Blueberry and Fresh Apricot Pie

I bought a tray of fresh apricots and you may have noticed that blueberries are plentiful in every grocery store. Long long ago I made this delectable combination of fruits in a pie with a lattice crust when I could still eat gluten. So, this was a perfect pairing for adaptation to a gluten free pie recipe.   The resulting pie was juicy and flavorful.  We took it with us this past weekend  on vacation

This is an easy pie to create.  Slice and dump together the filling, crumb topping made in mixer bowl you used for bottom crust. You can store any leftover crumb mixture in a sealed container in the fridge; it keeps a few weeks.  This GF crumb topping is perfect for most any fruit pie.  If you prefer a solid crust just double the crust part and top your pie with it.  Be sure to cut some slits for steam escape! I think a lattice crust would be fantastic although more time consuming to construct.

Apricots don’t need peeling; just halve and remove the pits. So, bake and enjoy summer in a pie in just a few minutes of work.  Don’t eat it piping hot; it should be cooled to room temperature or even chilled.  You could certainly serve this with vanilla ice cream.

And this pie also works perfectly with fresh nectarines or peaches.  I have to confess I love to make it with nectarines as no peeling.  This apricot version is really flavorful so if you ever get about a quart of apricots this is a great recipe for a pie.

 

Angie’s GF Blueberry Fresh Apricot Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

3 cups sliced fresh apricots pitted and cut in halves or quarters

2-3 cups fresh blueberries – place in medium bowl

Mix with:

½ cup sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup quick tapioca

Add and stir in

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Let stand while you prepare the crust.

Roll out pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with fruit mixture.

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Sprinkle the top of the pie with crumb mix; use as much as you like (all is fine!).  I generally like about a heaping cup of the mixture. But this time my crumbs were bigger so I used the whole batch. Up to your personal taste… It sinks partially into the fruit mixture and adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal. 

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45-55 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown. You can put a pie juice catcher under the pie as it might bubble over.  This protects the oven bottom from a mess. I put a piece of aluminum foil on top for the last ten minutes.  Cool at least 2 to 4 hours before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 10 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes.  A way to remedy this is to grill your slices; see my recent posting on fire roasted pie! 

Note: if you find your bottom crust is not browning enough bake it empty at 375 degrees for ten minutes before filling it with the fruit.  I have a bottom heat pizza style oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust.

 Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur’s GF blend flour)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

Waffles That Wow

We stayed in a tiny cabin by Lake Seneca in NY State this past week. We enjoyed some good food. For breakfast I made waffles, then  pancakes, and then more waffles the third morning.  The pancakes are lovely; for the first year or two gf I just couldn’t find any pancakes that measured up to what I felt they should taste like.  These are from Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s cookbook. Sometimes I add extra milk if they are too thick. I pour the batter right out of a mixing bowl with a pour spout onto the griddle.

And, again, I forgot to take pix of the waffle iron in action; have one shot of a waffle quarter from a prior summer; before I snarfed it down so here is that recipe (my version; based on a pancake recipe in Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts. This recipe is great for camping because buttermilk travels better than regular milk and it also uses oil not butter in the waffle; easier to deal with than melting butter on the camp stove…. Once I was out of buttermilk and used kefir, a fermented milk; worked fantastically.

waffle

Cinnamon Waffles (for 2; double for 4 people)

1 cup brown rice flour mix

1 tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp. salt

1 ¾ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 large egg, well beaten

2 tbsp. canola oil or melted butter plus extra for greasing griddle.

2/3 cup buttermilk

½ tsp. vanilla extract

cooking spray (kind with no flour in it)

Directions:  To make it portable; measure the dry ingredients into a zip-lock baggie. I like to write the other ingredients on with a black Sharpie marker and label it waffles…so you don’t use the pancake mix by mistake!  Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl, add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla (optional when camping but I did bring it this summer and they were so yummy). Pour the dry mix into the bowl and whisk briefly until fairly well mixed.

