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6 posts from November 2023


~ Some Hot & Savory Open-Faced Sandwich History ~

IMG_0737There's no time like the week after Thanksgiving to dive into a discussion about open-faced sandwiches.  After all, a great percentage of our United States's population just spent the weekend making hot, open-faced sandwiches using their leftover turkey, dressing and gravy.  I'm no exception.  Shortly after sitting down to write my recipes for Kentucky's Classic Hot Brown and Pittsburgh's Original Devonshire, two iconic hot turkey sandwiches, both with rich histories, I took a break to research the finer-points of the open-faced sandwich. Why? Technically, open-faced sandwiches aren't sandwiches in the true sense of the word.

Unlike traditional sandwiches, open-faced sandwiches never sandwich anything between two slices of bread, & typically don't get picked up to eat with the hands.

IMG_0722The definition & origin(s) of the open-faced sandwich.

According to Wikipedia, an open-faced sandwich, also known as an open-face sandwich, bread platter, or, tartine (a fancy French word for an open-faced sandwich made with spreadable ingredients), consists of a single slice of fresh bread with one or more foods piled on top.  During the middle ages in 15th Century England, thin slices of coarse-grained bread, called "trenchers" were used as plates.  At the end of the meal, the food-soaked trencher was eaten by the diner (referred to as a "trencherman"), fed to a dog, or, given to a beggar.  Trenchers were not only the harbinger of today's open-faced sandwiches are they were the first disposable plates.

The precursor to the English open-faced trencher is:

IMG_0411The Scandinavian-style served-cold open-sandwich.

The precursor to the English open-faced sandwich (not known to the English at the time), is the iconic Scandinavian open sandwich (Danish:  smørrebrød, Norwegian:  smørbrød, Swedish: smørgäs), consisting of one buttered piece of bread, usually whole-grained rye,  topped with thinly-sliced cold items (cheese, steak, ham, turkey, shrimp, smoked salmon, caviar, cooked eggs, bacon, herring, fish filets, liver pâté, etc.).  A condiment, such as mayonnaise, or a mayo-based dressing was/is usually included too.  In the 17th Century, naturalist John Ray, wrote about what he experienced while in the Netherlands:  "In the taverns, beef hung from the rafters, which they cut into thin slices to eat with bread and butter, heaping the slices upon the butter."  

Versions of the cold Scandinavian-type open sandwich are served all over the world.  That said, in Great Britain, open sandwiches are rare outside of a Scandinavian delicatessen, except for the famous Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock (a fondue-like cheese sauce "on toast"), historically served at the colleges of the University of Cambridge. The hot, hearty and somewhat messy-looking open sandwich, usually consisting of warm, sliced meat and a generous drizzle of gravy, or leftover sliced meat reheated in simmering gravy, is the traditional sandwich in poorer Eastern European countries, where they are eaten with a knife and fork for breakfast, lunch or dinner -- to turn leftovers into a meal.  The latter is the type of open-faced sandwich, I grew up eating.

IMG_0730When to call the food police about your open-faced sandwich:

130328_FoodPoliceBadge-picIn the United States, in the court case of White City Shopping Ctr., LP v. PR Rests, LLC, 21 Mass. L. Rep. 565 (2006), the judge ruled that to be called a true sandwich (from a legal perspective) the dish must include at least two slices of bread.  In many restaurants, many open-faced sandwich do not meet this criteria, although most served in diners and restaurants here in the Northeastern states where I live generally do pile the meat and gravy atop two overlapping slices of bread.  Oh my.  I'll no longer be throwing the term "open-faced sandwich" loosely around. Important:  before you pick up your knife and fork: 

If on your dish doesn't appear two slices of bread, (side-by-side or slightly-overlapping), you're only being served "half-an-open-faced sandwich".

IMG_0759"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023) 


~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~

IMG_0931Simply known as "the hot brown", or "Louisville hot brown", this Kentucky sandwich is a culinary legend.  Invented in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, unlike many other famous sandwiches, this one was no accident.  It was specifically created, from some carefully-selected, well-thought out ingredients, to please his hungry late-night crowd.  It was a sort-of spin-off of the British Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock (a fondue-like cheese sauce "on toast").

We're not talking deli-turkey & store-bought cheese sauces.

IMG_0834The original, now classic, hot brown was an open-faced sandwich consisting of oven-roasted sliced turkey on white or brioche bread, covered in Mornay (Gruyère cheese) sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, then placed under the boiler until the sauce began to bubble and brown. Crisply-fried bacon strips and a few pimentos were added at serving time.  Let me be very clear,  we're not talking about deli-meat and store-bought cheese sauces.  

