Pecan Pie

Adapted from Epicurious.com

Single Pie crust

Filling:
6 Tbsp. butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 cups pecan halves

Roll pie crust and put in pie plate, put in fridge for 30 minute or 10 minutes in freezer.

Place a baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 350F.

Make filling:
Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Add brown sugar, whisk until smooth.
Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, orange zest and salt.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk corn syrup mixture into eggs.

With a knife, coarsely chop 1 cup of pecans and put in pie shell.
Add remaining cup of pecan halves.
Pour filling mixture over pecans.

Place in preheated oven on baking pan. Bake until filling is set 50-60 minutes.

Cool completely.

Excellent served with ice cream or whipped cream, if your heart can handle it!

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups ground Graham Crackers
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Crush graham crackers in a plastic bag or in this modern world, blend them in the food processor.
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Press into a pie plate.
For baked pie: Bake 375F for 7-8 min.
For cold filling: Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling

Lois’ Banana Cream Pie

A classic from my sister Lois.

1 9″ Graham cracker crust
2 bananas
1 8oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
2 c. milk
1 3 1/2 oz. instant vanilla pudding mix
toasted coconut

1. Slice the bananas into the crust.
2. Gradually add 1/2 cup milk to softened cream cheese, mixing until well blended. This can be done in a mixer on slow speed.
3. Add pudding mix and remaining milk, beat slowly for 1 minute. Pour into crust and chill until firm. Garnish with coconut.

Caramelized Nut Tart

Adapted from the Williams & Sonoma Complete Seasonal Cookbook. San Francisco, CA: Weldon Owen Inc., 1997.

The original recipe calls for equal amounts of hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts & sliced almonds. I left out the hazelnuts and increased the other nut quantities. I also adjusted the recipe to fit a 10″ tart pan, so the amounts are a little odd. Honestly, their directions can compete with mine for lack of clarity. But it was delicious so how bad could it be?

1 10-inch short-crust tart shell, baked until lightly golden (recipe follows from their cookbook but feel free to use your favorite pie crust)

Filling:

Total of 1 1/4 cups nuts, (generously measured):
6 Tbsp. sliced almonds
6 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp. chopped pecans

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and roast at 350F for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Position oven rack in the upper part of the oven and raise the temperature to 400F.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Boil until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in nuts. Let stand 15 minutes.

Pour filling into tart shell, place on a baking sheet. Bake until the top is lightly colored and dotted all over with small holes, 30-35 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 minutes, remove and slide onto serving plate. Serve at room temperature.

Short Crust:
1 3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
13 Tbsp. butter (1 1/2 sticks plus one Tbsp.) cut into pieces
about 1 1/2 Tbsp. water

Place flour, sugar and salt in bowl of a food processor, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water a little at a time until it just comes together.

Gather into a ball, press into a 6″ disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Roll out or press into tart shell. Place in freezer 30 minutes. (This helps produce a flakier crust)

Line the pastry with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights.

Bake at 400F 10 minutes. Remove foil and weights, reduce heat to 375F, continue baking 15-20 minutes longer until lightly golden.

Coconut Custard Pie

Oh we haven’t had this in so many years. My sister, Gail copied this recipe from Mom years ago. And a good thing too! As Mom’s memory started to fade she spent a lot of timing cleaning out the house, often the result was a bit sad. She threw away most of her recipes thinking that she typed them up on the computer!

Thank you Gail. And thank you Mom, for everything.

2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup biscut mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup butter or margerine
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flake coconut
1 pie crust, we think

Combine milk, sugar, biscut mix, eggs, butter, and vanilla in blender. Cover and blend on low speed for 3 minutes. Pour into greased 9-inch pie pan (the recipe doesn’t say to line the pan with pie crust, but we don’t remember ever having it without a crust.) Let stand about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with cocunut. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve warm or cool.

Apple Galette

Another favorite from this Thanksgiving.

This is adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe on the foodnetwork.com

Galette:
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 apples (1 1/2 pounds), peeled, and thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
One 8-ounce frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 large egg, beaten

Topping:
4-ounce soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled in chunks
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup tart dried cherries

Preheat oven to 375F.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add apples, sprinkle with salt. Saute until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk sugar, spices and arrowroot in a small bowl, until no lumps remain. Sprinkle spices and lemon juice on apples and toss to blend. Cool to lukewarm.

