Livin' in the Kitchen

Archive for the ‘Pie’ Category

Bonfires and Perfect Pumpkin Pie

In Pie on October 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Fall and three day weekends are my favorite kinds of days. They mean bonfires and friends and pumpkin pie. I couldn’t get a picture of the entire fire because it was so frickin’ big, so you’ll have to use your imagination. But these are the fires that my dad prides himself on. These are the bonfires that bring back childhood. These are the fires that happen when the wind whistles and the leaves full of color blow.

It also happens to be the time when pumpkins grow and pies are made.

I love pumpkins.

And I love pie.

I guess that’s how, when everyone else had left for the night, Danielle and I found ourselves in the kitchen at 2am making a pumpkin pie, baking a pumpkin pie; then eating a pumpkin pie by our fall fire that had come down to be just an orange glow. I had high expectations for this pie.

After all, I am a pumpkin addict with only 3 cans in my pantry. I needed to make going down to two worth it.

It totally was. This pie is delicious. It’s custard-y, smooth, and fabulous cold or warm. Cool whip, ice cream, or whipped cream. Any way you want it, or even by itself it’s killer. I used to think that doing the recipe on the back of the can was the only way to go. It’s not. I’ll never go back.

Pumpkin Pie
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat 425F
Whisk together together all ingredients in a bowl.
Pour into unbaked pie crust.
Bake 15 minutes, turn over down to 350 and bake 35 minutes more or until toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy the best pumpkin pie you’ve ever eaten : ) I guarantee it won’t let you down.

Savory Tomato Pie

In Pie, Savory on September 17, 2011 at 4:24 am

My family’s not a tomato family. This memo didn’t make it to our garden. I’ve been bringing in bowls full of tomatoes from our garden for the past few weeks. Normal families have bowls of articulate fruit on their counters. We have an overflowing bowl of tomatoes. Nothing else.

Which is why I decided that it’s come time to get creative. What could I make that my family would eat with tomatoes in it? Pie. So pie it was. Savory tomato pie. I don’t know that the mental trick of it being ‘pie’ helped anyone but my 4 year old brother. But I loved this! I think over a period of 3 days I did a pretty great job polishing it off with only a small amount of outside help. It was delicious.

First I made my dough with the help of my food processor. The way I personally like rolling pie dough is between 2 pieces of tinfoil, plastic wrap, or parchment paper. Personally, it makes my pie-making experience much more stress-free and enjoyable…

Because I can just put the pie pan face-down, and just flip with little to no damage!

If a bit of it cracks, just stick it back together. And wa-la! You have your pie crust. Use a sharp knife to cut the excess off the edges, and smooth the tops with your fingers for a cleaner look. Poke holes in the bottom with a fork and bake until lightly browned.

While that’s in the oven, you’ve preped your tomatoes by washing them and slicing them in half then slicing those into halves again. Sprinkle the tomatoes with vinegar and white wine and your garlic and basil, onions, salt, pepper. Place seasoned tomatoes into the crust and sprinkle half the vinegar based sauce onto the tomatoes.

 Grind a cup’s worth of pieces of bread (bread with the crust sliced off) in the food processor and have the mozzarella and parmesan cheese out. Sprinkle the bread crumbs first, then the cheese on top. Sprinkle the remainder of the vinegar based sauce over the cheese. Return to the oven until warm.

Then take a picture at sunset so that you have a pretty purple tint in your picture : )

Savory Tomato Pie
1 pastry crust recipe, baked (Recipe Below)
5 fresh tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
4 tablespoons minced (not super fine) onion
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine
3/4 – 1 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Wash you tomatoes then slice in half and slice each slice in half again. Cut out the green top. Set in bowl and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar, white wine, salt, pepper, basil, minced garlic and minced onion over the tomatoes. Let sit 10-15 minutes. Feel free to move around the tomatoes.
Take about 4-5 (depending on size) pieces of white bread and process them in your food processor until the mixture is crumby. Get out cheese.
Assort tomatoes in baked crust, pour half the balsamic vinegar mixture over the tomatoes and reserve the rest. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and cheeses over the top of the tomatoes and pour the remaining vinegar over the cheeses. Bake at 350 until just warm – 15-20 minutes.

Butter Crust Recipe
Recipe by Dana from Allrecipes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water

In a food processor combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate if you can.
2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
3. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

I’ve discovered the secret to great pie crust. It’s butter and ice water. Do not skip this step. Measure 1/2 cup of water into your measuring cup and put ice in it until it really is ice cold. Trust me, it makes a world of difference! Then pour our your ice and readjust your measurement to 1/2 cup again.