When Mr. Schmidt created his sandwich, roasted and sliced turkey was a rarity, as turkey was usually reserved for holiday feasts -- at the time, turkeys were only sold during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and had just become available to restaurants all year long.  The Hotel's dance band played each night from 10:00PM-1:00AM, and he wanted to offer something different to his after-the-dance customers.  What he came up with was a unique alternative to the typical ham-and-egg-on-toast suppers available to late night clientele at that time -- it's why the original did not contain ham.  It quickly became the choice of 95% of the customers to the hotel's restaurant, but, from 1971 to 1985, while the hotel was sadly shut down, it was hard to find elsewhere.

Cold Browns, Prosperity Sandwiches & Turkey Devonshire:

IMG_0849Variations on the original hot brown included a version in which Chef Schmidt, upon request, would include a slice of baked ham along with the turkey, and, as alternative garnishes, sliced tomatoes and/or sautéd  sliced mushrooms.  

The cold brown, which is rarely served anymore, consists of an open-faced rye bread sandwich topped with chicken or turkey, hard-cooked egg, lettuce, tomato and a generous drizzle of Thousand Islands salad dressing.  

At St. Louis's Mayfair Hotel, the 1930's Prosperity Sandwich, strikingly similar to the original hot brown, got named as a snarky joke about President Hoover's (POTUS #31 -- 1929-1933) incessant Great Depression-era promise:  "prosperity is just around the corner".  In Pittsburgh, at the English-atmosphered Stratford Club, Frank Blandi's 1934 twist on the hot brown, The Devonshire, was topped with  cheddar cheese sauce in place of the Mornay sauce.

Get out your favorite 8" oven-safe skillet:

IMG_0853Overlap 2 thick-sliced brioche bread slices in the bottom:

IMG_0867Arrange 6-8 ounces pulled or sliced turkey atop bread:

IMG_0872Drizzle 1/2-3/4 cup warm Mornay sauce over the top:

IMG_0884Four tomato slices (or some diced pimientos) are nice:

IMG_0889Sprinkle w/2 teaspoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano:

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c938d1dd970b6" under the broiler for 6-8 minutes it goes, lightly-browned & bubbly it emerges, add 3 slices bacon & a parsley garnish:

IMG_0893Eat, drink & be very, very merry:

IMG_0937The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich:  Recipe yields instructions to construct and broil one large, hot and hearty, open-faced sandwich.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; microplane grater; 8" oven-proof skillet

IMG_0737Cook's Note:  While writing this post, I took a break to research the finer-points of open-faced sandwiches. Why?  In the true sense of the word, open-faced sandwiches, technically, aren't sandwiches.  Unlike traditional sandwiches, they never sandwich anything between two slices of bread, and typically, they don't get picked up to eat with the hands.  To learn more about this, read my post ~ Some Hot & Savory Open-Faced Sandwich History ~.  

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~ Thanksgiving to Tailgate: Stuffing Stuffed 'Shrooms ~

IMG_0690For the family cook, entertaining for Thanksgiving is a labor of love, but, if he or she is a college football fan too, that can mean entertaining for a tailgate party as well, which can be overwhelming.  That said, if you've got a game plan in place in advance, transitioning your formal Turkey Day feast into a relaxing tailgate on your coffee table, can be almost effortless.  One of my gameday-after-the-holiday tailgate menus is:  stuffing stuffed mushrooms with turkey-club sliders.

IMG_0658Any leftover stuffing* recipe can be used to stuff mushrooms.  I Love My Mom's Cracker Stuffing Casserole.  It's lightly and nicely seasoned, and, crushed saltine crackers that have been soaked in milk replace the usual breadcrumbs. That said, when it comes to using leftover stuffing to stuff mushrooms, I try to avoid using any of the crispy browned outside edges

Note:  Typically, uncooked stuffing is a bit too loose to stuff into mushroom caps -- you can't pile it high enough, and, even if it is of a more viscous consistency (sticky or gluelike), in the time it requires to fully-cook the stuffing to a food-safe temperature (most recipes contain raw eggs), the mushroom caps tend to get overcooked.  I recommend using leftover, cooked stuffing. 

