Calling all food fans! It is time to rest and recharge before the weather cools and we all make a shift. Are you entirely burned out by being burned up with this heat? Buckle in baby: We have the baked goods to welcome autumn with a grateful "huzzah"!
As a pastry chef that has worked around the United States, the overwhelming joy that bakers experience during this time of year is singular. Commonly, professional pastry chefs are given scraps, leftovers, and otherwise less beautiful raw ingredients to extend the inventory and magically turn out a crowd pleasing finish to a meal. But at this time of year, gorgeous produce is everywhere and you can't process it fast enough. When I worked in Shaker Heights (a suburb of Cleveland), there was a farmers market that was set up every Saturday outside of the restaurant I worked at. Here I had the first opportunity (12 years ago!) to speak with the man who grew the pears and berries. The kind farmer was able to give me micro-lessons on different varieties and the desired uses and yields of his fruits.
Once I moved down to Charleston SC there was a lot more "Face time:" with each locally grown item. The harvest season is extended significantly from the central PA season giving an opportunity to work with quality produce and learn about it in more depth. Pies and clafoutis run rampant during this season while washing everything down with a sweet tea. The end of summer/very early fall are exuberant times for cooking.
The first recipe we will be going over is the PEACH HAND PIE. If you happen to have started a new school year (as a student, parent, or employee) then you can attest to the fact that your free time has somehow been shoved unceremoniously into a boxed off schedule of commitments. The benefit of the hand pie over a traditional pie is that you can pack it in a lunch or picnic (behind the wheel of your car - I'm not judging). The single serving pies can also be frozen so you can pop these in the oven when you need a sweet treat. This recipe uses a touch of local honey to compliment the fruit and add some depth.
Feel free to follow and expound on the recipe here. (double or triple it if you want to stock your freezer):
Peaches get so much attention that I think the pears sometimes get skipped over as we are thrown headlong into apple season. The humble pear ripens on the counter after it is picked which makes it a good snack for having around but if you want to apply some heat to it you can make a deliciously trendy pear butter. Just like apple butter only giving the pear it's time to shine.
For the recipe portion of my long winded dissertation here: ITALIAN ALMOND CAKE: If you have a few pears ready to go then try out this classic combination and feel free to add a touch of spice to make it your own:
Optional: 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, and /or 1 tsp lemon zest all pair well - choose one or choose all.
Get at it here:
I hope you are as excited as I am for the frutis of early fall. Stay tuned for developments with the pop up stand and beyond.
If you try your hand at one of these recipes post it on your story and tag us @diroscoarrosticini ! We love to see what you can do :)