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 #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 #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 #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.

Pie #28 – Foggy Bottom Lemon Curd Pie

Today was a day of labor. I mowed the lawn (a downside of the American Dream, especially in 98 degree heat) and did a lot of plant pruning. But hey, the yard looks nice and the work to get there further motivated me to cook dinner for my lovely wife, and to create pie number 28, the Foggy Bottom Lemon Curd Pie.

Foggy Bottom Lemon Curd Pie = Yum

This is a non-bake pie, but I did a sweet crust from scratch, courtesy of the 500 Pies and Tarts cookbook. It didn’t come out that great and I’m not sure why. I mean, the crust doesn’t look great but I’m sure it’ll taste really good. The edges retreated a bit and the fluting, that looked so wonderful in dough (thanks Claudius Rex!), ended up disappearing. The filling is from a recipe at cooks.com. The original recipe is actually called Black Bottom Lemon Curd Pie, but I can never find chocolate nilla wafers. So I did my own crust and changed the name of the pie. Plus I used a glass pie dish and when the pie is frozen it actually has a foggy bottom. Is that bad?

The 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

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. I was able to pick up the crust and transfer to my pyrex pie dish. You can also just slide it from the cloth surface to the pie dish. 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 additional 5-7 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

The filling!:

1/2 stick of unsalted butter

1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice (that’s 2 large lemons)

Lemon zest from 1 large lemon

3/4 cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

1 pint of vanilla ice cream

Melt the butter. Stir in the lemon juice, zest sugar and salt. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Beat the eggs (don’t just yell at them); gradually blend in the lemon mixture into the eggs. Return to heat. Cook over LOW heat an additional 2-3 minutes or until the filling starts to thicken. Do NOT allow to boil. Remove from heat, allow to cool and then chill in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.

Nuke your ice cream for about 15 seconds in the microwave and slather along the bottom of your crust. Use the whole pint. Remove the cooled lemon curd from the fridge and place over the top of the ice cream. Freeze for about 6 hours. Or until you can’t stand it anymore and must have a piece. You can add shaved chocolate as a garnish if you’re feeling it but it isn’t necessary.

It’s very tasty. The lemon is a nice partner to the vanilla ice cream. It’s just a pain to cut a piece of solid ice cream and lemon curd. I recommend a heated knife to cut yourself a piece. Or you can just brutalize it with a large spoon.

Pie #27 – Cherry O Cheese Pie

If a cherry pie and cheescake married, you would get pie #27. It’s very simple to make; the biggest challenge should you choose it, is the pie crust. This one is from Sharon, a creative that I have the pleasure of working with.

Pip pip cherry o, fork up and all that

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 (super easy)!:

1 block (8oz.) cream cheese

1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup of lemon juice (about 2 1/2 if you go fresh squeezed)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 can cherry pie filling (or make your own, unlike me)

Blend all ingredients except the cherry pie filling until creamy. Put filling in a prepared graham cracker crust. Chill then add a can of Comstock cherry pie filling and chill until you serve it.

I love the combination of cream, tart cherries and the graham cracker crust adds good texture. Thanks Sharon:) This pie is in the very tasty range.