Pies

A week ago, we were in Aspen walking around town. It started snowing like crazy, and we were totally covered in a matter of minutes!  Our valley went from mid-50’s and sunshine, with only a few little patches of snow, to a full on winter wonderland. The snow finally stopped yesterday. I think I heard somewhere that this is a new record for November- the most snowfall ever. When it’s cold out, I’m almost always chilled, so you can bet I warmed up the best way I know how- baking! Every year our landlord sends us several bags of  Wisconsin cranberries. Pears seem to be the only fruit that’s ripe and edible at the grocery store right now, so we have plenty of those on hand. And when I came across this [...]

I can’t stop baking these. I’ve already planned to make them again in 2 1/2 weeks  so we can eat them for breakfast on Christmas morning. They remind me of my days as a student at The French Pastry School, when obviously, pastries were plentiful.  Flaky, tender, and feather-light, homemade ‘quick’ puff pastry serves as the base for these tartlets. Then they’re topped with ripe, yet slightly firm pears, and baked. Golden brown and fresh out of the oven, a lightly spiced powdered sugar glaze is drizzled over the tops, creating warm, sweet, fruity, flaky pastry goodness.  I made this dough and used it over several days. Each morning I’d roll out two or three squares and bake them off so we had fresh pastries with our coffee. Because they’re [...]

We were lucky enough to make a quick trip to California last week.  We spent one day exploring San Francisco and the rest a bit north in Sebastopol visiting friends. If we had the right kind of luggage I would have filled my entire suitcase with figs. Below are some photos from the trip because they’re too beautiful not to share- harbor seals, the pacific ocean, good food, and a cheerful city. A few weeks ago we came across some sour cherries from a little produce stand in Silverthorne. They were already pitted and frozen in bags. How convenient! Some of them went into a red plum and sour cherry jam that was amazing- crimson red, fruity, and just the right amount of pucker. From that moment on I knew [...]

Hello everyone! I hope you are all have an enjoyable summer. I can’t complain- June was filled with a few trips all over Colorado and Utah, as well as lots of wedding cake work. We’ve been getting a few rain showers each week which is such a blessing compared to our dry, kind of scary (wildfires!) summer last year. I’ve been taking in all of the wildflowers this year. We didn’t have a whole lot last year, and they add a fun dynamic to hikes. I always see new ones tucked among the familiar faces. For the Fourth of July there were what felt like a million people in town. My little brother makes fun of me for complaining about what I call ‘traffic’, but when you live in a [...]

I could use a boost. Closing day was on Sunday, and since Saturday night we have gotten pounded with snow-almost (if not already) 3 feet. That’s a lot of snow. I’m tired of clearing it off of my car, I’m tired of strapping on boots, I’m tired of adding extra layers to go outside. I know that it’s springtime, and that on the next sunny day a lot of it will be gone. But I just wanted a moment to whine because I really would like to get on with my favorite time of year- Summer! Ok, I’m done. Despite all the white everywhere, I must add that it’s been beautiful in its own little twisted way. Many of the snow showers have been the heavy, wet snow that clings [...]

This Thanksgiving I was really missing my mom’s pecan pie. She usually makes it the night before, and sometimes we sneak a sliver before bed. If not, we definitely break into it in the morning. I love having pie for breakfast. My first winter out here I had to bake mini pecan tartlets for a banquet event. I even used a ‘high altitude recipe’ from a very popular high altitude cookbook. They bubbled out over their crusts and tasted nothing like pecan pie should- hard and chewy- rather than soft and gooey. After that I kind of dismissed pecan pie baking at altitude. I was under the impression that it was impossible from my first-hand attempts, as well as what I had read on the Internet. A week or two [...]

How can it really be almost September? I suppose the farmer’s market this past weekend was a good indication of late summer, judging by the abundance of Colorado produce. Weird to think that in a month or so, we will start seeing a dusting of snow on the high mountaintops in the mornings. Last week, I was in South Carolina with my family. It was wonderful to spend time with everyone, and enjoy the ocean together. We’d ride bikes around the island, play in the waves, hunt for crabs at night, and eat dinner around a huge table every night. The sounds and smells of being at the beach were intoxicating. A great trip… I also was fortunate enough to recently spend some time in Telluride, which was incredible. It [...]

August sure has a way of sneaking up on you. Before you know it, the month is halfway over. But late summer is wonderful. I have been soaking up the lush green mountainside, the cheerful hummingbirds who visit my feeder 100+ times a day, and the nights when I don’t need a light jacket. For these too shall pass as the season evolves into Autumn. I have been so busy making pastries and my Honest “Twinkies” that there hasn’t been too much downtime in the kitchen. When my baking work is finished, I want to get outdoors and play. Like I’ve probably said a million times, summer is my absolute favorite season in the Rockies. With views like these to distract me, can you really blame me? Next week we [...]

Sigh. Is there anything sweeter than a fruit pie? Flaky, crimped pastry. Bubbly, baked fruit filling. Memories and comfort. I love baking pies because I find them very relaxing. They break the norm for me from plated desserts or complex pastries because they don’t need accompaniments and garnishes, or multiple steps; they are wonderful as is. Pastry and fruit. A simple slice, and that’s all. In my opinion, an honest pie should have a homemade look to it, so perfection is not important. Honest pies aren’t production pies. They are hand-crafted. Someone lovingly picked through and cut the fruit. That same person pinched the dough between his or her forefinger and thumb to create a fluted crust. An honest pie is also a very proud pie that forever holds memories [...]

While citrus fruits have their peak season in the winter, there’s just something incredibly refreshing about their tangy, bright, and acidic flavor on a hot and steamy summer day. One bite of this creamy and tart pie, topped with a fluffy mound of toasted Italian meringue, and things cool waaay down. Had to run to the post office today? The line was probably too long anyways. Laundry to do? You can find something else to wear tomorrow. You’ve had this problem a few times before and you managed to make it work. Oh and that dinner party you planned for tonight? Embrace the art of buying nice things and merely assembling, darling. Everyone loves a good antipasto platter. The point is, lemon meringue pie is just one of those desserts [...]

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