Fresh Peach Cobbler

Hey.

Guess what?

We went peach picking. ūüôā

You should know what that means by now, right? Get ready for peach posts.

Fresh Peach Cobbler~ Erin's DC Kitchen

I love this dessert and it is my favorite way to use peaches, even more than pie. No offense to pie.

Fresh Peach Cobbler ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

This cobbler showcases the natural sweetness of the peach, which is complimented by the addition of warm cinnamon and almond extract. Go light on the extract, it can be a strong flavor and there is no need to overwhelm the peaches.

Fresh Peach Cobbler ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

I know making this dessert requires turning on the oven, which during summer, is counter intuitive. But! It is worth it. The light, spongy dumplings are so yummy, but then when you top it with French vanilla ice cream. Ohhhh my. It is just so creamy and sweet and fresh and fruity and tastes like a party in your mouth. Just try it. It’s simple and worth it!

Fresh Peach Cobbler

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBL cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 5 cups sliced peaches
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat flour
  • 1 TBL sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 TBL cold butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400¬į. Peel and slice your peaches. (TIP: Cut an X into each peach, then plunge into boiling water for 60 seconds, this helps the skin slip off). In a large saucepan, combine peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, lime juice and almond extract. Stir until peaches are coated. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until boiling, bubbling and thickening, about 5 minutes. Pour into an ungreased 2 qt. baking dish and set in the oven to keep warm while you make the dumpling dough.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Cut in the three TBL butter. I slice the three TBL into small pieces, then use my hands to rub the butter into the flour mixture. Do this until it resembles fine crumbs (finer than when making a pie crust). Stir in the milk, then dollop the dough over the cobbler. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until dumplings are golden brown. Serve warm, with French vanilla ice cream!!

Enjoy!

– Erin

Just cause, isn't this a pretty picture?

Just cause, isn’t this a pretty picture?

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Spiffed-Up Blueberry Muffins

Hi dear readers, it’s my last blueberry post.

Whole-Grain Blueberry Muffins~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Spiffed-up blueberry muffins! So, what’s spiffed up about them?

Spiffed-Up Blueberry Muffins~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Well, the addition of whole grain flour of course. Why that? Read on friends.

My mom would crank out classic blueberry muffins every summer after we went picking. I always got excited about them, but didn’t love them (sorry mom). ¬†I could not put my finger on the exact reason why I didn’t enjoy the muffins as much as I should have until I read a recipe from Nigel Slater. He pointed out that some muffins have a metallic taste which is due to the leavening agent. He recommended spelt flour to get rid of that flavor.

Whole-Grain Blueberry Muffins ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

I didn’t have any spelt on hand, so I improvised, natch. Whole wheat worked just as well, and yielded delicious, moist and chewy muffins. The whole wheat provides a nutty flavor that masks the leavening but compliments the gentle sweetness of the blueberries.

Spiffed-Up Blueberry Muffins ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Spiffed-Up Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Nigel Slater)

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbl soft butter
  • scant 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/2 cup milk¬†
  • 1 1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 375¬į. ¬†Line a muffin tin with 12 baking cups. Mix together the flours, baking powder and soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, mix to combine, then the vanilla extract. Alternate adding in the flour mixture and the milk, until the ingredients are gently combined. Fold in blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 cups. Slater suggests sprinkling with oats and demerara sugar for visual effect, but I skipped it. ūüôā

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until skewers come out mostly clean when muffins are pricked. Remove from baking tins and let cool on a rack.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Blueberry Preserves

The husband and I went blueberry picking last weekend at Butler’s Orchard and hauled in a little over 12 lbs!

Fresh picked blueberries ~ Erins' DC Kitchen

So you know what that means? JAM! And more blueberry posts ūüôā

Oddly enough, this is the first time I’ve made blueberry jam on my own versus just helping (loosely) my Mom make hers. (Thanks for peaking my interest in canning!)

Homemade Blueberry Jam~ Erin's DC Kitchen

So pretty isn’t it?

Homemade Blueberry Jam~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Right after I finished this batch, I had to turn around and leave for a business trip to Newport, RI and didn’t get to try any of it until this morning! It’s was so good, not overly sweet because I opted for a lower sugar recipe, and bursting with blueberry pieces.

Here is the recipe!

Erin’s Blueberry Jam

  • 5 cups crushed blueberries (it took around 9 cups of whole berries to get to 5 crushed)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups sugar (up to 4 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 tablespoons Ball powder pectin (or 1 box pectin, 49 to 57 g)

Makes about 7 to 8 eight ounce (250 ml) jars

Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids. In a very large pot combine the berries and lemon juice. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add all the sugar and honey at once, then return to a full boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Ladle into prepared jars and leave 1/4 inch headspace at the top. Place on lids and bands, boil in the canner for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let stand 24 hours, during which time the lids should vacuum seal.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Need a more comprehensive breakdown of how to make jams? Read my step-by-step, soup to nuts guide to strawberry jam.

