September 1, 2015

Nectarine-Lime Jam

When I spotted nectarines for $1/lb., I knew I was going to make this jam from Food in Jars despite the fact that we leave for vacation in a week. (And vacation is a 3-week road trip with two toddlers, a feat that requires much planning and mental fortitude.)

I modified the recipe just a bit based on what I had on hand, and it worked out well. I love nectarines and am excited to have quite a few jars of this tasty jam.

Nectarine-Lime Jam
10 cups pitted and chopped nectarines
5 1/2 cups sugar
Zest and juice of 3 limes
1 packet liquid pectin

Combine nectarines and sugar in a large bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to 48 hours. (This speeds up the jamming process.) When ready to make the jam, prepare a hot water bath for canning the jam as well as the jars and lids.

In a large pot (as this jam foams and bubbles a lot), place the nectarine mixture. Bring to a boil, and then keep at a low boil. Cook about 20 minutes, more as needed, until fruit is softened and syrup is a bit thicker. Blend using an immersion blender (or other blender, carefully) to desired consistency. Return to heat, and add pectin. Stir while cooking another 3-5 minutes until desired consistency. (I cooked about 3 minutes for a softer set.)

Remove from heat, and ladle into prepared jars with 1/4-inch headspace. Can in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Makes approximately 5 pints.

August 29, 2015

Maple Bourbon Brown Butter Peach Pie

Oh my, this pie! I want to accidentally fall and land face-first into this pie. Before I pick myself up and deal with the crowd of laughing onlookers, I'll eat all the crumb topping and caramel sauce. Then I'll be the one laughing.

I've said it before, probably with most pie recipes I post, but pies are pretty sparse in my kitchen. This one makes me want to bake pie more often. Particularly this one from Host the Toast. Probably in an apple variety as well.

The crust ended up slightly chewy, for lack of a better description, but still with great flavor. (And chewy is better than soggy for me in pie crust.) The caramel sauce is so good I had to restrain myself from licking my plate at my mother-in-law's house, just a hint of bourbon. And the crumb topping is fantastic!

This pie requires a bit of time and love, as many do. The steps break down fairly easily, so you can do things in between like go to the farmers' market, make lunch and such. It's absolutely worth the effort!

Maple Bourbon Brown Butter Peach Pie
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, very cold
3 lbs. ripe peaches (about 6 peaches)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of allspice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp. bourbon
1 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup pecans
1/2 cup butter
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch cinnamon

Begin by making crust, unless using a pre-made one. Pour one cup of cold water into a bowl, and add a few ice cubes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until well-combined. Cut butter in 1/2-inch pieces, and use a pastry cutter to cut into pea-size pieces in the dry ingredients. Drizzle half the cold water (not ice cubes) into the mixture, and use a rubber spatula to mix together. Gradually drizzle in more water as needed to form a dough. Use hands to then knead it into one smooth ball. Divide in half, shape into balls and then flatten slightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. (The second one can be frozen or will last one week in the refrigerator.) Chill at least 1 1/2 hours before rolling.

To roll dough, flour everything generously. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle, working quickly. Carefully place dough into pie pan, and fold any excess underneath (or cut off any large excess). Crimp the edges using your fingers. Chill shaped pie crust another 30 minutes.

Slice peaches (peel if desired), and toss in a large bowl with the cornstarch, flour, cinnamon, salt and allspice.

Preheat oven to 350˚F. (I know this seems weird here, but trust me, it's helps things flow.)

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, maple syrup, bourbon and water. Stir only until the sugar dissolves, and then let it come to a boil. Swirl the pan, but do not stir. Cook until mixture turns a deep amber brown, remove from heat and add the butter, swirling until melted. Pour the caramel mixture over the peaches, and mix well. Pour this filling into prepared shell, and return to the refrigerator.

Sprinkle pecans for streusel on a baking sheet, and toast 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425˚F.

In the same saucepan you used for the caramel, melt a stick of butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the butter turns golden-brown. Set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients for the streusel. Chop the pecans, and stir into dry ingredients. Combine with the browned butter until crumbs form. Cover pie evenly with streusel.

Cover the pie crust edges with foil, and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F, and bake another 30-40 minutes. Crust should be golden and filling bubbly when done. Cool at least three hours before slicing. (Don't worry ... it will still be slightly warm if you wait three hours but will at least not be a pile of goop to slice and scoop.)

