Pies and Tarts





9-inch Single Pie Crust

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

 



 

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
  • About 1/4 cup ice water
 



 

Instructions:

 
Step 1: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.
 
Step 2: Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas.
 
Step 3: Add the water and mix with a fork or pastry blender until the dough pulls together. 
 
Step 4: Wrap in plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
 
Step 5: To roll out the dough: Have a buttered 9-inch pie plate at hand. You can roll the dough out on a floured surface. Turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. 
 
Step 6: Fit the dough into the pie plate and, using a pair of scissors, cut the excess dough to a 1/4- to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the dough under itself, so that it hangs over the edge just a tad, and flute or pinch the crust to make a decorative edge. Alternatively, you can finish the crust by pressing it with the tines of a fork.
 
Step 7: To partially or fully bake: Refrigerate the crust while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  If you have time, freeze the crust. This will prevent your crust from shrinking as it cooks.
 
Step 8: Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans or rice or pie weights. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins. Carefully remove the foil and weights and, if the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. 
 
Step 9:  For a partially baked crust, return the pie plate to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes more, or until the crust is very lightly colored. 
 
Step 10: To fully bake the crust, bake until golden brown, about another 10 minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.



 

Apple Tarts

Adapted from Gourmet, October 2001






Ingredients

 

  •     2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and halved
  •     1/2 cup water
  •     1/2 cup sugar
  •     2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •     2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •     1 frozen puff pastry sheet (from a 17 1/4-oz package), thawed
  •     Cut apple halves crosswise into 1/16-inch-thick slices and transfer to a bowl.

 





Instructions


Step 1: Bring water, sugar, lemon juice, and butter to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then pour over apples. Turn apples until slightly wilted, then drain in a colander set over a bowl, reserving liquid.
 

Step 2: Preheat oven to 425°F.

Step 3: Roll out pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface into a 121/2-inch square and cut out 4 (6-inch) rounds.

Step 4: Transfer rounds to a lightly buttered baking sheet and top with overlapping apple slices.


 
Step 5: Bake in middle of oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Step 6: Boil reserved liquid in saucepan until reduced to about 1/3 cup, then brush on baked tart.
 





Beth Whisler's Perfect Key Lime Pie





Ingredients:

 

For the Crust:

  • 2 sleeves of graham crackers pulsed in food processor (3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

 

For the Filling:

  • 3 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-1/2 cups key lime or lime juice (can be freshly squeezed but must be strained for pulp)
  • 4 eggs
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
Step 2: For the crust:  Mix the crushed graham crackers, 1/2 cup melted butter, cinnamon and sugar together and press onto bottom and sides of 9-inch spring form pan.
 
Step 3: Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
 
Step 4: After removing crust from the oven, turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees.
 
Step 5: For the filling:  Whisk lime juice, eggs and sweetened condensed milk together. 
 
Step 6: Pour into hot crust and bake 25-35 minutes until center is set - it may be a little jiggly.





Blackberry Pie





Ingredients

  •     2-1/2 pints fresh blackberries
  •     1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •     1 cup of sugar
  •     1/2 cup all purpose flour
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt
  •     Coarsely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  •     1/4 cup dry bread crumbs or crushed graham crackers
  •     1 large egg, beaten
  •     1 tablespoon water
  •     Raw Sugar, for dusting
  •     9-inch double pie crust




Instructions


Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2: Put the berries in a large bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. 

Step 3: In a small bowl, stir together sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest. Sprinkle mixture over berries and toss to evenly distribute.  You may need to double the amount of flour if using frozen berries or if your berries are juicy.
 
Step 4: Remove the pie shell and top crust from the refrigerator. Sprinkle an even layer of the breadcrumbs over the bottom of the shell. Immediately transfer berry mixture to dough-lined pan. 

Step 5: Using your fingertips, moisten the rim of the bottom crust with a little cold water. Center the top crust over the filling and gently press the top crust against the bottom. Trim the excess from the bottom and top rounds; crimp to seal the edges. Using a small, sharp knife, cut 4 slits in the top crust crust.



Step 6: Add 1 tablespoon water to the beaten egg to make egg wash. Brush the top crust with the egg wash, then sprinkle the crust with a little sugar.
 
Step 7: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake pie at 425 F for 30 minutes and then decrease the temperature to 375 F for 30 minutes until crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling.  Transfer the pie to a rack and let it cool and settle for at least 30 minutes before serving.





Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate cream recipe adapted from Food and Wine
Sweet Tart Crust recipe adapted from Pierre Herme, Chocolate Desserts
 




Ingredients

 

For the Crust (makes enough for four 9-inch tarts):

  • 2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 

For the Filling (makes enough for one 9-inch tart):

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Chocolate shavings, for garnish
 




Instructions

 
Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
 
Step 2: To make your tart crust:  Place the butter in the bowl of a food processor and mix until creamy.
 
 
Step 3: Add the powdered sugar and pulse until blended.
 
 
Step 4: Add the ground almond powder and salt and pulse to blend.  Then add vanilla and eggs and pulse to blend ingredients, scraping down the blade and the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough may look curdled – that’s alright. Add the flour in three or four additions and pulse only until the mixture comes together to form a soft, moist dough – a matter of seconds. Don’t overdo it.
 
   
 
Step 5: Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into four pieces to make four 9-inch tarts. Gentle press each piece into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or for up to 2 days, before rolling and baking. The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month.
 
Step 6: Place a buttered tart ring on a parchment-lined baking sheet and keep close at hand. Work with one piece of dough at a time; keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
 
Step 7: Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of between 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick, lifting the dough often and making certain that the work surface and dough are amply floured at all times. (I find it easier to roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper). Roll the dough up around your rolling pin and unroll it onto the tart ring. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the ring, then run your rolling pin across the top of the ring to cut off the excess.  Chill it for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Putting it in the freezer is even better.
 
Step 8: To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (If you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.
 
Step 9: Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon (or prick it with the tip of a small knife). Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature.
 
Step 10: To make the chocolate cream: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with 1/4 cup of the sugar until bubbles form around the edge. 
 
Step 11: In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, about 3 minutes. 
 
Step 12: Remove from the heat and whisk in the semisweet chocolate until smooth. Strain the chocolate filling into the pie crust through a coarse sieve and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pie filling and refrigerate for 3 hours, until chilled.
 
Step 13: Let the pie stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla until firm. Spread the whipped cream over the pie, cut into wedges and serve, garnished with chocolate shavings.
 
 




Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours






Ingredients

 

For the caramel layer:

 

  •     Scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
  •     1/2 cup sugar, sifted
  •     1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  •     2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
  •     Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
  •     3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


For the ganache:

  •     8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  •     1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  •     4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
     




Instructions


Step 1: Click on Sweet Tart Crust for instructions on how to make the tart.

Step 2: Before making the caramel, make sure that you have all the ingredients measured out and ready to go because you have to work quickly once the sugar caramelizes.  Also have a medium heatproof bowl at hand to hold the hot caramel. 

Step 3: To make the caramel, bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, to medium heat and sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of the sugar. 



Step 4: When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or a fork and sprinkle over another 3 tablespoons.  When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. 

Step 5: The sugar in the pan may already have started to color and that is fine.  Stir in the corn syrup and boil the syrup until it reaches a deep caramel color – it will probably begin to smoke, and that is normal.

Step 6: Bring the simmering cream to a full boil.  Stand back from the skillet and stir in the butter and salt, if you’re using it.  The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so be careful. 

Step 7: When the butter is in, add the warm cream – the caramel will bubble furiously again.  Lower the temperature just a tad and let the caramel boil for just 2 minutes.  (If you check the temperature with a thermometer, the caramel should be at 226 degrees F.)  Pour the seething caramel into the heatproof bowl and set it aside while you make the ganache.

Step 8: To make the ganache, chop chocolate in small chunks. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or rubber spatula at hand. 



Step 9: Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half of it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds.  Working with the whisk or spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles. 

Step 10: Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motion.  When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.

Step 11: Cover the ganache with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the chocolate to create an airtight seal.  Set aside at room temperature for the moment. 

Step 12: To assemble the tart, stir the peanuts into the caramel using a rubber spatula.  If the caramel is too thick to stir or spread easily, gently warm it in the microwave in 3-second spurts.  Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell in a thin layer. 


Step 13: Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel.

Step 14: Check the ganache.  If it has thickened and is no longer pourable, warm it in the same way as instructed for the caramel above.  Pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the tart pan to even it.  Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes but no longer, and then keep it at room temperature until serving time.





