August 9th, 2012
Baking used to seem fussy to me. And, in some ways, it is. Measurements need to be exact. Proportions precise. Temperatures just right. While baking, I would focus so hard on trying not to eff things up that I’d get into a perfectionist mind set that carried into every aspect of my baking experience. My pie crust had to look perfect. The icing artistic. Cake layers even. Then I’d give up. Because my pie crust never looks perfect, I’m a doddering oaf when it comes to icing, and I haven’t the first clue how to cut across a cake so that it is smooth and even.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point it occurred to me that though there are very fussy aspects of baking, it’s not an entirely fussy endeavor. Not every baked good will come out looking like it’s from a famous patisserie, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious. (Especially if you call it “rustic.”)
This realization changed the way that I bake. Mix everything in one bowl like for this One Bowl Apple cake. Sure! Adapt a classic from a trusted source the way I did to make this Vanilla Cardamom Olive Oil Pound Cake. The way to go! Riff on a tried and true recipe to turn Cranberry Pear Upside Down Cake into Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Easy breezy.
Once you get used to taking the time to measure accurately and follow a few rules (use unsalted butter, make sure it’s cold, etc.), you’re free to take it easy, which is what I did with these mini Orange Blossom Honey Peach Pies.
Though you can hardly call any dessert with a homemade pie crust lazy, this is the laziest way that I’ve ever made pie. (Along with my Blueberries and Cream Crostata. Remember that?)
Sorry. I had a blueberry moment. Back to the peaches…
I had some pie dough on hand and didn’t feel like properly rolling it out. How fussy! So I took my rolling pin to it just enough to divide it into approximately 6 even pieces. I used each piece to line the bottom and sides of a ramekin, pinching and patching as necessary. I dolloped a bit of creme fraiche on the bottom of each crust-lined ramekin (because I gild the lily even when keeping it “super simple”) and plonked peaches tossed with orange blossom honey on top.
No lattice top or crumble topping. Though they would have been nice, they were not meant to be this time. Instead, I took it easy and let a flaky crust and ripe peaches speak for themselves. This time, as I do more and more often, I kept it unfussy.
This recipe is easily gluten free adaptable. Simply use your favorite GF flour blend when making the pie crust. I did and it worked beautifully!
Mini Orange Blossom Honey Peach Pies
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
makes 6 individual servings
Your favorite pie crust, enough to make one 9″ pie
5 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 cup orange blossom honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons creme fraiche, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll pie crust as you would for a standard pie pan, then divide it into 6 (roughly) even pieces. Use each piece to cover the bottom and sides of a ramekin. Press the dough into place without worrying about the way it looks or crimping the top edge. Place in the fridge until step 3.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine peaches, honey, cornstarch and nutmeg. Mix gently to combine well. Set aside.
3. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon of creme fraiche into the bottom of each ramekin and spread across the bottom of the crust. Divide the peaches evenly between the 6 ramekins, spooning them over the creme fraiche. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the edge of the crust is golden brown. Serve warm.
*Note: While there is nothing in this recipe that isn’t safe for younger eaters, I recommend it starting at 12 months due to the high sugar content. No matter how old your eaters, remember to serve age appropriate portions. A little of this sweet treat goes a long way for little ones.