Strawberry-Lemonade Meringue Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ pie

for pastry:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 6 Tbspn ice water

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Cut in the butter in ~Tbspn-sized chunks.
  3. Process the flour, salt, and butter for a few pulses.
  4. Slowly add in water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition.
  5. Process just until water is integrated and the mixture is the texture of tiny pebbles. When you press the mixture between your fingers, it should form a dough.
  6. Dump the dough onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured board and form into a ball. If the dough has warmed up too much during this process, freeze for ten to fifteen minutes before continuing.
  7. Roll out the pastry dough and place into pie plate. Prick the bottom of the pie several times with a fork. Return to the freezer for ten to fifteen minutes if the dough has warmed up too much in the rolling process.
  8. Before baking, line the inside of the pie crust with a piece of parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).
  9. Bake in the oven for ~15-17 minutes, until the outside rim of the crust begins to turn a golden brown. Carefully remove the pie weights and parchment paper, lower the oven temperature to 190 degrees C, and continue to bake for 5-7 minutes more, until the pie crust has turned golden brown and is no longer shiny. Remove from the oven and let cool.

for strawberry-lemonade curd filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn cornstarch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbspn freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the strawberries until smooth.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in the strawberry puree and lemon juice.
  3. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  4. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  5. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning). Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  6. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for lemon curd filling:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbspn cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 Tbspn butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbspn freshly grated lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in the lemon juice.
  2. Add the egg yolk and butter, blending until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning). Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for meringue and assembly:

  • 7-8 egg whites
  • 1/2 tspn cream of tartar
  • 8 Tbspn granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Place egg whites in a large bowl and sprinkle in the cream of tartar. Stir using a whisk until the surface of the egg whites is completely covered with foam.
  3. Increase speed and whip the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar, until the whites hold glossy stiff (but still a bit rounded) peaks. Do not overbeat!
  4. Add in the vanilla extract with a quick stir.
  5. Fill the pre-baked pie crust with strawberry-lemonade curd and then swirl in the lemon curd.
  6. Top with meringue, making sure to seal the meringue to the pie crust at the outer edges.
  7. Bake for fifteen minutes, until the meringue is just barely golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool for at least one hour at room temperature before serving.

Peach and Lemon Verbena Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 8-inch deep dish pie

for pastry:

  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks (226 g) butter, cold
  • ½ tspn salt
  • 1 Tbspn almond extract
  • 6 – 7 Tbspn water, cold

for filling:

  • 3 lb (1.36 kg) ripe but firm large yellow peaches
  • 10 – 12 lemon verbena leaves
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (30 g) tapioca flour
  • 1 tspn almond extract
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 Tbspn heavy cream
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas. Add the almond extract and mix briefly. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed between two fingers. There should still be chunks of butter. Do not overmix! Form the dough into a disc, wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and pit the peaches, and cut each peach into 8 slices. Toss the peach slices with the lemon verbena and sugar. Transfer the peaches to a strainer suspended over a saucepan. Let macerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Reserve about  ⅓ of the dough. Roll out the other ⅔ of dough on a lightly-floured surface to ⅛-inch thick. Place the dough in a 8-inch springform pan, trimming the excess. Combine the excess dough with the reserved dough and roll out to ⅛-inch thick. Return both the pan and the prepared dough to the refrigerator to chill.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220° C, with the baking rack in the bottom-most position.
  5. Transfer the peach slices to a bowl. With the juices in the saucepan, cook over medium high heat for 12 – 15 minutes, until bubbling and thickened. Pour the reduction over the peaches. Add the tapioca flour and almond extract and toss to combine.
  6. Separate the egg. Whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream. Remove the prepared pie shell and pre-rolled dough from the refrigerator. Brush a layer of egg white on the bottom of the pie shell. Fill the pie shell with the peaches. Cut strips of the rolled dough and create a lattice pattern on top of the pie. Brush the top with the egg yolk wash, and sprinkle very generously with turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the pie on the bottom-most oven rack for 20 minutes. When the top of the pie turns brown, place a piece of foil lightly on top. Reduce the oven to 190° C and bake for 40 more minutes, until the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool briefly on a wire rack. Serve warm or cooled, but preferably on the same day the pie is made.

