Mini Nectarine Pies

I don’t know. Is it nuts that I get excited over the craziest things? But honestly, who wouldn’t get excited over these sweet Mini Nectarine Pies?

I found some nectarines at my beloved Wegmans on Friday, and I could tell that they were different from the wrinkled little specimens that had been in the produce section all winter. You know the ones I’m talking about… they slightly resemble that lovely stone fruit…and a part of you wants to buy them…but you know that it’s only going to end in disappointment.

But these nectarines? They most definitely showed promise! I think I spent five minutes talking to this poor lady who only wanted put a couple nectarines into the plastic bag and be on her merry way. No, instead, I discussed in depth about how much I love nectarines, and how excited I am that we are well on our way to summer. I have to say that she was gracious, and actually shared that we share the same feelings. Which of course, to me, made us immediate best friends.

Okay, you know that I exaggerate.
I had a discussion with a lady over the nectarines.. and we both knew that we were taking our chances in buying them.
We did not go out for coffee later, nor did we exchange phone numbers.

And you know me. It’s a very close competition between cherries and nectarines for me. When they’re in season, you have to know that Prudy is gluttonous. I cannot get enough of them… so when I saw these, I couldn’t contain my excitement! Honestly.

I spent the whole weekend in a happy summer mode… and baked little mini nectarine pies. That’s just what came to mind, so that’s just what I did. While I was slicing the nectarines, I had a crumb topping in mind, but as I was rolling out the pastry, without even thinking, I threw a rustic lattice on top. It was only after they were in the oven did I remember that I wanted to do the crumb topping! Totally fine… that just gives me an excuse to make a pie with crumb topping now!

Sweet and slightly peachy, these little pies are super easy to throw together, and are so delicious with just a little bit of a brown sugar background. They’re only 6 inches, so they’re the perfect size as a dessert for one, or if you’re feeling generous, share it with someone you love! I’m including the recipe for one, and the recipe for four (just in case you’re not on board with sharing…)

Life is good. It’s a “Nectarines on a cold spring day are the sunshine in which happiness abounds, says Prudy…” kind of good.

Mini Nectarine Pies
 
Author:
Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • Mini Nectarine Pies
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Aunt Linda’s Pie Crust
  • 4 Large Nectarines, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Prepare Aunt Linda’s Pie Crust according to the recipe. Divide the dough into fourths. Roll out each section, and fit into each individual pie dish. Roll out the extra pie dough, and cut thin strips for the lattice.
  2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, and add the nectarines. Cook on low for about five minutes, or until the nectarines are slightly softened. You don’t want them too soft, because they’ll get mushy as they bake. Add the brown sugar and salt, and cook until the brown sugar melts. Add the cornstarch, and cook for about one more minute.
  3. Divide the nectarine mixture between the four pie dishes. Top with the strips of dough forming a lattice.
  4. Bake for about ½ hour, or until the crust is golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven, and cool completely.
  6. To make one 6” pie: Aunt Linda’s Pie Crust (divided into fourths, and freeze the other three balls of dough. Or make some cinnamon swirl pastries (See the Rustic Tomato Tart Post on butter, basil, and breadcrumbs)
  7. large nectarine, 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp, plus 1 tsp brown sugar, pinch of salt, 1 tsp cornstarch.
  8. Follow instructions for the four pie recipe.

 

Cajun Shrimp Scampi

This deliciously buttery Cajun Shrimp Scampi will serve as a delicious appetizer or a satisfying light meal!

Well, I spent the weekend in the kitchen again… I promised myself that I’d get my junk room cleaned out, but that didn’t happen. The way I look at it, that junk room will still be here next weekend when I promise myself again to clean it out…and then not do it again! I’m really only hurting myself, because I plan to make that room into a temporary pantry, but for some reason, I open the door, look at the mess, and then close the door and walk away.

Is it procrastination? I think it’s more like avoidance.

Can someone please tell me where all of that stuff comes from?
And why on earth did I think that I had to save it?
That’s okay. I’ll clean it next weekend… I promise me.

When I’m in the kitchen, all thoughts of that junk room go away. Any guilt goes out the door when I’m chopping, sautéing, and baking…

Until, of course, I open a cabinet and everything comes falling out all over me! That’s when I realize how badly I need that pantry… Okay, next weekend. I’ll clean it next weekend…. and then next weekend comes, and I open the door, look at the junk, and then close the door again…

It’s a vicious cycle.
It really is.

