Category Archives: fall

Rolling with the seasons

rollingpin

YES, IT’S OFFICIALLY AUTUMN, and the change of the seasons and cooler days call me back to baking once again (not that I’ve ever left it entirely).

In the late summer/ early fall, I made some Zwetchgenkuchen with the beautiful Italian plums, but now that the plums are all gone from the trees, and I’ve said farewell to summer, my fruit dreams turn to apples and pears.

zwetch2016

Next week, when I visit my daughter in Arkansas, we plan to make an apple pie together, so I was recalling a post I wrote here back in 2007 that spoke of my “one-per-season pie calendar” and featured the marvelous Pie Queen Reeb Willms with her recipe for apple pie. You can read it here.

apple-pie-blog

Another must-bake for me in the autumn is the round challah with raisins. Along with apples and honey, it signifies the sweet and spirit-nourishing tradition of Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year.

roundchallahblogMy round challahs are never quite symmetrical, but then, it really doesn’t matter!

It seems timely to put a link to yet another blog post from years ago, titled “A circle, a braid, a meditation on challah”

In fact, circles seem to be a theme here — appropriately, as in the autumn, we are so aware of the circle of seasons.

bowlofapplesblog

So, even if you don’t do any baking this season, do enjoy a wonderful crisp, juicy, sweet (or sweet-tart) apple — and roll with the season!

p.s. Need a good challah recipe? A reader writes in: “I know everyone has her/his favorite challah recipe, but my late wife Ruth׳s was truly spectacular.  See her web site ruths-kitchen.com”

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Filed under baked goods, fall, fruit, musings, Uncategorized

Kitchen troubles

sunsetrecipeTHE TROUBLE BEGAN HERE: an attractive photo in a cooking magazine for “pumpkin caramel tart with toasted hazelnut crust.” It was just before Thanksgiving, when I was considering what I could bring for dessert — and it was tempting.

I should have known better. Our Thanksgiving hosts, Nellie and Marc, had said their theme for the food this year was “tried and true.” Which really should be a theme every year for Thanksgiving, in my humble opinion. I mean, so many people look forward to those traditional foods — maybe with a few tweaks here and there —  why disappoint them?

So why couldn’t I just make a good old pumpkin pie — the kind I’d made many times before? But no, lured by the glossy photo and the promise of “ease,” I gave in to temptation.

Two days before Thanksgiving, I made the crust, and it really was pretty easy. So far so good.

My plan was to make the filling and bake the pie the next morning.  I’d just change one or two little things. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, to add  a little sweet potato to the pumpkin filling? However, I hadn’t baked the sweet potato quite long enough, and it wouldn’t blend in, even when attacked with the mixer. Since lumpy filling just would not do, I walked to the store to buy another can of pumpkin puree.

The morning was gone by the time I got to the next step, making the caramel sauce. I melted sugar and swirled it in the pan till caramelized, then added the cream. No, not really cream. As I wanted a lactose-intolerant guest to enjoy this pie, I had decided to use coconut milk. But I had only light coconut milk, and I wasn’t sure this was going to work as well as cream. Oh well, I was NOT going to go back to the store. I mixed up the ingredients and put it in the oven.

The recipe said that the filling would be firm on the sides and slightly jiggly in the middle after 30 to 35 minutes. I checked after 30 minutes and panicked. It was totally liquid — like pumpkin soup! No way would it be firm in another 5 minutes. I turned the springform pan this way and that, closed the oven door and set the timer for 10 minutes. To my amazement, in 10 minutes the filling had actually set, and the tart was ready to come out of the oven.

pumpkinsinkhole2

But now there was a BIG problem. While some of the muddy-looking filling had slopped over the crust, a large sinkhole had developed — and weirdly, not even in the middle of the pie/tart, but off-center. ( I couldn’t fill the crater with whipped cream, as that would have defeated the no-lactose attempt.)  Meanwhile, I had tried to caramelize some hazelnuts for decoration but this effort failed too, and the nuts ended up crusty with sugar rather than the shiny  caramelized ones of the photo.

IN SHORT, THIS WAS NOT  the pretty pie of the glossy photo! Not at all. I debated starting over and making a regular pumpkin pie but I was thoroughly sick of being in the kitchen at this point. I gave up and went to my yoga class.

