Monday, November 20, 2017


ph: slw

Most pecan pie recipes call for Karo corn syrup which results in an overly sweet, artificial-tasting pie that bears little resemblance to their 19th-century inspiration. Cook's Country wanted to create a traditional pecan pie without using modern day, processed corn syrup and after much trial and error, experimenting with a host of traditional syrups (cane, sorghum), they discovered that a combination of maple syrup with brown sugar and molasses replicated the flavor profile of old-fashioned pecan pies. 

To ensure the bottom crust was crisp and golden brown, they started the pie at a high temperature then dropped it down to finish cooking. An addition of cream yielded a welcome custardy transformation to the filling. This also made the filling looser, a problem easily solved by adding extra egg yolks. 

To finish off the recipe, they found toasting the nuts before they went into the pie gave them enough crunch and flavor to hold their own in the filling. Here's the recipe.

Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie
1 cup maple syrup (grade A)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon molasses
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of toasted and chopped pecans
9-inch unbaked pie shell, chilled in pie plate for 30 minutes
  1. Make Filling: adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450º F. Heat sugar, syrup, cream, and molasses in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Whisk butter and salt into syrup mixture until combined. Whisk in egg yolks until incorporated. 
  2. Bake Pie: Scatter pecans in a pie shell. Carefully pour filling over. Place pie in hot oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 324º F. Bake until filling is set and center jiggles slightly when pie is shaken, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool pie on rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until set, about 3 hours and up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017


ph: slw

It's Sunday and I'm baking pies for Pie Monday, something I initiated at work because, let's face it, everyone loathes Mondays. Yesterday, I baked a double-crust apple pie and an old-fashioned pecan pie. Today, I'm baking a pumpkin pie for the office potluck on Tuesday. 

This recipe calls for caramelizing the pumpkin puree which means that this is a pie whose flavor doesn't hide behind a bunch of spice. You don't have to blind bake the crust because you blast it at 400 degrees the whole time, and bakes in 25 minutes - less than half the time of your average back-of-the-can recipe. You use real milk and cream instead of evaporated milk, yielding better tasting results. Hands down the best pumpkin pie I've ever eaten, even if there are cracks in my custard.

Meta Given's Pumpkin Pie
1 3/4 cups (1 15 oz can) canned or fresh cooked pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs
1 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
9-inch unbaked, non-pricked, chilled pie shell
  1. Turn pumpkin into saucepan and stir over direct heat for 10 minutes until somewhat dry and slightly caramelized, stirring frequently. Remove from heat but keep hot. 
  2. Mix thoroughly together the sugar, salt, and spices, and stir into hot pumpkin. 
  3. Beat eggs, add cream and milk, and beat into pumpkin mixture until smooth. 
  4. Pour immediately into non-pricked pastry-lined pie pan and bake in a moderately hot oven (400º F) for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and only an inch circle of the center of the filling remains liquid. Cool throughly on cake rack before cutting.
Note: Perfectly baked pumpkin pie has no cracks on its surface. Baking hot and filling in a chilled crust at 400º F for 25 to 30 minutes produces a smooth and shiny good textured custard and a well-baked crust free from soaking. But if your pie dish is thicker glass or ceramic instead of metal, or you loathe an underdone bottom crust, you might still want to blind bake it a little. 

Recommendation: blind bake at 350º F lined with parchment paper and filled with baking beans or weights until sides are dry and firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove weights, then bake until completely dry and firm (including bottom crust) and starting to turn golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. Cool thoroughly. Then watch the pie closely as it bakes -- it might be done early, since the cold raw crust isn't there to protect it. And if the edges are starting to look wrinkled while the middle is very jiggly, turn the heat down to 350º F. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


ph: sonia winesett

I'm addicted to Instagram, constantly scrolling through gorgeous photos of pies and other culinary delights. I came across a post for a Tomato and Roasted Garlic Pie from @bonappetitmag and was immediately hooked. Today, I made a modified version of the savory pie and the above photo is the end result. One word - amazing! Here's the original recipe. I was short on time so I substituted the homemade cracker crust for a pre-made puff pastry. I couldn't find any Taleggio cheese in my local grocery stores so I used Sargento pre-shredded 4 Cheese Italian blend (Mozzarella, smoked provolone, Romano, and Asiago). I substituted the real mayonnaise for Smart Balance Light Mayonnaise. Instead of heirloom tomatoes I used what I had on hand which were tomatoes on the vine and a few campari tomatoes.

