I store too many pictures and messages on my phone, with the result that I’ve come to the very annoying point of being told every time I want to take a new photo that my storage is too full. As I was going through my camera roll and deleting some old photos today, I realized that I’ve been holding onto these, from my 26th birthday, for quite a while, and that I never shared them with all of you. So here’s a peek back to last end-of-May; a simple but very delicious dinner at our house with my cousin Martin and his girlfriend Jessica. I made this Chocolate and Whiskey Cream Pie with Toffee Meringue, a recipe from Donna Hay magazine (shout out to the Aussies!) and Martin made us the best birthday card ever. A happy night!
San Francisco’s a gorgeous city, no doubt, and we loved being there with Nathan and Nic. It’s not like we get to see them often–they live in Australia, after all. We just met Nic last year, when we met up and similarly ran around Salt Lake City (you can read that post, “Guilty Pleasures,” here. You should, it’s a good one.) Nathan we’ve known for quite a while now, and we still like him, so that’s good. People often ask me how come I have so many friends who live all over the world, and it does seem strange at first, I admit. But I know exactly why these friendships work and why they are so good; it has to do with Jesus.
Whilst running around San Fran, Nic and I stumbled upon this delight of delights. A chocolate factory! I sagely decided to purchase some chocolate baking discs, as I thought that we would probably be able to make use of them in a pie. (I was right, as you’ll see later on.) Tcho is pronounced with a long O, by the way. For a while I was thinking “Tcha”, like what the first syllable of the word “chocolate” sounds like, but pretty sure that it’s “Tch-oh.” You can read about one of the coolest aspects of the company here.
Nic is quite a cook and baker. A fun fact is that she has also acquired a copy of the Pie cookbook (by way of me and another willing Aussie traveler) and has made a few of the recipes on her own over this past year. This is more of a feat when you take into account the fact that all the recipes are written using American measurements, so I applaud her for her efforts. We were excited to get back home and start pie-ing it up.
One night, Nic showed me how to make a chicken and mushroom pie. I’ve ranted on this before, but, truly, we Americans do not eat enough savory pies. Not even close to enough. Cause they are delicious times a million.
Someday I’m going to try making my own puff pastry. Or maybe that’s a lie. Either way, it didn’t happen on this particular night, but I have no qualms about store-bought puff pastry until they discover a less time-consuming way to make it at home. I think it takes approximately seventeen hours and pounds of butter. Ain’t nobody got time for that.Here’s the finished product, all warm and flaky and lovely. Leave a comment if you’re interested in making a chicken and mushroom pie yourself and I just may be able to share the recipe.
Even Obi suddenly appeared at the table when he smelled the pie. What a little sneak. *Disclaimer: We do not actually feed our dog at the table, nor we do let him drink wine.*
Now let’s turn our attention to dessert. Remember those Tcho baking discs that came home with me from San Francisco? They made an excellent addition to Macadamia-Chocolate Chunk Pie.
Can anyone tell me why macadamia nuts are so delicious? Is it just all that good fat? The rich, buttery flavor? I have no idea, but there is a lot of attempted self-restraint that goes on when I have an open bag of macadamias around. It’s a massive struggle that looks something like this:
Me: I only need one and a quarter cups of macadamia nuts for that recipe, and I bought two cups. I’ll just have one small handful.
Me: Well, just one more small handful. That’s fine. Then I’ll clip the bag and put it away.
Me: I still have enough left for the recipe, so who really cares? I’m going to take out the bag and have only a couple more. Then that’s IT!
The end result of this pie has a texture that’s sort of half like a nut pie (pecan pie is what I’m sure we’re all the most familiar with), thanks to the egg/corn syrup/brown sugar base. It’s also half cookie-like, with lots of chopped macadamias, chocolate chunks, and coconut flakes. There are a lot of goodies in there.
When friends come to visit, it’s really nice to cook and bake and enjoy each others’ company. And unintentionally wear lots of maroon and take Apple Photo Booth shots of yourselves, as it turns out.
…and what have you done?”
Not kept my blog up to date, that’s for a surety.
Let’s not dwell on the fact that these pies were made at Christmastime. Just ignore Levi’s “Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal” sweater in the picture below, which was supposed to be a selfie with a pie (the pie was in the basket) but instead you can just see Levi and I, so I guess instead of a piefie, I ended up with a spousie.
