Sometimes dessert is just messy and comical

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BEWARE THE BLOB!

I had to laugh when I took this out of the oven. I’m not sure if it was due to the humidity or what, but when I made cream biscuits this time, instead of staying all nice and biscuit-y shaped, they all just decided to merge and become… the BLOB!

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You can kind of see the divisions between the biscuits (there are technically 8 of them), but I still cracked myself up when I took it out. Not to mention the very red berry juice making its escape over the sides…

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Add to that the explosion of berry juice that occurred in my oven – thank heavens for precautionary foil; I only had one really (quite large) entrepreneurial drip escape its confines and end up on the oven floor – this is one of those desserts that definitely tastes better than it looks! Although if you’re going for comic value… well…

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Also not helped by some odd overcast light this morning when I was trying to photograph before running off to the office.. sorry for the slightly off photos. If I promise it’s delicious, will you believe me?! I wouldn’t virtually feed you subpar food, promise.

Regardless of what it looks like, this cobbler is a great excuse for using up the last of summer berries – no more white shoes for you! It’s after Labor Day! Not that I really ever follow that rule, or even own white dress shoes…

A few things from late-summer life lately:

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Anyway. You really don’t need an excuse to make cobbler, so what are you waiting for? Go create a blob of your very own! But… don’t say I didn’t warn you…. BEWARE THE BLOB!

Hehe.

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Summer Berry Cobbler with Meyer Lemon Cream Biscuits

Lightly sweet and (barely) naturally sweetened, and perfect for showcasing the last of summer’s berries. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries play perfectly with meyer lemon, present both in the filling and in the cream biscuits. Whole grain and refined sugar free. Adapted from the rhubarb ginger mint cobbler I made awhile back, here. Yield: 1 9″ cobbler; serves… several. Or two. Your call!

For the filling:

  • 4 c strawberries, quartered (unless they’re really small, in which case halved is fine)*
  • ~1 c mixed blackberries & raspberries**
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch

*Basically, you want as much fruit as you need to fill your pan of choice. This about does it for me in my 9″ pie plate; I need a larger dish though since mine totally overflowed this time… whoops

**I bake straight from frozen (usually I buy mine when on sale & freeze them for later); fresh would also be fine

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c whole grain spelt flour
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tsp 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

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) Just make sure whatever you use is deep enough! Not that I speak from experience…. Stick some foil on the rack below the rack on which you’ll bake the cobbler, just in case of drips.

In a large bowl, toss together strawberries, raspberries & blackberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon juice & zest, 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, lemon zest, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir in the heavy cream and lemon juice until 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 8 biscuits; you can make them smaller if you like! Brush with a bit of extra cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar. Mine obviously all became one big blob, but whatever. Delicious.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cobbler is beginning to go golden around the edges, and the fruit is bubbling (or the juices runneth over…). 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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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 least 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, measure the cream 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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Trifecta Complete: Terran Pie!

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I had to finish the trifecta, of course. Terran Pie!

Appropriately earthy, so I think the Terrans would approve. AND delicious, so I approve – I love rhubarb, and it pairs so well with apples.

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My pie crust game is going strong over here! It feels great to be able to make pie and not sweat the crust. Besides, it’s June now (how did that happen?!) which is summer and official pie season. Though I will say there will be a pie break over here for the time being, time to do new things!

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In other news… I saw the Mountain Play this weekend! So fun: a round-trip 8+ mile hike with ~1750 of elevation gain to get to the amphitheater –  I definitely earned my pie! (besides that, we did all the uphill on the hike in – 4.2 miles essentially all uphill in 1.5 hours. BEAST MODE. No big deal) The Mountain Play was awesome – great show, great weather, and lovely company!

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All things considered, a great weekend. And there was nerdy pie. Which makes it all the better.

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Sometimes… you just need to play with your food:

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Earthy, whole wheat crust filled with tart rhubarb and granny smith apples – the tart-pie lover’s dream. I haven’t had an apple pie in ages so this was a welcome change. The lemon shines through too, adding brightness that balances out the sweetness of the maple. Barely sweet, mostly tart – this pie is for those who love their fruit.

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Happy Monday!

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Rhubarb Apple Pie on Whole Wheat Crust

A Wait are Those Cookies original! Whole wheat and refined sugar free. Tart, for those who don’t shy away from a little tart in their desserts – the rhubarb and the apple play so nicely off each other, and the maple adds just enough sweetness without diminishing the flavor of the fruit. Yield: 1 deep 9″ pie. Serves: 2… I kid. Sort of.

