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    Chocolate Soy Pie

    Those of you who read the comments have come across Leisureguy before. He’s a regular here, and I find his contributions to the discussions often insightful and spot on. He sent me an e-mail, about two weeks ago, extolling the virtues of pie recipe that he was fond of, made of chocolate and soy. He ended the e-mail to me by saying “you probably won’t try it.”

    I can guess why he wrote that, as I am not a fan of soy. I am, however, a tremendous fan of pie, and am also curious enough to see if I can get it to work.

    The result? A very interesting pie, with a lighter chocolate taste, especially when compared against a typical chocolate silk pie. Dare I say it? This pie has nuance.

    It’s also a breeze to make, once one is able to find the key ingredient – soy. The site from which the recipe first appears recommends a specific brand, as others tend to be less silky in texture, a key aspect of this pie.

    The recipe calls for a no-bake pie shell, which I also purchased rather than made myself. This was intentional, as I wanted to replicate Leisureguy’s take on the recipe. For those of you who feel I should lose my pie-making license over this, I humbly apologize.

    • 2 boxes of low-fat Mori-Nu silken tofu (12.3-ounces each, any firmness)
    • 1 10-12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • /2 tsp. water
    • chocolate-cookie no-bake pie shell
    • raspberries (for garnish)

    Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler until the chips retain their shape but are soft as warm butter. Remove from heat and let stand a couple minutes.

    Puree the tofu in a food processor (about 2 minutes) frequently scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure that all of the tofu is converted from a soft brick into a warm-pudding consistency. Add the water to the sugar, then mix both into the tofu. Add the softened chocolate and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a chocolate-cookie pie shell and swirl the top to make soft peaks, like frosting a cake. Garnish with berries. Then chill to set. Ready in 1 hour.

    Serves 8 – 10


    Watermelon Chiffon Pie

    This has not been a good week for me, for several reasons, mostly all of them dealing with the pain in the ass that is my regular, paying job.

    Due to these stresses,I was looking forward to this recipe. As regular readers here know, pie is my paxil, my “go to” food when I need to make sense of the world. It is also the bane of my doctor’s perspective on how I approach my life, but that’s a different post.

    It also seemed a bit exotic. I mean who uses watermelon in a pie recipe? And how does one incorporate a highly volatile fruit into a solid pastry format? The answers to the above rhetorical questions are “Fans of chiffon pies” and “you use gelatin, and a fair bit of it”.

    So, using a recipe found in my “Go to” pie cookbook, (Ken Haedrich’s Pie:300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie) I set upon the task of making my week a little better.

    The result? A Pie that I’m still unsure about. I taste’s okay, don’t get me wrong. But it a tad bit disconcerting to have watermelon flavor come from a slice of pie. My mind simply wasn’t ready to make the correlation between seeing a slice and expecting the flavor of the summer fruit. It’s as if my mind can only allow for a specific set of flavors to be used in pie, and when faced with a new one, it treats it as if it’s some sort of rare novelty.

    And it takes a pretty horrible picture to boot. A slice is unable to hold its own weight for any length of time, and physics then dictates that the slice of watermelon chiffon has to collapse upon itself. Thus this picture above, where the pie tin has the task of ensuring a decent looking slice.

    But here’s the thing…It’s not that bad. In fact it’s pretty good. But if you’ve never had watermelon in anything but the natural watermelon format – slices at a barbeque- you may be bound to say “Well that tastes weird…but in a good way”.

    • 1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • 6 cups of watermelon flesh
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 envelops of unflavored gelatin
    • 1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
    • Egg whites from 2 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
    • Whipped cream (home made or store bought, your preference) for garnish

    For the Crust:

    Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until well-combined.

    Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate or tin.
    Place in the oven and bake the crust for 7 to 9 minutes. Place in the regrigerator to chill.

    For the Filling: Place the watermelon and the granulated sugar into a large bowl. Using a potato Masher (Mr. Haedrich’s method) or immersion blender (my method), liquify the flesh as fully as possible. Set aside for 15 minutes. Then strain the mixture, ensuring you have 2 3/4 cup of sugared watermelon juice. Discard the pulp and any extraneous liquid.

    In a medium sized bowl, pour in 1/4 cup of watermelon juice and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set aside for 4 minutes, allowing the gelatin to dissolve. Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup of the watermelon juice in a sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Whisk the hot juice into the gelatin mixture.

    In a larger bowl, place in the remaining watermelon juice, and stir in the watermelon gelatin mixture. Add the lime juice, and then cover and place in the refrigerator.

    Using an electric beater, beat the egg whites in a medium sized bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In yet another bowl (that’s # four) that has been chilled, pour in the heavy cream and beat with an electric beater until peaks form. Add the sifted powdered sugar, and incorporate until smooth. Place in the refrigerator.

