Saturday, February 20, 2010


At first, I was not too excited about the winter Olympics truth be told.
It was Lindsey Vonn's triumph over her injury, and Shaun White's billion dollar smile and California demeanor that pulled me in. But then, of course, who can possibly resist the drama of the men's figure skating, with it's heros and villains.

So last night as I held my breath watching the ski jumping competition, I got to thinking of gold pie form!
I was inspired by the "Save Room For" recipe for Pear-Raspberry Heart Pies in the February issue of Martha Stewart Living, which appears to be a variation from last year's February issue for a whole pie.
Having no whole fruit on hand, and yearning for a golden medallion of my own, I went with orange-lemon marmalade and the results were...ahem, winning!

Friday, February 12, 2010


On Wednesday it was all snowtastic around here and I only went to work for maybe 3 hours. Which was awesome and left me with oodles of hours to mess around in my kitchen while flakes fell outside my window which is ambience that you cannot beat.
So I made a pie and some Macaroni and Cheese.
Last weekend, on Superbowl Sunday, ( oh and by the way WHO DAT!!!!!!!!) my lovely friend Cathy brought me over Pecans from a relative's farm. They were so tasty and needed to be celebrated in pastry form.
When you are a dessert freak like myself, you usually have pie crust in the freezer.
It helps that the best pie crust recipe I have encountered, makes crusts aplenty:

1 lb butter
1 lb AP flour
1/2 lb cake flour ( i just increase the AP, if I don't have it)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 oz COLD water
Cut butter into pieces combine dry ingredients, rub in butter with hands or a paddle, leaving pea size pieces.
Add in water until dough holds together.
Shape into 2 discs, wrap in plastic and chill until firm

Aaaaaanyway, back to this

Blizzard pie.

6 ounces of pecans
6 ounces of walnuts
4 ounces of desiccated coconut
4 ounces of chocolate, melted
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup of Lyle's Golden Syrup
4 tablespoons butter
one unbaked 9 inch pie crust ( that's right, no blind baking here)

Layer nuts in pie shell, sprinkle coconut over them. This is a nut packed pie so don't get freaked if it looks like too much. Beat the 2 eggs, maybe throw some vanilla in there, set aside.
Put syrup and sugar over med heat, bring to a boil. Take off heat and add butter and chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. While whisking, add the syrup mixture to the eggs and when fully incorporated, pour over your pie. Smush the nuts down if you need to or feel free to mix it up a little as long as you are gentle.
Into the oven at 350-375 for 45 to 50 minutes, until set.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

february: salted caramel chocolate lava cakes!

February is a terrible month. The fun of winter (lights, cookies, Santa, etc.) has long passed but spring still seems so far, far away. I have been lucky enough so far not to experience anything a news team might name "snowmageddon," but winter is still sucking pretty hard right about now.

That's why I, and you, need WARM GOOEY OOZY CHOCOLATEY CHOCOLATE CAKE to make it through. When the cold and dark are bringing you down and you're ready to murder some groundhogs hole up with a valentine and make this and feel better.

Chocolate lava cake is basically nothing more than an undercooked cake. You cook the batter over a water bath before baking so that you can take the cake out of the oven early, before the center is set. You can make the batter ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze it. It's so easy but trust me, people will go apeshit for that lava. Serve it warm out of the oven and VOILA, VALENTINES APLENTY.

If you're not into caramel (in which case you'll never be MY valentine, but that's ok) you can skip that step; you'll just have chocolate instead of caramel lava. Make sure to take them out of the oven when they start to look sunken for maximum goo.

This is the best dessert to eat in bed, according to the chef who demo'd this for our class. Take that as you will.

Chocolate lava cake with salted caramel
I'm not sure exactly how many cakes this yields; I halved the recipe so, approximately half a shit ton.

4 egg yolks
4 whole eggs
7 oz butter
150 g dark chocolate (I used 70%, cause that's how I like it, but anything above 55% will do)
3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

8 oz sugar
2 oz water
Heavy cream
Fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt

-Preheat your oven to 400.

-Make the caramel:
Have an ice bath ready. Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan. Don't stir it! When it reaches a dark blonde (as seen against a white will look darker in the pot), stick the pot in the ice bath to arrest the cooking. Add an equal amount of heavy cream and stir to combine. It will be a thick sauce-like consistency. Let cool slightly and firm up a bit.

-Spray some molds, flan cups, ramekins, etc. I used a muffin tin which was a bit of a pain to extract the cakes from but it worked OK.
-Melt the butter and chocolate over a water bath.
-Add the yolks and the whole eggs a little at a time, whisking constantly. The mixture will appear to separate and then will come back together. Cook to 170-180 degrees (this ensures the eggs are pasteurized but not overcooked).
-Add the sifted powdered sugar a little at a time.
-Add the sifted flour a little at a time.
-When the mixture is well-incorporated, pour into molds 3/4 full.

-Form the caramel into small truffle-sized balls and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

-Bake the cakes for a few minutes, just until they start to set up a bit and a crust begins to form. Drop a caramel ball into the middle of each one and bake for another few minutes. They will look slightly sunken and underdone-- this is good. All told they'll probably be in the oven for about 10-13 minutes.

-Pop them out of the molds (or fish them out of the muffin tin with a fork) and serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Tara made a pie for National Pie Day in one of my personal favorite flavor combinations: Cherry Almond! My corner market has cherries right now.....ooooooooo.
And remember.."No exploding pies"!!
Thanks Tara!