Southern Peach Pie

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  • 6 cups about 1½–2 pounds, sweet, ripe peaches, halved, pitted, sliced and chopped
  • ¼–½ cup sugar; to taste
  • A pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 double-crust pie
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1–2 teaspoons sugar, for on top of the pie
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the peaches, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, salt, flour, and quick-cooking tapioca in a big bowl. Mix lightly until the fruit is coated.

Roll out the bottom dough and place it in a pie pan.

Spoon in the fruit filling and dot with butter cut into little pieces.

Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top. Trim excess dough from the edges and crimp.

Lightly brush some of the egg white wash over the entire pie, including the edges.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When there are 10 to 15 minutes of bake time left, open the oven, pull the pie out, and quickly and evenly sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar. Close the oven and continue baking for final 10 to 15 minutes, or until you see steady bubbling in the filling coming through the vents.

Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely before serving so the filling can set up, warm peach pie is delicious too.

 

Maidstone Biscuits

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This is a very simple recipe for a crunchy almond flavored biscuit from the Middle Ages.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped, blanched almonds
1 teaspoon rosewater (or substitute) *

Cream the sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the rosewater and almonds. Fold in the flour to form a stiff dough. Form pieces of dough into balls about the size of a golf ball in your hands and flatten them onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. When baked the biscuits should be golden brown in color.

* It was traditionally flavored with rosewater, which is still available in specialty food stores. If you can’t obtain rosewater, you can use vanilla or even orange extract instead.

 

Asbusas (Ancient Egyptian Cookies)

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Abusas are an ancient Egyptian cookie:

2 lbs semolina (this is cream of wheat)
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 pound butter
16 ounces of plain yogurt
slivered almond halves

Bring all ingredients to room temperature. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and semolina (cream of wheat). Rub the butter into this mixture by hand until very well blended. Add the yogurt and mix with your hands until the dough feels smooth. If it feels dry add one tablespoon of water at a time until a firm dough forms.

Butter a 13x9x2 inch pan and pat the dough into the pan. With a sharp knife slice the dough in 2 x 2 inch squares. Press one almond half onto the surface of each piece. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

Black Magic Cake

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  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.  Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks. Cool completely.

Frost.

“Red Truck Bakery” Inspired Country Ham Scones with Cheddar and Scallions

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3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed, plus 2 tablespoons, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1½ cups coarsely chopped (1-inch pieces) country ham
8 scallions, sliced into ¼-inch-wide pieces
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut the chilled cubed butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until broken down into pea-sized pieces.

Pour the buttermilk into the dry mixture all at once and, using a spoon, fold in the buttermilk quickly and as gently as possible. Add the ham, scallions, and cheese and gently mix until completely incorporated.

Flour your hands and reach into the bowl and under the dough and combine, flipping it around. Mix it up as gently as possible without being too tough on the dough. The dough will be sticky, but manageable. Add more flour if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, working lightly, use your hands to pat the dough into a roughly 8 x 10-inch rectangle about ¾ inch thick.

Dip a 3-inch biscuit cutter into flour and cut as many scones as you can from the dough.  Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the pan after halfway through the cooking time, until the tops are light golden brown.

Meanwhile mix the 2 tablespoons melted butter with a pinch of salt.

Transfer the scones to a wire rack and brush their tops with the melted butter. The scones will keep in a tightly sealed plastic bag at room temperature for up to a day or so for best results.

Snickerdoodles

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  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together all ingredients thorough salt thougherly. Chill dough. Roll into balls the size of a small walnut.  Roll in mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Place about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Bake until light brown at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, but still soft.  These cookies will puff up at first, then flatten out with a crinkled top

Rendering Leaf Lard

Leaf lard surrounds a pig’s kidneys and is of very high quality.  Leaf lard enjoyed a revered place on the baking counter, until it was usurped in the early part of the 20th century by the brilliant needs no refrigeration marketing campaign of vegetable shortening.

To Render:

  • Ask your butcher for leaf lard and not back fat.   Five to 6 pounds is a decent amount to make 4 or 5 pints worth. Look at it to make sure it doesn’t have a lot, or preferably any red meat on it. If it has a lot, it may be back fat which is not as high quality.
  • With a clean sharp knife, chop the fat into small pieces about the size of an almond.
  • Cover the bottom of a heavyweight stockpot with a bit of water. Spread the pieces of fat evenly over the surface of the pan.
  • Turn the burner to low, and set the pot on top. Then relax and stir occasionally while the fat melts. The white fat will turn clear as it melts. Five to 6 pounds of fat can take three hours or so in the oven, but less time on the stovetop.
  • Be sure that the fat doesn’t scorch or it will give a noticeable flavor to the finished leaf lard.
  • When most of the pieces are melted, carefully pour the clear hot fat through a double layer of cheesecloth and into a bowl. Ladle out any remaining fat bits and finish by ladling into jars. Let cool completely before you put on the lids.
  • To freeze, you can let the rendered leaf lard cool completely in the bowl, weigh out 4-ounce pieces, individually wrap, and freeze in dated freezer bags.
  • When you feel a pie making or biscuit session coming on, you’re already one step ahead.