Blueberry Slab Pie

Looking for a dessert for your 4th of July picnic? Slab pies are the answer!  They serve a lot of people, you can eat them by hand, no plate, just a napkin. It's a nice surprise not to have to think about your blueberry pie being a little runny....this one holds together nicely. And frankly, I think making slab pie crusts are easier than making a regular pie crust. Almost like a galette: just tuck those edges under. No fuss.
If you have paper plates on hand, you could serve them on a plate as well, with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. For the 4th, I chose blueberries for this slab pie, but I've made peach and apple as well. I just think a blueberry pie goes better with the July 4th celebration.


Blueberry Slab Pie

For the crust:
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 to 1 1/2 cups ice water

For the filling:
2 1/4 pounds fresh blueberries (8 cups)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
good dash of cinnamon, maybe even a scrape of fresh nutmeg


Make the crust:
In your food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar a couple times. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, add 1 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. You can add more water in tablespoon increments, but just until dough holds together...do not overmix. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a floured surface, roll out the first disk to a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Place in a 10-by-14-by-1-inch rimmed jelly-roll pan. 

Make the blueberry filling:

Toss together blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Pour evenly over the unbaked bottom crust.
On a floured surface, roll out second disk to an 11-by-15-inch rectangle. Moisten the edges of the bottom crust with water. Lay the second piece of pastry over the blueberry filling; press along moistened edges to seal. (The bottom is bigger than the top, so I fold the bottom crust over the top and crimp to seal so the blueberries don't run out while baking.) 
Make some slices in the top, cut out some small stars or you could even do a lattice top crust if you like.
Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
Place pie in the oven, reduce heat immediately to 375 and bake for about 50 minutes until crust is golden and blueberries are bubbling.
Cool at least an hour before slicing.


Marion Cunningham's Cornbread Muffins

These are lovely tender-textured muffins, which should come as no surprise considering they're from Marion Cunningham's Breakfast Book. I absolutely love this cookbook! Someone referred to it as "an encyclopedia for breakfasts"...perfect description. 
I keep finding recipes I haven't tried, although I've had the book for years. I've never been disappointed with one of her recipes and you obviously love them too as Marion's recipes are always the most viewed on my blog.
You won't be disappointed with this recipe either. Because it's cornbread, don't be surprised when they don't rise as high as you'd expect with a muffin, but when you break one open, they're light as air. No butter needed here, but honey is a must.

Marion Cunningham's Cornbread Muffins
From The Breakfast Book

1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk, warmed
1 cup cake flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven too 400. Grease a muffin pan.
Whisk the egg, melted butter and vegetable oil until well mixed. Stir in the milk. 
Combine the cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt in another bowl. Mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well blended. The batter will be light and medium thick.
Spoon into muffin cups so each cup is 3/4 full. Bake 15-20 minutes until the edges are brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Serve hot from the oven. Makes 1 dozen.


Old Fashioned Spice Cake

(Don't ask me where I found this cute Father's Day jpg, 'cause I don't remember. If it belongs to any of you, I borrowed it.....mea culpa!)

My dad only liked two kinds of cakes. The first was a plain vanilla layer cake, but with softened raisins beaten into a 7 minute frosting slathered all over it. From the time I was a child, he referred to this as a Minnehaha Cake. Your guess is as good as mine where that name came from. Reading Hiawatha?

His second favorite was a spice cake with a brown sugar frosting. If you remember from my post last Father's Day, he loved penuche and that's basically what this frosting is. So I made this spice cake in his honor for Father's Day.  Unfortunately, I don't have my mother's recipe for spice cake, but this one was in my files and it turned out perfectly. 
I so wish my dad was still here to share a piece of his favorite cake!

                                                                             (Photo taken in Georgian Bay)

Dad's Favorite Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Recipe found on Dramatic Pancake Blog

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

For the brown sugar frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1¾ – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch cake pans. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Add in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in two additions, beating well after each addition.
Pour batter into prepared cake pans and tap pans on counter to make sure batter is evenly distributed in pans. 
Bake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. The cake will start to pull away from the pan when it’s done. 
Cool on a wire rack.

