Gingered Peach Mason Jar Cobblers

Four Pies Finished

In honor of my darling best friend Julia’s birthday and in honor of peaches being abundantly available and ripe this weekend, I knew a fruity dessert was in order.  Since we had made plans to visit a couple vineyards on Sunday with our sweet friends Amy and Ryan, this dessert also had to be easily portable.  And it had to be adorable.  Whew- no pressure!

As it turns out, a perfectly peachy, easily transportable dessert was well within my reach (and yours!).  All it takes is a trip to the farmers market, a quick spin in the Kitchen-Aid, and a few mason jars to make these Gingered Peach Cobblers.

For the Filling (makes 4 individual pies):

  • 4 peaches
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger

For the Pastry Dough:

  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup ice water
  • 1 stick cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs sugar

To make the Dough:

I have to admit, I’m no baker- I usually leave the sweet treats up to Julia.  But I’ve been pushing myself to mix flour + water instead of trudging to the store for some mediocre pre-made dough, and this recipe couldn’t be simpler.  Just combine your flour and sugar in a food processor or stand mixer.  Add the cold butter (with the mixer on a speed-2), one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles sand.  Then, add your ice cold water and mix for ~15 seconds.  I made my pastry dough the night before the wine tour, and refrigerated it in plastic overnight.

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To make the filling:

When you’re ready to make your cobblers, grease the insides of four mason jars with butter.  Slice your peaches and place them in a sauce pan with 2 tbs sugar and 1 tbs ginger.  Give them a good stir and let them simmer over low heat for ~10 minutes until they’re syrupy and delicious.

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While those peaches are simmering, let’s talk produce!  Since there are really only 4 ingredients in this recipe- flour, butter, peaches & ginger- you can have some fun with the fillings.  I got three different peach breeds- Donut, Yellow, and White- from the farmers market.  And I was inspired to add ginger after finding this incredible baby Hawaiian variety.  No peeling necessary?  I can freeze you?  Hello, new favorite ingredient.

peaches with ingredients

Once your peaches are finished simmering, take them off the heat and let them cool a bit.

Peach Cobbler, Assemble!

Cut the pastry dough into two unequal parts.  Roll out the smaller half, then use the mouth of a mason jar to cut 4 rounds.  These should be thinner, because they’ll be on the bottom of the cobblers.  Roll out the larger half, which should be the thicker cobbler-toppers, and cut four more rounds.  Place the thin rounds of dough carefully in the bottom of your mason jars and bake at 400° for ~5 minutes.

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When the dough is a bit cooked, fill the jar up to the top with peach filling, and finish with the thick round on top.

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If you want to be really cute, and who doesn’t, use some leftover dough to form hearts or initials to pop on top.  Brush the whole thing with an egg wash and place in the oven (on a baking sheet!) at 375° for 30 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown.

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I pulled these out of the oven about 2 hours before eating them and screwed the lids on for easy transport.  Not only did this make them easy to get to the vineyards, but would you believe that they were still warm when we ate them?  Just plain peachy!

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xoxo,

Liz

oh what?  you wanted to see a photo of the birthday girl on her vineyard trip?  so happy you asked:

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bourbon & brown sugar pop tarts

PopTarts title page

Whew!  That was quite a break.  Between moving houses and switching jobs, winter has thawed into spring, and I’ve been a Hungry Texan on hiatus.   But no fear!  I’ve emerged with a whole slew of new recipes.

These pop tarts are not one of them.  To be honest, homemade pop tarts have been done before.  From fruit fillings to chocolatey ganache to savory, you’ll probably find these pastries on the menu of your neighborhood restaurant.  No, homemade poptarts may not be the most wildly innovative recipe in the world.  But they’re delicious and flaky and can probably be made with pantry ingredients in a pinch.  And they finish off a brunch spread like you wouldn’t believe.

Plus, this dough was the perfect first recipe for my new KitchenAid Stand Mixer, a birthday gift from my doting boyfriend.  Before now, I’ve never been the one to throw together my own crusts or breads.  But it’s so easy (and way less expensive than storebought) and makes a great, refrigeratable, flaky crust.

poptarts ingredients

Makes 8 poptarts

For the pastry:

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
1 egg
2 tbs milk

For the filling:

1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbs flour
1 tbs bourbon

Mix the sugar, flour, and salt together in your stand mixer.  Add the butter, in cubes, and blend until the dough looks like sand, with chunks of butter still visible.

