The Pie Notes

A celebration of life with a touch of sweetness

Tag: pie

Take a Vacation with Caramel Pecan Apple Pie

I spent last week in Auburn for an almost-end-of-the-summer vacation.

For the second time, Matthew and I went bowling with his roommate, Christian, and his girlfriend, Emily. They’re my favorites.

And for the second time, the girls lost to the boys. I didn’t mind too much since I finally got a strike.

With victorious grins, they requested that their prize be a homemade dinner.

Emily and I were on board with that! We went grocery shopping on Thursday and picked up ingredients to make chicken pesto paninis: sourdough bread, mozzarella, tomatoes, and chicken. Matthew had lots of basil from his gardening class, so we whipped that up in the food processor with some pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan.

We sauteed a few thin chicken breasts, sliced them up, and built the sandwiches. Luckily we both had George Foreman grills, so it went pretty quickly.

We wanted a light side dish, so Emily thought of making a fruit salad, which is now one of my favorite snacks in the world. Diced Granny Smith apples, bananas, grapes, and strawberries = perfection.

And for dessert…you guessed it.

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Caramel Pecan Apple Pie.

Mhmmm.

It’s such an interesting pie that you won’t get tired of eating! (I warned you.)

As much as I love traditional pecan pie and apple pie, it can get a little boring sometimes.

This one has a gooey filling with caramel, pecans, and tender slices of apples. IMG_20160718_172601210

And according to Matthew, it is now his favorite pie.

The good news is it’s one of the easiest to make!

You blind bake the crust using pie weights, rice, or dry beans for a few minutes, like this…

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…and then bake it with the filling for a little while. It will transform into something magical and sweet.

In the midst of this sweltering hot summer, take a vacation to the crisp days of fall with all of the wonderful feelings and aromas that this pie provides. No harm in that, right?

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Unfortunately this is my last week to make pies for Copper Kettle Tea Bar since the summer is coming to a close and I’ll be returning to Auburn, but it has definitely been a rewarding and educational experience! They are so supportive of “locals with dreams” and it has truly been an honor baking pies for them. They are top-notch in every way…I couldn’t recommend them enough!

Recipe adapted from Aimee Broussard

A Sweet Trip to the Past: Lemon Custard Pie

I’m quite sentimental.

That’s why when any recipe has “Old Fashioned” or “Mom’s Favorite _____” attached to it, I’m all in.

There’s something special about connecting to the past through food, so in addition to all of my modern takes on traditional recipes, sometimes I like to follow the traditional techniques and ingredients as closely as I can.

This week I wanted a lemon pie, but not lemon meringue or lemon icebox…I wanted a lemon custard pie.

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Oh yeah.

Nestled in a flaky pie crust, it’s baked to golden brown perfection.

You don’t have to wait 4 hours until you can cut into it.

I REPEAT: You DO NOT have to wait 4 hours until you devour it.

It’s quite delicious warm, after sitting for about 15 minutes or so.

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Since you whip egg whites to stiff peaks and fold that into the lemony batter, it transforms the pie to a fluffy lemon curd custard. It’s seriously satisfying and will remind you of the olden days.

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Speaking of yesteryears, I have quite the inspiration to bake pies from my dear Papa’s mother, Anna.

Although I never met her, from what I’ve been told she was a loving woman who wore dresses everyday and baked pies and cakes like no one else.

She would make huge cakes, wrap them up, and freeze them to bring out for company. So smart.

When she made pies, she would roll out the leftover pie dough, fit it into a little pie tin, and pour in a little extra filling. She had to be able to test it out and make sure it tasted good, so she treated herself to the little pie.

Again, Anna was brilliant.

So in the spirit of my namesake, I gathered up some extra peaches and blueberries and rolled out that extra dough and made this little cutie:

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I honestly couldn’t tell you the exact measurements I used, but this is a guesstimate.

  • 2 peaches, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, tossed in 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 /2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
  • turbinado sugar
  1. Roll out two small rounds of dough and fit one into a small pie tin. Chill.
  2. Toss together all ingredients and pour into pie shell. Cover with second round of dough and brush with egg wash (egg and milk). Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  3. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F on lower third of oven until crust is beginning to turn golden, about 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake until juices are bubbling, 20-30 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely on wire rack.
  5. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream!

I hope you enjoy! Try to use an old fashioned recipe this week, or use a technique that seems outdated. It might just brighten your day 🙂

Lemon filling recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

A Tasty Compromise: Tiramisu + Pie = All-Time Favorite Dessert

Well, my friends, I’ve finally found it.