Pumpkin pie with caramel brandy hard sauce

INGREDIENTS:
makes two 4.5″ piesfor pumpkin puree:

  • 1 small pumpkin

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Split the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Discard the seeds.
  3. Place the pumpkin halves face down on a baking sheet with sides.
  4. Bake for 1 hour until fork-tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Puree the pumpkin pulp in a food processor until smooth.

for pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold, in small cubes
  • 4 Tbspn water, cold

for pumpkin filling:

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbspn dark brown sugar
  • white sugar, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • pumpkin pie spices, to taste (try: ginger, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, white pepper)
  • heavy cream, opt., for crust
  • turbinado sugar, opt., for crust

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add the water, 1 Tbspn at a time until, when you press the dough between your fingers, it holds together. Do not overmix!
  4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, make the pumpkin filling. Combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, white sugar (if using), eggs, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/4 cup whole milk into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out, about 1/8″ thick. Place the dough into the pie plates and crimp the edges. Using a fork, pierce the bottom of the crust several times.
  8. If the dough has become soft from rolling, place in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.
  9. Line the inside of the pie crusts with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans.
  10. Bake for 15-17 minutes, then remove from oven. Remove the beans and parchment paper and, if desired, line the edge of the pie crust with foil. Return to the oven for 5-7 more minutes until the crust is golden. Remove and fill with pumpkin filling.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the pumpkin pies for 30 minutes, then brush the exposed crusts with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using. Return the pies to the oven and continue to bake for ~10-15 additional minutes until pie is mostly set but jiggles just slightly in the middle when gently bumped.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool briefly. Serve warm with caramel brandy hard sauce (recipe below).
Caramel brandy hard sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbspn butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 Tbspn brandy, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Have all ingredients pre-measured and ready next to the stove.
  2. In a small light-colored saucepan (with tall sides, preferably), wet the sugar with just enough water to make it the consistency of wet sand (~1 – 1 1/12 Tbspn water).
  3. Cook the sugar on medium heat.  Do not stir once the sugar starts boiling–swirl the pan around gently instead to insure even cooking. Cook until the sugar is a deep amber color. Immediately add the butter and whisk thoroughly. Be careful–this will splutter!
  4. As soon as the butter has completely melted, remove from heat and carefully add the heavy cream, whisking continuously.
  5. Once the cream has incorporated, pour the caramel into another heat-resistant container to cool, straining through a fine mesh sieve to remove unevenly cooked sugar, if necessary. Let cool briefly and whisk in brandy to taste. Caramel will continue to thicken as it cools.

Key Lime Pie

DSC_4141

INGREDIENTS:

makes ~24 mini hearts
for graham cracker crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

METHOD:

  1. Combine graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix in butter.
  2. Press the crumb mixture into (sprayed and lined) the bottoms of the pans, about 1 Tbspn per heart.  Use something like the side of a small rolling pin to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and a little bit up the sides.
  3. Put the crust in the freezer while making the filling.

for filling:

  • 2 14oz. cans condensed milk
  • 8 large egg yolks (save those whites for meringues/macarons!)
  • 2-3 Tbspn key lime zest
  • 1 cup key lime juice (~25 key limes… have fun!)
  • green food coloring

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Combine milk, yolks, zest, and juice in a bowl.  Whisk until smooth.  Whisk in one to two drops of food coloring for a light green color.
  3. Pour mixture into the crumb-prepared pans, filling about to about two-thirds full.  Bake for 13-15 minutes until the center looks set but moves like jello when you give the pan a bit of a gentle shake.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Keep the pies in the pans until you are ready to serve.

