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Best Ever Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

5 Dec

Pumpkin Pie

I realize this post is a little late with it being after Thanksgiving and all but this recipe really needs to be shared. So, truth be told, I have posted this recipe before, but it was so delicious I had to revive it. I made two of these pies for Thanksgiving and then one more again this week just because I really wanted some more. There are so many good elements to this pie: perfect texture, just the right amount of spices, and the all important ease of assembly.

When I attempted to make my most recent pie I realized we were almost out of eggs so I decided to try using an egg replacer powder instead. It actually worked out pretty well. I think the texture might have been slightly less firm than the ones I made with real eggs, but it’s hard to know if that was from the egg replacer or just a normal variation in the baking. But it was by no means bad and I wouldn’t hesitate to use the egg replacer again.

whole pumpkin pie

Another reason I made my most recent pie was because I wanted to try making whipped cream out of coconut milk. It seems to be all the rage these days and I was curious as to whether it would work and if it would taste good. I’ve put a link to the recipe I used and I highly suggest you follow the instructions to a T. I would suggest one difference in the process, however. That is, when you put your coconut milk in the fridge to chill, put them in upside-down so when you flip them over to open them, the liquid part will already be at the top. I tried to cheat the system a little and I think it made my coconut milk mix together a little which made my whipped cream not quite so fluffy as it should have been. Good news is, after chilling in the fridge it firmed up quite a bit. As far as the taste goes, I thought it turned out really well. The texture was just like that of regular whipped cream. I could definitely taste a light coconut flavor, but didn’t think it clashed with the taste of the pie at all. It was a really good alternative to regular whipped cream and I like that I can keep a can of coconut milk on hand to have fresh whipped cream whenever I need it. A win I say!

Best Ever Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream Recipe

 

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Grandma’s Apple Pie

31 Oct

Although I’ve made some delicious apple pies in the past, I’ve never been 100% satisfied with them. Probably because in my mind I always compared them to my grandma’s pies. Grandmas’ pies are always the best, are they not? So, recently when I went to visit her, I asked my grandma for her recipe. I think she makes hers by memory and some super grandma-pie-making-instinct these days, but lucky for me she had the base recipe she initially started from. I was thrilled to find the results were just what I was looking for.

Now I chose to make hand pies instead of a regular full pie. I used a box of Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (there’s 2 crusts) and it made 7 hand pies using half the following recipe. You’ll want to let the filling cool before filling (I put mine in the fridge for a few minutes) otherwise it makes them really weak. A couple of mine split before I caught on. I used about 1/3 cup of filling in each pie, brushed some beaten egg on one edge, then crimped. Then I brushed the top of each pie with more egg, sprinkled a bit of sugar over the tops, and cut 2 vent holes. Baked on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

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Grandma’s Apple Pie 

  • 7 tart apples
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 rounded Tablespoons Instant Clear Jel*
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ( I doubled this)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 recipe for double pie crust

Wash, peel, and slice or dice apples. Put into medium-size saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. In a dry bowl, mix sugar, instant clear jel, salt, and cinnamon. Mix dry ingredients with apples. Add lemon juice. Pour into unbaked crust. Dot with butter or margarine. Cover with crust. Bake 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

 

In case you’re wondering what “Instant Clear Jel” is, it’s an instant powdered thickener. I use a brand called “Ultra Gel.”

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Perfect Plum Pie

10 Oct

plum pie

This is another recipe I decided to use my box of plums on. The assembly was simple enough that I actually made three pies at once! Good thing they turned out! I have to say I was a bit alarmed when I put the topping on as it looked like I’d covered all the beautiful plums with nothing more than a thick layer of flour. I was relieved and delighted to see the results. Be fair warned this pie is not in the least bit healthy. Pretty sure there was about 50 pounds of sugar in it. But, when this is the result, who cares? Had I known plum pastries were so delicious and easy to make, I would have done this years ago.

