Pie #40 – Vegan Pumpkin Tart With Pecan Crust

It makes me want to clean.

It’s a lovely if heated night here in Austin. I’m on vacation and have the week to stay-k. The homestead needs a few things done. I’m looking forward to the break.

So I accidentally made a vegan tart:) I need to look a little more closely at the details that surround the recipe when I decide I’m going to do them. Not that I wouldn’t have made it anyway. Pie number 40 doesn’t really fit with the time of year we are currently living in. But I’ve worn white pants after Labor Day and nobody seemed to mind.


The crust!:

3/4 cup pecan halves

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 pinch salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tbsp. real maple syrup

Set rack in center of oven and pre-heat to 375F. Lightly oil a 10 inch tart pan. Spread pecans over a baking pan. Toast for 7-10 minutes or until smell of nuts permeates the kitchen. Set aside 16 of the pecan halves for your

Combine the oats, flour. remaining pecans, cinnamon and salt into food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and maple syrup. Whisk to create a soft dough. Press into and up sides of tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.

The filling!:

1 cup 1% low-fat milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée

1/2 cup real maple syrup

3 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (for the non-vegans)

My first tart. My first vegan dessert.

Set oven to 375F. Blend the milk and corn starch in larger bowl until corn starch is completely dissolve, about 15 seconds. Add pumpkin purée, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Blend until thoroughly combined. Pour filling into crust and smooth top.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. Press the set-aside pecan halves into top for garnish. Cool to room temperature then chill until set, about 3 hours. You can serve chilled or at room temperature.

I had a slice with Olivia and, in my opinion, it sways between too much ginger and no flavor. It’s strange or maybe kind of bland. So we decided to try it with ice cream which made it a little more flavorful.


Pie #39 – Key Lime Pie – Low Carb Version

I Hope you are having a good weekend and wherever you are, the weather is mild. This weeks pie is the low carb version of a key lime pie.  I’ll be looking for low carb versions of pie for a bit. I have found a whopping three that fit the bill. So if you have any good recipes, send them my way please. This one seemed the most in keeping with the time of year.

I’ve also never done a ground pecan crust. Easy and mesmerizing.

The inspiration for this pie comes from The South Beach Diet and allrecipes. I made a few mods to their recipe.

The crust!:

1 cup ground pecans

3 tbsp. margarine spread, melted (I used I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”)

1/2 tsp. Truvia sugar substitute

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

In a food processor, ground up the pecans and Truvia. Add coconut extract and melted butter and blend until combined. Place in 9 inch pie plate and spread along bottom and up sides of plate. It may not look like much in relation to the pan, but this is why I say it was mesmerizing.

The filling!:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp. Truvia sugar substitute

1 (6 ounce) package sugar-free lime-flavor gelatin

1/3 cup boiling water

1/3 cup cold water

2 (8 ounce) packages low-fat cream cheese, cut into pieces

1 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

2 tbsp. ground pecans (optional as garnish)

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup ground pecans, butter, 2 packets sweetener, and 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract. Press firmly into bottom and up sides of an 8 inch pie plate; refrigerate until firm.

In a small bowl, whip the heavy cream with 1/2 teaspoon sweetener until soft peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl with high sides (this is important, unless you want green gelatin mix all over your kitchen), mix the gelatin with boiling water until all the gelatin has dissolved. Stir in the cold water. Using an electric mixer, slowly beat in the cream cheese. After the cream cheese is added, stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract, and beat at high-speed until smooth. Carefully fold in the whipped cream. With a spatula, scrape mixture into the pie crust and smooth out. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons ground nuts on top (optional). Refrigerate several hours or overnight to allow gelatin to set thoroughly.

I’ll have a slice after I eat dinner. During the Cowboys/Chargers pre-season game.

Pie #38 – You Got Your Chocolate In My Peanut Butter™ Ice Cream Pie

So delicious it requires its own bib

I’m tired of the heat. As much as I definitely prefer heat to cold, I could (and I probably speak for Texas too) really use some cooler days. This week, I decided to make something easy, decadent and cold. My preferences aren’t in order. Pie 38 is an ice box pie (so no baking) and is called You Got Your Chocolate In My Peanut Butter ice cream pie. This is an evil-in-the-best-kind-of-way cold pie. Heat begone!

8 oz. chocolate wafer cookies (I used chocolate teddy grahams)

4 tbsp. butter

1 quart chocolate ice cream

1 quart reeses peanut butter cup ice cream

Dark chocolate for garnish

Set ice cream out of freezer to soften. Take 8 ounces of teddy grahams and put in food processor. Blend until fine. Take out a quarter cup to layer between ice cream layers. Melt your butter and add to remaining crumbs. Mix with a fork until blended. Press into bottom and up sides of  a 9 inch glass bottom pie pan. Place in freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Remove the crust from freezer and spoon in softened chocolate ice cream into bottom of plate. Smooth and add your quarter cup of reserve crumbs on top. Place back in freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Remove and spoon in your softened reeses peanut butter cup ice cream over chocolate ice cream layer. Grate chocolate bar over top for garnish.

I’ll be trying this with the kids when they get home. It will be yummy and is perfect for the hot summer days of August.

Pie #37 – Peach and Blackberry Pie

I’ve had a few distractions today in getting this posted. First, I started on this post while waiting for pizza delivery from Hill Country Pizzeria. They got lost so I began to work on my sunday posting for pie 37, a simple peach and blackberry pie. They showed up in the middle of my masterpiece of type. So I broke for dinner – pizza and wings. As I started to motivate so I might finish this, I had a certain cat named Ginger stand, or I should say lay on my way:

When cuteness lays in the way of discipline

The base recipe for this comes from the bon appétit Desserts cookbook by Barbara Fairchild.  This recipe calls for double crust but I just made it single crust. I also changed the cook times based on a single crust. The edited cook times are listed below.

