Jenn Gin Cookies: An attempt to bring the happy back to the hour.

The funtastic start to the long weekend quickly took a turn by Saturday night when I started having some psychologically deflating side effects from the high dose of Prednisone I was put on last Wednesday. I had forgotten how intense this level can be and ended up feeling awful on Sunday. By Monday, I needed something to get me back on the positive mental track and since gardening out in the heat was out of the question, I went to the other space where I can always find something to invent, experiment with, or edit— my kitchen.

The drive to edit doesn’t stop when I leave the office. I’ve realized that it infiltrates most of my life. From the high-walled, razor-wired personal stuff to the blatant spray painting of an antique chandelier, I’ll make a tweak if I see fit.

Baking is not immune to my editorial revisions, to be sure. As I’ve said many times before, I can’t seem to follow recipes to the letter. It must be some sort of mental block. Or I’m just too damn stubborn.IMG_20170529_131438_897

So when I needed a pick-me-up on Monday, I searched the kitchen to see what I could create from what was on hand. I knew I needed a dessert for the Greek family Memorial Day dinner, so I first gathered up the basics of flour, sugar, and butter. Found three limes that were leftover from a gin and tonic weekend…and then it hit me—new cocktail cookie! I already knew a good iced-lemon cookie recipe, so I decided to adjust it into a liquored-up treat.

20170529_132811I always like a splash or two of whiskey or bourbon in a pie, and I’ve done a cookie with tequila, so gin seemed like the natural next step in editorial experimentation. Starting with the original recipe, I changed the call for lemon zest and juice to lime, added a big dousing of gin and an extra egg white (because it was there and needed to be used). I’m no chemist, and I barely math, so this was risky and I knew it. But it felt right and I was starting to feel better myself. The dough came together nicely. Perhaps a bit sticky, but the taste was spot-on. Sweet tart scrumptious. As with the lemon cookie recipe, it was hard not to sit there and just eat all the dough raw. I controlled myself and rolled out tablespoon-sized clumps onto the cookie sheet.

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While those sticky, little dough balls were in the oven, I whipped up the icing for their tops. Knowing the liquor in the dough would mostly bake off, I decided to bring back the full strength in the icing. Powdered sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and gin—what could go wrong?

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Nothing. Nothing went wrong with that. It was delicioso! Meanwhile, the dough balls were puffing up into what looked like wee biscuits. It was bizarre and I wondered if it was the addition of the gin or the extra egg white. Either way, they were looking almost fancy and I was getting excited. The previous day’s pains and discomforts were melting away as this new baking adventure was coming together.

Ding! The cookies were done, out da oven, and onto a cooling rack to set a bit before drizzling with the icing.

The smell was like the feel of summer evening drinks with a sweating glass pressed cool against a hot brow.

20170529_140426.jpgOnce they were cool enough to drizzle, the idea of a drizzle wasn’t enough anymore. I coated those biscuity looking babies to the hilt. I mean, why not? They ended up sitting in puddles of ginny sweet goodness and it was glorious to gaze upon.

The final cocktail cookie had a texture that carried the heft of the glaze well and the combination felt just right. The full-force gin in the icing gave it a kick that everyone was surprised with but enjoyed…especially my coworkers. What? *Clears throat*

Moving on…the pick-me-up experiment is going down in the books as a success, and I’ve named them Jenn Gin Cookies. Gin and tonics are restricted to a glass no longer!

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Jenn Gin Cookie Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg (plus one egg white if you want to do what I did)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Gin

Gin Glaze:

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons lime zest

1/3 cup fresh lime juice with a big splash of Gin in it

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and zest in a bowl. In another bowl (I used my KitchenAid), beat the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and lime juice, gin, and combine. Finally, add in the flour mixture gradually with the mixer on low.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart and bake until golden on the edges. About 15-20 minutes depending on your dough ball size. Be sure to flip them halfway through.

Let cool completely and then “drizzle” with the glaze. They should set for about an hour before devouring.

Bottom’s up!

 

C for Chemistry and a Cookie

Pretty sure I got a solid C in high school chemistry. I took it over the summer months and I’m confident the only reason I got that C was because my teacher was friends with my dad, who was a guidance counselor at my school. I remember spending most days getting out of class on the pretense that I was going to see my dad for some important reason or another, which for me was asking him for a snack from the vending machine or to snag me one of the donuts that were intended for faculty only.

