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Entries in pies (56)

Saturday
Mar102012

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Orange Cream-Chocolate Tarts

Image: Pillsbury Bake-OffCakeSpy Note: I am beyond ecstatic to announce that I have been invited as a media guest to the 45th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off in Orlando, Florida! The event will take place in late March; til then, I am going to feature several of the sweets finalists here in anticipation of the big day!

Riddle me this. When a creamsicle and a fudgesicle and a pie all come crashing together, what do you get? 

Probably something like these orange cream chocolate tarts, a sweet invention by Lenore Klass of Koloa, Hawaii, whose creation is a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off this year.

As Lenore puts it, "Wow! Here's an individual dessert guaranteed to dazzle! Flaky pastry holds a hidden chocolate layer topped with a creamy orange filling."

To which I respond: "Wow! Get in my mouth, you beautiful thing." Here's the recipe. 

Orange Cream-Chocolate Tarts

Makes 6 tarts

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water  
  • 4 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
  • 1box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate baking chips

Procedure

  1. In small bowl, soften gelatin in cold water. In 2-quart heavy saucepan, stir together egg yolks, sugar, 1 tablespoon of the orange peel, orange juice, lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Cook over low heat, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, or until slightly thickened; remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter, gelatin and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla; stir until butter is melted. Fill large bowl with ice water; place saucepan in water. Cool egg mixture, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until thickened.
  2. In medium bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Reserve 1/2 cup of the whipped cream; refrigerate. Carefully fold orange mixture into remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate while preparing tart shells.
  3. Heat oven to 425°F. Cover outsides of 6 (6-oz) custard cups or ramekins with foil; spray with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Place cups upside down on 15x10-inch pan with sides. Unroll pie crusts; roll each into 12-inch round. Using 4 1/2-inch scalloped or round cookie cutter, cut 3 rounds from each crust. Place dough round over back of each custard cup, pressing dough to fit around cup. Prick dough several times with fork.
  4. Bake shells 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove shells from cups; place open side up, on cooling rack.
  5. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and remaining 1 tablespoon butter on High 10 to 20 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until smooth. Stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Brush thick coating of chocolate mixture over bottom and up side of inside of each shell. Let stand 5 minutes or until set.
  6. Evenly divide orange filling among shells. Top tarts with reserved whipped cream and remaining 1 tablespoon orange peel. Refrigerate 1 hour (filling will be soft). Store covered in refrigerator.
Wednesday
Feb082012

Scouting Sweetness: Neapolitan Cream Pie in a Samoas Cookie Crust

Baby got back

Recently, I was handed a secret spy mission by a super-sweet establishment.

Oh, you've probably heard of them...or at least their cookies.

Yup: I'm talking about the Girl Scouts. Of Western Washington, to be specific. When these sweet Scouts announced their recipe contest, in advance of their cookie sale to the public (March 2-18, and you can find them via cookie locator, as well as an app, which will be updated closer to the date of the sale), I knew I had to be part of it.

SpyMission

But before anything else...I received a super secret spy package (spoiler: it included cookies). Cue the "Mission: Impossible" music, and off to baking.

Would I make a grasshopper pie, using a Thin Mint crust? Would I make Samoas cupcakes? Would I make 'em into milkshakes and call it a day?

No, no, no.

First, I tried a lemonade cake festooned with the lemony crescent meltaway cookies known as Savannah Smiles...and while it was tasty, it was a little garish, and not quite special enough.

Girl Scout Cookies

And then, it hit. Perhaps inspired by recent CakeSpy contest winner Molly, mixed with a little bit of these candies that I adore, I decided to go for a Neapolitan Triple-threat. 

Neapolitan Samoas Pie

And O.M.G. was this thing good. Employing a Samoas cookie crust, which became crisp and caramelly and so rich it almost (but not quite) hurt, it got even better with three flavors of milky, creamy pudding on top--and then got even more delicious (and cuter, in my opinion) with a garnish of whipped cream and even more cookies on top.

If you're scouting sweetness, you've certainly found it with this recipe!