August 24, 2015

PB & J Multigrain Pancakes

Now that I've made these Cooking Light pancakes, I'm intrigued on how else I can impart peanut butter flavor using the powdered peanut butter. These pancakes, particularly the first ones of the batch, were delicious. They tasted like warm peanut butter and jelly sandwich perfection.

The "but" statements: But they didn't rise much especially the later ones I cooked, probably due to the batter resting a bit too much. But I wouldn't make a double batch again just for that reason. But they are a bit of work that makes them more of a weekend treat. But they are worth trying.

PB & J Multigrain Pancakes
3.4 oz. whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp. cornmeal
3 Tbsp. oats, finely ground
1/4 cup peanut butter powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cups buttermilk
1 egg
6 Tbsp. jam (I used raspberry)
Butter, as desired
Powdered sugar, as desired

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Heat a large non-stick griddle (or grease your griddle) to medium-high heat.

Combine flour through salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and egg, and stir until combined. Spoon 3 Tbsp. batter onto griddle for each pancake. Once pancakes begin to bubble, spoon 1 Tbsp. jam onto the top of half of the pancakes. Gently flip the un-jammed pancakes onto the jammed pancakes, so the browned sides face outside. Carefully transfer the pancake sandwich to a baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes or until pancakes are cooked through. Serve warm, topped with butter and powdered sugar.

The recipe said it makes 6 pancakes, but I ended up with nearly double that. They are supposed to freeze well, reheating in the microwave. (I have frozen our leftovers but haven't tried any yet and likely won't remember to update this when I do.)

August 17, 2015

Peach Jam

I combined two recipes from Food In Jars to make this peach jam. I was extremely pleased with how this jam turned out. It's a slightly softer set, but that makes it perfect for spreading easily. I could picture this used in tarts or between vanilla cakes. I tested it on pancakes, and it was amazing!

Peach Jam
4 cups peeled, pitted and chopped peaches
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, sliced
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 packet liquid pectin

Combine the fruit and sugar in an airtight container, and refrigerate for 2 to 48 hours. (Note: An easy way to peel peaches is to halve and pit them, drop them in boiling water for 60 seconds and then place them in ice water. The peels will slide right off.)

When you're ready to make jam, prepare a boiling water bath and 4 half-pint jars and lids. Bring the fruit mixture to a boil after you add the lemon juice. Cook it about 20 minutes until it's thickened somewhat and starts to reach a runny jammy consistency. (Note: Use a large pot as my pot almost boiled over many a times.) Smash fruit as you go or use an immersion blender if desired. Stir in liquid pectin, and bring to a rapid boil for one minute. Remove from heat.

Ladle into jars with 1/4-inch headspace, making sure to leave out the actual vanilla bean. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Makes approximately 4 1/2-pint jars.

Olive Oil and Sea Salt Lindt Truffle Brownies

Lindt truffles came into our house last winter, specifically with the purpose of making killer hot chocolate in a variety of flavors. I seriously had a jar with about 6 different flavors and would pop 3 into a mug of hot milk for delicious hot chocolate. (I also yelled at people when they stole ones just to eat.)

When I saw this brownie recipe from How Sweet It Is, I was immediately captivated by the truffles and used that as an excuse to go buy a few bags in the summer. Fortunately, I stopped snacking on them in time to have enough left for the brownies.

These are delicious brownies, but they don't quite take the spot for my favorite brownies. Worth repeating, perhaps with other truffle flavors.

Olive Oil and Sea Salt Lindt Truffle Brownies
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 oz. high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
10 LINDOR dark chocolate caramel sea salt truffles, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. flaked sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil, and spray with non-stick spray. (I didn't line my pan with foil and had to pry out every brownie.)

In a large bowl, whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder until combined. Whisk in the chopped chocolate until melted, and then whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in the egg, yolks and vanilla extract until combined. Whisk in the sugar until combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour and 1/4 tsp. salt, stirring until the flour is just mixed in. Stir in the chopped truffles. Sprinkle the top with the flaked sea salt.

Bake the brownies for 32 to 38 minutes or until the middle is set.  Let the brownies cool completely before cutting. They will cut best if refrigerated first. Makes 8 x 8 pan of brownies.