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pie

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Classic Apple Pie with Ultra-Flaky Pie Crust

July 7, 2014

Classic Apple Pie (1) | Espresso and CreamUpdate: We went in for another scan on Thursday before the long weekend and got some strange news. Things on our ultrasound looked very normal, pretty much a 180-degree change from our scan on Monday. The doctor and the ultrasound tech didn’t know what to make of it all, so I’m chalking it up to God. Sound good? We’ve been told to still expect miscarriage, but that we now have a legit reason to hope. So we’ve been playing a very strange waiting game until Wednesday, and your continued prayers would be much appreciated.

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! Joe and I spent a lot of time working on the house, in the yard, and even painted our office, a room that I’ve intentionally left out of the E&C house tour because I’ve disliked it so much. We’re a long way from revealing the final product on the blog, but I’ll be sharing some sneak peaks Instagram as we pull the room together.

A few weeks back I made a pie and I would be lying if I said the crust was anything worth eating. Truth be told, it was horrible. Sometimes pie crust is hard and scary, isn’t it? Well, I was determined to have success the second time around because that first attempt was just haunting me. With a new sense of resolve, I went back the the kitchen to make another pie crust for a classic apple pie. The result was amazing, if I do say so myself. It was flaky and tender and perfect enough to bring over to Joe and his friends, who needed a break from painting a house on a hot day.

Classic Apple Pie (2) | Espresso and CreamI based my pie crust on one of my favorite recipes from Sherry Yard in her fabulous baking book, Desserts by the Yard. Over the years I’ve made great pie crusts and horrible pie crusts. And I think that if I had to recap what makes success versus failure, it would be in the way the liquid is incorporated into the dry ingredients. Sometimes I’m feeling impatient and I dump the water in rather quickly, in two or three additions. The problem with doing this is that the water doesn’t get evenly incorporated into the flour mixture and I end up needing to add more water than the recipe calls for.

But when I’m patient, adding just a drop or two at a time and constantly using a fork to stir the flour mixture as I add water, that’s when I have the most success, when the magic of tender, flaky pie crust happens. So give yourself a few extra minutes to incorporate your liquids into your dry ingredients and you’ll be blessed with the end product.

Classic Apple Pie with Ultra-Flaky Pie Crust
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS (for 2 crust pie)
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup ice water
  • PIE FILLING
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored)
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Golden Delicious apples (peeled and cored)
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • TOPPING FOR PIE
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. To make Pie Crust: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt until well combined. Break up the shortening into small pieces and add the shortening to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture, too. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the butter and shortening are the size of peas.
  2. Gradually add the ice water (1 spoonful at a time) to the flour mixture, using a fork to mix the water into the flour mixture as you add spoonfuls of water. This is key, slowly adding the water. It ensures that you get the flour mixture evenly hydrated without having to add too much water.
  3. Divide dough into two portions and gently press into rounds. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  4. Roll one of the dough rounds out onto a floured surface to form the bottom crust. Press crust into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.
  5. In a very large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture into crust-lined pie plate. (There will be a lot of apple mixture since it bakes down and loses volume.)
  6. Roll out second dough round onto floured surface. Top pie filling with second crust. Roll edges of pie crust together to seal. If desired, crimp edges. Cut two to three slits on top of pie crust for steam to escape.
  7. Heat oven to 375F. Place a metal baking sheet under pie plate to catch any excess liquid. Brush top of pie with the milk. Sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool at least 1 hour. Cut into slices to serve.

 

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Healthier Peanut Butter Pie (175 calories per slice!)

March 30, 2014

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie | Espresso and Cream 1

How was your weekend, friends? Joe and I soaked up every ounce of the beautiful weather we had this weekend, and for the first time it felt like Spring really is on its way! We also finally got around to buying bikes! It’s been a long time coming, since my last bike was something purchased in middle school. Since Minneapolis has so many beautiful bike trails, we knew we were missing out.

Moving right along…Let’s talk about pie, shall we?

At our house, healthier desserts will always have a place at the table. I have found over the years that the less sugar I eat, the less I’m able to tolerate super sweet things. That’s not to say that my sweet tooth has disappeared completely. In reality, I find that I need to have a little something sweet every night.

One of my favorite desserts is peanut butter pie. It’s also a dessert that I don’t indulge in frequently because it’s usually quite unhealthy and loaded with fat and sugar. This weekend when the craving for peanut butter pie hit me hard I decided to come up with a healthier version that I could enjoy more often.

