Tag Archives: Pies/Tarts

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

My apologies – I haven’t been posting as much recently – time-consuming changes are afoot in my house, specifically meaning a move across town (and technically to a different state, but state lines are quite blurry in the NYC area, so moving to a different state won’t really count until the inevitable day I’m held hostage at the DMV changing my driver’s license). We’ll move in two weeks, and we’ve found our new apartment, signed all the pertinent papers, and now are just trying to schedule out the movers and all the pesky little details that accompany any move. Our new place is about the same size as our current one, square footage wise, but a completely different layout. So some swapping of furniture is in order, plus rethinking some of the wall décor.

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I hope to be a better blogger for the summer than I have been this spring. I’m a bit disappointed to have only gotten in one rhubarb recipe before its season begins to wane, but this pie is so much better than nothing, and I’m very happy the one recipe I made was such a beauty.

pistachio crumble topped strawberry rhubarb pie

When it comes to fruit pies, I tend to not play favorites between crumble toppings and top crusts – both please my palate. But I was very intrigued to find a recipe that included pistachios in said crumble. If I’m ever forced to pick a favorite nut, it’ll be a toss-up between pecans and pistachios, so this recipe was right up my alley. And I thought the pistachios played very well with the flavor of the strawberries in particular.

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

All in all, just a superb pie. The flavor combination of strawberries and rhubarb is a classic for good reason, and here they are nestled in a flaky crust (though feel free to sub in your own recipe if you have a favorite) and then topped with a crunchy crumble laced with pistachios that popped against the fruit’s sweetness. The thickness of the filling was perfect, as it held together and didn’t run all over the place (such a fruit pie pet peeve of mine!). I hope you enjoy it!

Pistachio Crumble Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Source: The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

Ingredients:

CRUST:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tbs vodka
4-8 tbs ice water

FILLING:
1 ¼ lbs. fresh rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup strawberry liqueur, or a fruity port wine
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup strawberries, hulled and sliced

CRUMBLE TOPPING:
½ cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup chopped unsalted pistachios
7 tbs unsalted butter, diced

Directions:
For the CRUST: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or two forks to work the fat into the flour mixture. The butter should be the size of peas. Sprinkle the vodka over the flour mixture, then sprinkle 4 tbs water over. Using a rubber spatula, work the liquid into the flour mixture, adding more water 1 tbs at a time as needed to get the dough to just come together. Use your hands to work the dough into a ball, getting the last little scraggles of flour in the bottom of the bowl, and then flatten it into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch regular pie plate and fold the edges under, then crimp the edges decoratively with your fingers or a fork. Put in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
For the FILLING: combine the rhubarb, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium sauce pot. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the strawberry liqueur and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add it to the rhubarb mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened, no more than 5 minutes (this took me about 2 minutes – watch it carefully). Remove from the heat, transfer to the refrigerator and let it cool and chill for about 30 minutes.
For the CRUMBLE TOPPING: combine the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pistachios in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter using either your pastry blender or two forks until it forms coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Remove the crust and the rhubarb mixture from the refrigerator. Stir the strawberries into the rhubarb mixture, then pour into the pie crust. Sprinkle with the crumb topping (you likely won’t need all of it), then place the pie plate onto a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for a bit, then slice into wedges and serve. Keep in the refrigerator topped with aluminum foil.

Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Pie

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Pecan pie is probably one of the first desserts I ever learned how to make. Unless dipping strawberries in whipped cream counts. Likely not.

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You see, my grandfather, Pawpaw, is probably the world’s biggest pecan pie fiend, so when we weren’t sure what to get him for Christmas, my mom and I would bake him a pecan pie and that would be his Christmas present. More often than not, in my family pecan pie made an appearance at Christmas dinner as well as Thanksgiving.

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cranberry chocolate pecan pie 6496

So that probably figures into why I feel completely comfortable sharing a pecan pie with my dear readers even though it’s December and Thanksgiving leftovers are already a thing of the past.

Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Pie 6514

I’ve shared a very special version of pecan pie in the past here, and this one is quite different enough that I don’t feel redundant. Today we’re adding chocolate (!!!) and fresh cranberries. Because chocolate ALWAYS works, and because I’m firmly in the camp of believing cranberries belong on December menus all month long.

Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Pie 6505

We always baked Pawpaw a very traditional pecan pie, so I’m not sure how he’d feel about this one. But Matt and I did love it. I’m not gonna lie – it’s rich, as most pecan pies are, and I think the chocolate takes that over the top even more. But the pop of the tart cranberries was welcome to my palate, and I think this is a great pie to bake if you’re looking to shake up tradition a little. I hope you enjoy it!

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{One Year Ago: Mint Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies}
{Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Pecan Souffled Pancake}

Source: slightly adapted from The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

Ingredients:
Pie dough for 1 (9-inch) pie, chilled
1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup bourbon
1 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 oz. good quality dark chocolate, rough chopped
3 large eggs
1 (8 oz.) bag of chopped, toasted pecan pieces

Directions:
On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out your pie dough into a 12-inch circle. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate and transfer the dough to the plate. Crimp the edges decoratively, then chill the pie shell in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven.
To make the filling, combine the cranberries, sugar, bourbon, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the cranberries soften and the mixture thickens, 4-6 minutes. Add the butter and chocolate and stir until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool about 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy and well blended. Very slowly pour in a small amount (about ¼ cup) of the cranberry chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs, whisking continuously. This will temper your eggs so they do not scramble when you add them to the pie filling. After your eggs are tempered, slowly pour them into the cranberry mixture, stirring continuously until combined. Now stir in the pecans.
Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator. Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the pie filling into the pie shell, and bake until the filling is just set and slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. Cool the pie completely on a wire rack. Cut into slices and serve.

Apple Cider Cream Pie

Apple Cider Cream Pie 6178

Alright, y’all – Thanksgiving is one week from today!! Are you ready? I am, but that is because I’m being super, super lazy and hedonistic about Turkey Day this year. Not only am I not hosting, I’m not even bringing anything besides wine. Admittedly, that’s not like me, but it’s all because Matt and I are on vacation as we speak, spending a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina and won’t get back until the day before T’Giving, and then we will show up to dinner jet-lagged. Matt’s family is so lucky to have us as guests. [HA!]

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Apple Cider Cream Pie 6158

But for everyone else being much more productive and responsible Thanksgiving citizens, I’ve got another pie idea for your dessert table. This is for all of you who are sick of the usual pecanpumpkin-sweet potato-apple suspects and want to shake things up a little, while still remaining true to the season and its flavors.

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Apple cider!!! It’s not just for cakes and doughnuts anymore. Once you taste your first bite, you too will conclude that it’s quite at home in a pie. That said, make sure you get a high quality cider to use here. You’re reducing it down and concentrating the flavor, not boozing it up and drinking it, so quality really matters and people will notice if you cheat. The apple cider really shines through.

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And it’s a delicious pie. Its flavor is somewhat lighter than that of pumpkin or sweet potato pies, but when it comes to warmth and earthiness, this pie can play with the big boys. The warm spices are perfectly balanced with the almost tanginess of the cider and the tart apple flavor. Your guests will go crazy for it. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Cranberry Chiffon Pie, Truffle Butter Roast Turkey}
{Two Years Ago: Stuffing Bruschetta}

Source: slightly adapted from First Prize Pies by Allison Kave

Ingredients:
Pie dough for 1 (9-inch) pie
1 ½ cups cloudy, organic apple cider
4 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup sour cream
¼ tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Grease a 9” pie plate. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out your pie dough to about 11-12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to your prepared pie plate. Tuck the overhang under and crimp decoratively. Let it chill in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Line the bottom and sides with a piece of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake the crust for 20 minutes, until partially baked, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
While the pie crust is cooling, prepare the apple cider. Pour the apple cider into a small saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. You need ¾ cup reduced cider. Let it cool completely.
When the crust and cider reduction have cooled, it’s time to actually bake your pie. Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, sour cream and salt until fully incorporated. Slowly drizzle in the reduced cider and whisk to fully incorporate.
Place the pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust and bake about 50 minutes (you may need less time, so start checking earlier), until the filling has just set. The edges should be set firmly and the center should be jiggly but not liquidy. Remove the pie to a wire rack and cool completely.
Once the pie has cooled and is ready to serve, make the topping. In a large bowl, using your stand mixer, hand mixer or a whisk by hand, whip the cream with the sugar and cinnamon until stiff peaks form. Pile the cream on top of the cooled pie and sprinkle with a dash more ground cinnamon. Slice into wedges and serve.