Coconut Cream Pie

My family is difficult to please when it comes to coconut cream pies.  My Aunt Joyce is the only person I know that can make a coconut cream pie that pleases them.  I've attempted to make this pie many times but never had it come out perfectly. You might be wondering, what could I have possibly done so wrong. Well, for past pies, I’ve put rum in the coconut cream and no one liked it. I loved it by the way but maybe because I drank a little too much of the rum as I was making the pastry cream. Here’s the recipe for it if you are interested.   Another time, I made the meringue too sweet. And then there was another time I made the crust, and it totally shrank and collapsed in the oven.  So you can see that I truly haven’t had much luck with coconut cream pies.  Today, I was determined to successfully make and bake all three componets of the pie to perfection - the pastry crust, pastry cream, and the meringue. And after having a piece, I'm officially calling this pie my redemption pie!

 

Ingredients

 

For the pastry crust:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into 7 pieces
  • 5-1/2 tablespoons very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 5 pieces
  • About 1/4 cup ice water

For the pastry cream:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut extract

For the meringue:

  • 7 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
 

Instructions

 
Step 1: For the pastry crust: Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. 
 
Step 2: Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour until you have pieces the size of peas.  I pulse about 10 times to get this consistency. 
 
Step 3: Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 3 tablespoons of the water— add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary. or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. 
 
Step 4: Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling. (If your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly, though, you might be able to roll the dough immediately: the dough should be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge.)
 
Step 5: To roll out the dough: Roll the dough out on a floured surface. If you are working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. Fit the dough into the pie plate and, using a pair of scissors, cut the excess dough to a 1/4- to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the dough under on itself, so that it hangs over the edge just a tad, and flute or pinch the crust to make a decorative edge. 
 
Step 6: To partially or fully bake a single crust: Refrigerate the crust while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans or rice or pie weights. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. 
 
Step 7: Carefully remove the foil and weights and, if the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Return the pie plate to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes more, or until the crust is very lightly colored. Transfer the pie plate to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before filling.
 
Step 8:  To make the pastry cream: Bring milk to a boil. 
 
Step 9: Whisk yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisking constantly, drizzle in one-quarter of the hot milk. When yolks are warm, add the rest of the liquid in a steadier stream.  
 
Step 10: Return pan to medium heat and, whisking vigorously, bring mixture to boil. Boil — still whisking — for 1 to 2 minutes. Add vanilla and coconut extract and then stir in butter. Transfer cream to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in the refrigerator.
 
Step 11:  To make the meringue: In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1/2 cup sugar and the water. Dissolve the sugar completely. Do not stir. 
 
Step 12: Increase the heat and bring sugar to soft-ball stage (235 to 240 degrees). Use a candy thermometer for accuracy. Wash down the inside wall of the pot with a wet pastry brush. This will help prevent sugar crystals from forming around the sides, falling in and causing a chain reaction. 
 
Step 13: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs whites on low speed until foamy. Add 1/4 cup sugar and the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks form.
 
Step 14: With the mixer running, pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over fluffed egg whites. Beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. 
 
Step 15: To put the pie together: Lightly whisk the cooled custard and pour it into the crust. Spoon the meringue all over the pie and spread evenly to the edges. Sprinkle with coconut on top of the meringue.
 
Step 16: Bake 12-15 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Crust

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Published November 1, 2007






Ingredients

  •     1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
  •     1/2 teaspoon table salt
  •     1 tablespoon sugar
  •     6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  •     1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 2 pieces
  •     2 tablespoons vodka , cold
  •     2 tablespoons cold water





Instructions


Step 1: Add 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in bowl and whisk until combined.



Step 2: Add butter and shortening. Using a pastry blender, mix until texture resembles coarse cornmeal with butter pieces no larger than the size of small peas.

 

Step 3: Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.

Step 4: Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.





Dorie Greenspan's Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours






Ingredients

 

  •     1 to 1-1/4 cups sugar
  •     Grated zest of 3 lemons
  •     4 large eggs
  •     3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
  •     2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons butter (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temperature.
  •     1 9-inch tart shell made with sweet tart dough, fully baked





Instructions


Step 1: Have a instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Step 2: Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water.

      
Step 3: Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy, and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.
 

Step 4: Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture fees tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F.
 
Step 5: As you whisk- you whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling- you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point- the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience- depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp may take as long as 10 minutes.

Step 6: As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor);
discard the zest.


Step 7: Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Step 8: Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going- to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to bend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests, and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

Step 9: Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days or, tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

Step 10: When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell.



Step 11: Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.

Below is a picture of me and Dorie, the genius pastry chef who created the lemon tart recipe, in addition to many others that I've posted on my website.  She is adorable!





Dorie Greenspan's Sweet Tart Crust

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
 





Ingredients

  •     1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •     1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt
  •     1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  •     1 large egg yolk





Instructions


Step 1:  Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

Step 2: Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.