I’ve found my favorite pie.

I’ve always been a little conflicted between tiramisu (my favorite non-pie dessert) and pies in general.

If it were my last day on earth and I only had one sweet treat to enjoy, before I would have chosen tiramisu over pie (shhhh, don’t tell anyone).

Let’s face it, it has all of my favorite flavors: coffee, a creamy dreamy filling, coffee, chocolate shavings, and, um, COFFEE.

Yes, I like coffee.

A lot.

So if you’ve never tried tiramisu, let me walk you through it.

Bottom layer: ladyfingers, which are like spongy Italian cookies, lightly soaked in strong coffee, arranged on the bottom of a dish.

Middle layer: a filling traditionally made of egg yolks, sugar, and mascarpone cheese (an Italian cream cheese that tastes amazing).

Top layer: chocolate shavings or sifted cocoa powder

Of course, there’s variations.

For a dinner party I threw in Auburn last semester, I, of course, made Italian. Honestly, I think it’s the easiest type of meal to fix because it’s usually a one dish dinner with a salad. The best part is it seems like you’ve been slaving away all day long!

Since I was pretty busy that day, I made this Williams Sonoma slow cooker lasagna recipe. It changed my life. Why? Because you don’t have to cook the lasagna noodles on the stove. It’s a beautiful thing. So cheesy and meaty and wonderful!

I made a quick salad to go alongside with cucumbers, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. I don’t know about you, but I am NOT a “food separator.” I absolutely don’t mind if my peas mix in with mashed potatoes, or if my lasagna mixes in with the salad. I was nice and offered salad bowls, but I think my guests agreed with me on this 🙂

And for the grand finale, I made Giada’s tiramisu. I mentioned it was a busy day…that’s why I made it the night before!

It never disappoints.

But still, there was this void. Here I am, being the pie girl, and my favorite dessert is tiramisu. Something is wrong here.

May I introduce to you, dear friends, my absolute favorite dessert/pie/food/anything in the world: TIRAMISU PIE. 

tiramisu pie slice

Isn’t she lovely?

It just makes sense.

Let me walk you through this one:

Crust (because that’s really what tiramisu is missing): Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Collection cookies crushed up, combined with melted butter and sugar, and baked.

Filling: A thick, not-too-sweet mascarpone and cream mixture with a special ingredient that sends it over the top–white chocolate pudding mix.

A layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers…whether you’re addicted to coffee or not so crazy about it, it’s just the right amount for anyone to enjoy. Definitely not overpowering, but it breaks up the sweetness.

Topping: chocolate whipped cream with chocolate shavings sprinkled on top.

Now how could that be anything but perfect?

(It can’t be.)

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And plus, I’d say this is one of the easiest pies to make. It’s perfect in the summer because your oven is only cranked up for a few minutes.

It’s so refreshing, but you still feel like you’re indulging.

I’m absolutely in love with this pie. I’m enjoying browsing through Aimee Broussard’s blog  and cookbook, which is where I found this recipe! I added the ladyfingers because that’s my favorite part of tiramisu, and I can’t leave out the coffee. You certainly could skip that part if you choose.

Make it! You’ll love it!

And if you don’t want to make it, you can order a slice at Copper Kettle Tea Bar this week.

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Do you know how I know this is my favorite pie? After I tested this recipe last week, mom and I went to see Love and Friendship, a movie based off of Jane Austen’s novella, Lady Susan. 

Literally the entire time I was thinking about that pie and how badly I wanted another slice. It was quite difficult to keep up with the British accents and complicated relationships when my brain was in utter turmoil.

The movie was enjoyable, but that pie…oh boy.

I’ll stop now.

And leave you with this.

tiramisu pie

Something for Your Sunday – Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

Chocolate. Hazelnuts. Pie.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie full

 

Good combination, right?

I thought so, since Nutella is my absolute favorite food in the world.

If you don’t like luscious gooey chocolatey nutty goodness, it may be best that you exit this post at this time.

The thing is, I ate all the Nutella a while back and haven’t gotten around to restocking the pantry with more.

But we did have hazelnuts and chocolate chips! It’s all about making do with what you have.

This recipe is an incredibly easy “one-bowl filling”.

I made my favorite Pate Brisee pie dough as the sturdy, buttery, and flaky foundation.

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And the best part is that the recipe makes two 9-inch dough rounds, so I just froze the other one for a rainy day.

