Star Bread

December 27, 2009

This beautiful bread is actually from Thanksgiving.  Yes, I am horribly behind on blogging.  What with Nutcracker, Thanksgiving, Nutcracker, homework, make-up work, Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, Christmas, and cleaning my room (hey, that was quite an accomplishment!), I haven’t had time for much else!

I love these pictures, because I didn’t take them!  My mom, realizing how important it is to me to get a nice picture for my blog, sprinkled powdered sugar on this and took it outside in the natural light to photograph it.  She wanted to eat it for breakfast, and was awake long before I was!  I would have to say, she and my grandma did a beautiful job with the photography.

I was excited about this bread because of its unique shape.  The baking pan I used was 50 cents at a Columbus Day yard sale in my town.  I love deals!

And speaking of baking pans, I have a brand new tart pan and six new ramekins from Santa.  Souffles, lemon tarts, and chocolate lava cakes, here I come!

One more note from the past holiday.  For Thanksgiving dinner I made sweet potato pie from Smitten Kitchen and dutch apple pie from Steadfast Cooking.  The sweet potato pie was not very good.  I was surprised, as usually I love Smitten Kitchen’s recipes.  It could have been something I did (I used handmade buttermilk, not storebought), but it wasn’t nearly sweet or flavorful enough for me.  Maybe my sweet potatoes just weren’t that good.  The apple pie, on the other hand, was a gigantic hit.  It was unique enough to separate itself from the other pies on the table, and classic enough to please the crowd.  I strongly, strongly recommend it, and will be making it again and again.

I hope everybody’s holiday baking is going well.  I’m off to bake some goodies for Share Our Strength’s bake sale.  Baked goods for a good cause!

Shoot, I wish I had the recipe for that bread.  It was delicious!  Maybe I’ll find it in one of my cupboards and be able to post it.  Boo!


Very Organic Peaches

August 8, 2009


Out in our front yard we have two peach trees.  One is old and slowly falling apart.  Actually, last year a bear ripped off one of its branches!  The other one is a tiny little thing, but this year it’s really been impressive.  We’ve gotten a bunch of peaches from it. They’re not perfect, since we don’t spray the trees with anything.  After picking, all the little ants have to get washed off, and then I have to scour out which ones are ripe enough to use.  The green ones get to ripen on our counter for a few more days. Without pesticides these homegrown peaches aren’t beautiful or extremely photogenic, but they still taste delicious, and are ideal for baking (which, after all, is the most important thing, right?).

I found this recipe on  It seemed a perfect use of our peaches, and I also threw in a few of the wild blueberries from our yard.  Another great thing about this recipe is its low fat content.  The only added fat is what’s used to grease the pan.  Since my family eats more of what I make if it’s on the slightly healthier side, this is a plus!  If I’m going to make something like triple chocolate brownies I have to make sure my friends are willing to help me devour them.

I unfortunately didn’t have any candied ginger, so I subbed in freshly ground ginger.  This gave it a kick of spiciness that was delicious, but strong!  I would love to try the recipe with candied ginger sometime as well.  The dish itself is difficult to place. It’s not a cobbler, although it’s close to one.  The edges are cake-like, while the middle is juicy and fruity.  My makeshift name for it, since I baked it in a pie plate, is cobblerpie, but if you can come up with something better, I’m not offended!

I would recommend this recipe for anybody looking for a light summery dessert to use up their fruit.  Even my brother, who’s a picky eater, had two helpings.  Although we were running low on ice cream, I bet vanilla bean ice cream would only make this better!  This dish was also extremely quick and easy to make.  I’m sure it could also be adapted for any season; Apples instead of peaches, with some cinnamon added into the cake batter would make a delicious fall dish.


Ginger Peach Blueberry Cobblerpie
Adapted from passionateaboutbaking.
2-3 cups of peaches, halved, pits removed
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp shredded or finely chopped fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk, plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Whipped cream
Slivered almonds (optional)


Generously grease a 10½-inch diameter ceramic pie plate with a 5-6 cup capacity, or 6-8 small shallow individual tart pans.  Any pan with a similar capacity will also work.

Halve the peaches, pit, & roughly chop for small tart pans, or quarter (bigger pieces for 1 large dish.) Put these in a big bowl with the blueberries, brown sugar, ginger, vanilla extract and lime juice. Gently combine the peaches with the other ingredients. Reserve.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the 1/2 cup white sugar, and the baking powder. With a wooden spoon or whisk, beat in the milk & vanilla and almond extracts to produce a smooth batter. Don’t over beat. However, the batter should not have too many lumps either. Pour the batter into the center of the buttered dish. It will spread out on its own.

Place a spoonful of peaches, and some of their remaining liquid evenly over the batter, leaving a 1/4–inch open border of batter around the outside edges. For a single large gratin dish, place all the fruit on top of the batter, & leave a 3/4″ border. (this will allow the batter to rise dramatically at the edges).

Place on rack in upper third of preheated oven.  Set an edged baking sheet on the rack below to catch any overflow.

Bake for 40-45 minutes (a little less for smaller cakes), or until the sides are fully puffed, the center is slightly puffed, and the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cook for 15 minutes before cutting / serving. To serve, sprinkle with almond slices and cut into wedges for 1 large pie, or as is for smaller cakes.  Top with whipped cream (or ice cream – yum!).

Serves 4-6