Apple Streusel Pie with Rye Pastry

I feel like December is cookie season. But since we’re firmly planted in November for the next week, I’m declaring we’re still in pie season. The local Okanogan apples are plentiful in the markets, and you never have to twist my arm very much to make (or eat) pie. So, just in time for American Thanksgiving, or just in time for Canadian Anydays-giving, here’s a little Apple Streusel Pie for you.

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I was originally going to call this post Apple Rye Streusel Pie, because I find rhymes like this highly amusing. But then I thought, perhaps you might think there was rye (i.e. alcohol) in the pie, not rye (like the flour). So I caved, and went with the boring title instead 🙂

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We actually made this rye pie for our Canadian Thanksgiving last month, but time has gotten the better of me and I didn’t get around to posting it; however, posts like these are better late than never, and this was such a good pie, that I’m sure you won’t care when it was intended for. At least I’m hitting someone’s thanksgiving this week!

I wanted to make a pie but didn’t want to go through the fuss of making a double-crust fancy-pants pie. This apple streusel pie was the result.

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Rye Pie Pro’s:

  • This apple streusel pie is very easy to make.
  • The pastry base uses a good amount of rye flour, instead of the traditional all-purpose white flour. I think this adds a subtle nutty flavour to the pie, which nicely complements the apples.
  • The streusel topping bakes up nice and crunchy, and anyway, who doesn’t love streusel topping!
  • For a typical pie, there is very little sugar in it. I like to let the sweetness of the fruit come through. Can we call this a healthy pie? Probably not. But it definitely tastes like perfectly ripe apples, and that’s a good thing in my books.

Rye Pie Con’s?

  • Umm… it takes more than 60 minutes to bake?
  • Umm… you need to wait for it to cool before slicing into it?

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If you find yourself in need of a good dessert for tomorrow, or a good dessert in general, give this one a try. I think it can hold its own against the classic Pumpkin Pie.

Served warm, with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream, it’s pretty darned great. Served cold, straight from the fridge at midnight, I won’t tell if you don’t 😉

Apple Streusel Pie
 
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Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This pie was inspired in part by this Apple Crumble Pie
Ingredients
For the rye pastry dough:
  • 100 g (~3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • 50 g (~1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) rye flour
  • 112 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ tbsp apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 to 4 tbsp cold water
For the Streusel toping:
  • 90 g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g (1/4 cup packed) brown sugar
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) chopped walnut pieces
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the pie filling:
  • 3 to 4 large apples, cored and sliced, about 5 mm thick (aim for 7 to 8 cups)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Instructions
Make the pastry dough:
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flours, butter and apple-cider vinegar (or use a pastry cutter or two knives).
  2. Slowly add in the water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together and forms little balls. When you've added enough liquid, the dough should stick together when pressed between your fingers.
  3. Shape the dough into a flat disc and refrigerate until ready to use (preferably let it sit at least 30 minutes).
Make the streusel topping:
  1. With a spoon, mix together the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, chopped walnuts and melted butter. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the pie:
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the pie filling, until the apple slices are completely covered. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes, while you're preparing your pie shell.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and place a tray in the oven, which will be used to catch any pie overflow.
  3. Roll out the pastry dough into a circle that is about 5 cm / 2 inches larger than your pie plate.
  4. Transfer the dough into the pie plate and gently press it down into the pan and up along the sides.
  5. Trim up the edges to allow a 1-cm overhang. Then pinch the dough along the rim of the pie plate, to form a lip.
  6. Spoon the apple mixture into the prepared pie shell. Do not spoon in juice that has seeped out. The pie will probably look very full. Try to mount up the apples as best you can, as they will shrink down as it bakes.
  7. Sprinkle the streusel layer onto the pie and press it down gently.
  8. Place the pie into the centre of the oven, over top of the baking tray.
  9. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and bake for another 45 to 60 minutes, or until the apples are soft to pierce. If the top is getting too brown before the apples are finished cooking, place a bit of foil over the pie.
  10. Let the pie cool at least 2 or 3 hours before serving, to allow it to set.

Enjoy the Apple Streusel Pie!

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Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats

I know I’m late to this party, but until a month ago, I had never tried overnight oats. Oh, I heard people raving about them – how quick they are to prep the night before, how easy it is to switch up the flavours. But I was firmly planted in my green-smoothie-breakfast. That was, until the motor died on our Blendtec, and we were without its pulverizing force while waiting for a replacement to come in the mail. FYI, when this company says it offers an unlimited 7-year warranty, they really mean it!

