Spiced Peach Pie, Anyone?

Photo © Catherine Castle

Today’s post is written by fellow author and dear friend, Catherine Castle. I’m looking forward to making this peach pie and reading her newest novel. Welcome, Catherine!

I’m going say upfront that although I like pie, it’s not a dish I serve at our house much due to dietary constraints. But when I was first married, pie was a regular addition to the dinner table. My husband loved lemon meringue pie, and I learned to make a pretty good one, if I do say so myself. Today any pie I bake, or eat, leans toward fruit pies that are lightly sweetened, if at all. (Remember those dietary constraints I spoke about.)

So, imagine my surprise when Chip Vandermere, the hero of my newest book, Bidding on the Bouquet, decided he loved pie—any kind of pie. Having just done some research about pies and their role in Early American weddings (they were the original wedding dessert of choice back then), Chip’s pie fetish became a recurring motif in the new book.

Suddenly, I found myself writing about this sweet dessert, and craving it. To help alleviate that craving, and provide a valid reason for baking, I decided to include Chip’s love of pies in the book’s promotions. The first result of that decision is an original recipe I named Emelia’s Spiced Peach Pie.

Chip’s housekeeper, Emelia, is a pie baker extraordinaire and the one person in his home to whom he can spill his heart. For Chip, a slice of Emelia’s pie is a comfort, a reward, and a little piece of heaven. When Emilia begins to play matchmaker between Chip and a pie-loving young lady Chip suspects of being a gold digger, their shared love of pie becomes an irritation. Face it, what other reason would a down-and-out-on-her-luck girl want to bid for a bridesmaid spot in his sister’s wedding, if not to worm her way into the life of the rich and famous Vandermeres?

Emelia’s Spiced Peach Pie

© 2018 Catherine Castle

Ingredients:

  • One, 2-crust pie pastry, homemade or store bought
  • 7 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • ¼ sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. finely minced orange peel. Remove the white membrane from the peel before mincing.

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over peaches and mix well.
  • Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch and orange peel in a small bowl and add to peaches, mixing well.
  • Place bottom crust in a glass pie pan and pat against the sides and bottom of the pan.
  • Pour peaches onto crust and arrange evenly in the pan.
  • Trim bottom crust leaving pastry about ½ inch from the edge of the pie pan.
  • Top with second crust, turning top crust under bottom crust. Crimp or flute crust edge as desired, making sure you have sealed the two crusts together to prevent leakage.
  • Cut several slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.
  • Cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
  • Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees.
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake pie for 70 minutes longer or until crust has browned and filling is bubbly.
  • Remove pie from oven, take off aluminum foil strips, and let pie cool completely before slicing. This pie will cut better after is has been refrigerated.

Note: If you prefer a juicer pie, let the peaches sit after sugaring them, stirring several times, until juice has formed in the bottom of the bowl. If you do this you may want to protect the bottom of your stove from filling leakage.

-Catherine Castle

About the Author:

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, theatre, and quilting. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her books The Nun and the Narc, A Groom for Mama, Bidding on the Bouquet  and Trying Out for Love boxed set on Amazon. Connect with Catherine on her website: websiteFacebook, and Twitter  @AuthorCCastle.

Buy link for Bidding on the Bouquet on  Amazon.

 

Valentine’s Day Special List – Top Romance Novels I Read Last Year

As an author, I read a variety of research books and novels. Valentine’s Day seemed a good day to highlight my favorite romances that I’ve read (or reread) the past year:

 

  1. Mattie’s Pledge by Jan Drexler

 

  1. Last Stop, Cordelia by Lisa Carter

 

  1. A Groom for Mama by Catherine Castle

 

  1. Gift from the Heart by Irene Hannon

 

  1. Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns Clark

 

  1. Swept Away by Mary Connealy

 

  1. The Caretaker’s Son by Yvonne Lehman

 

  1. Dance Over Me by Candee Fick

 

  1. Colorado by Rosey Dow

 

  1. A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

Click on the link to read my reviews. Yes, I write reviews for books I enjoy–it’s such a gift to authors! Consider writing and posting a short review on Amazon, Goodreads, etc., for books you read.

What’s on your list? Happy Reading!

-Sandra Merville Hart

A Groom for Mama by Catherine Castle

This contemporary romance is a definite page-turner! I had a hard time putting down this novel.

Given the title, the story seemed like it would be about a son or daughter finding a suitable husband for their mother. It’s the opposite.

Allison had dated Jack in a long relationship a few years ago. She broke off the relationship and moved away. Jack maintained a friendship with Mama, Allison’s mom.

Now Mama is sick, dying from a rare form of cancer. She is determined to see Allison married before she dies and enlists Jack’s dating service to set her up with dates to find “Mr. Right.”

Allison suddenly finds herself on a whirlwind of dates with several “Mr. Wrongs” with the occasional “nice guy, just not for me” men while Mama undergoes further testing.

Those dates torment Jack, who has never stopped loving Allison.

Castle writes with humor. The author excels at building romantic tension and also at touching the hearts of readers with family drama. The characters are likeable and believable.

There are many twists that kept me turning pages when I should have been doing other tasks.

Definitely recommend this novel and this author!