Tomato and Roasted Garlic Pie
1 sheet of ready-to-make puff pastry sheet, thawed
Flour for dusting to roll out puff pastry sheet
2.5 pounds tomatoes on the vine and camapri tomatoes, cored, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp butter
8 ounces Sargento 4 Cheese Italian, shredded
2.5 ounces finely crumbled Parmesan (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
1 Tbsp chopped thyme, plus 1/2 teaspoon leaves
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  1. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 475°. Arrange tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, covering entire surface (it’s okay if they overlap). Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes begin to look dry on top, 25–30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, cook garlic and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling often, until butter foams and milk solids turn golden, 5–8 minutes. Transfer garlic and toasty bits to a cutting board. Finely chop and set aside.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. 
  4. Dust the counter with flour and roll out puff pastry sheet to fit in a 10-inch tart pan. Flute edges. Place in freezer until ready to use.
  5. Mix shredded 4 Cheese Italian blend, Parmesan, mayonnaise, chopped thyme, remaining ½ tsp. salt, remaining ¼ tsp. pepper, and reserved chopped garlic in a medium bowl. Gently dollop half of cheese mixture over bottom of crust, then spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Layer half of tomato slices over and press down to even out layers. Repeat with remaining cheese mixture and tomatoes. Brush remaining garlic butter over tomatoes. Top with shallot, then scatter thyme leaves over.
  6. Bake pie until filling bubbles vigorously and crust is browned, 50-60 minutes. Let cool 1 hour before serving.

Monday, July 3, 2017


Now, isn't this pretty? Here's a Blueberry Pie recipe - a summer classic - from CosmoCookie. According to Meghan, the filling is rich and tart and the crust 'tastes like flaky butter'. Give it go, folks, and put your fork in it! 

Note: The recipe calls for 4 cups of blueberries - make sure you get the juiciest and choicest blueberries you can find. Try the farmer's market instead of your local grocery store as the ones they stock tend to be tasteless frauds. In a pinch, frozen Maine wild blueberries are preferable to so-called blah 'fresh berries'. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Okay, it's not time to celebrate quite yet but in case you need some dessert ideas for the coming holiday, here's an American Flag Pie recipe from King Arthur Flour via their blog Flourish (flour + nourish). Now, this is the way to impress friends and family this Fourth of July! Does it look like a lot of work? Maybe. But this decorative strawberry and blueberry pie looks both patriotic and delicious. The perfect dessert to celebrate Independence Day! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017


via Petee's Pie Company

July 4th is rapidly approaching, do you know where your pies are? Celebrate our nation's independence and impress your friends by serving pie. It doesn't matter if you make it from scratch, order it from your neighborhood pie shop, or purchase it pre-made from the grocery store -- get your pies, folks! 

I'm planning to bake two pies - Smitten Kitchen's Strawberry Rhubarb and Butter & Scotch's S'mores - but if baking isn't your jam then try my favorite NYC pie shop Petee's Pie Company. You can order their NY Sour Cherry pie made from the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Their sour cherries come directly from Samascott Orchards, a family owned and operated farm in Kinderhook, NY. If don't like cherry pie then choose from dozens of others.

Celebrate accordingly with 10% OFF any order placed through July 1st with code REDWHITE&PIE. Offer valid for online orders only.

Follow this link to 
order now

Don't live in NYC? Ship pies to yourself HERE! 🚚💨

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Southern Living's Key Lime-Buttermilk Icebox Pie

via Southern Living
I love icebox pies in the summer! I found a stack of enticing recipes at Southern Living and I plan on making every single one by summer's end. They're my new obsession! The first recipe I tackled was for Key Lime-Buttermilk Icebox Pie. I swapped out the Buttery Cracker Crust for a gluten-free graham cracker crust and used Manhattan Key Lime Juice since it's impossible to find key limes in New York City. The results were spot-on, the tart deliciousness of key lime pie and the creaminess of frozen ice cream! 

