Hot Summer, Dream Pies

 

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Photo Courtesy of Stephane Coutelle

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.

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The Saveur Team and My Dream Kitchen

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ice Box Fresh Blueberries Pie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45
Ice Box Fresh Blueberries Pie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45
Ingredients
  • 1 9 inch pie basic brisee
  • 4 cups blueberries 1 1/2 pounds 575g
  • 1/2 cups water 5 ounces plus 2 tablespoons divided
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch 20g
  • 1/2 cup sugar 100g
  • 1 teaspoon lemon jiuce
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 medium egg white
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven at 425F
  2. Roll the bottom crust to a 1/8 of an inch thick 13 inches circle then transfer to a 9 inches pie pan. Fold under the excess and crimp the border. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
  3. Remove from fridge, line with parchment and fill with dried beans, rice or weights. Bake for 20 mines. Lift the parchment and the beans. Prick the bottom with a fork and bake 5 to 10 minutes more. Cool the crust on a rack. you can then if you like brush the crust with egg white for added protection.
  4. Measure 1 cup of blueberries and put them in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of water and set aside.
  6. When the water and blueberries have come to a boil, simmer for 3 minutes then add the cornstarch mixture, lemon juice and salt, simmer for a couple of minutes, remove from heat and add to the 3 cups of fresh blueberries.
  7. Spoon the mixture in the baked shell and allow to sit room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.
  8. Can be served with mascarpone cream, whipped cream or creme patisserie. Store up to 3 days room temperature.
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Open Faced Apricot Pie
Print Recipe
Techniques: Maceration and reduction of fruit juices.
Servings Prep Time
6/8 peple 45 minutes
Cook Time
50/60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6/8 peple 45 minutes
Cook Time
50/60 minutes
Open Faced Apricot Pie
Print Recipe
Techniques: Maceration and reduction of fruit juices.
Servings Prep Time
6/8 peple 45 minutes
Cook Time
50/60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6/8 peple 45 minutes
Cook Time
50/60 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 9 inches pie crust ( brisee) recipe below
  • 2 and 3/4 pounds fresh apricots about 4 cups, halved pitted, sliced in half
  • 6 tablespoons sugar 75 g
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch 19 g
  • 1/2 cup raspberries 60g
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserve 113 g
Servings: peple
Units:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven at 425F
  2. Roll the bottom crust to 1/8 inch thick and not bigger than 12 inches in diameter. Line a 9 inch pie pan. Trim the edges almost even but leaving a small part overhanging, to prevent shrinkage. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 3 hours.
  3. Line the pastry with parchment paper, fill with dry beans or weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, prick with a fork and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until pale golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes on a rack
  4. Transfer the sliced apricots in a large bowl and sprinkle sugar, ans corn starch. Allow to macerate for 15 minutes.
  5. Arrange the apricots decoratively in the baked shell side up. Place a foil ring around the border to protect the edge from over browning and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until apricots are tender. Cool pie completely. When pie is cool arrange raspberry, if using, in the spaces between the apricots. Heat the apricot jam and using a brush paint the apricots and raspberries with the jam.
Recipe Notes

Brisee, pie crust

Other combinations: Blueberry, nectarines, raspberries and peaches, black berries and peaches, nectarines and raspberries, cherries and berry mix, strawberries and rhubarb. Starch for pies no starch for crostata.

Apricot has no reduction.

