Tuesday, May 31, 2011

better late than never: pie #24-snickers bar pie

while it might seem that i have given up on this challenge-believe me, i haven't.  our younger daughter graduated from high school and with that occasion came all kinds of fan fare and family.  for the last two weeks, i have managed to make all of my pies but have not had the time to sit down and share them. 

when younger, much younger, my husband and i thought it would be exciting to move around the country.  we worked in restaurants which made finding jobs easy.  it also meant leaving behind friends and family.  we had reached a crossroad of sorts 16 years ago when my uncle was killed by a reckless driver.  we made the decision to move closer to my family on the east coast.  despite our good intentions, we didn't quite make it and now find ourselves still missing out on the chance to see them.  time flies, we often go a year or more between visits and in that time, our girls have grown up.  to have the chance to spend some time with my mom was great and the chance to share some pies with her was fun too.  

so first up is the snickers pie.  anything that has chocolate, caramel and candied peanuts works for me and most of the family too. in an effort to save time, i used a recipe i found online and made subtle changes to adapt it to pie size rather than a small square baking pan.  

a few notes to start with:  the crust was really greasy when i prebaked it.  actually, there was a lot of fat in the recipe in relation  to the amount of flour and i cannot help but think that there is a typo in it.  if you choose to follow the recipe, consider using a different crust.   while i could have just used the dulce de leche called for in the original recipe, i chose to caramelize sweetened condensed milk since i had a small collection of cans in the closet.

snickers pie
adapted from dorie greenspan by way of the naptime chef
1 (10") pie serving 10-12

caramel filling
2 (14oz) cans of sweetened condensed milk
preheat the oven to 350.  place the milk into a covered casserole dish and place the dish into a larger pan.  pour in enough hot water  to reach the same level as the milk.  place the pans in the oven and bake until a deep golden brown (darker than the photo above-i wasnt happy with the consistency).  it will take as long as 2 hours and you will need to stir it and whisk it every 20 minutes to gain an even tone.  while this bakes, make and bake the crust, recipe follows.  pour the caramel into the prepared crust, press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface andchill it completely-at least several hours or overnight.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
preheat the oven to 350.  place the flour, sugars and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  add the cubed butter and pulse a few times to cut in the butter but only until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  add the yolk and pulse to combine and forms a ball of dough.  press this dough into the bottom of a 10" pie dish which has been lightly greased.  prick the crust all over with a fork and prebake it until it just starts to color, about 20 minutes. allow it to cool completely before assembling.

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups salted peanuts
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
2/3 cup half and half
combine the sugar and water in a saute pan and cook over medium heat until it boils  and the sugar melts.  continue to cook until it starts to color but be sure that you do not stir it.  add the peanuts and stir to coat them with the sugar.  turn them out of the pan onto a greased baking sheet and allow them to cool completely. 

in a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and half and half on the lowest setting until it is melted and smooth.  using 15-20 second intervals on low power, be sure to remove the bowl and whisk in between heating cycles to prevent scorching.  

chop the peanuts coarsely and sprinkle 3/4 of them evenly over the top of the caramel while reserving the remainder for garnish.  drizzle the chocolate glaze over the peanuts and smooth it out evenly.  allow it to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  decorate the pie with the remaining peanuts.

so there you have it, one down and two more to go before i make this weeks pie!!!  make one and send me a photo, you will see it here!!!  bakinbabe116@aol.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

lagging behind...#23 of 52, pizzas!

don't even say it!  it absolutely is too a pie!!!  where i come from (just outside of new york city), they are referred to as pies; large pie, small pie, what ever size or toppings are added, it is a pie.  okay, i will admit it is a little bit of a stretch, but then again, is it?  it starts out with a crust and in the fashion of a free form, out of the pan pie, it gets a topping of what ever you choose.  after baking, it is cut into wedges, just like a pie...
for the teenager, just tomato sauce and cheese

for the husband, exotic wild picked mushrooms, onions and cheese with a little bit of white sauce and a drizzle of truffle oil.

for myself, a trip out to the garden for some spinach, onions and a few mushrooms (the regular button kind) with a little white sauce and cheese.  okay, so it has been very hectic-it's graduation week, the family is coming.  i had an opportunity to help a friend with her cookbook and now i am trying to get caught up.  besides we were hungry...

no knead dough crust-this is another of jim lahey's recipes adapted from the recipe posted on the tasting table.  makes 4 (8-10) pizzas each serving one person.  

