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Archive for the ‘Pies’ Category

As I walked through the produce section of my local grocery store today, I found that the strawberries and rhubarb were on a ridiculous sale.  I quickly grabbed them up even though I knew they would be sitting in the trunk of my car for the next 6 hours while I finished work. 

I think I have only had rhubarb one or two times.  I do remember a pretty delicious pie from the Springdale Farms that contained rhubarb, but I don’t really remember the specific taste of the rhubarb because the pie itself was really sweet.  Upon reading recipes for items containing rhubarb, I have learned two things:  (1) rhubarb leaves are poisonous (who knew!) and (2) rhubarb is particularly sour and requires an immense amount of sugar.  However, I came across one blogger who avoids overloading rhubarb with sugar because it is fun to get that sour bite while eating cake.   I decided to apply this theory, because I believe that if I am going to utilize rhubarb, I want to taste it, and not let it hide behind sugar or other flavors.  Rhubarb should be allowed to be itself.  Unfortunately, new to working with rhubarb, I did not know how much to purchase.  I settled on two stalks, which was not enough for the recipe I later found for this pie.  However, I overbought the strawberries, so this pie is a little more strawberry than rhubarb, but I found the portions of rhubarb to strawberry that I used to be perfect since I did not add a lot of sugar. 

When you taste a bite, you get the sweetness of the strawberry, and a little sour punch from the rhubarb.  The sour notes make this pie more exciting.

 

I have always admired lattice topped pastries.  Something about the pretty design is so attractive to me, that I will always choose a dessert with a lattice-top over others.  This was my first attempt at making a pie crust from scratch and it was relatively easy.  The food processor really did all the work.  However, I did cut up my chilled butter, and although I was a little concerned that I did not cut them exactly in ½ inch pieces, it still worked out fine. 

I felt very old-fashioned making my own pie crust, lining it in my glass pie dish, and creating a strawberry and rhubarb filling that poured into said pie crust so beautifully.  It was if I should have been wearing a full skirt dress adorned with pearls, a white apron and high heels as I glazed my pie.  As I mentioned my attraction for the lattice top, I kept sneaking peaks in the oven to see it.  The pie crust was flaky and light, and not too buttery. 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Lattice Pastry Topping (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Pie Pastry (Double the ingredients, but keep them separate.  You need to do this process twice in order to get enough pie pastry for both the crust and the lattice topping.)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 tablespoons ice water (some more if needed)

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. (I used the “stir” feature on the processor).  Add butter. Using the “pulse” feature on your processor, process just until coarse meal forms. Whisk egg yolk and 1 1/2 tablespoons ice water in small bowl to blend. Pour egg mixture over dough. Using the “pulse” feature again, process until moist clumps begin to form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate for one hour.

Repeat this process, so that you have two balls of dough, enough for the crust and lattice topping.  I suggest making each ball separately if your food processor is on the small side like mine. 

Pie Filling

2 stalks of rhubarb, cut into ½ inch pieces

2 lbs strawberries, hulled and halved

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Glaze

1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water  

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse fruit and make sure that fruit is mostly dry.  I allowed some water to remain on my strawberries. Chop the rhubarb and strawberries, and combine with brown sugar, sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Toss gently to blend.  Depending on the amount of liquid remaining on your fruit after rinsing, the sugar mixtures may get become liquidy.  I used this to my advantage.  When spooning the mixture into the pie crust, as discussed below, I left some of the sugary brown liquid remaining in the bowl, in order to cut down on the amount of sugar the recipe called for and to allow the rhubarb to be detected in an otherwise very sweet dessert.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.

Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Pour filling into crust. Arrange dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges.

Brush glaze over crust. Place pie dish on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  Then, reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until pie pastry is golden brown and filling has thickened. Allow to cool completely before service.

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Who doesn’t love chocolate mousse?  When scanning a dessert menu at a restaurant, I always look for mousse.  Many restaurants do not carry it, maybe because it does take a little time to make, but it is actually very simple.  So simple in fact, that I wish I learned how to do it sooner because it is my absolute favorite.

Now I am not a pie crust making kind of girl.  I typically purchase my pie crust from the grocery store to save time, but again, when I went in search of how to make pie crust and found how incredibly simply that was too, I thought….let’s get a little wild and change up your traditional graham cracker pie crust for some oreos, which happen to be my favorite cookie.

This mousse recipe is from one of the best, in my opinion, baking websites online, Joy of Baking.  I have tried many recipes from this site, and they have yet to dissapoint.  Usually, my creations from Joy of Baking are very well received, so I always check there when looking to make a baked good.  The chocolate mousse recipe as provided was actually on the skimmpy side for the pie dish that I used.  I like my pudding and/or mousse pies to be heaping, piled high, rising up from the crust.  The amount of mousse I got out of this recipe yielded a bit of a flat pie, but delicious nonetheless.  Next time I would make two batches of mousse to fulfill my need for that mound of mousse in my pie.   

 Chocolate Mousse:

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

2 large eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 

Oreo Cookie Crust

20 Oreos (1 to 1 ½ cups crumbled oreos)

3 tablespoons melted butter

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons white sugar

Chocolate Mousse: In a stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Then whisk in the two egg yolks. Refrigerate while you whip the egg whites and whipping cream.

Whip the two egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy.  Using an electric mixer is much easier. Gradually add two tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. You will know that the egg whites are stiff when you can turn the bowl over and they do not fall out.  Make sure to not whip until dry because there is no way to return from dry egg whites.  Then set aside the whites. 

In another bowl, whip the heavy cream, one tablespoon sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.  You will know that there are soft peaks when you lift the beaters from the mixture are peaks form.  I used a hand electric mixer for this.

Remove the chocolate mixture from the refrigerator, and stir a couple of spoonfuls of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then fold the remaining whites into the chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. Fold in the whipped cream.

Refrigerate the mousse for a couple of hours.

Oreo Cookie Crust

Crumble the cookies in a food processor.  Save a small amount of the crumbs for dusting later.  Then in a bowl, mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter until the crumbs are all the same consistency and texture.  Then place in a pie dish.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Whipped Cream

Using an electric mixer, whip the cream and sugar together.  Place into a Ziploc bag and cut off the tip of one side of the bottom of the bag.   Again, something new for me was making whipped cream.  I thought that you could not beat RediWhip, which can be addicting, but this fresh whipped cream was also very nice. 

Place chocolate mousse into pie crust and add whipped cream.  I tried to decorate my pie with it a bit, but it turned into a little mess.  Once the whipped cream was on in some form, I dusted the pie with some of the remaining cookie crumbs, and added one whole oreo on top.

The mousse was very sweet, and smooth.  The whipped cream was not as sweet as I thought it would be, but it perfectly complemented the sweetness of the mousse.  The cookie crust was oreos, so how could you go wrong.

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