Key Lime-Buttermilk Icebox Pie
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp loosely packed lemon zest
1/2 cup Key lime juice
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup buttermilk
Buttery Cracker Crust, baked *
Vegetable cooking spray
Sweetened Whipped Cream
  1. Preheat oven to 325º F. Whisk together the first 3 ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Beat egg yolks with a handheld mixer in a medium bowl at high speed 4 to 5 minutes or until yolks become pale and ribbons form on the surface of mixture when beater is lifted. Gradually whisk in sweetened condensed milk mixture, and whisk until thoroughly combined; whisk in buttermilk. Pour mixture into prepared crust.
  3. Bake at 325º for 20 to 25 minutes or until set around edges. (Pie will be slightly jiggly.) Cool on wire rack 1 hour. Cover pie with lightly greased (with cooking spray) plastic wrap, and freeze 4 5o 6 hours. 
  4. Top with Sweetened Whipped Cream.
*the crust recipe calls for 6 Tbsp of melted butter but I would reduce to 5 Tbsp, otherwise the mixture is too wet.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Smitten Kitchen Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

The following Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie recipe from Smitten Kitchen is the next pie on my baking agenda. It's Deb Perelman's new and improved recipe (no saggy bottom pies for her)... and doesn't it look absolutely scrumptious? I want a piece! Follow @smittenkitchen on Instagram --- nothing short of pure eye-candy. 

via smitten kitchen

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


via Cooking Contest Central

March 8th is National Peanut Cluster Day so I'm featuring Beth Royals' Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters recipe, $1,000,000 winner of the 2014 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off contest. 

Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
1 bag (12 oz) white vanilla baking chips (2 cups)
1 Tbsp Crisco Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
1 Tbsp Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup salted cocktail peanuts
2/3 cup toffee bits
  1. Heat oven to 450°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with Reynolds Cut-Rite Wax Paper.
  2.  Unroll pie crust on work surface. With pizza cutter or knife, cut into 16 rows by 16 rows to make small squares. Arrange squares in single layer on large non-greased cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove squares from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 5 minutes.
  3. In large microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips, shortening and peanut butter uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth. Add pie crust squares, peanuts and toffee bits; stir gently until evenly coated. Immediately drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lined cookie sheets. (If mixture gets too thick, microwave on High 15 seconds; stir.) Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until set. Store covered.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


via Dangerously Delicious Pies D.C.

Today is National Pancake Day so I thought I'd feature the Pancake Batter Pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies in Washington D.C. According to their website, 'it tastes like syrupy pancake goodness!' You have a choice of blueberries or chocolate chips. Now you don't need to justify eating pie for breakfast. 

On a side note, they have two big bad, rootin tootin, red hot dangerous pie trucks slingin your pie favorites all over DC! A dream... mobile sweet and savory pies for sale. 

A few years ago I was filming in Detroit and made sure we ordered several pies from Rodney "The Pie Man" Henry's Dangerously Delicious Pies for the crew. The pies were absolutely out of this world! 

Don't forget that today from 7am - 7pm you can celebrate National Pancake Day at participating IHOP Restaurants with a FREE short stack of their Original Buttermilk Pancakes!

via IHOP

Friday, February 24, 2017


via Food 52 ph: james ransom

When we were kids my dad liked to stock the freezer with Banquet Pot Pies. They never seemed to cook quite fast enough in the oven but when the timer went off we all raced back to the kitchen for our individual turkey or chicken pot pies. Fresh out of the oven the pies were piping hot, too hot. I always burned my tongue on the first couple of bites, too impatient to let it cool off properly. My favorite part was cracking the crust open with a spoon to get to the rich creamy filling inside, the steam billowing out of the flaky hole. My second favorite thing was the way the creamy sauce would leave a delicious residue on the spoon you could lick off. Next, I enjoyed finding the little pieces of cubed meat, the trick was to get one in every spoonful. Pot pies are a major food nostalgia for me. They remind me of being a kid, dad fixing supper in his army uniform, and that odd time period when it was pretty much normal for families to eat frozen dinners, usually in front of the television. Every now and then I'll buy a Banquet Chicken Pot Pie from the frozen section of my grocery store. They still cost less than a buck. Now that's what I call a bargain. 

