a very London kind of morning

Perhaps it seems odd to begin in the middle, but putting ten of the most beautiful days of my life into words has been a formidable challenge, and one that I am broaching slowly.  I can give you the travel guides and the gritty details of what I ate (um, literally everything in sight), but for now, all I want to give you is a few of my favorite hours.  A few, precious morning hours with my beloved.  So here we go. 

a very London kind of morning {Pedantic Foodie}

It was our next-to-last day in London.  He walked down to our newfound favorite breakfast spot - a tiny French bakery that sat just around the corner from our hotel.  He returned with three plump brioche buns as big as my face, in a paper bag -- two sugared and one with chocolate chips.  We ate them, our faces sticky with the caramelized sugar, as we walked to the gardens - Kensington Gardens.

It was our next-to-last day in London.  He walked down to our newfound favorite breakfast spot - a tiny French bakery that sat just around the corner from our hotel.  He returned with three plump brioche buns as big as my face in a paper bag, two sugared and one with chocolate chips.  We ate them, our faces sticky with the caramelized sugar, as we walked to the gardens - Kensington Gardens.

There was so much joy in my heart as we trotted down to the one place on earth that I had dreamt of visiting more than any other.

a very London kind of morning {Pedantic Foodie}

We walked through the gates and I am sure my smile nearly dislocated my jaw as I looked at Mr. Pedantic and exclaimed in an elated whisper, “We’re here!” 

There was a soft, autumnal hush that fell over the landscape - interrupted only by the swishing of blowing leaves, and Londoners whistling for their strangely obedient and leash-less dogs that pranced about the green in front of Kensington Palace. 

a very London kind of morning {Pedantic Foodie}

It was surreal and beautiful and breathtaking.  I found myself wishing, more than I had at any other point on that trip, that I too could own the privilege of visiting this English sanctuary for my morning walks and weekend picnics. 

a very London kind of morning {Pedantic Foodie}

Then, we saw it.  The statue.  The statue that I had so longed to see - a forever monument for the literary world’s dearest character. 

a very London kind of morning {Pedantic Foodie}

“Good morning, Peter.  I’ve been looking for you.”

a very London kind of morning {Pedantic Foodie}

I never wanted to leave.  

a very London kind of morning {Pedantic Foodie}

Now, as I sit here in my new home, where I am completely content, there is a aching sense of longing for those moments gone by.  I would live that morning over and over again forever, if only I could.  Having Mr. Pedantic there by my side, no trivial responsibilities to separate our hands or hearts -- only us.  That was the best of times.

our honeymoon in snapshots {Pedantic Foodie}

This morning I made breakfast that was not brioche buns.  He left me to go to work instead of the bakery.  I spent my morning hours working by the Christmas tree rather than walking through the park.  I guess this too, is the best of times. 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie

Hannah Everly kept me fashionable for our morning in the gardens and she would love to help you prepare for your holiday parties, or revamp your work wardrobe.  You can find this skirt as well as a full line of festive patterns in her shop now!    

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust + A Gluten-Free Version

Can we take a moment to discuss the holiday conundrum that has been my life for the past three weeks?

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust {Pedantic Foodie}

As I've mentioned before, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I have had no wish to rush it away.  However, I have been aching, begging, and yearning to begin the Christmas festivities.  I have kept the tree in the closet and the lights in their boxes, but now that the beloved day of feasting and gratitude is behind us, I am letting all of my Christmas spirit loose.  Be ready for eggnog everything.  It's the new pumpkin, right?

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust + A Gluten-Free Version {Pedantic Foodie}

This pie right here is such a gem.  It's Christmasy, without a doubt, but in the most unexpected way.  All of the comforting flavors of the season adopt new roles in this tangy, spicy, custard pie. 

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust + A Gluten-Free Version {Pedantic Foodie}

It's also drop dead gorgeous.  

Prettiest pie on the table, without a doubt.

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust + A Gluten-Free Version {Pedantic Foodie}


Oh, and if the fuchsia color wasn't flashy enough for you, we are going to cover this lovely pie with sugared cranberries.  We are freakin' Christmas fairies. 

