CV(D) has been talking forever about having our team over for brunch. She lives out in the country; where you can pull up a chair and a glass of wine, and watch the sunset beneath fields as far as you can see. The only reason we’re not there every single night is that it’s a hike from where we work. Brunch on a weekend would be an easier fit for our schedules. We finally made it happen on a recent weekend morning.
Any brunch where you can wear your wedding dress is a good brunch in my eyes.
We each brought a dish to share, and when it came time to dig in, we realized we had also each tried a dish we’d never made before. We crossed our fingers and hoped everything would be edible.
And oh, it was.
The (Not So) New Girl made an emtpy the fridge frittata with Brie, blue potatoes, peppers, and avocado (this is the kind of brunch fare that doesn’t need a recipe, but here’s something I’ve made that may give you a start in the right direction)
Ali made Breakfast Burrito Bites
CV(D) made Slow Cooker Nutella French Toast
And I made PIE-KIES, brainchild of one of my heroes, Jeni Britton Bauer.
Pie-kies are a hybrid pie/cookie, and Jeni (of course) likes to serve them a la mode. Or rather, she likes to serve her ice cream a-la cookie. When Ali sent them to me, I knew that they were exactly what I needed to bring to brunch in the country. They are not a brunch food, but they’re exactly the kind of thing I like making in the summer, when I have a little more time on my hands. These require a bit of time, as you have to make the dough, chill the dough, roll out the dough, and slice up a whole bunch of fruit. But they don’t disappoint. The cookies are reminiscent of a flaky pie crust, and the fruit this time of year is unforgettable. When the sugars caramelize on top and the juice start dripping out of the crevices between the cookie and topping, it’s heavenly.
My only suggestion to you, dear readers, is to make these close to when you serve them. The day of, if at all possible. The longer they sit, covered, even in the fridge, the more the juices in the fruit start to make the cookies softer. In that regard, these are slightly more high-maintenance than sweets I usually bake, but I promise they’re good enough to be worth the extra time and care.
To make two dozen pie-kies, you will need:
For sugar dough:
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes and chilled
2 oz. (4 tbsp) cream cheese
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tbsp very cold heavy cream
For pie topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
fruit, sliced into 1/8 inch slices (the recipe called for 3 pounds; I used a lot but not nearly that much)
1 quart ice cream (any flavor)
1. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until dough forms.
2. Remove from food-processor bowl, divide in half, and knead each half to soften.
3. Flatten halves into disks; wrap each individually with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
For sugar dough:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray.
2. Roll out 1 disk of dough about ⅛” thick.
3. Using 2½” to 3″ cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheets.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the other disk.
5. Blend sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, then dip fruit slices into sugar mixture, generously coating each. (I did a little experimenting with dipping, versus sprinkling sugar liberally on top of the piekies. I like the second method because it caused much less fruit juice to seep all over the baking pan).
6. Arrange fruit on cutouts. (Fruit will shrink during baking, so it’s OK to have slices extend slightly beyond the dough edges.)
7. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden*. Remove sheets from the oven, and let pastries cool before serving.
1. Garnish ice cream scoop with one pie-kie.
*A note – I like to bake one tray of cookies at a time, so the steam in the oven doesn’t affect the texture of the cookies as they’re baking. If you don’t have the time or patience to make this happen, your cookies will be fine. If you do, they’ll be better.