The next day — Thanksgiving — I opened the refrigerator and witnessed a semi-miracle. The contents of the pie seemed to have shifted so the sinkhole had diminished. It was now merely a depression. I still didn’t know how it would taste, but the kitchen seemed welcoming again as I cooked another batch of cranberry sauce and blanched some green beans. I nestled the pan into a box for its trip to the Thanksgiving feast.

hazelnutpumpkin

By the time we got to Thanksgiving dessert, I wasn’t too worried — perhaps an effect of the abundant food and wine. So what if it wasn’t the world’s best or prettiest pie? I’d dressed up the top with candied (not caramelized) hazelnuts  and you could barely see the former sinkhole. What’s more, it tasted pretty darn good, and the slices quickly disappeared off the platter.

But would I make this recipe again? I already knew the answer before I even took one bite. No, no, and no.

I gave the magazine away right after I took the photo for this blog post.  I have learned my lesson. A pumpkin pie would have been just as good (allowing for my usual tweaking and minor experimentation) — and I wouldn’t have had all that stupid agonizing.

So I’ve resolved: from now on, I’m not going to be a sucker for the glossy photos and complicated new recipes– especially on the big occasions, like Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin pie

My new motto: Keep it simple. Keep it classic. Keep enjoying the cooking.

p.s. That filling that I couldn’t use because it seemed lumpy? I used it today in a classic little pumpkin pie that really was easy to make (and the filling wasn’t lumpy after all). The experimental part was a cornmeal crust that I saw on the wonderful pie blog, Nothing in the House. So good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pistou!!

cranberry beans

I’d bought some fresh cranberry beans at the farmers’ market, which were very tasty and tender

IT’S THAT TRANSITION TIME — warm and summery one day, cool and rainy the next. During the cool rainy (and windy) days last week, I wished I had some soup to eat. . . but I didn’t feel like making my usual fall and winter soups. I didn’t want to rush the season.

Then I saw this article and recipe in the New York Times for soupe au pistou, the Southern French vegetable soup flavored with basil (usually a basil pesto without the pine nuts).

stringbeans, potatoesThe lovely thing about this particular recipe by David Tanis is that it uses all those vegetables that are in season right now, in September. However, it’s also very adaptable, and there are countless variations. For example, in a second batch I made, I cooked dried, soaked white beans instead of the cranberry beans. (Yes, I imagine you could substitute canned beans). And I couldn’t find romano beans, so I just used more regular green beans.

Another adjustment I made to the recipe was to skip the separate step of blanching the vegetables, and just cook them right in the pot (as one reader suggested), to my liking. I kept them bright and slightly crunchy for the first serving; the next day, when I reheated the soup, the vegetables were less bright but more tender. Both variations were good.

Some people use rice or macaroni instead of potatoes, or insist that tomatoes are essential if you want to call it soupe au pistou  (Here, for example, is a completely different recipe).

I like the potatoes, though, and I think the soupe is fine with or without the tomatoes. Since I’ve never had an traditional soupe au pistou, I can’t judge its authenticity except to say I like this soup, whatever you call it.

The dollop of basil pesto (without nuts, but if you have some usual pesto on hand, no one will object) adds a distinctive seasoning, but this soup is flavorful even without it (maybe then you should call it something else).

pistouReally, this soupe au pistou is so good that it led me right back into the soup-making season–without regrets.

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Filed under fall, Praise for other cooks, soup, vegetables

Thanksgiving’s simpler sides

As usual this year, I am making cranberry chutney as well as a basic cranberry sauce with orange zest to take to the Thanksgiving feast. And green beans, perhaps with some toasted pecans or caramelized lemons (or both?). And rolls — not that anyone needs or even wants more carbs, but these are yet another Thanksgiving tradition (and there are so many).

Really, one day is not enough to appreciate all the side dishes of Thanksgiving tradition, and one doesn’t always have leftovers, so I decided to make a meal of some classic sides before Thanksgiving. When you’re just making a couple of dishes, of course it’s much simpler, and this meal was so good I may do another variation or two of side dishes after the big feast.

brussels

Roasted brussels sprouts were on my menu

I made a wild rice-brown rice pilaf with onions and mushrooms, topped with toasted pecans — the cranberry chutney on the side (I’d made extra) really perked up this dish. And I had just bought a bag of nice little brussels sprouts from the farmers’ market, so those were roasted, with a little pomegranate vinegar on top.

TdaysidesAnd of course, there were baked sweet potatoes.