While you are doing that mixing step the waffle iron should be heating.  I use an antique round cast iron waffle iron; please do spray it with cooking spray before heating and then I melt about 1-2 tsp. of butter into the 4 quarters; I blop the chunk around with a fork so some melts into each part of the iron.  Flip the iron over just before putting in the batter. I use a big spoon to glop it into the waffle iron.  One big glop in each half.  Close the iron and let it bake about 2 minutes. Flip it and bake 1-2 more minutes, or however long your waffle iron takes.  I serve it with real maple syrup; something this good deserves the best.  Before I serve the first waffle I break off a section and eat it hot and plain; you can really taste the cinnamon that way.  Make sure your waffles are crisp not soft. The crisp is Everything!

blueberry waffle with cream

A messy waffle but delightful in every way!

blueberry waffle half

We had breakfast maple flavored sausage links; go fantastically well with waffles. This time we had some tiny homegrown blueberries to scatter over it one time and the other time homemade strawberry freezer jam and half whipped cream. Each topping created an incredible treat!

Brown Rice Flour Mix (it is the same as King Arthur’s gf flour mix)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally posted in July 2015 and again in 2016, 2017 with minor text revisions

Fire Roasted Blueberry Pie…Yeap We Did That!

 

On our vacation this past week we enjoyed a bonfire one clear evening. Yes; a rain free day! Well, we were in the Finger Lakes not eastern PA, LOL!  It was glorious to relax in our chairs at the tiny private beach we were so lucky to have… by the crackling fire Joe and I built of driftwood and some aging firewood our host wanted burnt. It was a deep pleasure to sit there relaxing by the waxing moon and a bit of star light, watching the fire flicker against the background of lapping, dark lake water.

We don’t really do the toasted marshmallow thing as he dislikes such and I am not supposed to eat overly sweet treats.  So, no marshmallows by the fire. But, then I had a great idea. I cut a wide slice of the blueberry apricot pie I had baked and brought with us. pie missing a sliceI put it on a double folded piece of heavy strength aluminum foil and bending up the sides a bit to catch any runoff, should that occur. Then I put the pie on my foil raft and slid it onto a couple branches just off the main fire. We let it heat for ten minutes and checked; not quite as hot as wanted. Five more minutes to wait, patience grasshopper! Then, used my potholder to slide it out of the fire zone onto a china plate. We dug in. Perfection. The crust had regained its flakiness of two days earlier and the filling was nearly molten and so sweetly flavorful with a hint of smokiness. Sitting in the dark sharing a slice of hot toasty blueberrilishish pie. Priceless!

 

The next night was rainy so we had to cancel our planned fire. Instead, we relaxed in our tiny cabin while I grilled the pie on the gas flames of our grill. Pretty much just as yummy and super convenient if you don’t have a fire. Next time you go camping or have access to a grill and have any sort of pie; try grilling it for a sweet warm treat. Enjoy! pie 2

Perils of Lunching out in NY State

Just back from the Finger Lakes up in New York State. Gorgeous. Didn’t eat out much. Did a lot of grilling at our rental cabin. Yummy results. But I will share on the three places we did have lunch at. The first was at Three Brothers Wineries up near Geneva New York, up towards the eastern top portion of Lake Seneca. The large parking lot was packed, buses, limos, vans, zillions of cars.  We finally stowed the pick up in a wider space and strolled in the central area. Many buildings, including a micro brewery, stores and dozens of folks trotting this way and that, groups in matching shirts, twenty somethings swizzling wine slushies as well as hordes of people drinking, eating, enjoying life loudly. We went to the take out area in the Cold Brew Coffee eatery.  I ordered a chicken sandwich on gf bread and an ice tea.  I left Joe to get the sandwiches and walked out to secure some where to eat. I got a nice table but had to wait nearly 20 minutes for him to show up.  He had a bratwurst sandwich which shouldn’t have taken so long.  Guess it was my choice…. My requested gf bread was somehow changed to what looked like an over-sized multigrain taco shell. I went in to ask if it was gf. The young fellow acting as the expediter said yes it was and as he spoke he tapped his gloved finger on my taco shell! I told him that he had just contaminated my food with his hand as most of the food there was on bread, rolls, pizza dough or pretzel dough. Ridiculously unprofessional and totally uncalled for behavior. I walked back as I was not willing, at 2 pm, to wait another 20-25 minutes for a sandwich when I was sick with hunger. I tore off the top half of the taco shell, tossed it and ate the rest. It was actually pretty good. But I will never go back there; too noisy, too crowded, incredibly slow service and Joe felt I was crazy lucky to not get glutened.