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Mid-Summer Peach Pie
Print Recipe
Techniques: Maceration and reduction of fruit juices.
Servings Prep Time
6/8 peple 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40-50 minutes 30
Servings Prep Time
6/8 peple 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40-50 minutes 30
Mid-Summer Peach Pie
Print Recipe
Techniques: Maceration and reduction of fruit juices.
Servings Prep Time
6/8 peple 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40-50 minutes 30
Servings Prep Time
6/8 peple 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40-50 minutes 30
Ingredients
  • 2 9 inches pie crust ( brisee) recipe below
  • 2 and 3/4 pounds peaches about 8, 1kg, peeled, pitted, sliced in to 16th
  • 1 medium lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar 112 g
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 teaspoons corn starch 12 g
Servings: peple
Units:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven at 425F
  2. Roll the bottom crust to 1/8 inch thick and not bigger than 12 inches in diameter. Line a 9 inch pie pan. Trim the edges almost even but leaving a little part overhanging, to prevent shrinkage. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 3 hours.
  3. Transfer the sliced peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar, add the salt and toss them gently. Macerate for minimum of 30 minutes up to 1 hour.
  4. Drain the peaches in a colander over a bowl and reserve the juice.
  5. Reduce the juice on medium to high and boil down to about 1/3 of a cup or until syrupy and lightly caramelized. Don't stir.
  6. Toss peaces in a bowl with corn starch until cornstarch disappear. Transfer in to the pie shell. Pour syrup over the peaches.
  7. Roll out the top crust large enough to cover the pie. Cover the pie. Tuck the overhanging under the bottom crust. Make 5 slashes, crimp and decorate. Refrigerate covered for at least on hour to relax the dough.
  8. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the juices are bubbling over and through the slashes. Cool for at least 3 hours. Store room temperature up to to 2 days.
Recipe Notes

Brisee, pie crust recipe to follow

Other combinations: Blueberry, nectarines, raspberries and peaches, black berries and peaches, nectarines and raspberries, cherries and berry mix, strawberries and rhubarb.

Do not use starch for crostata, arrange fruit and reduced juices on uncooked pastry, decorate and bake

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Ice Box Strawberry Pie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ice Box Strawberry Pie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 9 inch pie for basic brisee see notes
  • 4 cups strawberries 1 pounds 450g cleaned and hulled, if large halved
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch 28g
  • 1/4 cup sugar 50g
  • 1 medium lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water or cranberry/orange/raspberry juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 medium egg white lightly beaten
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven at 425F
  2. In a large bowl mix 3 cups of the strawberries with lemon and sugar. Reserve one cup of strawberries. Macerate for at least half hour up to overnight in the fridge.
  3. Roll the bottom crust to a 1/8 of an inch thick 13 inches circle then transfer to a 9 inches pie pan. Fold under the excess and crimp the border. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
  4. Remove from fridge, line with parchment and fill with dried beans, rice or weights. Bake for 20 mines. Lift the parchment and the beans. Prick the bottom with a fork and bake 5 to 10 minutes more. Cool the crust on a rack. you can then if you like brush the crust with egg white for added protection.
  5. Drain the macerated strawberries over a bowl. Set the strawberries aside and put the drained juices in a small sauce pan.
  6. Add the corn starch, the water or juice if using, mix until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Cool.
  7. Gently fold in the macerated strawberries and add the reserved 1 cup of fresh strawberries.
  8. Spoon the mixture in the baked shell and allow to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.
  9. Can be served with mascarpone cream, whipped cream or creme patisserie. Store up to 3 days room temperature.
Recipe Notes
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Melon Butter
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 8.5 ounces/ 250 ml jars 25 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45/50 minutes 2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 8.5 ounces/ 250 ml jars 25 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45/50 minutes 2 hours
Melon Butter
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 8.5 ounces/ 250 ml jars 25 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45/50 minutes 2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 8.5 ounces/ 250 ml jars 25 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45/50 minutes 2 hours
Ingredients
  • 2 melons peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 lemon juice
  • sugar 500g for every 1 kilo of melon flesh, peeled and seeded
Servings: 8.5 ounces/ 250 ml jars
Units:
Instructions
  1. Peel, remove seeds and dice melon. Weight flesh. Add half of the weight in sugar. 50% sugar ratio. 1 to 2 ratio, add the lemon juice. Bring to a boil then simmer in a non reactive pan for about 40 to 50 minutes. Cook until thik and syrupy. Candy thermometer 108. Transfer in to jars, wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath.
Recipe Notes

Works best with cantaloupe or tuscan melons.

Great with prosciutto, smoked meats and strong cheeses.

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