For the pie crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • scant 2 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:

  • 4 c chopped rhubarb*
  • 2 granny smith apples, chopped
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

*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 or a ziploc and chill for at least 10 minutes or up to overnight. You can also chill the dough for about 5-6 hours or overnight in the ball, then roll it out and chill it, shaped, in the pie dish. I discovered that works quite well – make filling & bake straight from the fridge.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, granny smith apples, maple, lemon juice + zest, whole wheat flour, vanilla, and salt. 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 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 filling goodness and dot fruit filling with butter.

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

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Terran crest. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I used a beaten egg). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, then use a chopstick or a knife to make the surface lines. Brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired. Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the filling. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown (*note, apples & rhubarb might look a little dry on top, but the pie will be done and delicious, I promise!) 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. Sometimes I actually prefer to make pie a day ahead, since it reheats in the oven beautifully and the filling sets up so nicely overnight.

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You must construct additional pie-lons to defeat the Swarm!

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I just can’t stop with the Starcraft pie situation over here…

We are the Swarm… Numberless, Merciless {when it comes to pie}

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Besides, I like Zerg best so I couldn’t very well not do a Zerg pie… and of course it had to be dark purple, obviously.

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Besides that, I know I’ve broken my unofficial rule of not repeating myself in two subsequent posts, but…. it’s PIE. So… it’s fine. And it’s my blog anyway so why do I have these stupid rules for myself?! As a very wise man once said, who would refuse pie?! Exactly.

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I’ve never put mint in pie prior to this, but I like it! It’s very unusual – the berries are still the dominant flavor, but the mint keeps popping in there to keep you on your toes. It adds an unexpected bit of freshness to the berries, and it smells SO good. I don’t think I breathed while I was doing the top crust…

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Let’s see, what else is new…

Opera night lions! Opening night at Rigoletto was fantastic, of course.

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And a balanced breakfast, because pie definitely counts as a fruit serving.

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Patting myself on the back over here for the structural stability of this pie – appropriate amount of thickener = appropriate amount of juices! Plus, no soggy bottom crust. Mission accomplished.

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It’s June – the beginning of the summer fruit season — make pie, be happy! But… beware the swarm…

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Wild Blueberry, Blackberry & Mint {Zerg} Pie on Whole Wheat Crust

A Wait are those Cookies original! Yield: 1 9″ pie, serves 2 (ha) – 6. Refined sugar free and whole wheat, plus lots of antioxidants! Mint adds an unexpected freshness to an otherwise basic berry pie.

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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:

  • 2.5 c wild blueberries*
  • 2 c blackberries*
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)

*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine; use enough berries to fill your pie plate

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 or a ziploc and chill for at least 10 minutes or up to overnight.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together blueberries, blackberries, mint, maple, whole wheat flour, vanilla, and lemon juice + zest. 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 filling goodness and dot with butter.

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

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Zerg 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. Brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired. Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the 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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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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Shortcakes for spring! (and for breakfast. and dessert)

April already?! Wow. That went fast. And for being April, the strawberries are looking quite delicious — and surprisingly are so! I guess they’re technically in season somewhere. I do try to eat local, but shortcakes really call for strawberries and these looked especially delicious, so I’m not complaining…

I had a request for chocolate, so of course I was going to work that in — I’ve never made chocolate shortcakes before now but I highly recommend them.

Let’s see, life things lately…

Happy 16th birthday to this little nugget! She just gets more adorable every day.

Further progress on the SF series! This one is located at 2020 California Street.

More flowers! In this case, March showers seem to have brought April flowers…

But back to this hot mess. Dessert! It doesn’t photograph especially well but I promise it’s delicious.

I prefer my shortcakes on the not-so-sweet side, so that a) I can eat them with ice cream and not send myself into a sugar coma (even if it is unrefined sugar!) and b) they really highlight the berries. As such, these shortcakes are really more biscuit-y than cake-y, but that’s only if you eat them plain! Load them up with all of the other goodies and they have a perfect sweet-not too sweet balance. Especially the caramel two ways. Don’t skip that!

Highly recommended for dessert AND for breakfast: whole grains, no refined sugar & healthy fats, what’s not to like? Excellent with eggs & salad, of course I speak from experience. Happy shortcake-ing!

