Wabi-Sabi Summer Peach Pie

This pie is not perfect. I am not a fan of perfect, but a lover of the wonderful imperfections that make up all of the things I consider beautiful. I learned many years ago this is what is known as wabi-sabi. I have always been this way and really do not have much patience with folks who like “everything just perfect”.  Years ago I did not know it was a real thing, a traditional Japanese aesthetic. Wabi loosely means rustic simplicity, a beauty that is neither permanent nor complete.  Sabi is to take pleasure in the imperfect.  This is my Wabi Sabi Peach Pie, my favorite kind!

This pie is made using store-bought pie crusts with a scattering of freshly grated nutmeg on the bottom, fresh peaches, a splash of Lillet Blanc Dessert Wine and Hibiscus Vinegar, granulated cane sugar tossed with a bit of cornstarch, fresh lemon zest and juice. That’s all.

Refrigerator pie crusts have gotten a bad rap. They are quick and easy and can be gussied up with herbs and spices. They always stay crispy, even the bottom crust and the flakiness is just great.  I keep them on hand in my freezer as a pantry staple, especially in the summer for quick pies and cobblers.

Fresh nutmeg grated over the bottom crust.

 Spring-form pans are my favorite “pie pans”.  You can remove the sides of the pan for easy slicing.  I cut the top crust into strips with a fluted pastry cutter and then placed the strips over the filling in a loose concentric circle pattern. A dusting of sugar and this pie was ready for the oven.

I love all the crispy, crusty edges, no sogginess and perfectly imperfect.

Warm pie, cold ice cream. The “wabi” and the “sabi”.

Wabi Sabi Peach Pie

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 fresh ripe peaches, peeled & sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup Lillet Blanc Dessert Wine (or any white dessert wine)
  • 1/4 cup Hisbiscus Vinegar (or you can use pomegranate or cherry or apple)
  • 1 cup granulated cane sugar + extra for topping
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (or 1/4 ground)
  • 1 box (2 crusts) store-bought pie crusts (or enough homemade pie crust for top and bottom crust)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove one pie crust from packaging and place on lightly floured surface. Give it a few rolls with a rolling pin. Place in the bottom of a spring-form pan fitting it into the bottom and partially up the sides. Don’t worry if crust edges are not even.
  3. Scatter nutmeg over the bottom crust.
  4. Remove second crust from packaging and give it a few rolls with the rolling pin as well. Using a crimped pastry cutter cut into strips.
  5. In a bowl toss together the peaches, lemon juice and zest, Lillet and hibiscus vinegar.
  6. In another bowl toss together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add this to the peaches and toss well.
  7. Fill bottom crust with the peach filling.
  8. Arrange strips of crust over the top of the filling in a loose concentric circle. Strips can overlap to cover the pie. Sprinkle extra sugar over crust.
  9. Place filled springform pan on a sheet pan and place in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly and thickened.
  10. Remove pie from oven and place on a cooling rack. After about 20 minutes. remove the springform sides and continue cooling. Pie is wonderful sliced while warm and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

 

Pear, Maple and Nutmeg Cornmeal Cake + Kitchen Tools #1

Pear, Maple and Nutmeg Cornmeal Cake all dressed up with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt is an easy, alternate idea for Holiday celebrations that will be much appreciated by those looking for something naturally sweet without using a lot of granulated sugar. Rich, almost caramelized, pears with nutmeg then generously drizzled with maple syrup while hot out of the oven is good for a few days warm or cold.

I like how the maple syrup pools in the pear.

There is nothing quite like freshly grated nutmeg. Do you have one of these graters, or a nutmeg grinder? They are inexpensive and will become one of your most used kitchen tools if you, like me, find the jarred ground nutmeg somewhat pale in aroma and flavor. Whole nutmeg grated is a much used spice at our house. Wouter adds it to his meatballs and always in his wonderful mashed potatoes. Just a hint is often all that is needed. This cake recipe calls for a generous amount and is just the thing paired with real maple syrup.

Notice how I grated the nutmeg onto a sheet of parchment paper? Parchment is another “kitchen tool” that I use every day for measuring flour onto, lining cake pans or sheet pans so I don’t have to scrub them so much….small pieces are good for using like this instead of another dish to wash! Can you tell washing dishes is not my favorite thing?

Melon ballers in various sizes are great for coring apples and pears, making melon balls of course….or butter balls.  It was so easy to core the pears to create a bowl to hold all that tasty maple syrup using this small melon baller.

See that wee paring knife? It is my go-to knife for so many jobs in the kitchen…I finally bought a good one that has a thin blade that sharpens well. It was not the cheapest nor the costliest, but it fits my hand just perfect and came from E. Dehillerin in Paris. I picked it up at our local Willliams-Sonoma.

So that’s four kitchen tools….nutmeg grater or grinder, parchment paper, melon baller and paring knife….basics…not trendy…forever useful, especially for these days of seasonal baking.

Warm, aromatic cake drizzled with Vanilla flavored Greek Yogurt. Yum.

Pear, Maple and Nutmeg Cornmeal Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 ripe, but firm pears, halved, cored and peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup 2 percent milk
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup, divided + extra for serving
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 cups vanilla greek yogurt, whipped for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9″ round x 2″ deep cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to a cast iron or other heavy skillet. Set over medium heat. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the butter.
  3. Place pear halves in a circle in the bottom of the pan, cut side up. Sprinkle cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn pears over with cut side down. Sprinkle with another 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Cook pears until most of the liquid has evaporated and cut sides are beginning to lightly caramelize, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Place pears, cut sides down, in the prepared 9″ round cake pan.
  6. Quickly whisk together remaining 1/4 ground nutmeg, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  7. Whisk in milk, 1/4 cup maple syrup, eggs and remaining melted butter just until smooth. Pour mixture over pears and bake until golden brown, for about 20-25 minutes. Test with a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake. Remove from oven and using a skewer make a few random holes over the entire cake surface. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup. Let cake cool on a wire rack while syrup soaks in for about 15 minutes. Carefully invert onto a serving plate.
  8. Cut cake into 8 wedges with each person getting a pear half, drizzle with another bit of maple syrup and add a dollop of vanilla greek yogurt.  (This cake keeps well for a few days and is deliciously seasoonal either warm or cold.)

(This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Ruth Cousineau from Gourmet Magazine February 2008 that I clipped and saved. I tweaked a few things to make it easier to make. Thanks Ruth for the inspiration.)

Teresa Blackburn    http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com   www.foodonfifth.com