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I need something in my tummy in the mornings, and we had a bag of Rogers Steel-cut Porridge Oats in our pantry that have been staring me down for quite some time. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and try this overnight-oat thing – and you know what? I’m officially on board!

This recipe is nourishing, full of fibre, and loaded with heart-healthy and antioxidant-promoting ingredients. It’s really a powerhouse of a breakfast and can easily be modified, depending on what’s in your cupboards. I’ve been eating this often during the week and it totally hits the spot. It should go without saying, but if you’re gluten-free, make sure you choose a certified gluten-free oat blend. If you’re vegan, use a non-dairy milk. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit 🙂

In case you haven’t heard me lamenting over the very wet, very grey autumn we’ve had on the west coast, I’ll say it again: this autumn feels gloomier than most. It’s a good thing that one day of blue sky (which we had the on Monday this week), can generally elevate my spirit for a few days 🙂

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Another way I get through these dreary months is by filling our fridge with tonnes of citrus fruit. How can a person feel glum, after biting into a ripe orange, or tasting the juicy crunch of a little pomegranate aril! I think that’s why this version of Pomegranate and Coconut overnight oats is hitting the spot for me at the moment. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll throw in some chopped walnuts, for a bit of extra crunch, too. And, with a good cup of coffee, it’s perfect.

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So if your breakfast is needing a change-up, or you’ve never tried this type of oatmeal before, give this Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats recipe a try. Hopefully it boosts your morning, like it does mine 🙂

Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats
 
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
No cooking required, and five minutes of preparation the night before, will make sure you have a very tasty and filling breakfast in the morning.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup large-flake oats (I used the Roger's Steel Cut Oat Porridge blend)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened large-flake coconut
  • 1 tbsp walnut pieces, broken up into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
Instructions
  1. In a 250 mL glass mason jar (with a lid), combine the oats, chia seeds, ground cinnamon, pomegranate arils, large-flake coconut and walnuts (if using). Put the lid on, and shake the jar to combine the ingredients.
  2. Pour in ½ cup of milk of your choice, and 1 tsp of maple syrup. Stir the contents to combine completely.
  3. Place the lid onto the jar and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. In the morning, enjoy cold or at room temperature.
Notes
This recipe is enough for 1 person. Modify the quantities to feed more hungry tummies.
If you like your oatmeal dense, use 1 to 2 tbsp less milk., If you like your oats with a lot of extra liquid, either add more the night before, or top with additional milk when serving.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad

I had never eaten a fresh fig until a few years ago, when a friend asked if we wanted any from her neighbour’s tree. “Yes!”, was the obvious answer! Fresh figs are a wonderfully tasty fruit, especially when their skin starts to give way and a bit of their nectar seeps out. And when a fig is perfectly ripe (or over-ripe!), it has a sweetness that pairs perfectly with a little spice. Case in point is this Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad.

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The idea for this salad came about after a trip into Whole Foods, where they had strategically placed the best looking figs right at the entrance to the store. They were staring me down, and I was sucked in immediately. Good thing they are in season right now, because they were actually a reasonable price, so I couldn’t refuse!

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There are only a handful of ingredients in this salad – a few tangled carrots are tossed with a spicy vinaigrette and the wheat berries give a nice nutty chew and a bit more substance to the salad. I really think the spicy vinaigrette brings out the best of the sweet fresh figs!

Like most of our salads, the recipe here is a general guide. If you don’t like spicy foods, leave out the chilies. If you have other veggies in you fridge, feel free to use them up. We like adding grains like farro or wheat berries to our salads, as they hold up well in the fridge over a few days, and keep us feeling full well into the afternoon.

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So if you’ve never eaten a fresh fig before, make friends with a fig-laden neighbour, or grab a pint of them at the store while they are still in season, and make this salad! 🙂

Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Inspired in part, by the Marrakesh Carrots in Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl and Spoon cookbook.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dry wheat berries (or farro or other grain)
  • 3 - 4 medium to large carrots, peeled and grated or spiralized
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 4 fresh figs, sliced
  • 2 red Thai chilies, chopped (remove the seeds, if you want a milder heat)
  • 1 good handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 good handful fresh basil, shredded
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Rinse the wheat berries under running water. Place in a medium sauce pan and pour enough water in to cover them by at least 5 cm. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Partially cover the pan and let simmer until tender to the bite, about 25 minutes. Drain and leave to cool before adding to the salad.
  2. While the wheat berries are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Place the carrots, shallot, green onions, dates, fresh figs and chilies into a large bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Add the lime juice and zest, the olive oil and fresh cilantro and basil. Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric and ground nutmeg. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
  4. Add the cooked wheat berries and toss to combine.
  5. Serve the salad with added sliced fresh figs on top, if desired.
Notes
This salad tastes very good after sitting for a bit. It will hold up well in the fridge for at least 2 days.

