Here is a recipe for Chocolate Pie that is super simple and really delicious. I have also include my recipe, a fairly standard one, for pie crust that I use for both sweet and savory dishes. The pie filling can easily be prepared with a whisk so save the electric mixer for the meringue. Enjoy!
Pie Crust Recipe
1 Stick of Chilled/Frozen Butter (salted or unsalted)
1 Cup of All Purpose Flour
4-6 Tbs. of Ice Water
Salt to Taste
Cut the chilled butter into small pea size bits and chill in the freezer until very firm.
Combine the flour and salt and mix thoroughly and chill in the freezer with the butter. The flour mixture can be poured directly over the butter pieces and chilled together.
Remove from the freezer and work the butter into the flour to break down as much of the butter as possible. The texture should be somewhat sandy with some pea size pieces of butter remaining. Place back in the freezer until well chilled.
When well chilled make a well in the center and add 4 Tbs. of ice water and mix the ingredients together. Gradually add additional ice water to moisten all the flour and butter mixture creating a cohesive dough. DO NOT OVER MIX. Once the mixture comes together and is smooth flatten slightly and wrap in plastic wrap and chill. This recipe makes enough dough for one 9″ pie plate, bottom crust only. If you are making a covered pie such as apple simply double the recipe.
Chocolate Meringue Pie Recipe
3 Egg Yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
3/4 Cup of Sugar
3 Tbs. of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Tbs. Flour
2 Tbs. Melted Butter
1 8oz. Can of Evaporated Milk
1 Cup of Water
1 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract
Mix the yolks and sugar until pale yellow.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly making sure there are no flour or cocoa lumps.
3. Roll out chilled dough and place in pie plate. Pour chocolate pie filling into the plate and place in a 350° oven for 45 minutes or until filling has set.
4. Place reserved egg whites into a stand mixer and slowly mix until soft peaks form. Add 4 Tbs. of sugar and finish mixing until stiff peaks form.
5. Pour over baked pie and spread evenly with a spatula. Use a whisk to create peaks in the meringue. Return to the pie to the oven until the meringue has browned.
Following is a recipe that takes the flavors of pimento cheese and bakes them into a classic mac and cheese. The basis of this recipe is one that I have used over and over and it always pleases. But here I decided to add some additional flavors by adding minced pepperdaws and a small amount (1Tbs.) of minced shallot. The pepperdaws are a little more aggressive in flavor than the standard pimentos but since this is a baked dish I needed the flavor and texture to stand up to the heat.
This recipe as well as the basic (without the pimentos or shallot) is very easy to put together without having to make the bechamel that some mac and cheese recipes call for. Where I like the bechemel version as well, the convenience and ease of this is hard to beat.
Pimento Cheese Mac and Cheese Recipe
1 8oz. Package of Macaroni
2 Cups of Milk or Half and Half
2-3 Cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Cup Chopped Pepperdaws
1 Tbs. Minced Shallot
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
Mix milk or half and half together with the three eggs. Add the chopped Pepperdaws and Shallot and Salt. Mix well.
3. Butter a 9″ x 9″ baking dish and add a layer of the cooked macaroni and the 1/2 the grated cheese. Add the rest of the macaroni and then pour the milk and egg mixture over the macaroni and cheese.
4. Finish by evenly distributing the rest of the grated cheese over the top of the dish.
5. Bake in a 350° degree oven for 35-40 minutes until slightly browned.
Here is a recipe that was inspired by a recipe for Pistachio Tea Cake that I have used for many years as a celebration cake. It is from a cookbook titled “Fifty Ways to Cook Most Everything” by Andrew Schloss and Ken Bookman. An old friend gave me this book some twenty years ago and I still reference it for basic recipes. It is essentially a study of recipes each changed up a dozen or so different ways. I don’t think there is a complicated one in the entire book. The very nature of the book sort of beckons you to take liberties with the recipes that more serious cookbooks do not.
Part of my inspiration was found at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago. I wanted to make the pistachio version, which by the way I have frankly always found to be on the dry side, and stopped in to get the necessary ingredients at which point I stumbled onto an interesting package of oils extracted from Pistachios, Walnuts and Hazelnuts. I added a good half a cup of the Pistachio oil to the Pistachio cake recipe and it cured the dryness leaving it moist and even richer in Pistachio flavor.
These oils are really great great quality. I remember several years ago picking up a bottle of pistachio oil in Paris and yes it was excellent quality and full of flavor; same goes for these! Anyway with the success of the pistachio version I couldn’t help but think of using the Walnut oil in the same way and replacing the Pistachios with toasted Walnuts. To brighten up the flavors I added a bit of citrus by way of orange zest. In all it has turned out to be a delicious alternative to the pistachios. The deep earthy flavor from the roasted Walnuts and the walnut oil lightened up a bit with the scent of the orange zest is pretty nice!
Orange Scented Walnut Cake
1/2 Pound Butter
2 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract
1 Cup of Sugar
1 1/3 Cups of Flour
1 Tsp. of Baking Powder
1/4 Pound Toasted Walnuts (Finely Ground)
Zest From 2 Oranges
With an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy.
Add one egg at a time scraping the mixing bowl down to keep the batter smooth.
Sift in the flour and baking powder in three intervals.
Stir in the finely ground Walnuts and the Orange zest.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 9″x 5″ loaf pan and place in a 350° oven for 1 hour 10 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.