Pie is one of those things I am getting better at. It’s the baking that kills me. Finding that spot where the crust has completely baked and the filling is properly cooked has been pretty difficult.
Fast forward to our annual Christmas party and I knew I needed to make something from this issue. After debating back and forth it was decided that I would attempt the Caramel and Pear Pie with Pecan Crumble. I thought it was enough of a spectacular dessert for the party!
|Pear Caramel Pie|
For this recipe I used:
1 Cup of Whipping Cream
2 Sticks of Cinnamon
1 Vanilla Bean – Split & Scraped
8 Pears – peeled and chopped
1/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Water
1 Tablespoon of White Vinegar
1 2/3 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
180G Cold Unsalted Butter – cut into pieces
40 ml Iced Water
40 ml Chilled Vodka
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
80 g Melted Butter
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
I started off with the pastry. I added the flour, sugar, and baking powder to a bowl along with the chilled butter.
|Pear Caramel Pie – Cutting in the Butter for the Pastry|
|Pear Caramel Pie – Adding the Liquids|
I transferred the dough to the counter and formed it into a ball. I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and let is rest in the fridge for about an hour.
|Pear Caramel Pie – Pastry for the Fridge|
Next I made the topping. I added all of the ingredients to a bowl and mixed it well. I set it aside for later.
|Pear Caramel Pie – The Pecan Topping Mixture|
Now it was time for the filling. I cup the 8 pears into small pieces.
|Pear Caramel Pie – Cutting the Pears|
I added the flour to the pears and mixed everything well.
|Pear Caramel Pie – Adding the Flour|
In a medium sauce pan I placed the cream, the cinnamon sticks, and the split and scraped vanilla bean and brought it to a boil. After the pot boiled I removed it from the heat and set it aside. After a few minutes remove the vanilla pod and the cinnamon sticks before proceeding to the next step.
|Pear Caramel Pie – The Cream Mixture|
And this is where things got ugly (hence no pictures). In another sauce pan I added the sugar, water, vinegar. I brought the pan to a boil and let it cook for 10 minutes or so. The mixture needed to be a deep caramel colour.
Following the recipe directions – which I knew would be problematic – I ended up burning my hand. Rats!
As I really made 2 of these Pies, to serve 15, the process should go as follows: After the sugar is a deep caramel colour, remove the pan from the heat. Carefully add the cream mixture to the sugar. Stand back while doing this. The pot will steam and spit. After the cream has been added quickly whisk the mixture together.
Pour the caramel mixture over the pears.
|Pear Caramel Pie – Rolling out the Pastry|
I then worked on fitting the pastry into the 8″ Springform pan. This took a little bit of work, but eventually I succeeded.
|Pear Caramel Pie – Fitting the Pastry|
I took the extra precaution of chilling the pastry in the freezer for 10 minutes just to firm it up. Once the pastry was firm I added the pear mixture.
|Pear Caramel Pie – Adding the final Pear Mixture|
Then I topped the pear mixture with the crumble.
|Pear Caramel Pie – Adding the Crumble|
Before putting the pie in the oven I loosely covered it with foil. Off to a 400˚ oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Then remove the foil and finish baking for another 20 minutes to brown the topping. Cool the the pie on a rack for at least 2 hours. Carefully remove the outer ring of the spring form pan and serve.
|Pear Caramel Pie – After Cooling|
|Donna Hay – Issue 62|
|Donna Hay – Issue 62 Beauty Shot|
- given this is a caramel pie I suspected it would be very sweet. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not. It was the perfect finish to a great dinner party!
