Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

My good friend Eva, from Eva Bakes, and I thought it would be fun to tackle something off of our baking bucket lists together.  We would both make the same thing, choosing our own recipe, and then post the results.  First up? Boston cream pie.  Funny, I think I have only made about 5 layer cakes in my whole life.  Layer cakes to me are kind of fancy.  I am more of a cookie/brownie kind of girl.  But, I certainly have never turned cake down.  I love a challenge.

So I got up early Saturday morning to tackle this multi-step cake.  Unfortunately, my husband didn’t sleep well the night before and went back to sleep when I got up.  Let me just say, making this cake with baby Alex was not an easy feat.  He only took out the fire extinguisher, almost dumped a newly opened jar of cornstarch all over the floor,  shook salt onto the table, spilled a glass of water, and put a cup of dog food into the dog’s water. Ugh, I think that was it.  Given the circumstances, I think my cake came out pretty darn good.

Honestly, the cake really isn’t hard to make, it just takes a few steps.  To make the cake, you need to separate eggs and beat them in separate bowls, finally folding them together with flour. While the cakes bake, you make the pastry cream on the stove.  You then have some wait time for the cakes to cool and the pastry cream to set in the fridge.  After assembling the cake, you make a quick chocolate frosting to pour over the cake.  So, all easy…it just takes time.  You know the hardest part? Transferring the finished cake from the cooling rack to the serving plate.

The verdict? I thought that cake was delicious. You have a spongy buttery cake, filled with smooth, vanilla scented pastry cream, topped with thick chocolate glaze. How bad could it be? (I love Ina!)

So, one down, so many more to go. Thanks for baking with me, Eva! I can’t wait to see your cake!

Foolproof Sponge Cake

½ cup (2 oz) cake flour

¼ cup (1 1/4oz) all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

3 TBSP milk

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ tsp vanilla

3 large egg whites, room temp

¼ tsp cream of tartar

¾ cup (5 1/4oz) sugar – DIVIDED

3 large egg yolks, room temp

2 large eggs, room temp

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350F. Grease and flour two 8in or 9in round cake pans (ATK recommends 9 in) and line with a circle of parchment. Grease the paper.

Whisk together the 2 flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter together on low until the butter is melted.   Off the heat, stir in the vanilla. Cover to keep warm.

In a large bowl, whip 3 egg whites and cream of tartar together with an electric mixer, on med-low until foamy, ~ 1 minute.  Increase speed to med-high and whip the egg whites until soft, billowy mounds form, ~ 1 minute.  Gradually whip in 6 Tbsp of sugar, ~ 30 seconds. Continue to whip until until shiny and form soft peaks, ~ 1 to 3 minutes.  Do NOT overbeat.

In a separate large bowl, whip the 3 yolks and 2 whole eggs with an electric mixer on med-high. Gradually add in the last 6 Tbsp of sugar, ~ 1 min. Continue to whip the mixture until very light in color and voluminous, ~ 4-6 minutes.

Gently pour the thick, yellow egg yolk mixture on top of the soft peaked egg white mixture.  Sift the flour mixture on top of that.  Now you have a white layer on the bottom, yellow yolk mixture in the middle and flour on top. Very gently, fold everything together with a rubber spatula, just until combined, ~ 12 folds. Pour the warm milk, in a steady stream, against the side of the bowl. Continue to fold until evenly combined and there are no streaks of flour, ~ 8 folds.

Immediately scrape the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake until lightly brown and a toothpick in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, ~ 12-18 minutes. Do NOT rotate cakes while baking.

Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cakes and flip onto a parchment lined plate. Peel  off the parchment bottom and flip the cakes right side up onto a wire rack. Let the cakes cool completely, about 2 hours.

Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

½ cup (3.5 oz) sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup cornstarch

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch until pale yellow and thick, ~ 30 seconds.

Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to temper, then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick and glossy, ~ 1.5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the pastry cream into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly pressed onto the surface, to avoid skin from forming.  Refrigerate until chilled and set, ~ 2 hours.