Maybe it wasn’t the most beautiful or original supper plate we ever had, but it was very satisfying to give full attention to some of Thanksgiving’s less glamorous sidekicks!

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Filed under fall, supper time, Uncategorized, vegetables, winter

Good morning, granola

bowl o granola

In case you haven’t heard yet, homemade granola is sooooo much better than most of what you’ll find in stores (that is, unless you want to pay a small fortune).

I’ve been making granola for years now, but until recently I just kept fiddling with the recipe and it never seemed quite right. The really delicious granola was too full of fat and sugar and calories to qualify as a breakfast food. When I tried to keep it somewhat healthful and modest in calories, it was little more than toasted oats and not too enticing.

Eventually, I adopted some guidelines for tasty and pretty-good-for-you granola:

  • Use applesauce and a little water for moisture and sweetness
  • Stay in control of the nuts — they’re delicious and healthy but highly caloric!
  • Don’t turn the granola for the first half hour if you want some clumps in the mixture
  • Skip the dried fruit (if you do use it, put it in after the granola is done baking); fresh fruit is lower in calories and delicious

Probably most important, if you don’t want  your breakfast granola to make you fat, use it as a topping rather than serving yourself a big bowl of it! I love having it atop yogurt and fresh fruit — just a few tablespoons adds crunch and interest.

goodmorn granola

Plus, using it only as a topping means your precious jar of granola will last longer.

granolaandfruit Usually I have fruit and yogurt and granola all summer long, and switch to steel cut oats when the weather turns cooler. But this fall, I just haven’t been able to give up my granola! The fruit is not as varied as above, but I defrost some of the berries I froze during the summer, and sometimes add some apple or pear.

So, here’s the recipe below — and I know some of you will want to add dried coconut so go ahead — if you must!! (I don’t like it).  Variations are limited only by one’s taste and imagination!

granola jar

Good Morning Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats, regular or thick (not instant)
  • 1/3 cups nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans — whatever you like), coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds (and sometimes I add another tablespoon of sesame seeds)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive, canola, sunflower, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 -2 teaspoons spices or to taste (your choice: cinnamon and/or ginger are good; I sometimes like garam masala)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Warm up the applesauce, water, oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, spices and salt and stir the mixture together in a big bowl.
  3. Add the oats, nuts and seeds to the liquid mixture and stir until the oats are well coated.
  4. Spread the oat mixture out on a cookie sheet and bake on an upper rack for 30 minutes.
  5. Open the oven and gently (so as not to break up the clumps) turn the granola, moving the darker pieces along the edges to the middle.
  6. Bake another 8 to 10 minutes, then check to see if it is dark enough. It should be a dark golden color. If it needs to bake more, check it every few minutes so it doesn’t burn. The granola will get crisper as it cools.
  7. Take out the cookie sheet and put it on a baking rack to cool completely before you put it in a jar.

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Notes from a one-armed cook

onionlines

When I returned from Italy with my arm encased in a huge plaster cast, I had a pretty good attitude. But it wasn’t long before I was brought to tears — by an onion.

No, it wasn’t the onion’s irritating juice that was making me cry. It was the reality that without the use of my left hand to hold down the onion, there was no way I could cut it. I had been enjoying other people’s cooking in Italy, but now I wanted to cook for myself and Steve. And without onions — well, what kind of cooking would that be? In my book, onions are as essential as lemons!

Yes, Steve offered to chop the onion, but it was an ordeal. Let’s just say, he is extra sensitive to the onion irritant, and a lot of cursing was involved . Anyway, he was doing so many other tasks (including a total clean-up of the kitchen)  that I didn’t want to ask him again.

I don’t know that I ever before fully appreciated the marvel of hands, especially two of them. Or the pleasure of doing even menial tasks for myself — or for someone else.

With a little research, I discovered there are special single-handed cutting boards, which range from simple ones with spikes and corners to hold food down to the fancier Swedish cutting boards with suction feet, more spikes and a vise. These are especially helpful for amputees or stroke victims. But I figured it wouldn’t be worth buying one for my remaining month in a cast.

purplecast

The purple cast is the latest in a series

Thank goodness my disability is more temporary — and that I also discovered that Trader Joe’s carries bags of chopped onions! Before long,  I was sauteeing onions (with celery and carrots that I chopped myself using the cleaned ‘baby-size’ carrots) for minestrone . . . and I only had to ask Steve for help in opening the can of tomatoes.

onions plus

minestoneI’ve cooked quite a few dishes during this arm-healing period — several batches of minestrone soup, wild mushroom risotto, polenta, spinach-and-feta frittata, oatmeal scones, cornbread, etc. — but it hasn’t all been easy. Over the last 44 days, I’ve had to develop some advice for myself — and then remind myself of it along the way. So here are the basics :

Be patient– and lower your standards. Plan extra time, because everything will take longer than it used to (or than it does for others).  Your frustration will lower in proportion to the extent that you accept this reality. Also, your diminished abilities may mean that you are messier and less precise than you used to be. It helps if you are not a perfectionist.

