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...