apple and chicken salad

Next place was at Wagner Vineyards near Lodi where we had our cabin. I ordered a composed salad with apple slices and grilled chicken. It arrived with a big wheat bun resting on the salad. I told the waitress that the salad was unacceptable, she said does it have to be remade. I said yes. They did in short order and it was okay if a bit boring. We wee on the outside deck and it was breezy; at one point I had to put my hands over my salad as chunks of the lettuce were blowing away in the gusty wind! Acceptable but nothing I would order again; the wine based vinaigrette was watery and bland.

Lastly, we ate at the Carriage House Café in Ithica on our way out of town. I had the grilled chicken, brie, artichoke and caramelized onions on gf bread. The sandwich was awkward as it was not sliced in half and the bread was grilled or griddled making it kinda hard to bite off a chunk. I managed and the flavors were awesome together. I think I got the end of a loaf; a bit tough. I had the same sandwich last summer and it was stunning in every way. This was still great; just not quite as perfect as the previous sandwich.

carriage house

Moral of story: check harder before choosing places; it I had researched the Three Brothers I would have seen all that pizza and pretzel dough and how big/commercial the place was…best avoided. Otherwise it is often the luck of the day as to the bread quality and the wind that might blow away your salad!

Stuffed Squash Blossom Fritters

 

Zucchini season is here.  The blossoms are plentiful and I am expecting many zucchini this season.  I now make my stuffed blossoms with gf beer batter. I have made them gf before; this is a repeat post with some new information.  I used seltzer thinking it could function like the beer;none of that in the house. So I whipped up a batch for lunch today.

I usually use Monterrey Jack cheese to fill them but in a pinch some sharp cheddar worked excellently.  Or whatever cheese floats your boat; can use almost anything that is not too hard or is really runny before cooking. I used sharp cheddar this time; perfect.

My go to in past has been GF Redbridge beer. I left it rest once beaten, for about one hour.  UPDATE: I used seltzer water this time very successfully. Use a tad less than you would of beer; seems thinner than beer makes the batter. Even flavored seltzer works; not sweetened though.

No need to deep fry in a quart of oil, I fried mine in a non stick pan with a good coating of light olive oil.  I like to turn them twice; resulting in a sort of three sided fritter. They are best consumed right away the same day they are made, eaten warm with a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.  My twenty something daughter loves them. My grandson at two and a half enjoyed one!  They have a mild squash taste but I think the crisp batter coating is the predominate flavor. My GF version is pretty much identical to the old wheat version: they taste fantastic! The cheese is melted and creamy, the fritter exterior is crisp yet tender. I ate half of them and had to restrain myself from any more….I sprinkled some fresh dill on the plate. Perfect.

 

 

Stuffed squash Fritters

Ingredients

7-12 fresh squash blossoms, remove stamen

1 medium egg

2/3 cup white rice flour or any gf flour blend

Sprinkle sea salt, a few grinds of fresh pepper

1 ½ tsp light olive oil plus more for frying

3 ounces GF beer; I measure it midway between ½ and 2/3 cup or about 1/2 cup seltzer water

Approx 1 inch chunk of cheddar cheese cut into small rectangles

¼ a fresh lemon or lime

DIRECTIONS: Separate the egg and put the yolk in a medium bowl, ditto for the white.  Add the oil, salt, pepper and white rice flour to the yolk.  Then add the beer.  Stir well, cover with plastic wrap and let stand an hour or two.  Even thirty minutes works. Beat that reserved egg white until fairly stiff. Add to the batter and stir gently but thoroughly. It will lose some loft but don’t over beat; should be thick and puffy in texture.

Slit open the side of each squash blossom and break off the pollen stamen.  Insert a 1 inch by ½ inch chunk of cheddar cheese.