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust {Pedantic Foodie}

This pie filling falls down the line between being a custard and a curd.  If you know a lemon-curd enthusiast, *ahem*, I'm married to one, then they might just love you forever. 

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust + A Gluten-Free Version {Pedantic Foodie}

OR...

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust {Pedantic Foodie}

They might be insanely obnoxious and and after one bite insist that they cannot eat this pie because of the seeds.  

"What seeds?!" you exclaim.  

"These seeds," he says, carefully holding up a microscopic cranberry seed.

Oh boy...  Have I got some emoji eye-rolls for you, Mr. Pedantic.  Hashtag: myhusbandispicky

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust {Pedantic Foodie}

The whole seed ordeal did bring to light the fact that desserts last 85% longer when a certain gentleman is not eating them.  

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust {Pedantic Foodie}

Let's talk about this crust because it really is unique.  It's the new and improved graham cracker crust with just enough spice and nuttiness. 

9-0301.jpg

Now, when I set out to make a gluten-free version of this pie for my flourless friends, I could not get my hands on gluten-free gingersnaps.  Sure, I could have made my own, but I have a strict policy against making cookies only to pulverize them.  I much prefer to destroy another man's handiwork.  So, I turned to gluten-free pretzels, which, incidentally, are far superior to any regular pretzel in my mind.  I love that crunch. 

I made the crust just as before, but used flourless pretzels in place of the gingersnaps and added a bit of ground ginger and cinnamon, so as not to lose the spicy charm of the original. 

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust {Pedantic Foodie}

OHMYGOODNESS!! This crust was even better.  I just loved the hint of saltiness that the pretzels brought to the party.  

If you are a salty-sweet nut, go for the gluten-free and pretend like this is health food. 

Cranberry Lime Pie with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust + A Gluten-Free Version {Pedantic Foodie}

Go ahead, you know you want a slice. 

(And by slice, I mean the whole pie. Your husband won't eat it anyways.) 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


Cranberry Lime Pie

recipe adapted slightly from Bon Appetit Magazine / serves 8

crust 

- 4 ounces gingersnap cookies 

- 1 cup pecan halves

- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

- 3 light brown sugar 

- pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In the work bowl of your food processor, combine gingersnaps and pecans. Pulse until the mixture has the texture of rough crumbs. 

Add butter, brown sugar, and salt, and pulse 3-5 times until the mixture just comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the crust mixture out into a 9-inch pie plate and press the crust into the bottom of the plate, starting in the center and working it about 1-inch up the sides of the pan.  

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges of the crust are deep golden brown.  Allow the crust to cool while you prepare the filling.

gluten free crust

- 4 ounces gluten-free pretzels 

- 1 cup pecan halves 

- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In the work bowl of your food processor, combine pretzels and pecans. Pulse until the mixture has the texture of rough crumbs. 

Add spices, butter, and brown sugar, and pulse 3-5 times until the mixture just comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the crust mixture out into a 9-inch pie plate and press the crust into the bottom of the plate, starting in the center and working it 1-inch up the sides of the pan.  

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges of the crust are deep golden brown.  Allow the crust to cool while you prepare the filling. 

filling

- 12 ounces fresh cranberries 

- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided 

- 1/4 cup water

- 3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks 

- 2 teaspoons lime zest 

- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice 

- pinch of kosher salt 

- 6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, and water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes; until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Purée the mixture in a blender until very smooth.

Combine purée, eggs, egg yolks, lime zest, lime juice, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt in a wide, glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  The bottom of the bowl should sit just above the water, but it should not touch the water.  Cook, whisking often, until the curd thickens; about 15 minutes.  Allow the curd to cool until it is just warm.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the curd on medium speed and slowly drop the butter into the mixture, 1-2 cubes at a time, until all the butter has been incorporated.  Mix well after each addition.  The entire process should take 5-7 minutes, and the curd should have lightened in color and texture.

Pour the curd into the cooled pie crust and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until the pie has set.  While the pie chills, prepare the sugared cranberries.*

*The sugared berries do not stand up well to refrigeration.  The pie can be made 1-2 days in advance, but prepare the berries just before you plan on serving. 

for the sugared cranberries

- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided

- 1/2 cup water 

- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Place over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is simmering.  