White Cheddar and Cinnamon Apple Hand Pies

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~12-14 pies

  • 2 cups (260 gr) AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 4 oz.(113 gr) extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup (151 gr) butter, cold
  • 5-6 Tbspn water, cold
  • 500 gr apples
  • 1 Tbspn lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (25 gr) sugar
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tspn ground cloves
  • 1/2 tspn freshly grated nutmeg
  • heavy cream
  • turbinado sugar

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Coarsely grate the cheese. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cheese and cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed. Do not overmix!
  4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Peel, core, and chop the apples into small chunks. Toss to combine the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  6. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/8″ thick. Cut out 5 inch circles. Fill each circle with apples and fold in half. Press the edges together tightly, crimping with a fork. Cut three small slits on the top of each pie. Chill the pies in the refrigerator or freezer briefly if the dough has softened.
  8. Before baking, brush the tops of the pies with heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  9. Bake at 230 degrees F for five minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15 more minutes, until the crust is golden.
  10. Remove from oven and cool briefly before serving.

Blueberry Rhubarb Deep Dish Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes three 4.5″ deep dish piesfor pastry:

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 2/3 cups butter, cold
  • 6-7 Tbspn ice cold water

for filling:

  • 12 oz. rhubarb, chopped into small, 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 lb. blueberries
  • freshly grated zest of 1 orange
  • 3 Tbspn orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
  • 4 Tbspn corn starch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbspn heavy cream, and more for serving
  • turbinado sugar

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour, until the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add the water, 1 Tbspn at a time until, when you press the dough between your fingers, it holds together. Do not overmix!
  4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 205 degrees C.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out, about 1/8″ thick. Place dough into the pie plates (preferably springform), reserving the leftover dough for the lattice top. Keep the prepared dough cold.
  7. To prepare the filling, combine the chopped rhubarb, blueberries, orange zest and juice, granulated sugar, and corn starch in a bowl.
  8. Spoon the filling into the pie crusts. Top with cut strips of pastry.
  9. Whisk together the egg yolk and 1 Tbspn of heavy cream. Brush the egg wash lightly over the lattice crust. Sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.
  10. Bake for 205 degrees C for about 45 minutes. If the tops start to get brown, around 30 minutes, place a layer of foil over the pies and continue to bake until the rhubarb is cooked through.
  11. Remove and let cool. Serve with a splash of heavy cream.

Blood orange honey-glazed five spice tart with almond cream

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9″ tart

for pastry:

  • 260 grams AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tspn five spice powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut in pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 Tbspn cold water

METHOD:

  1. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, mix the flour, five spice powder, and sugar until combined. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the size of small peas.
  2. Add the egg yolk and gradually add the water just until a dough begins to form when you press it between two fingers. Do not overmix.
  3. Form the pastry into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour. (or stick it in the freezer for a shorter amount of time.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  5. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and press the dough into the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, cover with parchment paper, and weigh down using dry beans or pie weights. Return to freezer for a few minutes if the dough has softened.
  6. Bake for ~13-15 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the beans and parchment paper and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes more, until the crust has completely turned golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

for filling:

  • 8-12 small or medium thin-skinned blood oranges, in 1/8″ thick slices
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar

METHOD:

  1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add the orange slices to the boiling sugar water and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the pith turns translucent. Be careful not to overcook the oranges because they will become mushy.
  3. Strain and remove the orange slices from the liquid. Reserve 2 Tbspn of the liquid. Lay the orange slices out on a wire mesh rack to drain and cool.

for glaze:

  • 2 Tbspn orange candying liquid, reserved from oranges
  • 1/4 cup honey

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the reserved liquid and the honey. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. The mixture should be syrupy.

for almond cream:

  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbspn powdered sugar
  • dash of almond extract

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the chopped almonds and 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover tightly with a lid, and let cool. Continue to let the cream steep, covered, in the refrigerator until cold, preferably overnight.
  2. Strain out and discard the almond pieces from the cream. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
  3. Whip the cream just until you reach soft peaks (I like mine extra soft for this purpose.) Gently stir in the powdered sugar and almond extract.

To assemble the tart, layer the orange slices in the cooled tart shells, brushing the honey generously on each layer. Serve with almond cream.