Samoas Pie

Neapolitan Cream Pie in a Samoas Cookie Crust

For the Crust:

  • 2 boxes of Samoas cookies--save 4-6 cookies, but with the rest, ground coarsely by hand or in a food processor
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1 large package instant vanilla pudding (5.1 ounce size)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate milk
  • 1/2 cup strawberry milk

To Finish: Whipped cream, and lots of it.

Methodology:

  1. Make the crust. Directions Mix the cookie crumbs and melted butter until well blended . Press mixture into a 9 inch greased pie plate (you need more butter or shortening to grease it because the caramel from the cookies will make them stick to the pan!). Also, you might want to flour or wet your hands first, because this business gets sticky. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 5-7 minutes. Cool for at least an hour, or until the shell is at room temperature. You can put it in the fridge to chill more rapidly, too.
  2. Divide the pudding mix into three equal portions. Place each portion in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. First, mix 1/2 cup of strawberry milk with one portion of pudding mix, whisking until smooth; pour on top of  baked pie shell.
  4. Next, mix 1/2 cup of regular whole milk with a second portion of pudding mix, whisking until smooth; pour on top of the chocolate pudding layer, and gently spread to cover the layer entirely.
  5. Finally, mix 1/2 cup of chocolate milk with the final portion of pudding mix, whisking until smooth; pour on top of the milk layer, and gently spread to cover the layer entirely.
  6. Finally, top it all off with a very generous helping of whipped cream right before serving. Garnish with your left-over Samoas!

Connect with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington online: http://www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsWW and https://twitter.com/#!/GirlScoutsWW; the Twitter hash tag is: #GSCookieRecipe.

Friday
Jan132012

Batter Chatter: Interview with Christy Beaver, Co-Author of Mini Pies

Mini Empire Bakery pies

Curious about the life of a pie-maker and cookbook writer? Here's an interview with Christy Beaver, co-author of Mini Pies: Adorable and Delicious Recipes for Your Favorite Treats (you can find a recipe from the book here!):

So. Your book is out. How does it feel? It's surreal. I can't imagine how new parents feel, because I was totally overwhlemed with joy holding a cookbook.

What was the hardest part about developing recipes for a book? once you get past the standard flavors, developing creative flavors that push the boundries (just enough but not too much) was a fun challenge.

I have a friend (really, I do) who doesn't like Pumpkin Pie. I know, I know. What other pies might you suggest for Thanksgiving? I agree with Morgan (read her interview here). And the savory sweet potato might work for them.

What is your personal favorite recipe in the book? Aunt Jimma's chocolate pie. Its SO freakin' good and totally worth the effort. My second favorite is Verry Berry.

If your partner, Morgan, is expanding Mini Empire to the east coast, and you have a book now, does that mean it's a Maxi-Empire now? It will always be mini and adorbale. That way no one will see it coming when we take over the world.

Any advice for people who want to pitch / write a cookbook, now that you've had the experience? It's a lot of work, and totally worth it. You have to find a balance between being emotionally invested in your project and not bursting into tears once the editor gets ahold of it and changes everything.

What's next? More cookbooks, hopefully. :) We want to write one for mini cupcakes and one for scookies.

Friday
Jan132012

Batter Chatter: Interview with Morgan Greeseth, Co-Author of Mini Pies

Mini Empire Bakery pies

Curious about the life of a pie-maker and cookbook writer? Here's an interview with Morgan Greenseth, co-author of Mini Pies: Adorable and Delicious Recipes for Your Favorite Treats (you can find a recipe from the book here!):

So. Your book is out. How does it feel? It feels amazing and surreal to finally hold the book in my own hands.

What was the hardest part about developing recipes for a book? Not gaining 10 lbs from testing all the pies! Luckily we had many volunteers to sample our batches and give feedback.

I have a friend (really, I do) who doesn't like Pumpkin Pie. I know, I know. What other pies might you suggest for Thanksgiving? Bourbon pecan works wonders, and many have stated that they haven't liked Bourbon Pecan until they tried ours. Sweet potato is a good alternate as well. Otherwise, chocolate pie because chocolate is delicious at any occasion.

What is your personal favorite recipe in the book? Very berry, hands down. The first time I tried it, I exclaimed "Holy crap this is good!" Well, more like "hum mum mmm mm uh mmd " because my mouth was full, but I had to let it out.