IMG_0680Any size mushrooms can be used, but, the larger the mushroom cap, the more stuffing you'll need, and, the cooking time will be a bit longer too.  I like to use 1 1/2"-2"-size white button mushroom caps, and, I choose even-sized ones to insure they cook evenly.  I serve them as appetizers.  That said, larger caps easily turns these two-bite snacks into a fun and filling side-dish to an open-faced turkey sandwich.  

Transitioning a Turkey Day side-dish to a tailgate appetizer:

IMG_0664 IMG_0664 IMG_0664 IMG_0664 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7ffe322970b~Step 1.  Using a damp paper towel, gently wipe any dirt from caps.  

Note: Never wash or soak fresh mushrooms in water as they absorb moisture like a sponge and will become mushy.  Using your fingertips, remove the stems, being careful not to break or crack the caps.  Using a sharp paring knife, trim the perimeter of the caps. Place caps, side-by-side, on a baking pan that has been generously sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.

Using an appropriately-sized ice-cream scoop (1 1/2" scoop was used today), place a generous scoop of stuffing into each mushroom cap.  Bake on center rack of 325º oven, 18-20 minutes.

Remove 'shrooms from oven & place on serving platter:

IMG_0682Drizzle w/turkey gravy & top w/a dollop of cranberry sauce:

IMG_0686What a yummy transition from Turkey Day to tailgate:

IMG_0696Thanksgiving to Tailgate:  Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms: Recipe yields instructions to make as many mushrooms (appetizer- or side-dish-sized) as you have stuffing for.

Special Equipment List:  paring knife; appropriately sized baking pan; appropriately-sized ice-cream scoop

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d23f7cf3970c IMG_2214Cook's Note: Stuffing waffles. Made on the waffle grids of my Cuisinart Griddler, waffles made from leftover stuffing and topped with reheated thanksgiving leftovers (sweet potatoes, pulled turkey breast, gravy and cranberries sauce) is:  The breakfast of champions, and, I've got a family full of them.~ The Morning After: Thanksgiving Stuffing Waffles ~ are the best Turkey Day leftovers.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~

IMG_0495While watching a late-night episode of "Locked Up" on some obscure channel last night -- yes, channel surfing is a favorite sport of mine -- I learned an interesting fact about those super-curly square-block instant ramen noodles:  They are the #1 selling item in prison commissaries.  That didn't surprise me as much as the reason:  Prisoners buy them for the seasoning packets, not the noodles.  It seems that prison cafeteria food is so lacking in salt, those packets get sprinkled on or stirred into almost everything.  Get in my my soup!  I learn something new every day (or night).  In my kitchen it's the opposite, we use the noodles, not the seasoning packets.

IMG_0502Amongst other things, in the course of a year, I make several soup stocks:  beef, chicken, Thai chicken, veal, shrimp and vegetable.  They're carefully-simmered, seasoned to suit my palate, portioned into containers and stacked neatly in my freezer.  As every well-seasoned cook will tell you, homemade stock turns an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one.  There's more:  If I get a soup craving, I thaw a 2-cup container of stock, simmer it with a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables, then, I drop a square block of ramen noodles into the saucepan.

  2 cups soup stock + 2 handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables +

IMG_0526a block of instant ramen = (3 minutes later), a luscious lunch. 

Perhaps it's because I never had to live on instant ramen noodles in college that I agree with a Japanese poll done in 2000:  They voted "dried noodle blocks" their best invention of the 20th century -- noodles that simply need to be cooked or soaked in boiling water before eating.  The main ingredients used in dried noodles are usually wheat flour, palm oil and salt.  The ingredients in the seasoning packets are salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), seasonings and sugar.  

Invented by Momofuku Ando of Nissin Foods in 1958, these inexpensive (cheap) dried noodle blocks are created by flash-frying cooked noodles (the main method used in Asian countries), and, air-drying (to sell to Western countries).  Both types have a shelf-life of well over a year, and, while they might not look like it in their dry state, they have higher elasticity than other types of noodles (like udon or flat noodles).  They cook up perfectly in a short 3-4 minutes too.

51rTOVjBYwL._SY450_Instant Ramen Trivia includes: When first introduced, instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.  It's the #1 selling item in prison commissaries, and, guards are permitted to provide hot water to cook them in the cells. Only "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin ramen are vegetarian.  David Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, reminisces about uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack. "Ramen" is the Japanese word for the Chinese word "lo mein".  China consumes more instant ramen than any other country.  The Japanese consider ramen their best invention. It would cost about $150 to eat instant ramen for every meal.  There is a museum in Yokohama, Japan, dedicated to the history of "cup noodles", called The Cup of Noodles Museum.  The first noodles eaten in space were instant ramen noodles.

