Pie #49 – Halloween Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Our annual Halloween party is happening Friday. Each year, the Agency has a party with pumpkin carving, a bake-off, and costume contest. I’ve been a purple monster, a bunny with a black eye, a cow, and this year, my favorite animated character, Snoopy. I also baked a pie for the bake-off. Pie 49 is a Halloween Pumpkin Cheesecake pie. This recipe comes courtesy of You Want Pies With That? on blogspot. The creator of this recipe is Branny of Branny Boils Over. She won a pie contest with this recipe and I’m hoping to win as well. I’m hearing there’s nifty prizes:)

The crust!:

And the holiday season is here...

8 oz. Chocolate Teddy Grahams

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Blend the Teddy Grahams in a food processor until fine. Add the butter and blend until joined. Pour into a 9.5 inch pie pan and, working from the center out, press along bottom and up sides of pan. Refrigerate until you’re ready to add the filling and cheesecake.
The filling!:

1 15oz. can packed pumpkin puree (I ended up using about 2 cans as there wasn’t enough for a 9.5 in. dish)

1/2 cup evaporated milk

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

4 eggs

For the cheesecake (you’re going to have some leftover):

8 oz. cream cheese

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup white sugar

To make the pumpkin filling, beat the eggs and sugar. Add the spices, puree pumpkin, and evaporated milk. Whisk to combine.

To make the cheesecake filling, beat cream cheese with a mixer until softened. Add sugar and blend in egg. Add vanilla. Blend until smooth.

To assemble the pie: pour pumpkin filling into graham cracker crust. Pour cheesecake filling into a zip top bag and snip off end. Or if you have a piping kit, you can use that as well. To make the spider web design, lightly pipe concentric circles of cheesecake into the pumpkin filling. Using a clean knife, drag the blade of a knife from the outer edge of the pie towards the center, wiping the knife between drags.

Bake in a 300 degree oven for 60 minutes.

The pie looks good but I won’t be tasting this tonight.  It will wait unti the  finished product is presented at the bake-off. It’s a gamble. I’ll let you know if it worked out.

Until number 50…


Pie #48 – Baby Screamin’ Its Head Off In The Middle of the Night and Ruinin’ My Life Pie

I’ve never seen the movie The Waitress. But I came across a boat load of recipes from the movie and thought the titles really great. Pie number 48 is not so much a pie as a cheesecake and I am ready to make one. I had to make one modification to the recipe, adding Bauchant in place of Amaretto. Bauchant is an orange liqueur but, after tasting, agreed with my wife that it would do the trick. Maybe I’ll do another of the recipes somewhere down the road but I don’t think it’s going to happen in the next 4 weeks. You can find all recipes here.


The crust!:

No crust!

The filling!:

4 8-oz. cream cheese, softened (I used non-fat as I need to watch my girlish figure)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sour cream (I didn’t use low-fat as I keep forgetting that such a thing exists)

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 3/4 cup white sugar

1/8 cup cornstarch

1 fl. oz. Bauchant liqueur (used in place of Amaretto)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

5 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Bring all ingredients to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with foil.

Butter inside of pan and don’t skimp. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in sugar and cornstarch. Blend in sour cream and whipping cream. Add Bauchant and vanilla. Stir in eggs and egg yolk one or two at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Pour batter into pan. Place pan in another pan at least 1 inch wider and add at least one inch of water to outside pan (prevents cracks in sides). Bake on center rack for 70 minutes. Turn oven off and let cool with door open for 1 hour. Remove cake from water and chill at least 3 hours before removing cake from pan.

Top with crushed pecans and dust with nutmeg…

OMG this has just toppled the coconut cream pie as my favorite.  It’s probably because it’s more of a cheesecake and I love cheesecake. It’s creamy and has a whipped texture that just melts in your mouth. It is sooooooo gooooood. Easy to make, highly recommended.

Pie #47 – Chicken and Greek Yogurt Quiche

It must be brunch time. Or lupper...