So any chemistry I might have learned at one point, well, that didn’t happen. Side note: I also took every math class from 8th grade on twice. My spectacular performances in chemistry and math may be why I avoided baking for so long. I learned to cook through jobs in kitchens in college and I always enjoyed the freedom to experiment and create. But baking? Frankly, it scared me. It seemed too exacting and scientific.

I got over that fear. The need to be learning new things all the time overpowered the fear and I dove in a few years ago. Starting out mostly sticking to recipes, I recently began branching out on my own into the scary nether regions of recipe substitutions and adaptations.

Let’s get chemical! Chemical!     (I also like to substitute words in songs, creating ridiculousness.)

Moving on, cookie time. The other day at work we were informed about a office-wide meeting. I’m a hater of meetings. Not only do I not enjoy groups of people collected in a small space, I hate dumb questions. Those people that say there are no stupid questions are idiots. Call a pointless meeting and you’ll hear a stream of stupidity in the form of questions. They exist.

So I thought, if we’re going to have to sit through a meeting, might as well have something good…like a cookie. I went home and looked around at what I had on hand and found the rest of the white chocolate chips from a previous cookie endeavour. Decided I needed to get rid of those faux chocolately things and since I didn’t have any macadamia nuts, I kept looking for something to go with those little bastards.

Finding nothing that peeked my interest inside, I did what I often do when I need inspiration in the kitchen—I went out to the garden. Running my hands through the rosemary and basil bushes, pulling rose petals of he loves me/he loves me not, plucking chamber bitters from under the peppers, and crushing thyme in my palm. It wasn’t until my foster puppy ran through the lemon verbena, her paw stomping on a branch, releasing that sharp, clean, grassy-citrus scent, that I knew what would pair with the white chocolate.

I clipped a few pieces with both mature and baby leaves and headed back inside to try a new cookie–lemon verbena and white chocolate chip.

20160817_183432.jpgDeciding to use my usual cookie recipe as the base, I thought infusing the herb into the butter would work best. Instead of bringing the butter up to a fast browning, I put it on low and chopped about 12 leaves into it to warm for twenty to twenty five minutes. After that time, I then turned up the heat to medium high and browned the infused butter.

I tasted the butter before adding the rest of the ingredients and it wasn’t quite lemony enough for me. Lemon desserts are my favorite and I need more to balance with the sweetness of the chocolate, so I added about 6 raw, chopped leaves into the flour.

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Cut the sugar by a quarter from the regular recipe and only did one tablespoon of vanilla extract. I took the risk of messing up the chemistry of the cookie because I didn’t want the savory verbena to be overpowered. The dough ended up coming together despite my changes. Dropped large portions onto the baking sheet hoping the bigger size would even out the flavors and give me the texture I wanted.

After an excruciating twelve minutes, with a flip halfway through, I pulled the sheet from the oven and stared at them while they cooled. They were a beautiful blonde, slightly darker around the edges, the white chunks were highlighted by the visible bits of verbena and the smell was intoxicating. I was pleased with the appearance. Once I felt like I had waited long enough, I made my chamomile tea, grabbed one of those fancy pants cookies, and dove into the deliciousness.

Chemistry and math be damned, I did it.

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Lemon Verbena and White Chocolate Cookies (mine made 12 extra large cookies):

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

14 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk

1 large egg

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

15-20 leaves fresh lemon verbena

Melt 10 tablespoons butter in pan on low along with about 12 chopped verbena leaves. Allow that to warm for about 20-25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 and get a cookie sheet ready with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, add baking soda and 6 raw, chopped verbena leaves. Set aside.

Bring the butter on the stove up to medium high heat and brown it. Once it has that nutty aroma, pour it into a bowl with the remaining 4 tablespoons butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Stir in the salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and eggs. Whisk for 30 seconds, let sit for 3 minutes. Repeat that two more times.

Add the flour mixture to the bowl and stir until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Measure out dough into about 2 inch balls. I ended up with exactly 12. Bake on middle rack for 6 minutes, flip sheet around and bake another 6 minutes. Pull from oven and set the sheet on cooling racks. Allow to cool long enough to set…

then try not to eat all of them at once.

Bye, Guy! and a Pie

A friend wanted a pie. Isn’t that how all pie stories begin?

