Life

blackberry peach pie

Hello, friends.

It’s been a while.

Bear with me for a little life update.

 If you follow my facebook presence, you know that tlc suffered a big setback in May, due to my own idiocy, bad Internet in Turkey, and my tendency to not back anything up. Thanks to the old WordPress-hosted version of the blog and the glory that is this Internet archive, I managed to recover or re-post everything except my two most recent recipes.

So if you’re looking for the banana bread two ways or the mouth-watering deliciousness that was the big crumb coffee cake–I’m sorry. Hopefully I’ll remake them one day, but for now, I’d like to just move on and keep churning out new things. If you’re looking for the originals, however, this is the brown butter banana bread, this one is the Earl Grey banana bread, and here is the coffee cake. I wish I had written down the tweaks I made somewhere else, but really, I lost everything with all three recipes.

The fact that I only lost those two posts, though, is 1) a miracle considering how much more I could’ve lost, and 2) an indication of how deeply neglected this blog was for most of this year. I still baked and cooked plenty between January and now. Birthdays, dinner dates, and study breaks always brought me back to the kitchen. But nothing ever quite made it into written form.

Simply put: I had a rough winter. And after that rough winter, I had a magical, incredible, inspiring 9 1/2 weeks in the beautiful city of Istanbul.

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Studying abroad in Turkey was a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a place that will forever find its way into my dreams–a place that I miss every day.

What I wouldn’t give for another sunset along the Bosphorous; for another cone of thick, creamy, rich pistachio ice cream from Ali Usta; for another smile and cup of çay from the heartwarmingly welcoming family of the Ortaköy Mantı Evi.

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Unfortunately, a side-effect of studying abroad was, as I mentioned, terrible Internet, which meant I couldn’t even upload photos for a throwback post if I wanted to.

Follow that spring up with losing my old blog and a lackluster summer with nearly nobody to bake for, and it isn’t surprising that I lacked motivation.

That is, until this pie.

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It started at the boyfriend’s house earlier this month. We went fruit-picking at a nearby farm, and found ourselves facing the fattest, sweetest blackberries I’ve ever seen in my life, followed by line after line of yellow and white peach trees.

Peaches and blackberries? Now that’s a combination begging for pie, we mused.

Wait…pie? Brilliant.

We headed back to his house and immediately started on the dough, using the ever-reliable smitten kitchen’s recipe.

Next: a mixture of yellow and white peaches, blackberries, and basil, all freshly picked that day. Two kinds of sugar, a splash of vanilla and lemon, some cornstarch for thickness, and the requisite pinch of salt. 45 minutes in the oven, and then…

Summer pie, part 2: now with blueberries!

A post shared by Aneesa S. (@neesersaurus) on

 

Pie. Sweet, warm, fresh pie with an earthy, herby touch that makes you want to bury your face in it as soon as it comes out of the oven.

We dug into it after a few hours of cooling, pairing each slice with a generous scoop of ice cream.

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When I made it again a couple weeks later, tempted by the extra-ripe peaches quickly browning on my kitchen counter, I only had a tiny box of store-bought blackberries to work with. Nowhere near the same effect.

Blueberries were thrown into the mix, the lemon was swapped with lime, and after many fingers tested the mix, I had the very satisfying recipe you’ll find below.

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Round 2 of my new favorite pie, this time latticed and shared with a friend in her brand-new apartment.

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The filling is forgiving and very much dependent on the fruits you have handy, so I highly recommend adding and stirring and tasting until you get a sweet, juicy flavor with just the slightest hint of basil underneath.

And move quickly–the season is almost up!

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Until next time, here’s wishing you sunny days, cool nighttime breezes, and an abundance of summer fruit before fall sneaks up on us.

 

