Sunday, November 22, 2015

2015 Pie Sunday! Part 1


We like our pie. We like our pie so much that we usually have a summer pie night and a fall/winter pie night each year. I have combined our summer and fall 2015 pie discoveries for the next few blog posts.


Lemon Chess Pie with Berry Sauce


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water


6 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, melted

Berry Sauce:

2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 package (12 ounces) frozen unsweetened mixed berries, thawed and drained
2 teaspoons lemon juice


Place the flour, coconut, and salt in a food processor; process until blended. Add butter; pulse until mixture is the size of peas. While pulsing, add just enough ice water to form moist crumbs. Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 1/8-inch-thick circle; transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice.

Bake at 400 degrees on a lower oven rack for 8 minutes. Remove foil and weights; bake 6-9 minutes longer, or until crust is light brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, lemon juice, cornmeal, lemon peel, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually whisk in butter. Pour into crust. Cover edge with foil to prevent overbrowning.

Bake at 325 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove foil. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate, covered, for 3 hours or until chilled.

For sauce, in a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Cook until syrup is reduced to 1/4 cup; transfer to a small bowl. Cool completely. Just before serving, stir in berries and lemon juice; serve with pie. Yield: 8 servings.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find it here.


Notes: This was really good with and without the sauce.


Crack Pie



Store-bought or homemade graham cracker pie crust
1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe included here)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Crack Pie Filling:

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups white sugar, granulated
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup corn powder (corn powder is defined as freeze-dried corn, ground to a fine powder--1 1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour may also be used)
1/4 cup milk powder
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks


Graham Cracker Crust:

Prepare your own favorite recipe for two 9" graham cracker pie crusts, or use a store bought graham cracker pie crust.

Crack Pie Filling:

Mix the dry ingredients for the filling on low speed. Be sure to keep your mixer on low speed during the entire process of preparing the filling. If you mix on a higher speed, you will incorporate too much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey. Add the melted butter to the mixer and mix until all the dry ingredients are moist. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg yolks to the mixture until just combined. use the filling immediately.

Pie Assembly:

Place both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the crack pie filling evenly over both crusts (the filling should fill the crusts 3/4 way full) and bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. During this time, the crack pie will still be very jiggly, but should become golden brown on top. At 15 minutes, open the oven door and reduce the baking temperature to 325 degrees F. Depending on your oven, this will take 5-10 minutes. Keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven temperature reads 325 degrees F, close the door and finish baking the pies until they are still slightly jiggly in the center, but no longer jiggly around the edges, anywhere from 5-15 minutes or more.

Gently remove the baked pies from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool at room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer. Freeze your pie for as little as 3 hours or up to overnight to create a more dense final product. Just before serving, finish with a dusting of confectioners' sugar.


Source: We found this recipe on a blog called Averie Cooks.  You can find it here. She adapted it from a recipe in a book called Momofuku Milk Bar, which you can find here. Her version of the recipe is long, verbose, and very detailed. I am including the recipe here only as we made it.

Notes: Averie Cooks suggested skipping the homemade oatmeal cookie pie crust and using a store-bought graham cracker pie crust and just using the recipe for the filling instead. That is what we did--which is why the crust recipe is not included here. If you would like to see that, be sure to check out the link for Averie Cooks above. She also didn't use corn powder and just used 1 1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.

My personal suggestion is to skip the homemade pie crust from the original recipe (it sounds good, but waaaaaay too involved and there are a lot of better things you could do with your time), and instead of going the easy route like we did with a store bought graham cracker crust, meet in the middle with a homemade graham cracker crust.


Easy Dulce de Leche Pie


One homemade or store-bought 9 inch graham cracker pie crust
Two (3.4 oz each) cans dulce de leche (such as Nestle La Lechera)
Sweetened whipped cream


Prepare graham cracker pie crust (if making a homemade crust, which I highly recommend).

Once pie crust has cooled, carefully spread dulce de leche on the bottom.

When ready to serve, top with sweetened whipped cream.

Source:  The inspiration for this pie came from a cookbook I have, which you can find here. This cookbook recipe made homemade dulce de leche in a slow cooker, but I opted to go the easy route and just buy canned dulce de leche.