The plot of this one is simple–last day of work for a coworker and he wanted a peach pie. It’s the sequence of events that get a bit blurry in my medi-fuzzed mind. Since I can’t seem to write down recipes as I go, and I have some preternatural aversion to measuring, the particulars of this one may be a bit sketchy. In spite of all that, here we go.

Bourbon Peach Pie with a Bacon Lattice Maple Syrup-Drizzled Topping

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When I think of peach pie, I tend to think of bourbon. When I think of bourbon, I think of bacon. Now, we’re not going to get into an argument about whether Jack Daniel’s is a whiskey or a bourbon or a bourbon whiskey. For my purposes, it mixes with the flavors of peaches, bacon, and honey just riiight.

20160809_192636.jpgWith ingredients like that, the only way to screw up is to use a store-bought pie dough. Just say no, people. Making your own is pretty damn simple. It may take six or three times to master it, but it’s worth it every single time. So get to learning if you don’t know how already.

Yep. There’s mine in all its near perfection glory. And yes, I’m bragging, but in all seriousness, there’s something about melding together the basics of flour, butter, salt, and water with your hands until it becomes not just the carrier of all the other flavors, but often becomes the star of the show.

*I have to admit that somehow my crust shrunk a little too much during the par bake this time around. Gah! and shhhhh.

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While the par-baked pie crust cooled, it was time to skin, slice, and season the peaches. I ended up using a mix of regular and white peaches because I wanted ripe ones. After a lot of feeling up of a lot of peaches, I found five firm, juicy big ‘uns. Tossed with the JD, lemon juice, honey, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and flour, they were ready to set aside while soaking up all those flavors.

For the bacon lattice top, I chose a thick cut, lower sodium bacon. Personally, I have to
watch my sodium intake for health reasons, but the more I’ve learned about it through 20160809_195530.jpgnecessity to keep myself healthy, I’ve realized most people need to cut back. PSA aside, when it’s floating on a delicious peach mixture and drizzled with maple syrup, nobody is going to notice if it has a little less sodium. I cooked the bacon on the stove-top just long enough so it wasn’t completely done, but not totally flimsy either. Browned, but not crunchy. Mmmmm, bacon.

Once the peach filling was poured into the homemade pie crust and the latticed top drizzled with maple syrup, it was time to pop that sweet lovin’ baby in the oven and sit back with glass of JD. The perfume of the mapled meat and honeyed peaches mingled with the warmth of the liquor sliding along, soothing away the tough moments of the week, month, year, so far. Pie baking is my therapy.

And then it was done. And then it was brought to the party. And then it was gone.

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Pie Dough:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 stick of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup ice water

Sift the flour, toss in the salt, and work the butter in until the butter pieces are about the size of a walnut. Make a well in the center and slowly pour in the ice water a tablespoon at a time kneading it until the dough just comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least thirty minutes before rolling out. Put back in the fridge after setting in pie plate before par-baking it.

 

Peach Filling:

2-3 pounds peaches (about 5-6 large)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup sugar (I used dark brown)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey (I used 4 tablespoons. heh)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch of salt

5-6 tablespoons of flour

 

Bacon Topping:

8-10 slices of bacon (I used thick cut, lower sodium)

Maple syrup, enough to drizzle all over

 

425 degree oven for 15 minutes and then drop the temp to 375 for 25-30 minutes.

I had to cover it with aluminum for a few so the bacon didn’t overcook. Just keep an eye on it and let it go to your liking.

 

A Tart Despite Herself

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Summer is a time to cram sugar-laced fruits into butter-laden dough, bake until golden and bubbly, and then eat straight from the dish with a spoon. Or share it with others. Years ago, a friend of mine gifted me a magnet that says, “Love people. Cook them tasty food.” I’m not an emotionally expressive person, so this rang true to my core. It’s what I do. Instead of giving hugs or stuttering over sappy sentiments, I make food for those I care about.

After an almost two week vacation on the road visiting friends and family, I realized near the end of last week that I hadn’t made anything in a while. Whether it’s cooking, baking, gardening, writing, or some sort of craft, I can’t go too long without putting my hands to work. And it shows. My hands look about 20 years older than I am. Even so, they’re one of my favorite parts of me.

One not so favorite part is my brain and its exacting inability to follow directions. I thought I had beat this. I had gotten so consistent at reading through entire recipes before doing anything else. Then I’d gather ingredients and read through it again. Yeah, so I must not have done that enough times to make it an actual habit.