Blackberry Lemon Meringue Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes two 9″ pies (halving the curd recipes for one 9″ pie was a bit awkward to write because the curds use three egg yolks each, but it’s actually pretty easy in practice.  Prepare three egg yolks, then use only one and a half yolks per halved curd recipe–that’s roughly a Tablespoon and a half of yolk.)

for pastry crust:

  • 520 grams All Purpose flour
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 14 Tbspn butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 Tbspn freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
  • 4 Tbspn cold water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the ingredients except the water in a food processor and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.
  2. Gradually add the water and pulse just until a dough begins to form.
  3. Remove the pastry dough from the food processor, form it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  5. Roll out the pastry crust. Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork. Then, line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry looks golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool.

for lemon curd:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn corn starch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 1 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tbspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually blend in the cold water and lemon juice.
  2. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  3. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning).  Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for blackberry curd:

  • 2 cups fresh or thawed, frozen blackberries*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn corn starch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 Tbspn creme de cassis
  • 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 1 1/3 cup boiling water

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the blackberries until smooth.  If desired, pour through a sieve to take out seeds (I actually like the seeds for texture, so I don’t strain them out.)  You should have one cup of blackberry puree; if there is extra, set aside for other uses.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually blend in the blackberry puree, creme de cassis, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  3. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  4. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  5. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning).  Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  6. Remove the curd from heat and let cool.

for meringue and assembly:

  • 7-8 egg whites
  • 1/2 tspn cream of tartar
  • 5 Tbspn sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Place egg whites in a clean mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. Begin to whip at low until the egg whites start to foam.
  3. Add the cream of tartar and increase speed to medium high. Gradually add the sugar.
  4. Whip the egg whites until glossy stiff peaks, being careful not to overwhip.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and whip the egg whites on high for about three seconds, “sealing” the meringue.
  6. Spoon the blackberry and lemon curds alternatively into the prepared pie crusts. Top with meringue, making sure to seal the meringue to the pie crust at the outer edges.
  7. Place pies in the lower shelf of the oven, and bake at 220C for three minutes, until the tips of the meringue become golden.  Then, lower the oven temperature to 180 degrees C and continue to bake for 7-8 more minutes, until you reach the desired color on the meringue.  Remove and let cool.

Banana Nutella Ice Cream & Whoopie Pies

INGREDIENTS:
Banana Nutella Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy or manufacturing cream
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 medium extra-ripe banana
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn cocoa powder (I used Dutch-processed)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tspn vanilla

METHOD:

  1. Combine 1 cup of the cream, the nutella, and the banana in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour the banana mixture into a bowl and prepare a fine mesh sieve on top of the bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the remaining cup of cream with the milk, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Whisk until the cocoa powder is evenly distributed throughout the milk. Bring the milk to a bare simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks together in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. When the milk comes to a simmer, remove from heat. Whisking constantly, pour the milk gradually into the prepared egg yolks to temper them. Return the egg yolks and milk to the saucepan and to heat.
  5. Cook the milk and yolk mixture over medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and can coat the spoon/spatula. Remove from heat immediately and pour through the strainer into the nutella and banana cream. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Add the vanilla and stir.
  7. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge, then freeze it in your ice cream maker of choice.  Transfer from your ice cream maker to the freezer to harden, preferably overnight.

Note: this ice cream mix probably won’t harden completely in your ice cream maker, so please allow for extra freezing time in the freezer.

Banana Whoopie Pies with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting
makes about 20 mini whoopie pies

for banana cakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (~1 large extra-ripe banana)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tspn vanilla

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, stir to combine the mashed banana and sour cream. Set aside.
  4. Beat the butter, sugar, and light brown sugar on medium high for about three minutes, until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated.
  6. Add the banana mixture and the flour to the butter in two separate additions, alternating between wet and dry.
  7. Using a scoop or a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, form small mounds of batter on the silpat, leaving about 1-1 1/2 inches between each mound.
  8. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven when done (cake will spring back if pressed lightly) and let cool completely before filling.

