Traditionally, Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer and the beginning of those crisp, cool Fall days that we all look forward to. Here in Georgia - summer lingers just a little longer. The day after Labor Day, we decorate our houses and our front yards with fake pumpkins and scarecrows made out of straw. 🎃 We order pumpkin spice lattes and we break out our Fall sweaters and scarves so we can look the part.🧣 And we do it all in 90 degree temperatures. 😅😅
It took me a few years to learn this lesson but, it's not only socially acceptable to pretend that Fall hits Georgia the day after Labor Day - it's expected. As a resident of this great state, you can believe that I do my part and arrange all my pumpkins on the mantle on Tuesday.🤪 I may wait another month or so before I break out the Fall coffee, hit the Fall festivals and corn mazes though. 😬
Decorations and wardrobes aren't the only thing expected to change in Georgia this week. Restaurants will start introducing their Fall menus. I would not be surprised to see appletinis, hot buttered rum drinks, comfort stews and hearty cassoulets featured at menus all over the city.🥃 Maybe immersing ourselves with Fall food and decorations is our way of convincing ourselves that, sooner or later, Fall temperatures will come to Georgia.
With the end of summer just days away, I'm taking the opportunity to post one last summertime recipe. Key lime pie squares. 🍈 If you're a fan of the classic pie version of this scrumptious treat - you NEED to try these squares. They're the perfect combination of tart and sweet and more portable than pie.
Key Lime Pie Squares
2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
9 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 cans (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups lime juice
zest of 3 limes
Pour over cooled crust.
Bake 20 minutes at 350. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate 3 hours.
Cut into squares. Decorate with fresh whipped cream.
As usual - I'm slightly late on the Labor Day post but I hope that you had a great one.
“Failure is just part of the process, and it’s not just okay; it’s better than okay." - Bob Goff. I'm thankful for the reassurance that my cooking failures aren't a three-strikes-and-you’re-out sort of thing. Sometimes I need that gentle reminder to dust myself off so I can swing for the fences again. And the only person keeping meticulous records of my screw-ups - is me. 😅
You see where I'm going with this don't you? As soon as I start to gain some confidence in my baking skills - I have a REALLY off day and I manage to screw up the same recipe 4 times!! No joke! Allow me to break down my Chevron Cake Roll experience for you.
Attempt #1: I forgot to grease the parchment paper and the cake stuck to the pan.
Attempt #2: I greased the parchment but forgot to add flour to the cake. 🤦🏻♀️ Attempt #3: I forgot to add sugar to the egg whites.
Attempt #4: I rolled the cake inside out so the chevron detail that I so painstakingly added to my cake, wasn't even visible.
Yep, baking professional right here. 😅 I will spare you the details about why I failed at this recipe so many times, but you should know that on more than one occasion during this Chevron cake journey, I considered scraping the entire thing, cutting my losses and just serving a bowl of strawberries and whipped cream. Fortunately, there was a small part of me that had to see this process through, just to prove to myself that I could actually do it. #stubbornnessatitsfinest 😂
So after many (5 total) attempts, here is my Chevron cake roll recipe. The pictures were taken from all 4 practice runs so just ignore any inconsistencies in the photographs. Just remember that they're a compilation of all of my trials. At the end of the day - I'm glad that my stick-to-it-ness took over my desire to give up on this recipe. It really was worth all the effort. 🍓
Strawberry Chevron Cake Roll
4 egg whites
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 cup fresh strawberries (quartered)
Reroll cake and slice. (Preferably, not inside out.)
Slice and enjoy. 🍓
Don't let my failed attempts at this cake roll discourage you from making it. I'm pretty sure that I screwed up this recipe in every way possible. I did my best to document each of my failures for you though so that you don't make the same mistakes. And I can tell you from experience that even if you're cake doesn't look exactly like mine - as long as you add flour and sugar - it will still taste amazing. 💕
Give me all the berries this season: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and even cranberries. I want them scattered in my morning bowl of cornflakes and baked into my breakfast muffins. I want them made into delicious holiday treats and coated with sugar and sitting on top of my favorite cakes.
Berries make the best decorations for any holiday treats. Coating this particular red berry in sugar has a very interesting effect on peoples animosity toward the cranberry. If I were to guess, I'd say that there's only a very small percentage of the population that actually enjoys eating fresh cranberries. I'm happen to be one of that elite group and I know that I could increase the number of cranberry fans in the world if I could get people to taste just one of my sugared cranberries. 😋
I can get away with serving homemade cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving but given it's limited appeal, I tend to steer clear of cranberry desserts for any other occasion. When I make dinner for guests, I stick to berries that are more universally accepted like black, blue and rasp. (rasp?) 😅
This blackberry crisp is one of the easiest and most delicious way to enjoy fresh berries. I love this crisp so much that whenever I have extra berries on hand, I put this together, pop it in the freezer and save it for a rainy day. Did I mention that this recipe works with any fruit? Even cranberries. 🤣
1 1/2 cup quick oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
8-10 cups fresh blackberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Bake 45 minutes at 350.
Serve with a scoop of ice cream.
If you don't have access to fresh berries - you can always substitute frozen berries. There are endless possibilities of fruit options and fruit combinations that you can create. Peach and cranberry crisp anyone?
