Monday, November 30, 2009

peCAN

I tried making a pecan pie last year for Christmas, it was a huge failure!
Thankfully not because of me! Our oven was on the fritz for the holidays (one of the elements were broken and it took extra long to cook everything) and we didn't know until the we kept checking the turkey and it just wasn't cooking!
My pie never cooked clean through, I hate making a cut in the center to check, if I had I probably could have saved it by putting it in longer, but I didn't want to scar my first pecan pie, needless to say I scar them from now on! It is not the end of the world to have score in the center, it is just going to get eaten anyways!

So this is my second attempt at pecan pie:

Pecan Pie

1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1/2 cup molasses
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 pie crust


Preheat oven to 350
Mix syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla then stir in pecans



pour filling in to pie tin lined with crust.
I usually decorate the top with a design of pecan halves, but the pie looks delicious no matter how you present it!

bake on center rack for 70 minutes (bake less if you have an oven that runs high, I have a gas stove it usually cooks evenly and took 70 minutes!)

cool at least 2 hours before serving!


The secret ingredient here is the molasses, it gives it a really rich full flavor... mmm and smells incredible!! The best part about baking is all the amazing smells! I wish I could smell like sugar vanilla, and cardamom forever!


Thanksgiving

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with loved ones. We went to B's parents house on Thursday and enjoyed a lovely meal! Then on Friday went to my parents house had another lovely meal, and spent all Saturday recovering from the massive amount of food we had eaten over the past two days!
But the best part was to have four full days with my handsome man!
I also go to spend time with my kitteh, and our little pooper Elvis!
It was a wonderfully relaxing weekend!
I hope you all had just as wonderful a Thanksgiving as I did!




Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blueberry Breakfast

This past Monday I was searching the house for something
to grab and take into work for breakfast,
since I had no such luck
I made the plan to head home after work
and make some muffins for the next morning!

I decided to break out my gorgeous mint green kitchen aid,
since it is the baking season
I polished her up and made a very special place
for her on the kitchen counter!


The next mission was to bake!

I found a yummy recipe in a book I bought a while ago.
The recipe called for raspberry jam to be swirled in the top,
unfortunately B finished off his jar of jam,
so I used what was left on two and improvised on the rest!
I used blueberries, since these are Bs favorite type of muffin,
and the other I used grape jelly we received as a wedding present
from a dear old friends, Mrs. B and Mr. M.
And this is what the delicious little treats looked like:

Now that the real baking season is upon us,

you can probably expect to see a lot more recipes up,
other than just pies! I hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Upper Crust

One thing my good friend R always insisted is that you keep a recipe to your self, one thing you do well and you never share, it is your thing, your special thing! So I decided it is my crust, it is nothing special but for some reason i just works with everything. I always get compliments, and it always rolls out perfect and browns up divine. It is the one recipe that is so ingrained in my head I think I could make it on demand perfectly even if my life depended in it!

So this I will keep to my self, the rest i will happily share!


Even-though I have decided to keep this one secret I will divulge a few helpful hints!

Most recipes call for chilled water with ice cubes, usually 2-3 table spoons, I say use it sparingly!

You never really know how the crust is going to turn out until you get your hands in it, this is where I can say this knowledge comes with practice! You will find when you have made your 50th or so crust you notice that by the time you are finished cutting in the butter you can tell just how much water you will need. The most important thing to remember with liquids you can always add more but you cant take it away!


I recommend NEVER using a machine, the fun of baking is getting your hands dirty, like making mud pies when you were little! it also helps with knowing what you need; a little more flour, more water... you develop a tactile sense over time and soon it become a feeling you have with dough something you just know.


It is hard to not sound all mystical about baking, it is part science but part faith and about a quarter luck. One ting B is driving into my brain s you can follow a recipe exactly, but itdoesn't mean it is going to turn out exactly the same as it should. So when I start sounding fairly (mystical) just know the more you make it the more you will understand, there comes a point where you just know.


One of my last tips for dough, it is ok to be rough with it, people treat dough so carefully and gently, afraid it is going to crumble and afraid of making a mess. Again think primal urges when you bake, make a HUGE mess, get flour everywhere have fun! I find giving my dough a little bit of a beating to be very satisfying as well as gets all the little crumbs in a row... when I roll it out it tends to crack less. Also a resting period for dough is crucial! somerecipes it is ok to roll out straight away, but for the most part 15- 20 minutes int he fridge is a good idea.


Now this is my final bit of wisdom that I can not emphasis nearly enough so listen carefully!

Doubling a dough recipe is a VERY BAD idea! I learned form my amazing Auntie G that you do not double recipes unless the recipe says so! it never turns out the same, take the time to make the second batch it is worth it and you can always taste the difference!


here are a few recipes I have collected, all are very good and can be used with various different pies. (If I reference any crust int he future and forget to give the recipe you can bet you will find it here! otherwise I will let you know how to make the crust.)


