Saturday, July 23, 2011

sugar pie, honey bunch; #34 of 52

in my quest for pies, i came across a recipe for hoosier pie, also called sugar pie.  it's easy to see why it would be called sugar pie; sugar is one of only 4 ingredients in the filling.  i guess the hoosier part is some state's way of saying, hey that's our state pie!  well, what's about 147 degrees outside with a humidity level near swamp stages and the simpler this weeks pie is, the better it is for all of us.  so grab the best of motown cd and crank up the four tops, it's time to make some sugar pies!

prebaked mini pie shells mean a quick baking time for the pies.  the  quicker it is, the less it heats the house up...

 hard to believe but 4 ingredients is all it needed:  heavy cream, brown sugar, flour and vanilla.  the topping is optional but i think it added a little something something to it.

mini sugar pies
makes 8 mini pies

1 package frozen mini pie shells (need 8 shells)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla-use good quality since you will taste it
crumb topping, recipe follows

place the  pie shells on a sturdy baking tray and prebake them according to the directions on the package but lower the temperature to 325 to reduce the amount of browning.  turn the oven temperature up to 350.  in a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and the flour by whisking them until blended.  whisk in the cream and vanilla.  divide the filling evenly between the pie shells, sprinkle them with the topping and bake until almost completely set in the center, about 18-20 minutes.  can be served warm or chilled.

cinnamon pecan topping
makes 1/2 cup
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped pecan pieces
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
combine the ingredients by rubbing them together with your fingers or a whisk.

so, i'm off to see the wizard-he's currently residing just outside manhattan.  i will be back but in the meantime, check this out-my book!!!  and as always, if you bake them, they will eat them...but do send a photo, i will post it here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

kiss my grits; a pie fit for a southern belle, #33 of 52

after making more than 30 pies so far in this challenge, i decided to try something that i could also serve in the cafe.  for the last 7 years, i have made many pies and every now and then, i need something new for the showcase.  but what?  what flavor could i use?  would it be fruit or would it be custard?  i decided to look around me and see what the common ingredients were and go from there.  well, that's when i saw the big bag of grits and it was enough to make me go, hmmm.  a quick google search revealed to me that  paula deen had beat me to the punch!  so i tried out her recipe but i had to make a change-i didn't have any quick cooking grits at home.
on the left are the old fashioned yellow corn grits that are lurking in the cupboard in my kitchen and on the  right are some quick cooking white grits that are now keeping those yellow grits company.  the main differences arethe size; the yellow grits are more coarse which means longer cooking times and of course the white grits have been parcooked hence the name quick cooking grits.

i decided to cook them in milk, which according to my grits research is a traditional italian method for  cooking them.
and they cooked and cooked.   is it any wonder i went out to the store for quick cooking grits...

the first pie was not up to my expectations and this is the second pie.  i changed several ingredients in the recipe, omitted the flour and my pie came out nice and creamy and if you didn't know it was grits, you might think it was coconut (but not flavorwise).

the biggest changes i made were to increase the amount of grits in the pie and to cook them in milk.  for the vanilla, i used a portion of a bean and added a pinch of fresh lemon zest.

sweet grits pie
1 (9") pie serving 8-10

1 partially baked (9") pie crust (i cheated and bought one) for instructions on partially baking a pie shell, follow the directions from pie #29 but do not bake it completely since it will be going back into the oven.
6 tablespoons quick cooking grits
1 1/3 cup milk
small piece of a vanilla bean, split 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
preheat the oven to 325.  place the grits into a pot with the milk and vanilla bean and over medium low heat, slowly boil the grits until they are soft and the mixture looks a bit like a porridge.  pour the grits into a heat proof bowl and whisk in the butter and sugar.  whisk in the eggs, half and half and lemon zest and pour it into the partially baked pie shell.  place the pie on a sturdy baking sheet to make it easier to handle and bake until set, about 50 minutes.  can be served warm with whipped cream or cold-either way is extra tasty!

this weeks round-up
looky here, a brownie pie!!!  this comes to us from nick of the kitchen, sophomoric and all i can say is well done!  you make a baker proud!!!  and to all of you out there, if you bake one, and email me a photo, i will post it,  just look above for proof!  may the force be with

Monday, July 11, 2011

potato crusted meatloaf pie; #32 of 52 pies

to keep things interesting, i like to use my weekly pie as a means to put dinner on the table.  in this heat, it hit 101 in nashville today, that makes baking any kind of pie, whether it is sweet or savory, a true challenge.  not only does it heat the house up, you then end up eating a hot meal while you sweat.  not at all what i wanted to do!  but i did want to try and make a pie crust of mashed potatoes and a filling made of meatloaf.

the mashed potatoes are slightly drier than usual and they are spread out evenly in a greased pie plate to make a bottom crust.  after prebaking the crust, it is ready to be filled with meatloaf.
the filling is made with lean ground turkey, 93% fat free, and studded with chopped mushrooms, grated carrots and zucchini.  the leaner the meat is, the firmer the filling will be and less fat will be incorporated into the potato crust.  the result is a lean but hearty meal.  another advantage to the filling recipe is that it can be made with any lean meat.  and for those that are gluten sensitive, the bread crumbs called for can be replaced with a gluten free bread or cracker to make this a gluten free meal.
the top crust is spread over the meatloaf filling and it bakes up in about an hour.
potato crusted meatloaf pie
1 (9") deep dish pie serving 8

potato crust
6 potatoes, fist sized-peeled and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
place the potatoes and salt in a saucepot and cover with water.  bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender.  drain potatoes and place in a mixing bowl and mash with the butter and salt until almost no lumps remain.  set aside while the filling is prepared.

