Edible Monterey Bay

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Make it now and enjoy all year

Many times when I am having friends over for dinner, at the last minute I think, “Oh, shoot! What will I do for dessert?” I almost never make dessert at home for my own family; it just isn’t part of our normal routine. But I feel that it really makes the occasion special when I have a guest. Having something a little sweet to finish with is a nice way to extend the meal and the great conversation.

I remember sitting around my grandmother’s table as a little girl just silently observing the long debates at dessert. I could only piece together the meaning of the conversation, as these dessert talks were always in German and always for the adults. We were the third generation and did not speak our grandmother’s mother tongue, but I remember the taste of the cake or pie mixed with my kiddie coffee was a most delicious combination. This may be one of the nostalgic pulls that prompts me to offer dessert whenever a friend visits.

In such cases, it only takes a few moments to put together a delicious dessert if you have a fruit pie filling on hand. For such a filling, it is best to use firm fruit so the chunks have good texture. Some of my favorite stone fruits for pies are cherries, apricots, peaches and plums.

For the crust, you may use whichever type you love the most for this filling. I always like to have some homemade crust in the freezer or fridge for moments like this (also to make small batch fruit pockets and other treats on occasion). A pie crust keeps for six months in the freezer or three weeks in the fridge.

Here is the recipe for a filling that you can use for pies, tarts and other fruit desserts at a moment’s notice.


Stone Fruit Pie Filling

RECIPE: Jordan Champagne
PHOTOGRAPHY: Margaux Gibbons

Put the water, lemon juice, sugar, agar agar and spice into a nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. I like to add a hint of spice such as cinnamon, cardamom or garam masala …

About the author

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Jordan Champagne is the co-owner and founder of Happy Girl Kitchen Co.
She has a passion for preserving the local, organic harvest and loves sharing
her secrets at workshops she teaches in Pacific Grove and in Oakland.