Basic Crust

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup ice water
1 teaspoon sugar

combine the flour and salt
cut in butter until mixture consists of coarse crumbs
add 1 table spoon at a time of water
until the dough sticks together
and you can roll into a ball.
refrigerate over night


Gluten/sugar Free Crust

3/4 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons cold water

mix together rice flour, sea salt, and xantham gum well
cut in the butter and honey
add the cold water a little at a time
until you reach the desired consistency.
This dough can be kind of sticky
so roll out between two rice floured sheets of wax paper.

Sour Cream Crust

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
6 tablespoons sour cream

in a medium bowl mix the flour and salt
cut in the butter and then the sour cream
knead briefly on a floured surface

This recipe requires no rest time!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

pot luck suprise!

I apologize for not posting yesterday like I said I would, but I will be putting out a few today:
special pie crust recipes
sweet potato pie with glaze
and possiby one more! We will see!

But I just wanted to say the Creme Brulee pie may not have been the prettiest pie ever, but it sure was delicious!!!
B and I spent the day with our very good friends R & K, we had a delightful day shopping yesterday (B got many new shirts that making him even more handsome). After a long day we all went out to eat and came back to our house to try out the pie! I think we were all a little nervous to try it, but thank God for such wonderfully supportive freinds and husband, they all tried it! and thanfully it did not taste burnt or anything, it had a very nice flavor, creamy, and smooth with a crispy crust! it was very delightful! And K gave me some good hints about how they do the Creme Brulee at the resturaunt, so next time K will be there to help me torch the top! She said that the 1/3 cup of sugar the recipe called for to spread over the top was way too much! She said it needs a really thin layer so it melts evenly, that having that much means it is that much more the heat has to melt! So I am putting in my request for a torch! we will see what Santa puts in my stocking!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3rd times a charm...

Sort of. So I tried the creme brulee pie again, and while I still burnt the sugar the filling came out fantastic! I finally figure out how to cook it and made some adjustments to the recipe. So my darling friend K suggested I use a torch to melt the sugar, but I was too impatient and tried it out in the broiler again. (did you know there are two settings on a broiler?) Obviously I didn't, apparently there is a low. So the sugar got burnt but not as bad as last time i think we can still actually eat it!

So I consider this a success, and will be making it the next time we go see our friends K & R with the kitchen torch! :)





Creme Brulee Pie

filling:

3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks beaten
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon vanilla

Here are a few of filling my suggestions to start off with:

Have all of the ingredients ready, because you really do not want to leave the unattended on the stove!

Second bake the pie shell first so it has time to cool down a bit!

Now in the original recipe they said to cook in a heavy sauce pan, well both times I had trouble burning the bottom and not getting it to thicken up very well,
so I decided to try a double broiler and it is sooooo nice!
It thickened up very well, there was no burning,
and it allowed you more room for if you
forgot something and had to step away!



To start get your water boiling

in a metal bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the cream,
(I found a whisk works best
throughout this whole process!)


I whisked it up a bit before I put it over the stove
to get some air through the cream

After you put the bowl over the water
whisk it around for a bit to get it all warmed up

next add the condensed milk and the beaten egg yolks

It took a good 20 minutes of whisking,
(trust me it is definitely worth it!)

It will thicken up pretty good,
I kept it going until when I pulled out the whisk
you could still see the imprint,
like a pudding consistency.

at this point while it is still over the heat
you can whisk in the vanilla and butter

make sure the butter is melted before you take it off the heat.

Now that everything is thoroughly mixed and the pie shell is nice and cool, it is time to pour the mixture in to the shell.

I placed mine in the fridge for about 2 hours
to let it finish setting up and cool down.



Now the tricky part!

after it is allowed to cool

you want to cover the top with sugar,
the recipe called for 1/3 of a cup,
but I just sprinkled it on until it was evenly covered.



In the future I will use a kitchen torch
(hopefully my husband will take that as a hint for a Christmas present!)



The broiler is too scary for me
you cant really see too well what is going on
and before you know it, this happens!


We didn't cut into it yet,
but I I am sure it will be eaten tonight!
I will let you know how it tasted!

I apologize for not posting the past two days,
I have been home sick, and am starting to feel a bit better!
I will make it up with a couple extra postings this weekend,
on my go to pie crust recipes,
as well as some other pointless facts!

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

surprise!

Yesterday I got home and started cooking dinner
and tidy up the kitchen a bit,
when I heard my husband come in the door!
I was excited as usual to see him,
but this night he had
a wonderful surprise in his arms!
these:


and a lovely card to go with it!


He has is own little ways that are romantic, but every once in a while he comes home with a surprise and a big smile, and those moments always make me even more greateful that I get to com home to him every day and wake up with him every morning!
I look forward to the rest of our lives together, when I think of us 50 or 60 years from now I just cant help but smile!

Monday, November 16, 2009

coast

It is Monday and we are back from a relaxing weekend at the coast.
B and I headed out Friday night through fog and rain to reach Newport's clear skies full of stars!

The house that B's family rented
was right on the beach,
what a sight to wake up to the next morning!


B headed out crabbing with his
dad and brother in-law
while the girls stayed at home to make breakfast
and keep and eye on the kids!
After all the boys got home most of us took a nap,
B and I took the longest...
it was a long week for B!
Later that night my new brother in-law
made some yummy clam chowder


And we ate the delicious crab that my husband help bring home!


