Hands Down Winner!

While everything stays pretty much the same on our Thanksgiving menu, it’s always fun to try a new dessert. That doesn’t mean we stray too far from pumpkin and pecan pies that no Thanksgiving would be complete without, but there is some little twist.

Photo from Southern Living
Photo from Southern Living

I’ve been experimenting with this and that from one publication or another, and this Pumpkin Tart with Whipped Cream and Almond Toffee from Southern Living is a hands down winner!

pumpkin pieIt has a dark, rich color and taste that is likely attributed to having molasses as an ingredient.

pumpkin pieUnlike the perfectly presented photo in Southern Living, I finished each piece individually, first topping with the whipped cream

pumpkin pieand then with the almond toffee. The end result was the same: super good! 

If you haven’t decided on your Thanksgiving dessert, this one is absolutely delicious and leaves one wanting more though I recommend resisting the temptation because the tart is rich.  One suggestion:  you may want to cut the whipped cream portion by half and reduce the amount of powdered sugar unless you like it quite sweet.

This tart would be a perfect finish to any meal, so if you’ve already got Thanksgiving under control, give it a try another time.

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The Scoop

More than Jes’ Pie

Several nights ago I was asked to bring a dessert to a dinner gathering.  My intent was to make a favorite buttermilk pie, but I had no buttermilk and for whatever reason a chess pie came to mind.  Since then I’ve been wondering about its origins.  I’m pretty sure it’s southern, but more than that who knows?  Time to google, and here’s what I found:

 The origin of the name, Chess Pie, is uncertain, but there are plenty of guesses and a bit of folklore surrounding the name. The most probable explanation is that since the English lemon curd pie filling is very close to lemon chess pie, and they believe the word “chess” is an Americanization of the English word “cheese,” referring to curd pie. Basically the Chess Pie is a cheese-less cheesecake.

Ok, but here’re the explanations I like best:

One suggests that the word is “chest,” pronounced with a drawl and used to describe these pies baked with so much sugar they could be stored in a pie chest rather than refrigerated.

Another story is about the plantation cook who was asked what she was baking that smelled so great – “Jes’ pie”was her answer.

For me, chess pie began with my grandmother,  a great cook who made everything from scratch with farm fresh ingredients that had been gathered minutes or hours before.  Her chess pie is a simple combination of butter, eggs and a little milk baked in the flakiest ever crust.  Fortunately, my mother made the pie one of her standbys and now it continues with me though I must confess to having made a few changes.  I don’t always make a crust as Pillsbury does a pretty good job of that,  I use different vinegars, butter is melted in the microwave rather than whipped in and to dress it up a bit, I serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and a few berries on the side.  Even with the changes, the end result is almost as tasty as I remember Grandma’s being.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrandma’s Chess Pie

1 pie crust, bought or homemade

2 cups sugar 

2 tablespoons cornmeal (yes, cornmeal!)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, melted 

1/4 cup milk 

1 tablespoon white vinegar (white balsamic and its variations are great)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

4 large eggs

Line 9″ pie pan with crust, crimping edges.  Line pastry with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. (I use small stones.)  Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove weights and foil; bake 2 more minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and reduce temp to 350.

Stir together sugar and next 7 ingredients until blended. Stir in eggs, one at a time and blend well. Pour mixture into pie crust.  Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes, shielding edges with aluminum foil or pie shield after 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Whenever you plan on serving this pie, you may want to make an extra one because most everyone will ask for a second sliver.  It’s one of those desserts that tastes so good and is much more than jes’ pie.  Enjoy!

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Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

 

Perfect Combo: Peanut Butter & Banana

I’ve never been fond of banana pudding, and I’m not crazy about bananas unless they are with peanut butter.  

peanut butter/banana pieWhen I saw a recipe for Peanut Butter-Banana Cream Pie in the January issue of Southern Living, it seemed like a perfect combination.  And guess what?  It was, and it you like bananas and peanut butter, you’ll want to try it for sure!

  • Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie
  • 22 Peanut Butter cookies (I used nutter butter)
  • 1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. corn starch
  • 2 c. half & half
  • 3 T. butter
  • 2 T. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2c. powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Process cookies and peanuts in a food processor about 1 minute or until finely chopped. Stir together cookie mixture and melted butter. Press crumb mixture on bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. 
  2.  Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely.
  3. Whisk together granulated sugar and cornstarch in a large, heavy saucepan. Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk half-and-half mixture into sugar mixture, and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute or until thickened remove from heat. (using low fat milk too longer)
  4. Stir butter, peanut butter, and 1 t. vanilla into sugar mixture. Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on warm custard (to prevent a film from forming), and cool 30 minutes. We moved the mixture to a glass bowl to allow it to cool faster.
  5. Cut bananas into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place in a single layer on bottom of crust, covering bottom completely.
  6. peanut butter/banana pie Spoon custard mixture over bananas; cover and chill 4 to 48 hours.
  7. Beat cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar and remaining 1 t. vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream mixture. Serve immediately, or chill up to 4 hours.

BiscoffI added a little something extra to the recipe. Since Biscoff is my new favorite food, I thought it would be tasty with the peanut butter and bananas.  I melted about 1/3 cup in the microwave and poured it over the bananas before adding the custard.  It was a perfect addition.  

peanut butter/banana pieNext time I make this yummy pie, I’ll pour a little on the serving plate, too.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

Eat More Pie!

Did you know today is National Pie Day?  Me either until hearing it on NPR in an interview with Beth Howard who is evidently very well known in the world of pies.  She views pie as a tool for healing, for building relationships and making the world a better place.  I never thought about pie in quite those terms, and her comments were enough to make me look at her website The World Needs More Pie. There’s quite a story there as she has made pie baking a meaningful and serious vocation.    Beth’s skills are not limited to the kitchen.  Her profile describes her  as a pie baker, writer, TV producer and host.  She has a docu-reality series called The American Pie in which she finds and interviews fellow pie bakers and pie lovers.    Now, that’s what I call a sweet creation.

In addition to all else, Beth is also a blogger, and like many of us, she writes about people and places that are interesting to her, and, yes, there are bits about pie.  I wonder which came first, the blog or the pies.  Maybe she will tell us!

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking about making a pie, probably a coconut cream.  Want to join me in a slice this Sunday afternoon?

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