Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mom Blogs: Christmas Quiche Lorraine


My mom shared this story and recipe from our Christmas morning brunch--Quiche Lorraine. For a change from my usual habits, the only things I did to help with this "pie" were take photos and eat-- and it was DELICIOUS! Take it away, mom!

Quiche Lorraine is a pie-loving family's choice for Christmas brunch. Our breakfast tradition is a collaboration between the men and women of the family. Grant slow-cooks the bacon to seal the flavor, reasoning that slightly undercooking the bacon ensures the perfect flavor. Joe grates the cheese and dices the onion.

We often debate the choice of cheese. I always pick Gruyere, instead of the standard Swiss. Joe and Grant lean toward sharp Cheddar. I however, don't completely assert my preference for fear of losing my kitchen help. Instead, we compromise, and the cheese and onion selections are a surprise waiting for me after I prepare the crust. This year Joe presented red onion.

I've abandoned my Crisco crust recipe inherited from my mother and grandmother for Emily's Nothing-in-the-House all-butter crust. The recipe we used this year, adapted from my disintegrating Betty Crocker Cookbook follows. I used this same recipe for my first quiche on Christmas morning, 1975-- 37 years ago.


Quiche Lorraine
Adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

Ingredients
Nothing-in-the-House pie crust, halved
12 slices of bacon (about 1/2 lb.), crispy or slightly crispy fried and crumbled
1/3 c. Gruyere and 2/3 c. sharp Cheddar, shredded
1/3 c. onion (red or white), diced
5 large eggs
2 c. whipping cream
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. sugar

Directions
1. Prepare half of Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions. Let chill while you cook the bacon and grate the cheese.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Once crust dough has been chilled, roll out and fit into a greased and floured 9 or 10-inch quiche or pie pan (We used a 9 1/2-inch quiche pan), fluting decoratively. Sprinkle cooked bacon, cheese, and onion on the bottom of the pastry.

3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly, then beat in the remaining ingredients. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry. Bake 15 minutes.

4. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees F and bake 30 minutes longer or until a knife inserted 1-inch from the edge comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serve in wedges. Makes 6 main course servings or 8 appetizer servings.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"A Twist on Apple Pie" by the Pimento Cheese Girl


On several occasions when folks have learned that I write about food, they've exclaimed, "You're the pimento cheese girl!" Oh, how I wish I could have claim to such a title. But that's my counterpart: the other curly-brown-haired UNC folklore graduate named Emily Elizabeth.

Ha. Emily Elizabeth Wallace is indeed the pimento cheese girl--she wrote about the historically women-produced mill food-turned-trendy spread of the "new south" for her Master's thesis in the UNC Folklore program. But the other "real Emily Elizabeth" is also an incredible artist (you may remember some of her pie-themed comics here) and a talented writer.

Earlier this month the Indy Week, the independent weekly in the North Carolina Triangle for which Wallace writes, had their "Pie Issue", and I was very flattered that my fellow E.E. asked to feature me and one of my recipes. In the piece, "A Twist on Apple Pie" you'll find a well-captured history of Nothing-in-the-House, and my Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Glaze--that readers may recognize.

Make sure to poke around the rest of the issue online too, as I'm in good company, featured alongside my friend April McGreger of Farmer's Daughter Brand Pickles & Preserves, and other expert pie makers who share their recipes for classic pies. And don't miss Emily Elizabeth Wallace's "Pie Vernacular" comic, which I'll also be sharing here soon. Many thanks to her for the lovely story; I'll be sure to return the favor when I have a pimento cheese story to write.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Eating A Christmas Pie


Merry Christmas, one and all! For the second year in a row, a Jack Horner Christmas pie post. Though this common nursery rhyme was first published in 1725, this image comes from William Wallace Denslow's Mother Goose, c. 1902. Whether your Christmas pie contains plums or not, I hope you have plenty, and that you don't have to sit in a corner to eat it (unless you have some magical cozy corner full of friends and family and stocked well with pie). From the Nothing-in-the-House kitchen to yours, much love and happiness, music and food to all of you this holiday season. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peppermint Pattie Tart


I have fond childhood memories of music parties at our old Victorian house. My dad played in a band that would rehearse in our backyard, we had jams and house concerts by touring folk musicians in the living room, and once even had a contra dance in the old grocery store-turned-photography studio behind our house. As my brother and I got older and we all got busier, and eventually moved into a smaller home, those events became more infrequent. Recently, though, we've been making efforts to reinvigorate that tradition, and for the second year in a row, when I've come home for the holidays, we've had a music party.