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Whisk the egg and milk together, then add to the dough.  Mix for a few more seconds, until the dough has come together.  Then divide the dough into two equal parts.  Roll out the dough to 1/8 in thick , then cut even rectangles.

Pop the pastry into the fridge to keep it from getting all melty (especially if you have a teensy kitchen that gets quite warm).  Then, whip up your filling!

poptarts filling

You can fill these with almost anything- savory leeks and goat cheese, balsamic cherries, homemade nutella etc.  For the brown-sugary filling,  whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and bourbon.

brown sugar filling

Pile ~1 tbs of the filling on each tart shell, then seal with the other half of the pastry.  Seal the edges with a fork (some of the filling will probably spill over in the oven- it happens, you’ll live.)

process

Bake on a parchment-lined tray for about 25 minutes at 350°.

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Serve warm with ice cream or on their own!

Love,

Liz

chess pie

title page southern chess pie

Oh Pi Day- the most delicious contribution from mathematics since Avogadro’s Number.  Get it?  Avogadro sounds like Avocado?

What kind of food nerds would we be if we didn’t celebrate?  And celebrate we did.  I hosted a Pi Day bake-off at the office, and while I may have fudged the scores a bit because of Bakeoff Rule #451 (Though shalt not win thine own bake-off), I think I can spill the beans here: my Chess Pie won!  

Now y’all, I thought I was up a creek without a paddle attachment when I realized that my roommate had taken the stand mixer.  But this classic southern Chess Pie is not only scrumptious, you can also make it with a fork.  No fancy mixer needed here!  Although you can, of course, use a Kitchen-Aid to make your life easy and breezy.

For the Filling:

2 cups sugar
2 tbs cornmeal
1 tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 squeeze of lemon or 1 tbs white vinegar (you could also replace milk + lemon/vinegar with buttermilk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the Pie Crust: Use your favorite!  I’m really not the baker in this friendship, so I would go with any of Julia’s pie crusts.

 

Preheat the oven to 425° and bake your pie crust in a pie pan (you can line with foil and fill with beans, or you can not) for ~5 minutes.

pre baked crust

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt, melted butter, milk, lemon/vinegar, and vanilla.  Then lightly beat your eggs and add them to the mixture.  Ok, are you ready for the hard part?

Stir.

add your eggs and stir

Pour into your pie crust.

pre-baked pie

Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes.  After about 10 minutes, wrap the edges of the crust in foil so the edges don’t get too brown.  Once your Chess Pie has cooled completely, enjoy a slice.  Or two.  And then take it to your Pi Day bakeoff and win because it’s basically cheating to make a pie out of butter and sugar.

out of the oven

If you want to mix it up, you can add baking chocolate, lemon, raspberry, or top it with whipped cream or powdered sugar.  You can vary it all you want, but this pie will always be delicious and old-fashioned.

post-baked pie

xoxo,

Liz

kale potato mash

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There are few better dinners than a roasted chicken with a hearty side.  Last night, we made a really special miso butter roasted chicken, and these mashed red potatoes were the perfect side.  On a last-moment whim, I threw in a couple handfuls of blanched kale and a bulb of roasted garlic.  The texture from the kale and the mix of of potatoes was a perfect side for a Friday night chicken.

What you’ll need:

5 red potatoes

5 yukon gold potatoes

1 bulb garlic

1 cup white cheddar cheese

2 cups chopped kale

1/4 cup heavy cream

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice off the top of your garlic bulb and top with olive oil and a pinch of salt, then wrap in foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes, until the cloves are soft.  Boil a large pot of salted water and add your kale.  Let the kale boil for ~4 minutes, then drain.

kale

Peel your potatoes (I liked a mixture of red and yukon gold because it gives the mash a good blend of textures).

sam handsAnd boil for about 10 minutes, until they’re ready to be mashed.  Then, add the kale and the roasted garlic.

potatoes and kaleGive everything a good mash, using a hand masher.  Once combined, add the heavy cream and salt & pepper and give everything a good stir.

mixingAll done!

xoxo,

The Hungry Texans

basics: homemade nutella

 

Admission: This Hungry Texan is not so hungry.  After an incredible, veggie-rich thanksgiving dinner at Boston Boy’s family in New York (the Lone Star State was a tad far for me to travel for just a couple days), plus leftovers, PLUS some amazing bagels, I’m totally stuffed.  But that doesn’t make this recipe for homemade Nutella any less appealing.  I whipped this up with sister Emily, here forth known as Lemur Lady- she spent the last few months in Madagascar with a cast of lemurs and the girl knows a thing or two about baking.