Banquet Pot Pies will do in a pinch but scratch-made pot pies are even better. Food 52 has provided a simple formula for pot pie: Chicken (or turkey) + vegetables + thick sauce + crust = pot pie. 

1. The Meat: Cook's choice. Leftovers are always great for throwing together a pot pie. You can use poultry, beef, or just roasted vegetables. If your meat needs to be cooked (not leftovers) then you can braise the meat in the sauce. The meat flavors the sauce, and the sauce gently cooks the meat. 

2. The Vegetables: The classic veggies include potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and frozen peas but there's no need to restrict yourself. Get creative, just make sure their chopped into bite-sized cubes. You can either roast the veggies separately or cook them in the sauce. 

3. The Sauce: Sauce is the glue that hold pot pie together. To guarantee a thick sauce, you'll need to make a roux (paste made from flour cooked in fat to be used as a thickener). When it's ready you slowly whisk in chicken stock and bit of milk. Let it come to a boil and simmer briefly. Once you have a thick sauce, add your meat and veggies. 

4. The Crust: You can cheat and buy puff pastry dough but if you've got time make your own then here's a pot pie dough recipe

5. Now, put it all together: You'll need an ovenproof vessel whether it's ramekins or small cast iron pots or skillets for individual pot pies or cast iron skillet, baking dish, or even pie plate for a large, family-style pot pie. Add in a mix of your cooked veggies and meat into the container, cover with the sauce leaving a 1/2-inch between the sauce and top of container. Lay the crust over the container, crimp, and brush with egg wash. Be sure to create slits for steam vents. Bake at 375º F until the crust has browned and the stew is bubbling underneath, about half an hour. Everything under the crust should already be cooked, so baking is just for the lid. 

For more detailed instructions go here

Thursday, February 23, 2017


via The Pioneer Woman

The other day I was really craving chocolate pudding and picked up a box of MY*T*FINE pudding & pie filling (sugar free chocolate). I followed the directions on the box but it was an epic fail. The pudding had this weird consistency, way too thick and with this unpalatable waxy film. This brand has been around for over 90 years so I must have made a mistake in the cooking process - overcooked?

Let's try this the old-fashioned way. The following chocolate pudding pie recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. I'm a huge fan of Ree Drummond and her no-nonsense simple cooking with step-by-step instructions. I also love her stories about her husband, family, and ranch living. Her cooking reflects her life-style - hearty recipes for hard-working folks. 

Chocolate Pie
1 whole Pie Crust, Baked and Cooled (or can use Oreo or Graham Cracker crust)
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 c whole milk
4 whole egg folks
6 1/2 ounces, Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped finely
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter
Whipped Cream, for serving
  1. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir or whisk together.
  2. Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together. 
  3. Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes (maybe less, maybe more; just watch it!) The second it starts to bubble and thicken (note: it should be thick like pudding!) remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until everything is beautifully combined.
  4. Pour the pudding into the pie crust (if there is extra, spoon it into small dishes) and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered. Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


via food network

Hola! And happy National Margarita Day! The day wouldn't be complete without a slice of Margarita Pie, a creamy pie that tastes just like the beverage. Don't skip the salted lime wedge garnish! Recipe courtesy of the Food Network Kitchen. 

What I wouldn't do to be sitting on a beach somewhere in Mexico sipping on margaritas and eating fish tacos. I had the best margarita of my life at Chamico's, a secret no-frills beachside cantina so secluded and laid back that it's a little slice of paradise. This fish shack is nothing fancy -- we're talking rickety plastic tables and chairs under a thicket of palm trees but the food is good, the margaritas are superb, and the staff super-friendly. Chamico's menu options are limited to ceviche and whatever caught that morning is cooking on the outdoor barbie. After you feast on succulent fresh seafood washed down with icy-cold cervezas and margaritas, be sure to take a hour in the shaded hammock enjoying the cool breeze and stellar ocean view. There are only two rules: cash only and don't tell your friends. The locals like to keep Chamico's as their little secret. 