So yesterday we busied ourselves in the little kitchen, cooking and stirring, whisking and slicing in preparation. My parents decided to make spiced beef, cooked overnight in a large crock, for chalupa, and we had chips and salsa, veggie and cheese plates, homemade pimento cheese and crackers, and other little treats for a fine spread. For dessert, I wanted to make something special, festive, and new. I'd been seeing lots of recipes for homemade peppermint patties (from Ashley English and Serious Eats and such), and thought the mint filling, topped with a chocolate ganache might just be the perfect thing for a Christmas tart.

I somehow got this notion when I was younger that peppermint patties were a treat for adults, possibly because, like avocados, my parents wanted to reserve them for themselves. I'm not sure if this tart is more grown 'n' decadent, or youthfully playful, but if you put in a little nip of peppermint schnapps like I did, you can tip that scale a little towards the former. Though optional, I decked the tart with bits of candy cane. It does add a lil' Christmas--right this very minute. I chose my standard tart crust, but this is another that would work well with other crust variations, be it graham cracker, Oreo, or shortbread, with or without nuts.


Peppermint Pattie Tart, or if you prefer, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Tart
Crust adapted from Dorie Greenspan, mint filling adapted from Serious Eats

Makes an 11-inch tart

Ingredients
For crust:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. salt  
9 Tblsp. unsalted butter, cold & cubed  
1 egg yolk

For mint filling:
3 c. confectioner's sugar
2 1/2 Tblsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tblsp. peppermint extract
2 tsp. peppermint schnapps (optional)
3 Tblsp. heavy cream

For chocolate ganache:
8 oz. 60-70% chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips)
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. sugar

2 candy canes or peppermint candies, crushed (optional)

Directions
For crust:
1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse to incorporate until the mixture resembles cornmeal and peas. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the dough begins to form together.

2. Roll out the dough and pat it into your greased and floured tart pan. Freeze the tart shell for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
 
3. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit it tightly over the tart shell. Partially bake it (no need for pie weights) until golden in color, approximately 30-35 minutes. Remove the foil, gently pushing down any part of the crust that has puffed, and bake for about 5 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature while you prepare the tart filling.

For filling:
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, butter, extracts, schnapps (if using), and heavy cream (Make sure to add the ingredients in that order for proper mixing). Once combined, turn mixer to medium speed and beat for another minute or so until a smooth, thick paste (like the inside of a peppermint pattie) is formed.

2. On parchment paper, roll the pattie filling out in a 9-inch circle about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Place it in the bottom of the baked and cooled tart shell, piecing when necessary, and chill in the fridge about 30 minutes until filling has become slightly hard.

For chocolate ganache: 
1. Put chocolate, heavy cream, and sugar in the top of a double boiler. Put water in the bottom of the boiler and place on medium heat until the filling is melted, glossy, and thick. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

2. Once tart has chilled, remove from the fridge and pour chocolate ganache over the mint filling. Smooth with a knife and return to the fridge for about 30 minutes until chocolate is set. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.




This tart-ified peppermint pattie was well received at the party, and I don't think it was just all the anticipation that was built when I made all the guests hold off on eating it until I got enough good photos (thanks for putting up with that, everyone). We had a really lovely reunion of old family friends, many who had met long ago but not seen each other in years. After dinner, a few of us migrated to the music room for some fiddle tunes, folk songs, and even some exhilarating Cajun accordion. Happy Christmas to all, and may it be filled with friends and family and music and sweet chocolatey minty things...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Belgian Holiday Treats on NPR

I'm back home again in Indiana. I got in last night to my family jumping up and down (mostly mom), a blazing fire in the fireplace and A Christmas Story (which is set in Northern Indiana, the elementary school looking uncannily similar to my brother's and mine) on the television. Tonight we had a little music party with old family friends; my parents made beef chalupa, I made pimento cheese and pie and homemade peppermint patties (gotta keep it alliterative), and we all chipped in on cheese and veggie plates.

But I haven't seen my grandmother yet. Tomorrow, though, for Christmas Eve, she'll come over with tins full of sugar cookies and pizzelles and speculaas, and probably try to clean the kitchen until we make her sit down on the couch and tell me stories about the Christmases of her childhood. A few weeks ago on NPR's Kitchen Window, I shared some stories of my hers and my own, of our Sinterklaas celebrations, a transplanted tradition from her Belgian and French heritage.