blackberry, blueberry, & peach pie
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 pie dough, enough for the bottom and top of a 9-in pie (try Smitten Kitchen!)
  2. 4 medium peaches, very ripe (white, yellow, or a mix)
  3. 3 cups fresh blackberries OR 1 cup blackberries, 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  4. 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  5. 2 - 4 T white sugar (depending on how sweet the fruit is)
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1 tsp vanilla
  8. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  9. 5-6 medium basil leaves, chopped finely
  10. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  11. 1 egg, whisked (optional)
  12. Coarse/sanding sugar (optional)
For the filling
  1. Slice your peaches thinly, then combine all of the fresh fruit in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla, then stir gently with a spatula so that all of the fruit is coated.
  3. Add 2 T of white sugar, all the lemon juice, and the chopped basil leaves, then stir well.
  4. Taste the filling, and add the remaining 2 T of white sugar as needed.
  5. Add cornstarch and stir well, making sure there are no lumps of starch anywhere.
Assemble and bake
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Prep a 9-inch pie plate with your dough of choice. Roll out half of the dough, big enough so that you have some dough hanging over the edges of the plate.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, add your filling to the pie plate, spreading the fruit out evenly. Make sure you don't pour too much of the filling juices into the pie, or it'll get soggy and sticky.
  4. Roll out the remaining pie dough. You can cover your pie however you want; just make sure you cut some air holes if you decide to completely cover it.
  5. If you want, brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle the top with sanding sugar. This will give your pie a nice glaze and sparkle. (I often skip the sugar, but definitely use the egg.)
  6. Put the pie plate on a cookie sheet, then bake it for 15 minutes at 400F.
  7. After 15 minutes, reduce your oven temperature to 375F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  8. Let cool for 3-4 hours before slicing and serving.
Notes
  1. Don't forget to taste as you go! The sweetness or tartness of the fruit should guide you. If it doesn't entice you, feel free to tweak the quantities until it does.
tlc. | tender love and cupcakes. http://tenderloveandcupcakes.com/

TARDIS cake – happy 50th!

Let me preface this by saying that I have the coolest roommates ever.

Phillips, being the perfect person she is, threw a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary viewing shindig, in which all guests dressed up and came over for Doctor Who-themed snacks like Adipose marshmallows…

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…and, of course, to actually watch the new episode and collectively freak out.

Kaitlyn, being the perfect person she is, used her artistic powers for good and turned our door into a TARDIS.

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What? It’s bigger on the inside, you say?

Why, yes, it is.

Sam, being the perfect person she is, sat through several episodes and a crash-course powerpoint presentation (courtesy of Phillips) so that she wouldn’t be lost during the party, and even dressed up as Sally Sparrow.

Sadly, I don’t have a photo of this.

My contribution for the night was a TARDIS cake, inspired by this wonderful tutorial by the Artisan Cake Company.

The results (with a borrowed sonic screwdriver):

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Ooooooh.

Of course, I’m terribly nitpicky, so it kills me to compare my cake to the tutorial. I’m already looking for an excuse to make another one and perfect the design. Probably a bad idea, considering how long this one took me, but I’m not going to think about that.

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This cake was…quite an ordeal. It began on Friday night with the cake itself, the frosting, and the modeling chocolate. The frosting started out as a Swiss meringue buttercream, but I evidently haven’t mastered that yet, because it quickly turned into a regular buttercream. Thankfully, nobody I know is opposed to regular ol’ buttercream. 😉

The cake–well–it was definitely the easiest part of the whole process. I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe from foodess. It’s darker than most chocolate cakes without being overwhelmingly rich, it’s moist, and it has a soft crumble that’s hard to stop eating.

The modeling chocolate, made using this video’s recipe (also referenced by the tutorial), turned out way greasier than the instructions suggested it would. I ended up draining the excess water/grease as I mixed the corn syrup and melted chocolate. I was a little nervous that it would turn the chocolate into a crumbly mess (as threatened by the video), but after sitting wrapped up overnight, it was just as perfectly malleable as I’d hoped. Phew.

Which prompts me to say: if you’re using Wilton candy melts, you’re going to end up with alarming amounts of liquid as you’re mixing. Don’t panic. Drain the excess, wrap the chocolate in plastic wrap, and go to sleep. It’ll be fine. Really.

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There are few situations I could’ve imagined in which I’d be molding a cake using a paring knife. This is what happens when there’s no way you can get your hands on an exacto knife.

Several layers of modeling chocolate later, I had a vaguely shaped blue box. Hooray!

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Windows, decals, and a lot of coaxing later, I had turned my blue box into a TARDIS-shaped blue box. Double hooray! 🙂

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In the interest of keeping this cake as cheap as possible–and actually finishing it in time for the party, which was a struggle as it was–I passed on the white fondant and the intricate painting of windows, using leftover buttercream and a bit of black gel food coloring to finish the decorations.

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I also used a tiny balled up piece of aluminum foil instead of an actual floral light.

I’m a college student; what am I supposed to do with an entire pack of floral lights?

Topped that with leftover modeling chocolate painted black, and I had a “light” for my TARDIS.

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At some point during this process, I switched from apron-clad apartment baker to a femme eleventh Doctor putting the finishing touches on her precious ship.

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The suspenders and blazer showed up later.

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All in all, definitely a successful project. It was painful finally cutting into the cake–but also beyond worth it when everyone actually got to enjoy it.

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The support straws got sliced in the process and looked rather silly.