Step 3: Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up.

Step 4: Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.



Step 5: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  Just press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t be too heavy-handed–press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but don’t press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.



Step 6: Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

Step 7: To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.

Step 8: Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon (or prick it with the tip of a small knife). Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature.

Storing: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out–just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.





Double 9-inch Pie Crust




 

Ingredients

  •     3 cups all purpose flour
  •     2 tablespoons sugar
  •     1-1/2 tsp salt
  •     1 cup (2 sticks) of  very cold or frozen unsalted butter
  •     1/2 cup very cold or frozen vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
  •     About 1/2 cup ice water



 


Instructions


Step 1: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.



Step 2: Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas.

  

Step 3: Add the water and mix with a fork or pastry blender until the dough pulls together. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a round flat disk.



Step 4: Wrap in plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and let rest for 30 minutes.

Step 5: Roll out one disk into a 12-inch round and line the pan or dish. Roll the second dough disk into a 12-inch round and refrigerate until ready to use.




 

Fresh Berry Fruit Tart

This is another wonderful and delicious Dorie Greenspan recipe. I was looking for a dessert for Easter dinner and I stumbled across this one in Dorie’s cookbook, “Baking From My Home to Yours." This dessert epitomizes spring and is so simple and easy to make. Your dinner guests will love it and they will think you spent hours in the kitchen making it.
 

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours




 


Ingredients

  •     1 fully baked sweet tart crust
  •     2 cups pastry cream (See recipe below)
  •     6 ounces raspberries
  •     6 ounces blueberries
  •     6 ounces blackberries
  •     1/3 cup red currant jelly



 


Instructions


Step 1: Bake the crust and let it cool to room temperature.

Step 2: Make the pastry cream and chill it (preferably the night before), and then spread chilled pastry cream inside the tart shell.

Step 3: Arrange fruit on top. Heat 1/3 cup of jelly and 1 tablespoon water. Drizzle on top of fruit tart.


 

Dorie Greenspan's Pastry Cream


Ingredients

  •     2 cups whole milk
  •     6 large egg yolks
  •     1/2 cups sugar
  •     1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  •     1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  •     3-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
     

Instructions


Step 1: Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended.



Step 3: Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk– this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle.

Step 4: Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil.



Step 5: Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.



Step 6: Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky.

Step 7: Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.




 

Fresh Orange Cream Tart

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours






Ingredients

  •     1 to 1-1/3 cups sugar
  •     Grated zest of 3 oranges
  •     Grated zest of 1 lemon
  •     4 large eggs
  •     Scant 3/4 cup fresh blood-orange juice or Valencia orange juice
  •     3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •     1-1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  •     1 tablespoon cold water
  •     2-3/4 sticks (11 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature
  •     1 recipe for Sweet Tart Dough for 9-inch tart pan
  •     3 orange segments, for decoration
  •     1/3 cup quince or apple jelly mixed with ½ tsp of water, for glazing





Instructions


Step 1: Have an instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Step 2: Put the sugar and orange and lemon zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zests together between your fingertips until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic.


Step 3: Whisk in the eggs, followed by the orange and lemon juice.

     

Step 4: Set the bowl over the pan, and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F.  

    


Step 5: Whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you'll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. The tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don't stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience—depending on how much heat you're giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

Step 6: As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the zest.



Step 7: Soften the gelatin in the cold water, then dissolve it by heating it for 15 seconds in a microwave oven (or do this in a saucepan over extremely low heat). Add the gelatin to the filling and pulse once just to blend, then let the filling cool to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Step 8: Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.



Step 9: Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (The cream can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 5 days and, or frozen for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

Step 10: When you are ready to construct the tart, whisk the cream vigorously to loosen it. Spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the orange segments in the center of the tart.

Step 11: Prepare the glaze: bring the water and jelly to a boil. Use a pastry brush or a pastry feather to lightly spread the jelly over the orange segments and cream. Serve now or refrigerate the tart until needed.


 





Key Lime Tarts

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, March 1997

Makes 6 Tarts





Ingredients


For the Lime Filling:

  •     4 teaspoons grated lime zest
  •     1/2 cup lime juice from 3 to 4 limes
  •     4 large egg yolks
  •     1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk


For the Graham Cracker Crust:

  •     11 graham crackers, processed to fine crumbs (1 1/4 cups)
  •     3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  •     5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


For the Whipped Cream Topping:

  •     3/4 cup heavy cream
  •     1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  •     1/2 lime, sliced paper thin and dipped in sugar (optional)





Instructions


Step 1: For the Filling: Whisk zest and yolks in medium bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes.

