Monday, December 17, 2012

creme de la Cream Pies

The holidays hold endless amounts of meaning. They're full of tradition, and family and food... Well I've got three things REALLY going for me right now and I need to share them with you so you understand my jubilee:

  1. my mother is greek- lots of family
  2. my father is lebanese- LOTS of food
  3. thanksgiving, Christmas and new year's are all packed into a two month span, which means as a food blogger, i'm in Recitherapeutic heaven.
I've got SO many recipes to share with you, ESPECIALLY desserts over the next few weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out and whip up some of this goodness for your festive family holiday nights!

Today, I'm unlocking a very secret recipe for you, thanks to my mother... my all-time favorite pies: Chocolate Cream Pie and Banana Cream Pie. The Good Lord has had MERCY on my soul... these pies... I made them to take over to Nolan and Nicole's THANKSMAS tradition dinner. I'll share a few moments from that magical night and you'll see how happy these pies made everyone.

For The Crust You'll Need: (one 9 inch pie)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Crisco shortening (don't mess with a good thing, I say)
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water, or more as needed
Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Mix together flour and salt until well combined. With a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut in the shortening until pea size clumps form and it's well combined. Add in the water, one tablespoon at a time and toss the dough with a fork until it JUST forms a ball and comes together. DO NOT OVERMIX. Gather the dough together and form a ball, then place it on a well floured surface to be rolled out. Flour the top of the dough ball lightly before beginning to roll with your rolling pin. Roll it out until large enough to cover the circumference of your pie dish. Gently roll the dough back onto itself over the rolling pin, lift the rolling pin to one edge of the pie dish and roll it out onto the dish. Press it into the dish, crimp the edges, making sure to cut of excess dough and lightly poke the bottom with a fork in a few spots to let air out. BAKE THE PIE CRUST WITHOUT ANY FILLING IN IT for 8-10 minutes.

For The Banana Cream Filling:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks, gently beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch and salt. In a separate small bowl, mix together the milk and the egg yolks until combined. Slowly stir the egg and milk mixture into the dry ingredients then turn the heat on medium heat. STIR CONSTANTLY otherwise the sugar will burn. This process can take 10-12 minutes, so be patient and be happy stirring. :) The mixture will start to thicken. When it starts to boil, continue stirring and only let it boil for 1 minute. Remove it from the heat and add in the butter and vanilla. Keep stirring until well blended and butter is melted. While the filling is STILL IN SAUCEPAN, press plastic wrap onto the filling and let it cool. This will keep film from forming on the top. Slice 2 large bananas into the bottom of the pie crust and put another banana aside to slice on top when you fill the pie. Once the filling is nicely cooled, pour it into the prepared pie crust, slice your other banana on top and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
For The Chocolate Cream Filling:
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces chocolate, unsweetened baking squares or semi-sweet morsels, semi-sweet is more intense
Follow the exact same instructions as the banana cream filling, being mindful of the ingredients that were omitted or changed. Add the chocolate in just after adding the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan. Prepare the exact same way, omitting the bananas, of course. ;)
 oh baxter
Danny's awesome homemade cocktail... I chose the mint julep.
The one and only Rossi couple.
 nolan hand grinding some after dinner espresso.
 mini whisking whipped cream in our cups!
and to really finish the night off well
While your oven is still hot from your pie crusts, roll out the excess pie crust dough, drizzle it with melted butter, top with cinnamon and sugar, roll it up, slice it in inch segments, lay them out on a baking sheet and bake for a few minutes until golden and bubbly!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Tart

Well, my friends... I wasn't expecting this baby to be such a winner so I didn't photograph the process. HOWEVER, it was a winner and there was no denying it last night when it came out of the oven and 40 minutes later it was completely demolished. This was a happy accident that came out of making too much short crust for our aussie meat pies. SO- if you're looking for fun holiday dinner ideas, head on over to this post to get your recipe for single serve meat pies and while you're at it, make this beautiful concoction of goodness and serve it for an appetizer, a dessert, or a fancy brunch item at your next holiday shindig! *holiday hint: it goes great with a peppery cabernet! *
(the provided link above takes you to the filling recipe for meat pies... the link below will give you the shortcrust recipe, which you'll need for both meat pies and this holiday tart)
  • 1/2 shortcrust recipe (you can use butter or crisco, whichever your fancy)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 or 3 handfuls dried cranberries
  • 2 handfuls slivered almonds
  • 1/3 log soft crumbled goat's cheese
  • salted butter
  • salt
You'll need a 12-14 inch tart pan with removable base OR two 6 inch tart pans.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