No phone, website or address
end of Soliman Bay Road
Tulum, Mexico
open 9am-5pm

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


LA pie story ph: s winesett

Blueberry Slump (or grunt or cobbler) is a classic New England dessert in which sticky biscuit dough is dropped onto blueberries. A slump is like a cobbler, only instead of being baked in the oven, it's made on the stovetop. Gina Homolka of skinnytaste took it a step farther and figured out a way to make it in a slow cooker in her cookbook, skinnytaste Fast and Slow. According to her, 'It has a cake-like topping over the warm gooey berries, and it slumps onto your plate when you serve it. Simple and unfussy, it's a true comfort food.'

Slow Cooker Blueberry Slump
(serves 8)
cooking spray
5 cups (26 ounces) blueberries
1/3 c raw sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp grated lemon zest

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 c raw sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
pinch of kosher salt
2 Tbsp cold whipped butter
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. For the fruit: Coat a 5- or 6- quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in the slow cooker.
  2. For the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Add it to the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until combined. Spoon the topping over the blueberries and spread it out evenly. 
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, until the blueberries are bubbling and the topping is set. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving. 
Per serving (not including whipped cream): 1/2 cup, calories: 185, fat: 2.5g, saturated fat: 1.5g, carbs: 40g, fiber: 2.5g, protein: 3g, sugars, 26g, sodium: 131mg

I cut the recipe in half for 4 servings as I own a mini-slow cooker, and swapped fresh blueberries for frozen wild blueberries. I also had left over pastry dough from a previous pie so used that instead of making a fresh batch. I have to say, topped with fresh whipped cream the Blueberry Slump was incredibly scrumptious. I had to really struggle not to go for seconds! 

Monday, February 20, 2017


LA pie story ph:s winesett

Happy National Cherry Pie Day! I filched this recipe for Cherry Chiffon Pie from Farm Journal's Complete Pie Cookbook, a vintage find I picked up in an East Village shop called Bonnie Slotnick's Cookbooks. If you haven't stopped by this rare gem of a bookstore you're truly missing out. The shelves are brimming over with rare and out-of-print cookbooks, and with over 5000 to choose from there's sure to be one to titillate the tastebuds of even the most discerning gourmet. And with vintage kitchenware and other doohickeys garnishing the shop, you literally feel as if you've stepped back in time. I've spent hours digging through old pie cookbooks, perusing the dusty pages in search of that one recipe I haven't come across before. 

This Cherry Chiffon Pie was listed under the section, Refrigerator and Ice Cream Pies, with the notation, 'Pink and pretty - uses canned cherries'. Chiffon pies are a light fluffy confection in which meringue and/or whipped cream is folded into a fruit-flavored curd thickened with unflavored gelatin. The filling is then put into a pre-baked pie shell of the baker's choice and chilled until ready to serve. 

Cherry Chiffon Pie
Baked 9" pie shell*
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp cold water
1 (1 lb 4 oz) can tart cherries
4 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
Whipped Cream (optional)
  1. Soften gelatin in water. Drain cherries, reserving juice. eat egg yolks and add juice from cherries (3/4 cup), salt and 1/2 cup sugar. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in softened gelatin and stir until it is dissolved. Cool slightly and add lemon peel and drained cherries (1 1/2 cups). 
  2. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form when beater is lifted. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar- 2 Tbsp at a time - beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into gelatin mixture. Pile lightly in pie shell and chill until firm. 
  3. When ready to serve, garnish each serving with whipped cream. 

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
28 East Second Street, New York City
212.989.8962 tel

Friday, February 17, 2017


ph: Gentl & Hyers

Monday is National Cherry Pie Day so I thought I'd get a jump start on the cherry action. I found this amazing Sour Cherry Pie at bon appetit. You can find Alison Roman's recipe here. Why mess with lemons when you can have a bowl of cherries! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Our Food Stories ph:laura muthesius

I recently stumbled upon Our Food Stories, a blog created for "foodies and cake-lovers" by Berlin-based photographer Laura Muthesius and food stylist Nora Eisermann. All the recipes the duo create are gluten-free and vegetarian. Nature is clearly the inspiration behind many of their food stories, as evidenced by their gorgeous food-styling and photography. Check out their blog to peruse the dinner stories and recipes. I promise every single one their cakes & sweets look absolutely scrumptious! The Gluten-Free Blueberry-Meringue Tart caught my eye and made me a loyal follower

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


via food&wine ph: john kernick

I love hand pies - no fork necessary. Pie to go- is there anything better? Probably not. Here's another recipe featured in Food & Wine's February Pastry Calendar - Atlanta baker Abigail Quinn's Blueberry and Nectarine Hand Pies. This recipe calls for a mix of fruit so feel free to experiment with other fruits besides blueberries and nectarines in your hand pies. 

