Tuesday, September 13, 2011

~*Pie In Your Eye*~

This blog started off as chronicling our adoption journey and its morphed into so much more...from meeting RAD, to throwing in the random recipe, to simply our everyday lives...its chronicling US; as a family.

One thing I cannot deny is that I *love* food!  No, really, I think food is divine and I love to cook and bake and feed people. I tend to cook for a crowd even if just one extra person is gracing our table.  

Recently, I came upon the most amazing recipes and my taste testers threatened to tar and feather me if I didn't cough up the recipe by today, Tuesday.  So, here it is folks!  Please at least mention me when your getting a bazillion complements! 


Peaches and Cream Pie

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell
2 lbs ripe but firm peaches,
   peeled, halved and pitted
2 Tbls plus 1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbls all-purpose flour 
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Cover pie shell with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes, then freeze for 20.  Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower middle positions and heat oven to 375*.  Line chilled pie shell with two 12-inch squares of aluminum foil, letting foil lie over edges of dough.  Top with pie weights.

2) Place peach halves cut side up on aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tbls sugar.  Bake peaches on upper middle rack until softened and juice is released, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through baking.  

3) Place crust on lower-middle rack and bake until edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Remove crust from oven and carefully remove foil and weights.  Continue to bake until bottom of crust is light brown and peaches are caramelized, about 5 minutes.  

4) Reduce oven temp to 325*. Cut peaches lengthwise into quarters.  Arrange peaches in crust.  Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in bowl.  Whisk in cream, egg yolks, and vanilla until smooth.  Pour cream mixture over peaches. Bake until filling is light golden brown and firm in center, 45-55 minutes.  Cool at least 3 hours.  

**Notes**  My own short cuts after making this several times.  I freeze the bottom crust while I prep all the other ingredients (instead of chill 40 and freeze 20) then pop it in the oven at the appropriate step.  I use a French Pastry and use a top crust, although, this recipe does not call for one.  I also use a whole egg whisked up on the top pie crust then sprinkle liberally with sugar.  (Whole egg= yolk & egg white) 

Also, I use the traditional boiling method of removing the peach skin.  Roasting the peaches after removing the skin is essential as it releases the juices prior to baking them in the pie. (Recipe found in the June/July 2011 Cooks Country magazine.)

Carolina Sweet Potato Sonker

2 boxes prepared pie crust (from cooler section) or 2 double recipe pie crusts
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups apple cider
4lbs  sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 Tbls unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 Tbls all-purpose flour
2 Tbls lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbls granulated sugar

Custard Dip
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) For the Sonker: Working on lightly floured counter, unroll 2 dough rounds.  Brush half of 1 round with egg and overlap with the second round. Roll out dough to 17 by 13 inch rectangle and fit into 13x9 -inch rectangle baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.  Repeat shaping and rolling with remaining 2 dough rounds; reserve beaten egg.  Trim dough into rectangle and cut into ten 1 inch strips.  Transfer dough strips to parchment lined rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375*.  Bring cider to boil in large pot or dutch oven. Place steamer rack in pot and fill with sweet potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until potatoes are nearly tender, 20-30 minutes.  Remove and reserve sweet potatoes aside, leaving the cider in pot.   

3) Cook cider over high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.  Cool sweet potatoes at least 20 minutes before placing them in prepared dough-lined baking dish. Combine brown sugar, reduced cider, butter, flour, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, allspice, and salt in bowl.  Pour mixture over sweet potatoes.

5) Brush edges of dough with reserved egg. With long side of dish facing you, lay 4 dough strips lengthwise over sweet potato mixture.  Weave remaining 6 strips into lattice pattern.  Press dough strips into bottom crust and trim excess.  Fold dough sides inward under lip of baking dish and crimp with fork.  

6) Combine sugar and remaining 1/4 tsp cinnamon in bowl.  Brush dough with reserved egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until deep golden brown, 55-60 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let sonker cool on wire rack at least 1 1/2 hours before serving. (Sonker can be refrigerated, covered for up to 1 day.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)

7) For the custard dip: Meanwhile, bring milk, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking frequently, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Off heat, add vanilla.  Transfer to bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Serve with sonker.

**Notes** I used the premade dough as they suggest but honestly I'd go the extra step and use my favorite french pastry recipe.  Its more work but worth it!  Also, I did not use the custard dip.  It is NOT truly a custard dip (no eggs). I will come up with another version (spiced icing, a true spiced custard dip, or spiced whipped topping) next time. 

My tasters *loved* this beyond words!  It was compared to apple pie.  The cider used to infuse flavor into the sweet potatoes during steaming is so worth it.  If you use apple juice instead I recommend using allspice and cinnamon in the apple juice.  The spices are essential. (Found in the October/November 2011 issue of Cooks Country)

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