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie 2 | Espresso and CreamOne of my favorite tricks for making healthy creamy pies is to use silken firm tofu for the base of the pie. Make sure that the tofu you buy is silken firm and not another type of tofu or you won’t be able to blend the tofu as smooth as it needs to be for this recipe. If you’re freaked out about using tofu in your pie, don’t be! I promise you can’t even taste the tofu, and it’s a great alternative to cream cheese or whipping cream.

Each slice of this pie clocks in at around 175 calories per slice, meaning you can have a piece every night of the week without feeling guilty in the least bit. An added bonus of the tofu? It means that each slice of this pie has 8 grams of protein!

One final note: The vanilla pudding and pie filling is really important for this recipe. It thickens the filling slightly and really gives the filling lots of great vanilla flavor. Although I’ve only tried this recipe with vanilla, I’m guessing that chocolate, white chocolate, cheesecake or banana flavors would all be really delicious!

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie 3 | Espresso and Cream

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This peanut butter pie is a healthier version of one of my favorite desserts. A slice of this pie comes in at around 175 calories per slice, and thanks to a secret ingredient (tofu!) each slice contains 8 grams of protein, too.
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 2 (12 oz) containers silken firm tofu (make sure it is silken tofu for a creamy consistency)
  • ⅔ cup creamy or chunky natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix (just the dry mix)
  • 3 packets stevia or other sweetener of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl combine crust ingredients until well combined. Press mixture into an 8- or 9-inch round pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine all the filling ingredients. Blend 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until smooth or nearly smooth. If you used chunky peanut butter, like I did, the mixture will not be completely smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Cut into 10 slices to serve.

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Last Minute Recipes for Thanksgiving

November 26, 2013

Mini_Pumpkin_Pies_1

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Although it is a week later than usual, I feel like this year Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me out of nowhere. Usually I stick to a very strict policy that there are no Christmas decorations up until after turkey day, and absolutely no listening to Christmas music, either. But this year I’ve broken with convention and have our house fully decorated for Christmas. We even listened to Christmas music while putting up the tree. That said, I feel like Thanksgiving has gotten a little less attention this year than in years past.

I’ve been seriously slacking in the recipe department lately. Those of you who read Espresso and Cream solely for the recipes (this is a food blog, after all) are probably read to stop reading! I promise that although I’ve shared very few recipes here over the last few weeks, I’ve been developing more recipes than ever before, both at work and for a few side projects related to the blog. It’s been fun, but I’ve also missed sharing recipes with you all.

So today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes that I’ve developed for Thanksgiving/holiday season. If you’re still looking to flesh out your Thanksgiving menu or already looking to December holiday parties, I would highly recommend all of the recipes below!

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 7.07.09 AM

The first project worth noting is for those of you looking to eat a little healthier this holiday season. I worked with Anytime Fitness for the second year in a row to develop three Thanksgiving recipes that keep portions and calories in check. That includes the mini pumpkin pies (above) garnished with a Greek yogurt “whipped cream” that are perfectly portion controlled and only 150 calories per pie. For the recipe, follow THIS LINK to download the Anytime Fitness Holiday E-Book.

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 7.17.29 AM

Already looking for cookies to make for a cookie exchange or holiday party? I worked on these amazing Crispy Quinoa Shortbread Cookies for the Tasteseekers Kitchen Blog (the blog published by The Kitchens of General Mills aka my workplace) that would be a great addition to any cookie platter.

Can’t get enough Pumpkin? Either can I! Here are a few favorite recipes that you just have to try:
Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie 
Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake 
Three ways to use Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix

Not a fan of pumpkin desserts? That’s okay, too. I have worked on some really fun recipes that don’t contain pumpkin, too.
Peppermint Mocha French Silk Pie
Mini Malted Milk French Silk Pies 
Salted Peanut and Marshmallow Pie 

Appetizers are always so difficult, don’t you think? Here are a few quick and easy apps that pack a ton of flavor:
Cheesy Spinach-Artichoke Bites 
Mozzarella Stuffed Pretzel Bites with Jam
Crispy Buffalo Chicken Poppers

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I’ll be taking some time off work, but I’ll be popping back in later in the week to share what we ate for Thanksgiving. I’m so very thankful for each one of you!
Madison

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Apple Streusel Pie

October 30, 2013


Apple_Streusel_Pie_3
First things first, a little bit of business to discuss. A number of you have requested that I make my recipes easily printable. Ask and you shall receive! Recipe will now be formatted so you can print recipes without having to print the entire web page. Enjoy!