Place pastry onto a sheet of parchment paper. Dust with flour and roll-out into 12-inch square. (cover the top with plastic wrap for ease of rolling)

If desired, cut off corners to make a circle. We left it in a square.

Brush with egg wash. Arrange apples, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edges over up and overlap the apples a bit. Brush edge with egg wash.

Place parchment and all on a baking sheet. Bake 30-35 minutes until pastry is deep golden brown.

Meanwhile toss the goat cheese, almonds and cherries in a small bowl until evenly mixed. Keep chilled until ready to use.

Remove the galette from the oven, sprinkle the cheese mixture evenly over the filling. Return to over and bake 5 minutes to soften the cheese.

Cool 20 minutes, serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Crisp

This works well with many fruits. Morgan made something similar using apples, pears and cranberries.

Topping:
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. grated lemon zest, optional

Filling:
5-6 cups peeled, sliced apples (2 pounds)
2 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 350F

Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon & a pinch of salt. Cut in butter until pea-size crumbles form. Set aside.

Peel, core and slice fruit and place in 10x6x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar.

Top with crumb mixture. Sprinkle with a grating of nutmeg or a sprinkle of ground cloves, if desired.

Bake 350F 40-45 minutes. Serves 6

Yeasted Tart Dough

Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. New York: Broadway Books, 1997.

2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, let stand until bubbly. Add egg, oil and salt. Stir in flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. This can be done by hand or in a stand mixer.

Place in an oiled bowl, turn. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour. Punch down and roll out into a thin circle. Fill, brush the edges with egg wash and bake.

This dough is like pizza dough and will puff up again when it is cooking so roll it thinly.

Peach Hand Pies

My daughter, Kelsey, spotted these on Foodgawker and she thought they were so cute we had to try them. They are as delicious as they are cute.  We strongly recommend you check out the blog {local milk}. Her photography is much better than mine and her recipes are far more sophisticated.

We adapted the recipe to suit us. The basil made for an interesting twist to peach pie.

1 recipe pie crust (1/2 recipe foolproof pie crust)

2 cups diced peaches (about 2 peaches)
2 Tbsp packed finely chopped basil
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of honey
squeeze of a lemon wedge
1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 egg, lightly beaten for wash
Sugar for sprinkling (we used turbinado)

Heat oven to 425° F.

Mix all of the ingredients except the cornstarch in a bowl.  Let sit 15 minutes.

Pour a spoonful of the peach liquid into the cornstarch and mix well. Stir this back into the peaches.

Roll out half the pie crust to 1/8″ thickness. Using a cookie/biscuit cutter, cut out dough. Place shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Put the baking sheet in the freezer or other cool place and roll out the second piece of dough. Cut enough shapes to top the already cut shapes.

Pull the first baking sheet from the freezer. Place a small amount of peaches (about 1 tablespoon for a 4″ circle) in the center of each piece of dough.

Brush the edge of the dough with water. Top with another cut out piece of dough and press the edges tightly to seal. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 450F for 5 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350F and bake another 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.

Quiche

I have debated about adding this “recipe” for days.  Quiche always seemed such a mystery to me, even with a recipe. But I have never been very good at following recipes to the letter.

I started with a recipe for crab quiche from the cookbook Fresh from the garden state, a cookbook produced as a fundraiser for The American Cancer Society, New Jersey Division in 1981.  I quickly gave up the crab for vegetables, then I gave up the pie crust and either left it plain or lined the quiche dish with thinly sliced potatoes (we love potatoes in our family).

This filling is enough for a 9-inch pie plate, increase the recipe by 50% for a quiche dish

Custard
In a medium bowl whisk together:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour

Line a pie plate with pie crust or lightly oil and line with thinly sliced potatoes or leave plain.

Add desired filling, pour custard over all. Bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Filling Options

Crab
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 cup lump crabmeat
8 ounces swiss cheese, cut up

Broccoli
1/4 cup onions, finely minced
1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli, coarsely chopped
shredded cheddar cheese, about 1 cup (more if desired)
diced cooked potatoes – also make a nice addition

This works so well with many vegetables and it’s a great way to transform leftover vegetables.

Try shredded cooked carrots with a little tarragon. Or shredded zucchini and carrots with a little basil.

Of course bacon makes a great addition if you eat it, as does ham.  And try experimenting with the cheeses too, asiago is fantastic.