Loving…

There are very few things more terrifying than realizing that half of another year has gone by. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it type thing that gets me every time. On the other hand, it’s also pretty indicative of all the great, not-so-great and indifferent things that have happened in the past 6 months.

Listening:

Two Frenchmen rocking it out, 70s style, with Pharrell. It doesn’t really get better than that.

Wanting:

This double-painting from Urban Barn.

bike

Craving:

This super simple and delicious raspberry-rhubarb pie.

pie - strawberry/rhubarb

Fruit pies are one of the best things to “master”, in my opinion. The crust recipe can remain largely the same (my favourite remains the one I referenced here and here – it is dangerously delicious), and you can get creative with the filling. You just need to follow the rule of 3/4 cup sugar + 3/4 cup flour + vanilla extract (1 tsp) + enough fruit to fill the pie and be properly covered by the sugar/flour mixture. In this case, I used a container of strawberries and about 350g of rhubarb. To add a little extra goodness, I like to paint the crust with melted butter and sprinkle sugar over top before putting it in the oven (typically at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and left for about 20 minutes or until the filling starts to bubble).

Using:

PicLab and Snapseed – by far my two favourite iPhone apps for adding font to photos and editing them, respectively.

Relaxing:

This weekend for Canada Day. Extra-long long weekends are the best… Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canucks!

muskoka chairs in muskoka

Advertisements

Loving…

You know what’s not fun? Getting sick twice within a month, AND when it’s just starting to get warm out. Total first world problems. On that note, though, I am excited to get this weekend started.

Listening:

I heard this song for the first time in “Pitch Perfect” (a movie I will fully admit to watching more than once), but I have liked whatever I heard from the Naked and the Famous in the past. Their songs remind me of driving in the summertime with the windows down and shades on.

Craving:

A pie…like this

pie

Planning:

A big spring cleaning! I definitely have to do something about my hot-mess of a closet situation (make room for new clothes?), and now’s the perfect time. One thing about cohabitating is that you suddenly have half the clothing storage space you used to have…

should i stay or should i go

Wishing:

All the mommas out there the HAPPIEST Mothers Day! I know it’s said time and time again, but they are amazing and I don’t know how they do what they do. Mine especially – she’s pretty awesome!

Last year's high tea celebration at MoRoCo.

Last year’s high tea celebration at MoRoCo.

Weekend Baking

Baking on the weekends is a great way to relax, and take the stress of work out on some dough. Also, a great way to get some sweets made for snacks during the week. I’ve mentioned before how much I love pie, and while National Pie Day is actually in January, March 14th is “pi” day (a little nerdy? yes, but there’s dessert involved!) so I’ve got it on my mind this month.

Homemade pies are among my favourite dishes – they aren’t incredibly challenging to make, but certainly have an “I slaved all day in the kitchen for this” feel to them when you serve them to friends or bring them to a get together. If I have time, I always make the dough from scratch, but store-bought does the trick enough – it’s really all in the filling and presentation.

The best part about pies? Sweet or savoury, there are endless options for filling and you can experiment with what you want to include with minimal fear of it tasting off. How else do you think something like strawberry-rhubarb came to be?

A few months ago, I took a chance with a more unique pie recipe that was a huge hit. In case you’re feeling homey this winter weekend, here’s how you can make this fabulous Grape and Apple Pie:

pie

Lattice Crust (while I’m partial to the lattice, you can make any kind of crust design – the one at Epicurious is an awesome way to frame the pie):

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening, frozen, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add shortening and butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to bowl. Mix 6 tablespoons ice water and vinegar in small bowl; pour over flour mixture. Stir with fork until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into 2 balls; flatten each into disk. Wrap each in plastic and chill 30 minutes.

Filling:

  • 3 pounds tart, crisp apples (I used Granny Smith), peeled, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound red or black grapes, halved, seeded if needed
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Mix apples, grapes, sugar, and flour in a large saucepan; stir to coat. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until fruit is translucent and juices are thickened, 30-40 minutes. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer fruit to crust. Remove remaining dough from refrigerator. Using a decorative cutter, make a pattern in center of dough, leaving a 2″ plain border; reserve cutouts. Invert dough over fruit in crust; peel off parchment paper. Trim dough along edge of crust, leaving no overhang. Arrange reserved dough cutouts decoratively over top crust, pressing lightly to adhere. Place pie on a baking sheet.

Bake pie until crust is golden brown and juices bubble, 50 minutes-1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Happy Baking!

I Take Thee…Pie

This past September, one of my very best friends (and the second half of my future business venture in…well, we’re not quite sure what our business will be yet, but it will be great) got married. Their theme was Vintage Travel, and it was a beautifully decorated, attention-to-detailed wedding that was so completely “them”. I don’t think there was much more they could have done to show how in love they are, while also showing off their amazingly unique style as a couple and as individuals. Surrounded by their closest friends and family, they exchanged vows and then we all ate, drank and danced the night away in celebration at the Academy of Spherical Arts (I suggest visiting one day for lunch or dinner…it’s right next to one of my favourite furniture stores, West Elm in Liberty Village).

One of the best parts of their wedding was the cake cutting…because they actually cut a pie! The two met in university and their first date was simply “let’s procrastinate from studying for exams and instead go on a campus-wide hunt for pie”. And pie has been a favourite dessert (and theme) throughout their relationship ever since. In honour of their upcoming second wedding – more of an extended first wedding, really – in New Zealand, I’d like to share my favourite pie recipe:

Blueberry Pie with Lattice Crust

(from Epicurious)

Thanksgiving Pie(s)

Thanksgiving Pie(s)

Crust (makes 2 disks, for top and bottom):

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening, frozen, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add shortening and butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to bowl. Mix 6 tablespoons ice water and vinegar in small bowl; pour over flour mixture. Stir with fork until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into 2 balls; flatten each into disk. Wrap each in plastic and chill 30 minutes.

Filling:

  • 4 1/2-pint baskets blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Crush a few berries in bowl with back of rubber spatula; toss to blend. Let stand until dry ingredients are moistened, about 15 minutes.

Roll out 1 pie-crust disk on lightly floured surface to 12 1/2-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 3/4 inch. Spoon filling into crust. Roll out second pie-crust disk on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Using scalloped pastry cutter, cut dough into generous 1/2-inch-wide strips. Arrange dough strips across top of filling. Form lattice by arranging more dough strips at right angle to first strips, weaving strips if desired. Trim dough strips even with overhang on bottom crust. Tuck ends of dough strips and overhang under; press to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. Brush edges and lattice lightly with whipping cream.

Place pie on baking sheet. Bake 40 minutes. Cover crust edges with foil to prevent overbrowning. Continue to bake until filling bubbles thickly in center, about 50 minutes longer. Cool pie on rack at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

ThePinJunkie