In the piece, you'll find recipes for the Belgian windmill cookies--speculaas (or speculoos)--that were ever-present in my grandmother's cookie jar, oliebollen-- a Dutch/Belgian apple doughnut, lukken--a Belgian waffle cookie typically enjoyed on New Year's, and Speculoos pie--made from speculoos cookie butter and featured here previously. Though Sinterklaas is a few weeks gone by, these treats would make excellent additions to your own music parties, fireside chats, or other holiday traditions, new or old. You can find the whole story and the recipes here. Many thanks to Sebastiaan Zijp, Victoria Lau of Ice Cream Jubilee, my Belgian relatives, editor Bonny Wolf, and my wonderful grandmother Georgette Harding for their generous help with the story.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sweet Potato Speculoos Pie


A few weeks ago, when I posted the recipe for speculoos pie (made with speculoos cookie butter), my friend, the cookbook author and Zenchilada editor Ronni Lundy, shared a little secret of culinary genius. She said that she often puts the cookie butter on a sweet potato while it's still warm, "melted and married in a beautiful, beautiful party." Woah. And as if that wasn't enough to ruin me, she added, "maybe you can do a sweet potato speculoos pie?"

A completely genius pairing, I tell ya-- like the chocolate peanut butter pretzel tart, a wild combination. Of course the two are perfectly suited, as the spices in speculoos (for more about the cookie and the butter read here) being largely the same as those often used in sweet potato pie. With the brilliant orange of the "yams" and the deep brown of the speculoos, I thought a swirl effect was in the cards, and I chose to use the bright Garnet yams for their amped up color. I found this recipe for Nutella swirled pumpkin pie (from Sally's Baking Addiction) to work from and we were off-- sweet potato and speculoos were joined in wholy pie form at last.

Since the idea came from Ms. Lundy (and because she requested republishing dibs), I'm giving her name to this swirled & spiced classic of a dessert. Though I added my filling to a gingersnap crust this time, a normal butter pie crust would be just dandy.



Ronni's Sweet Potato Speculoos Pie
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction's Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients
For crust:
1 1/2 c. gingersnaps graham cracker crumbs
4 Tblsp. unsalted butter
1 Tblsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

For filling:
3 large eggs
2 c. (15 oz.) fresh sweet potato purée (Garnet yams are best for taste and color)
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. Speculoos cookie butter

Directions
For crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs in a bowl and add melted butter, sugar, and salt, stirring until well mixed. 

2. Pat the buttery crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan, pressing mixture into the bottom and sides to form a pie crust. Place in oven and bake until crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature before adding the filling.

For filling:
1. Leave oven at 350 degrees F. In a large bowl or bowl of a standing mixer, whisk eggs lightly. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the Speculoos cookie butter, and mix well to combine. Reserve 1/2 c. of the mixture and pour the rest into the pie crust. 

2. Combine the reserved 1/2 c. of pie filling with the cookie butter. Ladle spoonfulls of it onto the sweet potato filling and use a butter knife to swirl the cookie butter mixture with the sweet potato mixture.

3. Bake pie for 40-45 minutes until filling is well set. Let cool and serve chilled or at room temperature with bourbon whipped cream or cinnamon bourbon ice cream. Enjoy!


I LOVE sweet potato pie, and I've never had one quite like this before. The speculoos contributes spice while also adding a smooth, rich texture. I enjoyed my slice with cinnamon-bourbon ice cream from local artisanal ice cream producer Ice Cream Jubilee--a perfect pairing times two.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nothing-in-the-House 2012 Gift Guide

I know that winter is a-coming in, Christmas is fast approaching, and tomorrow is the last day of Hanukkah, but I want to continue the tradition I started last year, and I have some wonderful things to share from friends and Nothing-in-the-House alike. So without further ado, here is the Nothing-in-the-House 2012 Gift Guide for the pie baker and/or pie lover on your list.


First for some books and paper goods (clockwise from top left)...

1. Southern Pies by Nancie McDermott, $23 at your local bookstore This cookbook, written by my friend and fellow Tarheel Nancie McDermott, has been my primary source for pie recipes and inspiration in 2012. It's the book I wish I had written, with historical, traditional recipe and creative takes alike. A must-have for all pie bakers, in my book.