For the brown sugar frosting:

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Return to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool to lukewarm temperature, then gradually stir in confectioners’ sugar until frosting has reached your desired consistency. For a thicker frosting, add more sugar; to thin it out, you can always add a bit of milk. Fill and frost the cooled cake. 
I threw on some cinnamon chips just for presentation.


Fresh Peach and Almond Bars

More stone fruit!  I'm crazy about stone fruits, aren't you? This particular stone fruit recipe is a multi-layered bar using lovely fresh peaches. So many ways to serve it too. You can drizzle a confectioners sugar icing on it (as I did in first photo), or warm it slightly and serve with a scoop of ice cream, or just cut into squares, wrap them and take along on a picnic.

Fresh Peach and Almond Bars
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

For the crust and topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats 
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
For the peach filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped (about one and a half cups)


Preheat oven to 350 and line 8x8 baking dish with aluminum foil with enough overhang on the sides for easy removal. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

In a processor, pulse the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon to mix. Then add the cold, cubed butter  and pulse until it reaches coarse, pea-sized crumbs. Reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture and add the sliced almonds to this. Set aside for the topping.

Press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes as you prepare the filling.

By hand, whisk the egg and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the flour and salt. Whisk until combined. Fold in the peaches. 
Remove crust from the oven after 15 minutes and pour the filling over hot crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat/almond mixture. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill for 2 hours before cutting into squares.

                                                               How about a little peach bar with your ice cream? LOL


Apricot Yogurt Muffins

Fresh apricots made a brief appearance in my market a couple weeks ago. I snagged some and made these muffins and an apricot upside down cake. So glad I did as apricots have since disappeared and, according to the produce manager, will not be making another appearance this year as they were not very good. Well, I thought they were delicious! Either his supplier didn't have more good quality apricots available or this was his way of excusing the incredibly short apricot season. So keep your eyes open and grab some when and if you see them.
These lovely tender muffins are loaded with apricots, have a crunchy crumble and the yogurt flavor stands out in the body of the muffin. Such a treat for breakfast!

Apricot Yogurt Muffins

From Sugar Apron

For the muffins:
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
 2 tsp vanilla sugar
 2 large eggs
 1/2 cup  yogurt
 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
 pinch salt
 1 cup flour
 2 tsp baking powder
 about 10 fresh apricots, peeled, pitted, and diced

For streusel topping:

 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
 1/4 cup granulated sugar
 1/4 stick salted butter-melted
 1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin (or 2 six cup tins), or line the tin with papers, and grease the papers.
For the crumb topping
Whisk together flour, sugar and cinnamon, add melted butter and stir with a fork until crumbly and set aside.
For the batter:
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt, Gently fold about 2/3 of apricots, and toss them until all are coated with thin layer of flour.
 Mix sugar and butter until the mixture becomes fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one and mix well. Add the yogurt, vanilla sugar and mix until combined.
Mix the yogurt and egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, using an ice cream scoop, filling about 2/3 of each cup. Cover the batter with the remaining apricots and then cover the apricots generously with streusel topping.
Place them in the oven and bake about 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes in the pan then remove muffins and cool on a wire rack.


Rhubarb Crumble

Sweet alert! Lots of crumbles and crisps add oatmeal or even breakfast cereal to give some body to their toppings. Not this one. It's tastes like pure brown sugar, even though there is some flour in the crumble. And while I was astounded to read the suggestion at the end of the recipe to serve with a scoop of ice cream, I tried it. It's true. The creaminess actually cuts the sweetness a bit. 

Rhubarb Crumble
Recipe courtesy of Catherine Newman

2 pounds rhubarb , cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter , cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
Vanilla ice cream , for serving (optional)


Preheat oven to 375°. To make filling, put rhubarb, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and vanilla into a 9" x 13" baking dish and toss well to combine; set aside.

To make crumble topping, put remaining 1 cup flour, light brown sugar, butter, and salt into a large bowl and toss well. Using your fingertips, rub butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Working with one small handful at a time, squeeze dough together to make a ball, then gently break it into chunks and scatter them on rhubarb filling in baking dish.

Bake until rhubarb is very tender and bubbly and crumble topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.


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