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Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie

Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie | www.TheHungryTravelerBlog.com

Every time I travel abroad for extended periods of time, I find myself craving certain foods that are mainstays of my diet back home. When I spent a summer in Asia, I craved Chipotle, fresh salads, and Cracker Barrel (my guilty pleasure). When studying in France, I craved Asian and spicy foods and, yet again, Chipotle (luckily I was able to temporarily curb that craving during a weekend in London).

In Toulouse (the city in southwest France in which I studied), I was very satisfied with my daily breakfast of a croissant but a friend of mine was desperately in search of peanut butter for his morning toast. He went to several of grocery stores and markets and scoured the American aisle looking on a quest for peanut butter. One day he came back to the dorms thrilled, thinking he had found a jar of it. After opening it up and spreading on toast, it was not at all what he expected. He had actually purchased a jar of speculoos, or a spiced cookie butter.  He loved it, but it didn’t satisfy his craving.  Eventually, my mom to brought him a jar when she came to visit and he got his fix.

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Tips for Better Baking: Bake Pies on a Baking Sheet (#35)

It’s always a good idea to bake pies on a baking sheet. Not only does it make it easier to get the pies in and out of the oven, but a sheet pan will catch any filling that bubbles over. It’s much easier to clean a foil lined baking sheet than the bottom of your oven.

Blueberry Peach Pie

Blueberry Peach Pie

Blueberry Peach Pie

Last Thursday evening I taught my first cooking class called “It’s All About the Pie Crust” at Cooks’Wares in Mongtomery, Ohio.

I was nervous in the days leading up the the class. Having never taught a cooking class before, I was not sure what to expect. I feared losing track of time, worried about forgetting ingredients, and was scared I would run out of things to say (which has never been an issue for me!).

Luckily, the class went well, even better than I expected. Time did move quickly and I did forget one ingredient but I never ran out of things to say. What I didn’t expect was how much fun I had.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group for my first class. The students were engaged, asked questions, and filled the room with a positive energy. It was rewarding to see how excited everyone was when they rolled the dough out and fitted into their pie plates successfully. Several students said they had never had much luck with pie and the class gave them the confidence to try baking pies at home.

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Apricot Galette

Apricot Galette

My first restaurant job was making sandwiches and salads at a small cafe that served healthy, seasonal and really delicious food.  A few times a week the pastry chefs from the main restaurant would deliver baked goods to fill the large pastry case at the front of the cafe. While making sandwiches and salads wasn’t all that exciting, I always looked forward to the pastry delivery.

The pastry case was full of customer-favorites such as chocolate chip cookies and salted caramel cupcakes, but I was most excited by the mixed berry galettes that were nearly the size of my head. Ripe berries were stewed to a thick, jammy consistency and wrapped up into an envelope by golden brown pastry crust spinkled with coarse sugar crystals.

While these were by far the most delicious and beautiful item in the pastry case, the intimidating size and tough competition meant they were not a best seller. I rarely made it out of a shift without buying something from the pastry case, but the best days were the ones where I got to take home a galette that did not sell.

Apricot Galette

Unfortunately the cafe was short-lived and is no longer in existence. I often crave the food we served and find myself thinking about the pastries.  I picked up some apricots at the market last week without knowing what I was going to do with them. On my drive home I passed the former space of the cafe and knew immediately where those apricots were headed – straight into an apricot galette.

Apricot Galette

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