Chocolate Pecan Pie

photo 3There are many reasons to love the holidays: time off from work/school, snowy weather, family gatherings, festive decorations, and food. I’m sure it’s no surprise that my favorite aspect of winter celebrations is the latter on this long list, but I’m prepared to be even more specific. I love, I mean am practically obsessed with, holiday desserts, and pie is on the top of the list.

I recently attended a book signing by Rose Levy Beranbaum where she detailed her latest book, The Baking Bible, practically a Godsend. Hearing her speak was both compelling and inspiring; I simply couldn’t wait to go home and bake. I absolutely recommend buying the book because there are countless tips and tricks for baking lovers, as well as hundreds of pages of detailed recipes and mouth-watering pictures. However, I did a little research and managed to find an online version of one of her most valuable baking formulas: Cream Cheese Crust. While I was used to using either butter or shortening for my pie crusts (and, honestly, have even used a store-bought crust from time), the cream cheese addition in this recipe made for a truly beautiful, flaky crust. I used the Cream Cheese Crust for all of my Turkey Day pies and they were a huge success – not a crumb lasted through the weekend.

photo 2This recipe was a variation of my typical holiday pecan pie; I’ll admit, I was just a tad nervous and anxious about straying from tradition. But my decision was soon vindicated. This scrumptious confection was a huge crowd pleaser among the friends and family at my own Thanksgiving feast. The slightly salty, savory pecans are complimented perfectly by rich and melty chocolate pieces, and the flaked coconut adds an awesome texture to the smooth caramel base of the pie. Serve it warm or cold and topped with a dollup of fresh whipped cream – the perfect way to top off a festive celebration.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

  • Pastry for Single Crust-Pie
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Prepare pastry for single-crust pie. Roll out the crust and gently transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold under extra pastry and crimp the edge. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, add eggs, corn syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir to combine.

In pastry shell, layer semisweet chocolate pieces, 1 cup coconut and pecan pieces. Pour egg mixture over all, spreading evenly.

photo 1To prevent over browning, cover edge of pastry shell with foil.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil, then continue to bake for 15 to 20 minutes more or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and store in refrigerator within 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Namas-tasty!

Dazzling Blueberry Pie

2014-07-11 22.20.35In my last post I discussed my love for farmers markets and baking with fresh summer produce. I believe I also I mentioned my bargain-bought blueberries.  I should further admit here that when I find a good deal I typically take full advantage, and this time was no exception. I bought a lot, I mean TONS, of blueberries.

After whipping up a batch of my Scrumptious (and Easy) Blueberry Muffins, I still had several pints of fruit left. Sure, I could have done the “sensible” thing and made a simple fruit salad or included them in a nice parfait. But then I thought… PIE! One of my very favorite desserts to bake (and consume).

This all-American pie made an awesome centerpiece for my end-of-summer celebration last weekend. Simple yet flashy, serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream and you’ll have a real crowd pleaser on your hands!

Famous Blueberry Pie

adapted from Taste of Home

  • 2014-07-11 21.12.03Pastry for 9-in double pie crust (store-bought or homemade, if you need directions click here)
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

2014-07-11 21.15.10In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice and salt; toss gently. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with bottom pastry; flute edges. Add the filling.

Cover edges loosely with foil. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake 20-25 minutes longer or until set. Cool on a wire rack

2014-07-11 22.14.28From remaining pastry, cut out approximately 10 stars of different sizes (or use a 1/2 inch cookie cutter, if desired).  Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Randomly place stars over cooled pie.

Namas-tasty!

 

 

So Good Apple Pie

I don’t like to brag (OK that’s not true, but who doesn’t like to brag occasionally?!), but I make THE BEST apple pie. Trust me, I have the feedback to prove it. So, now that I’m in my seasonal apple frenzy, I would like to share my tried and true apple pie recipe with you, readers. I hope you try it out for an upcoming holiday dinner or celebration! Don’t be afraid to leave comments of gratitude when your guests’ compliments start flowing 😉

2013-10-12 12.07.34So Good Apple Pie

  • Pastry for 9-in double pie crust (store-bought or homemade, if you need directions click here)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups tart apples (about 8 medium, or 6 large), peeled and thinly sliced (I like to use Cortland if picked fresh from an orchard; Granny Smith also work just fine)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place one pie crust in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over filling.

Roll out the other pastry onto a counter and cut into 8 strips, approximately 1-1.5 inches thick. Assemble the strips into a lattice- alternating over and under. Press the two edges together and onto rim of pie plate to seal; flute as desired. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Sprinkle crust with granulated sugar crystals, if desired, for a fancy touch.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the crust, removing foil for last 8-10 minutes of baking. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm, if desired, with fresh vanilla ice cream!

Namas-tasty!