The original recipe for this pie calls for bittersweet or dark chocolate chips, but I used semisweet and didn’t think it was overly sweet; however, milk chocolate would probably bring way too much sweetness to the table. Just go with whatever you have stashed away in your pantry and I’m sure it will be a success!

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie half

The best way I can describe this pie is like pecan pie’s sophisticated cousin. The chocolate chips melt with the corn syrup (the main ingredient in pecan pie) and the hazelnuts impart a nutty, earthy, almost exotic flavor. Make sure they’re still a little chunky when you add them to the filling. You want that crunchy texture.

I like this recipe because I prefer to save pecan pie for the fall, namely Thanksgiving. Well folks, as much as I would love for a cool breeze in this Southern heat, it is not happening any time soon. Although, I have been hearing Christmas music on the radio for the past couple days which blows my mind. I used to think that playing those songs before Thanksgiving was odd. They are taking “Christmas in July” to a whole new level.

Anyways, here is an all-year-round pie for you! You can listen to Michael Bublé Christmas while you’re eating a slice – you know you want to.

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie 1

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie 2

This one is going straight in my recipe box.

 

I’ll leave you on that note. Pie awaits me…

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie close up

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

Dreamin’ of Spring

Why the cold weather? Is it really necessary?

My heart goes out to those in the north that have to live with this every winter.

I’m a Gulf Coast kind of girl. Which means I am not used to sleet and portable heaters and sleeping with fourteen layers of clothing.

And I’m certainly not accustomed to frozen pipes.

The one night I forgot to leave my faucets dripping in Auburn, the temperature reached the teens and the pipes froze. So I spent my morning frantically brushing my teeth with bottled water. At least I had already prepared my coffee the night before–that’s the important thing. Poor Sarah was outside on the phone with Dad all afternoon trying to fix it. I got home a couple hours after she did and I knew I had to leave or I would go crazy. After all, I’m pretty fond of taking showers, which simply wasn’t possible at the time.

So I packed my little vintage luggage in five minutes and headed home to see my parents with anticipations of warm weather and running water.

I got the running water, but…it’s cold down here. Not as frigid as Auburn, though. When I was almost home, sleet began hitting my windshield. Two minutes from the bay and there’s ice falling from the sky. Goodness.  But Mom and Dad always make it so nice when I come home, complete with a warm fireplace and freshly baked cookies.

Mom and I did a little browsing at the mall yesterday and later I got to see my sweet (and very well dressed) friend, Meagan!

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It was nice catching up over hot coffee. That’s my favorite way. If only we had a slice of pie to go with that…

I took care of that today.

I always talk about enjoying the moment and not longing to be in a different place in life…but I wish it was springtime. Oh so badly.

So here is a little preview of sunshine and sandy beaches and white linen pants..

lemon meringue pie

Lemon meringue pie to ease the soul.

This has always been one of my favorites because my Granny makes it perfectly. Every time I indulge in a slice I think of being with her. Mine will never ever ever taste as fantastic as hers, but oh well! I try. I love you, Granny. And I love your lemon meringue pie.

Since I have some French homework to do before watching Downton Abbey tonight, I mixed it up a little and used a shortcut pie crust. It is ridiculously easy. I felt like I was cheating. No cutting in butter, no rolling, no chilling. Just mix, press into the pie plate, and bake!

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Ahh, I love this pie. I was never a big fan of meringue – I always preferred whipped cream – but for some reason this meringue is enjoyable to eat. I’m not guiltily wiping it off to the side. I guess that’s what happens as you get older. I’ll actually eat raw tomatoes now, which is, frankly, a major milestone in my life.

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I’m sure Joey would like meringue.

And lemon pie.

How about you?

(By the way, the pipes un-froze about two hours after I left. Oh well, everything happens for a reason. I got pie out of the deal!)

Shortcut Piecrust

Lemon Meringue Pie

A Day on the Trails

Yesterday was a perfect opportunity to visit Chewacla State Park in Auburn.

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Beautiful, yes?

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Changing leaves just stir something inside of me.

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After a bit of walking, we made it to the top! It’s breathtaking up here.

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And after quite a bit of hiking and slipping down hills, we made it to the bottom. This awesome waterfall was our reward.

I wanted to get a closer look. The rock hopping began.

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Can we talk about how it looks like I’m playing a harmonica?

I’m not…I don’t know what I’m doing, actually. Who knows.

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Do you see it? Do you see Sarah soaring?

