Tag Archives: flaky pie crust

Salted Honey Pie

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Sometimes I will start a post such as this one a day or two before it actually gets posted… Because let’s face it – life happens. While many times I’d like to sit down and write about some recipe then move on and do other things, that only happens 50% of the time. The truth is, it often gets broken down like this: I will cook something and photograph it. Another day, hopefully close to the time I cooked the dish, I edit the photos and get them ready to be blogged. Another day, I write the recipe from start to finish. Maybe even this little blurb, then post. Other times that latter part gets split into two days. Somewhere in between these things, I answer e-mails, do mountains of dishes and laundry, go to the gym, cook other things, stay time-flexible with kid-shenanigans, sleep, keep our house livable…

And then there are times where brain farts happen, where I’ll be mid-post. Then hit “publish” and swear out loud because, oh hey, all you e-mail subscribers who receive whatever original version of anything I publish… That said, sorry for the e-mail last night. Surely there was a recipe with half the directions and this area, which simply read, “Writing!” Let’s get real. When it comes to grammatical and spelling errors, they make me a crazy lady. It seems no matter how many times I read a post before it ever gets published, I still spell things wrong, or leave words out that complete a sentence… but accepting the flat out public nature of blog posts has allowed me to forgive myself more easily when it comes to moronic typos. Or publishing mishaps.

Those things said, this pie… Yes, this pie. Have you ever had a honey pie? I hadn’t, but I did see this recipe floating around the inter-webs forever and finally tried it out. The scent alone of this filling, is deliriously intoxicating. It reminded me of these caramels. I didn’t use the pie crust from the original recipe, as I am quite fond of my own flaky pie crust recipe. The consistency of this pie once it’s baked is somewhere between that of a custard pie and perhaps a pecan pie that has no pecans… It’s warm and inviting, beautiful in color, and just the right amount of sweetness.

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Salted Honey Pie

Recipe modified from Four & Twenty Blackbirds.

Yields one 9-inch pie.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3-6 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
3/4 cup honey
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 – 2 teaspoons flake sea salt, for finishing

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For directions, read more here…

The Best Damn Banana Cream Pie

 

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It’s totally normal to recipe-stalk, just so you know. Sites like Pinterest, Foodgawker and Tastespotting make recipe stalking even easier. One recipe I stalked for months before attempting it was Momofuku Milk Bar’s banana cream pie. I admire recipe developer, Christina Tosi’s elaborate dessert recipes. The steps are plentiful and the flavors aren’t compromised because of it. And the creativity that goes into each recipe? Phenomenal, to say the least.

So I stalked many blogs, all of which were home to various bakers who had attempted this gorgeous banana cream pie. I made my own crust to cut out some time from the original recipe, but kept the filling true to the original recipe. I hate to say it, but I was terribly disappointed in the final product. While the banana flavor in the filling was stunningly present, I didn’t care for the texture at all. It wasn’t the fluffy creamy filling I think of when banana cream pie crosses my mind. It was jiggly, slightly odd, and not what I had imagined. The inclusion of both yellow food coloring and gelatin in the filling also had me second guessing this particular pie.

A few weeks later, I decided my quest for a damn good banana cream pie wasn’t over. So, the stalking began again. I read hundreds of variations and decided to try again, taking one key tip from the Momofuku pie failure – I decided to use very, very ripe (almost  rotten looking on the outside) bananas in the cream filling, because the sugars in these bananas are plentiful and the flavor of the bananas has much more depth that way. I wanted a filling that was light in texture, but would more or less hold its shape for a sliced pie. I made a custard that isn’t exactly traditional. For color, I added just the slightest bit of turmeric instead of an artificial food coloring that would leave the pie neon and alien-like in color. The crust is my go-to recipe. It’s light and flaky, which works well with the light, fluffy banana cream in this pie.

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Banana Cream Pie

Yields one 9-inch pie.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, COLD, cubed
6-10 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
3 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 super ripe bananas (black, spotty skins are GOOD in this case) + 1 just ripe banana
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
optional extremely scant 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (for color – and a little goes a LONG way!)

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Directions:

Prepare your pie crust dough: In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg until well combined. Add in the cold, cubed butter, using your fingertips to work it into the flour mixture, working quickly so the butter stays cold. The butter should create small flakes, some about the size of oats and others just slightly larger. Add in the ice cold water, about a tablespoon at a time, using a fork to bring the dough together. Continue adding the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface (it’s okay for it to be crumbly – we’re about to take care of that right now). Knead the dough gently into a round, semi-flat disc shape. Wrap nice and snugly in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least one full hour. This resting time lets the butter solidify a bit, allowing it to break down slower in the oven, creating a flakier crust.

Once the hour or so has passed, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly dust a flat surface with flour. Roll the dough out on your floured surface to a circle about 1/8-inch thick and about 12-inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge until it has about one inch of overhang. Use your thumb and forefinger of one hand to push the thumb of your other hand, crimping the overhanging crust. Continue this around the crust to create a crimped edge. (Like this!)

Line the pie crust with foil or parchment paper, then top with enough pie weights or dried beans to cover the bottom. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are nicely golden brown. Remove the weights and foil/parchment paper, then return the crust to your oven for another 5 to 10 minutes until the bottom is nicely golden brown, too. Allow the pie crust to cool completely before adding the filling.