for nutella cream cheese frosting:

  • 1/2 stick butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium high for about three minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the nutella and vanilla extract to the butter and cream cheese mixture until completely incorporated.
  3. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the desired consistency (~stiff peaks) is reached.
  4. Using a piping bag or spoon, spread a small amount of frosting onto the bottom of half of the cakes and sandwich together with the other half. Roll in sprinkles, if desired.
  5. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Apple Pie Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

Crust (You can also use store-bought refrigerated pie crust):
  • 1 ¼ cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoon ice cold water
  • flour for dusting

Topping:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups canned apple pie filling* roughly chopped
  • powdered sugar for garnish (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  2. Prepare pie crust: In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut 4 T butter into flour until it looks like coarse meal, and then cut in vegetable shortening until well blended. Add ice cold water and stir with fork. Then use your hands to gently work the dough into a ball.
  3. Flour a square sheet of wax paper, place dough ball in the middle, flour the ball, and cover with another square sheet of wax paper. Roll dough out to a thickness of about 1/8”. Using a 2” round circle cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Carefully place circles on a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer until needed. Collect dough scraps and roll and cut more circles that you will add to the pan in the freezer.
  4. Prepare topping: In a large bowl, mix all of the dry topping ingredients with a fork. Add butter chunks and mix with your fingers until all the butter is incorporated and it begins to form crumbles. Set aside ½ cup of this crumb mixture.
  5. Stir chopped apple pie filling into remaining crumble mixture, just until mixed.
  6. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, evenly place 12 of the frozen dough circles. Place a scant tablespoon of apple mixture onto the middle of each circle. With your finger, flatten the top of the apple mixture a little bit. Using a fork, place about ½ teaspoon of the reserved crumble mixture on top of each cookie. 
  7. Bake at 190°C for 14-15 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from oven and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Shake a little powdered sugar over cookies to make them look pretty.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies. Recipe is easily doubled.
If you want to go completely homemade, here’s the recipe for apple pie filling, which I think tastes the best, and most like the dutch apple pie taste I was trying to replicate in a cookie:

 Apple Pie “Filling”

  • 4 medium granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup apple juice (fresh apple cider is better)
  • 1 cup water (you can use just 2 cups water, but the apple juice/cider is better)

METHOD:

  1. In a large bowl, toss diced apple with lemon juice and set aside. Pour apple juice and water into a high-rimmed sauté pan over medium heat.  Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, & nutmeg.  Add to liquid in pan, stir well, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add apples and return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 5-6 minutes.  Cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Ladle into plastic containers to refrigerate or freeze.  Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 1/2 hours.

Three Bite Chocolate French Silk Pies

WARNING: THIS RECIPE CALLS FOR RAW, UNCOOKED EGGS!

INGREDIENTS:

Cookie (You can skip this part and just use the cookie parts of Oreos):

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (for dusting)
French Silk Pie Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cool, but not hard
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • Dark Chocolate pieces (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, cold
  • Stabilized whipped cream* (recipe below) or 1 cup heavy cream whipped with 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles or shaved dark chocolate

METHOD:

  1. Mix flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Cut 1 cup of the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cream and form the dough into a ball. Divide dough into thirds, flatten into a rough disk about 1/2 inch thick, and wrap dough in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The original recipe calls for the cutting in of the butter.)
  2. Dust a cutting board with the sugar/cocoa mixture.  (I like to roll my dough between two sheets of wax paper and dust that with the sugar/cocoa.) Roll dough out 1/8-inch thick and cut with a 2 ” circle or flower cutter for three-bite pies, or 1 1/2” circle or flower cutter for tiny pies.  Place circles/flowers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick cookies three times with a fork.
  3. Bake at 190°C for 10 minutes.  Cool on pan for 5- 10 minutes before removing carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. In a double boiler, melt chocolate about 2/3 of the way.  Remove top of double boiler and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Set aside to cool further.  I recommend cooling until the chocolate starts to thicken slightly so that it won’t melt the butter.
  5. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whip attachment, cream butter.  Gradually add sugar, creaming well.  Blend in melted and cooled chocolate and vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating 4 minutes after each addition with mixer on medium speed.
  6. Transfer filling either to a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip or a large zip top bag that you will later cut 1/2 inch off the corner.  If the filling seems a bit loose and you don’t trust that it will hold its shape and stay on the base, then refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes, or until you can pipe it and have it hold its shape.  If the filling seems firm, start piping onto cookie bases.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  7. Top with whipped cream squeezed out of another pastry bag with open star tip or zip-top bag.  Top with sprinkles or shaved chocolate, if desired.  Refrigerate until ready to serve
  8. Makes about 70 three-bite pies, OR about 120 one-bite pies
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

