Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pie that I will be making...

Pie has never been something that I make on a regular basis. I think since it only makes sparatic appearances 2-3 times a year I have never spent much time searching for the perfect recipes. Making pie crust always seemed like it was scary and such a daunting task...but then I learned that it was not. After taking my cookies, pies, and tarts class I grew wicked confident about making pie and tart crusts. Now that I have cleared that hurdle the height doesn't seem so bad anymore. My now go to crust is posted below...I also like making this pat in pan crust from America's Test Kitchen...for those of you who dread the rolling pin that is a perfect recipe for you. I am currently in the mid-pie making process. My doughs are made and in their pans, my filling is chilling, and my decorations are set. Pie dough can be made weeks or even a month ahead of time. Simply make your doughs, roll out, and place in pans....be sure not to roll into glass pans if you are making ahead of time. Then cover the prepped pans lined with dough with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. When pie making day comes simply remove from the freezer, fill, and bake accordingly. You can freeze pies after they are baked with some recipes, but for best results wait until the day before to bake your pies. I wish I could share some of my favorite recipes, but since I don't really have any here are the ones that I am making this year...

Corn syrup free version from my teacher: http://www.eddyvandammeusa.com/2009/10/pecan-pie-corn-syrup-free/

Maple pecan pie: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/maple-pecan-pie.html?cm_src=oldlink

Pumpkin: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/11/silky-smooth-pumpkin-pie/

Butternut Squash Pie: http://southernfood.about.com/od/pierecipes/r/r71128d.htm


Pie in the sky,
Pie in the store I wouldn't buy,
Pie in my oven,
That's what I'll be lovin.

Monday, November 16, 2009

BEST pie crust ever...

BEST pie crust ever...
yield 3 single crusts
from On Baking

1 lb cold diced butter
1 lb 5 oz all purpose or pastry flour
1 TBS vanilla
4 oz buttermilk
2 tsp. salt
1 TBS sugar

The key to this recipe is to use super cold ingredients, and to not over mix. I make mine in a mixer because it is easier.

Chill mixing bowl and paddle attachment in fridge. Sift flour. Cut butter into small even square pieces, the size of peas. Place sifted flour into chilled bowl and start mixer. Throw butter piece by piece into flour until thoroughly combined and coarse like. In separate small bowl mix vanilla, buttermilk, salt, and sugar. Pour into the flour butter mixture...Mix for only 12-20 seconds until dough comes together. DO NOT OVER MIX! Remove dough from bowl and roll dough into a ball. Separate into three even portions. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly. When chilled roll out and press into pie pan.

corn syrup free walnut pie

This is what happens when pie is left unsupervised at my house...that is how good the crust is

Friday, November 13, 2009

The history of pie...did it fall from the sky?

I was curious about the origin of pie...I mean come on...do you really believe it fell from the sky? I think it is cool to see where the original ideas for food came from. I guess the cave men could have invented pie, I mean they did invent fire and the wheel, so I wouldn't put it past them to invent pie. I did some googling and came up with the following which is a paraphrasing of this article:

Guess what?
The first pies were called "coffins" or "coffyns". Isn't that ironic that pie season starts with the holiday of the dead in October...coincidence I think not. These pies were filled with savory meat and their crusts were tall, straight-sided and with sealed-on floors and lids. Open-crust pastry were known as "traps." Now in days this is referred to as a single crust pie. These meat pies had the crust itself as the pan, and it was tough and inedible. Man, were they missing out, I think the crust is the best part! The purpose of a pastry shell was mainly to serve as a storage container and serving vessel, and these are often too hard to actually eat. A small pie was known as a tartlet and a tart was a large, shallow open pie (this is still the definition in England).

Here is a recipe for how to make pie from back when your grandparents weren't even close to being born...

To Make Short Paest for Tarte - Take fyne floure and a cursey of fayre water and a dysche of swete butter and a lyttel saffron, and the yolckes of two egges and make it thynne and as tender as ye maye. (year 1545)

Say what?

Historians have recorded that the roots of pie can loosely be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. The bakers to the pharaohs incorporated nuts, honey, and fruits in bread dough, a primitive form of pastry. However, Historians believe that the Greeks actually originated pie pastry. The pies during this period were made by a flour-water paste wrapped around meat; this served to cook the meat and seal in the juices.

Nice marketing skills Mr. Cato, its all about the name, hello...

The Roman statesman, Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 B.C.), also know as Cato the Elder, wrote a treatise on agriculture called De Agricultura. He loved delicacies and recorded a recipe for his era's most popular pie/cake called Placenta. They were also called libum by the Romans, and were primarily used as an offering to their gods. Placenta was more like a cheesecake, baked on a pastry base, or sometimes inside a pastry case.

And I thought Mincemeat was sick...

13th Century recipe for pie: Tortoise or Mullet Pie - Simmer the tortoises lightly in water with salt, then remove from the water and take a little murri, pepper, cinnamon, a little oil, onion juice, cilantro and a little saffron; beat it all with eggs and arrange the tortoises and the mullets in the pie and throw over it the filling. The pastry for the pie should be kneaded strongly, and kneaded with some pepper and oil, and greased, when it is done, with the eggs and saffron.