Chocolate Glaze

2/3 cup heavy cream

¼ cup light corn syrup

8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

½ tsp vanilla     

Put all the ingredients into a medium bowl. Microwave, stopping frequently to whisk.  Continue until all melted and smooth, ~ 1-2 minutes. Let the glaze cool, uncovered, until thick but still pourable, ~ 20 minutes.

Assembly:

Line a large baking sheet with parchment and place a wire rack on top. Place one of the cake layers on the rack. Spread the pastry cream on top of the cake, right to the edges. Place the other layer on top and press lightly to adhere.

Pour the chocolate glaze on top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate uncovered, until the chocolate sets- at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.  Before serving, transfer to a serving plate/cake stand and let warm up to room temperature, 30 to 60 minutes.

Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

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What’s Baking November Round-Up- Oh My, It’s Pie!

I am so excited to be hosting November’s round-up for What’s Baking.   I was trying to think up a theme and decided it would be a good idea to try to incorporate Thanksgiving.  When I think of Thanksgiving, besides spending time with family, the turkey and all the fixings, I can’t help but think of dessert.  And, dessert for Thanksgiving always seems to include pumpkin pie.  But it doesn’t have to be pumpkin, does it?  There are so many different delicious kinds of pie. So, let’s ditch the pumpkin and make pie the theme!

My good friend, Eva of Eva Bakes, recreated the old-fashioned Southern sweet potato pie that was the perfect ending to a real barbecue meal on a recent trip back to her Southern college town.  For this pie to be authentic, a recipe with pumpkin pie spice would just not do.  It was not easy, but Eva found the perfect recipe, without the spice, that allowed the sweetness of the potato to come through.  My husband is crazy about sweet potatoes.  He would totally love this pie!

sweet potato pie

After scoring a bunch of peaches at the farmer’s market this summer, Heather Lynn at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, made and jarred peach jam.  Luckily she had enough fruit to make this delicious peach pie filling too.  Heather Lynn had a mini-Thanksgiving dinner with some friends and all she had to do for dessert was make a pie crust for the sweet, spicy and juicy peach filling she already made.  Now, that’s easy entertaining. Ina would be proud!

peach pie1

Part of what Jenna from Jenna’s Cooking Journey likes about What’s Baking is that she spends a lot of time reading through blogs, looking for the perfect recipe.  She has found some great new blogs this way, including Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. where this blueberry cheesecake pie caught her eye.  Mel’s is one of my favorite blogs, too.  Mmmm…cheesecake with fresh blueberry topping? Sign me up!

blueberry cheesecake pie

Yudith, from Blissfully Delicious, didn’t really like coconut cream pie until she tasted this one that she made special for her mother’s visit.  This pie sounds delicious with a chocolate wafer crust, coconut pudding, sweetened whipped cream and toasted coconut.  And, congratulations to Yudith and her family on a new addition due this May. How exciting!

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Ange, from The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen, likes to steer clear of pumpkin pie for the holidays and do something different. This time she decided to give sugar cream pie a try. Although it smelled good while it baked, Ange was disappointed with the consistency and sweetness.  I’m sorry Ange, I have had more than my share of baking disappointments.

Sugar Cream Pie

Joanna, from Kosher Kitchen, decided to make chocolate pecan pie with homemade pie crust.  Although she was nervous at first, thankfully, it was easier than she thought.  The pie was well received at her Thanksgiving dinner.  After eating it, her second cousin declared Joanna’s husband a lucky man.  Her husband couldn’t help but agree, for this pie and a list of many other things. 😀

chocolate pecan pie

Sandra, of She Cooks and Bakes, just had a baby (congratulations) and was hosting Thanksgiving, so she needed a quick and easy dessert.  This peanut butter icebox pie fit the bill.  Peanut butter and chocolate just happens to be my favorite flavor combination.  In fact, I am eating mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s as I type this. They are so good and I am now sad that they are almost gone.  Now, I have to buy more and make this pie!

