Roasting Chicken: My Method for Getting it Right

stuffedtied

There are so many pieces written about how to Roast a Chicken and get it right. I’ve done a lot of things but this method gets me the most flavorful and juicy chicken I’ve ever made.

A few tips to start with….

• Use a good Roasting Pan – I got one from a local Restaurant Supply House – most offer retail as well as wholesale.  It’s amazing how good the items are and how low priced.  They are meant to take a beating after all.  I got mine for something close to $10.

vegetables

• Instead of using a rack – which can be next to impossible to clean – I like to put vegetables. Saves cleaning and is oh so delicious.  I call them “Chicken Fried Vegetables.”

• If you use a 400º oven the chicken, believe it or not, will cook in an hour and a half and be juicy and crispy.

• Do not baste!  This is a pet peeve of mine.  What this does is bring the oven temperature and thus the temperature of the Chicken down, extending the Roasting time.  I think that this will actually dry the Chicken out.  It’s simply not worth it.

tarragon

• The best herbs to use with Chicken are Tarragon and Sage – depending on the mood or you can use both together.  It’s like they were made for Chicken.  I don’t use Tarragon anywhere else.  I use Fresh Tarragon for the Cavity and Dried Powdered Tarragon for the Rub.

• Take that plastic thing out that supposedly tells you whether the chicken is done or not.  It’s not reliable and I just don’t like it.  Get yourself a meat thermometer and when the chicken comes out it should be 140º.

• Tent the Chicken with Foil when it comes out of the oven and leave it for 20 minutes. This will ensure that the juice stays inside the chicken and not all over your counter when you are carving it.

rubmix

• Use a Rub.  I go into what exactly a rub is in my last post about Salt.  I like to use Tarragon and Sage that I’ve put in my spice grinder.  I also use Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Mustard Powder and Black Pepper.  I then give the whole Chicken a massage with it.

rub

• Put the Chicken with the backbone facing downward and the breasts facing upward.  This should be a given but there are so many schools of thought on this.  I prefer it this way.

• Fold the Wings under the Chicken to ensure even cooking

• Tie the Drumsticks or put a pin through the flesh around the cavity opening to be sure the Lemon, Herbs, and Garlic don’t fall out.

rub

My Perfect Roast Chicken

1 large Roaster Chicken (make sure you don’t get a tiny soup chicken)

2 or 3 large Vidalia or Spanish Onions – Sliced into 1/4″ Slices.

4 packages of Grape Tomatoes

4 packages of White Button Mushrooms

1 Bunch Fresh Tarragon

3 Whole Garlic Cloves peeled

1 Lemon cut into quarters

1 Tablespoon Salt

A Combination of spices and ground herbs – adjusted to your liking and mixed with the Salt to make a Rub. (See above for Suggestions)

1. Preheat the oven to 400º

2. Prepare the Chicken by removing excess fat, feathers (yes there are sometimes one or two feathers left usually near the drumsticks), and cutting off the tips of the wings.

3. Line the bottom of a Roasting Pan with the Onion Slices, then the Mushroom Caps and then the Grape Tomatoes.

4. Sit the Chicken on top of the Vegetables and put Lemon, Garlic and Fresh Tarragon into the cavity.

5. Apply the Rub to the chicken making sure to coat every surface evenly.  Don’t forget the cavities behind the drumsticks and the wings.  Coat the bottom of the Chicken too.

6. Put in the oven and Roast for 1 1/2 hours.  Check the Temperature and continue Roasting if it’s not 140º.  If it’s finished use Aluminum Foil to create a tent over the chicken in the pan and leave it for 20 minutes.  Carve and Enjoy.

 

The Best Gravy

3 Cups Chicken Stock

1 Cup White Wine

2 Packages White Button Mushrooms Sliced thinly

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch or Flour

1. Remove the Chicken and Vegetables from the Roasting Pan.  Leave the juices and bits and put the Pan on top of two burners on the stove, turn them on high and pour the Chicken Stock and Wine into the pan.

