Peach-Raspberry Pie

It’s summer – so of course I want to bake pies. Yes, I want to make time-intensive recipes that involve running the oven for about an hour, during the hottest part of the year. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to baking when it’s 105F out, but I am.

I had some great peaches a few weeks ago, so I decided that I wanted to make a peach pie. Specifically, I decided I would try out the recipe for the Peach-Raspberry Pie that I had read about so recently.

Clearly, pie-making is an activity for a weekend, since you make a crust, prepare filling, bake it for about an hour – and should let the pie rest for at least 90 minutes before cutting into it. If I make a pie, I don’t want to wait until the next day to eat it!

This pie wasn’t difficult to make at all – no more difficult than any other pie, I should say. This was one of those instances where I more or less followed the recipe exactly. This is definitely one of the prettiest pies I’ve ever made. It’s probably also the best I’ve ever had a fruit pie turn out.

Peach-Raspberry Pie - very pretty, albeit with a little over-browning on the edge
Peach-Raspberry Pie – very pretty, albeit with a little over-browning on the edge

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The Cookie-Cake-Pie

For the past two Super Bowls, I’ve made stadium cakes. The sheer quantity of food that those produce would overwhelm the number of people we’d have over for the Super Bowl this year.

Still, the Super Bowl is the perfect time for ridiculous, over-the-top food. My friend Jackie sent me a link on Facebook last weekend that just screamed “make me for the Super Bowl!” There was no way I could resist making a Cookie Cake Pie for company.

What is the cookie-cake-pie? It’s a pie crust filled with a cookie layer and a cake layer, topped with frosting. I could have added whipped topping to make it even pie-like, but I didn’t. And this iteration of it did not have pie filling, although I wish it had.

The Cookie-Cake-Pie, all dressed up for the Super Bowl

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Chocolate Chip Pie

My friend and coworker Sue enjoyed making lots of yummy things and bringing them in to work to share. She was a consistent reader of my blog, always excited to check it and see what I was baking. I often thought about her when I cooked, but Sue passed away last month, and she’s been in my mind much more since then.

One of the things Sue brought in now and then was Chocolate Chip Pie. She would bring in the pie with some whipped cream, and we’d all cut little wedges of pie, warm them up, and enjoy, usually at about 9 in the morning. I didn’t ask for the recipe from her, unfortunately, but I think the recipe that I’ve linked to here may be the one that she would bring in.

Chocolate Chip Pie

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Ginger-Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Coconut

I’m a little behind the times on making Ginger-Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Coconut. Pumpkin pie belongs in the fall, in October and November as you prepare for Thanksgiving and cool temperatures. It’s not my family’s tradition, but you might even spring for a pumpkin pie at Christmastime.

I actually don’t like pumpkin pie too much. Pumpkin doesn’t have much flavor to me, so it’s really about how the pie is flavored that matters. It’s clovey and heavy with spice, and I just get tired eating it. I was drawn to this pie by its promise of different spices. This pie is flavored with a lot of fresh grated ginger, a little cinnamon, and a little allspice. It’s sweetened with brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk, which also replaces the usual evaporated milk that goes in pumpkin pie.

I saw this recipe at the end of November and wanted to try it, but as you can see from my recent entries, I’ve been busy with plenty of other desserts and just hadn’t gotten around to it. I even bought pie shells (since I’ve felt too lazy to make homemade crusts) that have spoken to me every time I open the freezer – “hey, I’m still here – you should make a pie!”

The can of pumpkin and sweetened condensed milk that I saved for this pie talked at me too. I gave in this week, and I’m glad I did.

Ginger-Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Coconut

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Chocolate Icebox Pie

At some point I bookmarked the recipe for Chocolate Icebox Pie and even bought a chocolate cookie pie crust for it on sale. Once I had the crust for it, I was obliged to make it. Right? I decided that a nice, cooling pie like this one would be ideal for the last hurrah of summer (80s in St. Louis today).

I’ve been meaning to make this pie for a little while, but the only problem was that it had to chill for 8 hours before you eat it. As with most standard cream pies, you cook a custard filling on the stove, which you then pour into a prepared crust. It takes time for something to cool off from bubbling hot. You can’t just make this pie when you want to eat it. If you’ve got a sweet tooth already, you have to make something else more immediately gratifying, and make this for later.

First step: heat milk until it’s really steaming. (I find that if it bubbles, it’s scorched on bottom.) Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Cool slightly.