Peanut butter icebox pie

Cookie Dough Cream Pie, say what?  Carrie from Carrie’s Sweet Life made this pie from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, which I own. I have made several recipes from the book and they have all been wonderful. Honestly, I don’t know how I missed this recipe because it looks and sounds delicious.

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Stephanie, at Brownies and Blondies, was talking to her fiancée about his mom’s coconut cream pie recently and decided to make it for What’s Baking.  But, it seemed too summery, so she decided to add cranberries.  And then what the heck, throw in some white chocolate because it goes so well with cranberries.  And that is how this white chocolate coconut cranberry pie was born!

pie

Nicole, from Seven Ate Nine, decided to make Paleo Pie because her husband and his dad are on the Whole 30 Program, which doesn’t allow for anything in a dessert pie. So, she made an egg “crust” and filled it with eggs, sausage, peppers and onions to make a quiche of sorts.  I never think of savory pies, but we love eggs in my house.

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And, I made French silk pie. It has always been a favorite of mine and apparently it is now Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite too. Of course baby Alex loved it, but really that is no feat, he eats everything.  The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to worry about raw eggs.  ATK found a way around it and the filling is actually cooked. So now it is safe for small children and it is still delicious.  Really, crazy delicious!

ATK French silk pie pie

Carrie, from Carrie’s Sweet Life, is the December hostess for What’s Baking.  So, at the end of next month, make sure to head over to her blog for a round-up of some delicious peppermint recipes!

November WB collagePM

Back in the Day Bakery’s Lemon Pie Bars

I have a huge cookbook collection.  They are my biggest weakness, probably even more so than chocolate.  Okay, well maybe it is a toss up.  What is my favorite kind of cookbook? Hands down it is a bakery cookbook.  If a book has bakery in the title, it must be mine!  I think this obsession stems from two things.  One, I especially love to bake delicious, but not so fancy cookies, brownies and bars.  Bakery cookbooks are always chocked full of these kinds of recipes.  And, if I wasn’t a pharmacist, I always dreamed that I would be running the cutest little bakery. Maybe someday…. But, until then, I will continue to research, try recipes, and blog them in preparation. 😀 So, the latest bakery book I picked up is The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.  While flipping through it, there were so many recipes I flagged, that I finally gave up because it’s kind of silly to bookmark the whole book!

I very recently developed a new love for anything citrus and Back in the Day Bakery’s lemon pie bars looked incredible.  Of course,  I have had lemon bars many times.  But, those always have a shortbread crust and a lemon curd filling.  These are different in that they have a graham cracker crust and a creamy, opaque lemon filling.  The bars are slightly tart, which pairs perfectly with the sweetened whipped cream.  Just to warn you, this recipe does make a whole lot of bars.  But, there a lot worse problems to have.

Lemon Pie Bars

Yield: one 13 x 9 pan  ( a whole lot of bars)

For the crust
3 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 24 crackers)
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar

For the filling
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice
Two 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
6 large egg yolks

Fresh Whipped Cream (optional)

Position a rack in the middle of  the oven and preheat the oven  to 350° F.  Grease a 9 X 13 inch baking pan and line with parchment, allowing the ends of the paper to hand over two opposite edges of the pan.  I also greased the parchment paper.

To make the crust:  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter,  and sugar and blend with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Press the graham cracker mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Use a piece of parchment to press on the crust with the palm  of your hands to make sure it is completely level.

Bake the crust for about 8 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool completely before adding the filling. Turn the oven temperature down to 325° F.

To make the filling:  In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk,  and egg yolks.  Pour the filling over the cooled crust.

Place the baking pan  inside a larger baking pan and pour enough hot water into the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the smaller pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is tapped.  Remove the pan from the water bath and set it on a rack to cool for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold.

Cut the bars into squares and serve chilled, with the whipped cream.  The bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To make fresh whipped cream: 

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium until it starts to thicken.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.

