Recently wrapped up peach season in Prince Edward County, Ontario which was pretty magical. Sun-kissed freestones are still available from local farm stands making those death-defying u-turns on county roads worth the risk. Seems locals are a touch more respectful of the fruit; there's less handling and grousing as they fill their baskets. Probably because many of the shoppers are farmers themselves.
Choosing your favorite peach adventure is easy; a generous 3 pounds will fill your favorite 9-inch pie plate. My leanings are always towards lattice. Soon enough orange gourds and neon honey crisps will steal the show. Peach, I miss you already.
J. Robert Oppenheimer the physicist was also a mixologist. According to American Prometheus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book and major source of info for the big screen blockbuster, Oppenheimer was known for hosting the occasional house party. His generous four-ounce pours of gin paired with a dash of vermouth were shaken, not stirred. Served icy cold, guests sipped from glasses rimmed with honey and lime juice. Of course, this little tidbit of Oppenheimer info got me thinking about pie.
From a dessert perspective, many of the components that work well in a cocktail shaker lend themselves easily to pie. Case in point, a frozen lime chiffon spiked with gin and a whipped cream finish sweetened with honey. A refreshing alternative to traditional key lime pie, I turned to a recipe from my Philadelphia Cafette days. Not a lick of sweetened condensed milk in the mix, no white chocolate, no cream cheese and thank goodness, no sheets of gelatin. Simply two eggs separated, yolks cooked over a double boiler with some sugar and fresh lime juice. Cooled down and combined with beaten egg whites, honey sweetened heavy cream and plenty of lime zest, the filling needs nothing more. Unless you have a penchant for cold gin and lime, which I do. The ever-so-slightly tipsy lime fluff fills a 9” pie plate or an 8” springform lined with a no-bake crust. Because there happened to be a package of chocolate filled wafer cookies within reach, I used those. (You could certainly use graham crackers or vanilla wafers or any such store-bought cookie.) Frozen for several hours, (or overnight if you are a patient sort), the pie tastes like what I imagine late August would taste like if it was a flavor. It’s light, tart and breezy and not terribly difficult to master. Quite unlike physics, which is certainly something I never, ever studied in school.
One biscuit recipe is all you need and this is the one. A baby batch teamed with honey-drizzled nectarines and a hint of thyme is perfect for an August breakfast. If you have the patience, serve them for dessert.
@ericjoonho and @nytcooking have all the info you need to recreate the craggy edged, lofty buttermilk biscuits from Briana Holt's Tandem Coffee and Bakery in Portland, Maine. Buttermilk and sugar weave their magic in a recipe that comes together in a snap. Just play by Briana's rules and Eric's directive; let the grated butter lounge in the freezer for 10 minutes before mixing. They're so easy to make, I never think of them as anything but simple indulgence. Ad you can have them hot out of the oven dripping with butter long before you would ever tackle the lengthy drive to Maine.
New Barbie is quite something. I had no idea how dramatically the fashion doll had changed until I sought one out at our local Target. Due to her upswing in popularity, pickings were slim. There was only one Barbie in the bunch who wasn't a mermaid, wasn't sporting rainbow Fantasy Hair and wasn't a pop star. The search for a no-nonsense Barbie was exhausting; so was trying to emancipate the doll from the hermetically sealed packaging. (It nearly cost me a finger.) In the end, New Barbie was an agreeable sort, stepping out of her denim shorts into yards of plastic wrap before being plunged into a bowl of vanilla ice cream swirled with rhubarb and raspberries. The doll stood perfectly still while I covered her in meringue rosettes, placed a candied rhubarb bow in her hair and snapped a photo.
It's been a while since I've handled a Barbie doll. I've forgotten how tiny everything is; the snaps on her clothing, the plastic shoes that mold to her feet, the rubber bands that secure her ponytail in place. Somewhere, buried in a box that moved from NY to NJ to Philly and back again to NJ, are remnants of my Barbie collection, including knitwear and crocheted garments handmade by my grandmother. As of this writing, I was only able to unearth one stray box of odds and ends from my Barbie past. Amongst the corduroy jumper and pink sparkle sweater were a few "antiques." The cardboard television/stereo console, bookcase, lamp and blue ottoman from Barbie's original 1960s dream house were still standing. According to a recent NY Times article, apparently Barbie owned the dream house single-handedly. Good for you, Barbie.
It seemed only fitting that New Barbie should make herself comfortable in some vintage Barbie clothes, amidst some antique Barbie furniture. Should any future needs arise requiring Barbie to pop into a meringue filled pie plate, I'll know just where to find her.
When I was six, the Cedarhurst Bake Shop had a display case dedicated solely to Barbie cakes. I coveted a Barbie birthday cake, enrobed in white buttercream, festooned with blue botanicals. Traditionally, Jessie made my birthday cakes which honestly, were far superior in taste. But Jessie didn't "fuss" with buttercream roses and inscriptions which probably made the Cedarhurst baked goods more alluring. For my sixth birthday party, Jessie baked a towering white layer cake iced lavishly in whipped cream and decorated with maraschino cherries swinging from their stems. (I had a thing for Shirley Temples back then which ultimately led to my love of Manhattans; apparently red dye no. 2 didn't cause any lasting harm.) Jessie's cake was scrumptious and the envy of my classmates who only consumed commercially baked occasions cakes. Still, I was a bit crestfallen.
The following year, my mother purchased Barbie cupcake 'picks' from Dennison Stationers in NYC and Jessie made both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with two kinds of frosting. Decorated with the faux Barbies, the cupcakes were a big hit with my gal pals. For dessert that evening, my mother and Jessie decided I should have a Barbie cake from the Cedarhurst Bake Shop, blue roses and all. I was elated but honestly, a bit underwhelmed. The best part of the cake were the roses, piped in a shade of blue not found in nature. After dessert, the doll imbedded in the cake was washed and lived amongst the Barbies in my shiny black Barbie carrying case.
That was the first and last year of the Mattel-inspired cake. Jessie took up the reins once again, baking all the layers which she effortlessly filled and frosted with great swoops of chocolate or mocha buttercream; I loved coffee even then. I aligned myself with cake for every birthday, unlike my oldest brother who always requested Jessie's chocolate cream pie with freshly whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Sure, chocolate shavings are tasty but they can't hold a candle to a blue buttercream rose.
More about my Raspberry RhuBarbie pie coming up. We'll have to eat it tonight however, because Barbie is too tall to fit in the freezer and she's filled with ice cream...
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm