Thursday, May 24, 2012

Amaretto Peach Pie

Mini Amaretto Peach Pies

Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect time to make a pie. Now, not just any pie but an Amaretto peach pie will surely kick things off. I love the way Amaretto mingles with each and every peach ... creating a sweet yet savory taste. Lately, I've seen several different peach varieties and even though they are not perfectly in season ... I sometimes splurge as to remind myself what fruits Summer will bring. Whether you are planning an outdoor weekend with friends this weekend, a barbecue at home with family, or you are planning on keeping things simple ... I highly recommend that your weekend should include a slice of pie, a mini pie, and more precisely ... a sweet and perfect mini Amaretto peach pie. Next week, I will have several posts all about Oregon ... so if you are a lover of the Pacific Northwest stay tuned. Bisous.

A Recipe: Mini Amaretto Peach Pies
The Crust: a Pâte Brisée pie crust
(From Martha Stewart)
2 ½ cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced into cubes, chilled
½ cup ice water plus 2 tablespoons

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Pulse for several seconds. Add your diced butter, and process until the mixture looks coarse, about 15 seconds.

Next, add your iced water (it is important that your water is cold) slowly, and process until your dough comes together. Make sure that you do not add too much water as you do not want a sticky dough.

Form your dough into one ball, and then cut the ball in half. Roll out each half into a disc and wrap individually. Store for an hour in the refrigerator to let your dough chill. After an hour, your dough is ready to use. For mini pies, I use the top of a wide mouth mason jar to cut into my dough for perfect sized mini pies.

 The Filling: Peach Amaretto 
(from yours truly, Coeur de La)
6-8 peaches, peeled, pitted, and cubed
¼ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 teaspoon amaretto

1. Mix ingredients in a small bowl, being careful not to mash the peaches
2. Roll out one disc of pie dough, as this will be your bottom crust. To cut perfectly sized bottoms, I use the lid to a large mouth mason jar. Once your dough has been rolled out and cut, fit your pie bottoms into mini ceramic pie dishes. I found mine at Cost Plus.
3. Pour your filling into your pie molds. I like adding a heaping amount as there is nothing worse than taking a bit of pie and getting no fruit.
4. Now with your second dough, cut 3 inch by ½ inch long pieces of dough with a pie cutter. These will be used for a lattice crust.
5. Make an X over your pie filling with your cut dough, then begin to weave over and under with the other dough strips until you have a lattice. The first time you do this will not be perfect, but with time you will get the hang of it. Starting with mini lattice crusts is the way to go, as you only need about six pieces of dough.
6. Place pies on a cookie sheet, as they will ooze and make a precarious mess in your oven.
7. Make an egg wash with one egg and 3 tablespoons of water and lightly brush the tops of your pies, sprinkling with a bit of sugar if you feel inclined.
8. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Let the pies cool and … 
Bon Appetit!

Monday, May 14, 2012

a picnic under the pines

Lately ... I have been feeling all together grateful for life's little things ... perfectly poached eggs, homemade beet hummus, a visit from Marc's cousin from France which allowed us to open champagne, venture to Mt. Tam for a ten mile hike, and show him all the things that make us happy.

This past weekend we spent several days with my mom where each morning we grabbed cofee and relaxed. Each trip was filled with the best espresso, the retelling of classic family stories, and lots and lots of laughs.

We went to our favorite park where we had a picnic under the pines indulging in Lambrusco, homemade sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and fresh berries. And ... after several hours of frisbee we finally wore ourselves out and headed home. I love days where glancing at one's watch is an after thought and the only way to tell time is by an occasional grumble of the stomach ... meaning it must be time for dinner. I cherish moments where we do not have to do anything out of the ordinary ... and it is the little things that make our weekend special.

My favorite evening was when Marc was busy outside washing the cars, a warm breeze with smells of citrus filled the air, and my mom and I squeezed lemon after lemon for vanilla bean lemonade. And it reminded me that ... it's the little things that I will always remember not the dinners out or jam packed weekends filled with things to do and places to see ... but the little moments that stop us in our tracks and have us appreciating just being with the ones you love.