3 cups all purpose or bread flour ( i used 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and the remainder was bread flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
desired sauces, cheeses and toppings:  takes about 1/4 cup sauce per pizza, 1/2-1 cup cheese and up to 1 cup of toppings.

combine all ingredients in a bowl and allow it to sit for 12-24 hours.  mine sat for about 18 hours.  at this time, scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured board and fold the ends in to the middle a few time.  make a smooth ball of dough and cut it into 4 even pieces.  flour them and let them rest under a towel for 2 hours.  heat the oven with a pizza stone in it (for the best results)  to 500, this will take about 20 minutes.  carefully shape one ball of dough into a 8-10 inch circle.  place the crust on a floured peel and add the desired toppings.  quickly slide the pizza onto the hot stone and bake until golden and bubbly-about 10-15 minutes.  shape each dough ball individually and just before it is to be placed in the oven.  it is hard to move the pizza if it has a chance to relax and stick to the peel.

with any luck, i will get the pie for last week as well as this week up soon!  and as always, bake with me!  send me a photo and i will post it here.  bakinbabe116@aol.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

bread baking day #39, roundup

the moment you have all been waiting for!  the salt rising bread round up.  well, it's a short one.  it seems that many of the usual bread baking day participants were reluctant to try this bread.  i don't blame them-it can be rather stinky and difficult.  not everyone in the roundup had a bread to show for it.  no matter, i enjoyed trying something new-hosting a challenge and baking something i had never baked before.

for all of you who stop by, visit zorra, the founder of bread baking day and see what the challenge for june is.  here is a hint, it is the 4th anniversary for bread baking day in june and zorra is hosting the challenge!  happy baking!!!

real italian garlic bread 
 swathi of zesty south indian kitchen located in texas, usa

3 different loaves; plain, cheese and dandelion
miss nirvana of creating nirvana in the midwest, usa was especially busy with this recipe!

salt rising bread recipe #2
baked by astrid of paulchens food blog in austria, vienna

bernard clayton's salt rising bread
baked by judy of judy's gross eats in ventura, california, usa

strong smelling doorstopper
is how zorra described her loaf!!!
as you know, zorra is the founder of this blog, she does her baking in andalucia, spain and you can read all about her bread and even watch a video about salt rising bread on her website, 1x umruehren bitte.

salt rising bread, recipe from a master's thesis by delene clark holbrook
baked by cathy of bread experience in atlanta, georgia, usa
this blog post is worth reading-lots of info on the history of salt rising bread!

besides the two loave i baked for the announcement, i also baked this loaf.
buckwheat salt rising bread

one other baker deserves a mention.  connie, from thailand, emailed me to tell me that she just could not get a loaf from any of the starters she made.  perhaps it was the ingredients-she may not have been able to find the right cornmeal.  either way, she made an effort and i appreciate that, too bad it didn't work!

many thanks to all the brave bakers who accepted my challenge and thanks to zorra for giving me the opportunity to host this event!  see you next month when we all bake again!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

country style pot pie, #22 of 52 pies

it was a cold and dreary day...and just whose idea was that?  it has been so nice and warm and sunny and then suddenly, i'm freezin in here!  when the weather is like that, i have a taste for hot soup.  soup isn't very pie like though so i decided to go with a pot pie-it's hot and creamy and perfect for cold and dreary days.
right now, we have lots going on in the garden.  in between showers, i grabbed my basket and a pair of scissors and went out to gather what i would need.  leeks, broccoli, peas and herbs (parsley, sage, oregano and thyme).  in the house i had some mushrooms and garlic as well as some asparagus that my husband had already picked from the garden.  if it seems like something is missing, it is.  when i pulled out the leftover turkey from the fridge, i was nearly over come by the smell.  it had been living in there for a week but i thought it might still be good.  however, it is destined to make the trip to the digester where the worms will enjoy it.