...what is a mullet and a murri you ask? A mullet is a boney fish with a stout body...and a murri is a thick saltly soy sauce like sauce used to flavor dishes.

This is funny...

1626 - Jeffrey Hudson (1619-1682), famous 17th century dwarf, was served up in a cold pie as a child. England's King Charles I (1600-1649) and 15-year old Queen Henrietta Maria (1609–1669) had a party and at the dinner, an enormous crust-covered pie was brought before the royal couple. Before the Queen could cut into the pie, the crust began to rise and from the pie emerged a tiny man, perfectly proportioned boy, but only 18 inches tall named Jeffrey Hudson. Hudson, seven years old the smallest human being that anyone had ever seen, was dressed in a suit of miniature armor climbed out of a gilded pastry pie stood shyly on the table in front of the Queen and bowed low. Hudson was later dubbed Lord Minimus.

I think I might try this one this year...

RECIPE FOR NEW ENGLISH PIE - To make this excellent breakfast dish, proceed as follows: Take a sufficiency of water and a sufficiency of flour, and construct a bullet-proof dough. Work this into the form of a disk, with the edges turned up some three-fourths of an inch. Toughen and kiln-dry in a couple days in a mild but unvarying temperature. Construct a cover for this redoubt in the same way and of the same material. Fill with stewed dried apples; aggravate with cloves, lemon-peel, and slabs of citron; add two portions of New Orleans sugars, then solder on the lid and set in a safe place till it petrifies. Serve cold at breakfast and invite your enemy.

TaDa...the abridged version of pie History!

FYI-I plan on making pie this weekend, I also plan on posting a pie recipe...but as we all know the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray...good thing I'm not a mouse or a man : )

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1,000 hits!

1,000 hits on my blog! Congratulations to me! I guess some people do read my blog even though they aren't very good at leaving comments... : ) I love food, cooking, and more importantly - Baking. I hope my little blog inspires some of you to get in the kitchen and make the world a better place...one cookie at a time.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Browned butter chocolate hazelnut cookies

I made cookies this weekend for a memorial service and they were good. I was shuffling through the madness known as our kitchen cupboard and came across a bag of hazelnuts. Why we had them I am not sure, but it was fate that I found them. I decided to make my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe from Alton Brown and use the hazelnuts instead of walnuts or pecans. They were insanely good, and everyone loved them! I thought they were good, but next time I plan on browning the butter and toasting the hazelnuts before I bake them. I just read that you have to toast nuts before mixing them into things, because once they are combined with other ingredients they don't toast and achieve their full toasty nuttiness.

Among other things my new life mission is to convince nutella that they need to develop a nutella chip. How awesome would that be. Who cares about Health care, this idea is where Americans will find happiness.

Browned Butter Chocolate Hazelnut cookies

2 sticks browned unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Toast hazelnuts...read how here: http://www.ehow.com/how_15912_toast-nuts.html
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Brown the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over medium heat. For more specific directions read this: http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Browning-Butter/Detail.aspx Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add cooled hazelnuts and chocolate chips and toss together. Set aside.
Pour the browned butter into the mixing bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
Chill the dough in fridge for about 1 1/2 hours, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until slightly golden brown, rotating the pan after 6 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sugar and Spice cookies

Marzipan pumpkin I made...love it.

Oh my goodness...how I do love the FALL! I fall asleep dreaming of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice...and cardamon...oh boy! I have been on a mad hunt for a wicked good chewy ginger spice cookie. My friend who is awesome...and yes she knows it : )...came to my rescue. The recipe she gave me is from America's test kitchen, which is a cookbook that is missing from my collection...that problem will hopefully be remedied by Christmas...hint hint. As soon as she said it called for pepper, I knew I was in for a treat! This is a great recipe! Instead of rolling them in plain white sugar I rolled them in turbinado...or raw sugar...this made the outside of the cookie pretty and crunchy! I have also made pumpkin brownies, pumpkin pancakes, and browned butter chocolate chip cookies in the last few days...tres awesome.

Among other things I came to the realization that I am not as funny as I used to be. I mean, I think I am funny, and I often find myself laughing to myself about things I have said or thought...I crack myself up...but I have realized that my writing has been lacking in the funny department. I hereby promise to be more funny when it comes to my blog. Of course this change will not occur until the next post because I honestly can't think of anything funny to say.

Molasses Spicy Cookies!
Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp/ cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup-1 cup turbinado (raw sugar) for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Cream butter and brown sugar 3-4 minutes. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and molasses.
3. In separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients, including the granulated sugar. Mix into the wet until combined.
4. Scoop out and roll in raw sugar.
5. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Bake 10-12 minutes. If you over bake them they will be crunchy. They will still be soft when you pull them from the oven, but worry not, when they cool they will stiffen up.