about twice a year, beautiful surroundings and a soul-soothing break from technology.

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But in the meantime, before I go… I’ll eat cobbler. One of the more homely desserts out there – a blobby, delicious mess – but sometimes, dessert needs to be less than perfectly aesthetic and perfectly delicious.

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Cobbler is obviously dessert alongside a generous scoop of ice cream, but no doubt also will be breakfast, because everyone knows that cobbler is one of the most perfect breakfast foods (right up there with pie) – especially since this one is whole grain and full of fruit! That’s breakfast, right there.

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I really wanted to use leaves from my ginger mint plant – it’s actually a thing! It’s mint, that tastes gingery! Literally amazing. But sadly, a resident caterpillar thought it was amazing too, and ate all the leaves yesterday, RUDE. Which meant I had to punt and use regular spearmint, but it’s still delicious, I promise. And the caterpillar has been kicked out of his comfy digs on my plant, so hopefully the ginger mint (whose name is Watson, by the way) will make a speedy recovery.

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In other news… let’s see. More progress on the SF series, and a few different days of fun on the Bay!

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Happy July! See ya on the flip side of my wilderness sojourn.

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Rhubarb Raspberry Ginger-Mint Cobbler

Heavy on the fruit, lightly sweet with a kick from the ginger and a hint of mint  – perfect for summer since (unlike pie dough) there’s no fussing with cold butter or unwieldy dough in a hot kitchen. Cobbler is one of the easiest summer desserts – start to finish, it really only takes about an hour. This one is supremely easy, whole grain, and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish; serves…. 2? Hahahaha I kid. Sort of. You could feed anywhere from 2-6 people, but I argue for two with breakfast leftovers ;) A Wait are those Cookies original; topping lightly adapted from the Kitchn, here.

For the fruit filling:

  • 4-5 c rhubarb, chopped*
  • 1 c raspberries*
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
  • 1/4 c candied ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh spearmint
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c whole grain spelt flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c heavy cream (I prefer Straus because… it’s the best!), divided + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops

*I bake straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine. I also don’t measure fruit for this – I just use enough so that my pie plate is heapingly full

Preheat the oven to 375, and grab a 9″ pie dish (or an 8 by 8 pan would be fine too I’m sure; so would a cast iron skillet if you’d rather). Stick some foil on the rack below the rack you’ll bake the cobbler on, just in case of drips.

In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, raspberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon juice, candied ginger, chopped mint, and vanilla. Let sit for at least 5 minutes — easiest to do this while you put together the cream biscuit for the cobbler topping.

For the cream biscuits: in a large bowl, stir together whole wheat and spelt flours, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir in the heavy cream, until the combined – the dough will be sticky & rather wet (but DELICIOUS). Spoon large dollops of dough onto the top of the cobbler – I used a large spoon and got about 5 biscuits; you can make them smaller if you like! Brush with a bit of extra cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cobbler is beginning to go golden around the edges, and the fruit is bubbling. A thermometer (if you have one) is useful here – the internal temp of the centermost biscuit should be 200F. Let cool before serving – awesome either warm out of the oven, or room temp later – with ice cream either way, obviously. AND it’s even better for breakfast the next day; leftovers keep well, covered in the fridge.

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Must construct additional Pie-Lons!

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Protoss Pie! For all those who love Starcraft, this one’s for you! I’d say it ranks right up there in nerd-pie’s last incarnation, the Death Star pie that made an appearance a few months ago (see post here!). I LOVE making pies with personality, it’s much more fun than a standard crust (and then you can make pie-lon jokes all night long!)

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I love early morning baking, especially in the summer (it’s also practical since who in their right mind is going to turn on the oven once it’s over 80 outside? Not this girl). The feeling of my bare feet on the kitchen floor (yes, I am one of those barefoot bakers — I hate wearing shoes in the house and I just try not to drop anything sharp), the feeling of my hands wrist-deep in flour, butter, and fruit – such a soothing combination. There is something about pie that makes me feel more connected to my heritage, more than any other desserts I make. Which is odd, given that I don’t associate pie with any of my relatives — cookies were my gram’s thing! I guess it’s something about pie itself – it’s old, it’s timeless, and it’s simple. AND it’s delicious, obviously.

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That being said, I am finally at peace with pie dough! It’s taken some time, but pie dough and I have become friends. I think pie dough can sense fear… which means that as soon as you embrace it, it works for you! At least most of the time ;)

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Pie is such a perfect, simple dessert. Ideal for overflowing seasonal produce, dessert and obviously breakfast – pie is textbook dessert-for-breakfast food. I have to say, this might be my favorite pie that I’ve ever made – I LOVE rhubarb, and it really shines here: tart but sweet, with a gingery kick. Ideal with some vanilla ice cream of choice – because pie is made to be eaten a la mode, obviously (with a side of pie-crust cookies made from scraps because… overachiever)

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Other life things – SF series & succulents!

