• Milk and Cookie Pie

    I’d like everyone to know that when I made this pie the other day, I had just returned home from the eye doctor, and my pupils were so dilated my eyes were practically all black, and any amount of light literally BURNED, I was like a damn vampire. However, I made the mistake of mentioning this pie, created by Erin McDowell and originally found here, to my siblings when I came across the recipe, and they wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, as a result, I baked this pie in a kitchen as dark as I could make it, squinting the entire time. And STILL, it was fabulous, which is probably mostly a credit to Erin’s recipe, but also I LITERALLY blind-baked a pie so there’s that. Someone please tell me I’m funny…pls.

    Anyway, this past Easter weekend was full of food and also rainy weather, which wasn’t so great for the spring-y holiday, but made it extra cozy for me while holed up cooking and baking for 16 people with my mom! In addition to the dinner classics like ham, scalloped potatoes, and such, I made 2 different spring desserts: a pavlova, like this one I wrote about last week, and also another almond cake, which I wrote about here! Both are good desserts to make the night before, since the pavlova can dry in the oven overnight, and the cake is covered in a glaze that keeps it moist. We all ate lots of food and Easter candy, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do, and now that the day is over, catch me scooping up all the discounted Peeps at CVS am I right?? But back to the present, let’s get baking, shall we?

    Here are 5 things to be happy about at the beginning of this week!!
    ONE. Appreciating the good fortune of loved ones.
    TWO. Ghost stories and marshmallows by the fire.
    THREE. Stained glass.
    FOUR. Feeding your mind.
    FIVE. Downspouts after a rain.

    MAKES: 1 9 inch tart
    PREP TIME: 30 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 20-24 minutes
    INACTIVE TIME: 1 to 2 hours or overnight

    COOKIE CRUST INGREDIENTS

    6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
    ½ cup light brown sugar
    ¾ tsp vanilla
    1 egg yolk
    1 + 2/3 cup all purpose flour
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    ½ cup chocolate chips

    COOKIE CRUST STEPS

    ONE. Grease a 9-inch tart pan with cooking spray. Place the prepared pan on a baking sheet, and make sure that you have enough room in both your freezer and fridge for later.

    TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the egg yolk, then mix to combine.

    THREE. Carefully add the flour and salt, then mix until incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly, but should stick together when squeezed. At this point, stir in the chocolate chips so that they’re uniform, then press the dough into the prepared pan, making sure it’s even on all sides.

    FOUR. Place the tart shell in the freezer and let it chill while you preheat your oven to 350ºF.

    FIVE. When it’s ready to bake, prick the bottom and sides of the dough with the tines of a fork, then bake until the crust is lightly golden brown, between 20 and 24 minutes. Set aside to cool completely while you make the filling.

     

    FILLING INGREDIENTS

    1/3 cup cool water
    1 Tbsp powdered gelatin
    1¼ cup heavy cream
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 vanilla bean)

    FILLING STEPS

    ONE. Mix the cool water with the gelatin in a small bowl, and allow to bloom for at least 5 minutes.

    TWO. In a small saucepan, heat together 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the bloomed gelatin and heat until that too dissolves, about another minutes.

    THREE. Pour the heated cream mixture into a large glass measuring cup or bowl with a spout. Stir in the remaining heavy cream and milk. Carefully pour the cream mixture into the cooled crust, and transfer the whole pie to the fridge. Chill for at least 1 hour, up to overnight, until the panna cotta filling is completely set.

    DECORATION INGREDIENTS

    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    1 Tbsp granulated sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    Chocolate chips/ cookies for decorating

     

    DECORATION STEPS

    ONE. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla together until medium soft peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    TWO. Generously pile the whipped cream onto the center of the pie, and smooth out as desired. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, shavings, or mini cookies as desired.

    YUM! XOXOXOXOXOXO

     

     

     

  • Cheesecake Pudding Pie

    Spring has sprung, ladies and gentlemen!!! At least, I hope it has since I have frantically purchased a new pair of rain boots AND a rain coat (from here and here, respectively if you’re at all interested in my shopping problem), so I say bring on those spring showers!!! Also not for nothing, this new rain coat is made from 25 renewed plastic bottles and I feel great about it. ANYWAY, back to food which is the real reason why we’re all here. This weekend I had the pleasure of doing truly nothing- you know when you realize that you have not one single plan for the weekend and suddenly the possibilities are endless? That was me for the first time in WEEKS so I knew I had to make it count. Aside from sleeping until 11 on Saturday, I took a trip to the garden near my house and wandered around the greenhouses with my sister, and then promptly came home to make this pie.

    Adapted from this recipe from The New York Times and created by Erin McDowell, it starts off its life as a heavenly cheesecake pudding, which is essentially created like a pastry cream, only with a generous amount of cream cheese for that classic cheesecake tang. And, because I can never let well enough alone, I decided to jump a step further and pour the whole thing into a graham cracker pie crust and voila! A pie is made!! This could also probably be classified as a lazy person’s cheesecake, because it doesn’t require the temperamental baking in a water bath or hours of chilling, and in a pinch, you could even use a store bought pre-made graham cracker pie crust. I myself discovered that Honey Maid makes boxes of already crushed graham cracker crumbs, which is really a genius idea, and I hope whoever thought of it gets a promotion.

    I even had some leftover filling which I turned into this baby pudding cup!! (And then promptly devoured)

    This recipe could be embellished in all sorts of ways if that was something you wanted to explore, I think next time I may swirl in some raspberry coulis on top because literally why not, you know? For the time being, I topped it with a handful of fresh berries, and I can confirm that the whole pie was gone by the next day. Gone, yes, but certainly not forgotten. Now go forth, and make your cheesecake dreams come true!!