Notes: I didn't actually make this for our pie night. I made this for a family gathering on my husband's side and no one touched it because everyone was dieting. I had so much left over, but I couldn't bear to throw it out, so I decided to see if I could freeze it. To my delight (and detriment), I discovered that this pie freezes amazingly well and is even edible (and still soft and chewy) right out of the freezer. Now I need to start dieting to work off this pie! Delicious stuff though.


Caramel Pie

This pie is time consuming and takes some patience, but it is worth it!


4 T. cornstarch
1 ½ c. water, divided
2 eggs separated
1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 baked 9 inc. pie shell
1 T. sugar

In a bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with ¾ c. water. Beat the egg yolks and stir them into the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan with high sides, cook ¾ c. sugar over low to medium heat until it is completely melted and a golden brown color (increase the heat if the sugar takes a long time to melt. Don’t stir the sugar until the majority has melted on its own. Stirring too early will cool the sugar and make it take longer to melt).

Once the sugar is completely melted, add the remaining ¾ c. sugar, the butter, and the remaining ¾ c. water. This may create a cloud of steam, so stand back while you are adding the water!.

Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.

(Usually, once the second batch of sugar is added with the water, the first batch of melted sugar hardens and becomes a ball of caramel candy. Try to break this up as best as you can. Stir this mixture—including the hardened caramel—until everything has dissolved. You may have to remove the ball of hardened caramel if it does not completely melt. But give it some time, because it usually does melt—or at least it shrinks considerably.)

Stir the cornstarch/egg mixture into the saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring it constantly. Continue to boil slowly until the mixture thickens about 2 minutes.

Take the mixture off the heat, stir it until smooth, and let it cool. Stir in the vanilla and pour the filling into the baked pie shell.

To make a meringue topping for the pie, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1 T sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue on top of the pie filling, spreading it right up to the edge of the filling. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the top of the meringue is delicately browned. Chill the pie before serving. Can be topped with whipped cream instead, if desired.

Source: The Anne of Green Gables Treasury, ISBN 0-14-017231-9, published 1991. You can find it here, and the 100 year anniversary edition here.

Notes: We've posted this recipe before. You can find the original post here. It takes awhile for the sugar to melt and caramelize, and you have to watch it closely, but this is such a yummy and unique pie. Feel free to use a little more corn starch if the mixture isn't setting up. But don't use too much because it will diffuse the caramel flavor of the filling and change the whole texture and flavor of the pie. I stink at making meringue, so I almost always top this with whipped cream and it is fantastic! I also like to make this a day in advance to really allow the caramel time to set up (store in refrigerator overnight without meringue or whipped cream topping). Top with meringue or whipped cream just before serving.

Here's what I do to streamline this process:

I like to have multiple bowls prepared before I start any cooking on the stove top.  You don't want to be measuring anything while you are cooking the caramel because the process moves fast and if you move too slowly, the caramel can burn (soooo easily) and you will have to start over. Believe me, I've been there.

Bowl 1: 4 Tbsp. cornstarch, 3/4 cup water, 2 egg yolks
Bowl 2: 3/4 cup sugar
Bowl 3: 3/4 cup sugar
Bowl 4: 3/4 cup water (have 1/2 cup aka 1 stick of butter on hand, or you can even melt it and add it to this bowl of water)

Here is the shortened version of this recipe:

Prepare bowl 1 (the cornstarch mixture) and set aside until the end. Pour bowl 2 into saucepan and melt sugar. Once sugar is melted, add bowl 3 (second half of sugar) and then immediately add bowl 4 (water and butter). Once sugar and butter is completely melted and incorporated (and after removing any hard lumps of sugar that refuse to melt back down), add bowl 1 (cornstarch mixture) and boil on medium to medium low heat until thickened. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and pour into prepared pie crust.


Above: This is what the caramel pie looks like without any toppings right after you pour it into the pie crust. As I mentioned above, I like to give the pie some time to sit so the caramel can set up. I prefer to make this the day before serving it. You can serve the pie plain, or top it with whipped cream, or bake a meringue topping on top. After it sits, some of the butter will rise to the top, so it is definitely prettier with a topping, but when you first pour it in, the caramel is just gorgeous.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine


In small bowl, stir together crumbs and sugar. Add margarine or butter. Stir until combined.

In 9-inch pie plate, evenly spread crumb mixture. Press onto bottom and sides of pie plate. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Or bake at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes or until light brown. Cool.

Fill as directed in recipe. Makes 8 servings.

Source: I got this off of the back of a box of Keebler Graham Cracker Crumbs. You can find it online here.

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