Monthly Archives: July 2011

Pie #35 – Cherry Teleport Whipped Cream Pie

Last week, I was watching Through The Worm Hole with Morgan Freeman. The episode talked about long distance space travel. One of the segments discussed teleportation. It involves dematerializing something at one point, and transmitting the details of that particular object’s precise atomic configuration to another place in space. Big thinking to be sure. The scientist used a pie and blended it as a metaphor for teleporting. He blended that pie to show how information changes if it were to move from one point in space to another. It would be a scramble. I thought that was brilliant. Not using the pie as a metaphor, but baking a pie, blending it, and reconstituting it . So pie 35 is the cherry teleport whipped cream pie. The pie recipe came from Joy of Baking, but with a few mods.

The Pate Brisee (Fancy term for Short Crust Pastry, makes 2 crusts)!:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. granulated white sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until joined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/4 cup  water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube

The cherry pie before its perilous journey

until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough on your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one part of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself, crimping as desired. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap.

Remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch circle. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.

I also made a third crust for the end point of my teleportation:

The crust, part 2 (a basic crust)!:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1 quarter cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter (that’s one stick of butter)

1 large egg yolk

1-2 tsp. ice-cold water

Science!

Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the butter into small chucks and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or two knives in a criss-cross motion, blend the butter into the mixture until it has the consistency wet sand (sweet, delicious wet sand)with a few pea-sized pieces remaining.

Using a fork or whisk, beat the egg yolk and the water. Pour the egg mixture over the flour, stirring only until the mixture becomes moist. The dough should stick together and be able to hold the form of a ball. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Chill in the fridge a minimum of 30 minutes.

To roll it out, I used a cloth dinner mat. Flour the surface, cover the dough with your plastic wrap and roll out into a 9 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie plate. Trim or fold the excess under the edge of the crust and flute. Place a pie weight or beans in tin foil over the center of the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove the weight from the crust and bake an extra 7-9 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Set aside to cool.

The Filling!:

4 cups pitted, sweet or tart fresh cherries (can also use 4 cups sweet or  tart canned or bottled cherries, drained with 1/3 cup cherry juice reserved)

3/4 cup granulated white sugar, or as needed

2 1/2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

1/8 tsp. salt

It's still a cherry pie, its data is just altered. And delicious.

1 tbsp.  fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. cherry brandy

Pre-heat the oven to 425F and place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

Place the cherries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract and gently toss to combine. (If using canned cherries also add the 1/3 cup reserved cherry juice.) Let sit for about 10-15 minutes and then pour the mixture into the prepared, unbaked pie shell and dot with the 2 tbsp. of butter. Lightly brush the rim of the pastry shell with the heavy whipping cream. Cover top with your second pie crust and cut slits ( or your own design) to vent. Brush the entire surface with the cream.

Place the pie on a larger baking pan, lined with parchment paper, to catch any spills. Bake the pie for about 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Continue to bake the pie for about 25 – 35 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown color and the cherry juices are starting to bubble. If the edges of the pie start to brown too much during baking, cover with a foil ring.

Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool for several hours.

Cherry Pie Pie

Once pie has cooled, cut it up and throw it into a blender. I used a Vita-Mix. Blend for 1-2 minutes. I was able to get the pie blended but the Vita Mix kicked it. My wife is gonna be maaaaad. Pour the blended pie into your baked pie crust.

In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, sugar and brandy. Whip until stiff. spoon over the filling. Be wary of adding too much booze, my whip cream fell and now looks strangely like tapioca. Fail.

It should last 3 days in fridge.

A couple of things:

In 1993, physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed.  Check. I’m ahead of the curve. I destroyed 2 things.

Since that time, experiments using photons have proven that quantum teleportation is in fact possible. I’m afraid that, in this day and age, with something as large as a pie, there will be a few manual processes to make this work. This, in project management parlance, is what is known as “semi-automation. If I were a cynic, it would also be known as “make work.”

Then there’s that whole it’s-not-the-same-pie thing. It’s like that movie with Jeff Goldblum. The one where he transports but there’s a fly in the transporter. Same thing happens with pie.

On the taste side of things, the cherry flavor doesn’t pop like I thought it would. And the texture of the whipped cream needs some improvement. It’s also really heavy. Like pudding.  It’s still good but doesn’t really excite. Oh, the things I do in the name of science.

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Filed under Booze Pies, Cherry Pies, Homemade Pie Crust Pies, Unique Pies

Pie #34 – Screwed Up Texan Creamy Watermelon Pie

Excessive melon-o-mania

The social committee at my place of employment decided that we needed to have a theme day at the office. Team spirit and all that. The Crew organized what is now dubbed in agency lore as “Wacky Watermelon Wednesday.”  You could win prizes for your creations, which was enticing:) They had individual categories for taste, as well as presentation. So, I decided to partake in this wacky theme day and brought to work, pie 34, the Screwed Up Texan Creamy Watermelon pie. Actually, I brought in two pies. And I won a $25 dollar gift certificate for the pies! It’s baby steps on my march to Top Chef Desserts masterdom.

This recipe is very simple and quick to make and is excellent on 100+ degree days, which we have a lot of in Texas right now.