Source:  The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Southern Living’s Fudge Pie

With my husband out for the afternoon, I thought it would be fun to surprise Jack and Sammie with a chocolatey treat.  I was looking through Classic Southern Desserts  and when I came to the picture of fudge pie, I was stopped dead in my tracks.   Like most people I love brownies and I love pie.  Not much could be better than a combination of the two.   I don’t make pie very often, mostly because I don’t always have time to make a homemade crust.  But, this pie has no crust.  How great is that?  You just make a simple brownie batter with ingredients that most people probably already have on hand and if you like, add a sprinkling of pecans.  I am a brownie purist, so I left them out.  Instead, I decided to throw in some mini chocolate chips to add some little pockets of melted chocolate goodness.   The batter is poured in a pie plate and baked.  It really is as easy as that.  I like to pull my pie out of the oven a little bit underdone, so I can achieve maximum gooeyness.  When it is still warm, it is best served with a big ol’ scoop of your favorite ice cream and a generous drizzle of chocolate syrup.  I called Jack and Sammie to the table for a surprise.   When they arrived, with their eyes large and fixated on the pie, they both asked “Why do we get to eat dessert before dinner?”  Do you guys really want to question me on this?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Grab some forks and let’s eat!

Fudge Pie

3/4 cup butter or margarine

3 (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate squares   I used Callebaut

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted and divided  optional

1/4 to 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips  optional

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often until melted.   I put the cut butter and chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwaved them carefully until almost all melted, then let the residual heat melt the rest of the chocolate.

Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Gradually add chocolate mixture, flour, and vanilla, beating until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans (if using) and mini chips (if using).

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is firm. Cool. Top each serving with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Source: Classic Southern Desserts:  All-Time Favorite Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Puddings, Cobblers, Ice Cream and More

Key Lime Pie Bars

I enjoyed the bright, refreshing flavor of the lemonade sugar cookies that I made recently so much, that I was kind of hankering for some more citrus.  But instead of lemon again, I decided to go with lime this time.  I was thinking key lime pie.  But when I was looking through my Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, I saw this recipe for key lime pie bars.  The crust is unique in that it uses animal crackers instead of graham crackers because their more neutral taste allows the lime to sing.  The filling is thickened with both cream cheese and an egg yolk so it is firm enough to hold together when you pick up a bar.  Surprisingly, this recipe recommends using supermarket limes (Persian) over true key limes.  Why?  There are a few reasons.  ATK says that most people can’t distinguish the flavor difference, they are easier to find and there are much fewer to juice.  I think the bars are perfect as is or with a touch of sweetened whipped cream.  But if you want, you can top them with sweetened, toasted coconut.

These bars are surprisingly easy to put together.  The hardest part is squeezing the limes.  My hands were aching a bit and burning from the acid.  Oh, and I can’t even tell you how much it hurt to get a big squirt of lime juice in my eyes.  This is a time when I wish I had a juicer!  I bought 4 limes as the recipe stated and 2 of those limes were so dry, they only provided a few drops of juice each.  I had baked the crust and I was already halfway into making the filling.  I did not want to run to the store then with Sammie and Alex.  But, I only got a little over 1/3 cup of juice from 4 limes.  Luckily I thought to check in the crisper drawer (crossing my fingers)  and I found 2 more limes that I bought recently for iced water.  Phew!  I got the 1/2 cup of juice needed for the recipe exactly.  I am usually a chocolate girl, but I honestly cannot stop eating these bars.  I ate a whole row while taking these pictures.  In fact, I ate so many that the cake plate above is only half full, hence the picture of half the plate. 😀

Key Lime Pie Bars

Yield:  an 8 x 8 pan of bars, about 16 squares.

Crust

5 ounces animal crackers
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Filling
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lime zest plus 1/2 cup juice (4 limes)
pinch salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg yolk

Garnish:    Optional  (I did not use)

3/4 cup (2 1/4 oz) sweetened shredded coconut, toasted until golden and crisp

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F.  Make a foil sling by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so they are as wide as an 8 inch baking pan. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to one another, with extra foil hanging over the edges of the pan so you can use them to lift the bars out after they’ve baked.  Push the foil into the corners and up sides of the pan, smoothing foil flush to the pan.  Grease foil.  I used Pam spray.

