Dessert

Chocolate Cream Pie

The final pie I made this past week was a chocolate cream pie. To me, it is the quintessential cream pie, and this one was perfect. I think store-bought pudding mixes have a odd aftertaste to them, but this one is made from scratch and tasted amazing. I also used my stabilized whipped cream to help it last until I could serve it. Recipe and photo courtesy of tastesbetterfromscratch.com.

Crust:

  • 24 Oreo cookies
  • 5 Tablespoons butter

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter , chopped into pieces
  • 8 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate , chopped (I like Ghirardelli’s)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar , or granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the crust, preheat oven to 350°F. Add Oreo cookies to a food processor and pulse into a fine crumb. Pour the crumbs into a bowl and stir in melted butter until combined.  Press mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool. For the filling, heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the sugar, and milk and whisk well to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer, whisking frequently.  Meanwhile, add the egg yolks and cornstarch to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Once the saucepan mixture is simmering, add a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid into the egg yolks and whisk to temper the eggs. Add a few more spoonfuls of the hot liquid into the egg yolks. Then slowly whisk the egg yolk mixture into the remaining mixture in the saucepan. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and comes to a very gently boil (big bubbles begin to break the surface). Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, chopped chocolate, and vanilla extract. Stir well until completely smooth. Pour filling into the cooled cookie crust and smooth into an even layer. Place a piece of plastic wrap gently on top and refrigerate until filling is set, about 4–6 hours or overnight, if desired. Just before serving, make the topping by adding the cream to a mixing bowl. Mix with electric mixers on high speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Continue mixing until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Spread whipped cream over pie and garnish with curled chocolate, if desired. (I use this method for making chocolate curls)

Dessert, How To

How To: Stabilized Whipped Cream

I love a homemade whipped cream, but they can be pretty fragile if  not eaten right away. That was the problem I was looking to solve this past week when I had 3 pies needing whipped cream that weren’t going to be eaten for several hours. After much internet scouring, the consensus seemed to be adding gelatin to the whipped cream to help it last. After trying it I can say without doubt that it was successful.  The cream still tasted great, and held up beautifully.

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (like Knox, found near Jell-o in the baking aisle)
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let sit for 5 minutes. While it’s sitting, place heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a mixing bowl if using an electric beater. Once gelatin is set, place bowl in microwave and heat until gelatin turns to liquid, about 10 seconds. Turn mixer on to start beating cream. Let it run for about 1 minute and then with the mixer on high, very slowly pour the melted gelatin in, in a small steady stream. Continue beating cream until you reach medium-stiff peaks. Spread or pipe whipped cream as desired.

Dessert

Banana Cream Pie

Here is another of the cream pies I made for my fellow firefighters. I am not historically a big fan of banana flavored desserts, but this one got a big thumbs up from my co-workers. It was also my first time making my own creme anglais and I was really pleased that it came out. I made it with a vanilla wafer crust instead of a graham cracker crust but either will work just fine. Recipe and photo courtesy of chef-in-training.com.

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 7 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, sliced

Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

For the crust, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar and mix well. Add melted butter and mix until it is well blended. Press into a 9 inch pie pan and bake for 7 minutes. Cool completely. For the filling, in medium sauce pan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add half and half and egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute and remove from heat. Stir in butter, and vanilla. Pour ½ of the filling into the crust. Top with sliced bananas to cover the filling. Pour the rest of the filling over the bananas. Cover with saran wrap directly on the filling itself to avoiding a sticky film on top. Chill for at least 3 hours. Top with another layer of sliced bananas. Right before serving, beat the whipping cream in a medium bowl at high speed. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form. You don’t want them to be soft but you don’t want them to become butter either. Spread whipping cream over the top of the bananas and then garnish with a few more slices of bananas.

*If you are taking the pie somewhere where it won’t be eaten right away, take a look at my stabilized whipped cream recipe here.

Dessert

Butterfinger Pie

When I served this pie to my fellow firefighters the first reaction was, “wow, this stuff is crack”.  I took that as a compliment. The beautiful thing about this pie is that it is no-bake (if you use a store-bought crust), and only 4 ingredients. It was completely delicious. Recipe and photo by plainchicken.com

 

  • 1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 12 oz container Cool Whip, thawed
  • 7 (2.1 oz) Butterfinger candy bars, crushed

Combine softened cream cheese, cool whip and 6 crushed Butterfingers. Spoon into prepared graham cracker crust. Top with remaining crushed Butterfinger. Chill at least 4 hours.

*If you want to make your own graham cracker pie crust the recipe can be found here.