2. Use a Wooden Spoon to scrape back and forth in the pan so that you get the bits up.  The wine will deglaze the pan and so will the stock.

3. Add the Mushrooms

4. Make a Roux with the Cornstarch or Flour, adding a little of the liquid from the pan at a time. Mix it until the consistency is the same as the liquid in the pan.  (A Bar Whisk is the best for this because it’s tiny and ensures that there will be no lumps).

5. Pour the Roux into the pan and continue cooking and scraping until the Gravy thickens to your liking.

6. Put into a Gravy Boat or Pitcher and serve.

 

Advertisements

Salt: Magic in the Kitchen Part III

sprinklingsalt

Salt: noun \ˈsȯlt\an ingredient that gives savor, piquancy, or zest.
Merriam Webster

Salt is an essential ingredient in the kitchen.  No cook or chef should be without it, even if you are on a ‘salt free’ diet you will need a modicum of it somehow incorporated into your diet.  Any medical professional will tell you that going completely salt free is actually dangerous because it is so essential to your body function.

There are seven very distinct functions of Salt in food and if you can master it I guarantee that your cooking will get beyond rave reviews. Those seven ways are enhancing flavor, preserving and brining, enhancing texture, binding, controling fermentation, and enhancing color. Salt is also one of the most desired flavor elements by humans along with Umami (savory), sweet and sour.  Salt acts as an amplifier for those flavors by sending signals to the brain where these flavors are interpreted.  Here they are explained….

Flavor Enhancer

There are several ways that Salt enhances flavor but the most important is controlling sweet and bitter flavors.  It dampens bitter flavors which, naturally, makes them sweeter.  My favorite example of this is cooked corn.  Take a bite or corn on the cob plain, then add an even sprinkle of salt – not too much – and the difference will amaze you.  Most likely you won’t even need butter or olive oil.

Salt will also amplify flavors making them more aromatic.  Salting a stew that includes aromatic ingredients such as Rosemary will bring it out and add complexity.

Preserving and Brining

Using Salt to preserve food is a practice that goes back thousands of years.  The earliest evidence of Salt being used as a preservative dates back to 10,000 B.C. in China.  Think about it.  Before refrigerators, food needed to be stored during the winter months or for traveling long distances.  By drawing moisture out of food it protects it from microbes –  such as salmonella – that need liquid to grow.

When Salt is used with Water it creates a Brine.  Soaking food in this mixture will not only preserve the food for a long time but it actually enhance the flavor.  Think about Pickles, Meat or Fish – Gravlax comes to mind.  Try putting poultry in a Brine the night before you cook it.  You can also add herbs, spices, wine, vinegar or citrus.  You will find the taste incredible and the moisture well preserved.

Enhancing Texture

Have you ever wondered why Salt is used in baking?  Have you been tempted to leave it out all together.  Don’t!  It is essential in creating texture in Bread, Cakes, Cookies, etc.  In Yeast Breads it affects the rate of Yeast Fermentation (rising) and Gluten/Protein Formation.  It will definitely effect the final texture.

Salt also has a prfound effect on the gelatanization of proteins and is used in cheese making and processed meats.  It helps retain moisture and less saturated fat is needed.

Binding

When added to Processed Meats, Salt restructures the proteins which then bind and emulsify it.  It holds the product together and prevents moisture and fat loss. Think Salami, Sausage or even Bologna.

Controlling Fermentation

Salt encourages the growth of beneficial lacto-bacteria and discourages harmful bacteria that would spoil food.  The lacto-bacteria helps break down ingredients into something else.  While your kitchen may start to feel like a science lab it’s well worth the effort, not only because the taste is amazing but it will aid in digestion.It

Enhancing Color

This goes back to preservation.  In Processed Meats it promotes and maintains color, preventing it from turning it gray or muddy.  A rather distasteful look, don’t you agree?