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Plum Pocket Pies

10 Oct

I was lovingly gifted with a box of fresh plums from Seth’s parents on our recent trip up to Idaho. I have to be honest and say that normally I’m not a huge fan of plums and I didn’t know what I was going to do with all of them. But, Seth’s mom insisted that plum pies were delicious so I figured I’d start there and see what happened. I’m not really sure how I came upon the pocket pie idea, but once I saw it, I had to get me one. There are several varieties available, but I chose the Nordic Ware Pocket Pie Crimper because it featured metal hinges instead of plastic, and was very affordable at about $12. I do have to say I didn’t press down on the handles (just pushed on the edges) as they didn’t provide enough pressure and felt a bit flimsy, but other than that I was very happy with it. These pies turned out so delicious, I can’t wait to see what other concoctions I can create!

plum pocket pies

  • 1/3 cup sugar (plus additional for sprinkling)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups diced plums (approximately 10 small plums)
  • 1 package Pillsbury Refrigerated 9″ Pie Crusts (2 crusts)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 1/3 cup sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add diced plums and toss gently to coat; set aside.

Using the back of the pie press, cut 2 circles out of each crust. Combine the scraps and roll out into another circle and cut with the pie press, giving you 3 total rounds per pie crust. One at a time, place each round on the indented side of the pie press and place 1/4 cup of the plum mixture in the center (I used an ice cream-sized scoop). Use a pastry brush to coat the edge of the crust on one side with beaten egg. Carefully fold the press together, evening out the layer of plums as necessary. Press tightly to seal and remove pie to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rounds.

Brush the tops of each pie with beaten egg and  sprinkle with sugar. Cut two 1-inch slits in the top to vent. Bake for 20-25 minutes until pies are golden brown. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and serve.

Makes 6 pocket pies

Adapted from Home is Where the Boat Is

The Ultimate Lemon Meringue Pie

15 Feb

 2013-02-13 12.58.25-1

 When I asked Seth what he wanted for his birthday “cake” he requested a lemon meringue pie. While I don’t think lemon meringue is his favorite pie, it was tradition for him to have one for his birthday growing up. I’d only ever made a lemon meringue pie a few years ago for his birthday and couldn’t remember what recipe I’d used, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t screw up his birthday dessert so I went straight to my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook.

While lemon meringue pie is a little bit more fussy than a tradional pie, so long as you get all your supplies together and have everything ready to go, the actual execution isn’t too bad. And the final result sure is beautiful. I really liked the addition of graham cracker crumbs to the basic pie crust… sort of a best of both worlds result. Ultimately Seth loved his pie and that’s good enough for me!

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Graham Cracker-Coated Pie Shell

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 3–4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Lemon Filling

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice from 2 to 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Meringue Topping

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pie shell:

1.  Mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little of the flour. Cut butter into flour with five 1 second pulses. Add shortening; continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than a small pea, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cold water over mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold water into mixture; press down on dough mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together. If dough will not come together, add up to 1 tablespoon more cold water. Shape dough into ball, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

3. Generously sprinkle work area with 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs. Place dough on work area. Scatter a few more crumbs over dough. Roll dough from center to edges, turning it into a 9-inch disk, rotating a quarter turn after each stroke and sprinkling additional crumbs underneath and on top as necessary to coat heavily. Flip dough over and continue to roll, but not rotate, to form a 13-inch disk slightly less than 1/8-inch thick.

4. Fold dough into quarters; place dough point in center of 9-inch Pyrex pie pan. Unfold to cover pan completely, letting excess dough drape over pan lip. To fit dough to pan, lift edge of dough with one hand and press dough in pan bottom with other hand; repeat process around circumferences of pan to ensure dough fits properly and is not stretched. Trim all around, 1/2-inch past lip of pan. Tuck 1/2 inch of overhanging dough under so folded edge is flush with lip of pan; press to seal. Press thumb and index finger about 1/2-inch apart against outside edge of dough, then use index finger or knuckle of other hand to poke a dent on inside edge of dough through opening created by the other fingers. Repeat to flute around perimeter of pie shell.

5. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Use fork to prick shell at 1/2-inch intervals; press a doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil into pie shell; prick again and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

6. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake, checking occasionally for ballooning, until crust is firmly set, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove foil, and continue to bake until crust is crisp and rich brown in color, about 10 minutes longer.

