Thursday, May 25, 2006

Almond-Coconut Crumb Topped Peach Pie

If you have never had a peach crumb pie, or have never LIKED peach pie, get ready for the dessert treat of a life time. We made this for the first time today, and will be making it again, and again.

1 recipe Pie Pastry, Single Crust, refrigerated


6 Cups frozen sliced peaches, partially thawed

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons tapioca flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 tablespoon milk

If you haven’t already, prepare the pie pastry and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the pastry into a 13-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan, center, and peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the overhang into an upstanding ridge. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Combine the peaches, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a large bowl and toss well to mix. Set aside for 10 minutes to juice. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix the tapioca flour with the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and mix well. Stir in the vanilla and nutmeg. Turn the filling into the chilled pie shell and smooth the filling to even it out. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, almonds, and coconut in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the milk and process again until the crumbs are like medium fine gravel. Transfer to a large bowl and rub gently between your fingers to make the crumbs uniform in texture. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F. Carefully dump the crumbs in the center of the pie and spread them evenly. Press on the crumbs gently to compact them. Return the pie to the oven, placing it so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces forward. Slide a large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any spills. Bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, about 30 minutes. Use a very thick layer of crumb topping.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Foolproof Italian Bread

For whatever reason, when baking bread is mentioned, so many people are simply not confident enough to make or bake it. Your worries are over!! If you have a stand mixer with bread hooks, you CAN make this bread with total confidence!! If you follow the simple directions given here, you will be suddenly known as a 'bread master. If you have been putting off baking bread, no need to put it off any longer; success is on the way.

6 to 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 T. sugar
2 TBS instant yeast
2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
2 TBS softened butter

Makes 2-Loaves or a half dozen hoagie rolls.

In large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Heat water, milk and butter to about 120 degrees. Gradually add to the dough ingredients; beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 1/2 cup flour; beat two minutes at high speed. Change beaters to the dough hooks. Add additional flour to make soft dough. Add additional water if necessary. When dough is ready it will pull away from the sides of the bowl. Place in lightly greased bowl, turn several times to completely coat the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let raise to double in size.

Punch dough down and shape as desired. Let rise until 1 ½ times original size. Score the dough horizontally one time, or across the loaves several times on each loaf.

Bake at 375F. for about 20 minutes.

This dough freezes well and rises nicely after thawing and shaping.

Can use this recipe for hamburger-shaped rolls too.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Il pasto granoturco pane italiano (Corn meal Italian Bread)

This is a delightful, ciabatta type bread that you will make time after time.

1 TBS Instant yeast

1 1/2 Cup bottled water

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp sea salt

½ Cup White Corn Meal

1 ½ Cups boiling water

4 Cups High Gluten Bread Flour

2 Cups AP Flour

1 TBS Olive Oil

Boil 1 1/2 cups of bottled water in a medium sauce pan. Once boiling, remove from heat and quickly add the corn meal and salt. Stir so it is completely hydrated. Stir occasionally to assure there is no dry corn meal at the bottom of the pan. Let the mix cool completely. Here, you will have a corn meal mash or mush.

Add yeast to a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, and 1 1/2 cups warm bottled water (105-110). Mix well with beaters and let sit for 12-15 minutes until it gets creamy/foamy. Add one cup of bread flour and olive oil. Beat well with beaters. Add cooled corn meal and continue beating until well blended. Switch to oiled bread hooks.

Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until you get a silky dough. The dough may be sticky, so add more flour until you are comfortable with the feel of the dough. The dough should pull away from the edges of the pan.

Place in large oiled bowl; turn several times to fully coat dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise to doubled. This will take only about 30-45 minutes.

Once doubled lightly flour counter, gently de-gas, and shape to either one large boule, or two small ones. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil, lightly cover with plastic wrap, and let rise to doubled in size. You can add seeds of your choice at this point. You can also do a refrigerated rise for 6-12 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Turn oven to 450F. Make sure you have a steam pan in oven. Once up to temperature, fill steam pan with hot water, spray oven sides with water – being careful NOT to spray light bulb or oven door glass. Place shaped dough in 450F. oven for 10-minutes. After 10-minutes, spray oven and turn cookie sheet 180 degrees for even baking. Reduce temperature to 400F. Bake for an additional twenty minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 180F. Remove from oven, and rub top of loaves with a stick of butter.

Let cool one hour before slicing. This bread gains flavor the longer it sits – up to four days. It has the beautiful texture of a ciabatta if not de-gassed too much for the second rising.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Grilled Lamb and Onions on Rosemary Skewers

Lamb, garlic, and rosemary are a perfect blend. I'm not sure how easy it is to find the rosemary skewers in the U.S.,but they can be ordered over the internet primarily from Australia where rosemary is grown in huge amounts for both domestic use and exporting.

3 Lbs lamb, trimmed, cut into 1" Cubes

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine

1 large shallot, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbls chopped fresh rosemary

24-30 pearl onions, trimmed and peeled

Salt and black pepper, freshly ground

12 rosemary skewers, fresh or dried

Combine all ingredients (except rosemary skewers) in a bowl and toss. Marinate in refrigerator for 2-3 hours, mixing occasionally. Remove lamb cubes and discard marinade. Thread lamb and onions alternately on to the skewers. You may need to make the hole for the rosemary skewers with a metal skewer.

Grill on barbeque for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until cooked as desired.

Serves 6