Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You'll think you've really done something big when you bake these mini peach pies

One of the funnest things we ever do with our fresh peaches is to make Peach Mini Baked Pies. I love these tiny baked gems with their flaky pastry exterior and the delicious, juicy peach bites inside. A powdered-sugar glaze drizzled on top makes them truly seem as though they are tiny replicas of the larger version you’d get at a bakery. Best of all, they’re baked in the oven instead of fried in a pan. You can have them for dessert and jettison a lot of the guilt.

For this year's version I merged recipes from two different outlets—www.pickyourown.com and my Baylor alumni cookbook, Flavor Favorites!—as sources for this dish, almost an annual ritual when we bring in peaches from our garden (and we’re STILL bringing them in, with three peach trees left to ripen.)

The dough for the crust is formed from two cups of low-fat baking mix (I used Bisquick) with sugar, shortening, and milk blended in; then the dough is rolled out onto a floured pastry board and cut into 3-inch circles. (I used a cutter-crimper gadget that I once purchased at a Pampered Chef demonstration party.) The peach slices are laid onto half the circle; then the edges of the dough are folded over and sealed so that the pie semi-circles are formed. (My Pampered Chef crimper presses down to crimp the edges of the semi-circle together and seal them, or you can use your fingers to pinch them together and seal. Some people use the tines of a fork to further seal the edges and to make decorative indentations in the dough.)

Only one thing I’d do differently—lay more thinly sliced peaches onto the circle of dough before I sealed it up and crimped the edges. The recipe says to lay two fresh peach slices onto it; two seemed as though they would fill it up nicely, but when I baked it, the stuffing shrank and the exterior expanded. You had to search to find the peaches when you bit into the baked pie. I’d suggest doubling that amount and laying the equivalent of at least four thin slices down for the stuffing. In other words, get as many of the peach morsels as you possibly can in, even if you have to really STRETCH the edges to seal or even dice the peaches. Otherwise you may bite into nothingness and miss the whole point of the pies—to showcase those to-die-for peaches, the great treasures of summer.

Peach Mini Baked Pies

3-4 large fresh peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups fat-free baking mix (tested with low-fat Bisquick)
2 tablespoons sugar (or sugar substitute)
3 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup skim milk
sugar (or sugar substitute)
enough powdered sugar to fill a 1-cup measure
skim milk or fat-free evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together 2 cups baking mix and 2 tablespoons sugar. With pastry cutter cut in 3 tablespoons shortening. Add 2/3 cup milk. Mix dough with fork. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Roll dough until it is about a 1/2-inch thickness. Brush dough with melted butter. Using round 3-inch cutter, cut dough into circles. Lay the equivalent of about 4 thin peach slices on top of each circle. Sprinkle peach slices with cinnamon and sugar (or sugar substitute). Fold tops of circles over to form semi-circles. Press or crimp edges together. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Makes about 16 mini pies. In small bowl mix sifted powdered sugar with enough milk to make a glaze that will drizzle from a spoon. Drizzle onto cooled mini pies. Allow glaze to become firm before you serve mini pies.

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