Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Toffee and Chocolate Chunk Pie

Take a giant cookie and stuff it into a pie crust... and this is what you get. It's not subtle or sophisticated (and neither am I!) but it tastes ridiculously good and it's as sweet as all get out.

This recipe is based on the Nestle Toll House Pie Recipe, with the semisweet chocolate swapped out for bittersweet and the addition of Heath Bar toffee chunks. 

Is Heath Bar ice cream still out there? That used to be a favorite of mine... well, at least the pieces of toffee candy bar were. At a summer job during college at the Fairdale Farms Dairy Bar in Bennington VT, when not scooping ice cream for customers I used to stealthily dig out the pieces of Heath Bar from the giant 5 gallon ice cream tub. Leaving behind... vanilla ice cream. Sorry, customers.

Side note: that dairy bar is where I met Ally Sheedy! 
A basket case? 
She came in one evening and ordered peach frozen yogurt on a sugar cone. The other girls and I all just stared at her while I scooped her froyo. After she left we all sort of freaked out, and one of the other girls ran out the door after her to get her autograph. Good times!

Back on topic. Cookie pie good.

Chocolate Chip Pie is a favorite of:



Toffee and Chocolate Chunk Pie
*Adapted from the Toll House Pie recipe from Nestle

Ingredients:
Dough:
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour, unbleached
1/4 tsp. salt
8 TB butter, cold
ice water
Filling:
3/4 c. (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. all-purpose flour, unbleached
1 c. dark or bittersweet chocolate chunks
8 oz. Heath Bar toffee candy bars, roughly chopped

Directions:
For the crust: put flour in a large bowl. Slice the butter into small cubes. Work these into the flour using a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse and resembles small currants. Add ice water to the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, using a spoon to toss the mixture together. Add water only until the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze some in your hand. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 4-5 times. Flatten the dough slightly with the palm of your hand and wrap the disk in plastic wrap. Chill the dough disk in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

Unwrap the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/4" thickness. The dough should be roughly 13" in diameter. Lightly fold the dough over in half and then in half again. Place in a 9" pie plate with the point of the triangle in the center and unfold to fit the pie plate. Gently fit the dough into the pie dish with overhang all around. Trim the overhang to about 1-1/2". Roll both the edge under, all around the pie to make a thick edge. Crimp the edge all around. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough and put the dish into the freezer.


Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If using a glass pie dish move the rack to the lower half of the oven; for a metal pan have a rack ready in the center. 


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix in. Add in the flour and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks and Heath Bar chunks. 

Take the pie shell from the freezer. Spoon the cookie dough into the shell, gently spreading it it edge to edge and smoothing the top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the crust has browned and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes. Slices may be served while pie is warm or after it has cooled. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature. 


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The A to Z Challenge is an annual blogfest! Over 2,000 bloggers come together in the month of April and post on every day of the month (Sundays off) whatever theme or subject they choose for each letter of the alphabet. Check out the list of bloggers at the A to Z Challenge website

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for... Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


I've noticed that there are lots of rhubarb recipes popping up on blogs, websites and on Pinterest now that it's officially Springtime! 

Actually finding the rhubarb here was a bit more challenging. I put the word out to friends a few weeks ago to be on the lookout. Several days ago my friend Lisa sent word: rhubarb spotted at a Hannaford Supermarket about 30 minutes from our house. But when I checked Lisa's Hannaford - no rhubarb!! Eventually I did finally find a few pieces at a Shaws Supermarket nearby. 

The employees there clearly had no idea what it was. I found it tucked way in the back of the produce department near the kale.. instead of with the mile-long display of California strawberries at the front of the store. (Cross-promotion opportunity... missed!)

Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but I've only had it baked with strawberries in a pie. 

Then when I took the rhubarb to the checkout two stunned cashiers stared at the blushed, green stalks. They spun the little produce cheat-sheet cylinder bolted above the register in hopes that something would jump out at them. 
My attempt at strawberry-shaped cutouts!
Finally with an eyeroll they asked me what it was. I told them... and then I had to spell it. Twice. More eyerolls. I tried to explain how wonderful it tastes with strawberries in a pie, but they were not impressed. 
Sugar-frosted pie
Oh well, their loss. In my informal pie poll Strawberry Rhubarb had a decent showing, though clearly not at Shaws (eyeroll.) 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is a favorite of:

My pies always look... rustic.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
**I updated this recipe on 4/23/14 - increased the sugar and took out the step of precooking the filling. Based on how my pie came out, I believe these changes will make for better results.