as always, when i am out in the garden, the captain tags along.  somebody has to make sure i am behaving.  as you can see here, he got sucked into the catnip.  looks like he needs the chaperon now...
i prepared the vegetables first.  some were sauteed-leeks, garlic and mushrooms.  others were blanched-carrots, broccoli and asparagus stems.  others were added raw so they would not overcook-broccoli florets, asparagus tips and freshly shucked peas.
using vegetable broth and some half and half, i made a nice creamy sauce and finished it off with the herbs.  then it was poured over the vegetables and topped with biscuits.

into the oven it went and in 30 minutes, dinner was served!

country style pot pie
one (9") crustless pie which serves about 4 as a main course

the great thing about this recipe, you can customize it however you like!  don't like broccoli-use something else.  just want mushrooms-go for it!  want it meaty, add cubes of cooked meat and use a beef broth.  you call the shots-me, i'm going for turkey next time.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, green part only
1 tablespoon garlic
2 cups mushroom-buttons, halved or quartered
3 cups assorted vegetables-for things that will overcook easily (broccoli flowers, asparagus tip), plan to add those raw.  for the hard ones (carrots, potatoes) cook them first
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups broth
1/2 cup half and half
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs
salt and pepper, to taste
1 batch of biscuits, recipe follows

preheat the oven to 375.  sautee the leeks in the olive oil until soft, add the garlic and continue to saute.  add the mushrooms and cover the pan to cause them to sweat.  when mushrooms are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and prepare the remaining vegetables.  combine them in and even layer on the bottom of the pie dish.  in a sauce pot, melt the butter.  add the flour and cook the roux over medium heat for several minutes, stirring constantly.  whisk in the broth and then the half and half and continue to simmer gently for a few minutes.  off the heat, season with salt and pepper and then stir in the herbs.  pour over the vegetables and top with the biscuits.  bake until bubbly and the biscuits are an even golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

buttermilk biscuits
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  sprinkle the butter cubes over the top and pulse to cut in the butter-the mixture should look very coarse with little bits of butter visible.  add the buttermilk and process long enough to combine.  turn out onto a floured surface and with floured hands, pat it into a 1/2" slab.  using a 2" cutter, make small biscuits, reworking the scraps to yield 16-18 biscuits.  arrange the biscuits on top of the pie and follow the baking instructions.

one more round up!
my berry rhubarb pie was an inspiration to melanie.  she used the pie crust recipe i posted with that pie to make her raspberry-cherry pie.  and can you believe that is her first attempt at a lattice top?  beautiful pie melanie, thanks for sending me the photo!

and as always, bake one, send a photo and i will post it here.  go ahead, i dare ya... double dare ya... bakinbabe116@aol.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

ready, set, deliver!!!

finally, the cake was finished and ready to be delivered.  it was like someone lifted a weight from my shoulders-then came the delivery and when you are traveling with cake, anything can happen...how about a marathon?  we forgot about that and the street closures made getting to the location of the reception a challenge.  then there was the ac in the van-it decided not to work on this day of all days.  well, despite the few hitches, the cakes travelled well and all was good.

a close-up of the texture i applied to the buttercream.  it gives it a bit of a rustic look which works well with buttercream.  it can also help to hide any flaws in the cake but i wasn't worried about that this time.

 the assembled cake in the fridge-generally, i do not assemble in advance but decided to give it a try this time.  with the cake in the fridge chilling for about 4 hours before we left, i was confident that it would be okay.  that was before i learned about the ac in the van and the street closures!

 a close-up of the textures

 the flowers-blue hydrangeas and calla lilies.  the hydrangeas must have been some variety from europe-they had fleshy stems rather than the woody ones we have here.  they were also air brushed to be blue.

 after extensively touring the downtown area trying to get to the building (*&%# marathon...)  we finally arrived.  the cake was set on a piano and this is the process i went through to add the flowers.  first it was some greenery-ferns.

 next it was hydrangeas and some leaves

 finally, calla lilies

 the cake!

 the groom's cake-done by my friend garrett.  it was very well received!  the groom mentioned that his friends kept moving the tiny golf ball that was on the putting green to the sand traps-apparently, his game includes time in the sand traps.

the happy couple-congratulations to jeanne and john!