On Thursday afternoon, I asked a coworker if I should make a blueberry tart to bring into work the next day. Of course, the answer was yes, so I stopped at the store on the way home and picked up four pints of blueberries that were on sale. I always prefer using produce that is in season for cooking and baking, and since we’re coming to the end of the blueberry season here, I knew I wanted to do one more dessert with them.

I also thought I knew which recipe I wanted to use for the tart. Another one from Kate Lebo’s book, Pie School: a blueberry and lemon verbena galatte. Except as a tart. So I glanced over the recipe, mainly looking at the ingredients for the filling since I wasn’t doing a galatte dough. I planted lemon verbena in my garden this spring and was pumped to be able to use it.

This is where things got funky. I googled tart dough recipes and saw the classic French pastry dough recipe in which you bring the butter to a boil in the oven and I got all sorts of frazzled with excitement at the idea of that. And then it was all downhill from there.

I mixed the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt in a pyrex bowl and put it in the oven. Forced to read those directions multiple times because of conversions, I then looked over the other recipe for time and temps. If you’re keeping up, I was working with two different recipes at that point–one for the dough, one for the filling ingredients. What else could I need, you ask? I am not the one that can answer that for you, but I do know that I started following a third recipe.

No clue why, but I started using the ingredient list on the third recipe and mixing said ingredients, minus the lemon zest and opting for lemon verbena instead. Are you confused yet? I’m confused just remembering the ordeal. I have no idea how my brain made all of it seem okay at the time. After mixing, I check the third recipe for a baking time and there wasn’t one…um, what? Only then did I read the actual recipe and realized they were cooking the blueberries ahead of time and then just adding to a pre-baked dough.

Wow. I’d really outdone myself. It was too late to fix the fact I had tossed corn starch20160625_215600.jpg straight in with lemon juice and sugar and blueberries and I wasn’t going to cook them because screw that, my dough was ready to go. The one thing I did correctly. It sure was a purty dough and smelled like straight browned butter of gloriousness. I was a bit concerned that there wasn’t really enough to fill out the tart pan, but with some heal-of-the-hand work, I stretched out it to cover. Yes, I could have baked the dough and pre-cooked the blueberries at this point to bring my mess closer to that third recipe, but did I do that?

20160625_215631.jpgI did not. I piled those little blue pellets of sweetness into the tart dough and moved ahead with my version. Put that possible disaster into the oven at 375 for 45 minutes. I checked it around 35 minutes, but the fruit wasn’t quite to the consistency I wanted to see. It was just where I wanted it to be at the 45 min. mark, knowing it would still cook down some after coming out of the oven. It looked a bit soupy when I set it on a cooling rack–I was nervous.

Once again, my inability to follow directions did not an atrocity make. The blueberry tart ended up turning out quite well. It didn’t hold together as much as I would have liked, but the flavor was a perfect balance of sweet and tart. It went very well with morning coffee. The people seemed pleased.

Another success despite myself!

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French Pastry Dough Recipe

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 rounded cup flour

Preheat the oven to 410º F

1. In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.

2. Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.

3. When done, remove the bowl from oven, pour in flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

4. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.

5. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.

 

Blueberry Tart Filling

3 pints of blueberries, plus one cup set aside to top before serving

12-15 leaves of lemon verbena, finely chopped

2 tablespoons corn starch (I may use 5 tablespoons of flour next time instead)

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

lemon zest for topping

 

Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes. Check at 35. Refrigerate 45 minutes to cool or up to overnight. Top with fresh blueberries and lemon zest before cutting.

 

 

 

 

Hello, 2016. Here’s a pie…to start.

You could say I’m fashionably late to this year’s domestic endeavors party. Seeing that it’s the end of April, that might be a slight understatement. Or a massive one. Either way, here we are.

Pie. Of course I’m starting with a pie. Pie4lyfe…or something. Anyway, I was bored at work and clicking around on the internet (just kidding, Debbie, I’m always busy busy bzzzzz) when I paused on a Garden & Gun article about a pie I had previously saved multiple times in different recipe storing apps, because I might not have the best memory, so I need many reminders. It’s called an Atlantic Beach Pie. The ingredient list caught my attention first, and the steps seemed super easy. I’m all over easy, so I was all over this pie.