Ingredients:
12 TB butter, very cold
2 c. all-purpose flour, unbleached
1/4 tsp. salt
ice water
3 c. rhubarb (about 4 stalks),washed, ends trimmed off and cut into 1" pieces
3 c. strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into 1" pieces
1 c. granulated sugar, plus more to dust top of pie
1/4 c. honey
6 TB water, divided
1 egg

Directions:
For the crust: 
Put flour  in a large bowl. Take half of the divided butter and slice into small cubes. Work these into the flour using a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse and resembles small currants. Take the remaining butter and slice into larger cubes. Work these larger cubes into the flour-butter mixture with your fingers, squeezing and flattening the butter cubes into cranberry-sized pieces. Add ice water to the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, using a spoon to toss the mixture together. Add water only until the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze some in your hand. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 4-5 times. Divide the dough in half, flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and wrap the disks in plastic wrap. Chill the dough disks in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

Unwrap one dough disk onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/4" thickness. The dough should be roughly 13" in diameter. Lightly fold the dough over in half and then in half again, and then place it in the 9" pie plate with the point of the triangle in the center; unfold to fit the pie plate. Gently fit the dough into the pie dish with overhang all around. Trim the overhang to about 1-1/2".  Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough and put the dish into the fridge.

Combine the cut up rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, honey and 2 TB water and stir to combine. Set aside

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If using a glass pie dish move the rack to the lower half of the oven; for a metal pan have a rack ready in the center. 

Take the pie dish with shell from the fridge and pour the rhubarb-strawberry mixture into the shell. 

Take the other dough disk from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 13" in diameter. Cut out decorative shapes from the dough for venting if desired. 
Lightly fold the dough over in half and then in half again, and positioning the point of the triangle in the center, unfold the dough to fit over the top of the pie. Trim the edges to be just slightly larger than the bottom overhang. Roll both the lower and upper crust edges under, all around the pie to make a thick edge.  Crimp the edge all around. (If you did not make decorative cutouts in the dough, then cut a few slits in the top crust for venting.)

Beat together the egg and the remaining 4 TB of water. Brush it over the top crust using a pastry brush. Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the entire top.


Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 45 minutes, until crust has browned and filling is bubbling. Remove to a cooling rack.

Allow to cool before slicing. 

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The A to Z Challenge is an annual blogfest! Over 2,000 bloggers come together in the month of April and post on every day of the month (Sundays off) whatever theme or subject they choose for each letter of the alphabet. Check out the list of bloggers at the A to Z Challenge website

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for... Rummy Coconut Cream Pie

Another pie filled with coconut! Summer must definitely on the way. And with a dash of rum in the coconut custard, this pie will leave a rich, islandy, piratey taste on your tongue. 

Um, wait. 

Well let's say a taste that makes one think of pirates. A "piratey taste" would actually probably be rather nasty... sweat, briney funk, scurvy. (shudder)
Coconut milk from Goya
Anyhoo, this pie is roguishly sinful and lavish with thick, coconut-laden custard topped with Cool Whip (on this one I took the shortcut with Cool Whip, but homemade whipped cream would certainly be heavenly, if you'd like to make it!)

Don't forget that dash of rum.

Coconut Cream Pie is a favorite of:

I found my pretty striped dish towel at Stonewall Kitchen!
Rummy Coconut Cream Pie

Ingredients
6 TB cold butter, divided
1 c. all-purpose flour, unbleached
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. flaked, sweetened coconut, divided
1-1/4 c. coconut milk
1 c. half and half
3/4 c. coconut-flavored or regular rum
2 eggs
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. corn starch
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 TB butter
1-1/2 c. Cool Whip or other whipped topping

Directions:
For the crust: put flour in a large bowl. Slice the butter into small cubes. Work these into the flour using a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse and resembles small currants. Add ice water to the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, using a spoon to toss the mixture together. Add water only until the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze some in your hand. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 4-5 times. Flatten the dough slightly with the palm of your hand and wrap the disk in plastic wrap. Chill the dough disk in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

Unwrap the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/4" thickness. The dough should be roughly 13" in diameter. Lightly fold the dough over in half and then in half again. Place in a 9" pie plate with the point of the triangle in the center and unfold to fit the pie plate. Gently fit the dough into the pie dish with overhang all around. Trim the overhang to about 1-1/2". Roll both the edge under, all around the pie to make a thick edge. Crimp the edge all around. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough and put the dish into the freezer.


Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread 1/2 cup of the coconut on a small baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes until toasted. Remove from oven and let cool. 

If using a glass pie dish move the rack to the lower half of the oven; for a metal pan have a rack ready in the center. Take the pie dish from the freezer. Put pie weights or dry beans into the pan (on top of the foil.) Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil and bake for 15-20 minutes more until browned all over. Remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack.

Combine in a large saucepan the coconut milk, half and half, rum, eggs, sugar and cornstarch. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil - boil for 1-2 minutes, it should thicken up very quickly. Remove from heat. Stir in the 1 tablespoon of butter, the remaining 1-1/2 cups of coconut and the vanilla extract. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell and spread to fill it evenly. Refrigerate the pie for 4 hours or overnight. Once the pie has set spread the Cool Whip over the pie filling. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the whipped cream. Slice and serve while cold, and refrigerate any leftovers.

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The A to Z Challenge is an annual blogfest! Over 2,000 bloggers come together in the month of April and post on every day of the month (Sundays off) whatever theme or subject they choose for each letter of the alphabet. Check out the list of bloggers at the A to Z Challenge website

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for... Quiche Lorraine

"To Catch A Thief"
From, "To Catch a Thief". Cary Grant's character, John Robie having lunch with H.H. Hughson, played by John Williams... discussing the lunch prepared for them by Robie's housekeeper, Germaine.

"Quiche Lorraine, you'll enjoy this."
"I've heard of it. It looks delicious. ...It's wonderful. The pastry is as light as air."
"Germaine has sensitive hands, an exceedingly light touch."
"I can tell."
"She strangled a German general once, without a sound."
"....extraordinary woman."


It's an obscure quote to reference, but I love that movie and always remember that they 
enjoyed Quiche Lorraine. Made by a frighteningly ruthless housekeeper!

I've made many egg casseroles but this is the first time I've tried Quiche Lorraine specifically. 

It's very simple really but has the best possible ingredients for a really satisfying dish: bacon, onion, cheese, eggs and cream. All puffed up beautifully in a pastry shell.

Please to enjoy my Quiche Lorraine. 

Also enjoy the lively little rooster brightening my pictures. He's called 'Lorraine', too.


Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients:
6 TB cold butter, divided
1 c. all-purpose flour, unbleached
1/4 tsp. salt
8 strips turkey bacon
1-1/2 c. mild swiss cheese, grated
1/2 c. scallions onions, diced
4 eggs
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
2 c. half and half

Directions:
For the crust: put flour in a large bowl. Slice the butter into small cubes. Work these into the flour using a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse and resembles small currants. Add ice water to the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, using a spoon to toss the mixture together. Add water only until the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze some in your hand. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 4-5 times. Flatten the dough slightly with the palm of your hand and wrap the disk in plastic wrap. Chill the dough disk in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

Unwrap the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/4" thickness. The dough should be roughly 13" in diameter. Lightly fold the dough over in half and then in half again. Place in a 9" pie plate with the point of the triangle in the center and unfold to fit the pie plate. Gently fit the dough into the pie dish with overhang all around. Trim the overhang to about 1-1/2". Roll both the edge under, all around the pie to make a thick edge. Crimp the edge all around. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough and put the dish into the freezer.


Cook the turkey bacon over medium heat until crisp and browned. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and cool. Chop the bacon and set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl beat the eggs together with the black pepper, garlic salt and cayenne pepper. Add  the half and half to the bowl and whisk to combine.

Remove the pie shell from the freezer. Sprinkle the chopped bacon and the chopped scallions over the bottom of the shell. Sprinkle 1 cup of the grated Swiss cheese over this. Pour the egg mixture into the shell. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 c. of Swiss over the top of the filling. 

Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. (If using a glass pan, bake it on a rack that's placed lower in the oven.) Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes - a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


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The A to Z Challenge is an annual blogfest! Over 2,000 bloggers come together in the month of April and post on every day of the month (Sundays off) whatever theme or subject they choose for each letter of the alphabet. Check out the list of bloggers at the A to Z Challenge website