Three minute instant ramen noodles...

IMG_0514... sans the seasoning packet:  Get in my soup! 

IMG_0519Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie:  Recipe yields 2, 2 cup servings.

Special Equipment List:  2-quart saucepan; colander (optional); soup ladle

IMG_9113Cook's Note:  Much like learning to make sushi, learning to make real-deal ramen noodles is a highly-respected art form in Japan.  I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to experience both of them on a trip to Tokyo back in the 1990's.  To learn a bit more about the rich history of real-deal, scratch-made ramen, read my recipe for ~ Cooking 101 for One: Asian Ramen & Steak Salad ~. This cold salad is another one of my favorite quick-to-make lunches (when I've got some leftover steak).

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~ Dare to be a Square: Individual Breakfast Frittatas ~

IMG_0468As an egg lover, for me, a frittata is a relatively-easy quick-to-make hunger-satisfying meal any time of the day -- for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack.  It tastes great served hot, warm, at room temperature or cold, and, leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave.  A bit of slicing, dicing or chopping is typically required, but it's minimal, and, since frittata can also be a tasty way to use up leftovers from a previous meal, in some instances, no knife is required.  In my food world, making individual-sized frittatas, a perfectly-portioned quick-as-heck protein-packed meal or snack that I can reheat and eat in seconds, is an efficient use of my time. 

IMG_0418My girlfriend Elaine was a Pampered Chef representative. Over the years, I've purchased gadgets and specialty items (from her and others), and, I've never been disappointed in the quality.  A few years ago, while browsing through the catalog, when I came across these "individual brownie pans", with shallow, "square cups" (for folks who want four crispy sides on each and every brownie), I ordered two -- glad I did too.  

That said, I didn't buy them with the intent of baking brownies.  I bought them to make small-sized individual frittatas because:  the size (2 1/2" x 2 1/2") and depth (1") of each cup makes for perfect portions that cook up evenly each and every time.  If you've ever baked individual frittatas in traditional muffin tins, you know that the depth and shape of that cup is not exactly ideal for this eggy concoction -- centers undercooked, perimeters overcooked.

IMG_6400To know a traditional frittata, is to love any frittata.

IMG_6345Commonly referred to as "the Italian version of an omelette", a frittata is a concoction of whisked eggs and real-deal cream, sliced, diced or chopped always-previously-cooked vegetables, meat or seafood and/or grated cheese.  I prefer to compare it to a custard-like quiche without a crust rather than an omelette because, like a quiche, a frittata is traditionally round and rather thick -- not at all elongated and comparatively flat (like the French and American omelettes I've encountered).  There's more.  I think of an omelette as something that goes from stovetop to table in a few short moments -- that's not the case with a frittata, which takes 30+ minutes.

IMG_6358The egg mixture is poured into the same oven-safe (usually cast-iron) skillet the vegetables and/or meats have been cooked or placed in.  The Frittata is started on the stovetop for a few moments, just long enough to allow the bottom of the mixture to solidify a bit, then finished in a moderate oven for 30-45 minutes depending on its size and the recipe.  That said, a frittata can be prepared in the skillet entirely on the stovetop, or, in a casserole entirely in the oven (usually to make a large-size frittata).  Frittata can be served directly from the pan, but, family-friendly-sized frittata is often inverted onto a platter, to reveal its golden crust, then sliced into wedges.

IMG_6362Sautéed vegetables or a medley of vegetables, any kind you like, can be added, as long as they are cooked in some manner first.  Why? Vegetables, particularly those that contain lots of liquid, unless cooked first, will render the frittata watery. Root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, won't fully-cook if not given a head start on the stovetop. Onions and/or garlic are almost always added. Other options include asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, peas, and/or mushrooms. They all work great.  Extremely watery vegetables, like tomatoes, summer squash and and zucchini work well too, but the extra step of seeding prior to sautéing is recommended.

IMG_6376When it comes to meat or seafood, the same rules apply:  if it's cooked first it can be added. Leftover diced porcine, like ham or sausage crumbles, along with crispy-fried bacon bits are my three meaty favorites, and, crab meat or shrimp, or both, are divine.  My teenage boys liked frittata made with diced salami or pepperoni as a late night snack.   That said, if you like to eat steak with your eggs, by all means, throw in slivers of that leftover roasted or grilled red meat. Feel free to disagree, but, for my taste, poultry has no place in a frittata -- there is just something about chicken or turkey in an egg dish like this that I find unappealing (save it for a sandwich).

