Pear Crumble Bars

What the hell are these things called?  Is crumble bar right?  Or is it pie bar or crumb bar?  I really don't know.  I'm saying, with some uncertainty, crumble bars.  They are made with a sweet tart dough layered with fruit and more of the dough crumbled on top.  Don't make them!  Seriously, I feel the same way I feel about french fries as I do crumble bars: I wish I'd never had them so I wouldn't have to be plagued by cravings for their unhealthy deliciousness.  Curse you french fries and crumble bars, curse you. 

On a different note, feel free to use apples instead of pears, if you like. 

Makes one 8" x 8" pan of bars.

Pear Crumble Bars

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 oz cold butter, cubed

1 egg, beaten

2 pears, cored, sliced

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with a square of parchment paper on the bottom.  Set aside.

Whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Add butter cubes, working with a pastry cutter or your hands or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until mixture resembles a course sand.  Add beaten egg.  Work until dough comes together.  

Press 2/3 of dough into bottom of pan.  Try to keep it even.  Toss pear slices with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and ginger.  Top crust with fruit.  Spread it into an at least somewhat even layer.  Crumble remaining dough on top of fruit.  Lightly press down into fruit.  Bake about 50 minutes until top is golden brown.  Cool before cutting.  

Them ask someone to hide them so you don't eat them all. 

Ginger Peach Mini Pies + Coconut Crust

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What's better than pie?  Lots of things, but pie is pretty great.  Even better when it's served as a miniature/individually sized portion that you can eat all by yourself.  Just make a little dent in the middle, ad ice cream and it's perfect.  

Coconut oil pie crust is great if you're vegan.  It's tender and has a mild taste of coconut.  

Recipe makes 4 mini pies but portion will also make 1 normal sized pie.  

Makes 4 mini pies.

Ginger Peach Mini Pies + Coconut Crust

for the crust

 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut oil, cold and solid

ice cold water

for the filling

2 lb ripe apricots, pitted, sliced

1 tablespoon grated ginger  

3 tablespoons flour

2 pinches salt

12 scrapes of whole nutmeg

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

In a bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar and salt to evenly combine.  Add cold coconut oil with a pastry cutter.  Use your hands if necessary.  Combine just enough so pea sized pieces of coconut oil remain and the rest looks like sand.  Add cold water tablespoon at a time until dough feels very hydrated and sticks together as a ball.  Cut dough into 8 pieces or 2 pieces.  Flatten each piece into a disc.  Wrap securely in plastic and let rest in fridge 20 minutes.  

While dough is resting in the fridge, heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease pie tins and set aside.  Toss apricot slices, ginger, flour, salt, nutmeg and light brown sugar.  Set aside.  

Roll out 4 discs for bottom crusts:  place a dough disc between two sheets of parchment paper and roll with rolling pin to 1/8 inch thick.  Carefully peel back top sheet, invert over tin and peel away remaining piece of paper.  Gently press into tin.  Fill each tin with apricot mixture.  

Roll out remaining 4 pieces of dough for top crusts between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thick.  Carefully peel back top sheet and use a pastry decortaing tip or straw to poke out holes.  Invert polka dotted dough sheet over filled tin with paper side up.  Carefully, peel back paper, seal and trim edges.  

If you're not vegan you can use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash of 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon of milk.  To keep things vegan, use soy milk. 

Place in oven and bake 30 minutes.  Crust should be golden brown and pies fragrant.  

Cool and serve. 

 

 

Cherry Pie

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I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Part of mine was spent cherry picking at Darlymple Farm in Hector, NY.  It's a beautiful farm perched high on a hill over looking seneca lake.  After picking 10 lbs of cherries it was evident some baking had to be done.

Cherry Pie

for the crust: 

2 1/2 lbs all purpose flour

2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed

2-6 tablespoons ice cold water

 

for the cherry filling: 

5 cups pitted fresh cherries

2 tablespoons cherry juice or cassis liquor

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons corn starch

 

for the egg wash: 

1 egg yolk

splash milk

In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt together.  Add butter cubes and rub into flour with fingers until it resembles a course crumb.  Add tablespoons of water until mixture will hold together as a dough.  Divide dough in half and form each into discs.  Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.  Roll each out in between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment paper.  Fit one into a greased 9 inch pie pan.  Cut the other into strips.  Set aside. 

Heat oven to 400 degrees and move rack to lowest position.  Place pitted cherries in  a bowl and strain, reserve 2 tablespoon of cherry juice.  In a small bowl, whisk together cherry juice, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.  Toss with cherries.  Pour filling into prepared crust. 

Arrange pastry strips over pie, seal and trim edges. Whisk together egg yolk and milk, brush over pastry.  Bake 60 minutes.  If crust browns too fast cover with aluminum foil.   

Cool slightly before serving.