Freezer Pies

Freezer Pies 25

What do you do when you have a big party coming up that requires lots of yummy baked goods, but you know that on the weekend in question you’re going to be way too busy to do anything as involved as make a pie? You take advantage of your freezer, of course.

Freezer Pies 4

First you make up your favourite pastry dough. I always love the original Joy of Cooking version that you can find in a previous post here. The Joy also has some great information on how to make pies ahead of time by freezing them before baking.

Freezer Pies 11

Then you make up your fillings. Here we opted for a vanilla peach and a strawberry-blueberry version. As long as you have about five cups of fruit, and then a couple tablespoons each of sugar, butter, and thickener (flour or corn starch), plus a few drops of lemon juice, then you can make any pie you want.

Freezer Pies 12

We had a tool that Cait called a “strawberry effer-upper” (though she used a stronger word than “effer,” if you catch my drift) which handily slices your strawberries into several neat pieces. Cait’s sister Jules was very happy to take on the effer-upper role. She’s a little sadistic like that.

Freezer Pies 2

Freezer Pies 9

Cait also made the error of purchasing clingstone peaches for our pies instead of freestone peaches, so getting the flesh of the fruit off the stone was a bit of a challenge. Eventually I discovered that if you cut wedges into the peach then it’s easier to pry off the sections.

Freezer Pies 5

Freezer Pies 6

Freezer Pies 7

Freezer Pies 8

Once your fillings are made and mixed, leave them at least fifteen minutes to macerate.

Freezer Pies 13

Ideally your dough has been chilling happily all this time and you’ve had a chance to roll it out and let it chill some more. The difference between a regular pie and a freezer pie is that when you plop the bottom shell into the pie dish, you leave a piece of plastic wrap on the bottom between the dish and the pastry. Honest.

Freezer Pies 14

Then you fill your pie that is sitting on top of a layer of plastic wrap. This pie is quite tall.

Freezer Pies 15

Seal it in with more pastry. Do not glaze your pastry at this point, if you’re into that kind of thing. You gotta wait on that.

Freezer Pies 16

Now wrap the rest of it up in plastic wrap so it’s tightly sealed. Wrap again in foil and shove that into the freezer.

Freezer Pies 17

When you’re ready to bake, haul the frozen pies out of the freezer. Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Freezer Pies 18

I stored the strawberry/blueberry one on an angle so I did have a bit of leakage.

Freezer Pies 19

Pry the pie out of the dish and peel off the bottom wrap.

Freezer Pies 20

Freezer Pies 21

Plop the pie back into the dish (you can glaze it now if you wish) and pop it in the oven for 10 minutes.

Freezer Pies 22

After ten minutes, haul it out and cut steam vents in the pastry.

Freezer Pies 23

Then shove it back in the oven (this time at 350°F) for a further hour, until the pastry is light brown and crusty and the insides are bubbling out.

Freezer Pies 26

Let those cool completely (or nearly completely) before eating. Yum!

Freezer Pies 28

S’meaches: In the Woods

Summer is drawing to a close, but why not give it one last hurrah with this gorgeous take on the traditional s’more treat? I saw this video a few years ago and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since.  Step one is building yourself a good fire and getting a nice consistent flame. I like to grill things in the coals so it’s a good idea to have this going for a while before you’re ready to have dessert. I apologize in advance for the terrible quality of these photos. There’s only so much you can do when your only light source is a campfire. If you want pretty pictures, check out the above video.

S'Meaches in the Woods 2

Grab yourself 2-3 fresh peaches. August is peach season in Ontario so these are like fuzzy heaven to eat.

S'Meaches in the Woods 4

Remove the pit by halving the peach and then slice the halves horizontally into peach patties.

S'Meaches in the Woods 5

Mix together 1 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cayenne (or more if you’re feeling adventurous). Dredge your peach slices in the brown sugar and cayenne mixture. Grab a package of large marshmallows and jam a marshmallow on your roasting stick, together with a slice of peach.

S'Meaches in the Woods 6

Roast until you get it the way you like it. The sugar should be all caramelized on your peach, and the marshmallow should be exactly as you wish.

