Apples!!! Peaches!!! Everywhere you go these days you see trees laden with fruit. Apple Hill Orchard in Wilkerson has an especially good crop of peaches this year and the apples are coming on strong. Manor Market’s produce aisle is overflowing with local bounty. Time to break out the cookbooks and find a creative way to use up all that harvest.
At East Side Books, staff and customers alike spend a lot of time talking about food and exchanging recipes. It might be because East Side’s extensive cookbook section is right as you walk in the door. There you can find everything from slow cooker cookbooks to manuals on food safety and canning as well as tomes on the new hot subject of food ecology and biographies and memoirs of foodies.
We would like to extend our food/recipe conversation to the East Side Books’ Blog. In the comment section below please share your favorite apple or peach recipe…or two or three. (See my peach tart recipe below.) Do you know how to work peaches into a main dish or have you stumbled upon the perfect apple bread mixture? Peach and shrimp kebobs? Apple cookies? Don’t be shy…everyone LOVES a great, new recipe. (Note: Before posting this blog entry we did a little research into copyright law. Interestingly enough, cooking is not considered “inventing”, a recipe “evolves” therefore the copyright laws don’t apply in the same was as say music or lyrics. It is suggested that when posting a recipe the words “based on,” “adapted from,” or “inspired by” be used.)
Over the years I have bought a number of cookbooks from East Side Books and then returned to share what recipes worked…and a few that didn’t. My favorite recent purchase is The Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated. Some very dedicated cooks spent hours and hours testing the best recipes for each recipe in the book and wrote about their process, what worked and what didn’t, and then came up with a master recipe. I can think of nothing I would rather not do. I am a very “loose” cook in that I look at a recipe and then close the book and do my own thing. Sometimes it works wonderfully…and occasionally it is a disaster. (My husband’s code for a bad meal is: “Maybe we shouldn’t have this again.” No problem since I can never remember what I did in the first place.)
I love my cookbook by Cook’s Illustrated because I can check the master recipe and then have a good chance of having it work out if I stick even somewhat close to the original plan. Below is the recipe I created inspired by the tart recipe in The Best Recipe as well as an apple tart recipe from Chef Jacques Pepin. I especially like this crust because you don’t have to roll it out–a time and mess saver. I used peaches from the tree in our yard, but you could easily adapt this recipe to use apples.
1 1/4 c. flour
3 to 4 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. chilled butter, cut into little chunks
3 tbsp. vegetable shortening
2 tbsp. milk or cream
6 to 7 small peaches
dash of nutmeg
(a bit more flour, sugar, cream or milk, butter)
Grease a 9 inch glass pie dish. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter and shortening until coarse. Add milk and egg and stir until just combined. Bring dough together with your hands and transfer to pie plate. Press dough into bottom and sides. Refrigerate for 3o minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut peaches into slim wedges. Toss with a tablespoon or so of flour and sugar until coated. Mix in dash of nutmeg to taste. Add a bit of milk or cream to make mixture moist but not so liquid that it pools at the bottom of the bowl. Cut up a tablespoon or two of butter and add to mixture. Spoon mixture into tart shell. Bake for 45 minutes or so, checking often to make sure it doesn’t burn. (If it gets too brown on top or sides before the bottom is done, cover with a sheet of foil. Baking in a clear glass pie plate helps to see when the bottom is nicely brown.) Enjoy!
Now let’s hear from you!