Sorghum Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potato Pie

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Where I hail from, Thanksgiving tables see more of sweet potato pie than pumpkin pies, and the fact that I preferred pumpkin pie left me in something of a minority within my extended family. Preferred is actually a bit of an understatement; insisted might be more accurate? Since sweet potatoes are classified as vegetables – ugh, the horror – I typically refused to even try a bite of sweet potato pie. Never mind, of course, that pumpkin is also – horror of horrors – a vegetable.

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Somewhere in my mid-twenties I realized my stupidity, not to mention complete hypocrisy, and baked myself a sweet potato pie to try. I think it was July. No matter! The important thing is,  I took one bite and realized further how utterly moronic I’d been for so long, as sweet potato and pumpkin pies are extremely similar. They are about identical in texture and creaminess, with sweet potato pie being a slightly darker color, slightly less sweet, and having a little more intensity of flavor than pumpkin pie.

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I completely understand the appeal! Fortunately I now count myself among sweet potato pie’s legions of fans, and I knew I wanted to finally share one on my blog this Thanksgiving season. So then the question became, do I make the classic with just whipped cream, or something beyond that?

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Then I got to thinking about that traditional side dish/dessert/I-don’t-know-what-the-heck-it-is,-even marshmallow-topped sweet potato dish; the one I’ve never liked or even understood, and frankly still don’t. But it got the idea of marshmallows on top stuck in my head, and I thought, yeah I could make marshmallows from scratch myself, and then I thought more about sweet potato pie being from the South and I remembered seeing a Lee Brothers recipe for sorghum marshmallows and at that point it was all over. I’m making sorghum marshmallows and topping a sweet potato pie with them!!! And of course blasting them with a blowtorch to toast them!

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Sorghum Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potato Pie 6269

And here it is. It’s truly one of the best pies I’ve ever tasted. There is such a vast difference between homemade and store-bought marshmallows they hardly resemble each other, and yes, of course homemade is far superior. They lack chemical stabilizers, so when you hit them with the high heat from the broiler or blowtorch, they run all over the pie’s surface. Embrace it. It’s a lovely thing. As is this whole pie! Enjoy!!

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{Two Years Ago: Green Bean Casserole}

Source: marshmallows and pie adapted from First Prize Pies by Allison Kave

Ingredients:

MARSHMALLOWS:
1 tbs unflavored gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup sorghum syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

PIE:
Pie dough for 1 (9-inch) pie
1 lb. sweet potatoes
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg
2 tbs all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
2 tbs bourbon
½ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream

Directions:
First, make the MARSHMALLOWS:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add 2/3 cup lukewarm water, then sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
In a large, clean, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, sorghum syrup and another 2/3 cup water. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring only at the beginning to dissolve the sugar, and boil it until a candy thermometer registers 250-260 F.
When the sugar is close to reaching this stage, turn on the stand mixer to low and let it incorporate the softened gelatin and water. Once the sugar mixture has reached the appropriate temperature, make sure the mixer is on low speed, then carefully pour the hot syrup in a steady stream into the gelatin while mixing. Try to avoid the sides of the bowl and aim for the space between the beater and the side. When all of the syrup has been poured in, gradually increase the speed to high (but gradually, to avoid being splashed) and continue to beat until the mixture is very thick and has tripled in volume, about 5 to 10 minutes. Visual cues work well here – it will look like marshmallow fluff when it’s ready.
Grease an 8×8” glass baking dish and pour in the marshmallow mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap doesn’t touch the surface of the marshmallows. Let it set up, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Mine took around 8 hours to completely set up; if you can’t or don’t want to wait that long, you can spoon the marshmallow fluff into a pastry bag and pipe it onto the pie, then hit it with the blowtorch as directed.
Make the PIE: Preheat your oven to 425 F. Grease a 9” pie plate. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a circle 11-12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to the prepared pie plate. Tuck the overhang under and crimp the edges decoratively. Chill in the refrigerator while the oven fully preheats.
Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake until partially baked, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Keep the oven at 425 F. With the skin on, prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Put them on a lightly greased oven-safe baking dish and roast about 45 minutes, until a paring knife can be inserted into the thickest part with no resistance. Allow the potatoes to cool, then split them in half and scoop the flesh out into the bowl of your food processor. Discard the skins.
To the food processor, add the brown sugar and maple syrup. Puree until smooth. Add the egg and puree again. With the processor running, add the flour, cinnamon, ginger and salt, followed by the bourbon, milk, and finally the cream. Process the cream until just combined as you do not want to whip it.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Bake in the center of the oven for 40-50 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is still a little wobbly, like Jello.
Allow the pie to come to room temperature before adding the marshmallows.
Run a sharp paring knife around the edges of the marshmallows and tip them out onto a clean work surface. Cut them into squares, about the size of store-bought large marshmallows. Use a large, sharp knife for this.
Grease your hands lightly with cooking spray, then transfer the squares to the top of the pie. Wash your hands thoroughly, then use a blowtorch to char and brown the tops of the marshmallows. They will start to melt and run onto the pie. This is not a bad thing. For best results, let the pie firm up in the refrigerator at least a couple hours and up to overnight. Oh, and you will have leftover marshmallows. This is not a bad thing.

