Thursday, June 20, 2013

Week 24- Just Four Ingredients

This week we celebrated Father's Day so I let my husband pick his pie.  I was surprised when he picked one from the "Sleek" section of the Martha Stewart pie book (the ones that are likened to The Little Black Dress of pie-LOL)

All I have to say is "Thank you Martha"- this was a super easy, and super yummy chocolate and coconut pie.  Seriously 4 ingredients, that's it. And for one of my readers, it's gluten free so you will definitely be seeing this again.

One note- you should plan to eat the whole  pie in the day or so after it's made (this is not one of those pies that gets better over time, it just hardens into a rock.)

Coconut and Chocolate Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Chocolate and Coconut Pie Recipe

4 tablespoons softened butter
11 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (it's suggested to use 61 percent cacao.  I cheated and used 60% chips because I was feeling lazy.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, process butter and 1/3 of coconut. Transfer to a medium bowl.  Mix in the rest of the coconut and combine with fingers.

Press coconut mixture into pie plate.  Cover edges with foil or a crust protector until center begins to brown- about 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove foil and then cook another 5 minutes.  (Note, I cooked my crust a lot longer than this, almost 30 minutes in total to get a reasonable amount of browning in the center.)  Cool crust.

Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Pour over chocolate in a heat proof bowl.  Let sit 10 minutes and then stir until cream and chocolate are combined.  Pour into coconut crust and let chill.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Week 23- The Particular Sadness of Lemonade Pie

Ok, so I totally stole my post title from the name of a book.  For those who don't get the reference, the real title is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.  I read it a while back and all I can remember about the book is that it was sort of the same story as Like Water for Chocolate, except that the main character can taste the feelings of the person who prepared her food.  Heaven help her if she lived in my house...

One other thing about the book was that the lemon cake was a lemon cake with chocolate frosting which I thought was a really weird combo- more on this later.

Anyway, this week was a bittersweet week.  My oldest graduated from preschool- and while this may not seem like much, I have been overwhelmed by waves of emotion that my little girl is growing up.  It feels like just yesterday that I was holding a little baby and now she's this entity with friends of her own.  Soon she'll be ignoring me and rolling her eyes at me.  Sigh...

So I made a pink pie to cheer myself up.  A frozen pink lemonade pie with pink coconut on top. At least I thought it would cheer me up.

Until my husband offered to help with the crust while I put the kids to bed.  I should have known something was up when he offered to help of his own volition.

When I came back he had done two things differently than I would have.  One was very smart: he made a graham cracker crust in the pie plate and then pressed a second pie plate on top to flatten the crumbs into a perfectly even crust.

The second thing was a good idea, but not for this pie.  He mixed chocolate graham crackers and regular honey graham crackers.  Now this would have been great for a chocolate cream pie, but this was a LEMONADE pie.  As I mentioned above, I think lemon and chocolate is a weird combo. And trust me, my husband and I have discussed this ad nauseum since he made the crust.

All I'll say is that if either of our feelings went into the taste of that pie,  it would have been a much worse pie.  In the end it was generally tasty, but I couldn't get over the slight chocolate taste in the crust (and it was slightly gritty).  But I will keep the tip on flattening the graham cracker crust and I sure did like the pink coconut!

Pink Lemonade Pie
Adapted from The Prepared Pantry
Pink Lemonade Pie Recipe

1 graham cracker crust- preferably a non-chocolate one :)
1 8 ounce packet of cream cheese
1 14 ounce can of condensed milk
3/4 cup pink lemonade concentrated (just the concentrate, not mixed with water)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Red food coloring
1/3 cup shredded coconut (this really wasn't necessary but it sure was cute)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the cream cheese in a stand mixer until it is softened and then add in the can of condensed milk. Slowly add in the lemonade concentrate and the lemon juice.  If you want add, in red food coloring until you get to the desired color.  Pour the mixture into the pie shell and put into the freezer.

Put the coconut in a plastic bag with a few drops of food coloring (make sure you close the bag people.)  Shake until your coconut is pink.

Whip the cream with the sugar and the vanilla.  Top the frozen pie with the cream and coconut and put back in the freezer until you are ready to eat the pie.

I took a picture but the camera is MIA, so will post when I find it!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Week 22- A Vision of Apricots Dancing in My Head

Dance, dance, dance.  This weekend was all about my daughter's ballet recital.  It's amazing how much planning goes into being on stage for 10 minutes! I have to say the instructor was very smart and put my little ballerina in an ensemble piece with much older ballerinas.  A real tutu outfit and dancing with big girls?  Can it get any better when you are 4?

Gratuitous cute ballerina photo

After watching scads of peach and apricot clad ballerinas dancing around, I was inspired to make an apricot pie.  (For the record, my sister had also brought some apricots over a few weeks ago and the girls went crazy for them.) I've never had apricot pie, so I didn't know what to expect.