Normally I’d be embarrassed to even tell you about that room, but I think there’s more people than not who have that same room that I do. And I bet you avoid cleaning it just as much as I do! But let’s not talk about that darn room anymore. I’ll get to it…when I get to it.

In the meantime, I want to talk about this cajun shrimp scampi that I made today. Quickly simmered in a buttery garlic sauce, the shrimp takes no time to cook, and soaks up all of the amazing cajun, garlic, and lemon flavors! You can serve it as scampi is normally served…with pasta or rice, but today, I chose to let the shrimp stand alone. You know why? Because it can. It really doesn’t need anything else to partner with… but I did break up a little bread, and that was only to sop up the buttery goodness that was left in the pan! To me, a perfectly satisfying meal!

Life is good. It’s a “Weekends are too short to spend locked up in a room cleaning…don’t you agree?” kind of good.


Cajun Shrimp Scampi
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1½ sticks butter
  • 3 tbsp dry white wine
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Crusty bread
  • Lemon slices
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, and add the wine, lemon juice, cajun seasoning, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and salt. Bring to a low simmer. Add the shrimp, just enough to fill the pan with one layer, and cook for about a minute or two on one side, flip, and cook for another minute or so on the other side, until the shrimp are pink and fully cooked. Don't over cook them. It only takes about three minutes for them to cook fully! Remove the shrimp to a bowl, and repeat with the rest of the shrimp until all of the shrimp has been cooked.
  2. Add the garlic and parsley to the pan, and sauté for about a minute or two. Remove from heat, and add the shrimp back to the butter sauce in the pan.
  3. Serve on a tray with crusty bread and lemon slices.

 

Chocolate Stout Cake

Rich and moist, this Chocolate Stout Cake is the perfect dessert to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

While I’ve never loved the beer, and stout even less…I’ve loved the hint of the flavor. For me, a little goes a long, long way… And if you’re like me, you know that beer really doesn’t need to be just for drinking; and can be an essential ingredient to keep in your pantry, especially for baking! 

This chocolate cake is made with a rich chocolate stout, perfect for fans of that bitter beverage, but even more so for those with a love for chocolate. It’s truly the best of both worlds! The taste is both rich and light, balanced with the sweet creaminess of the cream cheese frosting. The perfect dessert for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

Life is good. It’s a “May your day be touched with a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed with smiles by the people you love…” kind of good.

Chocolate Stout Cake
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
Chocolate Stout Cake
  • 1 stick, plus 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chocolate stout
The Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ½ stick butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Toasted Walnuts for garnish
Instructions
Chocolate Stout Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and line a 10" cake pan with waxed paper.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the sour cream and vanilla. Beat until just incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture and stout to the egg mixture, beat on low until incorporated, and then increase the speed to high, beat for about one minute longer.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and let sit for ½ hour. Remove from the pan, and let cool on a cooling rack. Remove the waxed paper from the bottom of the cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk on low speed. Increase the speed to high, and let beat for about five minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  2. Frost the cake, and garnish with toasted walnuts.
  3. To toast the walnuts, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about five minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Prudy is Daydreaming Again… Chapter 2

I’ve always been a daydreamer. I dream about a lot of different things…some of those dreams I keep just for me because I know that they’re just fanciful and unrealistic…you know, like the knight in shining armor kind of thing…I think a girl can dream, can’t she? But the rest of my dreams? I’ll talk about them all day long…

1. Like this kitchen. This. Kitchen. I think my life would be complete.
2. This salad. Nothing unrealistic about this. And it’s going to happen at my house this weekend.
3. I’m thinking I could live here. Happily Ever After. 
4. Somebody please come and plant this garden in my yard!
5. I think pink is going to be my color of the year. Yeah. Most definitely pink. 
6. Someday I would like someone to bring me breakfast in bed.  
7. Ramen. And that’s all I have to say about that. 
8. And I’ll always end with dessert...

I’m guessing that a lot of you have had to deal with the snow that I’m dealing with right now. Okay, I say that I have been dealing with it, but what I’ve been doing for the last couple of days is working from home, all cozy and warm at my kitchen island. I haven’t stepped out of the house once since the snow started. I feel like I should feel guilty about that, but somehow I don’t! It sure feels like this snow is going to last forever, but we all know that it’s short lived this time of year. I have 15 inches of snow in my driveway today, and tomorrow, it could be 70 degrees and sunny!