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Must construct moar pylons! (or make that pie-lons, hahahah see what I did there?! I’m so impressed with myself)

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Eat pie. Be nerdy!

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Rhubarb Raspberry Ginger Pie

Whole wheat and refined sugar free, lightly sweetened with maple and coconut sugar. Perfect for highlighting spring produce, especially rhubarb. Not too sweet & appropriately tart with a gingery kick. Yield: 1 9″ pie. A Wait are Those Cookies original!

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For the pie crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening
  • 5-6 tbsp ice water

For the filling:

  • 5 c rhubarb, chopped*
  • 1 c raspberries*
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
  • 1/4 c candied ginger, chopped

*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine

For finishing: 1-2 tbsp butter, 1 egg for egg wash

To make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the dough and add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time – mix as little as possible when incorporating the water to avoid overworking the dough. Once it will stick together, you’re good to go. Divide it into two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, raspberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon zest and juice, and candied ginger. Let sit for at least 10 minutes — easiest to do this while you roll out the pie dough.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment or on marble, whatever you have – I like parchment for easy removal. Aim for about 1/8″ thickness, and lay the bottom crust into a lightly greased pie dish. Shape it with your fingers, evening out the top as per your pie plate or design you want — this crust will make a double crusted pie, so keep that in mind. Toss in rhubarb filling goodness and dot with butter.

If you want to get fancy and get all Protoss-pie Starcraft nerdy (you must construct additional pylons!)…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Protoss crest. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I use a beaten egg + 1 tbsp water). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, then use a chopstick or a knife to make the surface lines. Roll out thin pieces of dough for the details, and brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired. Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the rhubarb filling. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven when done and let sit to cool for at least an hour, preferably more so that the filling will set. Serve warm or at room temp, and store any leftovers overnight on the counter, loosely covered, or in the fridge for longer (assuming it lasts that long). Pie can be made a day in advance if needed and reheated briefly in a 375 oven to crisp the crust and warm the filling – 10/15 minutes. The pie filling will firm up if stored in the fridge overnight, making slicing easier.

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Crisp = dessert, then breakfast

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Woah woah woah I graduate a month from yesterday! Wheeeeee almost time to decorate my mortar board. Because I care not that I’m getting a masters and that any display of creative originality might be frowned upon for grad ceremonies; any flat, otherwise boring surface is acceptable for yogic doodle decoration and glitter. Also, it’s probably time to make a dent in that giant pile of work I have to do between now and my practicum presentation but…. nah. I made crisp instead.

Because… CRISP!

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Infinitely more fun than papers and literature review and and and.. ew. Someone make all that go away so I can enjoy my crisp in peace, mmk?! Great.

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This one is full of springy, fruity deliciousness. Good for the soul and the bod — brightly colored (food should be fun!) and full of whole-food nutrients. Because all desserts should be able to do double duty as breakfast! Obviously.

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And with that… I’m back to work. Because even that little respite couldn’t last long (waaah).

Let’s get to it. Happy weekend!

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Vegan Raspberry Crisp with Meyer Lemon and Coconut

Fruity, lemony, springy, delicious, and good for your bod! All you could want out of a dessert / breakfast / fruity whole food shenanigan. Full of whole grains (oats), healthy fats (coconut and almonds), antioxidants (raspberries) and all kinds of textural fun. Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan. A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 4 c raspberries (frozen is totes fine; just thaw them first)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crispy fun:

  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c rolled oats**
  • 1/4 unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • zest of one meyer lemon*
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil

*regular lemon will do but Meyers are SO fabulous; find them if you can!

** gluten free if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 and locate your trusty 8 by 8 pan that you make EVERYTHING in. Or maybe that’s just me…

In a large bowl, toss together raspberries, tapioca, maple, meyer lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Once it’s all combined, spread this evenly into the bottom of the 8 by 8.

In another largish bowl, stir together almond meal, oats, sea salt, and lemon zest. Add in maple syrup and melted coconut oil, and stir until combined, mashing out the largest lumps. Spread this goodness evenly over the raspberries in the prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and the filing is bubbly and juicy (omg yum). Let sit for a few before annihilating. Leftovers (ha) store best in the fridge and are excellent for breakfast, just saying.

Top with any kind of iced dessert of choice – i.e.. vegan paleo gelato, dairy deliciousness, whipped coconut cream?! The sky’s the limit. You do you!

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