Pie #50 – Mocha Bavarian Cream Pie

Pie 50 is chocolate, Mmmmm, chocolate.

Welcome to the Holiday Season. Only 2 months until Xmas. Olivia is diligently loading Christmas music to her iPod as I type. She wants to hear it but no one else in the house has that enthusiasm. I also hear at least one friend already has the tree up and most of the holiday shopping done. The shopping thing is pretty smart. As long as you don’t keep shopping. The tree, I hope you enjoy.

Pie 50 is a selection from my wife, who went old-skool and pulled this from a cookbook on our bookshelf. It’s from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. It’s 1996 new. It’s a no-bake, cream pie in the Bavarian tradition. Meaning something with chocolate in it.

The crust!:

2 cups walnut, pecans or almonds (I used all 3)
3 tbsp. sugar
2 slightly beaten egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 375F. In a food processor, blend nuts and sugar until fine. Add egg whites and blend until joined. Pour mixture into 9 inch pie plate and using a spatula, press into bottom and up sides. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust appears dry. Set aside to cool.

The filling!:

1/2 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups milk
2 oz. unsweetened bakers chocolate, chopped
2 tsp. instant coffee crystals
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whipping cream

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and gelatine, stir in milk. Add chocolate and coffee crystals. Cook over medium heat until gelatin dissolves and chocolate melts.

In a mixing bowl, slightly beat egg yolks. Gradually, stir in half the gelatin mixture into egg yolks. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Chill gelatin mixture for 30 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold into your gelatin mixture. Continue to chill until filling mounds when spooned. Transfer filling to pie crust. Garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or until set. Or until you can’t take waiting anymore. Hopefully, for at least 3 hours.

I had a slice and found that the crust overpowers the filling. For me it’s not chocolatey enough. But I do like the pudding texture of the pie and the taste of the crust. I’d add some sweetened chocolate if I were to do it again.

As an aside, last Friday we welcomed a new, feline member to our family. King Solomon, the 3 legged Lynx Siamese, I say hello again to you. Solomon was found through Austin Siamese Rescue as a courtesy listing from O’Malley Alley Cat Rescue of Nacogdoches, Texas. I did an online foster through Save A Pet on Facebook and after a time just decided he would be well-tended to in our home. My wife and the kids agreed. Solomon, you will be loved but you need some company…

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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.

Pie #31 – Strawberry Cream Pie

It’s a True Blood evening. Our friend Piph is coming over to watch it with Tammi. I don’t include myself in this as I don’t have much of an interest in the series. I’ll just do something else. But I did keep in a theme (sort of) for the show. Pie number 31 is a strawberry cream pie. Strawberries for the (tasty, delicious) bloody gore, and cream for these vampires silky complexions (until they fight and tear each other up). So saxy. I did this pie with a graham cracker crust. I don’t really have anything to tie into for the crust. Charring at first sunlight? Doesn’t sound very yummy. I don’t know. I don’t watch it, seriously.

The crust!:

16 -20 graham crackers

5 tbsp. butter, melted

3 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend the graham crackers until fine. Add butter, sugar and salt and mix until blended. In a 9 inch pie plate, spread the mixture along bottom and sides of pan. Bake for approx. 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

The filling!:

Two (8 oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened

3 cups strawberries

1 tbsp. sugar

6 tbsp.  sugar

3 tbsp. corn starch

3 tbsp. confectioner powdered sugar

1/2 cup whipped cream

Place the sliced strawberries in a dish and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar. Let sit for 30 to 60 minutes to make juice. Set aside 1/2 cup strawberries and juice for later.

Add the remaining berries and juice in a saucepan and add remaining sugar and the cornstarch. Set at medium low heat (don’t go too high, you could burn the berries) and simmer until berries break down and the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

While strawberries simmer , beat together the cream cheese, reserved juice, powdered sugar, and whipped cream until smooth and creamy.

Place the set-aside strawberries in the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of them, using a spatula or flat wooden spoon to smooth it out.

Pour the cooled strawberry sauce in the center of the pie and smooth out toward the edges with a flat wooden spoon. Top with more strawberries as desired. Chill for two hours and serve with whipped cream.