Separately, mix together cornstarch and water. Whisk cornstarch mixture, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. I found that stirring in the sweetened condensed milk first helped ensure the chocolate was cool enough that it wouldn’t cook the eggs. Whisk constantly as you bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. (I’ve had trouble figuring out what medium heat is for custards, but I think that about a 4 on my gas range works well.) Boil one minute, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick. With my range and my experience making puddings and pies, this step took no me more than 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and add butter. Pour into pie crust, cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the filling, and chill about 8 hours.

The recipe calls for you to make whipped cream, slather it on the pie, and add pecans and a candy bar to the top. I was afraid the whipped cream would deflate on any leftovers, which we would have since there’s just two of us. I prefer to use a spray can of whipped cream and add it to the pie as we eat it.

Chocolate Icebox Pie

This was a tasty pie. The filling was good straight out of the pan. Since it’s a chocolate pie with a cooked filling, the pie reminds me of my grandma’s chocolate pie (which I haven’t attempted in 8 years since I made it into a chocolate soup in a crust.) However, the Chocolate Icebox Pie is much sweeter due to the sweetened condensed milk. The pie is smooth and rich, and since it’s so sweet, a little bit goes a long way.

This was an easy recipe to make, and it may be a little more foolproof than a standard pie recipe thanks to the inclusion of sweetened condensed milk (which is already thickened to begin with). It’s not the best chocolate pie recipe I’ve ever had – that would be my grandma’s pie recipe – but this recipe’s solid.

Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie

With the hot summer weather, I’ve really wanted cream pies. Recently I’ve made a Key Lime Pie (very refreshing and satisfying, and soooo easy – I strongly recommend it); a lemonade pie that never set; and a chocolate peanut butter ice cream pie which, although not a cream pie, was cold and refreshing (and a hassle since I’d rather just eat ice cream). With those gone, I decided that I finally had to make the Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie recipe.

I originally put off making this pie because I didn’t feel like making a pie crust. I’m glad I did make the crust, though, because it was much better than a store-bought one, and it wasn’t too difficult to put together. The crust was graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, a little salt, sugar, butter, and an egg white. I tossed in the whole white that I separated from the yolk used in the pie, rather than measure it. The mixture was easy to press into the pie dish, and smelled great while baking.

The filling was more work-intensive, but also not incredibly difficult – just a standard custard. Whisk together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, cayenne, an egg, one egg yolk, and espresso powder (which I skipped) in a bowl. Heat milk in a heavy saucepan to 180F; I used a thermometer because it’s easier that way, but you can also just heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Gradually whisk the milk into the cocoa mixture, little by little as to not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and stir in dark chocolate, or chocolate chips as I did.

The recipe says to cool the filling in an ice bath. I didn’t, but I did allow it to cool a little, stirring now and then, before I poured it into the crust. I covered it with plastic wrap, put the pie in the fridge, and topped it the next day with Cool Whip and a few graham cracker crumbs.

Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie

This pie was really good. The cinnamon graham crust complimented the chocolate well. The cayenne was noticeable as a heated aftertaste in the throat and on the tongue. This wasn’t the best chocolate filling ever – that honor still goes to my grandma’s recipe – but it was still a pretty rich chocolate. The crust was best right after I made it, and got a little soggy over time. Overall, this was a great pie, and worth making again.

Impossible Pie

All of a sudden, it’s warm, summery weather. So what do I feel a compulsion to make? Pie.

Actually, what I really want is a cool cream pie. But to make a from-scratch cream pie, I have to stand over the stove stirring a custard – not a pleasant task when it’s in the 80s and humid. [One exception I just thought of – key lime pie.] Heat issues aside, I didn’t feel like doing a lot of work in the kitchen. I remembered a recipe my coworker gave me – Impossible Pie. It still used the oven and heated my house, but it didn’t involve me doing a lot of work.

It’s called “impossible pie” because you simply mix all the ingredients together, pour it into a pie pan, put it in the oven, and it comes out as a pie, no separate crust necessary. The original recipe makes two pies, but I only wanted to make one. The ingredient list is simple: just butter, sugar, eggs, self-rising flour, coconut, and milk. For a single pie, I used a half stick melted butter, 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup flour, 5/8 tsp baking powder, 1/8 teaspooon salt, 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, and a cup milk. I poured it in a greased glass 9-inch pan, and baked for 65 minutes at 350F, an extra 5 minutes because I wasn’t entirely sure it was done.

I don’t have any pictures of it, but there’s a nice one on the recipe if you click on the link. The top of the pie was golden, crisp toasted coconut since it floated to the top. The bottom of the pie was eggy and custardy – not quite like a flan, but definitely eggier than my picky taste likes. The softer custard and the crunchy coconut went well together. The pie was lightly coconuty and lightly sweet.