Lemony desserts have long been the twin flame of my sweet-sensory taste buds’ life. Growing up, my dad would go out and get doughnuts on Saturday mornings from the local place on the edge of our neighborhood. He would come back with an assortment that included a lemon-filled. Nobody would ever grab for or ask for that one. We wanted the chocolate and sprinkles or cinnamon sugars. At some point, I picked up on his possible trickiness, so I tried one of those strange things–instantly hooked on that gooey tart treat. I don’t know whether it was just because I always wanted to be doing whatever my dad was doing or whether I actually liked the taste, but from then on, I’ve always added at least one lemon-filled doughnut to the dozen.

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The Atlantic Beach Pie is a new addition to my lemontastical-dessert addiction. The recipe calls for a half cup of either fresh lemon or lime juice. Or a mix of both. I decided on a mix, doing two large lemons and one smallish lime. The rest of the filling is just egg yolks and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Simple. As usual, I couldn’t follow the straight forward directions, so I started thinking about what other flavor I like with lemon. Thyme.

Any time I can incorporate foods I grow myself into a recipe, I’m on it like my dog on a spoonful of peanut butter. Out to the garden I went to cut some fresh English thyme. One thing I have learned, even if I’m not going to follow the instructions to a T, I do collect and measure out all ingredients ahead of starting any step. 

After gathering everything up and reading the directions just one more time, I got to work on the crust. I think one of the reasons I adore lemon desserts so much is that they are not overly sugar-laden in flavor. The tartness of the citrus brings something more to the tongue, and I appreciate that. Along those same lines, I tend to crave a salty pop to sweetness, which made the idea of a saltine cracker crust very intriguing. I did the full 1 1/2 sleeves of crackers with the higher end of the range of butter, of course, but I cut the sugar to somewhere in between 1 1/2 and 2 tablespoons. Cutting back on sugar is my M.O. Those Wilford Brimley commercials really worked on me–I hear him saying “DIABEETUS” in my mind every time I look at the amount called for in recipes.

Pretty sure I screwed up the intended texture of the crust…and won. The instructions said 20160426_194803.jpgsomething about using a food processor or your hands to break up the crackers finely, but not to dust. Well, those two methods would result in two very different outcomes, if you ask me. I chose hands out of pure laziness of not wanting to dirty up my food processor. I ended up leaving the saltines on the larger chunk side thinking that kneading in the softened stick of butter would break them up further. Didn’t really happen that way, but I went with it. Turned out that the larger cracker pieces held up against the creamy filling and added a welcomed textural experience to each bite. Baked, the crust was golden gorgeous.

Next up was to make the filling. I took the suggestion of mixing fresh lemon as well as lime juice and used two large lemons and one smallish lime to equal the half cup of liquid needed. Mixed in with the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks, this is when I added my very finely chopped thyme from the garden. I only did one heaping teaspoon of the thyme, figuring it would be enough to tell if I like it, but not enough to completely ruin the pie if it wasn’t right. Turned out the thyme blended splendidly, adding a grounding, earthy flavor to the lightness of the citrus. I’ll probably use closer to a full tablespoon next time.

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After baking it until the filling set, I cooled the pie and put in the fridge until the next morning, since I had planned on bringing it to work. I like sharing my baking trials with coworkers and then hearing them complain about gaining weight… . Anywaaaay, the next morning I got my arm workout with the whipping of the cream for the top.

20160426_071205.jpgFollowed the classic call for heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar, dash of vanilla extract, and a chilled metal bowl and whisk. Boom. Delicious peaks of fluffy goodness to mound up on top of the pie. I like extra whipped cream or meringue on my pies, so did 1 1/2 cups of cream. Again, cut the amount of suggested shug in half.

I‘d say, even with my tweaks, the pie was a success. Not sure why I can’t just follow the instructions given to me, but I know my mom isn’t surprised. I purtied up that pie with some edible violas, which the entire staff avoided by cutting around awkwardly, and a few sprigs of the English thyme on top. The saltiness of the cracker crust with the tartness of the citrus filling and the sweetness of the whipped topping makes for one excellent dessert. This one will definitely be a repeat performance in my pie repertoire.

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For the crust:

1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers

1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter

1 1/2-2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the filling:

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice (or a mix of both)

fresh thyme, very finely chopped

Whipped cream topping:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

splash of vanilla extract

Chill the metal bowl and whisk in the freezer for about ten minutes before whipping it real good until peaks form. Do this right before serving; although, mine stood up perfectly fine for over 24 hours.

