Blueberry Peaches & Dreams Pie, adapted from Baked Exploration

by Irvin on October 3, 2011 · 3 comments

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I occasionally get a review copy of a cookbook in the mail, which is always exciting. I often times don’t have a chance to properly sit down and make anything out of them though I read them avidly whenever I have a chance. I’m the sort of person that can take a cookbook and read it as if it were novel, taking inspiration from the recipes, reading the headnotes and descriptions of where the recipe comes from and admiring the photography. But months can go by before I actually get to make anything out of the cookbook, as I’m often too busy developing my own recipes. Still, once I have thumbed through a cookbook, the recipes that stand out will lodge themselves in my brain, waiting to jump out at me, when the opportunity arises. And thus I found myself going back to a book released a year ago, called Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito and making a variant of one of their recipes, a Blueberry Peaches & Dreams Pie when I had a surplus of peaches and blueberries.

Blueberry Peaches & Dreams Pie. jpg

Blueberry Peaches & Dreams Pie.

Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito used to be advertising execs, but left corporate life to start their own bakery, Baked in Brooklyn, NY. As a former designer and art director that has left the corporate world to bake, blog and write, I can certainly relate. Lewis & Poliafito found immediate fame by being featured in a number of shows like Oprah, Martha Stewart and the Today Show (this I cannot relate to – but Oprah, Martha or The Today Show, feel free to contact me immediately). Their first book Baked, New Frontiers in Baking was a huge success (I still need to get this book! It’s on my wish list). I had a chance to meet them briefly at an Omnivore Books signing and they were as entertaining and personable as they are in the books.

Omnivore Book sign. jpg

Anyone obsessed with food needs to visit this store.

While their first book was recipe based from the bakery, mostly traditional American baked goods updated, Baked Exploration is a collection of classic American recipes from across the United States, that have been updated, some more than others. What I find more fascinating about the cookbook are the photographs. The photography has a unique slant to it that appeals to the Art Director in me, with a decidedly masculine and contemporary feel, setting it apart from the ubiquitous feminine over exposed Donna Hay look that desserts and food photography seems to be trending toward. Dark woods, distressed leather and 1950s modern patterns permeate the moody photography, invoking a feeling of retiring with dessert in the parlor room, where a lighthearted game of cribbage or parcheesi might take place, along with a bourbon on the rocks.

Baked Exploration Book. jpg

Baked Exploration Book.

The original pie featured in their cookbook was called Peaches & Dreams, and used canned peaches. The authors talk about how they grew up in the midwest, where fruit rarely came from a farmers market, but rather out of can. True to the history of the pie, they developed the recipe with canned peaches, but tested it with fresh peaches and found it worked as well. I’ve reworked the recipe to include blueberries and tequila, which hopefully adds a little to the dreams part of the pie. I can only hope that Matt and Renato would approve of my additions. Something tells me that they just might.

Blueberry Peaches & Dreams Pie. jpg

Blueberry Peaches & Dreams Pie.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of Baked Exploration from the publisher Stewart, Tabori & Chang. I was under no obligation to write about the book. That said, all opinions on the book are mine and mine alone.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Manding October 3, 2011 at 6:30 am

this looks perfectly american. cannot wait to eat this up.
ps, !


Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet October 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Irvin – that looks amazing. Wow. I’ll have a slice or 3. 🙂 Great post.



Jonathan October 4, 2011 at 8:30 am

Peaches & blueberries are one of my _favorite_ dessert combinations. I remember the first time I baked with the two fruits, spurred on by the ravings of chef friend who claimed they were a match made in heaven. I’m glad I had my doubts, because he was so right. 🙂

Thank you for sharing your recipe and inspiration with us, Irvin. Definitely adding “Baked Explorations” to my wishlist.


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