How did Susanne become such an expert on lemon meringue? I'm intrigued by the recipe intro. Susanne is my mother, and as they say, mothers know best. I grew up with this pie and it was the only pie I liked for years.

If Morgan is expanding Mini Empire to the east coast, and you have a book now, does that mean it's a Maxi-Empire? Although our empire has reached a vast audience, our operation is still as bite-sized as our treats ;)

Any advice for people who want to pitch / write a cookbook, now that you've had the experience? We were fortunate enough to have been asked to write the cookbook, so we don't have experience with pitching. But for those who want to write, I'd say three tips: 1. Make sure you have friends who'll test your treats. 2. Failed recipes are good things. They're help you create an even better recipe. 3. Mothers and grandmothers give some of the best baking advice.

What's next? We have a few secret things in the works and possibly a mini pie kit. 

Buy the book: Mini Pies: Adorable and Delicious Recipes for Your Favorite Treats.

Monday
Jul112011

Hop to It: Grasshopper Pie in a Brownie Crust Recipe for Serious Eats

Comprised of a boozy, creamy mint filling in a chocolate cookie pie crust, Grasshopper Pie is a deliciously refreshing summertime dessert.

But when you swap out the chocolate cookie crust for a crumbled brownie crust, you've got something even more amazing. When you pour the hot filling onto the rich brownie crust, they meld together beautifully when chilled. If you serve it with a big scoop of ice cream on top (not excessive at all) it verges into brownie sundae territory, in the best way possible.

For the full writeup and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Sunday
Jul032011

Sweet Summer: Apple and Bing Cherry Galette Recipe from Macrina Bakery

Image: Macrina BakeryHappy July, indeed: it's time for Macrina's recipe of the month! This time, it's for something that sounds delectable even to those (like me) who are wary of fruit-based desserts: Apple and Bing Cherry Galette. Sweet with a bit of sour? Sounds pretty summery, and perfect to be paired with ice cream. Here's the recipe introduction:

I have fond memories of the first time we made this dessert. My friend Kay Simon, wine maker and co-owner of Washington's Chinook Winery, had stopped by the café with some bottles of Merlot that we'd ordered. She also brought along a surprise gift - five pounds of sweet, sun-ripened cherries from her neighbor's farm in Prosser, Washington. We popped a few into our mouths and started daydreaming of all the wonderful pastries we could make with the fruit. The end result was one of my favorite desserts.

Apple and Bing Cherry Galette Recipe

Serves 8 to 10

  • 6 Granny Smith apples 
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups fresh Bing cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 recipe Flaky Pie Dough, chilled (recipe follows)
  • Egg wash made with 1 egg and
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse raw sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel and core apples and cut into 1/2-inch slices (approximately 12 slices per apple).

Place apple slices and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add sugar, flour and cinnamon and toss until slices are evenly coated. Spread apples into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and dot with pieces of butter. Roast on center rack of oven for 15 minutes to release some of the juices and intensify the flavors. Set aside to cool.

Increase oven temperature to 385°F. In a large bowl, combine cooled apples, cherries and vanilla extract. Mix gently with a wooden spoon and set aside.

Coat your hands with flour and shape the chilled piece of dough into a ball. Working on a floured surface, flatten the ball slightly and roll it into a 14-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Gently transfer rolled dough onto a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet.

Pile fruit onto center of the dough, leaving excess liquid in the bowl, and spread to cover about 8 inches, leaving a 3-inch border of dough around the filling. Lift border on top of the filling, tucking and folding the dough to create a gathered or pleated finish. Lift each of the folds up and brush underneath with egg wash to seal the crust. Brush all exposed dough with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse raw sugar.

Chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Place tart on center rack of oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and bake for 40 minutes more or until crust is golden brown. If the apples start to burn before the crust is ready, cover them with a small piece of aluminum foil. Let cool on the baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Flakey Pie Dough
Makes enough dough for 2 double-crusted (9-inch) pies, or 2 (10-inch) rustic galettes or tarts.