If you look closely at the photos of this apple pie, you’ll notice that the edges are not crimped perfectly. There are spots where I had the right amount of dough and spots where I was a little short and didn’t have the amount needed to properly crimp the edge. The perfectionist in me absolutely hates that.

After making two pumpkin pies that tasted amazing but had crusts that were less than bakery perfect, I decided to really devote myself to making a pumpkin pie that looked pretty enough to be in a magazine. We had Joe’s co-workers and their wives over for dinner last Thursday and, selfishly, I wanted my pie to look perfect. In all my effort to make the perfect looking pie crust, I committed the cardinal sin of pie making: I totally over-worked the dough.

I’ve been known to be a harsh critic of my own cooking, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was the toughest most inedible pie crust I’ve ever baked. Joe noticed. I noticed. I’m pretty sure a couple others at the table noticed, too, considering plenty of crust went uneaten at the table that night. Looking back, it’s pretty funny. At the time, I was mortified.

Apple_Streusel_Pie_2

I really wanted to apologize right then and there to everyone at the table for my terrible pie crust. I make my living as a food editor, for goodness sake! I develop and test recipes every single day. This rookie mistake? Totally unacceptable. But instead I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything, letting the moment pass and dinner conversation carry on. Maybe our new friends did discuss my crappy pie crust in the car on the way home. But I have a feeling they probably didn’t give it much thought, and certainly less thought than I did.

My grandmother was one of the best pie bakers around. Every fall she would make dozens of apple pies with apples from her farm and store them in the freezer for her kids and grand kids to enjoy throughout the year. One hallmark of her pies was the fact that they weren’t the prettiest pies. In fact, you might say they were a little homely. But what my grandmother lacked in finesse she made up for in flavor and texture.

Thinking about her delicious pies, imperfections and all, gave me the motivation to get back in the kitchen after my crust failure and enjoy baking this Apple Streusel Pie without the need to make it look perfect. Sure, it’s a heck of a lot less pretty than my pumpkin pie at our dinner party, but I can assure you it tasted a whole lot better.

Apple_Streusel_Pie_1

Apple Streusel Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Pastry for Single Crust Pie (your favorite recipe)
  • 6 cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced aples
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Streusel Topping
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Unroll pastry crust into 9-inch pie plate. Flute edges, if desired.
  2. In large bowl, toss together the apples and melted butter. In small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add flour mixture to apples and toss until well combined. Transfer mixture to pastry-lined pie plate.
  3. In medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Toss until well combined. Add melted butter and work together with your hands until combined and only small clumps remain. Sprinkle on top of apples.
  4. Cover pie with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake 40 to 50 minutes more or until crust is golden brown and apples and bubbly and baked through.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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Blueberry Oat Biscuit Cobbler

April 10, 2013

Blueberry_Oat_Biscuit_Cobbler_2

One of the best parts about having a house with plenty of space is that we finally have the room to comfortably entertain friends on a regular basis. Now, when I say “entertain” I don’t mean elaborate dinner parties. It’s more of a casual rotation of everyday meals that Joe and I would normally eat throughout the week. We usually dress things up by eating in the dining room, opening up a bottle of wine and serving a dessert, all things that we don’t usually do when it’s just the two of us on a weeknight.

If you are one of our friends who has shared a meal in our new home with us, the chances are you have been served this Blueberry Oat Biscuit Cobbler. I think I’ve served it almost a dozen times since we’ve moved into our house, mainly because it’s easy, tasty and semi-healthy. Something about serving a fruit-based dessert seems more appropriate on the weeknight that, say, a chocolate cake.

I’ve found over the numerous times that I’ve made this cobbler that it’s incredibly adaptable based on what you have on hand. Sometimes I cut back the sugar a bit depending on the sweetness of the berries I have on hand. Other times I’ll sub in a little almond meal or use 100% whole wheat flour in the cobbler if I’m feeling extra healthy. And I’ve played around with mixed berries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. All yield delicious results and can be used in frozen form for added ease and affordability. Can you tell I love this dessert?

When I’m making this for friends, I usually time it out so that this is coming out of the oven at the same time friends are scheduled to arrive. That way the cobbler has time to cool and set while we enjoy our meal and it’s still a little warm when its served, always with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a strong cup of decaf coffee.

Blueberry_Oat_Biscuit_Cobbler_1

I can hardly take credit for the recipe, although I wish I could. Instead of posting it here, I would encourage you to hop on over to the blog Sprouted Kitchen to get the recipe. The recipe can be found HERE!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Madison

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