Salt in My Kitchen

In my kitchen the primary salt is Kosher Salt or a Sea Salt made by Morton that has the same texure as Kosher Salt.  I find that it is easier to pinch and distribute.  I keep it in a covered square jar that allows me to do this.  The higher you sprinkle the salt from the frying/sautee pan, pot, bowl or sheet pan the more even the distribution.

saltintopot

Depending on what you are cooking you may want to salt in layers, throughout the process of cooking.  You can salt individual ingredients before they go into the recipe or salt at the beginning, middle and end.

Seasoned Salt

IMG_1487
Rosemary Salt and Lemon Salt

Perhaps you have seen Celery Salt on the supermarket shelf.  It is made with ground Celery Seed.  It’s wonderful for Seasoning but did you know that you can actually make your own? It’s a wonder that I’ve recently discovered.  You can add flavors such as Rosemary or Citrus Peel.  Make sure that what you add to it is aromatic or oily.  A side note is that Citrus Peel has an oil in it with the flavor of whatever type of Citrus you use in it.  This makes it particularly good for using with Salt because that oil will infuse whatever it touches.

Rubs

A few years ago, when watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives I saw a chef concoct a mixture of Salt, Herbs and Spices that seemed THE most unlikely combination I’ve ever seen.  Then the chef rubbed it all over a brisket – I do mean every crevice – before he put it in the smoker.  It was divine according to Guy Fieri – the host.  So I had to try it and what better way then trying it on than Roast Chicken.  It was so unbelievably good!  I’ll share the technique and recipe shortly.

Breaking Down and Cooking Faster

One of the tricks I use when I am sweating Onion – or anything in the Onion family – is to add a twinge of Salt. It draws out the moisture and speeds up the cooking process exponentially. This works wonderfully with mushrooms and leafy vegetables and even when you are cooking fresh tomatoes. Of course it does, because these vegetables all have large amounts of liquid. Try it and you’ll be amazed at the difference in time as well as taste.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed and learned a lot for your kitchen in these posts.  Trust me, if you know more and use these tips and tricks your cooking will significantly go up a notch.  The rave reviews will surprise you and bring pleasure to you and your guests.  Don’t forget to follow The Urban Foodie to keep your kitchen up to a higher level.

Salt: Magic in the Kitchen and Beyond Part II

differentsalts

Salting your food is an important step in any kitchen, and the type of salt used can make a huge difference in your meal.

Lidia Giuliana Matticchio Bastianich

It is surprising how many varieties of salt there are on the market and it’s an adventure finding them and trying them out.  Here is a guide to which is which and what is what….

 

Table Salt

tablesalt

Table Salt is an all-purpose salt that can be used both in the kitchen and at the table.  It is finely ground, processed and will do the job well but the primary function is so that you, your family and your guests can season their food to their liking. I feel, however, that if you season properly in your kitchen your guests won’t need table salt.

 

Iodized Salt

iodizedsalt

Iodized Salt is Table Salt mixed with minute amounts of Iodine.  In the early part of the Twentieth Century, it was found that people in certain parts of the United States had Thyroid problems due to a lack of Iodine in their diets. Morton began distributing Iodized Salt in 1924 and gradually the problem ended. Although it is still sold today it is no longer a necessity and I highly recommend leaving it on the supermarket shelf.  (No offense to Morton).

Kosher Salt

koshersalt

Kosher Salt is preferred by most chefs for its coarse texture, thereby giving them more control over it. (It’s easier to pinch.) It is called Kosher – or Koshering – Salt, because it’s properties are ideal for drawing moisture out of meat, part of the Koshering process.  I like it better than Table Salt for the same reason as those chefs and I even keep it in my Salt Shakers for use at the table.

Flake Salt

flakesalt

Flake Salt is ideal for topping. Sprinkling it on top of baked goods for an extra salty taste and a wonderful sparkly look would be a good example of this.  It is, however, most of the time, produced artificially and there are natural salts that will do this just as well.