I had a bit of it before the steak-with-garlic dinner, and it is delish. It’s heavy on the creaminess. The taste of the strawberries is very sweet. I like it; it’s like jelly. The sweetness stays a while. Having it with a graham cracker crust is an extra added bonus. It’s a good one.

Pie #23 – Sherry’s Blackberry Cream Pie

Happy May Day. Lots to do today at the homestead in Austin. All manner of yardwork, cleaning, picking up kids, and baking of course. This week, I had a few people ask me what my pie of choice was going to be for week number twenty three. I didn’t have a plan for this one. Actually, generally speaking, my planning has fallen by the wayside. I usually scramble on the weekend figuring out the pie, and then rushing to the store to get any missing ingredients. Not really my preferred method but it works well enough.

A couple of these folks asked me if I had made a blackberry pie yet. I had not. Until today…

This pie comes courtesy of cooks.com. The pie guru who created this recipe is one Sherry Monfils. Why thank you!

The crust!:

1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 stick chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes

2 tbsp. sugar

pinch of salt

3 tbsp. or more of ice water

Blend the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor using on/off turns. Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix until moist clumps form. Add additional water by teaspoon if the mix is dry. Remove from processor and form into a ball. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Let set in the fridge a minimum of 3o minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees  and remove the dough after half hour. Roll out on lightly floured surface into a 13 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Today I rolled up the dough in a log and unrolled it in the pie dish. It actually worked pretty well. Trim the dough and use the remnants to patch any holes you might have around the crust edge or in the dish.

You aren’t supposed to bake the crust but I did. It was a slight oversight.  I lined the bottom of the crust with foil and filled with uncooked beans to weigh it down. It was baked for 20 minutes. After it was baked, the beans and foil were removed and the crust allowed to cool.

The filling!:

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups light sour cream
1 tsp  vanilla
3 cups blackberries
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 tbsp. butter, softened
whipped cream
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a bowl, combine sugar, 1/3 cup flour, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth. Toss in blackberries and stir well. Spoon into pie shell. If you’re someone who decides to bake the pie crust when you aren’t supposed to, drop the oven rack to the lower third of the oven, and put an aluminum foil collar around the crust so it doesn’t burn.Bake 30-35 minutes or until set. In a bowl, combine 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, pecans and soft butter, mix well. Sprinkle over pie. Return pie to oven for 10 minutes. Let cool and slather with lots of whipped cream!
The pie tastes good. I like the contrast with the berries, the crumble and the flakey crust.  Thumbs up on this one.

Pie #14 – Apple Vanilla Cream Pie

Apple Cream

Nicole is in town from San Francisco. Jewelz is in town from Houston. Tammi and I are very excited to see the both of them. It’ll be a slumber party!

Nicoles favorite pies are in cherry or apple form. I looked up apple pies and found one that calls for vanilla and cream. It sounded tasty so I decided this weeks would be apple vanilla cream.

The recipe is Frankenstein. I did a double crust from a recipe in the Bon Apetit Desert Cookbook. I pulled the filling from a recipe in cooks.com. It’s attributed to CW. Thank you CW:)

The crust!

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flower

1/2 tsp. salt

10 tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

3 tbsp. (or more) ice water

The filling!

6 cups thinly sliced apples
1 tbsp. vanilla extract or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cream
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla
4 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line a pie dish with the bottom pie crust. Mine became a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle. Todays bottom crust was not pretty. Amazingly, the top crust wasn’t as bad. And it was room temperature. Advice – roll out the dough while it’s still cold.

Wash, peel and core apples. Arrange thinly sliced apples in the bottom pie crust.

Combine all remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour mixture over apples. Cover pie with second crust; crimp or flute edges and cut slits in top, creating vents to allow steam to escape.

Brush the crust with milk, cream, or an egg wash.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until apples are tender (check through the center vent). Make sure to check it at 45 minutes to see how the crust looks. If it’s got a nice tan to it, I might be time to remove from the oven.

