Strawberry Peach Pie with Sage & Honey

The greatest thing about being a known food lover is hearing about your friend’s fantastic food adventures. My friends are more than willing to tell me anything delicious; from what they had for dinner, to the complicated dessert they tried their hand at.  If something food-related happens to any one of my acquaintances I’m the first to hear about it.  And when my friend’s herb garden becomes so overgrown there’s no possible way they’re going to get through it all, you bet your bottom dollar I’m going home with a ziplock loaded with garden fresh goodies.  This happened to me twice in the course of a week.  The first batch I got from my cousin’s where I gathered a little bit of basil, sage, rosemary and thyme. I got the second round from my friend’s patio, which was experiencing a massive mintfestation.  Needless to say, the mint shall be used for mojito purposes.

Strawberries and Peaches

I told you last time that I promised myself I would use all of my produce and I was almost home free when I discovered four neglected peaches and a forgotten pint of strawberries.  The pie seemed the most logical (and reckless) solution to my problem.

Strawberries and Peaches

It is very dangerous to make an entire pie for a two-person household.  I don’t normally make a pie unless I’m sure there are at least five people to help me eat it, but I had just run close to 10km, so somewhere in my sick and twisted mind I decided I deserved an entire pie.

Sage

I was settled on the idea of strawberry peach pie, but then I found the remnants of my ziplock of herbs.  The thyme was all but gone and the basil looked a little worse for wear, but the sage was untouched and still gorgeous.  Sage in a strawberry peach pie?  Dare I tread into the unknown and possibly waste precious pastry on a potentially strange, inedible pie?  Yes, of course!

Strawberries, Peaches and Sage

The pie came out beautifully.  The strawberries and peaches were the perfect compliment to each other.  The strawberries brought a touch of tartness to the pie, while the peaches dominated with their smooth sweetness.  The sage added an element of savory to the pie, which served as an interesting contrast to syrupy sweetness of the fruit and the shortbread crust.

Filling and Pastry

My beau was adequately impressed.  He and his hallow leg polished off most of the pie, saving me from having to run the equivalent of three marathons.

Unbaked Pie

I know it may seem strange, but every now and then it pays to throw caution to the wind and let your imagination do a little bit of the driving.  While this pie is certainly not groundbreaking it’s a little off beat and unexpected, so if your bored of the same old pies (I can’t imagine why you would be) this might be a good way to break the mould.   I served this pie with a drizzle of maple syrup and it went down quite nicely. I was inspired for this recipe from Vegging at the Shore blog.

Strawberry Peach Pie

Strawberry Peach Pie with Honey and Sage: Serves 8

1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced

4 peaches, sliced

2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped

2/3 cup demerara sugar

¼ cup honey

¼ cup flour

1 batch of pastry (see Irish Whiskey Pie)

1 egg

1 tbsp water

Maple syrup for drizzling

Directions:

Preheat oven 400°

Place peaches, strawberries, sugar, honey, flour and sage in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Roll out half of the chilled pastry and line a nine-inch pie plate with it.

Pour filling into the center.

Roll out second half of the pastry and cut into strips a quarter of an inch wide.

Weave strips of pastry on top of the filling to make a lattice top.

Trim and crimp edges.

In a small bowl whisk water and egg together.

Brush pastry with egg wash using a pastry brush.

Fit tin foil over the edge of the crust and bake for forty minutes.

Remove foil and bake for an addition fifteen minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Allow to cool and slice.

Serve drizzled with maple syrup.

Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce

Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce

A week ago I took a spontaneous trip to Prince Edward Island.  I hadn’t been to the island in nearly fifteen years and I was keen to a do a little beach hopping, so I seized the opportunity to go.  With no plans in sight and little expectation, we managed to have one of the best getaways I’ve had in a longtime.  I am now determined to never plan a vacation again.  When nothing is expected everything is a wonderful surprise, much like today’s recipe, which is courtesy of the island.

Dates and Ginger

On one of the few sunny days I’ve had since arriving on the East Coast (I seem to curse this area of the world with rain every time I visit), we happened upon Dalvay House located just east of Charlottetown.  Built in 1896, the resort was at one time the summer home of the former president of Standard Oil, Alexander MacDonald.  Recently, Dalvay House became the host hotel to the Royals during their tour of the PEI countryside and to commemorate the happy event, the staff of Dalvay House placed a giant cardboard cutout of Will and Kate on the front porch.

Foamy Dates

I know… It was kind of weird, but I was totally digging Kate’s hat.

Dry Ingredients

If getting a picture with the 2D couple is not enough for you, the adjacent gift shop is happy to supply you with an entire tea set bearing the same priceless shot of the happy couple.  But if you would rather get the full scoop, locate any member of the staff and they’ll be happy to give a full play by play of the royal visit.  I got the details at least half a dozen times in the course of 24 hours and I didn’t even have to ask.

Sticky Date Pudding

But enough about the royals, I’m sure you’d much rather hear about the food.  Dalvay House boasts one of the best restaurants on the island.  They make a point of showcasing the best local produce and seafood in a relaxed, cheerful atmosphere.  Everything was amazing, but this Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce captured my heart completely.  The wait staff must have pick up on this intense bond (perhaps I was smacking my lips a touch too loudly), because they kindly offered me the recipe.  I was so taken aback by this gesture that I very nearly fell off my chair.  This would never ever have happened in Toronto, but in PEI, I suppose anything is possible.

Toffee Sauce

I replicated the recipe a few days after returning home and here it is in all its glory.  It wasn’t quite as good as the piece I had at Dalvay House, but it was pretty damn close and that’s good enough for me.  I followed the recipe quite faithfully, but I did swap in a little fresh ginger instead of the powdered.   I’m madly in love with in ginger, in case you were wondering.

Please make this!  Please, please, please!  Would it help if I told you Prince William ate it?

Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce

Honestly, its so moist and delicious; so wonderfully naughty that it’s well worth the effort.  I have a feeling this pudding is going to be a very cozy companion come fall.  Oh, and word to the wise, this dessert was made to be enjoyed with a good single malt scotch.   They go together so well that I added a little scotch to the sauce.  Shhh, don’t tell!

Enjoy!

Dalvay’s Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce: Serves 12 if you have sense, 8 if you are senseless

For Pudding:

1 ¾ cups packed pitted dates, coarsely chopped

2 cups water

1 ½ tsp baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fresh ginger, pureed

½ tsp salt

¾ cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

For Sauce:

¾ cup unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

2 tsp single malt scotch (I used Redbreast)

Directions:

Pudding – Preheat oven to 375°.

Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

Place dates, water, and ginger in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat uncovered for 5 minutes.

Remove heat from pan and stir in baking soda.  Mixture will foam.

Let mixture stand for 20 minutes.

While you’re waiting, sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time.

Mix in the flour mixture in three batches, beating after each addition until just combined.

Add date mixture and stir until combined.

Pour batter into baking pan and set inside a larger baking pan.  Add enough hot water to the large baking pan to reach half way up the sides of the smaller baking pan.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes.

When done, remove pudding from water bath to cool.

Serve with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Toffee Sauce – In a 2 quart saucepan, melt butter over moderate heat.

Add brown sugar and bring mixture to a boil stirring occasionally.

Add cream and scotch and reduce heat.

Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.  About five minutes.

Cool sauce slightly and pour over squares of pudding.