Chocolate Shortcakes with Strawberries, Coconut Cream, Maple Almond Caramel and Chocolate Caramel

Whole wheat, refined sugar free, dairy free/vegan option (replace butter with coconut oil & buttermilk w/ coconut buttermilk – see note). Lightly sweet shortcakes with fresh berries and coconut cream… plus caramel two ways because, why not? Shortcakes adapted from the cakes I made previously with peach filling, here. If you choose to go the coconut cream route, make sure you refrigerate the can overnight. A Wait are those Cookies original! Yield: 6 shortcakes + extra caramel (or maybe not, depending on how liberally it gets poured… no judgement here)

For the shortcakes:

  • 1 c + 1 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into smallish pieces (or coconut oil for dairy free – make sure it’s chilled & solid)*
  • 3/4 c buttermilk*
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

*if you’re not concerned about being dairy free/vegan, go ahead and use regular buttermilk & butter. I used 1 c (canned) coconut milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice as I was out of buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cacao powder, baking powder and soda, salt, and coconut sugar. Cut in the butter using your fingertips (my preferred method) or a pastry cutter, until things start looking like coarse cornmeal and the butter is distributed evenlyish. Make a well in the center (look! You get to play with your food!), pour in the buttermilk, then use a spoon or spatula to stir it all together, until just combined (do try not to over mix). Stir in chocolate chips. Divide the dough into six little balls, flatten slightly and place on the baking sheet. Bake for just about 13-15 minutes, until the tops are firm and lightly browned. Let cool slightly on a rack before serving.

While the cakes are baking, make the caramel sauce:

For the caramel sauce (two ways!)

  • 1/3 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c unsalted, creamy almond butter
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

In a small saucepan over medium, heat coconut oil, almond butter, maple, and sea salt over medium until all are melted and incorporated. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two, which is excellent for instant gratification. Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour half the warm caramel into a heat-safe jar, and stir the chocolate chips into the remaining half still in the saucepan. They should melt as you stir, but you can turn the heat back on if necessary to melt them completely. Store the chocolate caramel in a separate jar. Serve warm or cold.

For assembly! The best part.

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • copious amounts of strawberries

Open the refrigerated can of coconut milk, and scrape out the solid cream into a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat until smooth, then beat in vanilla.

Serve shortcakes sliced in half (to maximize cake square footage), topped with coconut cream, strawberries, caramel drizzle, and extra ice cream. Because, ice cream! Obviously. Also makes excellent breakfast, sans ice cream (or not, you do you!) Store any leftover shortcakes covered on the counter overnight or in the fridge.

Come to the Dark Side… I have pie.

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Pie! Such a perfect food. Especially when it resembles… the Death Star! Because why have plain pie when you could show off your nerdiness to the world? I almost didn’t want to eat this… but I did.

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Pie crust used to intimidate me, which is pretty stupid given that it’s basically just flour and water and butter… yet I think sometimes the simplest things end up being the trickiest (in life and in baking!). But pie is also a fairly forgiving food, and will love you endlessly if you learn to make it with the confidence it deserves.

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I think I’m finally at that point — this one felt great! I am quite pleased with the way it came out both in looks and taste… the sci-fi nerd is strong in me ;) I think the key with pie crust is not to let on that it makes you nervous! It can probably sense that, ha! Maybe with its pie crust force powers…

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Thank goodness pie is so delicious – it makes all the potential crust shenanigans worthwhile.

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In other news, another drawing for the series!

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Anndddd…. the first skiing of the season! Wheeeee!!! And what great skiing it was. More to come, that’s for sure.

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But for now, pie. Because often the simplest things in life are the most enjoyable, especially leftover pie for breakfast in good company! Nothing better.

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Wild Blueberry Pie with Whole Wheat Dark Side Crust

Refined sugar free and whole wheat! Naturally sweetened with coconut sugar. Crust recipe yields a double crusted pie, enough for a Death Star of your own making if you so choose. Crust recipe lightly adapted from Carolyn McCuaig (thanks Carolyn, if you’re reading this!)

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For the crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 c butter (mine was salted), cut into chunks
  • 5-7 tbsp ice water

For the filling:

  • 4 c wild blueberries, or enough to heapingly fill your pie plate (frozen is fine)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour

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, salt, baking powder, and lemon zest. 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. Toss blueberries, lemon juice, coconut sugar and flour in a large bowl.

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 blueberry filling goodness and dot with butter.

If you want to get fancy and do the Death Star…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Death Star and a TIE fighter. 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 blueberry filling — there is no real need to seal the edges. 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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