Fleur de Gris

fleurdegris

Gray Flower of Salt is slightly moist and has coarse crystals.  It is popular in France, where it is harvested, and has very beneficial minerals in it because it is barely processed. It is a wonderful cooking salt which maintains it’s flavor, especially on hearty foods like meats and stews.

 

Fleur de Sel

fleurdesel

Flower of the Salt is the most coveted salts among chefs because of it’s perfectly square crystals. These crystals are perfect seasoning salt because it’s shape is perfect in cooking or at the table.  There is a rumor that some chefs carry it around in snuff like boxes because they won’t eat anywhere without it.  It also the most expensive of salts and it can be as expensive as Caviar.

Celtic Sea Salt

celticseasalt

Celtic Sea Salt is also a naturally moist salt but it is harvested from Atlantic seawater off the coast of Brittany, France.  It is harvested using a 2000-year-old method. No metal ever touches the salt because wooden rakes and tools are used. After it is sun-dried in clay ponds, it is gathered with wooden tools to preserve living enzymes, because it is unrefined. It comes in coarse – which is great for cooking – and fine ground which is a great a great at the table.

 

Hawaiian Salt

hawaiiansalt       hawaiianredsalt

Traditionally Hawaiian Salts are red but they are also found in black and white.  Red and White Hawaiian Salt are untreated pure solar evaporated salts.  They are mixed with white sea salt and red alaea clay, a native Hawaiian clay that is rich in iron.  Black Hawaiian Salt is often referred to as ‘volcanic’ salt but it is not what it actually is. It is mixed and dried with activated charcoal and it has actually has excellent detoxifying properties.  Both Salts are best for cooking.

Himalayan Salt

himilayansalt

Himalayan Salt is a rock/mined salt that is actually from the Punjab region of Pakistan and contains minerals such as copper, iron, and zinc. It is commonly used in cooking and is great in brines.  Additionally, blocks of Himalayan Salt are used as serving dishes, baking stones, griddles, and lamps.

Kala Namak

kalanamak

Kala Namak (literally “Black Salt” in Nepalese) is rock salt.  Salty and pungent-smelling, it is used mostly in South Asia.  It is also known as “Himalayan Black Salt”.  The smell comes from its sulfur content (a smell like rotten eggs) and it forms a dark pinkish to violet color.  It is either used in crystals or in a finely ground powder.  It is used widely in the cuisines of Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan. It is added to Chutneys, Salads and Spice Blends.  Chaat Masala, an Indian Spice Blend, is dependant on Kala Namak.  It should be used exclusively in cooking.

 

Persian Blue Salt

persianbluesalt

Perian Blue Salt is harvested in Iran and is a natural rock salt. Its blue flakes come from a compression technique used in processing.  It is mineral rich with a hint of sweetness.  It has an initial bold flavor but quickly becomes mild and pleasant.  It is considered a “dessert salt”. Think of Salted Caramel. Wouldn’t Persian Blue Salt be ideal for it?  It is also used in Fois Gras, truffle dishes, Seafood, and Meat. Therefore it is a cooking salt.

Rock Salt

rocksalt

Rock Salt is a unusually coarse salt that is found in salt mines. They are deposits of minerals that are found in dry lake beds, enclosed bays, and estuaries in arid regions.  You may know if it’s use in making ice cream in the old-fashioned hand-cranked method. (Another subject in and of itself.) In order to use it in the kitchen make sure you get food grade rock salt.  (Not the stuff you use to de-ice your driveway).  It can be used as a cooking salt but it takes extra steps such as breaking it up with a hammer first, then moistening and roasting it.  Himilayan and other salts mentioned above are also rock formed salts and are far easier to use.

Flavored Salts and Salt Rubs

Flavored Salts add interesting depth and flavors to cooking.