PIE

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A Super Moon and a Custard Pie

Tonight hosts the final Super Moon of 2015. The third in a succession and the sixth of the year, this one is in the sign of Taurus. I’m a Taurus. I’ve read a bit about Super Moons over the year as they have come around. They are called Super Moons because they come closer to the Earth, so they appear larger. Appearance is not the only difference. Super Moons can also cause higher tides, earthquakes, and a general disorder in nature.

What settles me when life is feeling turbulent? Pie. What does a really big, full moon make me think of? Pie. So for this year’s final Super Moon, and being that it is in my sign, I made a pie.

While I was thinking about the moon and pie, they combined in my mind and I decided I would try my hand at making a custard pie. The simplicity of it intrigued me. Of course, I ended up creating my own version.

Starting with tart pan vs. pie plate, most of the recipes I read were for a custard tart. I, however, wanted to use my new pie plate, so I decided to go that way. You might think that would mean I made a pie dough. Nope. I can’t be that predictable. I went with the simple tart dough recipe I’ve used previously. Not sure whether that was the right call because of their differences, but I do know it comes together quickly and reliably.

After getting the dough into the pie plate, prettifying the edge with a design I’m calling cat-slashed, and setting it in the fridge, I had dinner. Which has nothing to do with the pie making, but this pie actually has a pretty simple process, without a lot of down time and I was hungry. I had sausage and sauteed cabbage with onions and garlic, in case you were wondering. It was good stuff.

Back to the moon pie. It was time to blind bake the crust, so I did that with parchment paper and beans to weight down the crust. About 15 mins. at 375 and then I removed the weight and left it in another 10 minutes until very lightly golden brown. Then it was set aside on cooling rack.

Meanwhile, I put together the custard filling. As the heavy whipping cream was slowly coming to a simmer on the stove top, I whisked together the eggs and sugar. I got distracted cleaning out the eggshells to save for my garden and next thing I know, the cream is not gently simmering, but almost boiling. Whoops.

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Too bad, it was all I had, so I let it calm down a minute before pouring it into the egg/sugar
mixture. Then added the vanilla and nutmeg. The recipes all called for fresh grated nutmeg. Um, I don’t have time for all that during the week, so I used the ground stuff. Poured the custard mixture into the crust, dotted with some softened butter, and sprinkled with some more nutmeg. I, again, did not follow the directions of doing this while it’s already on the oven rack and had to be super careful transferring this liquidy dish to the oven.

wpid-20151027_202704-1.jpgThe times and temps varied among recipes and since I was doing it in a pie plate, I went with a longer time at a lower temp. Ended up taking about 45-50 minutes at 325 before the filling was set and a little bubbly, and the blind baked crust looked perfect. I did not have to protect the edges of the crust during this bake. It smelled delectable coming out of the oven and the bubbling of the custard looked like craters on a yellow moon.

Based solely on appearances, my Super Moon in Taurus custard pie was a success. I’m saving it to bring to work and share, so I will have to wait until tomorrow to see if the flavor is also a win. I’m big on the importance of presentation, which is why I won’t cut into it tonight.

After it cooled, I was pleased to see that unlike fruit-filled pies that settle, this one filled up the crust nicely. I added a few violas from the garden for the color it lacked. Purple is not only my favorite color, but I think it has a sexy quality to it, and this being the moon in Taurus which is ruled by Venus, well…

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Happy Super Moon, y’all. Now go out and get that love!

A good love song to listen to while the pie bakes here.

A good read about what tonight’s Super Moon means here.

 

Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, chilled

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

2-3 tablespoons cold water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, cut the butter into cubes and add to flour. Use your fingers to break into the butter until it is crumbly.

Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the cold water and whip together. Make a well in the flour and add the beaten egg, mix until the dough holds together. Add the extra tablespoon of water if needed (I needed it).

Roll dough out on floured surface until it’s big enough to fit the tart pan and press in tightly.

Custard Filling

One pint heavy whipping cream

3 large eggs, and

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup fine sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus extra for sprinkling on top

1 tablespoon softened butter

Bring the cream slowly to a gentle simmer.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together. Not too hard, you don’t want bubbles. Then pour in the hot cream. Add the vanilla and nutmeg and whisk a little more.