This is by no means my favorite pie – I don’t like eggy custard, and I do like my coconut pies to be intensely coconuty, which this wasn’t. However, this recipe gets an enormous about of credit for being very easy to make. The pie was mixed together and ready to go into the oven by the time it was preheated. I can’t think of an easier dessert to make, and it’s a decent pie that got some compliments at work. I have to recommend you try it once if you want a homemade dessert to take somewhere, but don’t want to put a lot of effort into it.

366: Pecan Pie

I really wanted to find a different pecan pie recipe to make for Christmas, but realized that I don’t actually have a standard pecan pie recipe. I just wanted to make sure that the pie I made wasn’t too runny. In the end, I just decided to make the Pecan Pie recipe from my mom’s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

First, I decided to make the Single-Crust Pie Pastry from the same cookbook. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a crust made with shortening – I usually use margarine so that I don’t have to measure it. I used my pastry cutter to mix the shortening into the flour and salt, and then used a fork to mix in 5 tablespoons of water. I flattened the dough into a disk and rolled it out to one or two inches larger than my pie pan. I creased the edges and made the pie filling. This recipe used 3 eggs, a cup of corn syrup, and 2/3 cup sugar. It also called for 1 1/4 cups pecans, but I think I actually added 1 1/2 cups. I put the pie in a 350F oven and covered the crust edges with foil. After 25 minutes of baking, I removed the foil and baked it for 25 more minutes, for a total of 50 minutes in the oven.

Pecan Pie

This pie seemed to bake better than whatever recipe that’s on the back of bottles of corn syrup, but part of that difference might have been since I used a glass pie pan instead of a metal one. I don’t actually know what differences there are between this recipe and other recipes. The surface moved when I checked it at the minimum time, so I baked it for the full time suggested.

A perfect slice of pecan pie

When I wrote about Pecan Squares, I wrote about all the pitfalls of pecan pie as I’ve made it in the past. This recipe makes me take back some of those negative words I’ve said about pecan pie. The crust, which I made from shortening, was flaky and not overdone at all. It was tender on bottom and along the sides. The pie itself was fantastic. The filling was silky, not at all runny or grainy, and tasted great. If only my pies in the past had turned out this good! I still like the pecan squares recipe because they make a dessert that’s easy to eat, whether just a little or a lot, but this pie recipe turned out really well.

229: Key Lime Pie

I wanted to make a very easy, cool, refreshing pie when we had company in town one weekend, and I figured there wasn’t much easier or refreshing than Key Lime Pie. The weather was warm, so I chose the recipe from the Joy of Baking website since it didn’t bake very long and thus wouldn’t heat the house too much.

I decided to just buy a graham cracker crust, rather than make one myself. Making the filling was very easy, and baking it was quick. I put Cool Whip on it right before serving.

Key Lime Pie

This was delicious. I thought it was very refreshing, with a good lime flavor. I don’t think you could make a pie that was any simpler than this. Next time I want to make Key Lime Pie, I’ll return to this recipe.

225: Easy as Silk Pie

I’ve been on a pie kick this summer. When my friend Jason posted the recipe for Easy as Silk Pie, a simpler re-imagining of French Silk Pie, I decided that I didn’t want to wait too long to make this recipe. The simplicity of this recipe appealed to me. There’s only 4 ingredients! The pie was just half-and-half (or cream), gelatin, sugar, and chocolate, melted together and chilled in a pie crust.

Now, I do enjoy making traditional stirred custard for pies now that I’ve done it a few times, and I enjoy recipes that take lots of ingredients as well. However, some of the recipes I enjoy most are simple, either in their steps, or their ingredient lists.

The instructions for this recipe were simple. Soak gelatin in the half-and-half. Add sugar and heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted thoroughly. Pour into pie crust and chill. This took me about 20 minutes at the stove, because I wanted to be sure to go slowly. The most difficult thing was melting the remaining chocolate flecks that kept floating to the top. I used a milk frother along the surface briefly to mix it in, since it seemed like it just needed a little friction to dissolve the rest of the way. I poured it into the pie crust, cooled it a little before I put it in the fridge, and covered it with plastic wrap after it was set.

Silk Pie
a slice of Silk Pie

This pie tasted delicious, with a pure taste of chocolate. However, I didn’t care too much for the texture. It was too much of a gelatin texture for my liking. I wonder if I cooked it longer than I should have, and that made it a little too firm for my tastes. Alex liked it, so this may just be a matter of me being picky. In any case, it was simpler than a traditional custard pie, and it tasted good, so give this a try.