This pie is made with dried figs, which I don’t love half so much as the fresh figs that my Great-Uncle Benny somehow grew every summer in his concrete backyard. Still, the combination of fig, pear, honey, and pine nut is really a delight.
When glazed with milk and sugar and baked, this pie truly looks like a masterpiece. Studding the top crust with nuts would be a fun trick for a variety of pies…just keep an eye out for burning and be prepared to tent the pie with aluminum foil for part of the baking if needed.
So here’s something that happens often. (As in, every time I make more than one pie at a time.) I do a swell job documenting the process of whatever pie I start first. Then, by the time I remember that I still have a whole other pie to make and it’s probably past my bedtime already, I don’t bother with all the pictures and just take one token one of the finished product. I have way fewer pictures of this Chocolate Cream Pie with Cinnamon Meringue.
Point to ponder: Is that what’s going to happen when I have two children…?
Let it be known; this was MY FIRST EVER MERINGUE. I kid you not. I’ve been making new pies for going on five years now and I’ve never made a stinkin’ meringue before. And look how purty it turned out. I’m such a proud mama.
Today is National Pie Day (not to be confused with Pi Day, March 14th). I didn’t bake today. I didn’t even eat a piece of pie today. That being said, I like to think I embody the spirit of National Pie Day a good deal in my life; I’m not feeling too guilty about my lack of celebrations.
In fact, I did one good pie deed today…I delivered a Pie-in-a-Jar. Did any of you “celebrate”?
In honor of the holiday, I wanted to share with you the pies I baked for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) this past fall.
The Triple-Layer Pumpkin-Chocolate Pie is pictured below. 1. Empty crust 2. The first layer, cheesecakey pumpkin filling with chocolate mixed in 3. The second layer, the same pumpkin filling without chocolate added 4. A tangy sour cream topping to finish it off.
Here’s what it takes to make a Jellied Cranberry-Pecan Pie.
Have a happy weekend!
Okay…if Green Tomato Pie didn’t get you too excited…from the poll results it looked like about 30% of you had serious doubts…maybe this one will.
The Hammett House Famous German Chocolate Pie. I’ve never been to the Hammett House Restaurant (namely because it is in Oklahoma) but I get good feelings about it. Really good feelings.
First let’s just take a look at the way the coconut and pecans are being folded into the chocolate cream filling here…it’s a thing of beauty. Literally, this picture makes me drool.
As if the homemade graham cracker crust and luscious chocolately filling weren’t enough, the pie gets topped with chocolate whipped cream with more pecans and coconut mixed in. It’s almost too good to be true.
It tastes even better than it looks.
We got to share this pie with our friends Jenny and Tyler, who are not only lovely people but some of our favorite musicians. Check them out here if you haven’t listened to their music before. You may remember that J&T did a house show at our place back in March, so we felt pretty lucky to get them back for another one only about half a year later. I think it has something to do with the pies…
Did you know that making pie is an occasion for playing dress-up?
My lovely friends Elona and Janine and I had rather too much fun taking these photos on Thanksgiving morn, as we made a Fancy Chocolate Chess Pie (Thanksgiving, I know. Ouch. What a slacker.) I had also made a Louisiana Browned-Butter Pecan Pie the night before, which I proudly showcase below.
And now for the nonsense…
Also that one has all of the proper ingredients on hand.
Don’t be alarmed if chocolate accidentally gets on your face amidst all of the whisking.
And another thing…spare aprons make excellent capes.
It would be rather a sin to let any Fancy Chocolate Filling go to waste. Just don’t let your dog lick any up.
And for a good cause!
If you back up a few posts, you’ll find the flyer I posted prior to the auction. It went off pretty much without a hitch, I’d say, and we raised about $500 for the Glendale Relay for Life. Thanks so much to everyone who baked, bought, or just came and participated in some good, ol’ fashioned fun.
P.S. If you’re interested in seeing close-ups of the 5 pies I baked, move on over to the Pie Gallery page and check out pies 91-95. Which one would you have placed a bid on?