- I made a second version of this pie with gluten free flour substitutes and it turned out perfectly
- as I obtained a pretty good burn from following directions I knew had a problem, I recommend everyone to use methods they know are right despite what a recipe may say
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – on the Bottom Right|
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie|
For this recipe I used:
For the pie crust:
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup plus 1 Teaspoon of Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
2 Tablespoons plus 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Heavy Cream
1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
2 Cups of Cake Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
For the filling:
4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
2 Ounces of Semi Sweet Chocolate
1 Cup of Sugar
1 1/2 Cups of Dark Corn Syrup
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 Cups of Halved Macadamia Nuts
How it went:
I gathered all of the pie crust ingredients together so thing would go quickly.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – The Ingredients|
I sifted the flour, cocoa and the salt together. Mainly to get rid of the lumps in the cocoa.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Sifted Flour & Cocoa|
Next I mixed the butter and sugar together until it was well mixed.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Butter & Sugar|
I added the egg and the vanilla and mixed well again.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Creamed Butter, Sugar, Egg & Vanilla|
Adding the flour mixture end mixing until just mixed.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Adding the the Flour Mixture|
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Mixed Pie Dough|
I turned the pie dough mixture onto the counter and brought it together and wrapped and refrigerated it for at least an hour.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Ready for the Fridge|
After about an hour in the fridge it was time to line the 10″ tart pan.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – 10″ Tart Pan – Removable bottom|
I floured the counter and the dough and rolled it out to fit the 10″ tart pan.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Pie Dough Ready to Roll Out|
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Rolling out the Pie Dough|
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Rolled out Pie Dough|
I moved the dough to the pan and trimmed the excess off.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Pie Shell Fitted and Ready for the Oven|
The it was time to bake the shell in the oven @ 350˚ for 15 minutes. It may need longer to fully bake. The crust should be dry with a matte finish.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Tart Shell Baked|
Now for the easy part. The filling. In a large bowl I added the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Filling Ingredients|
In a small sauce pan I melted the butter and chocolate together until just melted.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Melting the Butter and Chocolate|
I added the warm chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and whisked until well combined.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Mixed Egg & Chocolate Mixtures|
Then I added the macadamia nuts.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Adding the Macadamia Nuts|
I carefully added the filling mixture into the tart pan and the put the pan into the same 350˚ oven for an hour and 20 minutes.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Ready for the Oven|
My filling cracked because if how I moved the hot pan. I accidentally pushed up on the bottom of the pan. I let it thoroughly cool.
|Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie – Cooling on the Rack|
- ensure the rolled out pie dough is 1/4 of an inch thick. The crust will be soggy otherwise.
- make sure the crust is fully baked. The crust will be soggy otherwise.
- the recipe called for macadamia halves. I am going to assume the recipe also called for unsalted macadamia nuts. Following these, this pie turns out to be very expensive. I have made this pie several times with dry roasted salted whole macadamia nuts. The salt dissolves in the sugar and is, in my opinion, unnoticeable.
We decided to make:
|Kaffee & Küchen – From left to right – Macadamia Pie, Gingerbread, Oranges, Cookies, Stollen, Cookies|
While it is now May…. I do hope you had a very Merry Christmas and will continue have an amazing New Year!
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Crust Ingredients|
I started by mixing the flour, sugar, salt and coconut together in a bowl then cutting in the chilled butter with a pastry blender. I continued until the butter was in small pieces well coated with flour.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Cutting in the Butter|
Next I added all of the water and Vodka and mixed well with a fork.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Adding Water & Vodka|
When the dough came together I turned it out onto the counter and brought it together.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Thoroughly Mixed Dough|
Wrapped and ready for an hour in the fridge.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Dough for the Fridge|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – The Book and Dough|
Now it was time to make the Pastry Cream filling:
In a pot I mixed together the milk, coconut milk and the shredded coconut.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Milks & Coconut in the Pot|
Now it was time to scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and put the seeds and the bean in the coconut milk pot and heat everything on medium high heat until the mixture just starts to boil. Keep a close watch here!
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Splitting and Scraping the Vanilla Bean|
While the coconut & vanilla mixture is coming to temperature whisk the eggs, sugar, and flour together.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Mixing The Eggs, Sugar & Flour|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Just boiled milks|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Tempering the Eggs|
After quickly tempering the egg mixture I added it to the coconut mixture pot while whisking quickly. Place the pot back on the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is very thick. 4 to 5 minutes. My time was 7 minutes.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Adding the Tempered Eggs for the Final Boil|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Incorporating the Butter|
I removed the vanilla pod and discard it. Place plastic wrap directly on the warm mixture and chilled it well in the fridge. This can take a couple of hours. Ensure the plastic wrap is in direct contact with the pastry cream while it is in the fridge to avoid a skin forming.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Ready to be Chilled|
With the pastry cream in the fridge it was time to finish the coconut crust. I turned on the oven to heat it to 400˚. After removing the dough from the ridge and letting it rest for 10 minutes on the counter. I started to roll it out. Keeping the counter well floured and constantly lifting the pastry made it easy to roll out the dough to the right size.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Rolling out the Crust|
I place the pie plate I was going to use over the rolled out dough to make sure I had the right size.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Ensuring the Right Sized Crust|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Transferring to the Pie Plate|
I gently unrolled the dough over the pie plate and then worked it into the corners.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Working the Crust into the Pie Plate|
I trimmed the dough so that it had about a 2 cm over hang and then crimped the edges.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Crimping the Crust|
After crimping the edges I pricked the bottom of the pastry with a fork. This helps ensure there are no air domes created when it is time to bake the pastry shell. Then I put the pie plate in the freezer for 10 minutes.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Docking the Crust|
After 10 minutes in the freezer I lined the pan with parchment paper and filled the cavity with pie weights and into the oven the crust went.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Parchment & Pie Weights for Blind Baking|
After 20 minutes, when the edge started to brown, I remove the parchment paper and the pie weights and put the pie pan back into the oven until the pastry had completely cooked. That took 15 or so more minutes. The pie does not get cooked again so be sure the bottom crust is fully baked.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Finished Crust|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Toasting the Coconut|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Toasted Coconut|
Take a block of white chocolate and use a sturdy vegetable peeler to shave off curls. You can try to use the palm of your hand to slightly warm up the chocolate to get better curls.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Creating White Chocolate Curls|
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Chocolate Curls|
Now it was time for the final assembly! Ensuring the pastry shell is completely cooled I added the coconut pastry cream ans smoothed it out into a slight dome.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Pie Assembly – Pastry Cream|
I whipped the cream topping and piped it onto the pastry cream.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Pie Assembly – Whipped Cream|
Finally I added the toasted coconut and the white chocolate curls. Then off to the fridge until dessert time.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Pie Assembly- Coconut and White Chocolate Garnish|
This pie was simply amazing! Worth getting the cookbook for if you can’t make it to Seattle.