Making individual frittatas is efficient & just plain smart.

The Italian word "frittata" derives from the word "friggere", which roughly means "fried".  This is why frittata is traditionally associated with a skillet, namely a cast-iron skillet.  If a casserole dish is more convenient, by all means use one -- simply season and sauté your fillings ingredients in a skillet, and toss them into the bottom of a casserole that has been sprayed with no-stick spray, add the whisked egg and cream mixture and bake as directed.   Making individual-sized frittatas is not much different than making a frittata in a casserole, but, you've got to know the capacity of the cups in the pans, and, shorten the cooking time, to accommodate the smaller size of each one. Each square cup in this Pampered Chef pan holds slightly less than 1/2 cup, so, to fill all twelve, I need 6 cups total filling -- the same amount used for a frittata baked in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.

IMG_62911  cup diced, previously cooked meat or seafood, or, 8-ounces uncooked ground beef or sausage (Note:  I'm using sweet sausage today.)

1/2  cup diced sweet onion

1 1/2   cups diced, cooked vegetables or a combination of vegetables, your choice (Note: I'm using green bell pepper, red bell pepper and mushrooms today.

sea salt and coarsely-ground black pepper, for lightly seasoning vegetables 

3/4  cup grated melting cheese (Note:  I'm using yellow cheddar today.)

6  extra-large eggs

3/4  cup cream (Note:  You can substitute half and half or whole milk, but anything less than full-fat dairy renders a rubbery rather than an unctuous frittata.)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt and coarsely-ground black pepper, for seasoning egg mixture

no-stick cooking spray, for preparing pan

sliced or diced tomato, cilantro leaves & your favorite hot sauce, for garnish & accompaniment

IMG_6295 IMG_6295 IMG_6295Step 1.  Using an old-fashioned hand-crank egg beater, whisk the eggs, cream, salt and pepper together.  Set aside.

IMG_6306 IMG_6306 IMG_6306 IMG_6306~Step 2.  Place the sausage in an appropriately sized skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté, using the side of a spatula to break the meat into small bits and pieces, until cooked through, about 6 minutes.  Turn the heat off.  Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the sausage from the skillet to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, allowing the flavorful drippings to remain in skillet.

IMG_6318 IMG_6318 IMG_6318 IMG_6318 IMG_6318 ~Step 3.  Adjust heat to medium.  Add onion, bell peppers and mushrooms.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Stirring almost constantly, sauté until vegetables have lost about half of their volume and are starting to show signs of browning (which means they are becoming flavorful), 5-6 minutes.  Stir in the sausage.  Remove from heat.

IMG_0422 IMG_0422 IMG_0422 IMG_0422 IMG_0445~Step 4.  Spray the inside of each "square cup" with no-stick spray. Portion some of the vegetable/meat mixture into the bottom of each one, about 3 tablespoons in each. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon grated cheese over the top of the vegetable meat mixture.  Using a fork, briefly rewhisk the egg mixture, and, slowly, in a thin stream, gently fill cups to just short of the top.  Bake on center rack of 350° oven 16-18 minutes, until puffed up in centers. Remove from oven and cool in pans about 5 minutes prior to using a thin spatula to serve. Frittatas deflate and firm up as they cool.  Garnish w/tomato, cilantro & your favorite hot sauce.

Bake on center rack of 350° oven, 16-18 minutes:

IMG_0440Cool in pans 5-6 minutes prior to serving:

IMG_0448Frittatas will deflate a bit & firm up as they cool:

IMG_0460Garnish w/tomato, cilantro & serve w/your favorite hot sauce:

IMG_0483Dare to be a Square:  Individual Breakfast Frittatas:  Recipe yields 6-12 servings/1-2 per person.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; hand-held box grater; 2-cup measuring container; old-fashioned hand-crank egg beater (optional); appropriately sized oven-safe skillet or casserole of choice; thin spatula

IMG_9460Cook's Note:  In the event you need to feed a lot of people for breakfast or brunch, an eggy casserole is always a crowd pleaser.  ~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole ~, which is in actuality a frittata disguised under a different name, is an example of a frittata baked in a casserole dish.  It contains ham (in place of sausage) and has a distinctive Southwestern flair.  It's been a favorite of our tailgate group for years.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~ My Mom's Old-Fashioned Home-Canned Peach Pie~

IMG_0405The Summer peach season is long over, but, in my kitchen, that is not a reason to not bake a peach pie.  Yes, you can use canned peaches to make a peach pie, and, if the peaches are home-canned with love, the pie is just as good, if not better, than a pie made with fresh peaches. I'm not joking.  Women have been doing it for generations.  They water-bath-canned large quantities of fruits and vegetables so the family could enjoy them during the cold weather months.