Buttermilk Blueberry Pie Ice Cream

Hi dear readers!

Hope everyone has been enjoying the summer and had an excellent 4th of July.

I went up to the cottage, per usual, and had an amazingly relaxing time with family and much good food (remember doughboys?) You can find more of my 4th of July cottage foods here and here and here.

This year I borrowed my Aunt’s ice cream maker to whip up a recipe I submitted to the Hudsonville ice cream company’s Pure Michigan flavor contest. Sadly, I didn’t win. BUT- my family thought the ice cream was delicious and totally should have won (ok, my emphasis added).

So, what is it? Creamy buttermilk ice cream with lots of lemon zest, swirled with Michigan blueberry pie filling and dotted with cinnamon-sugar pie crust pieces.

Yup, drool.

Buttermilk Blueberry Pie Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Buttermilk Blueberry Pie Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

So, want to make it??

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Buttermilk Ice Cream~ Erin's DC Kitchen

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To swirl in pie crust and pie filling, transfer to a large bowl and fold gently with a spatula

Ta-Da!

Ta-Da!

(Special thanks to my photographer brother, Jeffrey Smith, for the awesome photos!)

Well, I kinda failed to write the recipe down ūüė¶ and time has passed and most of it has left my mind. But I’ll sketch it out below, the parts I remember, and then you can fill in the blanks by comparing other recipes or using your best judgement.

Buttermilk Blueberry Pie Ice Cream

  • 6 to 8 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar (really don’t remember if this is right)
  • pinch of salt

For the blueberry pie filling

  • 1 heaping cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • dash of water
  • 1/4 tsp or so cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • single pie crust, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, baked and broken into pieces

For the pie filling: Lightly smash berries and combine with all over ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until boiling, stirring often, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes. Mixture will naturally thicken. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

For the ice cream: Combine the buttermilk, cream, salt, and lemon juice and zest in a large saucepan and heat until just bubbly but not scalded. Stir in sugar and continue stirring until heated through and sugar is dissolved. Temper the egg yolks with a bit of the warm cream mixture, then quickly whisk in the rest of the cream mixture. Add to a large ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacture instructions.

Once ice cream is frozen, but still a little soft and creamy, remove from maker into a large bowl. Gently fold the broken pie crust pieces into the ice cream. Next, dollop the pie filling across the top of the ice cream and gently fold that in, turning only 2 or 3 times max (you want swirls, not to fully mix the berries in, resist temptation to overstir!). Freeze for another 2 hours, of until fully set.

Enjoy!

-Erin

Pink Lemonade Icebox Bars

Lemonade Icebox Bars ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Happy summer my dear readers!¬†June 21st marked the first ‘official’ day of summer on the calender, but we’ve been going full summer down here in DC for a few weeks. Sundresses!

I’ve been wanting to make an icebox-style dessert since I first read about it in Southern Living magazine (I believe). So, when I was asked to bring a dessert to a friend’s BBQ this past weekend, I made this tangy, sweet, citrusy and chilly little number.

Pink Lemonade Icebox Bars ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

It could not be easier to whip this up either. Cool Whip, lemonade mix and sweetened condensed milk are the key ingredients. Plus- the crust! Oh the crust.

Pink Lemonade Icebox Bars ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

I crushed pretzels and mixed them with butter and sugar to make this sweet ‘n’ salty crust– amazeballs!

My tip for this recipe is to make sure you have enough time to fully freeze the bars. I had only refrigerated the bars for a couple hours before initially serving them at the party and the texture was not right- it was almost pudding-like and didn’t hold shape. However, once fully frozen, the texture became smooth and silky, and held a perfect bar shape once cut.

Pink Lemonade Icebox Bars

  • 1 8 oz carton Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 12 oz can Minute Maid pink lemonade mix (from concentrate), thawed
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 5 drops pink food coloring
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 cups well crushed pretzels
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar

For the crust: Preheat oven to 375¬į. Crush pretzels in a food processor until mainly crumbs with some a few small pieces. Toss in a large bowl with white sugar. Melt butter and drizzle over the crumbs, toss to coat. Press into the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking pan and bake for 10 minutes, just until set. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the bars: With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until creamy and well combined. Mix in the pink lemonade mix and the food coloring, beat until combined. Gently fold in the Cool Whip and mix until incorporated fully. Pour into the cooled crust, cover and freeze until set, at minimum 2 hours. (I did mine overnight).

Enjoy!

– Erin

Want more lemonade goodness? Check out my Strawberry Lemonade Cookie Bars!

Strawberry Rhubarb (or Green Apple) Pie

My cousin just posted pictures of loads of beautiful rhubarb jam on Facebook. I’m jealous. I haven’t made any jam yet this year, BUT– I made a pie.