I get it- people are crazy for nutella.  There are probably entire religions devoted to Nutella.  And when you can get a vat of it at Costco, it may seem silly to make your own.  But trust me, this homemade version is an incredible rendition- sweet from the dark chocolate but with no sugar added, nutty and rich from the toasted hazelnuts.  Plus, this comes out silky instead of becoming congealed  like the jarred stuff- double win!

Also, it takes 5 minutes to make.  So you have no excuses.  To the recipe!

You’ll need:

10 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate (if you want something sweeter, use a milk chocolate or your favorite)
1 cup hazelnuts
1 tbs oil
1 tsp salt

First, you’ll need to make your fancy double boiler.  Fill a medium saucepan 1/4 the way with water and heat to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and fit an appropriately sized stainless steel bowl over the saucepan.  Add your chocolate to the bowl and stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  

Take the chocolate off of the heat and toast your hazelnuts with 1 tbs of oil in a large pan for about 4 minutes.

Add your hazelnuts to a blender or food processor and pulse 5-10 times, until the hazelnuts are ground.  Add your chocolate to the blender and blend until smooth.

Serve immediately or in a jar in the refrigerator (who are we kidding).  We ate it over fruit, but decided that the silky delight would be perfect drizzled over popcorn, spread on toast, or over pecan pie (ok, i did that).

xoxo,

the hungry texans

chinese shrimp toast

Oh shrimp toast, you perfect specimen of asian appetizers.  You prince of perfect party pass-arounds.  Crunchy and fried on the outside, but slightly gooey in the middle, you beckon to me on every chinese menu.  But I only rarely indulge, so why not try my hand at them?  Now, this isn’t one of those “Tastes-like-the-real-thing Amazingly Baked-Not-Fried Shrimp Toast” recipes.  This is a “Quarter-cup of Oil, but Blot on Paper Towels if You’re Trying to Lose Weight” recipe.

You’ll need: (for 24 shrimp toasts)
3/4 lb shrimp
2 tbs ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1/8 cup water chesnuts
1 egg
1/4 cup cilantro (I used 1 tbs dried)
12 slices white bread
1 handful scallions
1 handful scallions, to garnish
2 tbs sesame seeds, to garnish

Sesame-Chile Dipping Sauce:
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs sweet chile sauce
1 tbs hoisin sauce

Start by cutting the crust off of your bread and then halving each slice (I like triangles, but you can default to your preferred shape).  Set these aside.  In a blender or food processor, add your ginger and garlic and pulse ~5 times.  Then add the rest of your ingredients- egg, sesame oil, shrimp, scallions, water chestnuts, cilantro.  Pulse ~10 times, until the whole mixture has come together but is still reminiscent of shrimp.

In a wok or frying pan (I used a small frying pan to reduce the amount of oil I was using), heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil over medium-low heat.  When the oil is ready for frying (drop a small piece of bread in the oil and if it is golden in 30 seconds, then you’re golden), place shrimp toasts shrimp side down and fry for ~3 minutes until brown.  Then pop them over to the bread side and fry for about 1 minute.

Scoop out your toasts and drain on paper towels over a cooling rack before munching.  Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions, and serve with your sesame chile dipping sauce.

xiang shou!

the hungry texans

 

a hungry texans guide to thanksgiving!

we all do it- that weekend before thanksgiving when friends gather, drink too much spiced cider, and potluck our faces off for that pre-thanksgiving thanksgiving celebration.  call it Friendsgiving or Fakesgiving, we just call it delicious.

and this year was no different.  the man chefs brought their extremely tasty green beans and a rendition of thomas keller’s stuffing that blew us meat eaters’ socks off (vegetarians beware: this stuffing starts with 1 lb of rendered bacon fat).

use these recipes for your own thanksgiving feast or just as side dishes for a wonderful meal.  click through for recipes!

honey butter chicken biscuits

roasted root vegetables with charred scallion goat cheese & garlic confit

middle eastern spiced roasted cauliflower

jalapeno honey butter & sage roasted garlic butter

cranberry-orange relish

 

happy thanksgiving!

xoxo,

the hungry texans