Hallo from Germany! Remember me? Yeah I still have a blog, even if it has been sadly inactive for the past few months. The last recipe I posted was chock full of fresh July produce and summer mindset. Now I’m in very-cold-almost-winter Germany and the produce is starting to look less lush. It’s been a long time.
How to even sum up the past few months? I can’t. It’s impossible. I won’t even try. There have been too many travels and too many good meals to possibly recap, though I can try to provide a highlights list (you know I love lists). The Great Food Highlights of July-November 2014….
– tapas on tapas on tapas in Barcelona
– french fries soaked in mayo and ketchup at Wannsee – and the realization that my life for the next few months would be condiment-heavy
– grilled cheese in Thessaloniki courtesy of our greek-grandmother-hostel-owner
-enjoying the rare drip coffee halfway up Mt.Olympus (and grilled octopus post-summit)
– FRAPPES (thanks Greece)
– lamb testicles at a last-night-in-Athens feast
– the first doner (and all the doners to follow)
– finding New York style bagels in Berlin
– discovering Lidl
– sandy picnics in San Sebastian
– American-style Chinese food in Madrid (the taste of home)
– Budapest’s Turo Rudi (sweet cheese in chocolate)
(700th time eating gelato in spain)
(real bagels at shakespeare & sons)
And well, that brings us pretty much to the present day where I am eating toast in bed and trying to remember how to blog. Blogging is part of normal life and these past few months have been anything but. Though with only 32 days left on my Berlin count, I can almost see it peeking around the corner.
So – Berlin. Berlin is perhaps one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been and therefore one of the hardest to describe. Berlin is New York but a little cleaner and secretly a little more complicated. It’s a city of abandoned spaces, dirt cheap food and a strangely always-ethereal light. It’s a city that spits history in your face – one that placed a giant glass dome on a grandiose old Reichstag. Somehow the new and old work together here in a way I haven’t seen in any other European city.
I did stumble across this cute little video lately which shows a bit of Berlin’s character (but mostly currywurst….mmmm currywurst).
One thing I have been doing here is trying to understand (as much as one can understand in such a short amount of time) urban agriculture in Berlin. Green projects here have a different….feel. One that’s hard to quantify or put into words. In some shameless self promoting I’ll let you read my thoughts on the matter here on NYU Berlin’s Earth Impact Club blog.
My cooking and baking have been slacking (thanks Europe for not having any measuring cups), but I’ve discovered not all hope is lost. Even mug-measured ingredients and grocery store breakdowns (baking powder or baking soda? no one knows) can churn out some good stuff. It’s been a lesson in kitchen survival – a test of character. How do I fare without the comfort of my gadgets? It’s been so long since I’ve had to beat eggs without a Kitchenaid. Recently I worked up some kitchen courage and faced the elements to provide pie for a good friend’s birthday.
The going was tough (and in the end the pie crust was a little tough too), but all in all this might have actually been one of the best pies I’ve ever made. It’s a Salty Honey Pie. It tastes like comfort and fall and all things nice with its smooth, mellow custard and salt studded top. It’s best with huge scoops of vanilla ice cream and while it may be served chilled, it tastes like warmth. It is absolutely ideal for the sharp, grey days particularly characteristic of Berlin’s November.
Despite how good this pie was I did not take even one picture of it. Being prepared for blog posts and taking pictures and planning ahead of time are part of that “normal life” I mentioned I haven’t been seeing much of. Consequentially I had to improvise a little…
(delicious pie in the new kitchen)
(just had to bring pie to San Sebastian)
(partaking in beach picnic of course)
(what’s better than pie with falafel?)
(pie and Josh having fun on his visit to Berlin)
If that doesn’t convince you to make this pie I don’t know what will.
Salty Honey Pie
Buttery Pie Crust
adapted from allrecipes.com
1 1/4 C AP flour + more for dusting
1/2 C butter, chilled
1 t salt
1/4 C chilled water
1. Combine flour and salt in a small mixing bowl.
2. Cube butter and cut it into flour with a fork until the dough is pea-sized crumbles.
3. Slowly add water by the tablespoon while bringing the dough together with hands. Add water until the dough has just come together. Roll dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
4. When the dough has chilled roll it out on a floured surface, dusting with additional flour if sticky. Dough should be sufficient for one nine-inch pie pan.
Salty Honey Pie Filling
adapted from Joy The Baker
1/2 C unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C sugar
2 T AP flour
3/4 t salt
3 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 C honey
3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 C heavy cream
2 t apple cider vinegar
Sea salt flakes
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit (190 Celsius for you Europeans out there).
2. Whisk together melted butter, salt, flour, sugar, and vanilla extract. The flour may look a little clumpy, but don’t worry you won’t see it in the final product.
3. Slowly whisk in honey until mixture is smooth. Whisk in eggs + additional egg yolk one at a time.
4. Whisk in heavy cream and vinegar. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
5. Bake for 50-60 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it is starting to look puffy and golden and the middle has begun to set. You can poke it repeatedly to make sure it isn’t too jiggly if you aren’t sure.
6. Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours and sprinkle with sea salt flakes right before serving (ice cream suggested but not required).