When I made this Chocolate Mousse Chiffon Pie, my brother asked me to define what makes a pie classifiable as “chiffon.” I gave some weak answer detailing all of the steps that I took in order to produce said pie. He then ate a piece and described its deliciousness in terms like, “This pie is extra chiffony,” and, “What really makes this pie stand out is the subtle hint of chiffon…”
I’ve since done some internet research and found that my original, long-winded explanation was basically correct. The thing about chiffon pies is that, by definition, they have many steps. And they are very, very chiffony.
TermWiki: Chiffon pie is created by starting with a custard base, and adding egg whites and gelatin to produce a light, fluffy texture.
American Heritage Dictionary: n.
- A fabric of sheer silk or rayon.
- Ornamental accessories, such as ribbons or laces, for women’s clothing.
- Of, relating to, or resembling the fabric chiffon.
- Made light and fluffy by the addition of beaten egg whites or gelatin: a lemon chiffon pie.
To make Chocolate Mousse Chiffon Pie, you need all of these things.
You also need a graham cracker crust to put them in, obviously.
Oh wait, you’re also going to have to make some coffee…as brewed coffee is one of the ingredients too…I told you this wasn’t going to be easy. Don’t come home from work and think you’ll get this puppy done in time to eat after dinner. No way, no how.
Phase one: coffee, chocolate, and butter in a saucepan.
After twiddling your thumbs and waiting for the chocolate to cool down, you can whisk in some egg yolks and vanilla. But then you should actually find something productive to do with your time, because you’re going to have to refrigerate it for a while, and then add gelatin heated with more coffee…and then let it cool again…yada yada yada.
The fun isn’t over yet. It’s time to beat the egg whites into a froth, and give thanks for your KitchenAid.
Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate, reuniting them with their long-lost yolks.
Alas; there is no rest for the weary. Now you must wash your mixer’s bowl and beaters, go out to the barn and milk your cow, and whip some cream. Then, fold THAT into the filling.
The finished product: decadent, delicious, and decidedly chiffon in nature. My only concern was that it had some small lumps-it was more annoying visually than when actually eating it. If anyone has a tip for me on avoiding lumps in pies like this, I’d love to hear it!
So, in conclusion, the next time you have five or six hours to kill, make this pie for yourself!
For all my complaining-it was totally worth it.
Especially for Bittersweet Chocolate-Mascarpone Pie. (Is there anything in the world better than Mascarpone cheese, I ask? Anything?)
There is even time for this pie when you have about a million friends staying and coming and going and your house is a mess and you haven’t slept in probably two months, but you don’t even care because you’re just having such an awesome time. I seriously love you all.
The process is simple: make an Oreo crust in a food processor (I use Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s, since you all know I hate shopping anywhere else.) Mascarpone, melted chocolate, whipped cream, and other goodness goes in the filling. The rest of the whipped cream goes on top. Hey, I can’t be TOO specific, or you won’t buy the cookbook. But it’s easy-peasy, trust me. You can make it in the morning, leave for a beach party at 10 am, come back at 10 pm, and eat it. This method has been fully tested and approved.
….is not pie. It is my husband, Levi.
We’ve been married for three years today. Three whole years! It’s both hard and easy to believe.
If you’ve read the “Why Pie?” section of my blog, you already know that I received my now well-worn Pie cookbook as a wedding present. What you may not know is that Levi and I opted have pies instead of a wedding cake…much to the initial chagrin of my very traditional Italian relatives. (Although I happened to look through my Nana’s wedding album shortly after our wedding and discovered that she and Pop-Pop had a big heaping platter of Italian cookies instead of cake at their wedding. Needless to say, I drew her attention to this incriminating fact!)
Our reasoning for this decision went something like this:
1. We really like pie.
2. We don’t like wedding cake.
3. Wedding pie it is.
A decision that was less easy to make was, “What KIND of pie should we have?” So we had five kinds. Pecan, Berry Medley, Key Lime, Chocolate Chiffon, and Coconut Cream. Something for everyone. (If you were in attendance, what kind of pie did you choose? If you weren’t, which one would you pick today, three years later?)
Levi and I sampled every pie, I’m not ashamed to say. Each was as wonderful as the last, just as the years of our marriage have been. Three years later, I’d still pick you, Levi. You’re my favorite, favorite one, my very best friend, the love of my life. Happy Anniversary.