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Cheese Pie? Yes Please.

Andy is pretty easy-going about 99% of things in life, so when he does have an opinion, I try to pay attention. It usually works out well too. That’s how we ended up with one of our favorite chicken dishes and our go-to Meatless Monday meal. So when he commented on a delicious-looking “impossible” ham and cheese pie from Cook’s Country, I figured I’d should probably check it out. I saved the recipe before it became “subscriber only,” but that’s as far as it went. For months.

It’s not that I meant to ignore it, but other things kept popping up (such as EVERYTHING in this book). Plus, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about that much Gruyère. Swiss isn’t my favorite cheese, so I tend to be apprehensive about Gruyère. But I kept remembering how excited he seemed about it, and really, could something full of cheese and ham be bad? And the whole “impossible” pie concept intrigued me. Instead of lining the plate with a standard crust (which never goes well for me), you coat it with Parmesan cheese and wait for some scientific magic to create a crust while the pie bakes.Fun, right?

Of course, I took so long to  make it that Andy had completely forgotten about it by the time I served it for dinner. Whoops.

I’m glad I did make it though, because oh my goodness, it was so good. Looking back, that probably shouldn’t surprise me, since it’s basically a pie full of cheese, but seriously. We could not stop raving about it. Or eating it. Andy declared it a five after one bite. I wanted to keep the leftovers all to myself. In fact, giving Andy the last piece for lunch may be the most selfless thing I’ve done in our entire marriage. Kidding. Mostly. 😉

I used a smoked Gruyère, since that sounded better to me than regular Gruyère, but that was the only change I made. It was really good with the ham, but I don’t think you could go wrong with bacon either. It took a little time in the oven, but it was easy to put together, so this is definitely going on the favorites list. And next time, I won’t wait almost a year to try something.

ImpossibleHam&CheesePie

Notice the giant salad in the background? That’s my attempt at balance. A giant plate of greens means I can eat cheese for dinner, right?

Impossible Ham & Cheese Pie 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus another tablespoon softened for the pan
3 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded smoked Gruyère cheese
4 ounces of ham, cubed
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place the oven rack in its lowest position, and preheat the oven to 350°.

Butter a 9″ pie plate with the tablespoon of softened butter. Evenly coat the pie pan with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Combine the shredded Gruyère, ham and scallions in a large mixing bowl. Mix together and then evenly spread in the prepared pie pan.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together in the now-empty mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, melted butter, mustard and nutmeg into the flour mixture. When the batter is smooth, pour it over the cheese-ham-scallion mixture in the pie pan.

Bake until the pie is lightly golden brown and the filling is set, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve warm.

From Cook’s Country

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Main Dishes

 

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Making Up With Pie

Last weekend, pie and I got into a fight. I spent most of Saturday making two lemon meringue pies, and by the end of the day, pie crust and I were not on speaking terms. I don’t know what it is about blind-baked crusts, but they do not bring out the best in me. Andy’s been known to flee the kitchen (or even the house) when I’m fighting with pie crust. Smart man.

In my search for the perfect lemon meringue pie, I stumbled upon something that sounded much better: Deep-Dish Rhubarb Cherry Berry pie. Why was I fighting with blind baked crusts and tempering eggs? I had all the necessary fruit in my freezer! I should bake this instead!

Well, I had to  make the lemon pie to share with our Sunday school class, but that didn’t keep me from thinking about the pie that should have been. And when you get stuck on a recipe, there’s really only one thing you can do: BAKE THE DANG PIE. So I went home and did just that, and it ended up being everything I’d hoped it would be.

It was the perfect combination of sweet and tart from the rhubarb, cherries and blueberries. The almond extract melded perfectly with the fruit, and (wonder of wonders) the filling thickened up perfectly. I had been a little concerned that we’d end up with a pie that was too runny, as the cherries released a LOT of juice as they sat in the sugar.

I had the pie crust all rolled out and ready to go when I realized that the recipe wanted me to brush it with a beaten egg white to help keep the crust from getting soggy. Well, I HATE recipes that just call for part of an egg. What was I supposed to do with the yolk? We’d already eaten lunch, and breakfast for dinner wasn’t on the menu anytime soon. (Ironically enough, lunch had been scrambled eggs. The perfect solution for an extra yolk. GRRR.) So I skipped the whole “brush with beaten egg white” step, and you know what? We didn’t have a soggy crust!

And it was easy, as far as pies go. Yes, a lattice top looks fancy, but it doesn’t take that much more time than a regular double-crust pie. And yes, I made my own pie dough, but that takes all of 15 minutes with the pastry blender. Really, as long as you’re not blind-baking a crust, pies are fairly simple.

