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Monday, August 28, 2006

Pie Fatigue

Over the weekend, we had cream tea, peach pie, country ham, chanterelles with scrambled eggs, roast chicken (spatchcocked and flattened out on top of lemon slices and roasted quickly at 450 degrees), salad, red risotto with bitter radicchio, fried okra (we got young okra from the Comer farmers' market on Saturday), and scuppernong cobbler (the fellow who's making our dining room table gave me a bagful of golden and darker purple scuppernongs and muscadines). By far the best thing I made was the cobbler, but it was also the ugliest, so I didn't take a picture—the mix of yellow and purple resulted in gray fruit when cooked. I made it just like a regular Concord grape cobbler or pie: Squeeze the grape pulp out of the hulls, putting the pulp in one saucepan and the hulls in another. Simmer the pulp until the seeds are released, breaking the grapes up a bit with a spoon, then strain them through a medium-mesh sieve into the saucepan with the hulls. Add sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a few good pinches of ground cloves. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the hulls are tender. Use a measuring cup to scoop out some of the liquid, let it cool slightly, then add a teaspoon or so of cornstarch; stir the mixture back into the hulls and bring to a boil. Scrape the hulls out into a baking dish, top with a sweet biscuit dough (I use the old Betty Crocker recipe), and bake until the filling is bubbly and the topping is browned.

I told Mr. Chalmers that I might not make many more peach pies, as I'm finding them a little insipid. I guess I prefer berries, more sour-sweet pie and cobbler fillings, or at least more interesting ones like buttermilk or grape. I might try the green tomato pie from Damon Fowler's New Southern Baking next. Or go back to the basics with a good old apple pie. Actually, what I really want to make is a fresh currant pie—I did it once, in Virginia, with currants from the neighbor's garden, and it was still the best pie I've ever made. And I need to find good leaf lard for the crust. My shortening crust is great, but I want something a little different now.

Under the heading "Does Anybody Want a Dog?": I went out to check on the jasmine vines I planted two months ago, only to find that Wagner and/or Cooper (I'm guessing the former had more to do with this) had dug them all out of the ground and scattered the pieces throughout the yard.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

Mmm it all sounds very tasty.

Thank you for adding "spatchcocked" to my vocabulary :)