Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recipe: Apple Lattice Pie

This was the third pie I made for my family Thanksgiving.
It's an Apple, Raisin and Nut pie inside a latticed crust.
The family just went crazy about it.


Pie Dough:
2 C all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
1/4 C superfine sugar
9oz butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 T water

  • To make pie dough, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the superfine sugar, butter, egg, egg yolk and water. Mix together to form a smooth dough, adding more water if necessary. Wrap the dough and let chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 
  • Preheat oven to 400*. Shape about three-quarters of the dough into a ball and roll out on a lightly floured counter into a circle large enough to line a shallow 10-inch pie pan. Fit it into the pan and trim the edge. Roll out the remaining pie dough and cut into long strips about 1/2 inch wide. 
3 T black currant or plum preserves
1 C chopped toasted nuts (mixed, pecans and/or walnuts)
2 lb cooking apples (I used Granny Smiths)
1 T lemon juice
1 t apple pie spice
1/2 C golden raisins
1/2 C regular raisins
1/3 C packed brown sugar
Granulated sugar for dusting

  • Spread the preserves evenly over the base of the pastry shell. 
  • Peel and core apples, cut into thin slices (add to iced water to keep from turning brown)
  • Place them in a bowl with lemon juice, apple pie spice, both types of raisins and brown sugar. Mix together gently. Spread the mixture into the pastry shell, spreading it out evenly. 
  • Arrange the pie dough strips in a lattice over the top of the pie. Moisten with a little water, seal and trim the edges. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar to add shine. 
  • Bake 50 minutes until golden. Serve immediately or at room temperature. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Recipe: Brown Sugar Tart

The original recipe can be found in the NY Times - however as with most things I gave it my own twist. Changed a few things here and there to make it my own. 

The name they had for this dish: "Butter Pie". Just makes me think of a mound of butter sitting in a pie shell. Not my idea of appetizing. Yet, it was requested by my dear mother. So the first thing I changed was what to call it. 

The main ingredients (as you'll see below) are butter and brown sugar. "Brown Sugar" just sounds more appealing than "Butter" why not call it a "Brown Sugar" pie. 

Then there was the crust. I'll admit this "change" was an accident. The pie crust  which was store bought, because who are we fooling here. 7 o'clock on a Wednesday night I'm NOT making a pie crust from scratch.... Anyway the pie crust was only supposed to go into a 8inch pan but I grabbed the 10 inch and so once I pre-baked the crust it came out a little "shrunk"...and more tart like. 

So there you have it. We went from a "Butter Pie" to a "Brown Sugar Tart" that quick. 

Now down to business. 

Brown Sugar Tart (aka Butter Pie)

Heat oven to 350. 

If you want a tart shell like I ended up with feel free to put that 8inch pre-made crust into a 10inch pan. Otherwise do what you like with the crust (I originally thought of using a graham cracker crust). Just make sure to bake it 15-20 minutes (either weighed down by raw beans or poke holes in the dough to prevent bubbling and puffing). 

For the filling you'll need: 

6 T. unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 C light brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs

1. In a mixer cream butter and brown sugar together until sugar looks like "wet sand"
2. Add salt and vanilla
3. Running mixer, add eggs one at a time and beat until creamy and light (you'll see a difference)
4. Scrape filling into parbaked crust 
5. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top looks dry and browned.  "The filling will form a skin and puff slightly, then deflate as it cools and sets."

Let cool at least one hour (or overnight) and serve cold with ice cream or whipped cream.

Serves 8-10

Recipe: Southern Mississippi Sweet Potato Pie

Step 1 - Mix 4oz softened butter, 2 cups cooked/mashed sweet potatoes and 2 cups granulated sugar together.
Step 2 - Add 5oz of evaporated milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 3 beaten eggs to the mixture.
Step 3 - Pour mixture evenly into two pie crusts (I use graham cracker crusts but use what you like)
Step 5 - Cook in preheated 350* oven for 1 hour (rotate 1/2 way through to ensure even baking)
Let cool.
And enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recipe: Fyne Cakes

"Fyne Cakes" is what my family's recipe for "Shortbread" is called.

F-Y-N-E just being the old English spelling of "Fine"... actually when trying to find a little history on why this was called "fyne cake" instead of just "shortbread" - I came across an little Scottish bakery called Fyne Cakes. They make and ship all types of Christmas puddings and cakes. Yum Yum.

I also found (almost) the exact recipe my family uses on a website dedicated to Elizabethan recipes and food. Better believe I'm keeping that website handy.

Anyway back to the recipe I was going to share with all of you.

I remember having this ever since I was a little girl. My favorite part was always the way the top layer is golden and crispy and comes off in a thin wafer-like layer. It's a traditional must-bake recipe in my house during the holidays.