Smoked Salt is an aromatic salt flavored by smoking it as you would Meat or Salmon – for as long as 14 days – in a smokehouse with burning wood. Hickory, Cherry or even Mesquite. The kind of wood used will impact the flavor.  So try to find out what wood was used to smoke the salt in.

Seasoned Salts are mixed with herbs, spices and flavorings which will add extra interest to your dishes.  You can even make your own.  I put Lemon Zest into Salt in a small glass jar and let it sit.  As time passes the Lemon flavor infuses the salt.  It’s great to use when I don’t have any Lemons on hand.

Salt Rubs are also mixed with herbs, spices, and flavorings but everything is ground so that it is fine.  It is then rubbed on meat before it is cooked.  I use it primarily on roasted poultry. It has taken my roast chicken to legendary levels.  I will post about that another time.

One of the reasons I am posting about salt is personal. If you know about salt and how to use it, it will not only bring your cooking to new heights of amazingness but you will be healthier.  It is a known fact that Americans have higher blood pressure because salt is used in fast foods and processed foods that are readily available.  Beware of the Lean Cuisine!  We have to regulate our diet in my household because my wife has Chronic Kidney Disease. Too much Salt can really have a negative effect.  So use Salt sparingly and use it for a distinct purpose.  The next post will address what, exactly, Salt does in the cooking process.  Follow The Urban Foodie so that you will be notified about all of my posts.

 

 

 

Salt: Magic in the Kitchen and Beyond, Part 1

Salt is one of our greater gifts in the kitchen, an incomparable condiment, an everyday necessity and perhaps the most precious and valuable of our kitchen staples.

James Beard

Salt. One of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen. Salt. One of the most valuable commodities throughout time. Salt. It sustains most of the life on Earth and yet too much can be harmful or even kill us. Salt is a simple ingredient and yet it has so much power in the kitchen and in our lives. No wonder James Beard was so enamored of it.

Salt has been so valued throughout time because our bodies can’t live without it. The human adult male body is composed of as much as 60% water and the human adult female body is composed of as much as 50% water. We need that water but there is something that helps us retain it. Too much can be harmful. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mgs a day (1 teaspoon) and says that 1500 mgs (just under 3/4 of a teaspoon) a day would be ideal for a healthy adult. And yet the average American adult eats as much as 3,400 mgs a day. Cooking and eating only fresh, unprocessed food can help you significantly bring that number down.

In Ancient Times, Salt was so valuable that it was traded as if it were gold.  Romans actually paid their soldiers in Salt instead of currency.  Some kinds of Salt, even today, are so special – Fleur de Sel comes to mind – that they can be as expensive as Caviar.

Salt has so many uses outside the kitchen but until the 19th Century it was used almost exclusively for the preservation and flavoring of foods. Traveling long distances, before refrigeration, by boat or horse made that necessary. Salt Cod and Pickles are prime examples of this.  Today Salt is also used in industrial settings such as de-icing roads, walkways and runways at airports. It’s also used in water treatment plants, pharmaceuticals such as Epsom Salts, glass making, ceramics and more.

Salt is a naturally occuring substance.  250 million years ago the entire planet was covered in oceans.  As those oceans dried up they left Salt deposits, now known as Salt mines or caves. In Europe large and elaborate mines were carved into these deposits – including chandeliers – for Emperors and Kings to feast in. Salt is still mined in these deposits.

You may have heard of Himilayan Salt – which is actually mined in the Punjab region of Pakistan where there are no bodies of water.  Himilayan Salt Lamps are amazing.  They bring a special glow to a room and help with relaxation.  They are also air purifiers and help to reduce dust, cigarette smoke and pollen and they can even reduce the negative effects of looking at your computer, tablet or phone all day – but I digress….

Salt is still removed from the ocean.  Water is collected in pans and left in the sun to evaporate, taking several months, leaving the Salt behind.  The climate must be sunny and dry of course.  Fleur de Sel and Fluer de Gris are collected on the shores of France.  Celtic Sea Salt is collected in the same way on the shores of Brittany, also in France.