For the filling:

7. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a large, nonreactive saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally at beginning of the process and more frequently as mixture begins to thicken. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, whisk in egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in zest, then lemon juice, and finally butter. Bring mixture to a brisk simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to keep hot and prevent skin from forming.

For the meringue:

8. Mix cornstarch with 1/3 cup water in small saucepan; bring to simmer, whisking occasionally at beginning and more frequently as mixture thickens. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, remove from heat. Let cool while beating egg whites.

9. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix cream of tartar and sugar together. Beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; until sugar is incorporated and mixture forms soft peaks. Add cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat meringue to stiff peaks. Remove plastic from filling and return to very low heat during last minute or so of beating meringue (to ensure filling is hot).

10. Pour filling into pie shell. Using a rubber spatula, immediately distribute meringue evenly around edge then center of pie to keep it from sinking into filling. Make sure meringue attaches to pie crust to prevent shrinking. Use spoon to create peaks all over meringue. Bake pie until meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature. Serve.

From: America’s Test Kitchen

Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake

19 May

The moment I saw this cake on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it. When I actually read the recipe and realized how easy it was to make, it increased my interest ten fold. This is the biggest cake I’ve ever made. Four layers to be exact. But it had to be big. It had to look amazing. It had to taste amazing. Why? Well because I was making a cake for not only my mom & grandma for Mother’s Day, but it was both of their birthdays as well. That’s a tall order… just like this cake! HA!

Just to tell you how easy this thing was to make, all you do is make 2 boxed cakes. One red velvet, one white. Then alternating the layers, you stack them with a layer of whipped cream and strawberries in between. That’s it! You can use Cool Whip like the recipe suggests, or you can make your own to save on cost (and improve taste!). I used a quart of whipping cream and it was plenty for between the layers and to cover the outside. I love this recipe for whipping cream as it holds up really well. Also, I used one container of store-bought frosting for a crumb coat around the outside of the cake. This helped to keep the strawberries and red cake from bleeding through the whipped cream. I also always freeze my cake layers before assembly to make handling and frosting way easier. Box cakes are especially fragile so freezing them really helps a ton. Plus the cake easily thaws in just a few hours and there’s no affect on the quality of the cake at all!

So next time you need an easy, crowd pleasing dessert, make this cake. It will make you cry tears of joy.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

18 May

A perfect specimen

This was another Pinterest find for me and I’d been waiting for just the right time to make them. A friend at work had a birthday coming up so I “tricked” him into choosing these cupcakes as his birthday treat. I’m not going to lie… I was a little worried these things wouldn’t turn out. I haven’t had the best luck frosting cupcakes using a pastry bag and with the final product being dipped, I was fully prepared for failure. Luckily the recipe gave some great suggestions for frosting success, namely using a giant piping tip instead of a regular sized one. This made a huge difference and I was amazed at how easily I was able to make a beautiful swirl on top of the little cakes.

The only tricky part to making these was the buttercream frosting. There were a few steps involved, none of which I’d ever done before so I wasn’t quite sure if I was doing it right, namely beating the heated egg white/sugar mixture to the proper texture. The recipe says to beat it until it has a shaving cream consistency. I don’t know that I’d say that description was entirely accurate as the sticky concoction never really looked like shaving cream (such as your typical whipping cream process). For me it went from a runny, sticky liquid to a fluffy sticky mixture. Kind of like marshmallow fluff. Other than that, everything went off without a hitch and I was pleased to see that although I guessed a little on some of the steps, everything turned out how it should.  Oh also, it’d be better to underfill your cupcake tins a little than to overfill… anything hanging over the top of the cupcake liners makes frosting and dipping much more difficult. I’d shoot for filling them no more than 2/3 full.  I would also recommend doubling the recipe as I did, just to give yourself a couple of practice cupcakes (you’ll need them!), especially since this recipe only makes 10 cupcakes.

One of the dipping casualties, but still delicious!

So, if you’re looking for a special treat or just have a hankering for some peanut butter and chocolate, give these babies a try! They were just as delicious as they look!

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