Even though winter is short lived, I can’t still help but feel like spring can’t come soon enough. I’m already planning to start planting my herbs. Now, I usually just buy the plants and put them into the ground in the spring, but I’m thinking I might start some from seed this year. I’m not sure what compels me to do that, but I think that’s what I want to do. I do know that I’m ready to get my hands dirty, and into the ground. Just me, my daydreams, and the earth. Life is good. 

Tell me, how do you grow your herbs?

 

Apple Pi Cookies

Finely cubed apples baked over a shortbread base, and topped with a walnut crumble make the best Apple Pi Cookies. Ever!

I cannot deny that I’m terrible at math. The thought of it can actually reduce me to a crumbling and weeping mess on the floor.

Truth.

But there is something about Pi Day that makes me want to be that mathematician, and throw all caution to the wind…because we all know that Pi is a mathematical constant…the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter…and expressed as 3.14159. And then add a few gazillion numbers after that. Because it’s irrational, and will continue indefinitely without repetition or pattern. Right?

Yeah…I got that off the internet.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to jump on the Pi Day bandwagon, pretend that I like math, and completely understand the whole concept of Pi, but I want to be rationally irrational, or is it irrationally rational? Maybe that’s it.

But the truth of the matter, is that I just want to give you the exact numbers that you need to make these absolutely delicious little Apple Pi Cookies! I can promise you, that they won’t go on forever. You’ll be lucky if they last a day!

Buttery and crumbly, the crust is the perfect foundation for the cinnamony sweet apple pie filling that has been simmered until it’s almost caramelized, and topped with yet more buttery flavor from the walnut crumble. I’ll tell you, it just doesn’t get any better. Unless of course, you pipe a little bit of icing on top! A bit of a twist to three of my favorite classics… shortbread cookies, apple pie, and apple crisp. Happy Pi Day! I hope yours is filled with sweetness… 

Life is good. It’s a “While math can get a little too complicated for me, I’ll always have Pi to fall back on…” kind of good.

Apple Pi Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 24 cookies
Ingredients
The filling
  • 4 cups apples, cut into ½" cubes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp butter
The Crust
  • 1 stick, plus 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1⅓ cup flour
The Walnut Crumble
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup walnuts, chopped fine
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
The Apple Filling
  1. In a medium saute pan, stir together the apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and butter over medium heat. When the mixture comes to simmer, lower the heat and cover for about 25 minutes, or until the apples are softened. Make sure to stir often, and watch the apples so that they don't turn to applesauce! When the apples have softened, remove the lid, and let simmer for another 5 minutes until the mixture has evaporated all liquid and has thickened. Remove from heat. Set aside until ready to use.
The Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lightly grease two 12 count muffin tins.
  3. Combine the butter and powdered sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix until creamy. Slowly add the flour until fully incorporated.
  4. Place the dough onto a floured surface, and roll out to ¼ inch. Using a 2" circle cutter, cut out 24 circles, and place in the bottom of the muffin tins.
The Walnut Crumble
  1. Combine the butter, flour, sugar, walnuts, and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix until just combined.
Prepare the Cookies
  1. Place one tablespoon of apple mixture over the cookie dough in the muffin tin. Spread to the edges.
  2. Crumble the walnut topping over the apple mixture, making sure that it goes to the edges.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for ½ hour. Carefully remove from the muffin tins by lightly running a knife around the edge of the cookie, and carefully lift them out of the tin.
  4. Place on a cooling rack, and let cool completely. Top with icing if desired.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Simple Bread

My bread baking weekend started because I wanted a ham sandwich… on fresh bread. 

But this really isn’t about the sandwich. It’s really all about the baguette. I ran to the store in the morning, but was just too early, because they really didn’t have any baked goods out yet.  I walked around the bakery, probably three times… knowing that there weren’t any baguettes, but hoping that there was a chance that I just wasn’t seeing them, and a basket of them would miraculously appear.  It didn’t.

I could have gone back to the store later in the day, but I knew that it wouldn’t happen.  Once I’m done shopping, I’m done shopping.  I don’t want to go back. 