This year my cousin wrote to me asking for the recipe (since I'm no longer in the same state to bake it for the family). I emailed it to her last night but thought I'd share with everyone else because it's just so yummy. 

Fyne Cakes:

1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 C sugar
1 egg yolk (save the white)
1 3/4 C sifted flour
1/2 t. clove
1/8 t. mace
pinch ground saffron (if you don't have don't worry)

Heat oven to 400*

1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
2. Add yolk and beat until well combined.
3. Mix all the dry ingredients together in another bowl or measuring cup
4. Add to wet ingredients and mix well.
5. Put mixture into greased 9in pan.
6. Brush top with egg white (this is what gives it that wafer top)

Bake 1 hour and cut hot but then let cool completely.

Monday, November 22, 2010

...and the Winners are....

So Thanksgiving is just days away and as you know I've been struggling with what pies to make.

My sister's mother-in-law requested by Southern Sweet Potato Pie (I made it last year for the family Thanksgiving and it was gobbled up quick).

Since my sister is vegan I wanted to make sure that I made at least one pie vegan-friendly. Which really is not that hard - just use vegan margarine spread (not all margarine's are - look for "whey") when making the crust or crumble top (keeping the margarine cold enough is the trick).

So I started to browse online and in my various Pie Recipe books and settled on the following.

  • Southern Sweet Potato Pie (w/ graham cracker crust)
  • Butter Pie (w/ graham cracker crust)...which has basically just a sugar, egg, butter, vanilla center
  • Vegan Apple Lattice Pie (that contains black current preserves, raisins and nuts)

Luckily the Butter Pie and Southern Sweet Potato Pie are required/can be chilled for a day before serving meaning a bake schedule of:

Tuesday - Butter Pie
Wednesday - Southern Sweet Potato
Thursday (AM) - Apple Pie

I'll post pictures and recipes as I make each.

Happy Eating!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recipe: Dream Lovers Cookies

So these are basically DYI mint Oreos...or more like a cross between a traditional Oreo and those Oreo Cakesters...

The cookies aren't think and crisp like the traditional wafers but aren't as fluffy and cake like as the cakesters either...I guess you could consider them a type of Moonpie... either way they're yummy.

I came across the recipe and being a fan of chocolate and mint I had to try them. Let me tell you I couldn't make them fast enough. They flew off the cookie tray!

Hope you enjoy them as much as my family did.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on low speed, blend butter, sugars, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much flour as possible; stir in any remaining flour. Cover; chill at least 2 hours.

Form into 1-1/2 inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand one minute on baking sheet; remove to wire racks to cool. 

1/3 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons green crème de menthe (or regular peppermint extract, frosting will be white...which is what I used)
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix butter and crème de menthe in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually beat in powdered sugar, adding a little more crème de menthe if necessary until spreadable. Spread filling on flat side of half the cookies; press on remaining cookies to make sandwiches.

6 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream

Cook and stir chocolate and cream in a medium saucepan over low heat until melted. Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes, until thickened. Spread tops with glaze; place on a wire rack until glaze sets. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap. Keep chilled.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pie, Pie, Me oh My

So there are two songs I think of when I think of pie.

The first is "A Little Priest" (Specifically the way Helena Bonham Carter does the number):

The second (and not as twisted) is the Pie Song from the movie Michael:

Both songs put me in the mood to cover the counter (and myself) with flour! Although I must admit I have never made a Priest Pie (nor any other type of Meat Pie) only fruit and creams.

With the holidays right on top of us I want to bake even more. I already have the ingredients to make Southern Sweet Potato Pie (it's often requested by friends and family so it's become a staple) and I've been looking to make a few more.

I stumbled across a NY Times article called Pie to Cupcake: Time's Up that had a slideshow link on the side with 15 different pies and recipes. Let me just tell you now I'm lucky my keyboard didn't go *POOF* with the drool.

Pear Pomegranate Pie
Rye Pecan Pie (baked in a pie pan so it's a DEEP dish pie)
Apple Green-Chili Pie with Cheddar Crust and Walnut Strudel
Butter Pie (which from reading the recipe I can only imagine would put you into a diabetic coma)
Honey Apple Pie with Thyme
Lemon Confit Shortbread Tart
Pear-Pomegranate Pie
Pear Ginger Crumble
Brandied Pumpkin and Chestnut Pie
Apple Pecan Tart
Pan-Baked Lemon-Almond Tart
Frozen Maple Mousse Pie with Chocolate-Maple Sauce
Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie
Food-Processor Apple Tart
Date Butter Tart
Walnut Tart

So the question is what pies do I make for Thanksgiving?