Heat a 10 inch non-stick skillet; add about 2 or 3 tbsp light olive oil.  Take 3 blossoms and gently roll in the batter to coat; making sure the cheese doesn’t fall out.  Lightly lay them in the hot olive oil and fry until golden, carefully turn twice with spatula and fingers; about 5 or 6 minutes total. Do a few more if you have room or fry in two batches.  Do not keep turning; maximum of two turns.  Lay on a couple paper towels to absorb any excess oil if they are oily. Mine were really not at all oily this time.  Plate, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

They are a lovely appetizer. I made 7 this time of them; that was how many blossoms I had; the batter should do at least 12 of them.  Even the bit of stem will taste good so don’t worry if you have ½ inch or so of stem.  The blossoms are best if you pick them yourself that day. Some fancy farmer’s markets sell squash blossoms so they are the first place I suggest you look for some if you don’t have access to a few squash plants.  I have used pumpkin or butternut squash blossoms in the past; they taste fine.

squash blossoms on plate

I squeezed lime juice on these and sprinkled with fresh dill; perfection!

Do try them; a real conversation starter, not that hard to make and really delicious.

Original post in summer of  2015 or thereabouts. Minor text changes and recipe variations.

 

Rhubarb Peach Pie, Yeap…It’s Doable!

 

Generally, my rhubarb is done long before I see fresh peaches in my neck of the woods. Not that I actually live in the woods. Just happen to like that idiom and it fits.  I think the peaches I bought at Bechdolt’s Orchard were imported from the Carolinas and it is the end of picking my rhubarb but they came together beautifully in this lush pie.  I was kinda curious how these two fruits would taste in one pie: in one phrase: lush and delicate. It is a version of my rhubarb custard pie.

It goes together rather quickly especially if you have a stand mixer and had leftover crumbs in the fridge as I did. Suggest you use a  potato peeler to cut the skin off the peaches and sliced them on the thin side. Saves the effort of hot water bath poaching which is kinda hot; you will only need 3-4 peaches depending on their size.

This pie is for all the pie lovers who love a fat slice of juicy homemade pie!

Rhubarb Peach Custard Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions:

Mix dry crust ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and lemon juice.  Mix briefly until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.  Then roll out and put on the parchment lined pan; put back in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

4 cups chopped rhubarb (use 3 if your pan is 9 inch)

2 cups fresh peaches, sliced and sprinkled with 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ tsp. cinnamon

Sprinkle nutmeg

Zest of ½ a lemon, optional

Mix all dry ingredients; pour over fruit and stir up and pour carefully into crust that you rolled out and placed into a 9 or 10 inch pie pan.   Top with the following custard mixture you beat in a small mixing bowl:

2 eggs. 1/3 cup whole milk, ¼ tsp. almond extract.

Then top with crumbs:

In stand mixer: ¾ cup brown rice flour mix, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp. xanthan gum and 1/3 cup cold butter cut into six chunks. Mix until the butter is in fine crumbs well blended with the dry ingredients. I use about half a batch of crumbs on top of my crumb pies; you can use as much or as little as you like. Don’t press on them; just lightly sprinkle over top of fruit mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 55 to 60 minutes; should be bubbling and lightly browned. Let cool and set for at least 2 hours before cutting.

rhubarb peach pie just out of oven

rhubarb peach pie sliceBrown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur basic gf blend you can buy at Giant)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

The crust recipe is from Annalise Roberts great cookbook, GF Baking Classics, Second Edition.

Frozen Strawberries and Chocolate Delight!

Summer is the best time for enjoying ice cream bars. Aldi’s may be the best place to buy them! I got a four pack of strawberry ice cream bars there last week. They are fruity, creamy and covered with dark chocolate; a triple play of yumminess! Two are gone…the other two will be devoured soon enough. They also come in coconut; not tried it yet; soon….

strrawberry fruit bar

Nutritional report: only 180 calories; not bad for a sweet treat. 18 grams sugar; not quite so good and 20 of sodium; minimal. A few grams of fat. Overall; for a somewhat processed ice cream bar: pretty okay on the nutritional scale of things.

On the flavor scale; about a 9.5; darn yummy. About $3 for four of them; darn cheap. Hardest part is planning so I am able to go right home from Aldi’s before these beauties melt even a tiny bit in the insulated bag they are packed in for travel. Go gettem!