Also dang, look at those slabs of modeling chocolate. I didn’t even realize how much frosting and chocolate had been layered on there until I cut the thing open.

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Overall: 10/10, would definitely try something this out there again. Too much fun!

For progress photos & many more detail shots, head over to my flickr. Most of these are courtesy of Kaitlyn, who is responsible for the majority of the party documentation.

Thank you, Kaitlyn!

Next time, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming that includes far less time-consuming recipes.

To my UChicago friends: happy 10th week! And to all, happy December! Let the season of peppermint and huge sweaters begin 🙂 x

slutty cupcakes: a story

Picture it if you can:

Wednesday night of 10th week. Classes are done for the year, finals are still far enough that the panic hasn’t set in, and the ladies of PBT are rocking out to Taylor Swift in a dorm basement kitchen.

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Note how excited Emma and Estelle are. As they should be.

Their mission for the night has been long awaited, but what better way to welcome reading period than with stress baking? Yes, the night was simply perfect for slutty cupcakes.

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You’ve never heard of slutty cupcakes? Victoria is skeptical.

Now don’t ask me why they’re slutty. I can’t answer that question in any remotely satisfactory fashion. What I can tell you is that they’re so rich, so deeply indulgent, and so damn easy to make that they should be illegal(Except not actually, because then what would we do without them?!) These classic but slightly terrifying muffin-cupcake-brownies–because one name is not enough to capture what they are–consist of a soft cookie dough base, one full Reese’s Cup, and one full Oreo layered over it, all topped with a healthy serving of gooey, moist brownie batter.

Warning: more than one of these may kill you.

So we assembled the trays. Readymade cookie dough, Reese’s Cups, Double Stuf Oreos, and Betty Crocker brownie mix. They looked like those adorable chocolate-covered marshmallow and graham cracker cookies, whose name completely evades me.

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So cute already!

The baking time was an educated guess, so I set the timer for 20 minutes, and we went off to find a way to amuse ourselves.

Victoria remained skeptical.

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I was domestic.

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Emma vandalized Sheena’s whiteboard.

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And we took incredibly cheesy photos in our matching dresses.

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Somewhere in between all of this, Victoria ended up with a busted ankle. No worries–she’s fine now–but the valiant sacrifice of her body will not be forgotten.

Finally, out came the slutty brownies, hot and baked to perfection, crisp with melting insides. We probably should’ve let them cool longer, but we couldn’t help it. We dug in.

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Estelle is super excited…

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…and super cute when caught off-guard. Sorrynotsorry, girl.

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Nina’s allergies deprive her of slutty cupcakes and make her sad. (It’s okay; she got real cupcakes after this.)

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Emma shows off those beautiful layers.

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And Sheena is simply pleased.

Satisfied, we split up the remaining cupcakes and called it a night. Almost zero effort for a small treat that goes a long way–and makes a great gift for physics TAs, as we found out.

Seriously, make these. You won’t regret it in the slightest.

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On to baking logistics things! One package of brownie mix and one roll of ready to bake cookie dough yielded 24 cupcakes, with leftover brownie batter. Our cupcakes stuck to the paper liners pretty badly, especially once they’d cooled. If you don’t want to deal with that, I’d suggest forgoing the liners and simply spraying the pan. That should solve the problem.

20 minutes at 350F was enough to bake these really thoroughly. As you can see in the photo above, the brownie batter formed a light, flaky skin over the Oreo just as it normally would, and the surrounding edges were crisp like the edges of a pan of brownies. I would actually start checking the cupcakes around 16 minutes to make sure they don’t overcook. The cookie dough will definitely be cooked–you’ll just want to test the brownies, which you can do with a toothpick as normal, cooking until a toothpick inserted into the batter (away from the Oreo!!) comes out clean/with a few moist crumbs.

IN OTHER NEWS…

I’m back! In case that wasn’t obvious. After a week at home to settle in, I’m getting back into the baking swing of things, and updates will become regular again (every weekend!). Unfortunately, being back home means the UChicago cupcake orders have been put on hold for the summer. That being said, if enough people around here want custom cupcakes, I’ll consider making this a second location. Just drop me a comment/message! 🙂

And speaking of UChicago–shameless self-promotion! HUGE thanks to Hannah at Spoon, a UChicago food magazine/blog for writing about tlc baking this month! Spoon is growing quickly, and is definitely worth keeping an eye on even if you don’t go to UChicago. Check out their site here, and read the article about tlc here!

Aaaaand that’s it for my very, very long post. Sorry, guys! Making up for lost time here. 😉

See y’all next weekend!