When Salt comes out of the oceans or mines it also contains minerals that are bitter in taste and need to be removed.  The minerals are removed at various degrees depending on where it comes from and the minerals that are in the vacinity.  Fluer de Gris, for example, derives it’s color because some benficial minerals are left in it.

Salt is mysterious, powerful and an essential ingredient in our lives.  The next post will explain the different types of salt.  Follow The Urban Foodie so that you will be notified about all of my posts.

CREDITS

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky, Penguin Books, 2002.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Howard McGee, Scribner, 2004.

Kingdom of Salt: 7,000 Years of History in Hallsttat: https://youtu.be/Tvl3xzGMk8c

Chickpea, Corn, Avocado and Dill Salad

I just invented a recipe that is so divine that I had to share it with you. I needed a little more fiber in my life and nothing does it for me like chickpeas – not to mention that I love them.

One of the ingredients in this salad is corn. Believe it or not, I actually use Frozen Corn Kernels. Some times it’s better to use Frozen Vegetables because they are flash frozen at the peak of freshness. The only Vegetable I don’t like frozen is Carrots. They always seem to have a fake taste to me. Probably because they are cooked prior to freezing. When buying Frozen Vegetables make sure that they are not previously cooked. If they are cooked they will turn to mush or taste fake when you cook them.

I recently discovered roasting Frozen Vegetables. So much better than boiling or steaming them. The water dissipates and the flavor of the vegetables deepens. For the Corn in this recipe I put Olive Oil on a sheet pan to make sure it didn’t stick. After I made sure the Corn Kernels were evenly spread on the pan I seasoned them with Salt, Pepper and drizzled more Olive Oil over them for flavor. Salt is important on Corn because it brings out the wonderful natural sweetness of it.

I was slightly inspired by Mexican flavors when I made this recipe because I used Lime Juice. Lime Juice and Corn are wonderful together.

I now am keeping this tasty and fun recipe in the fridge for a daily dose.

Chickpea, Corn, Avocado, Dill Salad

1 12oz package of Frozen Corn

1 large or 2 Hass Avocados – diced

1 large or 2 medium Red Onions – diced

116oz can of Chickpeas (Goya brand preferred)

1 bunch of Fresh Dill – fronds removed and chopped

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350º.  Brush sheet pan with Olive Oil and place corn evenly on it.  Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper and drizzle corn with more Olive Oil.  Roast for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Combine all ingredients and toss with Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper.

Enjoy!

Note: Store this in a tightly seeled glass container in the refrigerator and you can enjoy it for up to five days. The Avocado may melt into the salad which will make it have a wonderfully creamy texture.

Simple Dessert ala Francais 

platedgalette
Last night I made a wonderful dessert inspired by Melissa Clark of The New York Times. It’s called a Galette and is like a pie but so much simpler and more delicious. My mouth is watering as I am anticipating a slice for dessert tonight.

I’ve made pies before but not as successfully. Getting the dough into the pie plate is always a problem. It was so simple to make the Galette that I had a hard time believing that it originated in France. Wow!

First I made a pie crust recipe from – yes – the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I often find that the basic recipes in this book solve my culinary problems. The original recipe is made with Shortening but I find that dividing it into half Butter and half Shortening makes it flakier and the Butter taste adds a richness to it. A nice Butter flavor. If you want the Crust flakier add more butter. If you want it less flakier add more Shortening. If you have access to (and your diet allows) Lard I understand it’s far above Butter and Shortening but I have yet to try it.

After I rolled out the Dough I put it into a sheet pan and rubbed a mixture of Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg into the Dough.

For the filling I used Peaches with a touch of Salt and Granulated Sugar. The Peaches were just slightly under ripe so adding the Salt helped to break them down. I used Salt here to help break down the Peaches and to bring out the natural sweetness.  More on Salt in another post.