-Sandra Merville Hart

 

Here Comes the Bridal Cake

Today’s post is written by my dear friend and fellow author, Catherine Castle. Her newest novel, A Groom for Mama, just released. She has a fun, witty style of writing that captivates readers. I can’t wait to read this novel. Welcome, Catherine!

If there’s one thing we know about wedding cakes today, it’s that they come in a wide variety of style, flavors and sizes. If you look on the internet you can find wedding cakes ranging from simple two or three layers to towering monstrosities or multi-flavored cakes connected with plastic bridges and even individual cupcakes. But nowhere have I seen a wedding cake that resembles the one the groom broke over his bride’s head in Roman times. In ancient history, and even up to Victorian times, the wedding cake bore little resemblance to the sweet confections of today.

In ancient Rome, the bridal cake was a simple, unsweetened barley loaf. The groom would eat part of the loaf and break the remainder over the bride’s head. This was a symbolic act thought to bring prosperity and good fortune to the couple. Wedding guests would try to eat the crumbs from the cake so they could also share in the good fortune showered down on the bride’s head.

In medieval England, the bridal cake was composed of buns or small cakes. Stories remain from accounts telling of stacking the cakes as high as they would go. If the bride and groom were able to kiss over the tall stack it was thought they would have a life of prosperity.

By the 1660s the story is told of a French chef who was traveling through England and saw the stacked pile of cakes at a wedding. After returning home he devised a method of constructing rounded cakes or buns into a tower form called a Croquembouch. This tiered pile of cakes became the traditional French wedding cake. Today it’s common to place a Croquembouch on top of a more modern layer cake.

From the mid-1700s a Bride’s Pie was introduced at wedding meals.  The pie, which was a meat pie, not a sweetened concoction, was filled with sweetbread, mincemeat, or mutton. Bride’s cakes, which were more like fruitcake than the typical white batter cakes we associate with today’s weddings, might also be eaten.

Groom’s cakes appeared in the 1880s and were typically darker-colored fruitcakes that were much smaller than the bride’s cake. Bride’s cakes, in Colonial times, were very rich creations, often reserved for the wealthy who could afford the ingredients. Because they were so labor intensive to make, the cakes were made weeks ahead of the wedding and soaked in alcohol to preserve them for the wedding date.

In the 1800s bride fruitcakes were still the norm.  Below is a typical recipe for a wedding cake from an 1833 recipe book, courtesy of http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes.html#weddingcake

[1833]
“Wedding Cake

Good common wedding cake may be made thus: Four pounds of flour, three pounds of butter, three pounds of sugar, four pounds of currants, two pounds of raisins, twenty-four eggs, half a pint of brandy, or lemon-brandy, one ounce of mace, and three nutmegs. A little molasses makes it dark colored, which is desirable. Half a pound of citron improves it; but it is not necessary. To be baked two hours and a half, or three hours. After the oven is cleared, it is well to shut the door for eight or ten minutes, to let the violence of the heat subside, before cake or bread is put in. To make icing for your wedding cake, beat the whites of eggs to an entire froth, and to each egg add five teaspoonfuls of sifted loaf sugar, gradually; beat it a great while. Put it on when your cake is hot, or cold, as is most convenient. It will dry in a warm room, as short distance from a gentle fire, or in a warm oven.”
The American Frugal Housewife, Mrs. Child, Boston [1833] (p. 72)

In 1840, Queen Victoria introduced the white-icing tiered cake that we know today as a “wedding cake.”  The cake was iced in ‘royal icing’, which had been invented specifically for the royal wedding cake. Although the cake looked different on the outside, the batter was still the traditional fruitcake of the bride’s cake. The first tiered cakes, including Queen Victoria’s cake, had layers that were not edible. It wasn’t until 1882 when the first tiered cake with all-edible layers appeared at the wedding of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. Even today, our English friends choose the traditional fruitcake batter for their wedding cakes. Prince William and Kate’s wedding cake was made with a fruitcake batter, as was his mother’s and his grandmother’s.

Wedding toppers appeared in the 1940s, and by the 1950s, American brides began moving away from the traditional fruitcake of Colonial America. Today, you’ll find wedding cakes in many styles, themes, and flavors. If you can dream it, there will be someone who can make it.

Until I started working on this blog I hadn’t thought much about what kind of cake my characters would have, but I think it would look a lot like the one on my book cover. And Mama would have been sitting on a layer just as she is in the cover. After all, she was Cupid’s helper.

-Catherine Castle

A Groom for Mama –a sweet, romantic comedy by Catherine Castle, from Soul Mate Publishing

 A Groom for Mama Blurb: Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

Buy link: Amazon

 About the Author:

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award. Her most recent release, A Groom for Mama, is a sweet romantic comedy from Soul Mate Publishing.  Both books are available on Amazon.

Contact links:

Catherine’s website

Catherine’s blog

Catherine’s Amazon author page

Catherine’s Goodreads

Twitter    @AuthorCCastle

Facebook

Stitches Thru Time

SMP authors blog site

 

The Nun and the Narc by Catherine Castle

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This suspenseful novel holds the element of danger, romance, and the comical quirks of an almost-ready-to-take-her-vows nun. The action begins immediately. The man who falls in love with the lovable nun-to-be faces danger with her at every turn. The characters are believable and the story held my attention from beginning to end.

The author does a wonderful job weaving suspense and comedy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this romantic suspense. Great book!

-Review by Sandra Merville Hart

Link to Amazon