Welcome to my Cooking with Friends series! This spring, as I work on cookbook projects that keep me very busy, I’ve invited some of my favorite blogger friends to share recipes with you. I hope you’ll have just as much fun cooking and baking with them as I do.
Today, I’m welcoming Tessa from Style Sweet CA. Tessa is a baker extraordinaire and I’m a long-time fan of her incredible cake decorating talents. Browsing her site simply makes me happy! I’ve made countless of her recipes and her beautiful book, Style Sweet CA, is one of my favorite references when it comes to cake-making. Today, though, Tessa takes us to pie territory and shows us how to create a gorgeous braided top to decorate a perfectly summery peach pie. Enjoy!
One of the things I was most excited about upon moving to Vancouver was being able to walk to the farmer’s market from our city apartment. A few years ago, my husband and I decided trade in our house with a yard for a one-bedroom shoebox in a high-rise. Downsizing didn’t really bother me, and the perk of being able to stroll down the city streets to find a bustling farmer’s market between the glass buildings was an added bonus.
I’d always enjoyed the year-round markets from my hometown of Sacramento, CA, but summer produce was (and still is) my favourite. When the market finally opened for the season of our first summer living in Vancouver, I expected to find flats of juicy, ruby red berries and floods of stone fruit. To my disappointment, there were mostly greens, preserves, and local baked goods. As I walked home sans fruit, it dawned on me… Of course the offerings would be different! How could I expect sunny California and mild Vancouver to carry the same local products?
I began to worry. Would the Vancouver markets ever carry luscious peaches? Do they even grow near here? Am I going to have to settle on imported, tasteless fruit from the supermarket instead?
Relief. Come midsummer, the markets were fully stocked with juicy peaches, blushing apricots, BC blueberries, plums, and more. Thank goodness. Now I can make pie.
It feels almost criminal to “waste” perfectly ripe peaches in a pie. But even baked, the fruit should be “pie worthy.” The fruit should still be sweet and full of flavour. However, if the flesh is soft, juicy, and hardly holding its shape, eat it now! I like to add a pinch of cinnamon for a touch of warmth and sometimes swap out a portion of the peaches for apricots, but straight-up peaches is probably amazing – especially a la mode.
Get the recipe for my Cinnamon Peach Pie with Braid Crust, check out my tutorial to create pretty pie decorative designs, or enjoy even more summery pie inspiration from the blog:
Tessa Huff is a trained baker, recipe developer, food photographer, and creator of the cake and pastry blog, Style Sweet CA. Her first book, Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes, was released with Abrams Books last spring. She is a regular contributor for The Kitchn, Food Network CA, Brit + Co. and The Cake Blog. Huff was named one of Better Homes and Gardens’ 2014 Best Baking Bloggers and her work has appeared online and in print for West Elm, Cake Central Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and more. Originally from Northern California where she owned and operated her custom cake boutique, she now lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and young son.
Make sure to follow Tessa through her blog and on social media:
All photos above this point: © Tessa Huff.