Prepare your pie filling: In a food processor or blender, combine the egg yolks, one cup of the milk, the melted butter, and the three super ripe bananas. Blend until completely smooth. Set aside until needed.

In a medium pot, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt, paying attention to break up any clumps of all of the above ingredients. Turn the heat on to medium and whisk in the remaining milk and the banana mixture. Continue whisking, over medium heat, until the mixture begins to thicken up (7 to 10 minutes). Once the mixture is very, very thick, pour it into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic all the way onto the top of the pudding (this keeps a skin from forming). Refrigerate until completely cooled (1 to 1 1/2 hours).

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Make your pie: Pour the whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment to beat the cream over low speed (2 – 4) until it’s frothy. Add the confectioners sugar and continue whisking over medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the vanilla and whisk the cream until stiff peaks form.

Remove half of the whipped cream, transferring it to a bowl until needed. Add the completely cooled banana mixture to the stand mixer, which should still contain half of the whipped cream. Whisk the mixtures together at low speed until just combined (you can also do this step by hand, using a spatula).

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Spoon half of the banana cream mixture into your cooled pie crust, smoothing it out on top. Slice the remaining banana – the one that wasn’t overly ripe – into rounds about 1/8-inch thick. Arrange the bananas over the smoothed cream. Top the bananas with the remaining banana cream filling, again smoothing it out as best as you can.

Use a piping bag or simply a frosting spatula to top the pie with the reserved whipped cream. Refrigerate the pie until you’re ready to serve it.

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Tomato Potato Tart

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Having a good, flaky pastry crust in your recipe repertoire is a must. This is advice comes from the same girl who has made her fair share of crusts that shrink down from the all sides of the pan they’re supposed to line, or pastry crusts so tough and gummy simultaneously even the dogs won’t eat it… Crusts that mush down into the bottom of the pan, soggy oily messes of butter and flour and heat. Yes, yes. Kitchen fails happen. Luckily I haven’t had a pastry crust fail with the following recipe. I’ve tweaked it many times to incorporate it into sweet desserts, or savory pies and tarts. Keeping your butter cold is essential, as it keeps the crust from breaking down too quickly once it moves into the oven.

This tart was a dinner experiment, created as a means of using up some tomatoes out of our garden. I contemplated doing the tart as a side dish, but when laziness hit and I decided I wanted less dishes and a more filling dinner-style tart, I threw potatoes into the equation. Perhaps potatoes and tomatoes sounds like a funny combination (or maybe it’s just fun to say potato-tomato over and over again). But the ‘taters in this tart add some bulk and create a more substantial savory meal.

The ingredients are simple and straightforward, the focus primarily on the fresh tomatoes that are so delicious this time of year. The freshness of the ingredients here makes this a refreshing dinner choice.

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Tomato Potato Tart

Yields two tarts: one 13 ¾” x 4 ½” x 1″ rectangular and one 9″ round tart.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
½ teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano
1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
1 stick cold, unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

For the tart filling:
3 to 4 ripe, heirloom tomatoes
2 large yukon gold potatoes
½ cup freshly chopped herbs (I used basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley like in the dough)
½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
1 cup havarti cheese, shredded
4 teaspoons stone ground mustard
salt and fresh ground black pepper

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Directions:

Prepare the dough:  combine the flour, sugar, salt, parsley, thyme, oregano and basil in a large bowl. Mix to thoroughly combine. Cut in the butter and shortening, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the ice water, adding six tablespoons at first, working the dough into a slightly moist ball. If you need more water to get the dough into a ball (versus a crumbly mess) add the additional water, one tablespoon at a time. Cover and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes.

Prepare the tart filling: Place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with generously salted water. Bring the potatoes to boiling and cook until fork-tender (12-15 minutes). Drain the water and cool the potatoes to room temperature. Once the potatoes have cooled, slice them into rounds about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.

Remove the stem and pit of each tomato. Slice the tomatoes into rounds that are about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels (or a dish cloth, coffee filters, etc.). Add another layer of paper towels or another dish cloth over the tomatoes and press gently, to remove some of the excess liquid.

Mix together the smoked mozzarella, fontina, and havarti cheeses. Set aside. Mix together the fresh herbs and red chili flakes. Set aside.

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Prepare your tarts: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil two tart pans. Lightly flour a flat surface to roll the dough. Split the dough into two equal portions. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick, large enough to fill the tart pan with a little overhang. Press the dough into your prepared pan, working it up the sides evenly as well. Pierce the dough with a fork 6-8 times. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Remove the tart crusts from the oven. Brush the bottom of each tart with two teaspoons of mustard. Sprinkle on a quarter of the shredded cheese evenly between the two crusts. Next, add a layer of potatoes to each tart, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle the potatoes with a quarter of the fresh herbs, some salt and pepper, then another quarter of the remaining cheese. Add a layer of tomatoes, overlapping slightly, followed by the more herbs and cheese, then a layer of potatoes, cheese, herbs, tomatoes, herbs. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the tomatoes are slightly crisp along the edges and very fragrant.

Allow the tart to cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Refrigerate leftovers (and heat in the toaster for best eating later!).

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