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09671996970dMy mother's pantry was never without home-canned peaches.  My grandmother had a green thumb, and, in her smallish, in-town back yard, for as many years as she lived there, her peach tree gifted us with some the best peaches I have ever tasted -- I'm not just saying that because she was my grandmother. The peaches were exquisite, and, she did a stunning job of canning them.  They were pretty as a picture and tasted even better -- "to the tooth" (not at all mushy) and pleasantly, not cloyingly, sweet.

I do not know if it was my grandmother, mother, or someone else of their time who came up with our family's canned peach pie recipe.  What I do know is there isn't much to it.  After all, the hard work was done up front in the canning.

Every slice is plump w/peaches, nicely-spiced, & ...

IMG_0384... a canned-peach pie is one of the easiest pies to make too.

IMG_03052   9" pie pastries for a double-crust pie, preferably homemade pie pastry (pâte brisée)

7  cups sliced or chunked, very-well-drained canned peaches (Note:  If using store-bought peaches, drain 3, 29-ounce cans packed in light syrup.  Once I drain the liquid, I put the peaches on a paper-towel-lined plate for a few minutes, to remove as much excess liquid as possible.)

2  teaspoons lemon juice

2  teaspoons pure peach extract (optional)

1/2  cup granulated sugar

5  tablespoons minute tapioca

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

1  tablespoon salted butter, softened

1  large egg white, ideally at room temperature

additional granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top of pie prior to baking

IMG_0307 IMG_0307 IMG_0307 IMG_0307~Step 1.  Roll and fit one 9" pie pastry in the bottom of a 9" pie dish.  Using a pair of kitchen shears, trim it to hang slightly over the perimeter (about 1/8").  Set aside.  Thoroughly drain the peaches, placing them in a large bowl as you work.  In a medium-bowl, stir together the sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Add the lemon juice and peach extract too.  Using a rubber spatula, gently toss to thoroughly combine the peaches with the tapioca/sugar/spice mixture.

IMG_0326 IMG_0326 IMG_0326~Step 2.  Spoon the peach pie filling into the pie pastry, mounding it slightly towards the center. Dot the top of the pie filling with the softened butter.  Place the second pie pastry over the top, and, using the kitchen shears, trim it around the perimeter to match the overhang of the bottom pastry (about 1/8").  Using your fingertips, seal the two crusts together and form a decorative edge all the way around perimeter.

IMG_0335 IMG_0335 IMG_0335 IMG_0335~Step 3.  Using a fork, whisk egg white until frothy.  Using a pastry brush, paint the smooth surface of top crust (not the decorative edge) with egg white, then, using your fingertips, sprinkle a light coating of sugar over the glossy top.  Using the sharp tip of a knife, poke a few small holes in the top pastry (to allow steam to escape as pie bakes).  Bake on center rack of 350° oven until golden brown and bubbly, 50-55 minutes, stopping to give the pie a quarter turn every 15 minutes, to insure even browning.  Place on wire rack to cool completely, about 3-4 hours, prior to slicing.

Bake on center rack of 350° oven, 50-55 minutes:

IMG_0359Place on a wire rack to cool completely, 3-4 hours:

IMG_0355Slice & serve ever-so-lightly warm or at room temperature:

IMG_0379And enjoy a peachy-keen taste of Summer all year round:

IMG_0408My Mom's Old-Fashioned Home-Canned Peach Pie:  Recipe yields 1, 9" double-crust pie/8-10 servings.

Special Equipment List:  pastry board; rolling pin; 9" pie dish, preferably glass; kitchen shears; cutting board; vegetable peeler; chef's knife; large rubber spatula; fork; pastry brush; sharp paring knife; wire cooling rack

IMG_4817Cook's Note:  Back in the 1990's, I was given this recipe, ~ Alice's Super-Simple Georgia Peach-Pie Cobbler ~, from a tailgating girlfriend.  Alice hailed from Atlanta. She made no secret of the fact that she detested the sport of cooking -- which complicates things for a woman in a tailgate group like ours. That said, she participated and prepared something good each week, and, this recipe is even easier than making a canned-peach pie!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)