thewayne: (Default)
After discussing and comparing runny cherry pies with my non-runny cherry pie production with [personal profile] stardreamer and [personal profile] murakozi and promising to post the recipe, here's the recipe.

I'm considering using chocolate balsamic vinegar the next time I make one to see what it does to the flavor profile. In discussion on my original post from two weeks ago (hard to believe it's been only two weeks!), I did some research and looked up a lot of cherry pie recipes online. The one thing that ALL of them had in common was that if they included corn starch, and not all of them did, they added it directly to the wet mix! The can of corn starch that I have, Clabber Girl brand, says specifically on the label to mix it with liquid before adding it to whatever it is that you want to thicken. I've added a note to my shopping list on my phone to look at other corn starch brands and see if they also say to mix it with a liquid before adding it to whatever is to be thickened.

So my thought is that if you just add it to whatever is to be thickened that it is overwhelmed by the volume of liquid and can't swell. If you pre-mix it with liquid, in this case an equal amount of lemon juice (and I'm so glad I bought a squeezer thingy!), then you're already starting with a very thick liquid to add to the cherry filling and it thickened beautifully.

I used a pre-made frozen pie crust, and it was wonderful. Currently I don't have cabinet surface area to roll out a pie dough or the guts to try to make one. One of these days....

Cherry Pie
Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total Time: 2 hr 30 min
Prep: 25 min

Inactive: 1 hr 5 min
Cook: 1 hr
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

6 cups frozen tart cherries

⅔ cup sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (chocolate?)

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Sweet Pie Crust:

1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) salted butter, cold and cut into pieces
¾ cup vegetable shortening, cold and cut into pieces

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough

2 large eggs

5 tablespoons cold water

2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling: Combine the cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until the juices release and are hot and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Stir together the cornstarch and lemon juice in a small bowl until combined and add to the cherry mixture. Continue to cook until glossy and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the sweet pie crust:
In a large bowl using a pastry cutter, gradually work the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse meal, for 3 or 4 minutes. In a small bowl, beat one of the eggs with a fork and pour it into the flour mixture. Add the cold water, sugar, white vinegar and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Form the dough into 2 evenly sized balls and place each ball into a gallon resealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (to about 1/2 inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using them immediately, it's still a good idea to put them in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to make the crust, remove the dough from the freezer and let thaw for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

On a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it's a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop, use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over, then continue rolling until it's about 1/2 inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the edges of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge. Fill with the cooled cherry mixture.

Roll out the second dough the same size and place it over the pie. Trim off the edges and crimp the top and bottom crusts together to seal them. Cut a few vent holes in the top. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl for the egg wash. Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar

Put the pie onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is browned, about 50 minutes. If the crust is getting too brown before the pie is finished, cover with foil and continue baking.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
© 2016 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Read more at:
thewayne: (Default)
I mentioned that I was going to post it, and I've been procrastinating. So here it is. I think it is VERY good, my wife absolutely loves it. ETA: I should have tagged [personal profile] stardreamer as she was interested in it. Thus it is done.

Chocolate Mousse Pie Recipe
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: less than an hour, plus 3+ hrs chilling time | Makes: 1 (9-inch) pie, or 8 to 10 servings
¾ cup (5 oz) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped. I use Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chips, no need to chop.
¼ cup cold heavy cream for melting the chocolate
¾ cup cold heavy cream for whipping (a single pint makes 2 pies)
2 or 3 large egg whites (no traces of yolk), at room temperature, depending on how dense a chocolate you want (2 eggs = more dense chocolate, 3 eggs = slightly less dense chocolate, 1 egg = not recommended)
1 Oreo chocolate cookie pie crust

OPTIONAL: ½ TEASPOON chili powder, I recommend Spice Islands brand, should be available at Albertsons.
OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, use a good one that isn't just vanilla “flavored”.

1. Fill a medium sauce pan with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

2. Place the chocolate (and chili powder, optional) in a large heat proof bowl, add the ¼ cup of the cream and vanilla. Nest the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until smooth and combined with the cream. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, wipe any moisture from the bottom of it, and set aside to cool slightly.

3. While the chocolate is cooling, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (make sure the bowl and whisk have no trace of oil or fat on them, or the whites won’t whip properly). Mix on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute; transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. It's OK if this is over-mixed. Personally I put the whites on a paper plate to reduce cleanup.

4. Clean and dry the whisk attachment and mixer bowl, chill the bowl with cold water if you just rinsed it with hot. Place the remaining ¾ cup of cream in the bowl and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. It's NOT OK to over-mix this or you get something like butter! Keep an eye on it.

