Book Club Dessert and a Peachy Sky

The book club on the next block meets the second Thursday of the month and takes the summer months off.

Who knows what the choice will be for September.

Tonight we discussed a memoir Olive Witch by Abeer Y. Hoque

Our hostess N served this lovely parfait/ sundae IMG_7336the walk home at sunset offered this gorgeous sky

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Rolled Ice Cream is Hot on Butler Street

I’ve been away for awhile.  My friend B said “let’s go to NatuRoll Creamery get rolled ice cream in Lawrenceville. There’s always a line” (which is a good sign).

Turns out it didn’t open until three. So we had a delicious lunch at VANDAL first, waiting for three o’clock to roll around.

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Kaden took our orders and $. Two Spring Specials -Blueberry Lemon on a Vanilla Base.

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Abby made mine.

Then she added them lemon zest

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and a slice of lemon

IMG_2442The focus is on Abby.  Takes 2-5 minutes to create each fancy finished special.

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Macarons – First Attempt

img_3045img_3047Macarons go for about $2.50 apiece at the French bakery. Martha Stewart said you could bake them at home for about 18 cents apiece.  My friend V did some quick calculations in my kitchen and seems it’s more like 50 cents each

I’ve watched a video several times, purchased the best ingredients, and splurged for a baking mat with perfect circles embossed in the material. (Not factoring the equipment into the cost.)

Here’s the result.  Some of the macarons seemed a bit chewy. Did I underbake  them? Was the humidity a factor? Did I whip the egg whites correctly? Did I fold the dry ingredients sufficiently? I let them sit before I put them into the oven. Perhaps I used too much batter on each circle as the seemed to puff up like white mushrooms.  I will watch another video I found The Science of Macarons. If you have made them before please share any tips.

I got the ganache right. Had to put it over hot water after awhile as it firmed up, though.

I found another recipe to try next batch.

 

 

A Perfect Dessert

You know how I like dessert. It’s a double guest blog  today.

Necessity! I purposefully left my cell phone home so I could be present in the moment during a special luncheon Wednesday afternoon.

Steve and I were invited next door for a delicious lunch to welcome our new neighbors to the neighborhood.

Dessert was this stunning and  mouthwatering Lemon Tart from the French bakery on Butler Street in Lawrenceville  La Gourmandine

 

The first photo by Madison who said  “The simple things in life are the sweetest.”

 

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img_2377and then when my slice of the delectable tart on the beautiful blue and white china plate was set in front of me, I definitely needed another photo.  (Thank you Joaquin)

No way to adequately describe the simultaneous sweet and tart combination as it glides over your tongue.  Perfection!

 

Wildflour Bakery Anchorage, Alaska- Guest Blog

My wish is you get to Anchorage Alaska and taste Wildflour Bakery pies. Although I am back in the lower 48 today I have some more Alaska posts.

When visiting friends in Homer Alaska, we met some very nice people in their interesting home that our host had helped build.

The first thing they did was offer us pie and coffee.  Who could resist?

Three types of apple pie.  As we sampled a sliver of each type, we talked about the excellent flavor and crust (one gluten- free) and then I learned about the pie creator, Wildflour Bakery Owner Olivia Allen of Anchorage.  Although I took a few photos of the pie (see below) I wanted to know more.

Meet bakery owner Olivia Allen- photograph by Julia Bevins, I  asked Julia if she would like to be guest blogger! What a great photo.

Then I called Olivia. She returned my call just as we were entering our departing flight but emailed me more photos and information about Wildflour Bakery.  Here is her blog link Look into the World  See Olivia’s watercolor illustrations and follow her on Instagram Wildflour Bakery Handcrafted pies and galettes made with foraged wild berries, organic ingredients and lots of love 🌸

Olivia writes-

Wildflour Bakery uses locally sourced and foraged wild berries, herbs, flowers and backyard honey to craft beautiful and sweet treats with creative flair.

Each pie or galette is handcrafted with the intention of highlighting the Alaskan spirit of our wild spaces, near and far.

imageBeautifully photographed by Julia Bevins.

Gallery of photos below , sent to me by Olivia

Here are my pie photos so you see why I needed Olivia to send me some more.

And here is her artwork. I love the part about “serve generous slices.”  Yes!!

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We fairly well decimated the pies! You can see why I needed more photos to create this blog post as you look at my three photos I took at the kitchen table.

A few years ago I featured friend and pie judge Rob Bard.on National Pie Day.   I know he would have enjoyed the pies.

Cherry on Top of a Burnt Almond Torte

Cherry on Top

The fun weekly photo challenge by Michelle W.   I should get in the car and head to a local ice cream shop but it’s really humid and hot and we’ve already been out for dinner.  Wish I knew the Cherry on Top challenge beforehand but then I remembered a Cherry on Top I photographed six years ago.

The following was posted in May 2010.  Since then the Burnt Almond Torte was declared America’s Greatest Cake Here’s the article Thank You, Pittsburgh, For The Greatest Cake America Has Ever Made   (By the way, I never saw a cherry on top of a Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte)

Burnt Almond TorteAnd here is the original writing from my May 2010 blog post

Burnt Almond Torte and Copycat Recipe

Different regions prefer certain pastries, baked goods.  Burnt Almond Torte is popular in Pittsburgh. I’ve seen it as a wedding cake. tiered!  Who brought the recipe here I don’t know but many Pittsburghers LOVE it.  I’d never tasted one until we moved here.  This one is from the Oakmont Bakery.  Joan brought it to dinner one night.  We split it three ways. Don’t know who ate the cherry.  Not me.  But before we devoured it, I photographed it.  Here is a link to the Recipezaar Copycat Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte recipe in case you want to have a taste of Pittsburgh Pastry/Dessert.  I hear there’s one where chocolate is involved.

Checking the Copycat Recipe is still valid, YES!!!

The Molasses Swamp is now a Chocolate Swamp post was a slow low day on the blog today.  Bet this Cherry on Top will top it!!

 

A Pie Map, Not a Pie Chart

This is an honest to goodness pie map !

My two friends flew in to visit me in Pittsburgh.  Earlier today we visited the Frick Mansion, Clayton. 

Discussing dinner options, Steve suggested Grant  Bar and Lounge in Millvale.

This map shows where all the pie eating people hail from and because Kristin ordered a coconut cream pie to go, she and Linda got a pushpin to stick on the Grant Bar and Lounge Pie Lovers map- their cities are Gainesville and Boston. (We got a tapioca to go, too) and there are some pickled beets in the take away container.

Kristin and Linda are nurse midwives I met in Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1975 and Linda on right delivered my son Mark, 40 years ago this month!