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It’s that time of year when my cooking posts become totally out of sync with the fresh seasonal produce in the U.S.  While I am enjoying kilos of cherries, nectarines and mangos for mere dollars at the farmer’s market, those of you in the dead of winter in the U.S. are probably thinking, does produce shipped from Chile count as “seasonal”??

In any case, this soup was so fabulous it’s worth sharing whatever the season in your hemisphere.  A cold treat, with a hint of sweetness and a lot of crunch, it will be a staple on my “impress the dinner guests” menus to come…

 apple and soup cream soup

10 lychees

1 small Lebanese cucumber

8-10 large mint leaves

400g unfiltered pressed apple juice

200g sour cream

Carefully remove skin and pit lychees, leaving roughly whole (or only halved).  Dice cucumber into small squares, and thinly slice mint leaves.  Combine with lychees.  Whisk apple juice and sour cream together, and chill for 10-15 minutes or until ready to serve.  Divide lychee, mint and cucumber mixture evenly among 4 soup bowls and pour apple sour cream soup on top.

*recipe from Australian Gormet Traveler

You may have already seen the bounty that was our Thanksgiving dessert table.  On the night prior to, Kelly & I had ourselves a pie and hot tub night:  we rolled out Kelly’s pre-made crust (spiked with cinnamon, that secret recipe stays with her I think), filled it up, popped the pies in the oven, and rewarded our efforts with a few glasses of champagne and dunk in the hot tub…

The cherry pie was totally impromptu.  Kelly had made extra crust, and when gathering provisions at the grocery store I noticed cherries were $5 a pound.  Cheap berries are few and far between down here outside of the seasonal bounty, but in late November and December there happens to be a bonanza of fresh cherries to be had.  When life hands you cherries….

The pumpkin and apple pies were the clear winners; but just as good by me….  Cherry pie for breakfast!

Kelly’s apple pie

6 or 7 tart apples

2/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten,

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Slice apples, skin on for flavor.  Combine with all ingredients. Fill pie, and top with lattice pie crust.  Bake 55 to 65 minutes at 350 F (260C).

impromptu cherry pie

1kg (2 pounds) fresh cherries

1 shot brandy

1/4 cup sugar, or to taste

Pit cherries (and be prepared dig cherry juice from under your nails all weekend) but leave roughly intact (halved)  Combine with sugar and brandy in a small saucepan.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes until cherries are well coated and softened.  Fill pie crust, top and bake at 250F (260C) for 40-45 minutes.

nutella, pumpkin pecan pie

1 jar nutella (or other chocolate spread / melted chocolate)

15oz can pumpkin

3/4 cup milk & 3/4 cup cream

1 cup brown sugar

3 egg

1/4 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, or to taste

100g pecans

2 egg whites, whisked

Heat pumpkin, sugar and spice over low in saucepan, until lightly browned.  Add milk and cream and continue to risk.  Blend with egg .  Layer 1/4 inch of nutella in the bottom of the pie crust, then pumpkin mixture. Toss pecans with egg whites and scoop on top (try to avoid pouring in, which can lead to too much goopy egg whites settling on the top of the pie).  Bake 55 to 65 minutes at 350 F (260C).

Disclaimer, this version of pumpkin pecan pie was delicious, but not really the right texture for me for a pumpkin pie.  It was very soft, likely from the blending process, but ever so tasty.  It might benefit from a few extra minutes in the oven (covered), or prompt serving (since we baked the night before serving and stored in the oven overnight).

Another basic and simple recipe that packs a flavorful punch.  So tasty and easy, you’ll never eat canned applesauce again.

baked applesauce

2 apples, skin on

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, dash of clove

Roughly dice apples, and place in small baking dish.  Cover with sugar and spice mix.  Bake at 220C (400 F) for 30-45 minutes until soft.  Mash with a potato masher, leaving rough and chunky.  Garnish with cinnamon stick and serve.

I hate cranberry sauce, so I dished this up with the Thanksgiving turkey.  Also would be great for that timeless classic, pork and apples. Yum!