Hold onto your hats, friends. I've got a big announcement. As of late last night - I AM THE OFFICIAL OWNER OF TWO OVENS!!! In case you couldn't tell - I'm crazy excited about doubling my oven capacity. We've been planning for this moment for a long time and now that it's finally here, I have an overwhelming desire to fire them both up and see how many cookies I can bake at once. 🍪😂
Adding a second oven was one of the major driving factors that started our conversations about renovating the kitchen. My previous kitchen was sufficient in many ways but it was definitely lacking in oven and pantry space. The problem is that things kind of snowballed from there into what became a total kitchen demolition and rebuild. 😬
One electric and one gas. Two ovens - two different heat sources. I haven't cooked in an electric oven for a really long time so I'm anxious to do some comparison baking. How's that for an excuse to bake more pie?🥧 Thank goodness Thanksgiving is right around the corner because I'm going to need some more mouths and stomachs to keep up with all this baking that I have planned. 🤣
Do you know what happens when your new oven gets installed and hooked up at 10:00 at night? You go to bed and dream about all the things you want to bake in your new appliance. 🤣 Should there be some significance to the first food baked in a new oven? Can I make something great without counters or a sink? What if the very first thing that I put in the oven, makes a mess? I can seriously overthink things in my sleep. 😂😴
As of this moment - I haven't baked anything - I'm still trying to figure out how to operate this new appliance that is clearly, way smarter than me. 🤓 😅 Did you know that you can actually scan a food from the grocery store into an app and my oven will automatically cook it to perfection. WHAT?! Maybe by the time I figure out how to use this fancy machine, I'll have water and a sink in my kitchen. 😂
Pies are a Thanksgiving staple and you better believe that they will be one of the first things that goes into my new oven. I love fruit pies and this blueberry pie is no exception. Even though we're nearing the end of summer, I've still been able to find decent blueberries in the grocery store. If you see happen to see some great looking berries on your next supermarket trip - pick up about 6 cups for a blueberry crumble pie. Enjoy it now or freeze it or Thanksgiving --- or make two. 🤷🏻♀️
Blueberry Crumble Pie
single pie crust
5 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
Sprinkle over pie.
Bake 25 minutes at 400. Reduce heat to 375 and bake 30-35 minutes longer. Cover with foil if browning too quickly.
Cool at least 3 hours before slicing.
A slice of blueberry crumble pie might just be the perfect way to initiate my new oven. 😉
Pie making is no joke. 🥧 There's an art to making the perfect buttery crust that can be delicately rolled into a perfect circle and artfully fit inside of a pie plate. The perfect pie dough isn't overworked making it tough and chewy and it's not under-kneaded and crumbly. There's no denying that achieving the perfectly flaky, crispy pie crust is not something that can be rushed.
Mastering the art of homemade pie crust is only the first step to making a perfect pie. Blanching, peeling, slicing, simmering and seasoning fruit to fill that beautiful homemade crust inevitably involves a big commitment of time as well. Pie baking takes practice, it takes patience, it takes quality ingredients and even though I don't believe in luck - I feel like pie baking takes a fair amount of "luck."
I've come to the realization recently that sailing is a whole lot like pie baking. ⛵️It requires patience, practice, strong equipment and some good old fashioned luck. This became remarkably clear last weekend when Ben and I took this little vessel out for a spin.
On our inaugural trip, one of the lines holding the sail, broke in two, leaving us stranded in the middle of the lake. 😬 Fortunately, we were able to rework the shortened line and finagle the tiny boat back to shore where we could replace the broken rope.
A few days later, feeling like we needed to complete our journey that was cut short, we embarked on a second voyage. We were happily cruised along to the opposite end of the bay with the wind filling our sail when suddenly, for no apparent reason, the wind just ... died - like, completely. 😅 So there we sat on our motionless yacht, staring at each other, waiting for wind. After 15 minutes, we ran out of patience and started paddling our boat back to shore - more accurately, Ben started paddling. 🤣
Patience is defined as "the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset." Hmmm. 🤔 That doesn't sound like me at all. 😂 I didn't have a lot of patience on the sailboat and I certainly don't demonstrate a lot of patience while I'm baking. 😬 Maybe that's why pies have never been my forte.
I'm not ignorant to the fact that there are easier ways to make pie. I've used the pre-rolled crusts, canned pie filling and bought whole frozen pies. They're all good options, but for me, the real joy of a pie lies in the art of creating. There's no question that I'm still trying to master the skills of baking the perfect pie. I've loving the process and who knows, maybe I'll even learn to have a little more patience, along the way.
Peach Raspberry Pie
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 recipe double crust pie dough
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
4 pounds (about 8 large) peaches, sliced
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Roll out remaining pie dough. Brush rim of bottom crust with egg mixture. Top with second crust.
Crimp the edges of the pie and refrigerate 30 minutes. Brush pie with egg glaze and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 20 minutes at 425. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 30-40 minutes.
Pie baking experts - why are my fruit pies soggy sometimes? The peaches that I used for this pie were not very juicy and I used fresh raspberries so I don't understand why this pie turned out so soggy on the bottom. Do I need to add more flour or maybe some cornstarch? Any suggestions or insight would be appreciated.
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