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Filtering by Tag: pie

A Case for Tarte Tatin

Suzanne Pollak

A tarte tatin is best of American pie but adds a French twist, perhaps most fitting in these days between Independence and Bastille Day. Since South Carolina peaches are at the peak of perfection, why not try using seasonal fresh fruit instead of the traditional apple?

Adding to the inherent deliciousness of caramelized fruit edges, making a tarte tatin is even easier than pie. For starters, the dough only involves two steps: making the dough and rolling the dough. No fitting dough into a pie pan, stretching it, wondering, Will go up the sides of the pie pan all the way around? Will I have enough dough to make strips for a lattice top? Then there is the chore of decorative edges on the crust using fork tines or thumb indentations. Pies are wonderful, tasty and works of art, yes, but a tarte tatin is all that and more! 

The extra sizzle comes from sautéing the tart when it emerges from its thirty minute bake so that the fruit edges crisp up and turn dark golden. To guild the lily even more, whip up a cup of heavy cream for a side spoonful. Vanilla ice cream is delicious, but if you are sticking with the French theme, then homemade whipped cream is heavenly. Bonus: your arms get a tiny bit of a work out. 

Pies and tarts say and do so much. It's the baker whispering to the eater (even when the eater is the baker herself), I love you, and all is right in the world...at least for this moment. Fruit tarts and pies satisfy, soothe, and signal Summertime. Paired with a cafe au lait, left over slices make a healthy and indulgent breakfast. What else so small can deliver so much satisfaction? 

Find the full recipe for Peach Tarte Tatin HERE...

F.O.M.O.

Suzanne Pollak

The definition of FOMO: Fear of Missing Out.

Are you suffering from FOMO? The Charleston Academy is particularly designed to cure this contemporary malady. Suffer no more! Learn how to build a beautiful and rewarding life so that YOU will start living the life that OTHERS fear they are missing. This is not rocket science, people. With a little guidance and hand holding from the Dean, paths will open that you may not have envisoned for yourself. Relationships, experiences, living spaces, free time, balance, behavior, social ease -- there is nothing we can't improve. The Acadmey is a cure all for this ailment of FOMO. Our solutions:

Step One: Subscribe to periodic newsletters and weekly blogs. Frequent tiny tips are easy to digest, like spoonfuls of great tasting medicine.

Step Two: Plan a social engagement that is easy as PIE. Here's one that will mark you as a person with her/his very own style. We will keep it a secret that you borrowed the Academy's Cliff Notes to stake your territory as the person who knows exactly what to do and is confident enough to pull off something original. 

  • Bake a Summer Pie. Make your own crust, throw in some sugared and spiced Summer peaches, buy some vanilla ice cream, whip some fresh cream. Email the Academy if the way to whipped cream is a mystery! You are giving your guests a choice on how to gild their lily, their piece of pie, in addition to showing off your culinary skills. 

  • Invite a group. Not just your posse. Make sure you invite a person you want to get to know better.  Our tip: schedule last minute (day of or day before) so you only gather people who really want to come. Two important truths you must pay attention to (1) whoever comes is meant to be there and (2) do not freak out that your current crush didn't show up. Word will get around on how cool, original and fun your pie party was. Next jump up you will find yourself turning people away. They will all have their own cases of FOMO. 

  • Set a table/sideboard/porch table/kitchen with the pies, forks, cool dessert size plates, bowl of hand whipped cream, another of ice cream, a pitcher full of sunflowers or tall greens cut from outside, wine glasses...and don't forget napkins. 

  • Play these tunes to set the mood for dessert, from musical wizard Alex Collier* and finally...

  • Serve this wine, which our favorite sommelier Femi Oyediran** describes as "a late harvest wine from South Africa that easily contends as being one of the greatest sweeties out there. Made from the Muscat grape, it is a must-have on the dinner table at the end of a meal. A charming combination of orange peel, honey, and exotic spice, Vin de Constance is the perfect match for peach pie you didn't know you were looking for!"

***These dudes are the definition of cool, and you will be too when you follow our advice. You will be well on your way to making others a little envious of your life, parties and style. You are erradicating FOMO from your life, but possibly spreading it to others. Oh Well, we can only help those who follow the Academy! 