What a delicious pie!  We actually ate a few of the apricots that were bought for the pie, so we could have used a little more fruit, but this was a delicious, fresh-tasting pie.

Old Fashioned Fresh Apricot Pie
Adapted from Diana's Recipe Book
Link to Apricot Pie recipe

2 lbs fresh apricots
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brandy (the recipe called for apricot brandy, but I used regular brandy)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
Double pie crust

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine apricots, vanilla and brandy in a large bowl.

Combine sugars, cinnamon, tapioca and salt in another bowl.  Gently stir the sugar mixture into the apricots.  Let stand 15 minutes.

Roll out crust.  Spoon filling into crust then make the second set of dough into a lattice crust (my husband decided to the do the lattice crust since the last time I made one it was ridiculously ugly!)

Place pie in the oven (on a cookie sheet) for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven to 375 degrees and bake for 40-45 minutes.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Back to Pies I Don't Like

So this week was the dreaded rhubarb pie. 

And why is it dreaded?  Well let's do a little word problem based on a childhood "incident":

2 slices of strawberry rhubarb pie + copious amounts of chocolate milk + lots of bouncing around = disaster and a lifelong queasiness whenever the word "rhubarb" is mentioned.

(Completely off topic, but one other thing I think of when I hear "rhubarb" is my roommate from years ago in Boston.  Her name was "Rubab" but in Boston everyone thought she was just dropping her "r".  She received a lot of mail/messages for " Rhubarb"  which we found amusing to no end.)

When I started the pie project, I told myself that I would not, could not make rhubarb pie.  But whenever I mentioned the project, inevitably someone would ask if I was making rhubarb.  Apparently it's a well-liked pie and one that is hard to find.

And rhubarb is grown all over my part of Connecticut.  So in the interest of using local fruit, I felt like I had to make one.  But neither I, nor my husband, wanted to eat the pie- and my kids were skeptical of any fruit that so closely identifies with celery, so we needed to expand to a wider audience.

We hosted a Memorial Day BBQ and provided rhubarb pie.  I have to admit I tried a piece of the raw rhubarb and nope, still don't like it.  (And I also had a moment of panic when someone told me that raw rhubarb is poisonous, which for the record it is not, it's the leaves that are poisonous.)

I will admit, while the crust is homemade, my husband was in charge of the crust start to finish (I was busy making salads.) All my taste testers said it was yummy- and it did look good.  Perhaps they'll comment!

Here's the recipe:

Rhubarb Crumble Pie
Adapted from The Kitchn
Recipe for Rhubarb Crumble Pie

1 prepared pie crust
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 pounds fresh rhubarb, cut into 3/4 pieces (this was about 10 stalks)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, almonds, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  With your hands, work the butter into the mixture.  Put in fridge.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a mixing bowl, combine rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Toss to coat the rhubarb.  Transfer the mixture to the pie shell. 

Scatter the refrigerated crumble mixture over the filling.

Place in oven for about an hour (until the top is bubbling and the crust is brown.

I went with the coconut bars to the right...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 20- A little slice of coconut heaven

I am way behind in my posts, so this will be a quick one.

My mother had heard about a book called "The United States of Pie" which has regional favorites from all over our fair land and she suggested I take a look at it.  I found a copy at the library and settled on a Southern favorite, coconut cream pie, for my 20th pie.

Well, let me tell you Adrienne Kane knows how to make a coconut cream pie.  This was filled light and sweet with a perfect amount of coconut flavor (although there didn't seem to be a lot of coconut in the actual pie.)  Big thumbs up on this one!

Now my husband travels a lot for work, but he is usually around on the weekend when I make pie.  Unfortunately for him, the weekend of the coconut cream pie, he was on a plane (and thankfully far away from the devastating tornadoes out West.)  Which left me home with a whole delicious pie.  I could have shared with friends, but seriously the pie was just too good.  I promise folks, I will make this one again and share next time.

Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted from "United States of Pie" by Adrienne Kane

1 Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups lite coconut milk (which is just under 1 regular size can)
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 egg yolks, beaten
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
(Note, I used a KitchenAid mixer so I made a larger quantity of whipped cream)

Combine coconut milk and whole milk in a medium sized saucepan and bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat.  Remove from heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the milk mixture with the cornstarch and stir until smooth.  In a small bowl, combine another 1/2 cup of milk mixture with the egg yolks and salt.  Add both the cornstarch and the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan and stir in remaining milk mixture.  (Now I misread this and split the milk mixture in half and did the two steps rather than use 1/2 cup of the milk mixture.  It didn't affect the recipe at all.)

Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook the milk mixture, stirring constantly until it boils.  Reduce the heat to low and cook about 2 minutes until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter and the vanilla.  Fold in 1/2 cup of the toasted coconut, reserving 1/4 cup for the topping.  Pour the pudding into the pie shell and cover with plastic.  Chill for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, whip the cream and confectioners' sugar.  Cover the chilled pie with whipped cream and the reserved coconut.


Incredibly delicious...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Week 19- Put the Lime in the Coconut...

Happy Belated Mother's Day.  I had a lovely day with my husband and the girls!

For this weekend, I decided to make a pie I would enjoy to celebrate Mom's Day.  A few of you know that I have a MASSIVE collection of recipes I've saved from a variety of sources.  But even I didn't realize that I have had some of these recipes for a very long time.  The recipe I used is apparently from the August 2000 issue of Good Housekeeping- and it's actually clipped out of the magazine.  Which leaves me to wonder 1) Why was I reading Good Housekeeping 13 years ago when I was footloose and fancy free?  and 2) How did this recipe survive all the moves? For the record I have moved 9 times since I got the recipe.

Whatever.  It survived and I'm glad it did because it was delicious.  I love coconut and lime and this had fantastic flavors.  Much easier and tastier than the key lime pie I made a few months back. And I only had to squeeze 6 limes rather than 24 little key limes. Well, actually I didn't squeeze the limes.  I had my eldest helping me with lime juice duty.  She also helped place the mango on the top of the pie so don't blame me for the aesthetics.  You can see from the picture that we started with a spiral pattern and then things got a little out of hand.

BTW, one other note.  The recipe says you can get 10 servings out of this pie.  I don't understand why anyone would cut a pie in more than 8 pieces.  Of course, I eat pie for breakfast these days so maybe I have a skewed perspective.

Tropical Lime and Mango Pie
Adapted from Good Housekeeping, August 2000 recipe
Link to Coconut Lime Pie

Coconut Crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
6 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease the pie plate.

In a food processor pulse flour, coconut and sugar until finely ground.  Add the butter and 1 tablespoon cold water and pulse until fine crumbs form.

Sprinkle crumbs in the plate and form into a crust.

Bake about 25 minutes or until lightly golden, covering the crust with foil for the last 10 minutes.

6 limes
1 14 ounce can low-fat sweetened condensed milk
1 8 ounce container sour cream
1 envelope of gelatin
1 ripe mango

Grate 2 teaspoons of lime zest and squeeze 1/2 cup juice.  In a medium bowl, whisk together lime peel and juice with the condensed milk and sour cream.

In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 2 minutes.  Heat over low heat for about 5 minutes until gelatin dissolves. When done, combine the gelatin into the lime mixture.

Set bowl with lime mixture into a larger bowl filled with ice water.  With a spatula, stir mixture occasionally until it begins to mound (about 20 minutes).  Pour the filling into the crust and chill.

To serve, arrange mango slices on top of filling.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Week 18- Looh-ville pie

Sorry for the late post.  I've been swamped with princess parties.  Seriously, I escorted my little princess to three themed birthday parties last week.  My head might fall off if I see another tiara, pink castle cake or  Disney costume in the near future.

My daughter's birthday is coming up next month and I'm very glad to say we're heading towards a different theme- we're having a pony party.  Which is fitting considering my eldest was born in Horse Country USA- Kentucky.  And last week, we had Kentucky on the brain when we sat down to watch the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby. 

To celebrate the Derby, I made the iconic chocolate bourbon pie that can't be named for trademark reasons.  Although I love the fact that as I searched for recipes people have found a ton of cutesy other names like "Derby Day Pie" or "Run for the Roses Pie" or "Pegasus Pie".  When I searched Wikipedia I discovered this type of pie has been the subject of 25 lawsuits.  And since, I don't want to be #26, I'm just going to call it "Looh-ville" pie.  Or if you're really local "Lul-ville" pie.  ;)

I did have a debate about which nut to use in the recipe because most recipes call for walnuts.  However, I feel that pecans are a little more in the spirit of a Southern pie.  So pecans it was. 

Super sweet and filled with chocolate and bourbon, it's really not the best pie for a warm day.  But you can't mess with tradition!  And this pie was a good antidote to princess overload....

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, May 2005
Link to Chocolate Bourbon Pie

Pie crust
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon (although the recipe says you can use bourbon or water.  I say "HA!" If there is no bourbon there is no reason to make this pie)
4 eggs
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare pie crust.  Sprinkle pecans and chocolate chips in bottom of crust.

Combine corn syrup, 2 sugars and bourbon in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients.  Whisk 1/4 of the sugar/bourbon mixture into the egg mixture, stirring constantly.  Add the remaining hot mixture while whisking.

Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes.