Tag Archives: Crust

Blueberry Pie with Basil-Infused Cream

2 Jul

What would summer be without blueberries? What would Laura’s birthday be without pie? Lackluster at most. ;) That’s why I took this opportunity to bake up something I’ve been wanting to for a looooong time–a blueberry pie filled to the brim with blueberries bursting with juice.

My goal was to make it as I tasted it before at my friends Nancy and Elliott’s house. Their pie was deep. It was running all over with sweet juice. We had to eat it in bowls! We even poured basil-infused cream over the top, creating rivers of deliciousness. It was epic, my friends, epic.

I’ve been thinking about this pie ever since Nancy and Elliott hosted a “family meal” at their house for us starving college kids. That means more than a year ago! Laura’s birthday was the absolutely perfect time to bake one up. She is pretty epic, having raised my fiance to be the most wonderful guy in the world, and all. :)

Laura is beautiful. She is kind. She is hilarious and sweet. She is devoted to loving others with fierce strength and gentle compassion. I first met her when she was helping organize our high school’s PSAT (she probably doesn’t remember that!), and now she just finished teaching my first Bible Study Fellowship class. Can you believe it?! It’s been 8 years! Throughout that time, I’ve come to know her, adore her, and look up to her as a woman after God’s own heart, who’s completely in touch with both her status as a perfect child of God, and as a humble human in need of grace.

I wanted to make this woman one EPIC birthday dessert! And knowing that she lacks an affinity for cake, but loves pie, that gave me one more reason to make this treat. You should, too! It’s a great recipe to have under your belt, it’s universally appealing, and it has a super high deliciousness to easiness ratio. Serve it with the basil-infused cream, and you’ll have fireworks (haha, get it? tomorrow’s 4th of July?!?) going off in your mouth. Whoever is around your dinner table with sing your praises with their mouths full of buttery crust and berries. Make that garble. They’ll garble your praises. :)

Flaky Double Pie Crust
2 C. + 2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
1/4 Tsp. Salt
Pinch of sugar
12 Tbsp. Cold unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
4 Tbsp. Cold water

  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar together in a bowl.
  2. Add the shortening and the butter in 1-cm slices.
  3. Using a pastry blender (or two knives, or your fingers), cut the butter and vegetable shortening into the dry ingredients until it looks like crumbs.
  4. Sprinkle the cold water into the mixture and toss with a fork until its is moistened evenly and comes together in lumps.
  5. Gather the dough into two balls. It’s OK if one is larger than the other one; that one can be for the bottom crust.
  6. Place the balls onto plastic wrap, flatten slightly, and wrap up. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  7. After the resting period, flour your board and rolling pin lightly, and roll out the bottom crust to about 1/8-inch thick. It should become about a 12-13-inch diameter circle.
  8. Roll the dough around the pin, lift, and bring it over the pie plate. Unroll the crust and gently ease it into the plate. Stretching it will only cause the dough to shrink back to its original when baked.
  9. Cut off the overhanging outer edges, then chill the shell in the refrigerator for additional rest while you prepare the filling and top crust.
  10. Roll out the top crust to about 10-inches in diameter in the same manner, and place in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts

Blueberry Filling
3 Pints of Blueberries, washed
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1/4 c. All-purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 egg for wash
1 Tbsp. cream for wash
Additional sugar for dusting (coarse sugar or turbinado sugar looks lovely)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Make sure the berries are clean and dry, and no stems remain. Toss with 1 c. sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Squirt the lemon juice directly onto the berries and toss again.

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Blueberry Pie

Assembly

  1. Take the pie shell out from the fridge and fill with the berries.
  2. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with water, then cover the berries with the top crust. Pinch together the crusts with your favorite design, or merely press the tines of a fork all around the edge.
  3. Cut a vent or two in your top crust with a sharp knife. I chose an “L” for Laura. Cover the crust edges with one of these doo-dads, or with foil.
  4. Position the oven rack in the lower third slot. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch leaks and bake the at 425 F for 30 minutes.
  5. Whisk together the egg and cream wash. Reduce the oven heat to 375, quickly (but carefully) remove the pie and its crust shield, and brush the wash over the top crust. Sprinkle the sugar garnish all over the top. Replace the pie in the oven quickly.
  6. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. Remove the pie onto a wire cooling rack for at least 30 inutes before serving. In the meanwhile you can prepare the basil-infused cream.

Basil-Infused Cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 c. loose basil leaves

  1. Submerge the basil leaves in the cream in a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until the cream just begins to steam.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Remove the basil leaves from the cream, and taste. If it is not strong enough to your taste, add new basil leaves and use the same process (bring to just steaming again, and let cool again).
  4. Refrigerate before pouring over warm pie… HEAVEN.

Sorry, no picture of the cream! We were too busy digging in :)

<3 ATP

Thanksgiving, and the Verdict – Triple Silken Pumpkin Torte

26 Nov

Hello again, everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of family, friends, love, great food, and of course thankfulness. :) I had a great double thanksgiving–one on Thursday, and one on Friday! I love this time of year. There are so many things to be thankful for– for my family with all their wonderful imperfections and amazing love, for my friends with all their steadfast support, for the blessing of an education, for the opportunity to live in this great country (despite its issues), and most of all for the free Grace we’ve been given in Christ. It’s times like these when I am reminded most that I am still a work in progress–I fail so many times, but with His gift of the good news of grace I can stop trying to be perfect with my own will power, stop feeling guilty, and instead turn my life into a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) out of gratitude for what He’s done for me. And I can hold onto this and be full of gratitude despite my circumstances. And gratitude is what Thanksgiving is about, right? This is a perspective I must remember and foster all year round. What are you thankful for this year? It could be a job in these tough times, a new friend, warm Fall clothes, a fabulous new book? Leave a comment below to share what you’re thankful for!

What did you eat for Thanksgiving? On the first Thanksgiving I had with one half of my family, we had a lot of delicious Vietnamese food, and then on the second day, a more traditional fare of Cornish game hens and all the wonderful sides that go along with it (chestnut stuffing, SO YUM). Of course, we dug into the Triple Silken Pumpkin Torte that I shared with you all on Wednesday!

First slice

Since I had never made this torte before, and wanted to save cutting into it for our Friday dinner, I didn’t know exactly 100% what to report back on the flavor, or what I might have changed in the recipe at the time of my first post. Here’s a little update on all of that, based on my preferences, so you have  some ideas on how you might want to alter the recipe for the future.

Tastes: I loved this torte! As someone who isn’t a huge fan of the homogenous pumpkin filling in traditional pies, and who appreciates a greater mix of flavors, this was the perfect Thanksgiving dessert for me.

  • One thing I loved about this pie was the pumpkin/ginger flavor. I opted to use fresh ginger root instead of the more common ground ginger spice (in the little jar from McCormick or the like) and it was phenomenal! I’ve tasted many desserts made with that powdery-like cabinet spice, and never really thought much of the flavor it brought through. On the other hand, I noticed that the fresh ginger immediately made my ingredients fragrant and heavenly smelling. A big plus! This may be because of my strong affinity for ginger, so you may or may not agree with me, but I think this addition really added a wonderful dimension to the torte. Verdict: Stick with fresh ginger.
  • I was a little concerned that the maple cream layer didn’t have enough maple taste–when I tasted it before I put it into the mold, it tasted more sour (like the creme fraiche) than maple-y. After I got feedback from my family, however, they loved how the cream layer tasted, and thought that more maple sugar would have overpowered the pumpkin layers and not really allowed them to shine. Verdict: Keep the cream layer sweetened with 4 tsp. maple sugar. :)
  • The top layer (caramel pumpkin chiboust) was very sweet! I moderately liked the way it tasted, but my family likes subtley sweet desserts, and commented on this strongly sweet flavor. To remedy the possibly over-sugary taste, next time I will reduce the amount of caramel made, or allow it to “burn” a little longer to get a warmer flavor, or both! Verdict: Modify top layer recipe to contain less sugar, or cook the caramel longer.

Textures: The overall texture of this torte was very light, which I enjoyed. Although each slice contains a lot of carbohydrates and fats, the texture made me believe I wasn’t eating a ton of dessert.