    When the watermelon gelatin starts to firm (my took about an hour) remove and add 1/4 of the whipped cream. Whisk the contents with the electric beater until smooth. Fold in the egg whites and remaining whipped cream, ensuring consistency of the filling. You want to avoid pockets of white from either the egg whites or whipped cream. Pour into the chilled pie shell. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to chill overnight.

    Serves 10


    Bumbleberry Pie

    I am such a pie person. Cake? Feh. Hit the bricks, pal. The best of cakes simply can’t compete wih the best of pies.

    This recipe is a perfect example of this belief. It’s based off of a recipe found in Ken Haedrich’s book Pie, which, in turn, comes from the Dundee Arms Inn kitchen. I made a few slight alterations to fit my own tastes as well as the ingredients on hand. Yes, this includes rhubarb, which takes on an ensemble role here.

    In fact, that’s what makes this pie so great…there is no one single taste that dominates, providing a perfect example of how a recipe can create an entirely new flavor that one has never experienced before.

    What also makes this pie so interesting is the new (to me) pie crust technique offered to create a crumble-like look that adds a new texture from what I was used to. I will be using this technique (listed in the instructions below) for other fruit pies in the future.

    • 3 cups AP flour
    • 1 Tbsp sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced int o1/4 ” pieces
    • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
    • 1/2 cup water, cold (near freezing, if possible)
    • 1 cup blackberries
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
    • 1 cup rhubarb, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 Tbsps. lemon juice
    • 1/3 cup AP flour
    • 2 Tbsp butter, chilled and dice
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Sugar (or granulated, if no vanilla sugar is available

    To make the dough, combine three cups of flour, the tablespoon of sugar, and the teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, mix in the butter and shortening, working with the dough until it becomes almost sand-like in its consistency. Work in the water, two tablespoons at a time, until the dough becomes one solid form. You may not need the entire half cup of water, depending upon your taste. Place the dough in the refrigerator.

    After chilling in the refrigerator for one hour, divide the pie dough into two pieces. Place one of the two pieces in the freezer (wrapped in Saran wrap), the other roll into roughly a thirteen inch circle in order to place it into a 9 1/2″ pie pan.

    Place the pie crust in the freezer. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    In a bowl, combine the berries, rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice, folding together delicately. When the sugar has been thoroughly incorporated, add the 1/3 cup of flour and also fold into the filling. Pour the filling into the now chilled pie shell, and smooth it level with a spoon. Dot the top of the filling with the several pieces of butter.

    Now here’s where the cool part comes into play. The first half of the dough that you had wrapped in plastic wrap and placed into the freezer? Take it out and grate it with a box grater over the filling, as if it were a huge chunk o’ cheese. Use a fork if you have to distribute the dough gratings evenly. Once done, sprinkle the top with the vanilla sugar.

    Place in the oven and bake for thirty minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and rotate the pie 180 degrees, so an even baking will occur. Bake for another 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 hours.

    Serves 8


    Sweet Potato Pie

    Sweet Potato Pie

    My household is chock full o’ non-Southerners, and sweet potato pie was a dessert that was rarely, if ever, on their radar. In fact, when I mentioned the idea of sweet potato pie, the term “blech” was liberally applied.

    I had to remind this non-believer that she had never had sweet potato pie, and by passing judgement before actually trying the dish is a grievous sin in the eyes of most every fan of food.

    The said sinner acknowledged their sin, and waited to pass judgement.

    If you’ve never had sweet potato pie, the best way I can think of to explain it is to think of a pumpkin pie, but lighter on the palate. It’s still as rich as a pumpkin pie, but not as ‘hearty’.

    When served to the aforementioned sinner, they recinded their terms of ‘blech’ and gave it a thumbs up.

    • 2 cups sweet potatoes (peeled, cooked and mashed)
    • 4 ounces unsalted butter
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 5 oz. evaporated milk
    • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 2 prepared pie shells, unbaked

    Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a glass bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, butter and sugar until the butter and sugar are well incorporated. Add the evaporated milk, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in the spices and pour the batter into the pie shells.

    Place the pies into the oven and bake for 1 hour.

    Technorati Tags: recipe, pie, sweet potato pie


    Plum Galette

    I’m a big fan of food magazines. One could argue that the pages are mostly fluff, and that they rarely, if ever, cover the more contentious aspects of food, but that doesn’t stop me from salivating over the various photos of the dishes that they’ve concocted.

    As a fan, I’ve vowed to actually use the magazines that make it to my doorstep. After all, having a subscription to a Gourmet or Saveur and only reading it for the articles is akin to men having a subscription to Playboy and…well..only reading it for the articles.