Adapt when you can — There’s no shame in holding a zipper-lock bag with your teeth so you can open or close it, or clasping a jar in the crook of your damaged arm so you can use your functional hand to open it.  Maybe you have to carry jars of water to the heavy cooking pot rather than bringing the pot over to the sink. Maybe you or your friends will come up with creative tools to help with tasks (Steve’s brother Duane had made a wooden holder for the Microplane grater, which I relied on.) A lot of times, there really is an alternative method, even if you don’t get a specialized cutting board.

Stop making yourself crazy. So you can’t do everything. Who can? Adapting can only go so far. My DIY mode had to go. I gave up baking bread in the cast iron Dutch oven (way too heavy) and enjoyed bread from a wonderful local bakery. I tossed out my snooty attitude about  buying vegetables in bags (so wasteful and expensive, I’d thought) and gave in to packaged pre-cut butternut squash and triple-washed lettuce in bags (since Steve won’t use the salad spinner.) Also, I decided there was no harm in the occasional frozen food or even (heaven forbid!) using the built-in microwave which I’d formerly relegated to skillet storage.

Ask for help. No matter how independent you are, you will not be able to do everything yourself. If you are lucky, there will be someone around or next door or down the street or even across town who won’t mind helping — and may even be glad you asked.

Still, asking for help — and accepting it graciously — is a lot harder than it seems it should be.

When friends ask, “What can I do to help?” it helps to have something specific in mind — that is, if they really mean it (but do give them an easy out, so you don’t strain the friendship).

For example, when Jennifer asked what I wanted for my birthday, I told her: “A fresh pineapple. If you would cut it for me.” I’d been eyeing the new shipment of pineapples in the store but there was no way I could cut one myself.

So… lo and behold! — I got exactly what I asked for. And it was one of the best pineapples I ever tasted. Thank you, Jennifer!

Allow for mixed emotions —The accident made me contemplate how much I have to be grateful for, from the fact that I didn’t break my right arm or my leg (or both arms, for that matter) to the loving support of Steve and friends. But I wouldn’t be honest if I said it was all gratitude all the time. Every now and then I needed to whine a little about the pain or the disability. I was glad that Steve would (usually) just listen sympathetically without telling me to shape up. Then I could get over it and go on.

oatmealsconesIt’s surely a minor problem being a one-handed cook — as Cathy says, remember the big picture — yet  I won’t deny that sometimes it’s just a drag. That’s why I’m really  looking forward to tomorrow, when the cast comes off!

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The fruit garden

greengageMy dream has always been to have a home with a garden full of fruit trees — a fruit garden, if you will (In German, obst means fruit and obstgarten, or fruit garden, means orchard). Ivan Doig,  at a reading last week, made a comment that resonated with me.  Doig writes a lot about Montana, where he grew up, but he lives in Seattle. “It’s not where you live that matters,” he said, “but where your imagination lives. Mine lives in Montana.”

My imagination lives in a fruit garden.

scottandtree

Scott McManus with greengage plum tree

But back to reality, it really helps to have friends with fruit trees — especially if those friends have a whole orchard full of fruit.

Scott and Maggie invited us to Cashmere to sample the greengage plums of fall. This was a trip that had been long postponed, as wildfires and thick smoke in the area last September had forced us to cancel our greengage trip.

These plums (not to be confused with the green Japanese plums) are very special and delicious — and rarely grown in the U.S. In France they are called Reine Claude.  The tree is finicky and the fruit must be absolutely ripe–to the point of softness– to be truly enjoyed, so they are difficult to market.

greengagehalf

A ripe greengage plum is golden inside

The ripe plums have a golden-honey flavor balanced with enough tartness to keep them from being cloying.