5. The chocolate should be cool, or just slightly warm by this time. Using a spatula, fold half of the whipped cream in to the melted chocolate, then gently stir in the rest (try not to deflate the whipped cream). Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate-cream mixture just until there are no longer large blobs of whipped cream or egg white (do not over-mix). Pour the mousse into the cooled pie crust and smooth it into an even layer, you can do this by moving the pie tin in a large circle and it will settle itself. Refrigerate uncovered until set, at least 2-3 hours, overnight is better. Then cover it with the lid that came with the pie crust (if you bought an Oreo or Keebler crust.)

NOTES FROM WAYNE: The chili powder and vanilla are my additions. If you want more chili powder, go ahead, but be very careful. Add it in quarter, or even eighth teaspoon increments, we find the current half teaspoon to be a nice kick and just shy of too much.

If you look at this recipe online, they have you making your own pie crust. If you want to make the effort, go for it, I'm sure it'll be great. I'd rather not spend the time, and I can make this pie in half an hour from pulling the ingredients out of the fridge to putting the pie in to set by using an Oreo crust. Keebler also makes a chocolate crust, but the Oreo crust tastes better in my opinion.

The online recipe also has the suggestion of making and adding whipped cream when you serve it. Personally, I wouldn't bother because this recipe is VERY calorie-dense. It's a very nice dessert, Russet and I usually share a piece to reduce the calories and I cut it in to eight pieces to make them a little smaller.

(from CHOW By Amy Wisniewski
thewayne: (Default)
We had a very good harvest this year and I've never made a cherry pie before, so this year I did! My previous experience was with one apple pie for Pi Day a few years back and multiple chocolate mousse pies using Oreo crusts, so this was a little bit of an adventure.

The BIG labor was in halving and pitting SIX cups of cherries! Aside from having very sore and stained hands, this was definitely the worst part of the process. Next time I'm enlisting the spousal unit! I found a Ree Drummon recipe (The Pioneer Chef on Food Network) that was remarkably easy, since once again I wimped and used a frozen crust. 2/3rds cup of granulated sugar, cook until bubbly. Add two tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Separately mix together half a cup of corn starch and half a cup of lemon juice (two lemons), then mix that in with the cherries. It thickens nicely. Let cool completely. Pour in to crust, bake until crust is brown and cherries are bubbling. Let cool completely before cutting and devouring.

I may be too late to get more cherries, I don't know. I made this ten days ago. She actually recommended using canned cherries! I can't think of anything more appalling. I'm going to take a look at frozen cherries, they might be of an acceptable quality.

The taste was absolutely fantastic. I used a frozen pastry crust that's probably been up in the freezer for at least 3 years, and it worked just fine. Russet wanted a lattice-work crust: I'm not yet at the confidence level to make my own pie dough, but I'm getting there. Now that I'm confident with the fillings, once I get some cabinet surface area re-established, I'll give it a go.

A friend of mine complimented me on the rich color from the local cherries and the lack of water seepage. I'm wondering if the lemon juice and the corn starch in the 50/50 blend prevented that: simple syrup is also exactly a 50/50 mix. I don't know, I'm not that much of a food scientist.

thewayne: (Cyranose)
It came out quite well, the spousal unit quite enjoyed it. The peppermint candies were a nice addition. The pretzels were not as successful as I'd hoped: the moisture from the pie basically disintegrated them. So no pretzel flavor, but the addition of the salt did enhance things.

So two additional experiments to run over time. The first, and easiest, is the next time that I do a regular choc mousie pie, after it sets drizzle some fleur de sel salt over the top. It is a larger, flake-like crystal, and if the pie has already set, I think it might not dissolve readily. And if it hasn't dissolved, it'll provide a small crunch component, which is something that I was hoping the pretzels would give me. I can get it in Phoenix next week: in addition to Williams-Sonoma, Trader Joe's for the last couple of years has done a fleur de sel/truffle salt that's pretty good and only offered during the holidays.

The second thing to try is to use small pretzel sticks instead of the large ones. My idea is to, instead of smashing them up with a knife, break them in to smaller pieces. I think, with little or no justification for the thought, that the skin of the pretzel might be a bit more resistant to moisture, and that by breaking it, I'm minimizing exposing the white flesh of the pretzel innards to the pie and am thus increasing the chance that it might survive chilling in the pie.

Of course, I could always teach myself how to make pretzels and customize them in the size that I want. The basics of it aren't difficult, the tricky bit is the timing how long you put them in the boiling baking soda water, or at least that's what I gathered from the Great British Baking Challenge a couple of months ago. There's also the challenge of baking at high altitude: we live at 9,000'. Got about 6-8" of snow yesterday/last night.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
You're probably used to my meandering before coming to the point, this post is no different. The middle of next week is my birthday, we're going out tonight since it's the middle of the week. When we were in Germany, for some reason I was really jonesing for a dark chocolate-covered pretzel, probably because they have such terrific pretzels there.