For the crust:  Pulse the animal crackers in food processor until they are broken down, about 10 pulses; process crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds (you should have about 1 1/4 cups of crumbs).  Add the brown sugar and salt; process to combine,  10 to 12 pulses (if large sugar lumps remain, break them apart with your fingers).  Drizzle the butter over crumbs and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened with butter, about ten pulses.  Dump the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press the crumbs evenly and firmly to form the crust in the bottom of the pan.  Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes (I did 15 minutes).  Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.  Do not turn off the oven.

For the filling: While the crust cools, in a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, lime zest and salt with a rubber spatula until softened, creamy and thoroughly combined.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain.  Whisk in the egg yolk.  Add the lime juice and whisk gently until it is incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly)

Pour the filling onto the crust, spread it into the corners and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until the filling is set and the edges begin to pull away slightly from the sides, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.  Use the foil handles to lift the bars out of the pan; cut them into 16 bars.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut if using, and serve.  Store the bars in the refrigerator up to 2 days.  The crust will soften slightly.

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook:  2000 Recipes from 20 years of America’s Most Trusted Food Magazine

Chocolate Cream Pie

I always forget about Pi day until it’s too late.  And, it’s not like you can just whip up a pie.  It takes some time and planning between the filling, topping, and crust.  This is especially true when you add children and work to the mix. 😀  But, this year I remembered!!  When, I was trying to decide what to make for my Wednesday post, I was looking at the calendar and saw the date was 3/14.  I just have to make a pie!  My husband doesn’t really eat pie, so I decided this must be chocolate for the rest of us.  I saw this recipe for chocolate cream pie in Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts and it looked delicious. I like that it has a chocolate wafer crust as opposed to a rolled pastry crust for 2 reasons: it takes less time and I think it tastes better with a chocolate filling.  The custard was really easy to make too, just a lot of whisking to make sure it doesn’t burn.  It is thickened with cornstarch with an optional addition of gelatin if you like a firmer filling.  I went without the gelatin, and while it did set, it just didn’t slice as nicely as I hoped.  So, next time I think I would add the gelatin, well at least half of it anyways.  The whipped cream is the perfect sweetness to complement the filling.  The chocolate curls, though optional, are surprising easy to make and they look so impressive.  When I finished putting all the parts together, the pie looked just as I hoped it would.  That doesn’t always happen. I was excited because I just knew Jack and Sammie would love this pie and they did!  I love to watch them eat it and smile with their little faces all messy with pudding and whipped cream, asking for another piece before they’ve even finished their first. 😀  That’s always a good sign.

Martha’s Chocolate Cream Pie for Pi Day

Crust:

25 Chocolate wafers (6oz) or 1 1/2 cups wafer cookie crumbs.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the wafers until fine crumbs form. Add butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor until well combined.

Pat mixture into a 9-inch pie dish, pressing firmly into bottom and up sides. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake until crust is fragrant, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Chocolate Custard:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cup milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 %), finely chopped

1 tsp unflavored powder gelatin (optional) I omitted

2 Tbsp cold water (only needed if you use the gelatin)

4 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat milk and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until chocolate melts.

Whisk 1 cup hot milk mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Whisk milk-sugar mixture into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, 4 to 5 minutes total (about 2 minutes after it comes to a boil).

If using gelatin, sprinkle 1 tsp over 2 Tbsp cold water in a small bowl.  Let it sit until softened, about 5 minutes.

Whisk yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Pour in milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbles appear in the middle, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Add softened gelatin, if using, and whisk until dissolved.  Stir in vanilla. Let custard cool about 10 minutes, whisking 2 or 3 times.

Pour custard into baked and cooled chocolate crust. I poured through a large stainer to get ultimate smoothness. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until custard filling is chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

For the sweetened whipped cream topping:

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Chocolate curls if desired.