Blueberry and Nectarine Hand Pies
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp ice water
2 ripe nectarines - peeled, pitted and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 1/2 c blueberries
2/3 c sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pur vanilla extract
1/4 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of kosher salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water, for brushing
  1. Make the Dough: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Add the butter and pulse until pea-size pieces form. Drizzle in the ice water as you pulse until the dough just comes together, about 
1 minute. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and pat into a square about 
1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 
2 days.
  2. Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the nectarines with the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Sift the cornstarch over the fruit and stir until coated, making sure no clumps of cornstarch remain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the chilled dough in half. Work with 1 piece at a time and keep the other half chilled. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out 8 rounds and arrange on one of the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Refrigerate the rounds. Roll out the remaining dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out 8 rounds; using a thin knife, cut three 1/2-inch slits in each round, then transfer to the second baking sheet.
  4. Brush the edges of the 4-inch rounds with the egg wash. Using a slotted spoon, mound 1/3 cup of the fruit filling in the center of each round. Cover with the 4 1/2-inch rounds and crimp and seal the edges with a fork. Brush the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the pies for 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and deeply golden brown; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the pies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let cool before serving.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


ph: s winesett / LApiestory

Happy Valentine's Day! I really wanted to bake a delicious and pretty pink dessert using ingredients I already had in the house (I'm currently participating in a no-spend February challenge). I found a recipe via bon appétit for Cranberry-Lime Pie enticingly described as, "The spirit of Key lime pie in the guise of luscious cranberry curd. The contrast between the snappy press-in crust and the tart filling in this recipe is pure genius." I couldn't resist modifying the recipe for tartlets for two. I baked my own chewy gingersnap cookies using a recipe from Dessert For Two, which I halved to yield nine cookies, using four for two 4-inch by 1-inch tartlet crusts. The photo above is the result of my pretty in pink experiment. 

Cranberry-Lime Tartlets for Two
2.5 ounce gingersnap (about 4 cookies), recipe below
1/4 c pecans
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 scant Tbsp light brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Pulse cookies in a food processor until very finely ground (you should have about 1/4 cup). Add pecans; pulse until finely ground. Add butter and brown sugar; pulse to combine. Transfer to a two 4-inch tart dishes. Using the back of a spoon, press firmly onto bottom and up sides of dish. Bake until firm and slightly darkened in color, 10–12 minutes. If crust slides down sides, gently press back up. Let cool.
Do Ahead: Crust can be baked 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1/2 c sugar plus 2 Tbsp, divided
1 egg
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp lime zest, divided
2 Tbsp lime juice
teeny pinch of kosher salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp, cut into pieces
  1. Bring 3 oz. cranberries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 Tbsp water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat; simmer until cranberries burst and most of the liquid evaporates, 12–15 minutes. Let cool. Purée in a blender until very smooth.
  2. Cook purée, egg, lemon zest, lime juice, salt, 2 Tbsp sugar, and 1/4 tsp. lime zest in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping down sides of bowl often, until curd thickens and coats spatula, 8–10 minutes. Let cool until just warm.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat curd, adding butter a piece at a time and incorporating after each addition, until curd looks lighter in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Scrape into crust and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
  4. Bring 2 Tbsp granulated sugar and 2 Tbsp water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add remaining 1 oz. cranberries and cook until barely starting to soften, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Chill until no longer sticky, 20–30 minutes.
  5. Toss remaining 2 Tbsp granulated sugar and 1/4 tsp. lime zest in a small bowl. Toss cranberries in lime sugar. Top pie with cranberries; serve with whipped cream.
Do Ahead: Pie (without topping) can be made 2 days ahead. Cover once filling is firm and keep chilled. Let sit at room temperature 2 hours before serving.