Add cranberries and cook for one minute, until the berries have just barely softened.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cranberries to a wire cooling grate set over a baking sheet.  Chill for 25-30 minutes; until the berries are tacky, but not sticky. 

Toss the chilled berries in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and sprinkle over the pie.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!


Thanksgiving Punch

Do not ask me to chose a favorite Thanksgiving food.  I will glare at you while I shove buttered roll after buttered roll into my grimacing face. 

I love Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday and I am never more excited for food than I am on that chilly November Thursday. 

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

While I could never pick a favorite food (okay, it might be green bean casserole), my favorite Thanksgiving moments are often those before the meal, when the house is filled with a profusion of the warmest and most comforting fragrances, the voices of loved ones, the thrill of flipping through ad after ad as my sister and I formulate our Black Friday plan of attack, and, perhaps best of all, the pre-dinner snacks.

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

I am kind of an appetizer nut.  The table full of olives, salami, gooey artichoke dip, and toasted baguettes sets my heart a flutter.  I sneakily grab half of the ever-present port wine cheese and eat it without reservation.  It is cheap and cliche but I love it so.  

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

This year, I wanted to create a punch for the appetizer hours that would be as pretty as it is delicious.  

Many of my favorite holiday flavors are present here.  Cranberries, oranges, and limes float in a combination of spicy ginger beer and holiday-spiced cranberry syrup.

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

It might remind you of sangria, but one that the whole family can enjoy.  

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

Whole cranberries, sugar, allspice berries, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and a bit of water simmer until a thick, pink syrup forms. 

While the syrup cools, the fun part begins.

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

Orange slices, lime wedges, cranberries and whole spices make this pitcher look like it’s straight off of Martha Stewart’s table.

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

I always think of Martha Stewart around Thanksgiving because one year, my whole family ended up with a gut-wrenching flu bug just days before the holiday and I lay in bed with my mom and sister watching the only two episodes of Martha that we had on DVD, both of which were Thanksgiving specials.  Who would have guessed that influenza could bring about such special memories?

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

This punch greatly improves after an hour in the refrigerator, which is convenient because that means it can be made early Thanksgiving morning and will be ready to serve when your guests arrive.

Just look at that color...

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

We have but a few solitary hours before the madness will commence.  Take this time to make yourself a pitcher of this punch (and be sure to "sample" it thoroughly), brace yourself for the grocery shopping, and finalize your menu. If you are in need of inspiration, consider this list from last year.  I still have not decided on a pie, so I should probably get on that.

Thanksgiving Punch {Pedantic Foodie}

Happy, happy holidays! 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie

P.S. I really hope you are brining your turkey.  Please brine your turkey. DO IT.


Thanksgiving Punch

serves 6

for the cranberry syrup

- 1 cup fresh cranberries

- 1 1/2 cups water 

- 3/4 cup granulated sugar 

- 12 allspice berries 

- 2 anise stars

- 2 whole cinnamon sticks 

Combine cranberries, water, sugar, and spices in a medium saucepan and place over medium-hight heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes; remove from heat.  At this point, the berries should have bursts and softened significantly.  

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or a colander lined with cheese cloth to remove the spices and cranberry skins.

Allow the syrup to cool until it is just warm.  While you are waiting, prepare the other elements of the punch. 

for the fruit garnish

- 3 cups ice 

- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries 

- 1 orange, sliced into quarters 

- 1 lime, sliced into wedges

- 2 whole cinnamon sticks

- 4-5 anise stars 

- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

- 15 ounces of your favorite ginger beer

Pour the ice into the bottom of a large pitcher.  Cover with fresh fruit and whole spices.  

Pour the fruit juices over the ice and then top with the cooled cranberry syrup.  Stir to combine.  

Top the mixture with cold ginger beer and stir.  Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.*  

Serve the punch over ice.  Enjoy!

*While one hour will deepen and meld the flavors of this punch, extended refrigeration will lead to an overly strong and bitter drink, due to the presence of the cut citrus and whole spices.  I would not suggest making this more than three hours before you plan on serving it.