So there you have it. Pie and I are friends again. For now. Or at least until Andy requests a chocolate pie. 😉

Cherry Rhubarb Berry Pie

OK, not the greatest picture. We were on our way out the door (with the pie), and it was getting dark. 

Deep-Dish Rhubarb Cherry Berry Pie

Pie dough for a double-crust pie (I like Smitten Kitchen’s All Butter, Really Flaky Crust.)
1 generous pint of sour cherries, thawed and drained if frozen (Sweet cherries or strawberries can be substituted if you weren’t lucky enough to put some Door County cherries in your freezer last summer.)
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided, plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, thawed and drained if frozen
1 generous pint of blueberries
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place an empty baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven to catch any drips.

In a large bowl, toss the cherries with 1/2 cup of sugar. Set aside while you prepare the pie crust.

Divide the pie dough into two slightly even pieces. On a floured surface, roll the larger piece out into a circle large enough for a 9″ deep dish pie pan. Gently fold the dough into quarters and transfer it to the pie pan. Unfold the dough and press it into the pie pan. Trim the edges of the dough, leaving a small (1/2″ – 3/4″) overhang.

Roll the second piece of dough out into a 10″ circle. Using a knife (or pastry wheel if you’re fancy), cut the circle into 3/4″-wide strips.

Add the rhubarb, blueberries and almond extract to the cherry-sugar mixture. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cup of sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar-cornstarch-salt-cinnamon mixture over the fruit and gently stir to combine.

Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared pie shell. Place half of the lattice strips across the pie, parallel to each other, at about 1/2″ intervals. One at a time, place the remaining strips across the pie in the opposite direction, lifting the other strips to “weave” the strips together in a lattice pattern. Press the ends of the strips into the bottom crust and fold the edges of the bottom crust over the edge of the pie plate and crimp the edges. Sprinkle the lattice strips with sugar.

Place a large piece of foil over the top of the pie and place the pie in the oven. Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then remove the foil. Bake the pie until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.  (The book says this will take 30-40 additional minutes; mine took nearly an hour.) If the edges of the crust begin to brown too quickly, cover them with pieces of aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream if you have it.

Barely adapted from Classic Home Desserts

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in Dessert, Pie

 

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Buckeye Pie!

It’s no secret that I love chocolate and peanut butter. (All good Ohio girls do, right? There’s a reason we’re Buckeyes, after all!) It’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet, which means that I cannot be trusted around a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups. Or peanut butter M&Ms. Or these cookies. Apparently, I’m kind of addicted. Not that it’s a problem. I can stop whenever I want. (Yeah, right.) 

It’s not surprising then, that this pie caught my attention right away. I was flipping through my “Classic Home Desserts” cookbook last weekend, looking for an easy dessert that I could put together for our dinner and game night some of our favorite people. (Yes, we spend the weekends playing board games with friends. Yes, we might be nerds, and yes, we’re OK with that.) 🙂 Andy suggested vanilla bean ice cream, but I wanted something less, well, vanilla. Plus, with only three hours of prep time, I knew ice cream wouldn’t be ready in time. This pie, on the other hand, could spend a hour in the freezer, get topped with a chocolate ganache and then hang out in the refrigerator until dessert. Perfect!

This recipe called for buttering the pie pan before putting the graham cracker mixture, which seemed kind of strange (after all, the crust has half of a stick of butter in it). I went ahead and followed the directions, and I ended up with my best graham cracker crust ever. It was crunchier than the other graham cracker crusts I’ve made, and it stayed together very well. It came out of the pan cleanly too. I may try the same trick next time I make cheesecake!

The peanut butter filling tastes a lot like the inside of a buckeye. The whipped cream lightens the filling (in texture and taste, not calories!), and if you get a bite of filling and chocolate topping, well, it’s just awesome. This pie is definitely my kind of perfect dessert. It’s really rich (but since when is that a problem?), so you’ll probably want a glass of milk to go with it. And honestly, I don’t think there’s much more to say about this, other than “get thee to the kitchen!” 😉

BuckeyePie2

BuckeyePie

Peanut Butter Pie with Fudge Topping (AKA Buckeye Pie)

For the crust:
1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

For the filling:
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
8 ounce of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, well chilled

For the chocolate topping:
6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and make sure the oven rack is in the lower third of the oven. Butter a 9″ pie pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Press the graham cracker mixture into the prepared pin pan, making sure the crumbs go up the sides to the edge of the rim. Use the outside of a measuring cup to tamp down the crumbs if necessary. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

While the crust is baking, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer. When the mixture is well-blended, add the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl (unless you feel like washing the bowl for your stand mixer, which is what I did), beat the 1/2 cup of whipping cream just until it’s not quite stiff. Fold a generous spoonful of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten the filling. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spread the peanut butter filling in the cooled crust and refrigerate until firm, about three hours. You can also put the pie in the freezer for about an hour if you’re on a truncated timetable.

