Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pumpkin Pie - It is never too late!

A holiday favorite.

I know that Thanksgiving has come and gone, but that does that does not mean it is too late to eat Pumpkin Pie. Zack and I LOVE pumpkin pie. It is so creamy and delicious. When I was a kid it was the only pie I would eat. Ask my mom if you don't believe me. Last year Zack even made me a pumpkin pie for my birthday. I use canned pumpkin in this recipe, it is just easier and reliable. So if you are also using canned pumpkin, you can make this any time of year. If you are stickler and only have pumpkin pie in November you can bookmark this recipe for next year.

P.S. Thanks dad for the awesome pie cutters!

Pumpkin Pie
recipe adapted from Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and mace in a small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


Vodka Pie Crust
recipe from Cook's Illustrated


2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)

1 teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoons sugar

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 4 pieces

1/4 cup vodka , cold

1/4 cup cold water


Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.


Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.


Bakers Note: I have prepared this recipe in the food processor and by hand using a pastry cutter. It is definitely easier with the food processor, but tastes just as great doing it by hand. This is by far the best pie crust I have ever tasted!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberry Apple Pie

You really should make this pie this December.


This post is dedicated to my dad and my father-in-law. I am dedicating this post to my dad because he gave me the adorable pie cutters that allowed me to make the fancy leaf border in the picture above. If you are like me and have difficulty crimping the edges of the dough, then you should definitely get some of these. They make your pie look impressive with very little effort. If you are wondering why I am also dedicating this post to my father-in-law it is because of how much he loved this pie. I took three pies to my in-laws for Thanksgiving, this pie, a pumpkin pie, and a pecan pie. This was the first pie my father-in-law tried of the three and after this pie he did not bother with any of the others. Now everybody who tasted this pie thought it was delicious, but he really loved it. His actual words regarding this pie were "I think I will take the rest to bed with me." You can imagine we all got a good laugh out of that. I know Thanksgiving is over and it would have been nice if I got this post up for you before turkey day, but like many of you I was busy cooking, baking, and traveling. If you are looking for a special dessert for an upcoming Holiday Party or even a Christmas Dinner, this definitely fits the bill!

Thanks Bridget of Bake at 350 for sharing the recipe!

Cranberry Apple Pie
recipe adapted from Bake at 350 who modified the recipe from an old Williams-Sonoma Pies and Tarts Cookbook

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large Granny Smith Apples
2 cups fresh cranberries
zest of one orange
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg white
Double Pie Crust (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lined the bottom of a glass pie pan with pie crust.

In a large bowl stir together the sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. Peel, core, and slice the apples approximately 1/4 inch thick. Add the apple slices, cranberries, and orange zest to the sugar mixture and toss well. Pile into the prepared pie pan. Top with bits of butter. Cover the pie with the top crust and vent as desired. Brush with beaten egg white.

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce hear to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake 40-50 minutes more, until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife. Check the crust periodically and tent with boil if it browns before cooking through.


Vodka Pie Crust
recipe from Cook's Illustrated


2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)

1 teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoons sugar

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 4 pieces

1/4 cup vodka , cold

1/4 cup cold water


Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.


Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.


Bakers Note: I have prepared this recipe in the food processor and by hand using a pastry cutter. It is definitely easier with the food processor, but tastes just as great doing it by hand. This is by far the best pie crust I have ever tasted!



P.S. Happy Birthday Jimmy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

I am in a velvet kind of mood.

I had a tough time deciding what to post tonight because I have been baking up a storm. I have a backlog of cupcake recipes that need to get posted, but I didn't want to overwhelm you with cupcakes. If you were wondering why I said "I am in a velvet kind of mood" it is because what I baked this weekend. First on Friday night I made Blue Velvet Cupcakes (if you follow Baked Perfection on facebook you saw a picture of them yesterday) and then last night I made the Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies pictures above.

Yesterday I was watching Food Network, which is often on at our house, and on the TV was an episode of "Cooking for Real". Sunny was making Red Velvet Swirl brownies. I once watched her make them on "The Today Show" and even though I had stuff I needed to get finished around the house and I had seen her make these brownies before I sat and watched the entire episode just for these brownies. I had no intention of making them yesterday, but I knew I would make them eventually. Fast forward to last night and there I was in the kitchen making these brownies at 10:30! I had all the ingredients and they would not get out of my head. These brownies did not let me down one bit, they were fantastic! These are definitely a special brownie and I think they would be perfect for any special occasion.

Red Velvet Swirl Brownies


Red Velvet Layer:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan, and set aside.

Brownie layer: Add melted butter to a large bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, in that order, mixing between additions. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir it into the cocoa mix. Fold in the flour until lightly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/4 cup of the batter for the top.

Cream cheese layer: Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Gently spread the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Using a skewer or the tip of a knife, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.