I made this rustic pie for a friend that will be spending Thanksgiving alone this year. She said to me, “I can’t make a pie just for me!”. I wanted to say, “Umm, Why not?” but instead I said, “I’ll make you a rustic pie and then you only need to eat a piece and freeze the rest!”
Like many of us, our holiday plans have changed and pairing down our meals does NOT mean we sacrifice the best part of Thanksgiving – the pie! I know many people who don’t make pie because they don’t want to make one whole pie for themselves (myself excluded!) and maybe that’s why hand pies are so popular.
Readers of this blog may remember that both Streusel and I have a Thing for Italy. We’ve both written about our trips. And, of course, a variety of Italian-inspired foods have gotten solid coverage here, as well. So, it’s no surprise to me that, while we decided to focus on breads from other countries this month, we both somehow managed to make breads originating in Italy. Streusel went sweet, I went savory. A chewy, punchy, and pillowy sort of savory.
This bread comes from a cookbook – The Italian Baker – that I discovered the recipe when I was looking for a bread to dip into the fish stew I was making for dinner. The bread was punchy with sweet basil and garlic, and was perfect for dipping into the rich tomato broth. And even with two separate rises, it was still quite simple and speedy to make. The bread emerges from the oven like a perfect light brown, puff of a pillow, with a crusty exterior and chewy, fragrant interior.
Admittedly, this sweet bread, also known as ciambella or ciambellone, is a holiday bread typically served around Easter time and typically baked into a ring and dusted with powdered sugar. As we enter a different kind of holiday season, this bread seemed perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas to me.
Even though many households will likely have limited guests this year, it’s always nice to have slices of sweet bread like this sitting on your table to welcome friends and family. Better yet, this bread can be made ahead and gifted to let neighbors or friends know you are still near even if you can’t spend the holidays together.
As Streusel highlighted in her post last week, puff pastry is a great way to make a quick and simple dessert that is absolutely delicious! These Apple Turnovers make for a great breakfast treat, or with a scoop of ice cream, a delicious, cozy fall dessert.
In thinking “creatively”, you could start your day with these buttery, flaky, fall-spiced treats – it’s basically like eating toast with butter (flour and butter in the puff pastry!) + apples and cinnamon and, okay, a wee bit of brown sugar. And then you could have Apple Puff in the evening! An excellent way to celebrate fall! (and since we need balance, I’d suggest this for dinner, of course). Continue Reading…
I hope with the cold, comes moisture because we are incredibly dry here. It was also windy here this week which made a brutal combination for our wildfire situation. We had two new ones pop up in the last two days. As I sit in my warm house and am grateful to be inside (and not evacuating like many others in the state), I chose to share with you this apple puff that has filled my home with the scent of fall… apple, cardamom and clove.
In our defense, it’s because scones are amazing – as you can tell by the recipes linked above, we love them both sweet or savory, for breakfast or dinner, and appreciate how simple and super speedy they are to mix and bake. These Apple Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze, for example, ease us into October with apple and caramel flavors, are tender and sightly spiced, and can be made and baked in about 30-35 minutes (or 35-40 minutes, if you want to include making, baking, and eating times).
After drooling over Strudel’s Pumpkin Breakfast Bread, I abandoned my use of butternut squash and decided I wanted to make something this week with pumpkin too! These pumpkin streusel bars come together easily and fill the house with the smell of pumpkin and spice.
The base of these bars is the other half of the Pâte Sucrée I used for the butternut hand pies. These bars are thick and sweet with a tender streusel topping that makes it hard to stop at one bar! Speaking of streusel, here’s quite possibly my favorite streusel-y recipe ever that’s ALSO great for fall… amish cake.
I was planning on baking with butternut squash this month – after all, it’s just now turning to fall, and it’s not even October yet. So, it’s obviously too soon for pumpkin! Or, so I thought, until I went to the grocery store and saw barrels of Sugar Pie Pumpkins (on sale, no less!). I immediately bought two and came home and made this for dinner. It was delicious and I decided to accept the inevitable – it’s basically the holiday season.
Okay – not really, and not yet. Something I’m not really emotionally prepared for anyway, especially since this is going to be a weird year, without being able to spend one of my favorite holidays with my favorite people (and to state the obvious: of course I understand that it’s not really any less fall-like to bake butternut squash muffins as it is to make pumpkin bread. And yet somehow, the use of pumpkin makes it seem more accepting of the shift away from summer, and towards the holidays).
But, I figured if I’m going to launch myself into pumpkin bread at the first sighting of pumpkin, I should at least try to make it a bit healthier – a little less fat, a tiny bit more whole wheat. And not to sweet, of course. The results are a springy and moist fall-spiced bread with a salty crunch; it’s delicious and addictive and perfect with morning coffee or as a late night snack with some milk (Brandon worked late last night, and came home at 1030pm and promptly ate half the loaf*).
* hence the photo of a 1/2 loaf of healthy(ish) pumpkin bread
I feel it’s vitally important that when posting about a hand pie, one must show its scale in their hand! Admittedly I have posted about these hand held delights before without showing it in hand, let’s just say I learned from my mistake! As you can see these butternut hand pies are BIG!
This recipe makes four luscious pies that you can eat all by yourself or distantly (of course) share with friends. This recipe is easy, especially if you keep some Pâte Sucrée in your freezer. The butternut squash preparation was made even easier with my instant pot. Final necessary addition, of any rustic pie really, is the sparkling sugar!
I’ll admit, when Streusel and I planned to focus on squash this month, I don’t think either of thought “September” would mean we’d still feel like it was summertime. The west coast is currently experiencing some horrific wildfires, and here in Seattle, we are being encouraged to stay indoors because the air quality is so bad. While it’s not as terrible as the Bay Area – our skies are looking decisively smokey and yellow, but not orange/red like it is down south – it’s still plenty awful.
To that end, some comfort food is definitely in order. These Chai Spiced Butternut Squash muffins are the perfect combination of tender and sweet, filled with comforting, spicy warmth from the chai flavors. The squash adds a small bit of sweetness and plenty of moisture to the muffin, and sweet-crumbly streusel topping adds an extra bit of zip.