After I pulled the pie from the oven, a small group of us went to the Salt Lick in Drifwood for some BBQ. We came home to a very pleasant desert, garnishing with vanilla ice cream. The pie is still slightly warm, the apples held up well and didn’t go mushy. It has a good hint of vanilla and cinnamon. The crust is a nice, flaky crust. My friends like it. I want another piece…

Pie #13 – Banana Cream Pie

NOT a Frito Pie

Today’s selection comes to you courtesy of “Loud” Jen Beck. It was more of a plan B than plan A though. Her original request was something called Frito Pie. It isn’t something I would consider pie. It’s more like nachos and I would call it a pie in name only. Of course she had to counter that Shepherd Pie is also only a pie in name only as it has no crust. She would classify it as more of a casserole. That’s fine, I wasn’t going to make one of those either:)

I’m not a huge fan of bananas, let alone bananas in custard topped with whipped cream. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat it though…

The crust:

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, about 16 graham crackers destroyed in a food processor

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (I used 1/3 of a cup as the crumbs seemed dry, and I like butter)

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients until well blended. Press evenly into a 9 inch pie dish, starting at the center and working your way outward until the crust is even on bottom and sides of pie dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack or your oven top to cool.

The filling:

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups of whole milk

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

2 tbsp. butter, softened

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large ripe bananas

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Blend in a bowl. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Slowly whisk in the milk, vanilla extract and the whipping cream. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and blend half the custard into the egg yolks. Combine the mixture with the yolks and return to the saucepan. Return to a boil and cook until thickened which is about 6 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap. Cool the mixture before chilling in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Cut the bananas into 1/2 inch slices and blend in with lemon juice, gently. Fill the pie crust with one cup of the chilled custard mix. Place a layer of bananas. Repeat the layers twice. The recipe at this point says to refrigerate for 6 hours. Forget that! Topping stat!

The topping:

1 1/4 cup whipping cream

2 tbsp. confectioner sugar

1 large ripe banana, sliced into 1/3 inch pieces to decorate the top

cinnamon to dust the top

Beat the chilled whipping cream and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until firm. Slather the mix over the top of the pie. Place the banana pieces decoratively in the whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon.

I whipped the topping earlier in the day, while the custard was chilling. We have friends visiting from Houston and San Francisco and this evenings event was Texas roller derby. So basically the topping is one of those “plan ahead” things you can do if you need to tend to other things in your life. I got home at 10 pm and assembled the pie and will be having this with Jen, and others, tomorrow morning with my coffee.

Pie #12 – Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Busy, busy weekend. Lots of Halo Reach. Lots o’ basketball, shopping and prepping for Andre’s 9th birthday party.  A party of over a dozen 8 and 9 year-old boys, with a few 10-year-old girls thrown in for nerf gun target practice. There were games, cake, a pinata, and lots of sugar. Our last guests left around 7pm. I wanted to go with something comforting but simple. Blueberry sour-cream it is.

Big YUM

The crust:

1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 stick chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes

2 tbsp. sugar

pinch of salt

3 tbsp. or more of ice water

Blend the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor using on/off turns. Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix until moist clumps form. Add additional water by teaspoon if the mix is dry. Remove from processor and form into a ball. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Let set in the fridge a minimum of 3o minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and remove the dough after half hour. Roll out on lightly floured surface into a 13 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Trim the dough and use the remnants to patch any holes you might have around the crust edge or in the dish. It doesn’t have to be pretty, you’re going to fill it with blueberries in cream.

Freeze the crust for 10 minutes. Line crust with foil and add dry beans or pie weights ( I still haven’t seen these) and bake for about 15 minutes until the sides are set. Remove from oven, remove beans and foil.

The filling:

1 cup of sour cream

3/4 cups sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. unbleached flour

1 egg, beaten  (physically not verbally)

3/4 tsp. almond extract

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (2 containers, 4 bux at HEB)

Whisk the sour cream, sugar, salt, flour, almond extract and egg  in medium bowl. Mix in the blueberries. Spoon the filling into the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the filling sets.

The topping (it’s clumpy crumble):

6 tbsp. unbleached flour

1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used one stick by mistake and added a couple of tablespoons of flour to give it more crumble. It kinda worked)

1/3 cups chopped pecans

2 tbsp. sugar

Using your fingertips, mix the flour and butter until small clumps form. Mix in the pecans and sugar. Sprinkle the topping over pie. Continue to bake at 400 degrees F until the topping is lightly browned, about 12 minutes. You may want to place a tin foil collar around the crust as you would be reaching the point of super crunchiness. Cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.  And that’s it. The prep time isn’t long and the baking isn’t really bad either. And it is reaaallllly tasty.