I’m feeling fairly productive today. I started out at 9am by making pie 47, a chicken and greek yogurt Quiché. I would qualify Quiché as a pie, mainly because it has to bake in a crust. I’ve seen so-called Quiché without crust but I think it’s more of an omelette. This one was relatively quick and easy; all told it took an hour and 20 minutes to make. Prep was 20 minutes and bake time was about an hour, give or take 5 minutes.

The Quiché inspiration comes from allrecipes.com with a few mods. The one I made called for sour cream but I didn’t have any so I used greek yogurt. Also, based on one of the comments for the recipe, I made sure to add more salt.

The Quiché!:

1 (9 inch) frozen pie crust, thawed

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 cups chopped spinach

1 tbsp. cake flour

1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breast

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup greek yogurt

1 tbsp. chives (for garnish)

1 tbsp. sweet basil (also for garnish)

Preheat oven to 400F. Pull your ready-made pie crust from fridge to thaw.

Section your chicken breast into small squares. In medium frying pan, heat some spray oil on medium high. Add your chicken. Stir until cooked. Set aside.

In medium frying pan, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add onion, green pepper and spinach. Cook three minutes, stirring frequently. Add cake flour and cook for two minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in chicken, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Spread this mixture over bottom of unbaked pie shell and top with Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese.

Combine eggs, milk and greek yogurt, mix until smooth. Pour over chicken mixture. Garnish top with Basil and Chives. Or use whatever spices you like as garnish.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 400F for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake 30 to 35 minutes until inserted knife comes out clean.

After I finished baking, I went outside and cut the yard while waiting for this to cool. Productive:) I had a big slice after finishing the yard and it really hit the spot as a breakfast option. It was moist and tasty. It held together really well too.

And just in case you’re curious about what you’re putting into your gullet… Amount Per Serving Calories: 380| Total Fat: 26.7g | Cholesterol: 117mg. Until next week…

Pie #46 – Pear and Apple Pie

Yesterday was my birthday so please forgive me if this is a day late. My wife and I spent the weekend in San Antonio as gadflies on the River Walk. There were lots of drinks and laughs and just all-around good times. I also enjoyed the salutations from a bunch of my friends and family via Facebook. Those were like a bunch of little presents. They were very much appreciated.

However, my week has been tinged with a bit of sadness as well. As I wrote in my earlier blog, our cat Fuzzle has gone missing. And now, a week to the day after she disappeared, our other cat, Ginger, has also disappeared. I’ve spent the week wandering our neighborhood calling out to both cats and even wandering into the wooded areas that we have around our house and in the neighborhood. There is no sign of them and I can already tell this is going to be one of those life mysteries where we will probably never know what happened to either of them. It’s sad. They were beautiful and awesome cats. After I got home today, I put away their food and water dishes. And we’ve already moved their cat perch into the garage, along with their toys. *Sigh*

Pie number 46 is a basic Pear and apple pie. I didn’t want to go through the effort of making pie dough today so I just bought a couple of ready-made crusts.

The ingredients:

Pear and apple pie

4 peeled, sliced and cored pears (or 1 can pear quarters)

4 peeled, sliced and cored apples (or 1 can sliced apples)

½ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup of granulated sugar

¼ cup of flour (preferably all-purpose)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

a pinch of salt

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. light cream (or you can use half and half)

1 tsp. granulated sugar

Pre-heat oven to 325F. Thaw your ready made crusts. One will be the top of your pie.

Combine the sliced apples with the sliced pears, brown sugar, and one-quarter cup of sugar in a large bowl. Also throw in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Pour the apple and pear mixture into pie pan. Dot the top with butter.

On a floured surface, roll out other dough into a 12 inch circle and transfer to top of the pie. Seal the crust and cut slits into the top. Brush the top with cream. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.

Bake for 50 minutes and cool for an hour. At 30 minutes you may want to check on the pie as the cream and sugar on top will darken the dough considerably. I recommend covering the top in foil after 30-35 minutes.

It’s an easy and quick recipe and tastes pretty good. I recommend a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it.