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I tried to soar, too. Right on top of a wet, slippery rock. My knee caught the fall, don’t worry. And my shoe soaked up about a pint of freezing cold water.

Uncontrollable laughter followed. Falling is hilarious, whether it’s me or someone else.

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We quickly made our way for dry land. But not before I stepped on a wobbly, insecure log on the edge of the bank.

My other shoe soaked up a pint of water.

It was fun.

Once we got back to civilization, we drove to the top of the mountain and had a picnic.

Granny’s signature turkey sandwiches, grapes, pistachios, and biscotti were on the menu. It was simple, it was rustic, and a wonderful way to end our hike.

Our sweet friend, Rebecca, invited us over to bake a pie yesterday evening.

It was successful.

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The whole thing is gluten free and vegan. Super delicious! We were all fighting over the crust leftovers and scraping out the filling in the bowl. I’m talking GOOD.

It has to chill for a few hours, so we had to head back home. After church today we taste tested.It was honestly one of the best pies I’ve ever had. The filling had such a complex pumpkin flavor, and the crust, made out of oats and pecans, complimented it nicely. I would definitely recommend it, even if you’re not on a vegan or gluten free diet.

Rebecca and her husband, Scott, really love the blog Oh She Glows and all of her recipes. That’s where they found this recipe for Sweet and Salty Spiced Pecan Crust and Pumpkin Filling. There’s a few other variations on the page as well.

I had a lovely weekend with some lovely friends. And a VERY lovely new friend.

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Her name is Noire. Rebecca and Scott are fostering her for a while.

I’ve never had such a connection with a dog before. She just cuddles without any resistance, gives me hugs, and stares up at me with those big brown eyes. I think she likes me because we both have dark hair. That’s a valid reason to adopt a dog, right?.

Mom…Dad…are you reading this?

I think Joey needs a friend.

Please?

May I Say…

I’m glad to be here.

And I’m so very glad you’re reading this.

This crisp autumn day in Auburn has inspired me, bringing peace, focus, and contentment in my life. So what do we do when those three things are dwelling within us?

We make pie!

The no-bake version to be exact. “It just has to be pumpkin,” I told myself. But then my little chocolate conscience convinced me otherwise. I honestly felt like I was cheating on chocolate. That simply cannot happen.

So, I compromised with that naughty conscience.

Chocolate pumpkin pie.

But then, as I eagerly opened the door to go grocery shopping, I was caught by that wonderful breeze flowing through the house, softly picking up the ends of my hair (which would usually anger me–wind and my c-c-c-curly hair do not mix). I felt as if I was letting down the season as a whole. Chocolate pumpkin pie was simply not “fall-y” enough.

Chocolate pumpkin pie with a gingersnap crust.

Voilà. You’re welcome, November.

My soul was finally at peace again.

Here’s the recipe. Now would be a good time to mention I name all my pies. Some funny, some heartfelt, some downright ridiculous.

No-Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust

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This pie shall be named The Pumpkins and Puns Pie.

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 ¾ cups gingersnap crumbs

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Whipped topping, for serving

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Seal several gingersnaps inside a large Ziploc bag. Grab a rolling pin. Think about anything negative in your life. It could be paying taxes, telemarketers, drivers who fail to use blinkers, etc. For me, it’s analytic trigonometry at 8 A.M. every morning. Think of your chosen frustration, and whack those crunchy cookies like there’s no tomorrow. And when you think you’re done, don’t stop. Fine crumbs are the goal.

Take several deep sighs of relief. Besides, taxes aren’t until next spring. In a medium bowl, whisk together the crumbs and dry ingredients. Now add that melted butter and stir. If the mixture isn’t holding together when you squeeze it, add a tiny bit of water at a time until you reach the right consistency.

Pour the crumbs into a 9 inch pie plate, pressing evenly to cover the bottom and sides. Don’t worry about perfection. Stick it in the freezer for around 10 minutes to let it relax. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until your house smells like gingersnap goodness. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. This is incredibly easy.

Add all the ingredients into a blender or food processor (I used a Ninja blender). Blend until smooth. Done. (Unless you prefer some more sugar after tasting it.) Just don’t forget about that whipped cream you’ll be topping it with.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust, and pop it in the fridge for 3 hours. Overnight would be good, too.

Before serving, top with the whipped cream and maybe a few gingersnap crumbles. Enjoy, and happy fall!

Filling adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

Gingersnap crust adapted from Martha Stewart

Word Document:

No Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust

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