  • The pie crust recipe used was the typical short crust pastry (recipe in this post) that I utilize in most of my pie desserts. It’s formulated for tarts and the like, because its higher flour to fat ratio makes it crumblier rather than flakier. However, I find it so easy and almost just as tasty as real pie crust (I’m not super picky in this area). It’s flaky enough for not containing any shortening, but I would really have loved to get the traditional pumpkin pie feeling of a real pie crust in this torte. Especially since the filling is so light, I would have liked to feel a heavier crust. Verdict: Next time, use a pie crust.
  • The term that describes this torte is silken, so the fact that I didn’t add gelatin to the top layer really screwed that part up. The top layer was more of a very light mousse-y texture than a silken, creamy texture. The lightness of the folded-in egg whites needed to be complemented by the stabilization of gelatin, but wasn’t, which resulted in quite a foamy top layer. This created a bit of interest because the torte got lighter in density as you rose up the layers, but even so, I really made a mistake in not adding the gelatin. There was very little “silken” nature, and because there was no gelatin, I doubt that what I made qualified as a true “chiboust.” Verdict: Don’t skip the gelatin! The recipe in the post reflects this addition.

Second Slice

There you go–a little bit of my personal take on Thanksgiving, and a little bit of my deliberation over perfecting this recipe. I hope this helps any of you who were thinking about making this treat for a holiday meal/party/potluck, and who wanted a little bit more information on the final taste test! Are there any other tweaks or alterations you would make? Any tips that pop into your mind that would make this torte more phenomenal? Please let me know in the comments! I appreciate constructive criticism–I love to learning about baking, and it can only make me better, right? :)

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend, friends! I’ll be reuniting with a bunch of old school friends that are in town for the holiday. It’s going to be pretty epic, and I am way excited!

KISS ME Apple Pie!

26 Sep

Hello, strangers!

Yes, it’s me again, the bad-blogger girl. It’s been a hella (can you tell I miss NorCal?) long time since my last blog post, and I must apologize for that. I really don’t have an excuse for you, other than that I’ve been pretty busy. LAME! However, I hope this delicious Kiss Me Apple Pie recipe will make the wait worthwhile!

I absolutely adore all apple pies–definitely in my list of Top 10 favorite foods. It’s just such a comforting, down-to-earth, homey, all-American, totally delicious dessert! There are a million different ways of baking it, all of which I want to try one day, but for this blog, a simple Kiss Me Apple Pie with crumble topping kicks off the Fall season fabulously.

I call it by this name because the crust is so amazingly flaky, the filling is sweetened and spiced just right, the crumble on top adds a scrumptious accompanying texture, and the rich caramel sauce warms you from the inside out…  so much so in fact, that after his first bite, the bf gave me a gigantic kiss–even more delicious than the pie, might I add. TMI? sawree. :] Needless to say, I stowed this recipe away in my mind as a keeper for sure!

ANYWAY! {awkward chuckle} I can only speak from my personal experience, so I don’t guarantee that this pie will always produce kisses, but have no fear! I can definitely assure you that whoever you share this with will no doubt express loads of affection. Hugs. Gushings of your greatness. Noogies. Make this for your Dad? Your math students on Pi Day? Friend’s baby shower? Thanksgiving dinner? For the benefit of your own serotonin receptors? Dive right into the recipe below!

* <-Asterisks mean that I’ve written a note or two below about the indicated step at the end of the recipe.

9-Inch Pie Crust*
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. of salt
1 Pinch of sugar
6 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. shortening
Scant 2 Tbsp. ice water

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together.
  2. Cut half of the butter into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and use a pastry blender* to cut it into the dry ingredients until the dough looks like cornmeal. Add the rest of the butter and the shortening* in the same manner, but this time stop when the fat pieces are about 1/8-1/4 inch.*
  3. Sprinkle in the water and toss the dough with a fork until it has come together in lumps. Try to get it so that there is no dry flour left.
  4. However, if there is dry flour, don’t add more water. Simply do your best to gather the dough in the bowl as best you can by pressing it together. Knead only if you need (haha), and very minimally!*
  5. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator at least 4 hours.*
  6. After the resting period, preheat your oven to 375. Lightly flour your rolling surface and your rolling pin. Quickly roll the ball of dough into a 12-13-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. If this is hard (I definitely struggle), I suggest laying plastic wrap down on your surface instead of flour. Then on top of your flattened ball of dough, another sheet of plastic wrap. This makes it easy for the rolling pin to not stick, and also makes it easy to pick up the circle of dough without tearing. :)
  7. Ease your crust into a 9-inch pie place, without stretching.* Trim the overhanging edges or turn the dough under the plate’s edges. You can make a pretty scalloped edge by crimping it with your fingers, or merely press fork tines into the rim. Prick the bottom of the pan all over with a fork.
  8. You can let the pie rest in the freezer for an additional 15-30 minutes, but this is only to make sure the crust doesn’t shrink in the oven. If you don’t have time, this step is of course optional. Bake the crust with pie weights (optional) for 20 minutes or until it’s dry on the bottom.
  9. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. You can cover the crust edges with foil if they get too brown before the bottom dries.