    

Step 2: Beat in milk, then juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken.

Step 3: For the Crust: Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix crumbs and sugar in medium bowl. 

Step 4: Add butter; stir with fork until well blended.



Step 5: Divide mixture into 6 5-inch tart pans; press crumbs over bottom and up sides of pans to form even crust. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Transfer pans to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Step 6: Pour lime filling into crust.



Step 7: Bake until center is set, yet wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 17 minutes.

Step 8: Return pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. (Can be covered with lightly oiled or oil-sprayed plastic wrap laid directly on filling and refrigerated up to 1 day.)

Step 9: For the Whipped Cream: Up to 2 hours before serving, whip cream in medium bowl to very soft peaks. Adding confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, continue whipping to just-stiff peaks. Decoratively pipe whipped cream over filling or spread evenly with rubber spatula. Garnish with optional sugared lime slices and serve.





Montmorency Cherry Crisp

The Montmorency cherry, a sour cherry found in the United States, Canada and France, is the most popular cherry used for pies and preserves. In this recipe, the rich bittersweet cherry is topped with a buttery brown sugar rustic crumb crust.  I made this recipe while I was vacationing in Orleans, France and even though I only had access to a very small kitchen with limited equipment, the crisp came out delicious.  This recipe is a must try if you ever come across these delcious tart cherries.
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the cherry filling:

  • 
3-1/2 cups pitted tart cherries
  • 
1/4 cup cherry juice

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons tapioca

  • 1/2 cup sugar
 


For the crisp topping:

  • 1 cup quick rolled oats

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup flour
 



 

Instructions

Step 1: To make the cherry filling: Using a cherry pitter, remove seeds from cherries.
 
   
 
Step 2: Mix the cherries, cherry juice, cornstarch, tapioca, and sugar together and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
 
 
Step 3: Place cherry mixture in the bottom of a greased 8" x 8"  glass baking pan. 
 
 
Step 4: To make the crumb topping: With a pastry blender, mix the oats, butter, brown sugar and flour together until crumbly. 
 
Step 5: Spread rolled oat mixture over the cherries. 
 
 
Step 6: Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until cherries are bubbling.
 
 



 

Peach Crostata

 
Makes 8-10 servings
 




Ingredients

 

For the Tart Dough

  • 2-1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream
 

For the Almond Filling

  • 1-1/2 cups blanched, sliced, almonds
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
 

For the Streusel

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup blanched, sliced Almonds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
 

For the Peaches

  • 6 medium ripe peaches
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: For the tart dough: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and orange zest. Pulse until combined.
 
Step 2: Add the cold butter cubes and toss lightly to coat. Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.
 
Step 3: In a separate bowl, combine the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and heavy cream, and add it to the flour-butter mixture. Pulse to moisten the dough, then pulse until it begins to come together. 
 
Step 4: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of heavy cream. 
 
Step 5: Shape into a small disk, wrap, and chill thoroughly for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
 
Step 6: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
 
Step 7: Roll the chilled Tart Dough into a 12-inch circle, large enough to line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press the dough into the sides and trim the top so that the dough is flush with the tart pan. 
 
Step 8: Place the pastry shell in the freezer and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
 
Step 9: To make the filling: spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until light golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not powdery.
 
Step 10: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the confectioners’ sugar until very smooth and creamy. 
 
Step 11: Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla and the salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Thoroughly beat in the ground almonds. Set aside.
 
Step 12: To make the streusel: Melt the butter and set aside to cool. 
 
Step 13: Place the flour, almonds, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the melted butter and pulse to form pea-size crumbs. Spread the streusel out onto a cookie sheet and chill briefly.
 
 
Step 14: Blanche the peaches in boiling water. Peel the peaches and cut into 1/4-inch wedges. 
 
Step 15: In a large bowl, toss the peach wedges with the lemon juice, vanilla, flour and sugar. 
 
 
Step 16: Spread enough of the almond filling on the bottom of the tart to completely cover it, and arrange the peach slices densely on top. 
 
  
 
Step 17: Sprinkle the streusel crumbs over the tart. 
 
 
Step 18: Place the tart on a baking sheet to catch any juices and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust and streusel are nicely browned and the juices are bubbling. Allow to cool completely before removing the tart from the pan.
 