I never found what I wanted.

The other day I was thinking that it'd been a while since I'd made a chocolate mousse pie (I make an AWESOME chocolate mousse), perhaps for my wife's birthday in October. I don't remember.

Then I remembered the pretzels....

Last night I hit La Groceria and snagged a bag of pretzel sticks, and also a bag of peppermint candies. Turns out that a food processor is no good for breaking up pretzels, but it does a good job with the peppermints, rending both powder and chunks. So I broke up a half dozen pretzel sticks, twenty peppermint candies, and blended most of both in to the chocolate as I was folding in the whipped cream and egg whites. I gave the bowl to Russet to lick, and she liked it, but she couldn't identify the peppermint! Normally when I go with odd flavors, orange is the first to go in, and she suspected orange, but I didn't this time. I think that threw her.

And I wouldn't tell her what I'd done!

She might find the bags of pretzels and peppermints, but if not, we'll pull the pie out after we get back from dinner as it takes 3-4 hours to set properly.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
There's a program on some cable providers called Embassy Chefs, I rather like it.  The host goes to various embassies in DC and gets their chefs to make them a national meal.  One ep featured Fiji, and they had a dish that really intrigued me.  Dirt simple to make.  They took a whole chicken, covered it in oyster sauce, then covered it in minced garlic and ginger.  I mean covered it.  Baked it in the oven, the traditional style was in a pit covered in soaked banana leaves.
We made it tonight using some medium organic chicken breasts.  The oyster sauce has a lot of salt, but a lot of it runs off the chicken.  I don't know if they make low-sodium oyster sauce, it might be out there.  We used a Pyrex large rectangular dish with about a tablespoon of olive oil in it to keep the chicken from sticking, three chicken breasts, slathered on the ingredients, then spooned more sauce over the garlic/ginger as some pushed off during application and covered the dish with foil. 350 degree oven, I had a probe thermometer set to alert when the chicken hit 165 but it didn't trip and we caught it at 180.
It was great, and wonderfully simple to make.  The chicken was moist, fully cooked, and the ginger and garlic were no where near as strong as you'd anticipate from the smell when applying it.
Recommended.  Assuming you like lots of ginger and garlic.
thewayne: (Default)
Happy Thanksgiving.

We went to Phoenix, my dad had a surgical procedure last week and is having some problems, so I figured I'd help out and fix dinner for them. I got all the groceries, did some prep last night (including making pomegranate molasses), and this morning I have a cold.

I might be OK to make stuff, as long as I only handle things in the pre-cooking stage, the long cooking times should be enough to destroy virii. I can certainly clean and cube potatoes for the mash. I'm not sneezing, just a mild cough. But I'll probably make my wife work harder. There's two mildly complex dishes to make.


To my non-USAian friends, I hope you have a pleasant day, not having to have much in the way of business dealings today with USAians.

Here's this year's new recipes for me:

Dressing with pancetta, apples, and mushrooms: three different breads!

Roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranates and vanilla/pecan butter:
thewayne: (Default)
Bleh. Got a virus. Had it since last weekend, it's still dogging me. I really wish it were a cold, I'd be better by now, and I've got surgery to get my left hand done on the 16th! If we can't make that date, it's really going to screw things up because of Russet's schedule.

So yesterday I'm doing some errands, the plan is to pick up a couple of things from the grocery store, take 'em to work, get some Mexican food, then do some more shopping. Pulled in to the Albertson's lot, and a water bottle rolled across my reading glasses, popping out the lens, and the screw was lost when I picked 'em up. So forget work and eating, now must go to mall and get glasses fixed. THEN work and additional shoppage. I hadn't planned on going to the mall yesterday.

What's sad is I'm not congested, but I go out for Mexican food and I can't taste the flavors!

But on the good news side, I made some meatballs last weekend (and the one before), and they were amazing! They're baked, not fried, and have lots of flavor. Going to have to make some more tomato sauce, finished up the original batch. The tomato sauce was improv'd off a recipe, I'll do the same for this batch. Here's the meatball recipe (if you make 'em small, say just under 1", I think a pound of meat will give you probably 3-4 dozen balls), I was going to do this lasagna this weekend, but I just don't feel like doing much in the kitchen right now.


So it's been a weekend of lie around and sleep, as opposed to lots of weekends of lie around, play Warcraft, and sleep.

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