Apple Pie Filling
6 1/2 c. Peeled, sliced cooking apples (Don’t know which apples to use? See this handy cooking apple guide by the amazing Joe Pastry)
3 Tbsp
Lemon juice
1/4 c. Flour
1/2 c. Sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Salt

  1. Mix apples, lemon juice, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together.* Fill the pie shell.

Crumb Topping
1/2 c. Flour
1/2 c. Regular oats
1/2 c. Brown sugar
3/4 c. Cold salted butter
1/3 c. Chopped Pecans

  1. Cut the butter into the flour. Add the brown sugar, oats, and continue cutting until the pieces are about 1/8-inch big. Top the apple filling with the crumble.
  2. Cover the pie crust edges with foil to prevent them from burning while the filling bakes. Pop the pie in the oven (still at 375) for 50 minutes. You can check your pie crust edges a couple times during this process. Judge how brown you want the edges to be–you can take off the foil at the end of the baking period or leave it on.
  3. Open up the oven and top the pie with the chopped pecans. Bake for another 5 minutes and remove the pie to cool.
  4. You can top the pie with caramel topping from a store-bought jar, or make THIS amazing caramel sauce from Annie’s Eats (one of my favorite cooking/baking blogs). For now, I’m not going to instruct you on how I made the caramel sauce for this pie. As mentioned before in this previous post, it didn’t turn out so well. *facepalm* Luckily, my bf actually loved the crunchiness of the caramel “sauce” (a.k.a. hard caramel candy) that I made. Haha go figure! The end!

**[NOTES]

  • Because making this crust can be time consuming (especially the rest period), I suggest making a double batch and freezing the other half!
  • Warm butter is easier to melt and distribute all through the flour, which is why we use cold butter and cold water. Hands are warm and melt butter, so that’s why pastry blenders or food processors are best for cutting butter into flour. If you don’t have either, you can use two dinner knives in both hands, but this is a bit laborious, and I suggest investing in a pastry blender. They’re affordable!
  • Butter makes a pie crust have that amazing taste. Shortening helps it have a flaky nature. Both are good to have in a pie crust.
  • The method of cutting fat into flour for pastry dough (like pie crust) ensures that the fat is not evenly distributed, but instead that the dough is a heterogeneous mixture with small lumps of fat throughout. In using this technique, the big slices of butter are slowly cut smaller, and are covered by more and more flour. It’s important to stop before the pieces get too small, otherwise your dough will be too homogeneous and your pie crust won’t be as flaky.
  • Kneading makes the dough more homogeneous, which is why we want to keep that minimal in the ball-forming step.
  • Resting the dough in the fridge is important, because the enzymes in the wheat flour react with the moisture from the water, and release their gluten proteins. Gluten strands are loosened and lengthened in the resting process.
  • When the pie shell is rolled out and baked, the gluten strands are stretched. When the crust is baked, the gluten strands will snap back into their non-loosened formation if they aren’t allowed a good rest period after being placed in the plate. Pie weights are usually small metal balls that are placed in the bottom of the pie to further help the crust from shrinking. You can also put foil down, and fill the pie with dry beans or rice in place of pie weights.
  • Some people suggest letting your sliced apples sit in a colander for 30 or so minutes, in order to let some of the moisture drain out/evaporate. This would prevent a soupy pie filling, but I’ve never actually noticed a difference with this tip.

There you have it, folks…  Kiss Me Apple Pie, a perfect way to start fall, in my opinion! Serve up the slices warm to your screaming fans sitting at the kitchen table. A dollop of vanilla ice cream wouldn’t hurt either. I really hope you guys enjoy this one. :)

Also, I have been faithfully baking away at the inspired recipe that was promised a long time ago. Please trust, I have 3 failed batches wrapped up in the fridge, waiting for some poor soul to eat. A good (hopefuly) batch is coming soon!

<3 ATP

Pie crust adapted from Lindsey Remolif Shere’s Chez Panisse Desserts
Filling adapted from Ree Drummond’s Scrumptious Apple Pie

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