 

  • 5 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 - inch pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1 cup ice water

 

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and toss together.  Add butter and cut it into the flour until the texture is coarse and crumbly.  You can use a pastry cutter or your fingers, but I like to use 2 forks.  Break up the shortening and add it in small pieces.  Cut in the shortening until the dough is crumbly again.  Add ice water and mix just until the water is incorporated and the dough sticks together when pinched.  This dough will be quite sticky, so dust your hands with flour before handling it.  Pull dough from bowl onto a lightly floured work surface (chilled marble is ideal) and pat it into a block.  Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.  Since this recipe makes enough dough for 2 pies or tarts, I recommend cutting it in half before chilling.

Flakey Pie Dough will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and for up to 1 month in the freezer.  If you freeze half or all of the dough, it’s a good idea to double wrap it.  Frozen dough needs to be fully defrosted before it’s used, and my preferred method is to transfer the dough to the refrigerator 1 day before I plan on baking with it.  The dough can also be defrosted at room temperature, but it needs to be re-chilled in the refrigerator for 1 hour prior to using.

Monday
Apr252011

Peeping Yum: Leftover Peeps S'more Pie Recipe for Serious Eats

Easter is over, which means that all of the Easter candy is available at extreme discount (so glad!). And here's a perfect way to use those surplus sugarcoated marshmallow creatures: Peeps S'more Ice Cream Pie.

Made by filling a buttery graham cracker crust with rocky road ice cream, this frozen delight gets a sweet finish with broiled Peeps nesting on top, making for a treat that is as much eye candy as it is sweet to eat.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Wednesday
Apr062011

CakeSpy Undercover: Cake Gumshoe Lanis Visits Sugarpie Bakery in Calgary

CakeSpy Note: The sweetest kind of correspondence? A letter that comes with love...and a good bakery tip. And here's a good one I recently received from Cake Gumshoe Lanis in Calgary, Alberta, Canada:

Dear CakeSpy,

I am writing you from Calgary, Alberta Canada. No lie, it has snowed 15 cm here today, on April 2nd. Being the good Canadian that I am, I trekked out to our Kingsland Farmers Market and what I found was awesome and I knew I had to share it with someone.

Here is the rundown: I leisurely walked into the market and came across Sugarpie Bakery. At first, I thought they were selling cake and cookie pops. I immediately asked the lady at the counter and she said, “Oh no, these are actual little pies, we call them pie pops.”

They were adorable and the April special was Key Lime Pie. I happily scooped one up and then bought my fruits and veggies and headed home. After supper it was the moment of truth, and I sunk my teeth into a delicate pie crust that was actually very sturdy. It was light and held the mini pie like a precious gift. There was a tart, delicious lime middle. I was impressed, and it was the perfect snack. The use of natural ingredients made all the difference. I shared with my sister, and she commented on the flaky goodness. I can't wait to go back and try their other flavours.

Sending love from the Great White North, Cake Gumshoe Lanis

Want more? Discover more sweetness at sugarpiebakery.ca.

Tuesday
Mar292011

Pie Slam Profiles: Blueberry Pie by Wendy Johnson

CakeSpy Note: This is part of a series of Pie Slam Profiles, featuring the recipes and stories of each of the 9 entrants in last week's Pi(e) Day Pie Slam! This entry is for Blueberry pie, by Wendy Johnson. Here's her story, followed by her recipe.

Pie : a (true) love story

Did Grandma Radi make pies?  I asked.

No, that’s the one thing she couldn’t cook.  They came out tough.

And Grandma Johnson?

No, she couldn’t really cook anything.

Well, how did you start making pie?

I just taught myself, the first pie I made was when we were first married, maybe just a week. That was the best pie I ever made, I could never get them to turn out as good.

What kind was it?

Lemon meringue.

Mom was red-eyed, staring out the passenger window as we drove through the stultifying Texas landscape of oil wells, pawn shops and used car dealerships.

She would silently work a crossword for awhile, or concentrate on her knitting, and then suddenly start in about how they met, about the awful yellow sweater he was wearing when his friends came up to her friends after a Sweet Home High School Basketball game.

Or about how he courted her in his father’s 1960 dark blue Buick LeSabre convertible with the white ragtop. Ray Charles would’ve been singing “I can’t stop loving you.” They’d put the top down, blast the heat and cruise around Buffalo, New York in the chilly spring of 1962.