This selection comes from my wife, Tammi. It’s two very good choices in a row. Why, thank you!

The crust!:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening or lard, frozen, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 1/2 tbsp. (or more) ice water

Blend the flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor. Add butter and shortening using on-off turns until mix resembles a coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. Add ice water and combine. Form dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 20 minutes.

The filling!:

1 1/2 lbs. ripe peaches (about 6 small ones)

3 cups fresh blackberries

2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

Vanilla ice cream

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Drop the peaches into the water; cook 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and drop into a strainer. Rinse peaches under cold water to cool. Slip skins off peaches. Note: this is known as blanching:) So today, I blanched. Halve, pit and slice peaches

Peach and Blackberry Pie

( your yield should be 3 3/4 – 4 cups)

Position rack in lower third of your oven and pre-heat to 400F. While you await the heat, mix the peaches, blackberries, sugar and flour, tossing to blend. Set aside.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface or baking cloth to 13 inch disk and transfer to pie plate. For this pie, my first crust transfer became a wreck, so I re-chilled the dough and tried again. I didn’t roll it out large enough so I removed the crust edge from the top of the pie plate. Thus, it looks like a pie plate of baked fruit:)

Spoon the filling into the crust. Place cookie sheet under pie and transfer to oven. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes. Open oven and cover pie with foil so the fruit doesn’t dry out. Reduce heat and bake for another 30 minutes or until the peaches are soft and tender when cut with a knife and the juices bubble thickly.

We had some fruit left over so my wife took the remnants and turned it into a topping for the ice cream.

It’s very sweet and the peach flavor really stands out. I’m not too happy with the crust and don’t think I want to use vegetable shortening in the crusts I’ll make down the road. It tastes great with the vanilla ice cream and the sauce my wife made is a very nice touch. Overall, it’s pretty basic but a perfect pie for this time of year.

Pie #36 – Grapefruit and Coconut Angel Pie

Greetings and Happy August. It’s still hot in Texas. Pie number 36 comes courtesy of my wife Tammi, and The Gourmet Cookbook, by Ruth Reichl. This one is unique for its pie crust, which is originated, if you will,  from coconut meringue. The recipe was mildly complex, so I leaned into the making of it.  Now my back is sore:) I didn’t want to take anything to chance so I spent some time studying the recipe before baking, and while I was creating it. I didn’t stretch because I didn’t realize it was going to be an exercise. And, action…

The crust!:

4 large egg whites left at room temperature for about 30 minutes

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp.  cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1 cup sweetened flake coconut

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Place rack in center of oven and pre-heat oven to 250F. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the salt until they are foamy, beat in the cream of tartar, and beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in the sugar, a little at a time, beat the meringue for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is stiff and glossy and the sugar dissolved; fold in the coconut.

Brush a small amount of the melted butter along the sides and bottom of your pie pan and place in fridge for about 3 minutes. Remove and brush your remaining butter along sides and bottom of pie pan.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the meringue evenly around the edge of a 9.5 inch pie plate, spreading the meringue with the back of the spoon to form the side of the shell, and spread the remaining meringue evenly over the bottom of the pie plate. Bake the shell in the middle of a preheated 250F. oven for 1 1/4 hours, or until meringue is firm and very pale golden, turn off the oven, and let the shell cool completely in the oven with the door ajar, about 45 minutes.

The filling!:

Grapefruit and Coconut Angel Pie

1 envelope (about 1 tbsp) unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup strained fresh grapefruit juice

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup well-chilled heavy cream

2 cups fresh grapefruit sections (cut from about 3-5 large grapefruit), cut into 1/2-inch pieces and drained well

fresh grapefruit sections for garnish if desired

Using a sieve over a medium size bowl, remove grapefruit from peel and membrane and place in sieve to allow collection of juice. This is going to take you a while. I enjoy making pie; it was still a pain in the butt.

In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the grapefruit juice and let it soften for 1 minute. In a small saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar, add the remaining 1/2 cup grapefruit juice, the gelatin mixture, and a pinch of salt, and cook the mixture over moderate heat, whisking, until it registers 160F on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, cook about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer the yolk mixture to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and whisk it constantly until mixture is thickened to the consistency of raw egg white but is not set. Remove the smaller bowl from the bowl of ice and cold water and reserve the bowl of ice and cold water for later use. In another metal bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until it is light, fluffy, and smooth, scraping down the side, add the yolk mixture, a little at a time, beating, and beat the mixture until it is smooth and joined well.

Set the bowl containing the cream cheese mixture in the reserved bowl of ice and cold water and whisk the cream cheese mixture until mixture is thickened and forms a peak when you remove whisk. In a bowl beat the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks and whisk about one-fourth of it into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently but thoroughly and fold in the grapefruit pieces.

Pour the filling into the shell, smooth the top, and chill the pie, uncovered, for 3-4 hours, or until the filling sets completely. (If the pie will be chilled for more than 4 hours, cover it with plastic wrap or wax paper.) Just before serving garnish the pie with the grapefruit sections if desired.

The grapefruit is subtle in the taste of the pie, as is the cream cheese. Good balance. The texture of the grapefruit, coconut and the meringue crust is something I like. Tam likes it which is saying something considering she’s not a big pie person. The kids pooh-pooh it though. They aren’t fans of the grapefruit.  Ah well, adult scale is positive, kid scale is fail.  I’m also happy for the selection. It was a good one. Thanks honey.