    But first, here are 5 things to be happy about today!!
    ONE.
    Old computer games.
    TWO.
    Mystery books.
    THREE.
    “Adopt Don’t Shop”.
    FOUR.
    Reusable straws.
    FIVE.
    The tropical gradient of a mango skin.

    MAKES: 1 9-inch pie (plus maybe enough filling leftover for one ramekin of pudding!)
    PREP TIME: 45 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 12 minutes
    CHILL TIME: 1½ – 2 hours

    PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS

    5 Tbsp melted, salted butter
    1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
    2 Tbsp sugar

    CHEESECAKE PUDDING FILLING

    2 1/3 cups whole milk
    1/3 cup heavy cream
    ¼ tsp kosher salt
    ¾ cup white sugar
    ¼ cup cornstarch
    4 egg yolks
    12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
    Raspberries or other fruit, for decoration

    PIE CRUST STEPS

    ONE. Preheat  your oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, mix together all your crust ingredients until everything is incorporated. The crumbs should be packable and hold together if pinched.

    TWO. Pour the crumbs into a lightly buttered 9-inch pie plate and gently but evenly pack down along the bottom and sides. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the crumbs are toasty. Set aside to cool.


    CHEESECAKE FILLING STEPS

    ONE. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, salt, and a ¼ cup of the white sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

    TWO. In a heat-safe bowl, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar plus the cornstarch to get rid of any lumps. Add in the egg yolks and mix until everything is combined and the eggs are thick and pale yellow.

    THREE. Once the milk has come to a simmer, slowly drizzle about 1/3 of it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that you don’t scramble the eggs. Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour the contents of the bowl into the saucepan with the rest of the warm milk and mix thoroughly.

    FOUR. Heat over medium, whisking constantly, until the mixture gets thick, about 5-6 minutes. At this point, switch to a rubber spatula, scraping the sides of the saucepan as you stir, until large bubbles start to come up to the surface.

    FIVE. Off the heat, stir in the cream cheese and vanilla extract. Push the filling through a sieve to remove any lumps or accidental cooked egg, then pour the filling into your cooled graham cracker crust. Allow to chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Top with fruit or whipped cream (or both) and enjoy!!!

    XoxoxoxoxoD

  • Pear Pie with Creme Fraiche Caramel

    Hello my blossoms! Apparently National Pie Day was this week? Personally I think that’s dumb, everyone knows that Pie Day should be March 14th, aka 3.14 like pi, right?? Anyway, I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to make pie, and I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a long time and am so glad I finally got around to it. Taken from the cookbook Sweeter off  The Vine by Yossy Arefi, this book was actually one of the first cookbooks in my collection, given to me by my sister Kathleen when I turned 21. The book is entirely fruit based, and separated into seasons and then broken up even further by each fruit, which I really LOVE.

    What really caught my eye about this recipe was the caramel mixed into the filling, specifically because of how easy it was. There’s no thermometer required, and it literally takes 5 minutes to come together. What I’m getting at is we should all be making more caramel all the time, we have no excuse. This caramel is slightly different because instead of heavy cream being whisked in at the end, it’s creme fraiche, which is a thicker, soured french cream that adds a lovely tartness to offset the sweetness of the caramel. Combine that with the warmth of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, PLUS the light freshness of pears, and you have reached dessert heaven.

    *Also asa side note, Sweet D now has her very own Facebook page, which can be found here. If that is something that interests you, please follow along!! Love love love.

    As per usual, here are 5 things to be happy about today before we get started!
    ONE. Bread and butter with pots of jam.
    TWO. A smile, a sunny day, an ice-cold Coca-Cola, and a best friend to share it with.
    THREE. An orderly kitchen.
    FOUR. Winter bringing long, silent nights to dream on.
    FIVE. Upper New York State.

    MAKES: 1 9-inch pie
    PREP TIME: 45 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes

     

    CREME FRAICHE CARAMEL INGREDIENTS

    1 cup white sugar
    ¼ cup water
    1 tsp sea salt
    ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
    1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    ½ cup creme fraiche, at room temperature

    CREME FRAICHE CARAMEL STEPS

    ONE. Combine the sugar, water, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat, swirling the mixture but not stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

    TWO. Add the butter and vanilla (with the pod if you’re using the whole vanilla bean), and continue to cook, swirling occasionally and not stirring, until it turns a deep amber color. It’s important to keep an eye on it at this point, because it can go from amber to burnt very quickly!

    THREE. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the creme fraiche carefully, as the caramel tends to splatter. Take out the vanilla pod if you used one (it can be rinsed and re-used!), and allow the caramel to cool slightly before you use it.

    PEAR PIE INGREDIENTS

    1 recipe Perfect Pie Crust, found here
    2½ lbs firm but ripe pears (about 5 or 6)
    ¼ cup white sugar
    ¼ cup all purpose flour
    ½ tsp cinnamon
    ¼ tsp nutmeg
    ¼ tsp allspice
    Juice of ½ a lemon
    ½ cup creme fraiche caramel
    Egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water)
    Turbinado sugar

    PEAR PIE STEPS

    ONE. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of your pie crust dough into a circle large enough to fit your pie plate. Set aside or in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

    TWO. Peel and core the pears, then slice into ¼” thick slices. Mix in a large bowl with the flour, sugar, spices, and lemon juice. Add half of this filling to the prepared bottom crust, drizzle the caramel on top, and add the remaining pears on top.

    THREE. Roll out the top crust and cover however you feel like! I used a lattice, directions for which can be found here, or you could simply use a full top crust and cut slits in the top. Brush the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Place on a sheet pan before baking to catch any spills.

    FOUR. Bake at 425ºF for the first 20 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350ºF and bake for another 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crisp, and the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool slightly before serving, best eaten with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and another generous drizzle of caramel.

    YAY!! xoxoxoxoxD