First, whip up that half batch of short crust. Once you've got the ball of dough, roll it out on a floured surface or pastry cloth AS THIN AS YOU CAN GET IT without it wanting to tear when rolled back onto the rolling pin. It will need to cover the circumference of the tart pan(s) you're using. Once it's large enough, roll the sheet of dough back onto itself over the rolling pin. This will make transferring it to the pan much easier.
Next, grease the tart pan base and sides with butter. Don't over kill but, being able to actually SEE the butter on the pan is a good thing. I would imagine you'll use 2 Tablespoons at MOST for this part. Next, sprinkle the slivered almonds all over the bottom. Then layer the cranberries on top of that and neatly lay the slices of tomato over the top until the cranberries are mostly covered.

Now your tart is ready to be topped with the dough. Lift the rolling pin to the edge of the tart pan and gently roll your dough over the top of the entire pan. Don't tear off excess dough from the edges, but simply tuck it all into itself. This doesn't need to look perfect, a little bit of character is a good thing. ;) Once it's securely tucked in all the way around, poke a few fork holes over the entire crust to create a little airflow. Gently slide the tart pan onto a baking sheet for easier handling and leaking. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Carefully invert the tart onto a serving plate and remove the side and base. Sprinkle the crumbled goat's cheese all over the top and finish with a dusting of salt.
Slice it like a pizza and serve it up! This gorgeous treat is the perfect thing to whip up during the holiday season and just so happens to be composed of the right colors, too! Aren't you the hostess with the mostest? ;)
happy holiday parties.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

chicken patate douce

patate douce: sweet potato, yam
(en francais)
This was a magical creation. It was one of the easiest things I've ever made in my life and it made the house smell like the word 'holiday.' It's delicious, the meat falls apart, the sweet potatoes get cooked in the crock pot without you having to keep your oven for an hour and a half at 900 degrees... it's too breezy not to try it, friends. So let's get at it. Break out your crock pot!

  • 2 chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 bay leaf
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • cracked black pepper

Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of the crock pot. In a small dish, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and seasoned salt until well combined. Sprinkle one or two little spoonfuls of the mixture onto the bottom of the crock pot. Place the chicken in the pot. (if the breasts are still frozen, don't fear, they'll cook all the way through nice and slowly... all safe!) Sprinkle more of the mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Layer the onion and sweet potatoes on top of that. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with more of the brown sugar mixture and break up the bay leaf and place that in as well.
 Now dollop in your yellow mustard, making sure to drop some in a few different spots. Drizzle all over with some balsamic vinegar (not too much, it's potent!), the remaining brown sugar mixture, a little more olive oil and a lot of black pepper. Place the lid on and set it to "high" for 4-6 hours!
Dinner is stewing away without you preparing one darn thing! We served it along side a bowl of corn and black bean chowder... this was quite the gastronomic experience and I highly recommend it... BUT- next time I make this dish I think I'll serve it with a side of stewed cabbage. Anyone have any better ideas?
 BON APPETIT, sweet friends!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

it 's a date ! slice

Get it? It's a date! slice . . .

Couldn't help myself.

This is one of those magical recipes I received from my mum in-law in Australia. Again, it's not really a blondie and it's not shortbread, either. It's this magical in between land of soft and firm, sweet but salty, and it's chocked full of DATES! Jordan! Can I get an 'amen!?'

I recommend this dessert for any occasion. It's totally acceptable for a brunch with some strong coffee, it's sweet enough for dessert, and it's really simple to make... so go for it.

*a lot of recipes in Australia call for self-raising flour, which i realize is not a common household item here in the States... not to fear, just follow my instructions on how to substitute for it*

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour mixed with 2 tsp baking powder & 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 stick (4 oz) salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dates, pitted and well chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a 9x6 pan (if you don't own a 9x6, as it is an unusual size, use an 8x8). In a medium size bowl, combine the flour mixture and sugar. Then using your hands, rub in the butter until it's well combined.
Press HALF the mixture into the bottom of the pan and use the bottom of a glass to pat it flat.
Add the dates, beaten egg and milk to the remaining mixture and stir well.
Pour the mixture over the pressed bottom and bake for 30 minutes or until slightly golden on top.

Slice it up in little squares and serve this fabulous treat! You'll be the happiest hostess on the block. ;)