 




Pecan Pie




 

Ingredients

 

  •     6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •     1-1/2 cup sugar
  •     1 cup light corn syrup
  •     1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  •     3 large eggs
  •     2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  •     2 cups whole pecans
  •     1 recipe for 9-inch pie crust



 


Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Melt butter and mix with sugar. Add eggs to sugar mixture and whisk until combined.

Step 3: Add light and dark corn syrup and vanilla. Mix well.  

Step 4: Pour into unbaked pie deep dish 9 inch pie shell. Arrange pecans in circular pattern on top of pie filling.



Step 5: Bake at 325 degrees until outer edges of pie begins to bubble, approximately 1 hour to 1.5 hours.




 

Pumpkin Pie




 

Ingredients

 

  •     1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  •     3/4 cup white sugar
  •     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  •     2 large eggs
  •     1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
  •     1 cup evaporated milk
  •     1/2 cup half and half or light cream
     



 

Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 2: Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl.

Step 3: Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and half and half.



Step 4: Pour into pie shell.

 

Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.

Step 6: Serve immediately or refrigerate. Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.




 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie


For me, salted caramel is like crack. Once I start eating it, I get addicted and can’t stop. I wanted to make an apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner and decided to adapt my go-to Dorie Greenspan apple pie recipe by adding salted caramel to it. This pie is loaded with juicy apples, and not only does it capture the flavor of fall, the addition of the creamy and luscious salted caramel sauce adds a modern twist to a traditional Thanksgiving favorite. Serve it with ice cream and drizzle it with some salted caramel “crack” sauce. This pie is the perfect happy ending to any dinner, but especially my Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours

 




 

Ingredients

 

For the homemade salted caramel:

  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
 

For the pie:

  • 4 pounds (about 6 very large) apples (I use a combination of Granny Smith and Braeburn or Golden Delicious)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/3 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (or dry bread crumbs)
  • 2/3 cup salted caramel
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 9-inch double pie crust
 

For the glaze:

  • Milk or heavy cream
  • Decorating (coarse) or granulated sugar



 


Instructions


Step 1: For the salted caramel: Combine the sugar, 1/3 cup water and the corn syrup in a small saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, swirling the pot occasionally, until the mixture is a beautiful amber color (watch closely). 

 
Step 2: Once the desired color is reached, immediately add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated. 
 
Step 3: Remove from the heat. Add the heavy cream and stir to incorporate. Stir in the coarse salt. Set aside.
 
Step 4: For the pie: Butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

Step 5: Working on a well-floured surface (or between wax paper, or plastic wrap), roll out one piece of the dough to a thickness of about ⅛ inch.

Step 6: Fit the dough into the buttered pie plate and trim the edges to a 1/2-inch overhang. Roll the other piece of dough into a 1/8-inch-thick and slip it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Cover both the circle and the crust in the pie plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven and prepare the filling. The crusts can be well covered and kept refrigerated overnight.

Step 7: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 8: Peel, core and slice the apples into slices about 1/4 inch thick. I place my peeled and sliced apples in large bowl of cold water and lemon juice added to the water. Drain and dry apples and put them into a large bowl. Add the sugar, lemon zest, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Step 9: Toss everything together really well. Let the mix sit for about 5 minutes, until juice starts to accumulate in the bottom of the bowl.

Step 10: Remove the pie plate and top crust from the refrigerator and put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Step 11: Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the crust and then turn 1/2 of the apples and their juices into the crust. Spread half the salted caramel on top.  Repeat with a layer of apples and then the salted caramel. The apples will heap over the top of the crust. Pat them into an even mound. Dot the apples with the bits of cold butter.

Step 12: Very lightly moisten the rim of the bottom crust with water, then center the top crust over the apples. Either folds the overhang from the top crust under the bottom crust and crimps the crust attractively, or presses the top crust against the bottom crust and trim the overhang from both crusts even with the rim of the pie plate. If you’ve pressed and trimmed the crust, use the tines of a fork to press the two crusts together securely.

Step 13: Use a sharp paring knife to cut about 3 slits in the top crust.  Brush the top crust with a little milk or cream and sprinkle it with sugar.

Step 14: Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake the pie for another 50 to 60 minutes (total baking time is between 65 and 75 minutes), or until the crust is browned and the juices bubble up through the top crust. After about 40 minutes in the oven, if the top crust looks as if it’s browning too quickly, cover the pie loosely with a foil tent.

Step 15: Transfer the pie to a rack and let it rest until it is only just warm or until it reaches room temperature. 

