Monday, March 28, 2011

Pie, oh my!

I never made it around to blogging over the weekend. Or making cupcakes. Or working in the yard. Or cleaning my bathroom. Yeah…I know. I did a few house chores, though, and I did make a pie for Saturday nights “community dinner.” And I played tennis and went to church. So, its not like the weekend was a total waste.

I think most of my readers now are fairly “new” to the blog. Meaning that you have probably only been reading for 6 months-2 years. This blog has been around since 2008 though. It was started by request of my mother because she thought it would be a good way to find everything that I cook in one place. I’m pretty sure my mother never reads or consults my blog for recipes though. Or the cookbook that I made her. But I use them both when I’m at her house!

Well, one day, shortly after watching the movie “Waitress” I was walking along the Trinity River in Fort Worth and it dawned on me…I want to own my own bakery or restaurant one day. I don’t know much about cooking, but I know I love to do it! I don’t have any formal training, and have a LOT to learn, but…still…it would be awesome!

As time has gone by, and as I have experimented more, I realized a full-service bakery is out of the question. I don’t have any skills when it comes to making or decorating cakes. I can bake a cake, sometimes, but that’s about it. However….I’m really good at pies, cookies, and other random desserts. And I’m good at cooking meals. So, maybe it will be a restaurant with pie shop in the front one day.

Oh pies…I love pies. I love making pies, which is probably one reason why I loved “Waitress” so much. Since I had a bad week last week, and since I want to expand my pie-making-abilities, I purchased a new pie cookbook. Its about Southern pie making. And so far…I’m loving it.

This weekend I made a pie. It was chocolate, gooey and delicious. And it was extremely easy! And…my friend Julie, who claims to hate pies, ate 2 pieces. I’m thinking this one is a winner. Try it out!

Step 1: Pour your melted butter over the chocolate chips.

Step 2: Beat out your frustrations by "chopping" the pecans.

Step 3: Pour the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.

Step 4: Pour in the crust and bake. It's that easy!

Tar Heel Custard Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream
From Mrs. Rowe’s little book of Southern Pies
And the Pioneer Woman

PW’s Pie Crust
(To be for realz…I used a store-bought crust, but here’s the recipe I would have used if I made my own.)

1-½ cup Crisco (vegetable shortening)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 whole egg
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.

Chocolate Pie Filling

½ Pie Crust Recipe
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the rolled-out crust.

Put the chocolate chips in a bowl, pour in the melted butter, and stir until the chocolate is mostly melted. (May need to pop in the microwave for about 10 seconds too.) Add the pecans, flour, sugars, eggs, vanilla and salt, and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the filling in the crust.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the filling forms a smooth brown crust and begins to pull away from the pie crust. (Top will look like a brownie.) Custards continue to cook when taken out of the oven, so don’t overdo it. The filling will still be wet in the center, but will firm up as it cools.

Cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour before slicing. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm. Top with bourbon whipped cream (see below).

Bourbon Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon (or vanilla extract if you don’t want it boozy)

Beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until frothy and beginning to thicken. Slowly add the sugar in a thin stream. Add the bourbon (or vanilla). Continue whipping until the cream is at the desired consistency.

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