 

 

 

Dessert

Lemon Cream Pie

Every month at my fire department association’s business meeting the firefighters take turns bringing a dessert or snack. This month was my turn and when I asked around what people might want the answer I got was cream pies. So I decided to make four different types of cream pie in hopes of having something for everyone. This lemon cream pie was chosen because I love all things lemon and it looked so good, I just had to try it. I had never made my own curd before so it was a little dicey for a bit as I kept stirring and stirring waiting for the curd to thicken, but eventually it did and it was heavenly. Recipe inspiration by wellplated.com.

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 sheets if you are using whole crackers)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons melted butter

Lemon Cream Filling:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Begin by preheating your oven to 375. Mix together your graham cracker crumbs, sugars and melted butter. Press into a greased 9″ pie plate. I like to use a glass or measuring cup with a flat bottom to make sure it is even. Bake for 7-9 minutes, then let cool completely. Next, place a heatproof bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water to create a double boiler. Add the eggs into the bowl, then with a hand mixer on medium speed (or a whisk and some serious arm power), beat the eggs until thick and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes if using a mixer. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar, then the lemon juice and lemon zest. Once incorporated, switch from a mixer (or whisk) to a rubber spatula. Continue to cook the mixture over the simmering water, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the bowl with your spatula, until it forms a thick, smooth custard, about 8-12 additional minutes. When you dip your spatula into the custard, the custard should easily coat the spatula’s back, and if you draw a line through the custard on the back of the spatula with your finger, the sides of the custard should stay separated. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool to almost room temperature. In a large mixing bowl or a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium high speed until it is completely soft and smooth, about 3 full minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, then gradually add the cooled lemon custard to the cream cheese, beating until smooth and fully combined so that no white streaks remain. Pour the cream cheese into the baked pastry shell. Refrigerate the pie until fully chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. Up to 4 hours before serving, prepare the homemade whipped cream: In large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment over medium speed. When it starts to thicken, add the powdered sugar and vanilla, increase the mixer speed to high, and continue to beat until soft peaks form. (Do not over beat or the cream will separate.) Spread over the chilled pie, slice, and serve cold.

*Now I know there are a lot of words in the instructions, but it really is not as difficult as it might appear. Also, I knew I wouldn’t be serving my pie right away, so I made a stabilized whipped cream using gelatin to ensure that my whipped cream didn’t fall. That recipe can also be found on my website.

Bars, Dessert

Banana Blondie with Peanut Butter Frosting

I’ve been a new recipe kick for a little while now, and the other night when I was restless seemed the perfect time to try another. This time it was banana blondies. I don’t typically make banana desserts other than banana bread because for some reason I think they will taste artificial, which is never good. I decided to break out of my comfort zone and try this blondie recipe because when I looked at the ingredients I knew that it couldn’t possibly taste artificial. The original recipe came from cookiesandcups.com, but instead of using the browned butter frosting, I thought it would be delicious with a peanut butter frosting and boy was I right.

Blondie

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and if desired browned
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (1 medium banana)

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8×8 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. In bowl of stand mixer combine melted (or browned) butter and sugar. Mix until combined. Add in egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated. Stir in salt, flour and banana until batter is smooth and even. Spread in prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until center is set. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool. Frost the blondies when they are mostly cooled.

To make the frosting, cream together peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Incorporate fully, then add in milk until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Spread over cooled bars.

Cookies, Dessert

Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are so many recipes out there that claim to be THE BEST. That definition is so different for everyone, especially when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. Some people say that chilling is mandatory, or cake flour, or nuts…the list goes on and on. In my opinion, this is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I have tried to date. There is no chilling, no super fancy ingredients, but there are a couple steps in here that I feel make this recipe stand out. One is the extra egg yolk. The other is the 4-5 minutes of beating before you add the dry ingredients. I did add about 25 grams more flour to compensate for being at altitude and I have included the US measurements in case you don’t own a food scale. I did weigh my ingredients so keep that in mind when you try this. Recipe and photo courtesy of janespatisserie.com.

  • 175 g (1 stick + 6 tablespoons) butter
  • 225 g (1 1/8 cup) light brown sugar
  • 100 g ( scant 1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300 g (2 cups) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 325 g (2 1/2 cups) semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375.  Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper. Melt the butter slowly until it is fully melted, leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Once cooled, beat in the two sugars until they are thoroughly combined. With a stand mixer, add the egg, the egg yolk and vanilla and beat the mixture for about 4-5 minutes on a medium speed or until the mixture becomes much lighter in color, is smooth, and has increased in volume. (I literally set a timer for this so I made sure I beat it for long enough.) Add the dry ingredients and beat again until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, portion the cookies onto the trays and bake the cookies in the oven for 10-12 minutes for softer cookies; 14 minutes for soft/crunchy cookies. I rotate my pans halfway through baking to make sure it bakes evenly. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the pan for 1 minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.