Silly me.  I don’t know why I never think of this, and I think I need to get better at remembering…but I realized that I could just make my own, and throw a couple of loaves in the oven!  Now, you have to remember that I’m just a home cook, and that it took me a whole week of practice just to get the dutch oven bread recipe down.  I’m not some professional artisan bread baker, I’m just me… so this is just a simple bread.  But that doesn’t matter.  I love bread, no matter how simple it is! 

Let’s just call this particular recipe Lazy Prudy’s recipe. It’s just a matter of throwing the ingredients into the bowl, and letting the mixer do the rest.  I let the bread hook in my stand mixer do most of the kneading for me, but then knead it by hand for about a minute or two.  It doesn’t take long to prepare, but you do need about an hour to let it proof, and then another hour to let it rise again after you’ve shaped it into loaves.

So, here is what I’ve learned about baking bread…at least the way my little brain understands it. First, you don’t want to let the dough over proof. Just let it double in size, but not too much more than that. If it has doubled in size, you’ll still be able to poke it, and your finger mark will slowly pop back out, and when you take it out of the bowl, it will still be a nice ball of dough. If you’ve let it rise too much, your finger print will stay put, and then when you go to take it out of the bowl, it will be sticky and stuck to the bowl. I usually let it go about an hour, but not much more than that. Now don’t get me wrong, you can still bake an over-poofed loaf of bread, but there’s a good chance it’s going to be a little flatter than normal.

Slit the bread open carefully. Use a sharp razor, and hold it at a slant as you slice into the bread, and don’t slice it too deep. You’re basically starting the bread off with a place for the goodness to expand the first few minutes that it’s in the oven.

And finally, crusty bread loves a steamy oven, so a cup of water thrown into a heated metal pan in the bottom of the oven will produce the perfect amount of steam the bread needs. What happens here, is that the steam keeps the crust of the bread pliant, so when the yeast gives its very last push, the crust will still move with the dough, letting it rise higher while it bakes. As the water evaporates, the oven gets dryer, and the crust begins to harden into that crispy goodness that we all love!

I ended up making six loaves that day, partly because I love fresh bread, but mostly because I was enjoying myself.  The smell of fresh bread baking in the oven is pure aroma therapy, isn’t it?  But pure mental happiness, at least for me, is a warm slice of bread straight from the oven….and I’m not going to lie… with a generous slather of butter!

 Life is good. It’s a “I truly believe that everyone should bake at least one loaf of bread in their lifetime… if for nothing else, but to experience the smell of fresh bread coming from their very own oven!” kind of good.

Simple Bread
 
Author:
Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 4¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Generously grease a large bowl with olive oil.
  2. Pour ½ cup hot water into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the sugar and stir it around. Add the yeast, and let it enjoy the sugar until it turns all foamy and happy. Add the flour, sea salt, and water to the yeast mixture.
  3. Using the dough hook of your mixer, start mixing until all of the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed of your mixer to medium (or about 4 on a KitchenAid).
  4. Let the hook knead the dough for about five minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, and place on a floured surface. Knead by hand for about two minutes. You'll know its ready for proofing when it feels smooth and silky. Form into a ball, and place in the greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean towel, and place in a warm spot in your kitchen. Let sit for about an hour. You know that the dough will be ready when it has almost doubled in size, and your finger print will slowly pop back out when you gently poke the dough.
  5. Place a metal cake pan or cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf of your oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Bring back to the floured surface, and cut the dough in half. Shape into loaves, about 12" - 14". Place both loaves onto a cookie sheet, and cover with a towel. Let sit for about ½ hour to 45 minutes.
  7. Using a razor blade, carefully make slits in the top of the loaves, holding the razor at a diagonal. Make sure that you don't cut too deep. You just want to help the dough to open up so that it can release the gases that are bubbling inside.
  8. Right before you put the loaves into the oven to bake, add one cup of hot water to the heated pan or skillet. This will create a steam inside the oven that will help the bread to stay pliant as it rises. Place the bread into the oven, and don't open the door for at least 20 minutes.
  9. Let the bread bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, and remove when it is golden brown, and tapping on the bottom creates a hollow sound.
  10. Normally I'd say something like "cool completely"... but in this case, slather it with butter, and enjoy!

 

error: Content is protected !!