Step 16:  Serve with salted caramel sauce drizzled on top.
 




 

Sicilian Pumpkin Pie

Recipe adapted from La Gazzetta Italiana
 
Makes 8 servings
 




Ingredients

 

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin 
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12-ounce container Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 9-inch single pie crust
 

For the Whipped Cream and Mascarpone Topping:

  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream 
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350° F.
 
Step 2: Using an electric mixer, beat pumpkin and sugar in large bowl until well blended. 
 
  
 
Step 3: Add eggs and next 7 ingredients and beat until blended. 
 
 
Step 4: Add mascarpone cheese and beat just until mixture is smooth. 
 
 
Step 5: Transfer filling to prepared crust.
 
 
Step 6: Bake pie until custard is set, about 55 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool. Tent with foil and chill.
 
 
Step 7: For whipped cream and mascarpone topping: Combine ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat to soft peaks. Cover and chill. Serve pie with topping.




The Best Ever Blueberry Pie

This recipe is by Dorie Greenspan and she touts it as the best ever blueberry pie.  And I must say that I agree with her — this is truly the best ever blueberry pie. Dorie does a couple of things that I really like. First she recommends sprinkling some plain dried breadcrumbs in the bottom of the crust before adding the blueberry filling. She does this so that the crumbs will absorb the excess juice and keep the crust from getting soggy. Second, Dorie adds just a splash of lemon juice and lemon zest to the berries to brighten up the flavor of the filling.
 
I made this pie in the summer months when the blueberries were in season. I then froze the unbaked pie and baked it later in November for Thanksgiving.  I was surprised at how well it baked after freezing and it tasted as if I had baked an unfrozen pie. If you plan on freezing an unbaked blueberry pie, it's important to double the amount of thickening agent in the filling. Cornstarch has a nice smooth texture and no real flavor and is the perfect thickening agent for berry pies.  However, too much cornstarch can lead to a murky color and a chalky taste. Flour is an easy thickener but too much of it can impart a gummy and cloudy filling and a starchy or flat flavor. To avoid these pitfalls, I used a combination of both in this particular pie -about 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup cornstarch.  The result was a perfectly tasting and thickened blueberry pie.
 

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours




 


Ingredients

 

For the Blueberry Pie Filling:

 

  •     About 6 cups fresh blueberries
  •     1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •     1/2 cup of sugar
  •     1/2 cup all purpose flour
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt
  •     Coarsely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  •     1/4 cup dry bread crumbs or crushed graham crackers
  •     1 large egg, beaten
  •     1 tablespoon water
  •     Raw Sugar, for dusting
  •     1 recipe for a 9-inch double pie crust



 


Instructions

 
Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 2: Put the berries in a large bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice and toss to coat evenly.  

Step 3: In a small bowl, stir together sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest. Sprinkle mixture over berries and toss to evenly distribute.  If you plan on freezing the pie,  don't forget to double the amount of thickening agent (e.g., flour and/or cornstarch).


 
Step 4: Remove the pie shell and top crust from the refrigerator.



Step 5: Sprinkle an even layer of the breadcrumbs or crush graham crackers over the bottom of the shell.

Step 6: Immediately transfer berry mixture to dough-lined pan.  



Step 7: Using your fingertips, moisten the rim of the bottom crust with a little cold water. Center the top crust over the filling and gently press the top crust against the bottom. Trim the excess from the bottom and top rounds; crimp to seal the edges.
 
Step 8: Using a small, sharp knife, cut 4 slits in the top crust crust.  Add 1 tablespoon water to the beaten egg to make egg wash.

Step 9: Brush the top crust with the egg wash, then sprinkle the crust with a little sugar.


 
Step 10: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake the pie at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees F until crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling for 50 to 60 minutes.  If you are baking a frozen pie, you may need to bake for a total of 90 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack and let it cool and settle for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 




 

Toasted Coconut Cream Pie

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours 
 
Makes 8-10 servings
 




Ingredients

For the custard:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
 

For the meringue:

  • 5 eggs whites
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • shredded sweetened coconut
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Toast coconut at 350 degrees until lightly toasted.  
 
Step 2: To make the custard: Bring the milk to a soft boil. 
 
Step 3: In a large saucepan whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt until well combined. While constantly whisking, pour 1/4 of the milk into the egg mixture. Continuing to whisk, slowly pour the remaining milk into the eggs. While still whisking, heat the mixture over medium heat until it begins to boil; let boil for up to 2 minutes, until it thickens. 
 