In this excellent article, fruit aficionado David Karp explains all about greengages, and I learned that the type Scott was growing, Reine-Claude de Bavay, is a “half-sister” of the original greengage plum,  widely grown and respected in France.

greengagebowl

Reine-Claude de Bavay plums

Of course they ripened nearly all at once, but we had the perfect solution. We had told Georgiana, the friendly clerk in our local pharmacy, that we were making a trip over the mountains for greengages and she nearly swooned.

“I love those,” she said. “We had a greengage  tree when we lived in the country, and when we moved to town I had to leave that tree. It was the saddest thing.”

We brought Georgiana a bag of ripe greengage plums when we returned, and she was ecstatic. “Those were just wonderful,” she said when we saw her a couple days later. “They brought back so many good memories.”

bowlwithfruitIt’s the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkos, a time to enjoy the wonderful fall fruits and vegetables. The last of the fall peaches are ripe — Scott and Maggie gave us some of those as well as pears and apples. We had a lovely bounty of fruit, even enough to share. And of course, the kitchen has been full of fruit flies. It’s all just part of the season.

Today, as I’m writing this, it is September 21, the feast of San Matteo. I know nothing about the feast or the saint, except for this excellent Italian saying (which I saw on this site on Italian language).

Per San Matteo, piangi
le ultime pesche che mangi

peachypieFor San Matteo’s feast, you weep
For the last peaches you will eat

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Beyond Thanksgiving, a recipe to keep

pomegranate seeds on salad

Salad of arugula and apples with pomegranate seeds and lemon-olive oil-mint dressing

For the past few years I’ve been buying pomegranates at Thanksgiving and sprinkling their lovely ruby seeds atop a salad or a platter of green beans.

(The stories and legends of the pomegranate are fascinating. As for how to get those seeds out without a huge mess, I learned the secret technique from my Middle Eastern ancestors….. Just kidding! Really, I learned the “secret” techniques of pomegranate de-seeding on YouTube)

Pomegranate seeds are a feast for the senses with their gorgeous shiny color, crunchy-juicy texture and a sweet-tart flavor.

So every year, I say I will keep buying them after Thanksgiving. But do I?  No. I forget about them until the next November.

I love Thanksgiving foods (This year, joining my family and new grandchild in Berkeley, our vegetarian Thanksgiving featured chile rellenos stuffed with garlic mashed potatoes and cheese, along with many more traditional sides) — and often say I’ll make these foods again through the year, but I rarely do.

However, there was an exception to that rule this year: Sweet and sour caramelized red onions.

I discovered these in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. My daughter-in-law Tara has been a huge fan of the Smitten Kitchen blog for years, and her enthusiasm is contagious. I bought the cookbook for her when I was in Berkeley and spent some time (when not admiring or holding baby Levi) browsing through the book. The photo for grilled cheese sandwiches on rye with these caramelized red onions oozing out looked not only delicious but also easy, so I cooked some up in Zak and Tara’s kitchen and …..Yum. We had them again with the Thanksgiving leftovers, and I realized this condiment was definitely a keeper.

So back home, I bought some large red onions and set out to make it again.  What I love about this recipe is that it’s so easy. And so good!

redonions

Just halve and thinly slice a red onion.

redoinyellowbowlHeat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the onion for about 5 minutes.  Then sprinkle the onion with 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and a dash of salt, lower the heat to medium low and cook another 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
redonions,s&sFinally, add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, tossing the onions around with a spoon. Simmer another one or two minutes, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

redoniongrilled

You could pretty much gobble up these onions straight from the pan (my friend Nia says they are “like crack”), but I’ve managed to scoop them into a container to put in the fridge so we could eat them with chicken or avocados or put them on cheese sandwiches, grilled or cold.  They would be delicious alongside turkey or with tofu. With practically anything, really (or by themselves).  This morning I put them in a frittata with roasted red peppers and feta cheese. Another winner.

Since I’ve been home, just a little over a week, I’ve made this recipe twice and have resolved to keep some of these onions in my fridge — usually, if not always.

I can already tell I’m going to do a lot better keeping this resolution than I’ve done with the pomegranates.

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Filed under fall, fruit, Praise for other cooks, salad, vegetables

Lemon pizza!!

As soon as I read about this “pizza with a twist,” I knew I had to try it. Lemons on pizza– what a natural for me, two of my favorite foods combined.  But would it really be as good as it looked?

