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Archive for November, 2011

Perfect Pie Crust

The Holiday season is upon us and with so many foods to be baked and cooked it is really tempting to use a store-bought pie crust instead of making your own. However, this pie crust is both delicious and quick and easy to make…so why use a store-bought? This Perfect Pie Crust comes out light and flaky and it contains more butter than vegetable shortening (which I like) plus it can easily be made a day ahead saving you precious time on your busy day ūüôā

Ingredients:

12 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar (plus more for sprinkling)

1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening

6-8 tablespoons ice water (about 1/2 cup)

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Directions:

Measure out ahead of time the vegetable shortening and place in refrigerator to allow to get very cold.

Dice the butter and place back in refrigerator until ready to use. Place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the cold butter and shortening. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas (8-12 pulses). With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube. Continue to pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. Divide dough into two equal parts and form each dough ball into a slightly flattened disk. Wrap each dough disk tightly in plastic wrap and store in a large zip-loc bag. Place dough in refrigerator until ready to use. Can easily be stored in refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make your pie, make sure your work surface is well-floured. Place first disk on floured surface and roll out into a circle, making sure to frequently move and flip the dough, adding more flour as needed to ensure dough does not stick to work surface. Gently roll dough onto rolling-pin and lift to pie dish letting the dough extend over the edges. When fitting the dough into the baking dish, do not stretch dough as it will shrink a little during baking. Fill with pie filling and brush the edge of dough with egg wash so top dough will adhere. Roll out second dough disk and place on top of filled pie. Trim the edges to about 1/2 inch over the rim. Crimp the two layers of dough together using your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Cut four or five small slits in dough to allow venting. Place on a baking sheet and bake pie at 400 degrees. The baking instructions I had said to bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until the crust is browned. However, oven temperatures may vary and my pie was done in just 45 minutes so I would recommend to watch the pie like a hawk while baking or if your oven tend to run a little on the hot side, perhaps lower the temperature.

Perfect Pie Crust

Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

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Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie

I came across a big secret the other day. It’s called¬†The Secret Recipe Club and here is how it works.¬†It’s a club¬†created by Amanda from Amanda’s Cooking which you can join. Every month¬†you are assigned a participating food blog which you then secretly visit and choose one of their¬†recipes to make/bake and blog about. Someone is then in turn assigned to your blog and makes one of your recipes and so on. On reveal day everyone post their recipes at the same time and the secret is out of the bag, I thought this sounds like a lot of fun.

My Secret blog turned out to be a very¬†lovely food blog named Alli-n-son and it’s run by Allison¬†who is the busy momma of¬†two very cute little boys. Allison’s blog is filled with lots of delicious food and desserts. After much going back and forth trying to decide on what to make, I finally decided on Alli’s tempting Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie.

This S’mores¬†Pie quickly became a bit of a hot topic around our house because I wanted to make it with a meringue topping instead of the traditional marshmallows, and so you see, technically it is no longer a S’mores¬†Pie. This is true! Meringue is made with sugar and egg whites while marshmallows are made with sugar, corn syrup and gelatin. Not the same thing I admit, but both white, soft and fluffy ūüôā so therefore¬†in my mind an acceptable substitute. I had to take the topic to my work for other opinions and imagine they all sided with my husband ūüė¶ But as we all know, “you can always tell a Dane, but you can’t tell em¬†much”. Yes that’s right, the stubborn Dane came out in me and so it is a S’mores Pie with Meringue topping.

Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie with Meringue Topping

The pie came out much better than expected. Originally I made this pie with cinnamon graham crackers which was too sweet, so I would recommend using regular graham crackers. Also, with the Meringue topping, the pie is best the same day it’s made. Other than that, wonderful¬†pie¬†and a lot of fun to make.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (123 g or 4.3 oz)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (55 g or 1.9 oz)

4 tablespoons butter, melted (56 g or 1.9 oz)

For the filling:

4 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar (220 g 7.7 oz)

1/4 cup cornstarch (33 g or 1.1 oz)

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

a pinch of sea salt

3 cups skim milk (710 ml or 24 fl oz)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (28 g or 1 oz)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

4 large egg whites

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (130 g or 4.6 oz)

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

Place graham crackers in a food processor or blender and process until you have a fine crumb. Place cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place crumb mixture in a 9 inch baking dish and gently press crumbs out and up the sides of the pie dish. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool. Shut oven off but keep oven door closed to preserve the heat for later use.

To make the filling:

In a medium bowl using an electrical mixer, beat egg yolks to combine and set aside. In a medium sauce pan combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and milk. Whisk vigorously to combine at first, then set heat to medium and bring mixture to a simmer stirring frequently. Allow to simmer for 1 minute, remove from heat.