METHOD:

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl to soften.
  2. Scald 2 tablespoon of the cream; pour over gelatin, stirring till dissolved.
  3. Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white. (This takes about 10-15 minutes.) Then, with a whisk, beat until smooth.
  4. In a stand mixer with a whip attachment, or with a hand beater, whip remaining cream and sugar just until soft peaks form; whip in the smoothed gelatin mixture, stopping to scrape the bowl twice. You will probably only need to whip it another 10-20 seconds before it’s done.
*A note about the stabilized whipped cream: this is really the way to go if you plan for these to last more than one day.

Ice Cream Mud Pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 Oreo cookies, creme filling scraped out
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (preferably salted butter)
  • 2 28oz. conatiners of Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream (or half gallon of other ice cream)
  • hot fudge sauce (recipe below)
  • sweetened whipped cream
  • chopped salted almonds

METHOD:

  1. Pulverise the Oreo cookie wafers in a large zip top bag or in a food processor. Add melted butter to bag or food processor and completely mix the cookie crumbs with the butter.
  2. Press cookie/butter mixture into a 9-inch pie pan–bottom and sides. Press in pretty firmly so it will hold up to cutting later. Set crust aside.
  3. Soften the ice cream by letting it set on the counter for about 20 minutes (maybe longer depending on how hard it is when you start). When ice cream is soft enough to scoop out easily, scoop it in large chunks into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until ice cream is smooth (about 1 minute).
  4. Spoon/pour ice cream into prepared crust and carefully spread it with a silicone spatula into the pie crust, taking care not to pull away the crust as you spread. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze at least 8 hours.
  5. Once the pie is frozen, it’s ready to cut and serve with room temperature fudge sauce, whipped cream and nuts.

Makes 8 servings.

Hot Fudge Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2  Dark Chocolates, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt and half of the chocolate to a boil. Stir until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  2. Add butter, vanilla, and remaining chocolate and stir until smooth. Cool sauce to warm before serving.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe Basic Pie Dough (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 cups baked, mashed sweet potatoes (from about 2 pounds of sweet potatoes)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (about 1 [14-ounce] can)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C and arrange a rack in the lower third. Place a baking sheet on the rack.
  2. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out into a round approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough and fold the excess under itself, crimping the edges to seal. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  3. Place the measured flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, cloves, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
  4. Place the sweet potatoes in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, letting the first completely incorporate before adding the second. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Return the mixer to medium speed, add the sugar, and mix until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add the reserved flour mixture, condensed milk, melted butter, and vanilla and mix until just incorporated.
  6. Transfer the filling to the crust. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and bake until the filling is just set in the middle and the edges are puffed, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving, about 1 hour.

Basic Pie Dough

Basic Pie Dough

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir briefly until the mixture is aerated. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces that are slightly yellow in color, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons of the ice water and mix just until the dough comes together. (Add the last tablespoon of ice water if necessary, but don’t overwork the dough or it’ll become tough.)
  3. Shape the dough into a flat disk, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then use it in the pie or tart recipe of your choice.