Chewy Gingersnaps (Small Batch)
3 Tbsp shortening or butter
1/4 c sugar (plus extra for rolling)
1 medium egg white 
1 Tbsp molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Have ready a shallow bowl filled with sugar for rolling cookies in.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg white and molasses and mix well.
  5. Dump the remaining ingredients on top and beat until just combined.
  6. Take large tablespoon-size chunks of dough and roll into 1” balls. You should get 8-9 cookies. Roll each cookie in sugar. Bake on an non-greased cookie sheet for about 12 minutes.
  7. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will be very soft, but they will firm up as they cool.

Monday, February 13, 2017


On November 14, 1960, 6 year-old Ruby Bridges became the first black student to attend a previously all-white elementary school in New Orleans. Ruby, flanked by U.S. marshals, had to walk past a mob of jeering segregationist protesters and Confederate flags to enter her school. One woman shouted threats to poison her. What courage little Ruby must have had to attend William Frantz Elementary in the midst of so much opposition. 

Now an adult Ruby Bridges Hall still lives in New Orleans.  In 1999, she formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote "the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences." 

Ruby has a sweet-tooth and listed sweet potato pie as one of her favorite desserts, and New Orleans institution Dooky Chase's Restaurant as one of her favorite restaurants, saying Leah Chase cooks just like her mom. 

The following recipe is one Leela Punyaratabandhu of She Simmers adapted from Chef Chase's no-frills but delicious sweet potato pie recipe from the book, In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs. What makes this pie stand out is its crust which has finely-chopped pecans mixed into it and its fuller-bodied filling, a result of hand-mashing the sweet potatoes. 

via shesimmers

The Best Sweet Potato Pie Adapted from Leah Chase's Recipe
1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 c finely-chopped pecans
1/2 c cold butter (original uses vegetable shortening)
1/4 c iced-cold water, or as needed
2 large sweet potatoes (approx. 1.5 lbs), peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 c sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp melted butter
Pecan halves for decoration
  1. For the crust: In a food processor, pulse together all the dry ingredients and the butter into short bursts until the mixture forms pea-sized lumps. Add the water through the feed chute as you pulse until the mixture forms a stiff dough and pulls away from the sides of the food process or bowl. Form the dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap it in plastic; chill for one hour. The dough can be made in advance. It can be kept refrigerated for several days and even frozen.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Roll the chilled pie dough into a 12-inch round and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Flute the edges. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is set and beginning to brown slightly. Remove the pie pan from the oven and let it cool.
  4. Put the sweet potatoes into a medium pot and cover them with water by an inch. Bring to a boil. Boil slowly until the potatoes are tender with no absolutely no resistance at the center when pieced with a fork.
  5. Drain off the water and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Do not use a potato ricer or food processor.
  6. As you mash the potatoes, add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; then whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. The butter goes in last.
  7. Once the filling is well-mixed, pour it into the baked pie crust. Arrange pecan halves around the outside edges and sprinkle the top of the pie with more ground cinnamon. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and the edges of the crust have browned.
  8. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, February 10, 2017


via food & wine ph: con poulos

What's slab pie you ask? It's a free-form pie that you can bake on a baking sheet. No pie dish necessary. Here's another recipe featured in Food & Wine's February Pastry Calendar - Justin Chapple's Pear and Cranberry Slab Pie. This fruit-filled, ginger laced pie looks delicious. A recipe I'm eager to try for an upcoming party. Happy baking. 

Pear and Cranberry Slab Pie
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/2 cup ice water
4 firm Bartlett or Anjou pears peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
1 1/2 c frozen cranberries
1 tsp ground ginger
1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
  1. In a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle the ice water over the mixture and pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather any crumbs and pat into 2 squares. Wrap the squares in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a floured work surface, roll out 1 piece of the dough to a 12-inch square. Slide the dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper, then slide onto a large baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Slide 1 square of dough onto a work surface. In a large bowl, toss the pears with the cranberries, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of flour. Spread the fruit evenly on the dough square on the baking sheet, leaving a 1-inch border. Ease the other square of dough on top of the fruit. Fold over the edge and crimp decoratively all around to seal. Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut 16 small slits in the top and freeze for 15 minutes.
  4. Bake the pie for about 50 minutes, until golden and the pears are tender; rotate halfway through baking. Let cool. Cut the pie into squares and serve.