While beating the egg yolks, slowly add 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks. Then pour the beaten egg mixture back into the sauce pan with the remaining chocolate mixture, return to the stove and over medium heat bring mixture back up to a simmer. Allow to continue to simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla, stir to combine. Pour pudding mixture into baked pie crust and set aside, the pudding filling will continue to set.

To make the topping:

Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl of your electrical mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Meringue should still have a glossy appearance.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C)

Spread meringue over the pie filling or fill meringue into a piping bag fitted with a decorating tip and pipe meringue onto the pie filling, starting in the center working your way out to the edge of pie. Return the pie to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until peaks are golden brown.

Place on wire rack and allow to cool. Serve and enjoy same day!

Source: crust and filling adapted from Alli-n-son, meringue is from Joyofbaking

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Spicy Sausage Dip

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are coming up and there will be parties, family gatherings and potluck’s at work, so we need something that’s delicious of course,¬†quick and¬†easy to prepare such as a little side dish, snack or appetizer if you will.

This Spicy Sausage Dip is simply excellent! It is so easy and quick to make, perfect for potlucks or other gatherings and it always gets great reviews. I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese and it does not change the flavor of the recipe. The canned tomatoes with chilies that I use is the Rotal Original which is plenty spicy for me. ūüôā¬†I think you will really enjoy this Spicy Sausage Dip.

Spicy Sausage Dip

Ingredients:

16 oz package spicy sausage

two 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

12 oz cream cheese, 1/3 less fat – optional

Hot sauce, optional

Directions:

In a large pan over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until just starting to brown. Drain off excess fat. Reduce heat to medium and mix in canned tomatoes and cream cheese. Continue to heat stirring frequently until cream cheese has completely melted down and throughly warmed through with other ingredients. Add hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats

Candle holder is handmade by blacksmith Joseph Gentile at jganvil.com

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Danish Træstammer

We are looooong overdue for a Danish recipe, don’t you think? There are so many recipes that I want to make (Danish and others alike)¬† and simply not enough hours in the day. Maybe if I took a month off from work I could make a dent in my to-do-list.

Anyway, I have been planning and researching Danish Tr√¶stammer¬†for a long time now and I am so excited to finally being able to¬†share them¬†with you. I remember buying Tr√¶stammer¬†from the store at home and they were a very special treat indeed.¬† For this post I choose to use a ganache¬†as a binder which seems perhaps a little cumbersome but very delicious. Making Tr√¶stammer¬†is not an exact¬†science.¬†A lot depends on how moist or dry your left-over chocolate cake is, mine was actually quite fresh and moist so it did not take much ganache¬†to form the inside cake “batter”. The ganache¬†portion of this recipe makes more than enough, so if you happen to have something needing decorating, the left-over ganache will be perfect.

Ingredients:

For the ganache:

2.5 deciliter (9 oz) whipping cream

250 grams (8.8 oz) dark chocolate

For the chocolate filling (logs):

400 grams (14 oz) left-over good chocolate cake

1/4 cup ganache

3 tablespoons Bacardi Gold Rum

For the outside covering:

400 grams (14 oz) marzipan

confectioners sugar for sprinkling

dark chocolate for dipping

Directions:

To make¬†ganache: Chop the chocolate and place in a small bowl. Pour whipping cream into small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot whipping cream over chopped chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir chocolate mixture until it’s smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool for 20-25 minutes.

To make chocolate filling (logs): Break left-over cake into large chunks and place in food processor or blender, process until fine crumbs. Slowly add chocolate ganache, while processing, until crumbs start to come together into a ball. Add rum. Form chocolate mass into a ball and place in refrigerator.  

Sprinkle flat working surface with confectioners sugar. Form marzipan into a rectangle and start rolling it out making sure it does not stick to working surface.

Remove the chocolate filling from the refrigerator, divide into three parts and roll each part into long logs approximately 2-3 centimeters (0.8-1 inch) in thickness. Place logs one at the time onto the marzipan and roll the marzipan around the log, cut along the long edge to fit. Pinch together the long edge to close the marzipan around the chocolate log. Gently roll the marzipan log to flatten the seam. Trim off the ends of the log, cut the logs into equal lengths approximately 7-8 centimeters (2.8-3 inches). Place cut up logs on baking sheet and place in refrigerator.

Chop the remaining chocolate, place in a small bowl over a water bath and melt. Dip each end of the logs in the melted chocolate, place on baking sheet and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Source: Himmelske Kager

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