blackberry peach crostata with savory crust

pie boxThere is something truly wonderful about a thoughtful gift. I am so in awe of gift-givers who can always manage to find that one thing that fills the recipient with so much joy that it renders her speechless and leaves her a little teary-eyed. It’s really an under-valued talent, one that seems increasingly rare in today’s world of instant gratification and shiny things. It’s so easy to get the latest snazzy or sleek little thang, but to find a gift that is truly thoughtful is like finding the holy grail. It takes a special person with a big heart to expend that kind of time and energy. So thank you, thoughtful gift-givers of the world, for making the rest of us feel so loved while simultaneously putting our own gift-giving to shame.

One of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received is this pie box. For pies on the go. It’s one of those gifts I didn’t even know I wanted, let alone would never have guessed that such a magical item existed. Continue reading

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cherry almond tart

IMG_4957 copyShout-out to sous chef Sarah M, a lovely friend with a big heart.

If you live in a place where it’s summer and where cherries are in season, and if you also lack the will power to buy a reasonable amount of cherries in one go, then I highly recommend this tart as an efficient method of quickly burning through a heap of them. The flavors of cherry and almond pair nicely together, and the tart is quite light despite the filling consisting primarily of flour, sugar, butter, and egg. That is precisely why I have a no-friend-left-behind policy when it comes to baked goods. You live within a few blocks of me? Cool I’ll bring half this tart over to you right now. You’re picking me up from my house to go out? Sweet, have a piece of this tart I just made. You’re on a diet? Okay, you can have a small piece but you’re still getting some.

Buckle up, because we’re all in this together, people. Still waiting for someone to complain… Continue reading

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salted caramel apple pie bars

caramel apple bie barsThe world was too much this week. The world is too much most weeks, but this week in particular the string of disheartening events has felt particularly unrelenting. It’s hard to think of warm and rosy things to say about a frilly baked good when the realities of the world are as dark and seemingly hopeless as they are. What good are a few more photos of a fatty, sugary treat to a world with problems as deep as the ones we’ve got in our own backyards? Continue reading

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real simple strawberry pie

strawberry pie
Summer is my favorite season because summer means  f r u i t  and lots of it. Strawberries, in particular, are beautiful and delectable and are clearly begging to be baked in a pie. One morning a few weeks ago I decided to make that happen. It was either that or write a paper, and as you can imagine I have my priorities in line. Continue reading

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buckwheat apple tart

Guest post today by a dear friend and adventurous baker.

By Tim Vollmer

I’ve been baking my way through the Tartine No. 3 cookbook, mostly experimenting at home with the natural fermentation breads, but also trying my hand at some of the sweeter things in the book. It was my friend Cristina’s birthday last week, so I decided to turn to the back of the book and take a look at some of the desserts that would be good to make for a birthday picnic at Lake Merritt. Originally, I’d wanted to do a buckwheat and rhubarb tart–having had an incredible version of this the week before at Camino. However, the farmer’s market yielded no rhubarb at this time of year (Camino either had gotten early access to fresh rhubarb or had used some preserves from the previous year). In any case, I decided to go with one of the recipes straight from the book: a buckwheat apple tart.

Buckwheat tastes good. Like earth. You start this recipe by cutting the butter into cubes and chilling it in the freezer for 15 minutes so it’s nice and cold. Then, measure the buckwheat flour and spread it onto your surface. Sprinkle the very cold butter onto it, dust the top with some of that buckwheat flour, and begin rolling the butter into the buckwheat flour.

buckwheat apple tart Continue reading

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citrus galette

Citrus GaletteCeci n’est pas une pie.

Hopefully the patron saint of pie is as accepting and appreciative of diversity as I am and considers galettes to be within the broader family of Pie. Last Pi(e) Day I did not get my act together in time to write a post. Not getting my act together in time to do much of anything is sort of my modus operandi these days, at least until May 18th when I’ll be given a piece of paper that says I’m a Master of something or other. Continue reading

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peanut butter apple pie

peanut butter apple pieBig shout-out to sous chef & pie-aficionado, K Mac, for his invaluable contributions to making and devouring this pie.

My favorite part about baking is the earliest phase where you get to do a little dreaming. The ideal time to do that dreaming is when you’re hungry or when you’re sitting around with friends who appreciate a good pie as much as you do. Or, right after a particularly dense lecture on benefit-cost analysis, when you really need to take your mind off of demand curves and consumer surplus. This was precisely the combination of events that led to dreaming up this pie.

Continue reading

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