S'Meaches in the Woods 8

S'Meaches in the Woods 9

Smush the contents of your roasting stick between two graham crackers and shove it in your face.  Repeat as necessary.  And it WILL be necessary.

S'Meaches in the Woods 10

Peach Blueberry Crumble

Peach Blueberry Crumble 14

I made this back when we were still in St. John’s, and I am so glad now that I have access to local produce IN SEASON.  In fact I bet you one of the first things I did upon arriving in Ottawa was scarf down some fresh Ontario fruit.  I bet you a million dollars.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 3

But anyway.  Summer, if you’re in many parts of Canada, entails lots and lots of amazing fruit: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, not to mention plums, nectarines, and gorgeous, gorgeous peaches.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 7

These blueberries are frozen and the peaches come from somewhere in the US but I think the sentiment is the same, hey?  The recipe is adapted from my mother’s apple crisp.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 1

Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a glass baking dish.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 4

Slice up about 7 peaches.  I had eight, but I ate one.  Sue me.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 8

Set about 1 cup frozen blueberries to thaw slightly (fresh are better, obviously).

Peach Blueberry Crumble 2

In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, and 3/4 cup brown sugar (I only had granulated sugar, but brown is best).

Peach Blueberry Crumble 5

I used my hands (having packed my pastry blender) to mix the butter into the flour and oats and sugar. Sprinkle about half that mixture into the bottom of your baking dish and pack it down gently.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 6

Layer on your fruit however you’d like.  I went with half the peaches on the bottom, the blueberries in the middle, and the rest of the peaches on top, like a summery sandwich of fruity goodness.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 9

Sprinkle the remaining flour/oat mixture over top.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 10

Bake, covered, for about 20 minutes, then uncover and bake a further 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and everything inside is bubbly.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 11

Your topping will be more brown if you use brown sugar, obviously.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 12

Because we were enduring a heat wave when I made this (in St. John’s!  I know!), we let this cool completely and then served it with partridgeberry ice cream.

Peach Blueberry Crumble 16

Fruit Porn Salad

Happy Birthday Ando!

Bow-chika WOW wow, chika-chika WOW, chika-chika WOW-wow.

Okay enough of that.  People call food writing food porn, and just last week on Freshly Pressed there was a blog about how sensual fruit salad is, so I just put two and two together.  I’m sorry.  Won’t happen again.

I am a total fruit hound.  It’s ridiculous how often I make myself sick over-eating when it comes to fruit.  The Pie just shakes his head at me and tells me I am a grown-up and should know better.  Then he goes and gets the Rolaids for me.

Fruit salad is the perfect summer dessert, especially after a dinner party where you have all stuffed yourselves silly.  This one I made for just such a party.  I find it’s good to make fruit salads the day before and leave them overnight in the fridge to let all the flavours mingle and get to know each other.

I left my regular camera in my in-laws’ truck, and so had to make do with my old one for this, which, despite weirdly exposing everything and turning every second photo a vivid purple, worked out rather well.

I happened to have a pineapple, which I expertly cored:

A watermelon, which I expertly cubed:

Some kiwi, which I expertly peeled:

Some local strawberries, which I inexpertly hulled:

Some leftover plums from the macaroon incident, which I pitted and quartered:

And a can each of mandarin orange segments and freestone peaches:

I set everything up in a mis en place so I could figure out how I was going to layer this sucker.  A fruit salad should be as pretty to look at as it is tasty to eat.

Into a pretty crystal bowl went all the watermelon, pineapple, peaches, oranges, and plums.  I added the juice from the pineapple as well.  Don’t be afraid to mix it up with your hands.  It goes with the whole sensual thing.  Plus your hands don’t tend to damage the more delicate fruits like metal spoons do.

Then around the outside I layered the kiwi, about two slices wide.  The strawberries I piled in the centre of the ring.

This final step is up to you, but I like to add about 2 ounces of a clear spirit, like vodka, to the mix, just to enhance the fruit flavours.  Today I had tequila, so I made do with that.  Cover it with plastic wrap and chuck it in the fridge overnight.Sensual?  Maybe.  Tasty?  For sure.