Quick story, when my Dad was a kid he was told¬† rhubarb pie was “green apple pie”. Apparently he must not have liked the idea of rhubarb, so my Grandma convinced him otherwise by changing the name. Green apples are tart, but I think the resemblance stops there!¬† Anyways, the name stuck and we still joking call this pie “green apple”.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

I love the crimson color of the rhubarb. It really is a feast for the eyes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie~ Erin's DC Kitchen

What’s that you say? The crust does look amazeballs, thanks! ūüėČ

The tartness of the rhubarb in this pie is tempered with soft sweetness from strawberries and majorly complimented by an unexpected addition– almond extract. It provides a fuller, richer taste I think. I was comparing recipes before I started baking, and Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts has a recipe for sour cherry and rhubarb pie that seemed fabulous. That’s where I got the idea of adding almond extract.

Rhubarb season will end soon, once it starts to heat up, so if you want to try this recipe out hurry down to your local farmers market (or garden) and pick some up soon!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

  • 3 1/2 cups diced rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
  • 1 quart strawberries, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp (scant) cinnamon

For the double crust

  • 2 1/4 cups flour (I did the 1/4 cup wheat, the rest white)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup Crisco shortening
  • 8 tbl ice cold water or milk

Preparing the crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Measure out the shortening and dollop it across the flour mixture (don’t dump it in one lump). Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour until it is course. Pile more than half of the flour mixture to one side of the bowl. Measure out a tablespoon of cold water and sprinkle it over the smaller pile of flour and fluff it with a fork to work the water through. As the mixture forms into dough, move it aside. Continue sprinkling a tablespoon of water onto a small pile of flour and fluffing it with the fork, moving aside the dough that forms. You may or may not use all 8 tbl of water. This process becomes easier the more you do it, trust me, and you get a feel for the dough. Divide the final lump of dough into two equal parts and roll them out into circles. Put one circle into the pie plate and add your filling, then put the top crust on. You need 1 inch or more of excess dough to roll under to make the edge. Anything over that you can cut off. Use your thumb and pointer finger to pinch together a pretty edge.

Preparing the pie:

Preheat oven to 375¬į.

In a large bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar, cinnamon and part of the flour. Let stand while you prepare the crust. Once the crust is ready, stir in the almond extract and the remainder of the flour. Toss to coat. Spoon filling into the pie crust. If there is a ton of excess juice, don’t pour it all into the crust, just some of it.¬† With a sharp knife, cut a slit into the top of the pie (or a design if you’re ambitious) to let steam out.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes, but cover the crust with a crust protector or foil. Pie is done when the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and steaming (peek into the center slit).

Let cool fully before cutting into, or else the filling will spill out everywhere and you’ll be sad about it.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Look at this ice cream. It is decadent, velvety-smooth, and swirled with delicious bites of graham cracker pieces and tart lemon curd. The richness of the whipping cream and cream cheese is balanced by the lemon. It is, not to brag, probably the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever made. ūüôā ¬†As usual, no ice cream maker is required for this recipe, or my others here, here and here.

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream, No Maker Required! ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

During one of the nearly 90¬į days in DC last week, I had a spark of creativity; I really wanted something with lemon, but didn’t want to turn on the oven. So, natch, lemon ice cream.

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream, No Maker Required! ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

This is just so pretty, I love it. It tastes good too, this was confirmed by a second source, my husband, who was skeptical of this flavor combination, but ended up eating two bowls once it was ready.

Not to mention, photographing ice cream is actually fun. It is easy to style and is a playful food to begin with; normally taking pictures is not something I like about food blogging. Ironic, no? Am I the only food blogger out there that feels this way?

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

When the weather turns sweltering, you don’t have to ignore your urge to bake- turn to ice cream as your medium!

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temp (I used about 6 oz. ’cause I ate some)
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • zest of 1 lemon, juice from half the lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd, at room temp
  • 1 tsp creme¬†bouquet (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted¬†
  • 6 graham crackers, broken into small pieces, but not crumbs.

Place the bowl of your electric mixer into the freezer. A very cold bowl will help your cream whip in no time. Meanwhile, break up the graham crackers, zest your lemon, and measure out your lemon curd and set aside. Once bowl has chilled, whip the pint of cream on medium-high speed until fluffy and peaks form. (My Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment does this in no time, I love it). Add in the lemon zest and whip on low briefly, just to incorporate. Set aside.

In another large bowl, with an¬†electric¬†mixer, combine the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and creme bouquet. Mix for 2 minutes on high. Gently add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold in with a spatula. Don’t mix aggressively, but so the cream cheese mix is mostly incorporated into the whipped cream.

Melt the butter and drizzle over the graham cracker pieces, stir to coat. Dump the graham crackers onto the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture, then dump the lemon curd on top of the crackers. With a spatula, gently fold/swirl 2 or 3 times (only!!) ¬†the crackers and lemon curd into the mixture. This will create pretty swirls and pockets of lemony goodness like you see in the pictures. Transfer to a 8×8 metal or glass pan and cover tightly. Freeze overnight. Let the ice cream sit for 5 minutes before scooping, it’s easier that way.

*NOTE: This ice cream does not require an ice cream maker and if you put it into a maker, I have no idea what will happen.

Enjoy!

– Erin