Good night girls. I miss you both:(

Pie #45 – Death by Chocolate Pie

My little Fuzzle cat has gone missing without a trace. She’s been gone since this past Tuesday. She’s the kitty in the first picture I put on this blog, who was there with me last Thanksgiving when I made my first pie. She is heaven-knows-where.  It makes me sad as I write this post. I want pie to associate with happiness and The Yum. But I cannot help wonder where she went, how she went and whether she’s ok, or at peace. Fuzzle, I hope you come home. And if you do you’re grounded.

Today, I decided to try a recipe from Kate Orenberg’s Summer of Pie blog here on WordPress. It won’t be the last. She’s got the pie thing going on. This weeks selection is Death by Chocolate pie. And people, it’s Chocolate. The crust is a brownie, the filling is chocolate pudding (home-made of course) and the topping is a chocolate ganache and chocolate whipped cream topping. It’s also garnished with chocolate:) Please note the recipe is copied almost in its entire original form. She’s also a sharp writer. Thanks, Kate.

Choco-holic delightThe crust!:

(From King Arthur Flour’s “The Best Fudge Brownies Ever.”)

8 oz. (one stick) butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tbsp. vanilla

2 large eggs

3/4 cups flour

6 oz mini chocolate chips

Butter and flour a 9″ deep dish (2 – 2 1/2″ deep) pie pan.

In a medium-sized microwave safe bowl melt the butter. Add sugar and stir until combined. Stir in cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Add the flour and chips, and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, being care to bring it up the sides and over the top slightly. Make as thin a layer as you can as the batter will rise in the oven.

Place in the refrigerator for 30 min – 1 hour to set.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line chilled crust with greased parchment paper, pressing it firmly but gently against the sides; fill with weights. Bake for 20 minutes or until sides are set. Remove the parchment and weights and bake for another 8-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. I baked at 8 because the crust started to burn. I’ll take undercooked brownie to burned brownie any day:)

The filling!:

Adapted from “Recipe of the week: Blackout Cake: Brooklyn’s long-lost dessert”

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup whole milk

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 tsp cocoa liqueur or vanilla extract

Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, half-and-half in medium saucepan, slowly whisk in milk over medium heat. Switch to a heat-proof spatula and stir constantly until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in chocolate, continue stirring until all chocolate is melted (place on low heat if pudding is too cold to fully melt the chocolate). Stir in liqueur or vanilla, and pour into prepared crust. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. My vote is 2 hours…


12 oz heavy whipping cream

8 oz. bittersweet (like my mood) chocolate, chopped

Heat 6 oz of cream in a small saucepan over medium/low heat until steaming, but not boiling. While cream heats, chop chocolate into small pieces (fine) and place in heat-proof mixing bowl. When cream is steaming, pour onto the chocolate. Mix until thoroughly combined and allow to cool to room temperature. You want the ganache to set up a little so it’s no longer liquid, but not so set up as it would be difficult to fold into the whipped cream.

In a separate bowl, whip the remaining cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture, then gently spoon into chilled crust. Wrap in plastic and chill overnight or for at least 3 hours.

I only used 4 oz. of the bittersweet chocolate. I’m glad I did. The ganache almost ran off the top of the pie. Delicious but messy. I’m also a poor judge of determining how thick the ganache should be before folding in the whipped cream.

The whipped cream!:

12 oz. heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. rum

3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Pour cold cream into a large bowl. Add vanilla and rum. Sift in cocoa powder and sugar. Blend with a hand mixer on low until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated; whip on high until cream has the consistency of a soft frosting. Spread gently on top of pie.

Decorate with a handful of mini chocolate chips, grated chocolate, or dusted cocoa powder. Chill until ready to serve.

This pie is, ummmm, chocolatey. Super delicious if you are a fanatic about chocolate. And I am.

They say chocolate cures the blues. I’m going to need to eat the whole thing myself in order to get over the sadness of the loss of my beautiful, flame-point Siamese kitty. Good night Fuzzle. Wherever you are…