Even before becoming a chef I have been loyal and I confess, obsessed with one and only magazine. I own every issue of this magazine, since its inception in 1994, and I often refer to it as the cooking bible. The precious object of my gastronomic fantasies is Saveur.
Saveur magazine just does it for me. It’s food porn at its best, but classy; it retains an aura of old world, an highbrow tone and an authentic love for wordily cuisine, the photographs are always elegantly real, the writing is impeccable and the recipes are infallible.
So this week, as I was invited by the digital editor in to the test kitchen to make summer fruit pies and jams for a series of videos, I felt extremely honored and even dare I say it, a little kinky. Just imagine. I got to make my own food porn in the reverend kitchen.
Of course, I had a lovely day, not only because I got to fulfill one of my long-time fantasies but also because I uncovered a beautiful truth and the reason why Saveur is so noble.
The graceful team that makes the magic happen, composed by editors, photographers, and food testers, is as food obsessed as I am, and truly dedicated to create perfection in the test kitchen and for the magazine.
So once I settled in to my area and after a brief but succulent moment of reflection on how lucky I am to have left advertising, I happily got to work on my fruit pies.
Making pies and jams is a clever way to investigate and capture all the sweetness of summer fruits and since I had stopped to shop for my ingredients at the Westport farmers market, I arrived in the kitchen with a beautiful bounty from all the local farms.
We decided to work with yellow and white peaches, apricots, sour cherries, berries, nectarines and melons.
I constructed all the pie fillings by macerating the fruit with sugar and lemon, and by then reducing the juices to a syrupy consistency on the stove. This is a great way to condense the flavor and use less starch. In the end I completed 3 baked pies.
A juicy peach and cherry pie, an open faced apricot and raspberries tart, and a nectarines and blackberries crostata. They all came out beautiful even if my crostata almost melted in the heat of the kitchen because the air conditioning was not working, and the temperature reached dangerous peaks melting my dough a couple of times. Even heaven gets hot as hell sometimes.
I then made 2 icebox berries pies, by filling 2 blind baked shells with the fresh fruit mixed with reduced juices, and by letting the fillings set in the fridge, instead of baking the pies. A great techniques for hot summer days when its’ wise not to turn the oven on.
By the end of the day, with halation I got to work on the melon butter. A bright yellow jam, I always do in summer when the melons are at peak, sweet, and full of running down the elbow juices. It’s a fantastic treat to have during a grey winter day to remind your self , the clouds will part and the snow will one day cease.
I like to pair it with prosciutto, smoked and cured meats and strong cheeses.
When I finished I felt exhausted but gloriously satisfied and as all the fantasies even this one came to its end. I packed my tools and I left the Saveur kitchen with a large smile on my face. No walk of shame for me.
Below you can find all the recipes. I hope they will make your summer just a little sweeter. On my tray chic page you’ll find my top picks for all sorts of stylish but smart goodies to help and just perhaps seduce you in to making your own pies and jams.