With an electric mixer on med-high, whisk cream just until soft peaks form.  Add confectioner’s sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.  Spread whipped cream over custard.  Garnish wit chocolate curls just before serving if desired.

Source:  Martha Stewart’s New Pies and Tarts: 150 Recipes for Old Fashioned and Modern Favorites

Helpful Hints:

  • I put my mixer bowl and beater in the freezer to make them super cold to make the best whipped cream
  • To make the curls, use a peeler to shave large strips of chocolate off a warm chocolate bar. (Warm the chocolate bar in the microwave at 5 second intervals until just warm to the touch)
  • Press the warm custard through a large strainer with a spatula right into the crust for maximum smoothness.
  • Because of the cornstarch, the filling sets up pretty well. But, for nicer slices, I think I would add the gelatin next time…maybe half the amount?

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving was at my mom’s this year and I was asked to bring the desserts.  It is always hard to decide what to make, especially when half of the guests are children.  So, I decided to make Baked Brownies, pumpkin pie, and peanut butter cookies in case the first two didn’t turn out.  I had never made a homemade pumpkin pie before and I needed a recipe. So, I looked through a bunch of my cookbooks and a bit online. I finally decided to go with Martha Stewart’s recipe.  She had never failed me and I was hoping this would not be the time. 🙂

Looking at the recipe, it didn’t seem too difficult. What I was most nervous about was the pie crust. I haven’t made pie crust, honestly, since junior high in Home Ec class. I never made it again because it seemed like an awful lot of work for something I could easily buy at the store.  But, now I was determined to make this pie from scratch and that included the crust.  I liked 2 things about the preparation of the crust: 1. It is made in the food processor and 2. It makes two crusts, so I have one in the freezer to make a pie later. I learned that making pie crust isn’t hard, it is just time consuming between making the dough, chilling it, rolling it, crimping the edges, and blind baking it.  But, I have to admit, it was so worth the difference in taste and texture.  This pumpkin pie was unlike any we’ve ever had. The crust was so buttery and flaky and the pumpkin custard was really creamy and soft, though it still held its shape.  Most of my family agreed it was the best pumpkin pie they had ever had.  I am not a huge pumpkin fan, but after the work I put into this pie, I had to taste it.  So, not to be immodest, I’m just being honest when I agree with my family. Best. Pumpkin Pie. Ever. 😀

Crust: (makes 2 crusts: 1 for now and freeze 1 for later)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

16 tablespoons cold (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In a food processor, combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, and sugar), pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 Tbsp at a time). Do not over process, or your crust will not be flaky.

Transfer half of dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into a disk 3/4 inch thick and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days). Repeat with remaining dough. (Disks can be frozen, tightly wrapped, up to 3 months. Thaw before using.)

Pumpkin Pie:

2 large eggs

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin, (1 3/4 cups)

1 cup half and half

Using kitchen shears or a paring knife, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang. With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around rim of plate. Crimp with fingertips. Refrigerate pie shell until chilled, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line dough with aluminum foil, folding foil over rim of pie plate. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is firm, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and beans. Cool crust completely before filling.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, pumpkin-pie spice, and pumpkin. Whisk in half-and-half. The filling will be on the thin side. Pour mixture into cooled pie crust. Bake until set, about 1 hour. Cool on rack at room temperature, 1 hour.  Then refrigerate to fully cool and serve.

Source: Martha Stewart

Helpful Hints:

  • For a flaky crust everything must be cold. Use butter immediately from the fridge and prepare water with ice in a glass, that you can then pour into a glass measuring cup. Do not over process!!
  • If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, no worries. You can make your own! Stir together 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg- use what you need for the recipe and store the rest in an airtight container for later. (Martha Stewart)
  • I was sad to see that my pie cracked a bit in the middle, but looking at Martha’s picture, hers did too. I tried to smooth it out with a knife, but I made it worse. If the crack bothers you, just put whipped cream on it before serving it and no one will know. 😀
  • My crust stuck a bit, so though the recipe did not say to coat the pie plate with cooking spray, I think I will try that next time I make this crust.
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