Step 4: Mix in the rum and vanilla. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the bits of butter. This should make the custard very smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut. Cover with plastic wrap pressed against the custard and cool in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. You can also store the custard overnight until ready to use.
 
Step 5: To make the meringue: In a double boiler over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup sugar and the water. Dissolve the sugar completely. Do not stir. 
 
Step 6: Increase the heat and bring sugar to soft-ball stage (235 to 240 degrees). Use a candy thermometer for accuracy. Wash down the inside wall of the pot with a wet pastry brush. This will help prevent sugar crystals from forming around the sides, falling in and causing a chain reaction. 
 
Step 7: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs whites on low speed until foamy. Add 1/4 cup sugar and the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks form.
 
Step 8: With the mixer running, pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over fluffed egg whites. Beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. 
 
Step 9: To put the pie together: Lightly whisk the cooled custard and pour it into the crust. Spoon the meringue all over the pie and spread evenly to the edges. Sprinkle with coconut on top of the meringue. 
 
    
 
Step 10: Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until meringue is golden and coconut is toasted.
 




White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie with Salty Bourbon Caramel

 
This deliciously silky and rich pie is the best banana cream pie I’ve ever had.  It has layers of fresh bananas, creamy delicious vanilla custard, and a luscious white chocolate mousse all inside a yummy chocolate cookie crust. However, it is the large spoonful of heavenly salty bourbon caramel sauce that is drizzled over each slice immediately before serving that put this pie off the charts for me. This recipe is a bit complicated and time-consuming but it is most definitely worth it.
 

White Chocolate Banana Cream Tart adapted from Cuisine at Home Jan/Feb 1999 

Salty Bourbon Caramel adapted from Bon Appetit, Published February 2012




 

Ingredients

 

For the Crust:

  • 1-1/4 cups chocolate oreo cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
 

For the Custard Filling:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium bananas, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
 

For the Mousse:

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup reserved custard
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream, cold
 

For the Salty Bourbon Caramel:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons bourbon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2' cubes
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: To make the custard filling: Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan to blend and evenly distribute the dry ingredients. 
 
 
Step 2: Whisk in egg yolks and mix in the milk immediately. Don't add the sugar directly onto the eggs and let it sit; this causes the yolks to "burn" into hard little lumps that detract from your creamy custard. So make sure your milk is ready to add immediately after you whisk in the egg yolks. 
 
  
 
Step 3: Transfer the custard to a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick, about 6 minutes
 
   
 
Step 4: Remove from heat. Whisk in unsalted butter and vanilla extract. Reserve 1/3 cup for the mousse. Transfer remaining custard to large bowl; cool for about 30 minutes. 
 
Step 5: To make the cookie crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend cookie crumbs and brown sugar using a pastry blender to get the lumps out. Add unsalted butter and stir to moisten evenly. 
 
 
Step 6: Press onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan. Bake crust until set and pale golden, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
 
 
Step 7: To make the white chocolate mousse: Dissolve the gelatin in 2 tablespoons hot water for 5 minutes. Stir several times to make sure that the gelatin is completely dissolved.
 
Step 8: Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler, stirring with a heat resistant rubber spatula.Then mix the gelatin into the melted chocolate. 
 
   
 
Step 9: In a mixing bowl, blend the 1/3 cup reserved custard into the white chocolate and gelatin mixture. Stir thoroughly. Set aside.
 
Step 10: Pour the cold heavy cream into a chilled mixing bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.  
 
Step 11: Stir a small amount of the whipped cream into the chocolate just to make it workable. Slowly fold in the the remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Don’t overmix.
 
Step 12: To make the salty bourbon caramel: Stir sugar, 1 tablespoon bourbon, corn syrup, and 1 tablespoon water in a medium deep saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. 
 
  
 
Step 13: Increase heat, bring to a boil without stirring, and cook, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar is deep amber in color, 6–8 minutes. 
 
   
 
  
Step 14: Remove caramel from heat; whisk in remaining 1/4 cup cream, butter, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Let cool for 5 minutes; whisk in remaining 1/2 tablespoon of bourbon and vanilla. Let bourbon caramel cool slightly. 
 
 
Step 15: To assemble the pie: Layer sliced bananas randomly in the pie shell and pour the warm custard over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours.
 
  
 
Step 16: Heap the mousse on in  a generous layer keeping the center thicker than the edges. Pipe the mousse around the edges of the pie.
 
 
 
Step 17: Serve with bourbon caramel drizzled on each slice.