Easy does it Ripen peaches and nectarines at room temperature. Storing them in the refrigerator can make them mealy.
Smart move To wash delicate berries, soak them in cold water, drain, then dry them in a single layer on a paper towel.
Frozen assets In a pinch, go with frozen fruit. It's picked at its peak and beats expensive and flavorless out-of-season fresh fruit any day.
Spice it up Simmer the fruit filling with a few slices of fresh ginger or a cinnamon stick.
Butter Tricky to work with because it melts fast, butter is still a much-preferred fat for its nutty flavor.
Lard In baking, lard leaves behing big pockets where steam builds up. The result: a tender, flaky crust.
Shortening Its high melting temperature helps crusts hold their shape, and shortenin is cheaper than high-quality lard.
For a change
Add chopped fresh thyme to Lemon-Cornmeal Dough.
Swap it Instead of sugar sprinkle Flaky Pastry Dough with grated parmesan cheese.
Get ahead Make dough up to 2 days ahead or freeze it for up to 2 weeks.
Make it yours Play around with different fillings and doughs, and add a little something extra like whipped cream.