|Triple Coconut Cream Pie – Ready for Eating!!|
- I used the America’s Test Kitchen method of using Vodka for some of the water in the crust. Vodka contains less water and brings a lighter crispier crust. I think some of the butter in this crust could be replaced with shortening for a few more flakes
- When making the coconut pastry cream stay focused. I can see how this would easily go wrong. Having said that… have no fear!
- When making the chocolate curls – use a sturdy vegetable peeler
- Consider using your own home made shredded coconut – this would make the pie utterly sublime
I came across a recipe for individual sour cherry pies. I had sour cherries and I had some individual tart/pie pans I brought from Germany a couple of years ago. So it was time to inaugurate the pans!
For the pastry I was inspired by both Martha Stewart and America’s Test Kitchen. Thank you both.
This recipe called for:
2 1/2 Cups of all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Whey Low sugar substitute
2 Sticks (1/2 pound) of cold butter – in pieces
1/4 cup plain Vodka
1/4 cup cold Water
4 Cups of Frozen Sour Cherries (1 1/3 Pounds)
1 Cup of Whey Low sugar substitute
2 1/2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
Juice and Zest of 1/2 Lemon
1 Large Egg
2 Tablespoons Skim Milk (or regular milk or cream)
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie|
See all the details after the jump:
For the pastry I measured out the vodka & water and set them aside. I then measured out the flour, salt, and Whey Low into a medium mixing bowl. I cut up the butter into small pieces. Then used a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until there were small piece of butter coated in the flour. I then added the vodka mixture and mixed with a fork until it came together.
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Flour, Salt & Whey Low|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Adding the Butter|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Cutting in the Butter|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Adding the Water & Vodka|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Bringing the Dough Together|
I emptied the mixture on the counter and formed a ball. I cut the ball in half and wrapped each half in plastic and refrigerated them for an hour. I think this pastry is at it’s best when left overnight.
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – A Final Quick Knead|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Cutting the Dough in Half|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Dough Wrapped and Ready for the Freezer|
While the pastry was chilling I ensured the sour cherries were pit free by cutting each partially frozen cherry in half. Once I was sure all pits were removed I placed the cherries, Whey Low, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest into a medium bowl and mixed them well. I placed the bowl in the fridge while I rolled out the pastry.
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Filling Ingredients|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Zesting and Juicing the Lemon|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Adding the Filling Ingredients to a Bowl|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Mixed Filling|
I rolled out the pastry according to the directions and cut it into 6 pieces. I then fit the pieces in the pans. I did have to piece the pastry together to get everything to fit correctly. In the future I would split the dough into 6 pieces and rolled each one out individually. In the end everything looked fine.
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Dividing the Dough for the Bases|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Fitting the Dough to the Pan|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Final Adjustments|
I split the filling between the 6 pans then rolled out the other ball of pastry. I cut 6 pieces and them fit them to the top each pan.
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Filling the individual Pies|
I mixed the egg and cream together in a small bowl then brushed the top of each pie. The pies went onto a lined baking sheet. Then I cut a vent hole in each pie and let them rest in the fridge until the oven heated to 450. I should have cut the vent in the pies just before they went into the oven.
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Ready for the Oven|
When the oven reached temperature I took the pies out of the fridge and brushed them again with the egg wash and popped them in the oven for 40 minutes.
When the pies came out of the oven I let them cool on their sheet on a rack for 30 minutes. After removing the pans I let everything cool for another hour or so.
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Just out of the Oven|
|Individual Sour Cherry Pie – Final Cooling|
Turned out awesomely! If I do say so myself.
- this might be the place to use a shortening or butter/shortening crust as the pans are small and the pastry would be in smaller pieces
- I would make 25% more filling to ensure the individual pies are crammed full of flavour!
- I have come up with my version of pie dough it can be found here