Enjoy!

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Double-Crust Peach-Blackberry Pie

I love pie. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I can’t help it. I’m a pie person, through and through. The Okanogan peaches are a steal right now, and blackberries seem to be hitting the markets too. So, when nature hands over two wonderful fruits at the same time, you eat as many as your tummy will allow, and then you make this Peach-Blackberry Pie!

I try to make a pie once every summer. Let me clarify that: I try to make a fancy-pants, double-crust pie once every summer. It’s not like it takes a lot of effort, but limiting ourselves to a hefty pie like this, only a few times per year, ensures it still feels like a special treat.

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Like most stone-fruit pies, there is a tendency for them to be quite juicy, and this one is no exception. To minimize this, toss the fruit with a generous sprinkle of flour, and then spoon only the fruit onto the bottom crust.

This is important! Try to leave as much of the juice behind as possible.

Trust me, your pie will not be dry! And a great way to use up the juice is to use it in your next smoothie!

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For this once-a-year, fancy-pants pie, I like to make a lattice top (feel free to do whatever pattern you’d like though). The pie dough recipe below makes enough for a double crust pie. Once put together, into the oven it goes, for about 45 minutes, until the top is nice and golden, and the insides are bubbling away.

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The trickiest part of this whole pie-making event is the waiting. You need to let the pie cool completely before cutting into it! To make things easier, I bake the pie in the evening, and then go to bed, to minimize the temptation 🙂

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The cherry pie I made last summer, felt like the perfect height-of-summer pie. This peach-blackberry pie feels like the perfect end-of-summer pie. The stone fruits are so sweet, and the blackberries add the perfect amount of tartness. Really, it’s a match made in pie heaven.

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So don’t fear making the pie. Honestly. Nobody will judge if the pie is lopsided or springs a leak (mine often do). They will be busy enjoying a wonderfully delicious, late-summer peach-blackberry pie!

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Peach-Blackberry Pie
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
For the Pie Dough
  • 300 g (2½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 225 g (2 sticks) very cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 3 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
  • 120 mL (1/2 cup) ice-cold water
For the Filling
  • 900 - 950 g (~4 large) peaches, cut into 2-cm chunks
  • 280 g (~2 very full cups) blackberries
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 25 g (2 tbsp, packed) brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 25 g (3 tbsp) flour or cornstarch
Instructions
For the pie dough
  1. Pulse the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to stick together. Knead gently on the counter top to bring the dough into a ball. Divide in half, tightly wrap or seal in a container, and refrigerate for at least 30 mins or until you need it. It will keep in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for a few months.
For the filling:
  1. While the pie dough is cooling, slice the peaches into thick chunks and place in a bowl, along with the blackberries and lemon juice.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch. Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the fruit and very gently toss, to thoroughly coat. Place in the fridge until you have the bottom crust rolled out.
To assemble the pie:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 F and place a tray at the bottom to catch any juices that might spill over when the pie is baking.
  2. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out one half of the pie dough until it is about 3 to 4 cm larger than the pie plate you are using. Gently lay the pie dough into the pie pan and press it into the edges of the pie plate.
  3. Spoon only the fruit into the pie pan. Make sure to leave as much of the juice behind as possible. The fruit will continue to soften and release even more juice as the pie bakes.
  4. Place this pie back in the fridge for about 10 minutes, while you prepare the top pie crust layer.
  5. For the lattice top, roll out the second piece of pie dough to the same size as the bottom crust. Cut the dough into strips. Start layering the strips onto the pie. Weave them through each other to form the lattice top.
  6. Trim the edges of excess dough (top and bottom crust), leaving about 2 cm of dough overhanging the pie plate. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with milk or water, then press the edges of top crust onto this. Roll the bottom crust over the top crust and pinch into a fluted design.
  7. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with a bit of turbinado sugar, if desired.
  8. Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top of the pie turns a golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a baking rack.
Notes
For best results, place the cooled pie into the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, before serving, as it will most-likely be quite juicy.

Enjoy!

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Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake

We were off on vacation last week, during which we celebrated Jonty’s birthday. It felt like a leisurely birthday week, filled with some climbing, some van work, a few nibbles around town and a craft beverage or two – all the makings of a good stay-cation.

