Dessert, Pie

Chocolate Pie

chocolate-meringue-pie-20This pie is a favorite of my mother and father-in-law. They make it at Thanksgiving and it never lasts very long. I got the hankering for it the other day and had my mother-in-law send it to me. You can use a pre-made pie crust or use my all butter pie crust recipe. Either way, make sure to use pie weights when blind baking to ensure the crust doesn’t shrink.

  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups milk, scalded
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 9″ pie crust

Preheat your oven to 400. Bake your prepared pie crust for 10 minutes, using pie weights to prevent shrinking. In a sauce pan, heat your milk until scalding. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa, flour salt and sugar and then add to your scalded milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Add in the vanilla. In a separate clean, dry bowl, beat your egg whites and cream of tartar until they start to get foamy. Slowly add in the sugar and salt until soft peaks form. Pour your hot filling into the baked crust and top with the meringue. Bake at 400 for 4-5 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool and set before serving.

*You might notice that as the pie cools there is a liquid that seeps onto your crust. This is the meringue losing some of its moisture. There are a number of reasons that this can happen, but don’t worry, your pie will still taste great.

Dessert, Pie

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

easy-peanut-butter-pie-5I love peanut butter and when a colleague requested a pie I liked the simplicity of this one. It can be completely no-bake if you buy a pre-made graham cracker crust, but I prefer to make my own. Recipe and photo courtesy of dearcrissy.com.

  • 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 container whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Begin by baking your crust at 350 for 10 minutes. After the crust is baked and cooled, beat the cream cheese and the peanut butter in a bowl until well blended and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until well blended. Gently fold in 1 ½ cups of the whipped topping just until combined. Pour into the crust and spread evenly. Spread the remaining whipped topping over the top. To make the peanut butter crumbs, blend together the powdered sugar and peanut butter with a fork until incorporated then sprinkle on top of the pie. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

Dessert, Pie

Yet Another Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pieAnother holiday season, another pumpkin pie recipe. This is an America Test Kitchen recipe and was sold as the best pumpkin pie ever. There are a couple of things that make this recipe different from the other ones on my site. First, it has canned candied yams and the second is that you have to precook the filling and then strain before baking. Because it has a more complex process I don’t know that I’ll make it as often as some of my other pumpkin pie recipes, but I will say that the result was a deliciously smooth, not-too-heavy pie.

  • 1 9″ unbaked pie crust
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can*
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup**
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400° F. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, and place rimmed baking sheet on the rack. Whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl, and set aside. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Re-whisk mixture. Place pie crust in pie plate and carefully place plate on the preheated baking sheet. Pour the filling into the pie crust, and bake for 10 minutes at 400° F. Without taking the pie out of the oven, reduce the heat to 300° F, and continue baking until edges of pie are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175° F), 20 to 35 minutes longer. The center 2 inches of the pie should look firm but jiggle slightly; the pie finishes cooking with residual heat. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature and not in the refrigerator to ensure that the filling sets, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream.

*If you can’t find candied yams, normal canned yams can be substituted

**I used honey instead of maple syrup and it was delicious

 

Dessert, Pie

Triple Layer Key Lime Pie

This key lime pie is the ultimate in key lime decadence. It was just the right balance of tart and sweet and the crust was so so good. As this recipe calls for almost 2 cups of key lime juice, I would really recommend buying a bottle of key lime juice. I found mine at my local Kroger in the juice section and it really made a difference. This recipe has a LOT of steps, but please don’t be intimidated by that. No step is difficult, and I actually made my crust and the no bake/chilled layer the day before and finished it the day I wanted to serve it.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons egg whites, room temp

The Baked Layer

  • 2 14 ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of key lime juice
  • 8 egg yolks, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temp

The Chilled Layer

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, room temp
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

The Whipped Layer

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, very cold
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice

To prepare the pan, place parchment paper on the bottom of the spring form pan. Set the “ring” of the spring form on top of the parchment paper and close to seal around the bottom of the spring form. Trim the parchment paper on the outside as close to the pan as you can get. This will ensure that you can lift the pie off the bottom of the spring from pan with ease. Wrap the outside of the spring from pan in aluminum foil to prevent any leakage during baking.

Next, in a very large bowl, combine and toss the graham crackers, dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture. Start adding the melted butter into the well and with either a wooden spoon or by hand incorporate the melted butter into the dry mixture. Add butter until you can pinch the dry mix together and it will hold together. Add the egg whites to the mixture and mix well. Once the egg whites are added, you need to work quickly to move the prepared crust mixture in to the spring form and form the crust or the mixture will start to dry out. Working from the bottom of the spring form, move the crust mixture around to cover the bottom first. Work the crust mixture up the sides of the spring form all the way to the edge of the ring. Use either the bottom of a glass or dry measure cup to press down on the bottom, sides and especially where the bottom of the pan and sides come together. This will help you achieve a nice even and packed crust. Move to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, add the 8 egg yolks to a large glass bowl. Using a wire whisk, whisk the yolks for about a minute. You will want the yolks nice and creamy with some air incorporated into them. No need to break out the mixer for this step. Just some good ole whisking by hand will do. Add the 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk to the mixture and continue to whisk until well blended. Add the room temperature sour cream (1/2 cup) to the mixture and whisk. The sour cream, if not at room temperature will clump, so make sure this and all ingredients are at room temp. Pour the key lime juice into the mixture and continue to whisk. You will notice that the mixture will begin to slightly thicken. This is the reaction of the acid in the key lime juice and the sweetened condensed milk. Whisk the mixture until well blended. You will see lots of air bubbles and that’s okay too. Pour this mixture into the crust that is just coming out of the oven and with either a spatula or the back of a spoon spread evenly over the bottom of the spring form. Bake in the 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. The baked layer will set up and be set all the way thru to the center. Remove from the oven and cool completely before adding the chilled layer. Do Not refrigerate until the baked layer has completely cooled or you will introduce moisture to the crust and cause it to separate.

To make the no bake, chilled layer, cream the 8 ounces of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the room temperature 1/4 cup of sour cream. Remember cold sour cream will make lumps! Mix well. Add the 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Add the 1/4 cup of key lime juice and mix well. Move to the completely baked and cooled baked layer. Use a spatula or spoon to smooth over layer one. Be sure to leave room for the key lime whipped topping, the chilled layer should only come up to about 3/4 to the top. Chill in the refrigerator while you make the key lime whipped cream.

The final layer is the key lime whipped cream. Add the whipping cream to a clean and preferably chilled bowl for mixing. I chill both the bowl and the beaters when making whipped cream. Add sugar and whip until you have soft to medium soft peaks. Do not whip to stiff peaks. Begin adding the key lime juice, this will cause the mixture to thicken.  Add the key lime juice a little at a time to get the consistency you prefer.

Dessert, Pie

Sawdust Pie

Now I know that this pie has a rather unappetizing name, but take a chance and make it. It is anything but dry and crumbly and is so incredibly simple to make.  I feel like it is pecan pie’s crazy country cousin.

  • 1 unbaked 9″ pie crust, enough for a deep dish pan
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 7 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut, graham cracker crumbs, pecans, and sugar. Mix in the egg whites (do not beat them first). Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the middle is slightly jiggly. The middle will set as it cools out of the oven. Cover the edges only with foil if needed to prevent overbrowning. Cool on a wire rack or windowsill until the pie is firm, about 45 minutes.

Some recipes I have seen recommend serving with slices of fresh banana and whipped cream. I served mine with vanilla ice cream, so it’s really your preference. I also think this would be delicious with chocolate chips mixed in.

Dessert, Pie

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, Pie

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.