Later I made sweetened-whipped cream
to serve with the pumpkin pie,
which was well received!


Unfortunately I do not have a photo of a piece of the sour apple cream pie, because it did not last long enough for me to get one! Every one loved it! it was devoured shortly after being cut into!
So I definitely recommend this recipe to anyone willing to try it! It has almost a cheese cake flavor, but not too much with a little bit of a bite form the tarts apples! And the cinnamon sugar topping really added a delightful flavor!

For this week I want to figure out the best way to make the cream brulee pie, I tried it again last night, but the filling never quite set up! I am determined to conquer this recipe!

I also have plans to make a sweet potato pie, and try a few yummy... non pie... recipes I found in a cookbook over the weekend!

Friday, November 13, 2009

PI Cubed

So, I may have gotten a little carried away last night, around midnight I realized I had baked three pies, and would have probably went ahead with a fourth had I not run out of pie tins! I also realized that I am going to need to get the hang of taking pictures for this blog. I am not naturally a picture person i rarely have a camera on me and in-fact have no clue where my camera is in our house at the moment. So I took these photos with my phone, I apologize!

This weekend is going t be a lovely weekend with my in-laws on the Oregon coast, and I thought as usual I would bring a pie with me, though I am sure Mr. and Mrs. S are very tired of eating apple pie! So I thought i would bring something different, though B reminded me it is probably best to have a sure thing. So I decided I would make two pies, a pumpkin and one other recipe, then I worried what if neither of them turn out? So I thought I would bake a third. The recipes I ended up going with were to vintage recipes I found on line, a sour cream apple pie (which sounds odd, but trust me it is heavenly!) and a creme brulee pie. Then of corse the pumpkin pie from the can, which I can not say to many bad things about, because in a pinch what better way to bake then ready made!


Pumpkin pie in a home made crust.
I just followed the directions on the can.
No matter how hard I try I can not seem to get my crust
to be all fancy and pretty like the store bought kind.
Though I have to say I rather like the rustic homemade look.

Apple Sour Cream Pie.
(Don't let the name fool you, it is heavenly,
I would have sat and ate the whole bowl of uncooked deliciousness
if I didn't have to have some thing to show!)

For this recipe you will need:

filling:
3/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 cups diced apple (just used two medium sized granny smith apples)

topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chilled butter

First things first, always preheat your oven!
this takes 425 degrees

next it would be a good idea to get the pie crust ready.
use a basic crust recipe*

In a medium sized bowl stir together the first three ingredients;
sugar, flour, and salt.
Mix in the next three ingredients;
sour cream, vanilla, and egg
until nice and smooth. i.e. no lumps or bumps!
A whisk works nicely for this.

Now that everything is well mixed it is time to add the diced apples,
I cut fairly small chunks to make sure they cooked up well
since this calls for a shorter cook time than I would normally cook a fruit pie.



Stir to just coat the apples and then pour into you pie crust.


Now comes the baking!
You will want to put this in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes
then reduce the heat to 350 and leave in for another 30 minutes.

It would be a good idea to prepare the topping now!
In another bowl stir together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.
You will have to cut the butter in until it is nice and crumbly.
I highly recommend investing in a pastry cutter, it works nicely when a recipe calls for cutting in butter!

after the 30 minutes of baking remove the pie and crumble the topping over the pie.
You will need to pop it back in the over for another 15 minutes or so, just enough for the butter to melt and brown.
Make sure the apples are nice and tender before you remove the pie, it is never a good idea to re-bake a pie to finish cooking the apples, trust me I have tried it, it just does not work out!


Allow the pie to cool and place it in the refrigerator, the recipe recommends you serve it chilled, I will have to let you know the verdict on tastiness after the weekend!


Now for the next recipe which I tried and definitely failed.
(but that is ok because it was kind of the loose canon!)

Creme Brulee Pie
(aside form the disaster you will soon see the filling tastes amazing
and with an extra crust left over I will be attempting this recipe again next week
hopefully with better results!)

For this recipe you will need:

filling:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 pie crust cooked and cooled

topping:
1/3 cup of sugar

Now I did learn a few things in making this, one I will try it next time in a double boiler. I burnt the bottom of the pan which is not really that tasty! and it is easier to whisk all the ingredients in a metal bowl than to make sure you get it all in the corners of the pan.

the recipe calls for a heavy sauce pan.
(Again next time I will try the double boiler)
dissolve the cornstarch in the cream
stir in the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks
Cook over a medium heat until the filling is nice and thick and bubbly.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.
pour the filling into the cooked and cooled pie crust
and chill for 2 or more hours.

Now for the tricky party!
So I let it set over night as it was nearly one and I still had to go to work the next day!
I covered the pie with 1/3 cup of sugar
then placed it under the broiler

And apparently it needs to be watched VERY carefully!

I will most definitly be trying this recipe again.
B and I chipped in the crust a bit and exposed the un scathed filling and I have to tell you it taste delightful! Well worth the work and patientce and I am sure it will be worth the set back this morning!

Well we are off for a wonderful weekend, and I will be back monday to let you know how they pies tasted!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!