Pecan Praline Topped Pumpkin Pie

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For me personally, Thanksgiving is simply not Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie, so I couldn’t not share one with you this year. And while there is absolutely nothing (in my book anyway) wrong with a classic pumpkin pie piled high with whipped cream, I wanted to do something a little more unique this year.

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Enter a pecan praline topping! I’d actually tasted such a pumpkin pie a couple years ago, when my sister made one for us. We all raved, and even strongly considered stealing my brother-in-law’s slice when he left the house on some errands, as it was the last piece. Integrity got the better of us.

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Pecan Praline Topped pumpkin pie 5937

Needless to say, this pie is delicious and will be a huge hit at your dessert spread, oh, two weeks from this past Thursday.

A few recipe notes:

1) Make sure your pie is completely cooled before you add the praline topping.

2) The praline topping doesn’t spread like frosting or glaze. Wherever you put it, that’s where it immediately starts to set up. So plan accordingly.

3) You can serve this as soon as the praline sets up (which only takes a few minutes), but for best results, let the pie chill in the refrigerator for several hours or up to overnight.

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Enjoy this beautiful pie! I think it’s sort of a mish-mash between my Southern-ish roots (the praline) and my northern surroundings (pumpkin pie is more common up here, whereas sweet potato pie is more common down South). The praline topping would also be delicious on sweet potato pie, I should note. I hope you love it!

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Sources: Pie is from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion; Pecan Praline is adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson

{One Year Ago: Buttered Spiked Apple Cider}
{Two Years Ago: American Breakfast Sausage}

Ingredients:

PIE:
Pie dough for 1 (9-inch) pie
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree, not pie filling
3 large eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

PRALINE TOPPING:
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tbs heavy cream
1 ½ cups pecan halves
2 ½ tbs unsalted butter

Directions:
First, make the PIE. Preheat your oven to 425 F. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the pie dough to about a 12” circle. Grease a 9” pie plate, and carefully transfer the pie dough to the prepared plate. Use your hands to work the pie shell into place and then turn the edges under and crimp them decoratively. Set the pie shell in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and carefully transfer to the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake an additional 35-40 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges, but still jiggly in the center. Always remember, the center of the pie should be jiggly like Jello but not liquidy.
Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely on a cooling rack.
Now make the PRALINE TOPPING: place a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add both sugars, salt, and cream. Heat to boiling, turn the heat to low and continue cooking until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth and bubbling. Add the pecans and butter to the mixture and cook, stirring, until butter is melted. Let the mixture cook at a rolling simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit until the bubbling has stopped.
Quickly pour the hot praline over the top of the pie. Let the praline harden into place, then for best results, let the pie chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, if not overnight. Slice into wedges and serve.

Bacon-Streusel Topped Apple Pie

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The other day I promised you some Thanksgiving-appropriate desserts, and today I shall deliver! I think we’d all agree: Thanksgiving is just not Thanksgiving without dessert. And for me growing up, Turkey Day dessert equaled PIE. Lots and lots of beautiful pies would line a table and a couple hours after our turkey meal, we’d all dig in and stuff our faces with a little slice of each kind.