After I put the Brown Sugar rub onto the Dough I arranged the Peaches on it, I folded the sides of the Dough over the Peaches, leaving a hole in the center. Don’t worry about your Galette being perfect. It’s impossible and, in fact, the more jagged or less perfect it is, the fancier it will look.  Leave it to the French to come up with something like this.

I brushed the Dough that was over the Peaches with an Egg Wash and sprinkled it with Sugar.  The Egg Wash gave it a nice browned look and the Sugar gave it a sparkle.  I wish I had Sanding Sugar in my cabinet – the grains would have been larger and prettier.  Not to worry, it looked amazing anyway.

After the Galette came out of the oven I served it with Butter Pecan Ice Cream.  The Galette must be served with either Whipped Cream – I always make it from scratch – or Ice Cream. I sprinkled the plate with Confectioner’s Sugar to give it something special.  In the restaurant I worked in we always plated desserts with Confectioner’s Sugar or Cocoa Powder or Cinnamon.  It always makes Desserts look professional and impresses guests.

One more note before I share the recipe with you. If I’m making a pie crust for a dessert – as a pose to a Quiche for example – I always add one Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract. It adds flavor to something that would otherwise be bland.

The Galette came out of the oven 40 minutes later perfectly cooked with a nice brown Crust – thanks to the Egg Wash. I plated and served it to rave reviews from my wife. In fact, she said it was THE best dessert she’d ever eaten. Fortunately, Galette can be made with any Fruit you can think of – although Citrus might be weird – so I will be making Galettes for years to come – especially in the Summer.

NOTE: The Pie Crust was made in my Cuisinart Food Processor with the sharp blades.  If you are making this by hand you will need a pastry cutter.  I’m writing it for the Food Processor though.

GALETTE

CRUST
2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt, plus a Pinch for the Peaches

1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Shortening

1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

4 to 6 Tablespoons Water

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg (You can add 1/4 Teaspoon Powdered Ginger if you like.  Be careful with the Ginger, it can be spicy).

1 Egg wisked

FILLING
3 to 4 Peaches Cut into Thin Slices

1/3 Teaspoon Sugar

Pinch of Salt

1. Put the Shortening, Butter, Salt, All Purpose Flour and Vanilla Extract into the Food Processor.  Pulse until it starts to come together.  Add one Tablespoon of Water at a time until the Dough forms little Pea sized Crumbs.  Put a large sheet of plastic wrap on your counter and empty the Food Processor onto it.  With your hands form it into a rough disk.  (Don’t worry if all the Crumbs don’t come together. When you close the plastic wrap it will.)  Put it into the refrigerator for 20-45 minutes.

2. Preheat the Oven to 400º. Roll the Dough out into about an 1/8th of an inch thick. Don’t worry about the edges being perfect.  Rough is better here.  Mix the Brown Sugar and Spices together to create a Rub and rub it into the Dough.

3. Toss the Peach Slices with your hands in a Bowl with the Salt and the Sugar. Place the Peaches in the center of the Dough – try to make a design but again, you don’t have to be perfect here.

4. Fold the edges of the Dough over the Peaches – it should leave a nice hole in the center revealing the Peaches.  Brush with the Egg and Sprinkle more sugar over it.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown and serve with Whipped Cream or Ice Cream.  Enjoy!

NOTE: Feel free to change up the Peaches for other fruits like Strawberries and Rhubarb or Mixed Berries.

 

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM

1 Pint Heavy Cream

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Sugar – more to taste

Whip either in a Stand Mixer or with an Electric Hand Mixer until it forms stiff peaks.  Refrigerate for an hour or more – it will last over night.  Serve with Dessert of your choice.

TIP: Did you know that you can freeze Whipped Cream to make a delicious Dessert on it’s own?  You’ll have to eat it right out of the Freezer though. Defrosting it will give you a mushy mess of liquid.