I attribute the recipe to Allie which I found on her site, Confessions of a Screwed Up Texan. Really good stuff.

The crust!:

1 prepared graham cracker crust (I bought one original and one chocolate graham cracker crust for this exercise)

The filling!:

2 cups of cubed or balled watermelon chunks. Seedless watermelon is the way to go.

1 cup sugar

1 package cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 drops of red food coloring (optional)

2 cups prepared whipped cream for topping (you can also use cool whip which for ease of use is the direction I took)

In a large bowl, whip the sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and (optional) food coloring together until smooth and fluffy, about two minutes.

Using a spoon or rubber spatula, fold in watermelon.

Spoon mixture into the prepared graham cracker crust and top with whipped cream. Chill for at least one hour if possible or just eat right away.

Because I had to transport these from home to work, I didn’t spoon the whipped cream on the top of the pies until the contest Wednesday afternoon. It only added to the mystique:) The pie was very well received and I enjoyed it as well. The creamy mix and the texture and coolness of the watermelon worked very well together. The only downside for me was the pie “melted’ very quickly but no one seemed to mind. If you have leftover, it’s important to keep refrigerated.

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Filed under Cream Pies, Graham Cracker Crust Pies, Non-bake Pies, Watermelon Pies

Pie #33 – 1975 Dick Taeuber’s Brandy Alexander Pie

I’ve been staring at this recipe for a few weeks. It’s from the Essential New York Times Cookbook, which is out now. The recipe was previously covered by Amanda Hesser at food52.com, which is where I discovered this boozey delight. You can go here to read the story behind this concoction. I remember 1975 – 8-tracks, Led Zeppelin 4, and really bad color palettes. And now, one variation of many booze pies. Truly great days.

The  Crust!:

1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs

Booze Pie

1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter. Form in a 9-inch pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

The filling!:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2/3 cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

3 eggs, separated

1/4 cup Cognac (I used brandy)

1/4 cup Crème de Cacao

1 cup heavy cream

Pour 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Add 1/3 cup sugar, salt and egg yolks. Stir in to mix. Place over low heat and stir until the gelatin dissolves and mixture thickens slightly (it won’t be as thick as a custard). Do not boil! Remove from heat.

Stir the liqueurs into the mixture. Chill until the mixture starts to mound slightly.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, then add remaining sugar and beat until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the meringue into the chilled mixture.

Whip the cream, then fold into the mixture. Fill the crust. Chill for several hours.

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Filed under Booze Pies, Ginger Snap Crust Pies, Non-bake Pies

Pie #32 – Lemon Macaroon Pie

Happy Independence Day! Like any good, upstanding citizen, I spent some dough on stuff. Bought a much-needed mattress from Costco online. We hear it’s nice:) My wife and I look forward to a new mattress.  We roll to the center of the current one nightly, like sleepy little bumper cars. I guess no more pillow tops…

Being that the day  went  spending dough on stuff, I didn’t start until about 7pm. And this weeks pie needs a lot of attention. It won’t be piped until tomorrow morning. This week it’s lemon macaroon pie, courtesy of Bon Apetit Deserts by Barbara Fairchild.

Lemon Macaroon Pie, not as beautiful as it would be in Bon Apetit, but probably just as tasty

The crust!:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flower

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

6 tbsp. (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces

2 tbsp. chilled non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening cut into half-inch pieces

3 tbsp. (or more) ice water

Blend both flours, sugar and salt in food processor. Add butter and shortening; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add 3 tbsp. ice water and process until moist clumps form. Add more water by teaspoon full if  dough is dry.  Gather dough into a ball, flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill at least an hour.

Position rack in bottom third of oven and pre-heat to 350F.  Roll out dough on lightly floured surface  to 13 inches diameter. Transfer to dish. Trim dough to half-inch and fold under. Crimp decoratively and freeze for 15 minutes.

Line crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights (I have pie weights!). Bake until crust is set and edges are pale golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans (or weights). Cool completely on rack. Maintain oven temperature.

The filling!:

3 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract

Using and electric mixer beat the eggs, egg yolks and salt in a large bowl to blend. Add sugar, and beat until mixture is thick and fluffy, about a minute. Beat in coconut, whipping cream, lemon juice, lemon peel, melted butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Pour into crust.

Bake until filling is golden and set, about 40 minutes. Cool pie completely on rack and then chill until cold, about 3 hours. Note that I’m typing this at 11:45 pm CST. And the pie is still in the oven. I guess, I’ll have a slice for breakfast. I’ll drop in a picture too. Enjoy your Independence Day, however you choose to celebrate!

An update on July 4-Finally got the pie piped with whipped cream and garnished with the lemon slice at around noon. The pie has a good taste of lemon but there’s a heavy texture of coconut that I’m not too crazy about. The crust baked well and thankfully didn’t burn. Pie collars are important:)Coming from a Bon Apetit cookbook, I’m bummed this doesn’t have a bigger lemon pop to the flavor.  It’s average to me. Too bad, considering the amount of time it took to put together. I guess I’ll have to drown my disappointment by going out and looking for a sectional sofa.

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Filed under Homemade Pie Crust Pies, Lemon Pies