The Blues

Suzanne Pollak

Recently, the supremely original Madame Magar stopped by for an Academy lunch, bringing along her sumptuous Indigo-dyed silks, linens and baskets. The artist AKA Leigh Magar remains widely known for her handmade hats sold at Barney's and beyond. But her current "life's work" harvesting and hand-dying with Indigo speaks to the legacy of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, who championed the crop on 18th-century Carolina soil.

A quilt, featuring Eliza Pinckney's profile, hand-dyed and stitched by Mme. Magar.

A quilt, featuring Eliza Pinckney's profile, hand-dyed and stitched by Mme. Magar.

Two years ago, Magar moved from her Charleston home to a Clark & Menefee-designed house on 400 acres in rural John's Island. She planted her own heirloom seeds there and eventually discovered Indigo plants growing wild in the backyard! Instead of making Indigo powder like Eliza Pickney did, Madame adheres to the ancient methods of the Greeks and Romans, soaking Indigo leaves to prepare the dye, and then dipping the softest silks into her dye to fashion napkins, tea towels, aprons, handkerchiefs and scarves. 

The Madame at work...

The Madame at work...

On stacks of indigo-dyed napkins.

On stacks of indigo-dyed napkins.

So, in honor of the Madame of Indigo, we threw an Indigo-themed luncheon. Naturally, front and center stood the Academy Salad, this time gloriously embellished with crispy slices of blue potatoes plus roasted Mepkin Abbey shitake mushrooms. To really guild the lily, the croutons were smeared with whole milk ricotta and drizzled with olive oil. Local heirloom tomatoes added red and yellows to our blue salad. Dessert was more blues in the form of blueberry pie! Who knew the blues could be so delightful?

Pie is for Lovers

Suzanne Pollak

A weekly Summer Pie ritual serves as a solution to deliberating over which pie to make -- peach, cherry, blueberry, gooseberry, strawberry or rhubarb?

A weekly Summer Pie ritual serves as a solution to deliberating over which pie to make -- peach, cherry, blueberry, gooseberry, strawberry or rhubarb?

Commit to baking a pie each week. A kitchen habit established for a few Summer months accomplishes the following: happy family members, tasty and healthy (if you adjust sugar amounts) desserts on a regular basis, a handy surprise for last-minute vistors, a comforting practice for you to look forward to, and the inevitable title of Expert Pie Baker. After all, it doesn't take 10,000 hours of experience to become the best pie maker on the block.

To guide you, a few simple rules of the Academy Crust, and everything in between:

  • Frozen butter is your friend, as it keeps dough flaky. You can even grate it into dry ingredients to avoid a mess.
  • Kneading the dough is a good thing, making it supple and easier to handle.
  • Wax paper is a no-no! Instead, use Saran Wrap for storing or rolling out dough.
  • Prepared dough can rest for two days in the fridge or else rolled immediately, filled and shoved in the oven right away. The most discerning baker will neither know nor care.
  • Bake pie in glass pie dish on floor of oven for crust worth devouring.
  • Picking fruits? Juicy, ripe, local are the key concepts.
  • Pies do not like to be stored in the refrigerator. Lay a piece of wax paper on top of pie and leave at room temperature. It will stay good for for up to 3 days, although sure to be devoured in less. 

So many choices are exactly why pie is never boring and much more interesting than cake. Summer pie, Winter pie, tomato pie, even four-and-twenty blackbirds pie! Crostatas vs. crumbles vs. double crusts? What’s complicated here? All are great. Try each and let your children vote. Include your children early and often on important family decisions. Lattice vs. open vs. closed tops? Same as above. Healthy, hearty dinner and dessert conversations will ensue. No one will be on the iPhones when pie is on the table. A difficult discussion coming up? Serve pie to help the medicine go down more easily. 

P.S. There's nothing like sharing a piece of pie with your sweetheart. Two forks plus one slice = love at first bite. Want to seduce a certain someone? Bake them a pie. Serve with a seductive wink. Searching for a heavenly Summertime treat? Start the day with a piece of leftover fruit pie and hot coffee. Rinse pie plate & repeat.