His request for a birthday cake was remarkably similar to last year – chocolate, fruit and cream. The wheels have been turning for almost 2 weeks, trying to decide on the perfect cake, scouring my cookbooks and Pinterest for inspiration. I feel like birthdays are the one occasion per year that deserves a special cake, so the pressure is on (in my head) to make sure it’s a cake worthy of a celebration!

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My thought process behind making a birthday cake is often a rambling jumble of ideas that percolate in my mind for well-over a week. Silly, perhaps, but that’s the way I roll 🙂 The thought process this year:

  • Making a chocolate cake is always a given for Jonty’s birthday, but only as a single-layer cake this year. I did a double layer cake last year and, really, it’s better for a crowd.
  • Strawberries are a given, as I used raspberries last year. Also, the first crop of BC strawberries are out, and they just taste so darned good!
  • Jonty wants cream – should I do ice cream, whipped cream, something else?
  • I want the top to look fancy. Think, Moira, think!

Perhaps it was the result of the pint of ice cream we had a few weeks ago, but the idea of a Cookies and Cream cake struck a soft spot in my tummy and I rolled with it.

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So, as a result of too much over-thinking, Jonty’s birthday cake idea was born! A classic chocolate cake, smothered in a not-too-sweet mascarpone icing, and topped with local BC strawberries and crumbled cacao-nib cookies.

It sounds like a mouthful, because it is a mouthful! A very delicious mouthful 🙂

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If you want to make everything from scratch, it is a 2-day process, but most of that time is passive chilling / cooling time. The cookies are simple slice-and-bake cookies, but the dough does require time to chill in the freezer (at a minimum, 30 minutes). If you want, you can also bake the cake the day before and keep it, well-covered, in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble. To keep things simple, I made the cookies and cake the night before and as a result, making the cake felt quite easy!

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This Cookies and Cream cake is rich and chocolately, with sweet strawberries and the tangy mascarpone icing. If you wanted to do a super-simple version of this, the chocolate cake + sliced strawberries + a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream would be equally fantastic!

Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The cake was adapted from this Joy the Baker recipe.
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 135 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 175 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) warm water
  • 6 g (1 tbsp) instant espresso powder
  • 65 g (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp) melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the decoration:
  • 175 g mascarpone cheese
  • 40 g (2 tbsp) icing sugar
  • 10 g (2 tbsp) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 - 4 tbsp milk
  • 150 g (1 cup) quartered strawberries
  • 8 - 10 chocolate cacao cookies, crumbled (recipe below, or chocolate cookies of your choice)
Instructions
  1. If you are making the cookies from scratch, make the cookie dough at least a day before you want to make the cake, as these slice-and-bake cookies require the dough to be frozen before baking. If you are using other cookies, you can just bake the cake.
For the cake:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a 8-inch square pan (or 9-inch circular pan) with parchment paper. Mist lightly with a neutral cooking oil and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, warm the coconut oil and water. Add the espresso powder and vanilla and mix together.
  4. Add the water mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cook in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on the rack.
  7. If you are decorating the cake on the same day, wait until the cake has cooled completely before decorating. If not, the cake can be wrapped well and stored in the fridge for a day.
For the decoration:
  1. Make the icing by beating together the mascarpone cheese, icing sugar and cocoa powder.
  2. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is achieved. I added enough to make the icing spreadable, but fairly thick.
  3. Once ready to decorate the cake, spread the mascarpone icing on the cake. Break the cookies into pieces and scatter across the icing. Add the sliced fresh strawberries.
Notes
We do not like our icing very sweet. Feel free to increase the amount of icing sugar, if you prefer a sweeter icing. Keep in mind, however, that your fruit should already be quite sweet.

Cacao Nib Cookies
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The cookie recipe was modified from this Rachel Cooks recipe.
Ingredients
  • 120 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 45 g (1.5 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 65 g (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp) sugar
  • ½ tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour and salt.
  2. Cream together the butter and cream cheese for a few minutes, until light.
  3. Add the sugar and vanilla until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Shape the dough into a log shape and wrap in parchment paper. Freeze at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 weeks.
  5. When you are ready to bake the cookies, pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  6. Remove the cookie dough from its wrapping and slice into 5 mm thick discs. Press the cacao nibs onto each side of the cookies before baking.
  7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, on a parchment-lined tray, until golden at the edges.
  8. Let cool completely before using on the cake.
Notes
The cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks before baking.

Happy Birthday, Jonty!

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