For this trip to the orchard I got white peaches, as they were larger and prettier in general this week. Blueberries happened to be on sale this week too, for $1.28 a pint. So, I made this dessert for almost nothing. I think it would also be absolutely wonderful with raspberries, or even blackberries.
The original recipe calls for making individual crumbles in ramekin dishes. But, it was just us chickens here tonight – and I diddn’t feel like getting into all that for just us. I went ahead and doubled the crumble portion of the recipe as well – just ’cause that’s how I roll. If you do decide to do individual portions, you’ll want to cut the crumble amounts in half and shorten the cooking time to 40 to 45 minutes.
Peach and Blueberry Crumble
Serves 5 to 6
For the fruit
2 lbs firm, ripe peaches (6-8 peaches)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh blueberries (1/2 pint)
For the Crumble
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 lb (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily. Place them immediately in cold water. Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the blueberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into 1.5 quart casserole dish.
For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it is in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and back for about 1 hour, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you want to make these early, store the unbaked crumbles int he refrigerator and bake before dinner.
Fresh shrimp are very easy to come by here on the Eastern Shore. Shrimp are wonderful, you can virtually do anything you want to with them. I will spare you all any Bubba Blue quotes, but the man did have a good point. I’d go as far as to say they are the most versatile thing in the whole ocean. But, I have to say, my favorite preperation of a shrimp is the good old batter and fry. While I absolutely adore a zesty shrimp scampi, or an piping hot batch of Old Bay-laiden steamed shrimp, there is something to be said about the simplicity of a fried shrimp.
Because shrimp cook so quickly – things easily go awry. The difference between perfectly cooked and shrimp jerky is a matter of seconds. And, nothing is worse than an overcooked shrimp. Well, okay, I’m sure there is something worse…but, it’s pretty damn bad people!
Feel free to use frozen shrimp (I pity the fool!). Just make sure they have been thawed completely before battering and frying.
Place 2 inches of oil into a large saucepan or dutch oven and heat to 375 degrees. While waiting for the oil to warm up, prepare the shrimp.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, salt and pepper in a small bowl. In a shallow dish combine the egg, milk, and hot sauce.
Drege the shrimp in the flour mixture first. Shake to remove excess flour from the shrimp. Then, place shrimp into the egg mixture. Turn to coat, remove and let excess drip off, then place back into flour mixture. Dredge in the flour thoroughly to make sure all sides are coated. Repeat process with remaining shrimp, working in batches of 4 or 5 at a time.
Place shrimp in the hot oil, and cook, turning over in oil several times, for about 2 minutes or until the shrimp are golden brown. Be careful not to overcook! Once you see the shrimp start to “curl up”, you know they are almost done. Give then another 30 seconds to 1 minute at that point, to let them finish their browning – then pull them out immediately and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.
You can keep shrimp warm in the oven on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. But honestly, they are great at room temperature too. Serve with lemon wedges and a good, spicy cocktail sauce.
It was one of those days. Nothing seemed to be working for me. I went from one task, to the next, to the next last Saturday…yet, nothing seemed to get done. I had gone to the local orchard and picked some peaches the previous day. The peaches you pluck off a tree do not last as long as those you would buy at your local grocery store, so I knew I had to get this pie made. I followed Cooks Illustrated’s recipe, and it turned out great. However, I had issues with the lattice-top.
The recipe had me freeze strips of dough to use for the lattice before “weaving” the top together. I guess I left it in there too long, or my freezer is too cold…but the strips were just snapping and breaking at every turn. I was getting ready to throw the whole damn pie out the back door. Thankfully, my husband talked me into putting it in the oven. I’m glad I did, because it really was delicious. The prettiest pie? No. But, sometimes the best things to eat certainly aren’t the prettiest now, are they?
Lattice-Top Peach Pie
1 recipe Pie Dough for Lattice Top Pie (recipe follows)
Flour for dusting the work surface
6-7 medium, ripe peaches (7 cups sliced)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3-5 tbsp potato starch or Minute tapioca (see note)
1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll the larger piece of dough to a 15 by 11-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick; transfer the dough rectangle to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a pizza wheel, fluted pastry cutter, or paring knife, trim the long sides of the rectangle to make them straight, then cut the rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips 15 inches long by 1 1/4 inches wide. Freeze the strips on the baking sheet until firm, about 30 minutes.
2. Roll the smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface or between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate by rolling the dough around a rolling pin and unrolling it over the pan. Working around the circumference of the pan, ease the dough into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while pressing it into the pan bottom with the other hand. Leave the dough that overhangs the lip of the pie plate in place; refrigerate the dough-lined pie plate.
3. Remove the dough strips from the freezer. If they are too stiff to be workable, let them stand at room temperature until malleable and softened slightly but still very cold. Form lattice top crust on a parchement lined baking sheet, then place in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan and fill a large bowl with 2 quarts of cold water and 2 trays of ice cubes. Peel the peaches by blanching them. Cut a small “X” in the bottom of each peach, dunk them in the boiling water for about 40 seconds, remove them and place in the ice water. The skins should slip right off. Halve and pit each peach, and cut into 3/8 inch slices.
5. Toss the peach slices, lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and potato starch in a medium bowl.
6. Turn the peach mixture into the dough-lined pie plate. Remove the lattice from the freezer and place on top of the filled pie. Trim the lattice strips and crimp the pie edges. Lightly brush the lattice top with 1 tbsp water and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp sugar.
7. Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the crust is set and begins to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Rotate the pie and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue baking until the crust is deep golden brown, and the juices bubble, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool the pie on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before serving.
* If you don’t have or can’t find potato starch, substitute an equal amount of Minute tapioca ground for about 1 minute in a food processor or spice grinder.
10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 tbsp ice water
1. Process the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the shortening and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with the butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle the 10 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tbsp more ice water if the dough will not come together. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other (If possible, weigh the pieces; they should weigh 16 oz and 14 oz). Flatten the larger piece into a rough 5-inch square and the smaller piece into a 4-inch disk; wrap seperately in plastic and chill as directed.
Father’s Day weekend is usually a big weekend around here. My dad’s birthday usually falls on, or on the day before. And, of course, since the baby has come along we’ve been celebrating Father’s Day. It also kind of signals the beginning of summer. And, for me, nothing says “summer” more than blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay.
I’ve been eating these for every summer as far back as I remember. My dad, mom, and I would go “trotlining” early in the morning. By 10 o’clock we’d have a bushel of crabs. Now-adays, we live 20 minutes from “The Crab Capital Of The World”. Also known as Crisfield, Maryland. We buy the crabs by the bushel, live, right off the boat. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a pre-steamed crab, and I don’t know that I’d care to. You just need to make sure you have a large enough steaming vessel to cook them…a 7 gallon turkey fryer is ideal.
Steamed Blue Crabs
1/2 bushel live blue crabs (4 dozen)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups beer (any kind will do)
8 cups water
1/2 cup Old Bay (seafood seasoning)
1/4 cup kosher salt
Combine the Old Bay and kosher salt. Combine the water, vinegar and beer in the bottom of a large steamer pot . Add the crabs in, a few at a time, seasoning with a tablespoon of seasoning here and there as you go. Bring the vinegar/water to a boil, then add the steamer basket full of crabs. Cover. Cook on medium-high heat for 40 minutes. Remove lid, and continue to steam for an additional 5 minutes with the lid off before removing.
Serve on layers of newspaper, with vinegar and melted butter for dipping.