French Silk Brownie Pie

DSC_0026-2

French Silk Brownie Pie

Brownie Pie Batter

INGREDIENTS:

Serves 8-10

  • 1 batch of your favorite brownie batter
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup eggs (for me that was about 1½ eggs)
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings

METHOD:

  1. Prepare the brownie batter. Pour the batter into tart pans, making just a thin layer (about 1 inch) of batter. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how gooey you want the crust. When completely cool, if they puffed up a little bit you can press them down with your hands to make more room for the filling.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the melted and cooled chocolate. The mixture will look kind of grainy – that’s ok.
  3. With your mixer on low, incorporate the eggs. As soon as they’re just incorporated, start gradually turning your mixer to a faster setting, scraping the sides as you go. Beating it faster will fluff the whole thing up and it will become a wonderful, fluffy chocolate mousse.
  4. Pour the mousse over the brownies and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
NOTES
If you do want to make a full pie, I’d recommend making either 1.5x or 2x the amount of filling. It depends on how much filling you want, but I think it’s better to have a little extra than not enough! You’ll also need to make the crust about 1-2 inches thick (so you might not need all the brownie batter, depending on how much you make) and bake it a little longer (30 minutes).

Chocolate Orange Pie

INGREDIENTS:

Chocolate Orange Pie

  • Chocolate Cracker Crust (recipe below)
  • Orange Curd (recipe below)
  • Mini Chocolate Chips

Pour orange curd into cracker crust.  Top edges with mini chocolate chips.  Cover and chill to set before eating.

Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

  • 9 whole chocolate digestive crackers, crumbled
  • 1  stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large food processor.  Pulse until uniform in texture.
  3. Pour into nine inch baking dish and push down onto the bottom of the dish and work onto sides of the dish, creating a one inch tall layer about a quarter of an inch thick all around the sides of the dish.  Bake in preheated oven for eight to ten minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.

Orange Curd

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, room temperature

METHOD:

  1. In a medium metal bowl, whisk together: sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks, and orange peel.  Add butter; set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until curd thickens and instant-read thermometer inserted into curd registers 80°C, about 12 minutes (Don’t boil it).  Remove bowl from over water. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd; chill at least 1 day and up to 3 days.

Blackberry Chiffon Pie

Blackberry Chiffon Pie

INGREDIENTS:

For the crust:

  • 6 ounces vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nabisco Nilla Wafers (about 46 cookies)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted

For the chiffon filling:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 pound blackberries (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon packed, finely grated lime zest (from about 1 medium lime)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature

To assemble:

  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces blackberries (about 1/3 cup)

METHOD:

For the crust:

  1. Heat the oven to 160°C (325°F) and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place the cookies in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until very fine, about 30 seconds (you should have about 1 3/4 cups). Stop the motor, add the melted butter, and pulse until combined, about 5 (1-second) pulses. (Alternatively, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, smash the cookies into fine uniform crumbs, then transfer to a medium bowl, add the melted butter, and mix until evenly combined.)
  3. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or your fingers, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides.
  4. Bake until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, about 10 minutes. Remove the pie plate to a wire rack and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, make the chiffon filling.

For the chiffon filling:

  1. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface; set aside.
  2. Place the blackberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the zest, juice, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to coat the blackberries in sugar. Mash the berries completely with a potato masher to release their juices, then bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft and falling apart and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Pour the blackberry mixture through the strainer. Using a rubber spatula, push on the blackberry solids and scrape the underside of the strainer until all of the liquid has been extracted; discard the contents of the strainer. Immediately whisk the gelatin mixture into the blackberry mixture until dissolved and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  4. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high speed, slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 30 seconds total.
  5. Rewhisk the blackberry-gelatin mixture, add half of the beaten egg whites to the bowl, and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining egg whites and gently stir with a rubber spatula until just combined and no streaks or lumps of egg white remain.
  6. Transfer the chiffon filling to the prepared crust and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate uncovered until set, at least 1 hour. (If refrigerating overnight, cover lightly with plastic wrap once the chiffon filling is set.)

To assemble:

  1. When ready to serve, chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and sugar to the bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a hand whisk and a large chilled bowl. Whisk until medium peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.)
  2. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie, arrange the blackberries stem-side down in a tight cluster in the center of the pie, and serve immediately.