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We kept things pretty traditional with the pumpkin and pecan pies, but once every few years, someone would make a lovely deep-dish, double crust apple pie. I’ve always been a fan of apple pie, since before I even have real memories, apparently. As in, there are high chair pictures. And, I still am a huge fan!

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Bacon streusel topped apple pie 6034

When it comes to apple pies, the classic deep-dish version is always welcome, but this year I thought we’d shake things up a bit with a streusel topping instead of a top crust. And I couldn’t seem to stop there – oh no, I went ahead and included BACON in this streusel topping. Bacon bits!!! Oh, and let me not neglect to mention the bacon fat in the pie crust. And no, I didn’t clarify my bacon fat either. Something I didn’t do on purpose, I might add. When you clarify the bacon fat, it becomes mostly about texture, and I wanted that smoky, bacon-y goodness flavor in there too.

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Upon tasting, I must conclude it was the right decision. This pie is wonderfully familiar yet puts a unique spin on the good ol’ apple pie. Alert any vegetarians first, but I highly recommend putting this apple pie out on your dessert table this Thanksgiving. It’s really, really delicious. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Julie’s Spaghetti with Meat Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Apple Pecan Cheesecake Cupcakes, Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Capers}

Source: adapted from Bacon 24/7 by Theresa Gilliam

Ingredients:

CRUST:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Healthy pinch of kosher salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 tbs un-clarified bacon fat, chilled
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
6-8 tbs ice cold water

PIE FILLING:
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
2 medium Braeburn apples, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup all-purpose flour

BACON STREUSEL:
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
4 tbs very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon (about 6 slices)
2 tbs chopped, toasted walnuts

Directions:
To make the CRUST: combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and bacon fat and use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the fat into the flour, until the fat is the size of peas. Add the vinegar and the water and stir gently until the dough has mostly come together. Use your clean hands to briefly knead the dough for about 30 seconds, just to get the rest of the little crumbly bits to incorporate into the dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the PIE: preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease a regular 9” pie plate and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the pie dough disc from the refrigerator and set on a floured surface. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll the dough out into about a 12” circle. Transfer the dough to your prepared pie plate. You’ll probably have more overhang in some spots than others, so use kitchen shears to trim it and patch the more paltry spots. Fold the overhang under the pie dough, then use your fingers to crimp the dough decoratively. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, vinegar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, granulated sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and flour. Toss together very well until all the apples are coated.
Now make the BACON STREUSEL: in a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand and pea-sized clumps form. Add the crumbled bacon and walnuts and stir to mix.
Spoon the apples into the prepared pie shell. Smooth them out on top, then evenly sprinkle the bacon streusel over top. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is browned and the apples are tender, 50-60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Whiskey Buttermilk Pie

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I have one, major, not-so-fond memory of buttermilk as a child. I was vaguely (very vaguely) aware that it was used in baking things like biscuits and pancakes, but I never put much thought into exactly what buttermilk was. Until one fateful day, I was at my grandparents’ house. I opened the fridge looking for something, I don’t remember what, and there sat a carton of buttermilk. And so I pondered it… buttermilk… Buttermilk. Why hadn’t I had this before? It sounded just delicious. And since my parents had never stocked it nor offered it to us, I automatically assumed it must be fatty and rich and delicious, because why else would those health nuts deny me this beautifully-named dairy beverage?

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I helped myself to quite the tall glass. So excited was I, I took a pretty decent-sized gulp. And this is where the story gets extremely predictable, even more so than during the first paragraph. Oh the horror. The sourness, the bitterness, it was so unbelievably terrible! It wasn’t just thick, it was gloppy. And so sour and bitter!! Needless to say, I did not finish my glass, so my sincere apologies to Nina and Pawpaw for wasting that buttermilk.

