Cornmeal Crust (enough for a 9” lattice topped pie)
(Baker’s note- these components started out at Stella Notte as a scone recipe and then a shortcake biscuit. Somewhere along the way, we set aside the eggs and leaveners, arriving at this. It is more hearty than flaky, qualifying it as breakfast and equally delicious teamed with berries of the red and blue variety. Check the oven during the baking process; if the crust is browning too much for your liking, add some foil strips around the edge.)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup finely ground cornmeal
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
egg wash for painting the lattice (I use one egg yolk + a few Tablespoons of cream)
1-2 Tablespoons granulated sugar to sprinkle on top of lattice or cut-outs
I like to start this out in the food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, salt and zest. Then add the cubed butter and pulse a few times. Turn this crumbly mixture out into a large bowl and gradually add the buttermilk, using either your fingers or a fork or a rubber bench scraper to moisten the dry ingredients. Gather the dough together, divide it in two discs and wrap in plastic. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling out.
One disc will fit a 9” pie plate; the lattice or cut-outs can be rolled and cut from the second. Chill the unbaked crusts while you prepare the filling.
The White Peach/Nectarine filling
6 cups total of ripe sliced peaches and nectarines (If you are shy on one or the other, not to worry. The goal here is to have 6 cups of fruit; the sweeter the fruit, the better the pie. Depending on their size, you will need approximately 2 ½ - 3 lbs. of fruit prior to peeling, pitting and slicing. I only peel the peaches, I don’t bother to peel the nectarines.)
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 Tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca (that has been pulverized in the food processor- do one whole box at a time and then you have it on hand)
¼ teaspoon spice of your choice (Spices are a personal preference- less is more here because you want to taste the fruit. A grating of fresh nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon should suffice. Folks I work with use allspice or ginger.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine peaches, nectarines, lemon juice and zest, tossing to coat.
In a small bowl, whisk together sugars, tapioca and spice. Sprinkle over fruit, tossing a bit until combined. Turn the filling into your prepared pie plate, top with lattice strips or cut-outs. Seal the edges, trim the excess and crimp with fingers or a fork. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. (If edges are getting too brown, cover with strips of foil.) Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 35-40 minutes until the fruit is bubbling. Set aside to cool on a rack.
(inspired by Tabora Farms strawberry conserve and Stella Notte's vanilla bean custard sauce)
This is a sum of several parts; it is really more of an excuse to consume forkfuls of fresh strawberries and chocolate with custard sauce. I tuck the berries into a chocolate tart shell which is lined with ganache and strawberry jam. You can make some of this or all of this. I am providing the two essential parts; the jam and the custard. (Recipes for a tart shell and ganache can be found in a myriad of places. When time permits, I will insert one here.)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
2 pints (which should weigh about 2 pounds) of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the berries and return to a boil. It takes about 5-7 minutes for the berries to soften. Remove the pan from the heat. Crush the berries with a potato masher. (If you don't have one, I suppose you could use a fork, but that would be endless. Invest in a potato masher.) Set a small strainer over a bowl, strain the mashed berries, reserving the juice. Now return the juice back to the saucepan, and cook this over medium heat until it reduces to about 2/3 of a cup. The juice will become quite thick; this takes about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on things here- you don't want it to burn. Remove the thickened syrup from the heat, add the vanilla and the reserved mashed berries. Set aside to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and chill completely before assembling the tart.
Vanilla Bean Custard Sauce with Champagne
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons of champagne
one half of a vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out with a knife
Heat the heavy cream, champagne and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan until simmering but not boiling. Place the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until very thick. With the mixer on low, gradually pour the hot cream mixture over the egg/sugar mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return the custard mixture to the top of a double boiler and cook over simmering water, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture reaches 180 degrees. Remove from the double boiler and cool completely in the refrigerator. If you can't see yourself opening a bottle of champagne for a mere 4 Tablespoons, you can substitute 2 Tablespoons of Grand Marnier which you add at the end of the recipe, once the custard has cooled. (Of course, the idea here is to find a reason to enjoy the remaining champagne.)
(adapted from two vastly different sources, “Food for Fifty” by Shugart, Molt and Wilson and “The Neighborhood Bakeshop” by Van Cleave.)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9” pie plate
1 ¾ cups cookie crumbs (preferably shortbread)
¾ cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped plus additional for garnish (see below)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Combine cookie crumbs, macadamia nuts and melted butter in a bowl. Press crumb crust into the bottom and up the sides of your 9” pie plate. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for approximately 15 min. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
1 “Jet” or “Gold” pineapple, cut into medium chunks (you will need 4 cups of fruit)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup dark brown sugar
Place pineapple in a single layer in an oven proof dish or on a silpat lined baking sheet. Dot with the butter and brown sugar. Roast for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees until caramelized around the edges. Remove from oven, carefully pour juices and fruit into a bowl and set aside to cool. (You may now turn off your oven.)
½ cup dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 cup of pineapple juice (1-6 oz. can of Dole pineapple juice does the trick)
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup fresh orange juice
4 cups roasted pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon dark rum
In a heavy saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add pineapple juice, orange juice, zest, and roasted pineapple. Cook over moderate heat, stirring with a spatula so the mixture doesn’t scorch. Filling should bubble and thicken in about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and rum and transfer to another bowl so the filling cools down a bit. Turn filling into the baked and cooled pie crust. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Before serving, garnish with Boozy Rum Whipped Cream and macadamia nuts.
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons dark rum
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons halved macadamia nuts, for garnish
In chilled bowl, combine heavy cream, dark rum and brown sugar. Stir with a spatula until brown sugar dissolves and then whip mixture until soft peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream and garnish with macadamia nuts.
(inspired by Bernard Clayton's "The Complete Book of Pastry")
8' pie plate lined with your favorite unbaked crust (I used pate brisee)
Pre-heat your oven to 375
3 cups sliced, trimmed rhubarb (remember, no leaves!)
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons Minute tapioca or tapioca flour
zest from one orange
1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 teaspoon fresh, grated ginger
1 Tablespoon minced candied ginger
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse to combine sugar, tapioca, orange zest, and fresh, grated ginger. Set aside in a separate bowl while you prepare the crumble.
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup King Arthur 'white' whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
1 Tablespoon minced candied ginger
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse to combine all ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture. Do not over process. Place in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to put the pie in the oven.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the rhubarb and raspberries, then toss gently with the sugar/tapioca/zest/ginger mixture. Add the minced candied ginger and turn the pie filling into the prepared pie shell. Dot with the 4 tablespoons of cubed butter and the tablespoon of orange juice. Cover the
fruit with the chilled oatmeal crumble and place the pie on a parchment lined
baking sheet. Bake the pie in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 40 minutes until the pie is bubbling and the crumble is toasty. (Depending on your oven, it may need an additional 5-10 minutes.)