*     *     *

I forwarded the link(s) to my mother and asked her opinion. Her response was "I want all of them". 

So we called my sister-in-law and told her 
we found 15 pies we couldn't choose from.
Her response "Don't you dare bring 15 pies to my house!"

Choices. Choices. Choices.
So many pies.
So little time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: Tasty n Sons

Tasty n Sons is located in NE Portland, in the Mississippi neighborhood,
was recommended to me by a co-worker.

I had a friend coming in from out of town
and we went the first morning she was here.
The building is small and narrow.
The tables are close together to give the family dining feel
(plates are served family style).
We sat at the Chef's Bar which I love. Getting to see the cooks in action and the food created is such a joy!
It took me a while but I had to get a picture of this
KGB hat on one of the line chefs.
We didn't have any but what a great name!
Belladonna!? Doesn't sound like a cocktail I'll be trying anytime soon.
We did however try both the Chocolate Potato Doughnut
and the Griddled Bacon Wrapped Dates
The doughnut was so fresh and hot it steamed when we split it in two. 
The outside was a hard crackling shell and inside just moist and fluffy.

I had read some not-so-good reviews about these Dates
(someone got an unpitted one) but these were so yummy.
I love dates, bacon, almonds and maple syrup - why not combine them?
Because this was a special indulgence foodie weekend we had to try as many dishes as we could fit into our stomachs. So we also ordered the Auntie Paula's French Toast and the Moroccan Chicken Hash.
No syrup needed with a maple infused whipped cream!
We finished the meal off with the Hash.
It was slightly spicy and had wonderful flavors.
Nice way to neutralize the sweetness of the French Toast.
There was no room for dessert but I thought
I'd take a picture of the menu anyway.

So if you're ever in Portland and in the NE side looking for something yummy to share (or keep to yourself) I highly recommend Tasty n Sons.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baking: Pumpkin Spice Cookie with Eggnog Glaze

This is another one that I found last year...probably the same website I found the Caramel Apple Cookies. I'm a big pumpkin fan during the holidays and when I found this I figured it had to be yummy. 

The Eggnog glaze however was something I created. The original recipe called for just a confectioners glaze but when I went to the refrigerator I realized I was out of milk (since the cookie recipe doesn't call for any) but I did have Eggnog! 

So I improvised!

I passed this recipe around last year to a few friends who were chomping at the bit to try them but lived too far away to just come over. They've loved them just as much as my family here in Portland.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Eggnog Glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In one bowl:
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl cream 1/2 C. softened butter and 1 1/2 C. sugar.
Then add:
1 C. canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Add flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and drop tablespoon fulls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The cookies come out super fluffy - they don't really spread out at all. Let me know how they come out.Let cool before glazing.

Eggnog Glaze:
2 C powdered sugar
3+ Tbsp Eggnog (add more or less to thicken or thin)
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend together thoroughly and dip cookies into glaze and let sit out (will slightly harden).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baking: Caramel Apple Cookies

The holidays are fast approaching which means one thing in my kitchen - BAKING!

Baking Pies...Baking Tarts
Baking Cakes...Baking Cookies


I may have a small household but there's always someone - somewhere - who is more than willing to leave their diet behind and "sample" what comes out of the oven. 

Each year there are the staples, the yummy treats that always find their ways back onto my cooling rack. 

Mexican Wedding Kisses...
Frosted Date Cookies...
Candied Yams...
Pumpkin Pie...
Sweet Potato Pie with a Graham Cracker crust...

Oh, and of course my Grandmother's Molasses Cookies (with a non-vegetarian recipe)...but we'll cover that at another point. I do try to "spice" things up each year though with new goodies I have found online, in magazines, or various cookbooks I've bought through the year. 

One that I made last year, that is just too yummy to NOT make again this year, was Caramel Apple Cookies. I don't remember where I found the recipe but I'm glad I did. A few friends (whom I shared the recipe with) have just loved them - so I thought I'd share them here too.


For the cookies:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (*NOTE: I used butter instead)
1-1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 apple juice, divided
2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup apples, peeled and shredded (*NOTE: I used Pink Lady Apples)

For the Caramel Frosting:
2 to 3 tablespoons margarine, softened
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
5 tablespoons finely crushed walnuts 

To make the cookies:
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Grease baking sheet(s). In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and brown sugar in medium bowl until blended; beat in egg and apple juice. In another mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Stir flour mixture into shortening mixture. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup apple juice and the apples. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake a 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

To make the Caramel Frosting:
Heat margarine, brown sugar, and water over medium high heat in saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; beat in powdered sugar and enough milk to make spreadable consistency; use immediately. If frosting begins to harden, return to low heat and stir in more milk.