Street Art and Pumpkin Pie

In Pie, Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I’m going to sound like my mother right here, but I can’t believe how fast I’ve grown up. I miss my babysitter Gina, and the Mac and Cheese she so willingly made me every single day of third grade summer. I miss the days I read over summer for enjoyment, instead of for assignments. But most of all I miss creativity being encouraged. Which is why, yesterday, I busted out the scissors, construction paper and sharpies and then proceeded to do the only socially acceptable thing a teenage girl with scissors and construction paper can do: street art.

We left everything up: A cluster of balloons taped to a blank wall downtown, a lightbulb in a thought bubble high on a bookshelf in the library, under a rusted green bridge next to colorful jagged graffitti- someone else’s art. Sometime someone will end up taking the art down. But before they do, I hope they smile. 

Life and food are directly linked. One could not exsist without the other. If the best kind of fun is a simple kind of fun, then what if the key to baking is simplicity, too? 

Pumpkin Pie

Crust Recipe

(I doubled this recipe, so if you’re only going to do the bottom crust, use this recipe. But if you want to make a pumkin or design on the top of the pie, you can double it!)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water

1.In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
2.Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

You can take a person and dress them different. You can put different makeup on them, a wig even. You can have them change the way they talk or the way they walk. But at the core, they’ll always be the same person. And if you’re taking all this time trying to compress who that person is, then their true flavors can’t shine through. The point is, let pumpkin pie be what it is. It’s one of the very few you-can’t-mess-with-it foods in the culinary world.

However, if you have a burning desire to do something different with pumpkin pie, do it with the whipped cream. I kid you not. It’s super easy, and there are so many things you can do with whipped cream. And not just for pumpkin pie! You can add spices while you’re whipping the cream. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve read you can infuse the cream with a simple syrup that you’ve boiled down with fruit puree after straining. The possibilities are endless! In the end, though, the whipped cream should make the simple star of the dish shine even brighter.

Trips, Inspiration, and Pie

In Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pie on April 18, 2011 at 1:20 am

You guys probably noticed I haven’t been posting a lot lately. Life’s really been  picking up and slowing down all at once. My newspaper class got back late last night from our last trip before summer: Anaheim, California. Check out where we went while we were there: 

Bubba Gump’s Shrimp! The food was amazing. We got hush puppies as an appetizer, I got shrimp scewers for a meal- really pretty spicey-, then my friend and I shared a cookie cake topped with ice cream and whipped cream for dessert. The food was great, and the idea of the dessert was fabulous…

But I’m a dessert snob and thought the cookie was too dry, the flavors wern’t all there – although the calories sure were, they put calorie lists on everything in Anaheim- Coming home, my goal is to make this cookie not only look good but taste great. Update on that soon.

All I wanted in Anaheim was cookie dough or a jar of peanut butter- neither of which I found. Which is why, on my first day home it only made sense that I’d make something with cookie dough and peanut butter… pie!

Peanut Butter Crust
Peanut Butter Cookies
4 tablespoons melted butter

Bake the cookies as instructed (these cookies generally fall apart easily when you first take them off the tray; you want them to still be in this state when you’re crumbling them).
Crumble the cookies and add the melted butter.
Press into pan and place in the fridge while making the ganache.

Semi-Sweet Ganache
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet Ghirodello chocolate chips

Stir the two ingredients over medium heat, once the chocolate chips have melted, whisk the mixture for about a minute then turn off the heat, allow to cool for 10-20 minutes
Whisk, pour into your pie crust that’s been cooling in the fridge, use a spoon to cover the crust and sides with ganache, return to the fridge to cool.

Peanut Butter Pie Filling
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy Jiff peanut butter
8oz block cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Mix the sugar, peanut butter, and cream cheese together until all the ingredients are combined and there are no streaks left, add the vanilla.
Check the ganache, when your finger comes off the top without bringing a layer of the chocolate with it, it’s done. (about 30 minutes – 1 hour)
Spread the entire peanut butter mixture over the top, dont leave any of it off! *
With the peanut butter cookie crust, the peanut butter filling adds another really nice dimension of flavor, the peanut butter also balances out the semi-sweet bitter taste of the ganache.

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
5 tablespoons white sugar

Whip the cream until you see the lines of the whisk forming, add one tablespoon of sugar at a time then turn off the mixer.*
If you desire, transfer the whipped cream to a bag fit with whichever tip you desire and pipe in small circles.
Refridgerate until ready to eat.
*When you’re in control of whipping your own whipped cream, you don’t want to overwhip it and add too much air like the cans do, you want to acheive a nice silky texture.*

Dig in! This is a great balance between the semi-sweet chocolate and the sweet sandwich of the crunchy peanut butter cookie crust and the smooth peanut butter filling, then the whipped cream really balanced it out. Next time I’m going to try it out with a half cup semi-sweet chips and milk chocolate chips for the ganche!