As we neared Birmingham Alabama, she told me without malice of how dad’s parents had offered him money to prevent the marriage of their son to the daughter of Italian immigrants. Of how my Grandmother, on her death bed, had said to my mom, “I was pretty hard on you wasn’t I? I’m sorry for that.”

The Lemon Meringue was the first tradition that they alone owned. Not from his family or hers. My mother created pie for my father. Over the years they shared, almost 50, she honed her skill, her deft first generation hands turning flour and butter and fruit and sugar into expertly sculpted deliciousness, perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, between lightness and substance.

And what about the last pie, do you remember what it was?

It must’ve been blueberry. Your father loved blueberry.

Here's the recipe:

Blueberry Pie

For the Butter Pastry:

  • 2 cups all purpose unbleached white flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cups unsalted butter (or 2/3 cup butter and 1/3 cup leaf lard.) 
  • 1/3 cup cold water (may add 1-2 tsp cider or white vinegar.) 

For the Filling:

  • 3 cups Blueberries and 3 cups Wild Blueberries 
  • ½-1 cup light brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • The juice of one fresh-squeezed lemon
  • Nutmeg (1/4 tsp), Cinnamon (2 tsp), Cardamom (1/4 tsp), Ground cloves (1/4 tsp) and ground ginger (1 tsp.) (add spices to taste)

 Procedure 

  1. Put everything in the refrigerator for an hour or so before making the pastry (the mixing bowl, the water, the lard, the butter).  Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine the flour, salt, and butter in a large mixing bowl and work with a pastry cutter until the butter chunks are the size of peas. You should still be able to see small pieces of butter. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and use your hands to flatten some of the bits of fat into flakey pieces. Add the water all at once and gather the jumble together without really stirring or kneading, just until the mixture comes together to form a shaggy mass. Without handling the dough any more than necessary, divide in half and press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate it while preparing the berries.
  2. Wash fresh berries, or use frozen.  Put all berries in bowl and toss with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and spices.  Add more sugar or spices to taste, but be careful not to over sweeten.
  3. On a well-floured surface, roll out one disk of the pastry into a 12-inch circle onto floured parchment paper.  Lift the parchment paper and place dough-side down into a buttered 10-inch pie pan. Press the pastry into place and pour in the berry mix. Roll the second disk of dough into a 12-inch circle and plant it squarely on top of the filling. Crimp the edges together to create a seal, then trim off an excess dough. Pierce the top crust with a fork or knife to vent juices. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is boiling out of the crust a bit, about 1 hour. Cool thoroughly on a rack before slicing.

(Pastry recipe adapted from: Greg Atkinson, Copyright 2007)

Sunday
Mar272011

Cake Byte: American Pie Opens in Georgetown, Seattle

This week, when Mr. Spy and I made our usual visit to Calamity Jane's for breakfast, we saw a most beautiful sight: American Pie, which has been "about to open" for a very, very long time, has now officially opened its doors in Georgetown, Seattle.

Sadly, they are not open on Sundays, though, so we didn't get to try the pies.

However, trusted CakeSpy comrade Terri, who works at Calamity Jane's, gave us the 411. Terri can most certainly be trusted, for many reasons, including but not limited to A) the fact that she was the first customer on the first day that American Pie opened; and B) She is the type of person who hosts butter parties.

Terri reports that she has tried several types of their pie, and has officially developed a deep love for their Chicken Pot Pie; on the sweet front, a blueberry pie with lattice-top crust and mini pecan pies have also struck her fancy. The crust is an exceptionally flaky, buttery specimen, adding a nice, savory contrast to sweet fillings, and a buttery complement to savory fillings.

They also sell a variety of empanadas and Spanish cookies, says Terri. While on the one hand it may seem funny that an establishment called American Pie sells a variety of ethnic sweets, it really is kind of all-American in that our nation truly is a melting pot.

Wary of yet more pie in Seattle? Well, as Terri so aptly put it, "I love pie. I mean, putting delicious things in buttery crust--what could be better than that?". Amen to that--bring on the butter, bring on the pie, bring on the sweet revolution!

Of course, if you're in Georgetown on a sunday, when American Pie is not open, Calamity Jane's does have dessert:

American Pie, 5631 Airport Way South, Georgetown, Seattle.

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