    This here recipe comes from the August 2006 issue of Gourmet (page 89 to be more precise). I sued organic plums, and though it didn’t turn out as pretty as I hoped, it was still quite tasty. Tara remarked that it tasted a bit like a cherry tart, with a bit of a plum underneath. I don’ think I could have described it any better.

    And yes, it’s a pretty awful picture. I’ve seemed to have taken a step or three back in the picture taking department.

    Pastry Crust

    • 1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
    • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled anc ut into cubes
    • 2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 to 4 teaspoons ice cold water

    Filling

    • 2 Tablespoons semolina flour
    • 5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 plums, halved, pitted and cut into slices

    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

    In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter, shortening and salt, until the dough has the consitency of small peas. Drizzle in the ice water one Tablespoon at a time and pulse until the dough forms.

    Roll dough into a 10-12 inch circle.

    Combine the semolina flour and 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Spread on the dough in a circular pattern, leaving a 2 inch border. Place slices of plums on the sugar/flour mixture, skin side facing down. Fold in the edge of the dough, and pleat as needed. Top the plums with the remaining sugar.

    Place on parchement paper, and then the paper on a baking sheet. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for five more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

    Serves 6 – 8

    Technorati Tags: Food, Recipes, Plum Galette, Plum


    Grape Pie

    Grape Pie

    Granted that this is not my best piccie ever. My apologies for that, as I’ve been a smidgen under the weather of late, and my patience for setting up a good shot ran in direct opposition to my desire to get back into bed with my laptop while watching Cartoon Network (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends is now my favorite bit of background noise). I vow to try harder once I’m feeling up to snuff.

    Excuses aside, this is pie that many people haven’t heard of, and neither did I until doing some reading upon grapes and the various recipes that were at my disposal. It’s a bit of a labor intensive pie, especially if your grapes have an excessive amount of seeds within.

    Once done, you get a very nice pie, sort of a subdued cherry pie, tho’ not as tart. Your mileage on tartness will vary depending upon the grape you choose to use. I ended up using a nice, middle ground, muscat grape which probably had a great amount of influence on the lack of the “pucker factor”.

    Filling:

    • 4 cups muscat grapes
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • Juice from 1/2 lemon
    • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
    • 9 inch pie shell

    Topping:

    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
    • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced into 1/8″ bits

    Remove the skins from the grapes (Heating the grapes will help facilitate this, but don’t over heat, as the grapes will be difficult to hold). Set the skins aside, as you will use them again.

    Place the pulp from the grapes in a medium sauce pan placed over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer (185 degrees) and cook for 5-7 minutes. Place the heated pulp into a food mill or sieve and press through into a large glass mixing bowl, separating the seeds from the rest of the grapes. Discard the seeds. Add the grapes skins into the glass bowl and mix together with the grape pulp.

    In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt with the lemon juice and melted butter. Pour into the grape mixture and stir well. Pour into pie shell and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (giving the grapes some time to cool).

    Pre-heat your oven to 400 Degrees F.

    Take pie from out of the refrigerator. In another small bowl, mix together all of the topping ingredients. Sprinkle liberally on top of the pie. Place in the over and cook for 40 minutes.

    When done, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing to serve.

    Serves 6-8

    Technorati Tags: recipes, pies, grapes, grape pie


    Milk Pie

    Milk Pie

    Clearly not every recipe I make is going to rock everyone’s world. Some recipes need an advocate, someone to say, “Hey, wait a minute. Don’t bypass this recipe because it sounds odd”.

    Such is the case of the underappreciated Milk Pie. It’s a simple, unique version of a custardy-type pie that has it basis in Amish culinary traditions. It’s quite tasty and can impress if people would only give it a chance.

    The pie is also a bit of a conundrum. It’s the perfect pie to teach your kids how to cook because it’s so easy to make. Yet, it’s probably the last pie you would want your child to eat as it’s so chock full of butter and sugar. *shrug* This is why I am not a parent.

    • One 9″ pie crust, based on your favorite recipe (chilled for 15 minutes in the freezer)
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
    • Pinch of Salt
    • 10 oz evaporated milk
    • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Into the pie crust place the sugars, flour and salt. Mix by hand, slowly yet ensuring that little or no clumps exist. Drizzle the milk over the sugar mixture. Do not mix the milk with the sugar, simply let it hang out on top.

    Dot the top of the pie with the pieces of butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top and place in the oven.

    Bake for 45-50, turning the pie 180 degrees in the oven at the half way point.

    Remove from oven and allow to set for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

    Serves 8

    Technorati Tags: Food, recipes, pies, Milk+Pie