When the peanut butter filling is firm, make the chocolate topping. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan and place the chocolate chips in a small, heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let it stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Allow chocolate mixture to cool slightly to lukewarm. Spread the chocolate topping over the peanut butter filling and then return the pie to the refrigerator. Chill until chocolate topping is firm, about three hours.

Cut the pie into wedges and serve cold.

From Classic Home Desserts

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Dessert, Pie, Uncategorized

 

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Easy as… pie?

Let me just start by saying that I’m not at all sure where that saying came from. Sure, it sounds good, but let’s face it, not all pies are easy. Particularly when it comes to the crust part. Something so basic shouldn’t be so hard, right? I mean, it’s just flour, butter, salt and water, right?

Wrong. At least for me. One of my greatest frustrations stems from the fact that I can’t make a decent pie crust without using shortening. Which is why we’re not going to talk about pie crust tonight. We’re going to talk about pie filling. Peach and raspberry pie filling, to be exact.

Back in March, I saw this recipe for a raspberry peach pie. Two of my favorite fruits, rolled into one tasty dessert. I wasn’t going to let my lack of pie-crust skills stand in my way! (Full disclosure: I didn’t use the pie crust recipe from Delish; I didn’t have the ingredients on hand. Maybe I’ll try it at some point.) 

Raspberry Peach Pie

Pie dough for a double-crust pie (use your own favorite; I’m not posting a recipe for one until I conquer it myself!) 
6 cups peaches, sliced and drained, if using canned (I used my home-canned peaches.) 
1 cup raspberries, thawed if using frozen (which I did, because, come on, it was March in Wisconsin. Fresh ones would have cost as much as a gallon of gas a fortune.) 
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine peaches, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Toss gently to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place the fruit mixture in a colander set over a bowl. Let the fruit juices drain into the bowl for about 30 minutes (or as long as you can stand it; I think I got impatient about 25 minutes into the process and quit waiting).

Pour the collected juice into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, cooking until the juice has reduced slightly and darkened in color (probably about 5 minutes). Pour the juice over the reserved fruit and add the cornstarch to the fruit/juice mixture. Toss gently to coat all the fruit and dissolve the cornstarch.

Roll out the pie dough and line the bottom of a 9″ pie pan. Pour the fruit/juice mixture into the pie pan. (Be sure you use a 9″ or larger pan. I did not, and there was significant flowage over the side of the pan, resulting in a lot of shrieking and “Oh NO! STOP! BACK IN THE PAN! EEEK!” which Andy did an excellent job of ignoring.) Roll out the top crust and place it over the fruit. Crimp the edges of the crust together and cut steam vents in the top. Brush the top with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until crust is golden brown and pie juices are hot and bubbly. (I’d recommend baking this over a cookie sheet, unless you’re really looking forward to cleaning the inside of your oven…) If the crust browns too quickly, cover with foil. Remove pie from the oven and let cool for an hour or so before serving.

From Delish

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Dessert, Pie

 

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Feels like summertime

Well, maybe “feels” is a bit optimistic. We’re in the middle of one of the coldest weeks of the year here (yay for Wisconsin winters!). Snow, negative temperatures (let’s not even talk about that wind chill factor), you get the idea.  Warm breezes and fresh fruit were just a faint memory now… until I opened a quart of peaches that I canned this summer. Sweet, golden, juicy peaches. Yum.

I love peaches in almost every form, but one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is peach pie. That’s probably because my mom makes amazing pies. Peach, apple, strawberry, chocolate, blueberry, the list goes on and on. I grew up on this peach pie, and not only is it good, it’s incredibly easy. Easy enough where it took me less than 20 minutes to put it together this morning. (Of course, I had a batch of pie crust dough waiting in the freezer, so that sped up the process, but still. It’s as close to ‘dump and go’ as a pie gets, I think.)

Mom's Peach Pie

Peach Pie 

1 1/2 quarts peaches, sliced, juices (if using canned) reserved
1 unbaked single pie shell (9″)
1/3 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cold butter

Preheat the oven to 400. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Spread about half of the butter/sugar/flour mixture in the bottom of the pie shell. Layer the peach slices over the mixture until the pie pan is full. Top the peaches with the remaining butter/sugar/flour mixture. Drizzle two tablespoons of reserved juice (or water, if using fresh peaches) over the pie. Bake 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired (and who doesn’t desire ice cream?).

From: my mom

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Dessert, Pie

 

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