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Banoffee “Danger” Pie

17 Jan

I don’t really like bananas.  Something about the texture and the after taste.  And probably something to do with growing up with apple bananas in Cayman.  I love apple bananas, I can eat 3 or 4 at once, they are sweeter, a little tangy and very smooth, mmmmm … apple bananas.  But the regular bananas you get in the grocery store, Cavendish bananas, well, they generally aren’t my cup of tea.  Isabella goes through phases where she will eat 3 bananas a day. They are the first thing she asks for when she wakes up, she will stop in her tracks at the park and ask for one, devour it and then ask for another.  Banana, please!  So we buy them and she eats them and we buy more until one morning she wakes up and looks at you like you have lost your mind when you offer her a banana.

And then we are left with a bunch of bananas, sitting in a bowl on the counter, getting more ripe by the minute.  Sometimes Martin makes banana bread or takes them to work.  I try to ignore them.  It happened last week she went from 2 bananas a day, to giving me and the banana dirty looks when offered.  And for some reason I thought of Banoffee “Danger” Pie.  That’s right, this pie has a middle name, and it is Danger.

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Pear and Apple Pie for Two

2 Dec

Martin and I shared this little pie after a dinner of leftovers on a Tuesday night, while watching Bored to Death, in socks.  It felt special and date night-y.  A middle of the week treat.  A date without leaving our couch, brushing my hair or calling the babysitter.

Using a jumbo muffin tin to mold and bake the pie in is one of my better ideas of late.  I don’t really use the tin for anything else and this has opened up a world of possibilities.  I love pie but a 9 inch pie for three is a bit much outside of the holidays.  This little pie is a great way to experiment with fillings and toppings.  Make six and you have an elegant dessert for guests – one per person is a generous serving, ideal for a night of food and wine and friends.  Make one and share it and you have a little bit of romance.

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Holiday 2011

15 Nov

If you are in Philadelphia and looking for some delicious, hand crafted baked goods to give as gifts or to supplement your holiday dinner, check out my menu below!  Is there something you are craving that you don’t see?  Send me a message and we can come up with something together!

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Lemon Curd

12 Nov

I love making lemon curd.  There is something about watching the soupy mixture transform into a thick, glossy, luxurious thing.  Lemon curd takes some time but can be used in so many ways. It can be piped into the center of doughnuts, cupcakes or cookies.  It is the filling for lemon meringue pie and lemon tarts.   It is used in lemon bars and sandwich between shortbread cookies.

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Pear and Pomegranate Tart

5 Nov

The first fancy French pastry that I attempted to make at home was a fruit tart.  The kitchen in our apartment at the time was tiny and walled off from the rest of the living space.  Armed with The Joy of Cooking, a newly acquired fluted tart pan and a French rolling-pin I disappeared into the kitchen.  Mixing, flouring, rolling, whisking. Periodically I would holler out to Martin, who was sitting in the living room,  that everything was going well, that it was coming together beautifully.  With every step that I completed successfully my confidence grew.  I was doing this!  It was going to be the best fruit tart ever created!  I baked the crust, filled it with the pastry cream and topped it with fruit.  I yelled for Martin to come in and see this jewel of a pastry that I created. I picked up the tart pan to move it to the dining room table and I lost control of the pastry.  It flew up into the air, pausing directly in front of my face for a split second before crashing to the floor.  Pastry cream every where, the crust shattered.  Martin rounded the corner into the kitchen and stepped on a blueberry.  I burst into tears.

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Vegetable Pie

4 Nov

Sometimes I get a little carried away at Iovine Brothers.  They have an incredible selection of produce at very fair prices.  That kind of situation means that I often come home with enough vegetables for 4 families.  This is the dish that takes all of those vegetables that are just on the other side of perfect and makes them one, big, beautiful thing.  Use what ever vegetables you have on hand. This pie is great as the main event with a salad or some soup.  It also makes a beautiful side dish and would be great with grilled lamb or pan-seared fish.

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Stone Fruit Galette

11 Jul

I went to Iovine Brothers for inspiration. Reading Terminal Market is one of the best things about Philadelphia and Iovine Brothers is one of the best things about the Market. They carry every fruit, vegetable, herb and root known to man kind. I always get slightly carried away when I am there and end up leaving the market with enough produce to feed a family of 8. For a week.

Summer in Philadelphia is wonderful for produce. Located near some of the most productive farm land on the East Coast, July brings forth an incredible haul. After months of eating apples and pears, July is a cacophony of berries, melons and stone fruit.

You will come to learn that I love tarts, sweet or savory, refined or rustic. And I happen to believe that there is no better way to honor a perfect fruit than by making a tart. The fruit in this tart isn’t so much cooked as warmed through; slightly softened and caramelized. The dough wraps around it like a flaky, delicate hug.

It really is one of the most simple desserts that you can make, I am not just saying that. And that is what you really want in the summer. To spend the afternoon at the pool, teaching the little one how to blow bubbles and then come home, tanned and tired. 1 hour and a glass of wine later you have managed to put together a beautiful salad, some steamed mussels and a gorgeous tart. I will tell you about the salad and the mussels later – they were delicious – but for now, it is dessert first.

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