meatloaf filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 pound lean ground meat-maximum fat content of 93%
2/3 cup bread crumbs
3 egg whites (or 2 large eggs)
1/2 cup prepared tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried italian herb blend

preheat the oven to 750.  saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until they begin to caramelize.  add the mushrooms, lower the heat a bit and cover the pan to cause the mushrooms to sweat and release their juices.  continue to saute over medium-low heat until the mushrooms are cooked then remove from the heat and place in a large mixing bowl to allow them to cool a bit.   combine all of the ingredients for the meatloaf in the bowl and using gloves, thoroughly mix and knead the filling together.

to shape the bottom crust, grease the pie dish and place slightly more than half of the potatoes in the dish.  with a rubber spatula, carefully spread and shape the potatoes into a layer that evenly covers the bottom and sides of the dish.  prebake the crust for 20 minutes.  remove from the oven, spread the filling evenly in the crust and top with the remaining potatoes by spreading them evenly over meatloaf.  place the pie on a baking sheet to catch the drips, lower the oven to 350 and bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 for turkey or 155 for beef, about 1 hour.   allow the pie to rest for 10-15 minutes then cut into wedges and serve.

hopefully, you will enjoy this as much as we did.  this is one that i plan to make again, just as soon as the temperature outside drops by 50 degrees, literally...bake one and send me a photo.  i promise that you will see it here!  stay cool my friends.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

all american brownie pie, #31 of 52

so, it was the afternoon on july 4th.  we had already come back from the hot chicken fest-and were totally fried, literally(read the previous post) and i realized that i hadn't baked my pie for our barbecue party.  my ideas of a fruit pie were shelved for something much simpler-a crustless brownie pie.  i know, that's a bit lame to call it a pie but in my own defense, i was sun-fried and overheated not to mention short of time.  brownie pie it is...

some brownies recipes call for whipping the eggs and sugar, and this recipe is one that instructs you to whip them to a ribbon.  but just what is a ribbon?  it is easily defined as a slowly dissolving mound of batter as it falls from the beater.  if you look at the photo to the left, you can see that the batter is slowly mounding and that the mound is slowly smoothing out.  ok, some imagination is needed but keep in mind that i held the beater with my left hand and worked the camera (somewhat clumsily) with my right hand and in that time frame, the mound built and dissolved.

baking a brownie in a glass or pottery pie dish makes it easy to serve as a dessert-just cut into wedges and serve with ice cream, caramel, whipped cream or any other garnish that you like.  this quick recipe mixes up in less than 15 minutes and can be baked and ready to serve in an hour and a half.

quick and easy brownie pie
1 (9") pie serving 8-10

3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup self rising flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder-natural not dutched

heat the  oven to 350.  grease a deep 9" pie dish and set aside.  in a mixing bowl on medium speed, whip the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until it forms a thick ribbon (see photo above).  while the eggs whip, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave on the lowest setting.  fold the butter and chocolate into the egg mixture.  sift the cocoa and flour over the batter and carefully fold it until it is mixed and no streaks remain in the batter.  pour into the pie dish and bake until slightly fudgy when tested with a pick-about 40 minutes.  allow it to cool about an hour before cutting.  serve it with ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge, caramel...the list goes on and on

and if you dare to bake one, snap a photo and send it to me, i will post it here!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

totally fried for the fourth

 it was the fourth of july, it was hot-really hot and we headed out to the 5th annual hot chicken festival.  unless you live around music city, you may not know what hot chicken is.  first of all, the word hot has nothing to do with the temperature that the chicken is when it is served.  it is all about the hot sauce that the chicken is dipped in after it is fried.  kind of like hot wings but better.  the chicken is always breaded by hand just before frying and it can either be tenders or cut chicken with bones.  after the chicken is deep fried, it is dipped in a hot sauce that can merely singe your taste buds or send smoke out your ears-beware, this ain't no sissy chicken!  even the "mild"ones will challenge you so unless you have an asbestos lining your digestive tract, think twice about asking for "hot" and you just might want to bypass the "extra hot" altogether.
it was a hot and sunny morning-over 90 and if you didn't slather yourself in sunscreen, you got burnt-like me...this was the view at 11am in east park.  each tent housed a hot chicken vendor and while some lines weren't too long, others circled the green.

 speaking of long lines, the line for princes literally circled the park and if you dared to join it, you waited at least an hour for chicken and in the mean time, you too were fried in the sun.
 we waited in line at our chosen vendor and people watched-at least one young woman passed out from the heat.  it was almost like entertainment-we watched as they tried to fan her as they waited for medical help.

 if only all of us could look as cool as this little fellow-he didn't seem to mind the heat at all

 most of us felt like this poor little girl; hot, sweaty and in search of a shady place to sit.  and let's not forget barbies friend-how humiliating to be dragged around by her hair...

 not every vendor sold hot chicken.  the dog of nashville did what they do best-hot dogs and for those not wanting to wait or in need of a snack while they waited, the hot dogs were ready and the line was short.

 keeping the dogs coming...

 we chose to purchase our chicken from pepperfire since their line was a lot shorter than others.

 coating the chicken in the chosen hot sauce.

 breading and frying each piece to order

 medium in the rear, mild in the front but honestly-how could anyone tell?

 mild-too much for this light weight!  i only ate about half and gave up, it was too hot for me.

 the coveted amateur trophy

a look at the competitors-they take it seriously and all worked hard in the heat

 the winners-congratulations nick worley

we enjoyed it but not the heat.  and speaking of heat, darry was thinking that medium wasn't such a good idea after all...glad i went with mild.