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This little incident seared into my memory, so you can understand that I was always reluctant to try buttermilk pie. I mean, why would you ruin pie? Or so my thinking always went… Turns out, no – buttermilk does not ruin a pie. Au contrare, it actually makes it quite delicious. And the whiskey didn’t hurt anything. Of course. I’m now happily in love with buttermilk pie, though if I ever again express desire to drink buttermilk straight out, please just dial 9-1-1. Something is terribly wrong… Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Apple Streusel Bread}
{Two Years Ago: Huevos Rancheros, Apple Escarole Salad, Veal Ricotta Meatballs}

Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Ingredients:
½ recipe of this amazing pie dough
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus ½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbs all-purpose flour
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 tbs whiskey
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a regular 9” pie plate. Trim and fold the crust overhang as needed and decoratively crimp the pie edges. Or, flatten the pie on the edges of the pie plate and make pretty indentations with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the pie shell while you make the filling.
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and flour, making sure there are no lumps. Add the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla, whiskey, nutmeg and salt. Whisk to combine.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and place in the preheated oven. It’s best to set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet, just in case of spill-over, and it makes it easier to remove later.
Turn the oven down to 325 F and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still a tiny bit wobbly, but not liquidy.
Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
Store leftover pie in the fridge.

Watermelon Cream Pie

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Yes, you read the title of this recipe correctly, which means that yes, you can put watermelon in a pie! It was a new concept for me too. I was thrilled when it worked so beautifully, and just had to text my sister to let her know of my ultimate pie feat, but expectedly I received a text back from her something along the lines of, “Um, seriously? How does that even work?”

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Well, I’ll tell ya’! It’s actually something of a chiffon pie. The original recipe isn’t technically chiffon, but mine wasn’t setting up, and I couldn’t bear to throw in the towel, so I added gelatin and then it set, and it was still uber delicious, so we’re going with it.

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But yes, you puree the watermelon, strain out the seeds, boil it down with sugar and lime juice, add bloomed gelatin, then pour it into a blind-baked pie crust and sit it in the fridge for a few hours. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream, then slice and serve the bad boy up to your dumb-founded family and/or guests.

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It would be incredibly perfect for this holiday weekend; I don’t know about you, but July 4th screams watermelon to me. I do think this pie would be very welcome at your shindig. It will travel well, though if you are transporting it, I’d recommend making the whipped cream ahead of time and transferring it to a kitchen storage container and then assembling the pie right before serving it. I hope y’all enjoy this one!

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{One Year Ago: Chocolate and Salty Peanut Butter Chunk Ice Cream}

Source: adapted, a little bit, from First Prize Pies by Allison Kave

Ingredients:
1 9” pie crust, blind-baked and cooled
6 cups cubed seedless watermelon (about 60% of a baby watermelon)
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbs powdered sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Puree the watermelon chunks in a blender until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup. Use a rubber spatula to push on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. You should have 4 cups. Discard the solids.
Ladle out ¼ cup of the puree into a small bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch and set aside.
Pour the remaining watermelon puree into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, lime juice and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. When it is boiling, whisk the cornstarch mixture once more to make sure it’s smooth, then pour that into the boiling pot. Lower the heat and simmer for about  7-10 minutes, until it is reduced somewhat and can coat the back of a spoon. While the puree is simmering, add the gelatin to 3 tbs cold water. Let sit 5 minutes.
When the watermelon puree mixture has done its time in the simmering pot, add the gelatin and whisk to combine. Once smooth, pour the filling into the waiting pie crust. Place the pie onto a plate or baking sheet. Carefully transfer it to the refrigerator and let it set up, uncovered, for about 4-5 hours.
Make the topping. In a stand mixer, or in a bowl with a hand mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie, but not until right before serving. Slice and serve. Keep leftovers refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap.

Strawberry Chiffon Pie

Strawberry Chiffon Pie 021

This deliciously addictive pie is from my childhood, a dessert we all loved and requested many multiple times over the years. This was occasionally served in lieu of birthday cake – it’s that good.

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My mom gifted me the recipe right before I got married, and for reasons I can’t fathom or explain, last week was the first time I had made it. The original recipe calls for boxed strawberry jello mix and vanilla ice cream. Since I’ve gotten away from cooking and baking with mixes, I decided to try my hand at making this a little more from scratch – and I managed to commit a large culinary sin in the process. But then, I also got away with said culinary sin, because honestly this pie tasted fantastic, it set up just fine, and no slice went uneaten.

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Instead of boxed jello mix, I used plain, unflavored gelatin. Which you’re supposed to dissolve in cold water. I used very hot water, because I’d forgotten that little rule during baking. Oops. So I proceeded, worrying the whole time if it would set up. But, it set up beautifully, and it appears that I got away with it! However, next time I will treat the gelatin properly, and that’s how I’m writing the recipe for you.