This recipe for “Pizza Sorrentina” (created by a fourth-generation pizzaiola in Naples for her mother Rosaria, who loved lemons) in the Wall Street Journal, gives directions for a homestyle version of the Naples-style crust, using 00 (doppio zero) flour,  a very finely ground flour producing a tender and puffy crust. You bake it in an oven set to 550 degrees (pizza in Naples is baked in wood-fired ovens that reach 950 degrees).

I don’t usually use the 00 flour for pizza, but I happened to have some so I did something that I very rarely do and followed the recipe. I also never buy smoked mozzarella, but this time I did that too. And I soaked thin lemon slices in water for 15 minutes, just like the recipe said.

I have to say, this pizza was just terrific! Soaking the lemon slices meant that the peel was chewable, not hardened, and the sharp clean flavor of the lemons contrasted beautifully with the smoked cheese.

One of the three 8-inch pizzas, along with the salad, was a fine dinner for the two of us. But one very hungry person could probably eat the whole pizza.

Will I make it again? Sure, but I probably won’t follow the recipe to the letter next time. My regular pizza dough is a little different than this recipe, but I like it just as well.  And I might use a different cheese, or another herb besides basil (though the basil is very good). However, I’ll definitely keep the lemons and I’ll definitely soak the lemon slices!

Want to read more about pizza? My press, Reaktion, has Pizza: A Global History as part of its Edible Series. Did you know that pizza wasn’t really an “Italian” food outside of Naples until well after World War II?

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Filed under baked goods, bread and pizza, fall, supper time

November pumpkins, apples and pears

It turned into November here around mid-October, before I even had time to celebrate that wonderful month in this blog (but I have been celebrating the birth of my grandson, Levi, in mid-October!).

Still, even in November, there are the sights and smells and tastes of autumn.

Bread box with squash, Anjou Bakery, Cashmere, Washington

Cool rainy weather inspired me to go back to the old staples. The minestrone soup, the leek-potato soup, the roasted vegetables and baked squash, the mushroom risotto, the slow-rise bread and any-night pizza.

Slow-rise bread with rye, wheat and various seeds

I often keep pizza dough in the fridge so I can make this in a jiffy. Roasted red pepper spread often stands in for pizza sauce.

It’s also still a wonderful time for apples and pears.  At the farmers’ market in Port Townsend, I was thrilled to find Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, a wonderfully flavorful apple that is rarely grown in the U.S.

Cox’s Orange Pippin, apple of choice in the UK

We visited friends in Cashmere, and Maggie and Scott gave us Bosc pears and King David apples (a variety I’d never tasted before — and it is a fantastic apple: crisp and juicy with a delicious tart-sweet flavor).

Bosc pears and King David apples

Four of the pears ripened at once. We ate two of them for dessert last night; then this morning, I peeled and sliced the other two and sauteed them with a touch of sugar and cinnamon, then laid them in a skillet and poured over an egg-y batter to make a Dutch Baby.

Yes, you read that right. It’s a type of pancake that’s cooked in a skillet inside the oven, where it puffs up into a golden wonder, like a giant popover. (The name derived from the German-American immigrants known as Pennsylvania Dutch, “Dutch” being a corruption of the word “Deutsch.” The “baby” part is said to have been coined by a Seattle restaurant in the 40s.)

Dutch Baby with pears

My dad used to make this for a Sunday breakfast or light supper (we always just called it “oven pancake” or “German pancake”).  Not only is it easy to make, but it’s so impressive when it comes out of the oven. Any way you make it –with fruit on the bottom (apples are more traditional) or atop or not at all– it’s a keeper.

Here’s Marion Cunningham’s recipe for Dutch Babies, from The Breakfast Book

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Butter one 12-inch skillet or four 6-inch small skillets (with ovenproof handles) or pans (you can use small pie pans or cake pans).
  2. Break the eggs into a small mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the milk and blend well.
  3. Sift the flour and salt onto a square of waxed paper. Lift the waxed paper up by two corners and let the flour slowly drift into the egg and milk, whisking steadily. Or slowly sift the flour and salt directly into the egg mixture, while whisking to blend and smooth. Add the melted butter and mix briskly so the batter is smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan or pans and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. If you are baking small pancakes, they will be done after 15 minutes. If you are baking just one big pancake, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle lemon juice over the pancake (or pancakes) and dust the top(s) with confectioners’ sugar. Serve at once.

    It was a little messy and so delicious

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Filed under bread and pizza, breakfast, fall, fruit, Praise for other cooks, supper time