Photos on Gimme a Little Sugar on the Weekend are originals taken by Miriam Latour and under copyright protection.
Recipes are originals by Miriam Latour, unless otherwise indicated.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Bunch of Pies

It's not a good idea to try new recipes when you are in charge of a dozen pies for a Thanksgiving dinner, but I do a lot of things that aren't necessarily good ideas. Fortunately, all my pies turned out splendidly (although some weren't as pretty as others), and every pie had at least one person who favored it above all the others. I came up with my pie list by asking family members what their favorite pie was and then adding a few I wanted to try. Here was my pie list:

Cranberry Pecan Pie
Banana Cream Pie
Cherry Pie
Mixed Berry Pie
Pumpkin Praline Pie
Apple Cranberry Custard Pie
Pumpkin Pie(s)
French Silk Chocolate Pie
Pecan Pie

Cranberry Pecan Pie

This recipe was suggested by my friend, April and is also found here. This pie was one of my personal favorites. The bourbon flavor is strong, so like April says on her blog, you want to use a good bourbon. I really like the tangy bite of the cranberries in contrast with the warm flavors of the dark brown sugar, bourbon, and almonds.

Bourbon Pecan Pie with Cranberries

1 single pie crust
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pecans, lightly toasted
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Put the corn syrup and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the butter, bourbon and vanilla. Let the mixture cool, and then add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

Arrange the pecans and cranberries on the bottom of the crust. Carefully pour the filling over them. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the filling is set; rotate the pan halfway through baking time.

Banana Cream Pie

I was surprised to find out that more people in my family favor banana cream pie than any other pie. I've never been a huge fan of cream pies, and it didn't seem like a Thanksgiving dessert, but I found this recipe, which is fantastic because it follows the "less is more" concept that I love. Even more surprising, it was gone first, and even Dave, who usually doesn't like banana cream pie, loved it. I don't have a photo of the pie I made, because it disappeared too quickly.

3/4 cup white sugar
3 T corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
4 bananas, sliced

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn starch, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency. Slice bananas into the cooled baked pastry shell. Top with pudding mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes. Chill for an hour.

Cherry Pie and Mixed Berry Pie

I used the same recipe for the cherry pie and the mixed berry pie, interchanging tart pie cherries with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. As far as I know, this is a classic recipe that many people who make fruit pies use when making a double-crusted baked pie. I'm not sure where it originated:

3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 - 4 Tbsp cornstarch
4 - 5 cups berries (or cherries)
1 cup of juice drained from berries or cherries (or bought separately)
1 Tbsp unsalted salted butter
Almond flavoring (or vanilla or lemon or nothing, depending on taste)

Combine juice with cornstarch and sugar until smooth. Heat in a saucepan over medium-low until thick. Place berries or cherries in the bottom of a pie shell. Top with thickened sauce. Cover with top crust and seal. Bake in 400ºF preheated oven for 40 - 50 minutes until crust is brown and filling is bubbly.

Pumpkin Praline Pie

This pie recipe came out of a Better Homes and Garden magazine and can be found here online. It was one of Dave's favorite and popular with the whole family. I think they loved the toffee bits on the top and the cream cheese layer on the bottom. It's a very pretty pie as well as being something a bit different from the classic pumpkin pie.

12 ounces cream cheese (four 3-ounce packages or 1-1/2 8-ounce packages), softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
Pastry for a Single-Crust Deep-Dish Pie
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half or light cream
3/4 cup broken walnuts
1/2 cup milk chocolate-covered toffee pieces or chopped chocolate-covered English toffee bars
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Hot fudge ice cream topping (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)
Pumpkin pie spice (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and the 1/3 cup sugar; beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until smooth. Beat in the 1 egg; stir in orange peel. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F . Prepare Pastry for a Single-Crust Deep-Dish Pie. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll dough from center to edge into a circle about 13 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9 1/2- to 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge high (photo). Do not prick pastry.

3. For pumpkin filling: In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, the 3/4 cup sugar, and the 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice. Add the 3 eggs and beat lightly. Gradually beat in half-and-half. Spread cream cheese mixture in pastry-lined pie plate. Carefully spoon pumpkin filling over cream cheese layer. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 25 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, toffee pieces, and brown sugar. Remove foil from pie. Sprinkle with walnut mixture.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill pie within 2 hours. If desired, garnish individual servings with hot fudge topping, whipped cream, and additional pumpkin pie spice. Makes 10 servings.

Apple Cranberry Custard Pie

This pie is obviously from the previous post on this very blog and can be found here.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

This pie is also found on my blog, here.

French Silk Chocolate Pie

This pie was also gone before I captured a photo. The recipe is found here, but I used 2.5 times the amount of filling for one pie. It needs it! Some people are put off by the raw eggs. If that bothers you, then use raw eggs that have been pasteurized and sold in a carton.

Pecan Pie

This is another recipe that I was thrilled to find. The recipe is online here. It doesn't require corn syrup, and I liked it so much better than the corn syrup pecan pies. This particular recipe only makes a very shallow pie, however. I'd like to try increasing the filling next time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Apple Cranberry Custard Pie

I've been seeking for some good pies to make for Thanksgiving, and I really like this streusel-topped custard pie filled with apples and cranberries. It's quick and easy which is a plus when you have a dozen different pies to make, and the custard adds a rich, creamy flavor. I found the recipe here, which I have copied directly. However, you ought to be aware that this pie needs time for the custard to get dense by allowing it to cool completely in the refrigerator. In fact the texture is best if you wait to eat it until the next day.

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND®
Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups fresh or dry-pack frozen
2 medium all-purpose apples, peeled and
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1. Place rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon. Add eggs, water and fruits; mix well. Pour into pie crust.
2. In medium bowl, combine sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Add nuts. Sprinkle over pie. Bake 10 minutes.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F; continue baking 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator. (Note from Miriam: I like to allow the pie to cool completely in refrigerator overnight so that the eggs settle and the custard has a dense, creamy flavor.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cranberry Almond Cobbler

This is a simple dessert that contrasts the bitter-tart flavor of cranberries with rich butter and brown sugar. It's so easy to make, and perfect around the holidays when cranberries are in season. Serve it hot, topped with vanilla ice cream. I've seen this dessert called "Nantucket Cranberry Pie" online, but I've always called it cranberry cobbler.

In the bottom of a pie plate, spread:
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cups dark brown sugar

Mix together and pour over cranberries:
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp Amaretto

Bake in a 350ºF oven for 45 - 50 minutes until done in center.