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Enjoy this one, guys – it’s so perfect for summer cook-outs and hot days!

{One Year Ago: Grilled Shrimp with Tarragon-Tabasco Butter, What is the Difference Between White and Yellow Cake?, Strawberry Banana Bread, Cream Cheese Biscuits}

Ingredients:
1 pie crust for a 9” pie plate, blind baked and cooled (I used a half recipe of this pie crust)
1 packet unflavored gelatin
4 tbs cold water
¾ cup boiling water
1 pint good quality or homemade strawberry ice cream
Pinch of salt
1 lb. fresh or good-quality frozen strawberries, thawed

Directions:
Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it for 5 minutes. Pour the boiling water over the gelatin, and stir to combine.
Add the ice cream, in chunks, to the hot water. Stir to melt the ice cream completely. If your ice cream stops melting, microwave it in 15 second intervals until it’s melted and smooth. Add the salt and stir to combine.
If using fresh strawberries, wash and hull them. If using frozen, drain them well and blot dry with paper towels. Slice the strawberries.
Fold the strawberries into the ice cream mixture. Immediately pour into the cooled pie shell. You’ll likely have a little extra filling. Pour that into two bowls or small glasses. Place the pie, plus the extra bowls into the fridge. Let set up at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Slice the pie into wedges and serve. Keep any leftovers chilled.

Carrot Pie

Carrot Pie

When I was in college, I worked at Victoria’s Secret part time and over winter breaks and summers for a couple of years. Part of my job description of course included helping the customers find what they were looking for, and many a time, those customers were men shopping for their wives or girlfriends. Almost all of them had quite the awkward vibe going, as if they’d never done this before and felt really clueless. (And I would have to suppose many of them were, judging by the number of returns I did).

carrots for carrot pie

carrots

But anyway, these men were rather shy customers most of the time, so you had to take the lead and ask questions to ascertain what they were looking for, but in asking questions you had to be a bit delicate to make sure you steered clear of stepping in a big pile of TMI. So usually we would start by asking about the lady’s shape and dress size. And I cannot tell you how often we women employees would hear in response, “Well, she looks like you! Only different.”

Yeah, not helpful. Not helpful at all, in fact.

Carrot pie

Which brings me to this pie. Although a bit more elegantly worded than my former Vickie’s Secret male customers, the cookbook’s blurb about this pie can be summed up as, “It’s like pumpkin pie; only different.” And while that sort of is an accurate description, it’s somewhat maddening, so I’m going to try and describe this pie without referencing the more familiar pumpkin pie.

Carrot Pie

First of all, yes, carrot pie is a thing. And why not? If you can have carrot cake, then you can have carrot pie. This is very reminiscent of Indian flavors, so it’s very warm without overpowering the carrot flavor. It’s custardy but quite light; its texture was less smooth than most custard based pies, yet not all the way to grainy, so still quite pleasant. I think carrot pie would make a perfect dessert for the end of an Indian food themed dinner party. Enjoy!

carrot pie

Source: A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Ingredients:
Basic pie dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate (I used a half batch of this recipe)
1 lb. carrots, peeled and ends removed
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate.
Roll out the pie dough on a floured surface and fit it into the prepared pie plate. Price the bottom and sides of the crust with tines of a fork, then place the crust in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then remove the crust from the oven. Leave the oven on and reduce the temperature to 375 F.
Remove the beans/weights from the crust and let it cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Cut the prepped carrots into ¼-inch rounds. Fill a small saucepan with a couple inches of water and let it come to a soft boil. Add the carrots and let them boil until softened. Drain them thoroughly and transfer the carrots to the bowl of your food processor. Puree until very smooth. Now add the sugar, milk, spices, and salt to the carrot puree. Process again until smooth and uniform. Pour the mixture into a medium sized bowl.
Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl until blended. Using either a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form in a separate bowl.
Whisk the beaten egg yolks into the carrot puree until thoroughly blended, then whisk in the beaten whites. No need to be careful about not deflating them, so you don’t have to be gentle when incorporating them into the carrot puree.
Pour the puree into the cooled pie shell. Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set.
Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Hint: it’s really tasty served chilled. And once it’s chilled, you can totally pick up a slice with your hands and eat it while walking around. I heard that from a friend…