revisiting chapter one

as i work on recipes, susan edits them. part of the process includes looking at the sections/chapters and assessing them-are they balanced or lacking? do they include a variety or simply a couple recipes being manipulated over and over? thankfully, chapter one is in pretty good shape and only in need of a few minor changes. one thing that shouted out to susan was the absence of a lemon meringue pie. honestly, it wasn’t a big deal to me but it left the chapter lacking a little variety, so you know what happened next; i made lemon meringue pie much in the same way as i do when i make it at the cafe. if you have had it at the cafe then you know that i favor individual lemon meringue pies and not big ones-and that means no cutting of meringue in the bakery. it also means that if you order the little pie, you get all of the meringue right on top just as it should be.

it doesn’t get any easier than this-purchased 3″ pie shells, baked and ready to be filled.
lovely and tart lemon curd, home made or purchased-you decide. i went with home made
a mountain of meringue to salivate over. be sure to whip it only until the peaks are stiff but still droop a little.
fill the crusts with the lemon curd
dollop the meringue on top, use a spoon to seal it to the edges and then make the little peaks by tapping the spoon to the meringue and pulling it away quickly
a quick trip in the oven to brown the tops
mmm…lemony meringue pies

totally pietastic

today found me completing the first chapter of the book. it is all about pies and i was able to get the last of them finished today. guess the fact that we have been slightly snowbound wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

country pies are easy to make. what are they you ask, galettes in southern speak. just little free form tarts/pies. not too fancy but very quick and tasty.
toss some ripe fruit with sugar, flour and any spices or other flavors if you like.
roll out a little piece of dough. it doesn’t need to be perfect.
top it with the fruit filling.
fold the edges in towards the middle but be sure to let a little of the fruit peek out.
it should look like this. then a quick brush of egg wash and a sprinkle of large crystal sugar and into the oven it goes.
warm tasty pies. where’s the ice cream…

apple turnovers

after testing the recipe at home, i decided to add the apple turnovers to the menu at the cafe. so far, they are selling well and i am glad that i included them in the book. while they may seem like a difficult dessert to master because of the puff pastry, they are really simple to make if you buy the dough frozen. don’t think for a minute that i couldn’t make my own dough. i have many times in the past and it isn’t that hard to do. what it is is time consuming and that is why i like to buy the dough frozen and in prerolled sheets. for one thing, it saves the time of rolling it out. it also is cost effective-little labor and no waste. the best part-it is consistent! each sheet rises high in the oven giving you wonderful, flaky pastries!

the granny smith apples are nicely diced and tossed with some sugar, flour and cinnamon. no need to add lots of spices, a little cinnamon goes a long way as far as flavoring is concerned and if you use a small amount, you allow the flavor of the apples to shine through.

thaw the dough and cut it into squares. using a ruler and a pastry wheel makes this an easy task.
pile the apples into one corner of the square.
a little egg wash on the seams and fold it over. a little more egg wash for some shine and a generous sprinkle of sugar.
mmm…warm, flaky pastry and cinnamon apples

chapter one

and so it starts. after many months of negotiations, i am off and running. the book needs to be finished in may so i am working as quickly as i can but not so fast that the recipes are substandard. as i finish some recipes, i feature them in the cafe so be sure to stop by and check out the daily dessert list.
writing recipes seems easy. it is if you are making soup. not so when you are making cakes. it is easier to make lousy cake recipes than you could ever imagine. the slightest change in the ph balance can wreak havoc on a cake! so can oven temperature and the size or shape of a pan.
this cake tested me. after about 6 different versions, i finally found the right balance.
sour cherries, vanilla cake and struesal-works for me! i really like it in the square pan rather than the old stand by-round.
the original version baked in a round pan in the cafe. what a time i had trying to duplicate it at home with different ingredients sources, a home oven and a square pan.

little pear tarts

now this wouldn’t be a loveless cafe dessert book without pies and believe me, there are lots of pies in this one.

check back regularly to see what’s baking in the oven!