2. PIE. A Hand Drawn Almanac by Emily Hilliard (yes, that's me) and illustrated by Elizabeth Graeber, $15 on Etsy or at local DC-area shops I'm so excited to have collaborated with artist Elizabeth Graeber on this beautifully illustrated collection of pie stories and recipes--one for each month--from Nothing-in-the-House (plus some new ones too). It makes a wonderful gift (perhaps accompanied by a homemade pie?), if I do say so myself. More info here.

3. A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo, $9 on Etsy The Seattle poet, pie baker, and founder of Pie School, Kate Lebo released this dear book or pie prose poems and recipes. It includes 10 rules for eating pie, and I agree with all of them. After all, two of them read "The butter must be cold."

4. Pie Postcards by Elizabeth Graeber, $12 on Etsy or at local DC-area shops Pie Almanac illustrator Elizabeth Graeber created this set of 6 pie postcards from some of my favorite illustrations in the almanac. They are a perfect way to send pie to friends in far away places.


Pie supplies and tools (left to right)...

5. Pie Bird, $5-7 at your local kitchen store It seems that I've started a little collection of pie birds, decorative pie funnels, which are placed in the middle of a double crust pie to vent steam and juice. Though I admittedly don't really use them, they look purrrty cute all lined up on my kitchen windowsill. Read more about pie birds here.

6. Whetstone Woodenware Pie Server, $13 at Whetstone Woodenware Every pie baker needs a good pie server, particularly for lifting out those pesky first slices. My mom bought me this wooden pie server from an Amish store near my hometown, but they are also available online.

7. Vintage Pie Tins, $6-12 at your local antique store or on Etsy Vintage pie tins are another item that I've begun to accumulate. Though mine mostly serve as kitchen decor, if they are rust-free and clean, they're perfectly usable for your current pie baking. It's fun to track down their stories too; for more about this Motherlike pie tin, read here.

8. Heirloom Pie Carrier, $7-20 on Etsy or make your own A couple of months ago I got an e-mail from my friend Nathan saying that he was sending me a package of "heirlooms etc." Since he and his wife Clara are farmers, I figured he meant heirloom seeds or vegetables or jam, but what came in the mail was even more special--heirloom fabric pie carriers his grandmother made. They are of a quilted material, with 2 of the 4 sides enforced with dowel rods. They are available occasionally on Etsy, but they'd be a lovely heirloom to make and pass on to you and yours.


The gift of PIE...

9. Nothing-in-the-House Winter Pie CSA, $90 (half-share) or $175 (full share), at Nothing-in-the-House Baking Co.  Another shameless self-promotion here, but for all you DC locals, give the gift of pie this holiday season!  With our Winter Pie CSA, you can offer 1 or 2 seasonal, local, handmade pies a month from January through March. More info here.

10. A Donation to Pie for Connecticut: Ease the Grief, any amount, at The World Needs More Pie In times of profound tragedy, like the one that occurred yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, many of us are left beside ourselves unsure of what to do. We turn to our loved ones, soothing poems or music, comforting foods. To help ease the grief of those affected, Beth Howard is putting her baking skills to good use, giving away pies to the community of Newtown. Though there are many ways to help, this is a sweet one. More info here.

Especially in this time of national mourning, here's wishing all of you a bit of love and joy this holiday season. And whether you find something here or not, remember that a homemade pie always makes a wonderful gift.

Friday, December 14, 2012

6th Annual Blacksburg Pie Auction

Liam the auctioneer

I'm thrilled to have this post about the 6th Annual Blackburg, Virginia Pie Auction from my friend Sally Anne Morgan, an artist,  square dance caller, and old-time fiddler of Black Twig Pickers fame. I'm hoping there will be more contributions and collaborations from her in the future, both in pie and music. But without further ado...

Blacksburg Pie Bonanza
The 6th annual auction to stop mountaintop removal coal mining
By Sally Anne Morgan

 For the sixth year running, nestled in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, a little bit of pie magic was taking place. The town of Blacksburg, Virginia had its annual pie auction.  Six years is a long time for a college town like ours, but the auction seems to have grown in popularity every year, probably due to the combination of outstanding pies and good causes.

Pie Auction Spread 

The auction works like this: volunteers bake a bunch of beautiful, creative, delicious pies and bring them to the location, a popular restaurant downtown. People come in, eat dinner, admire the pies for a bit, and then the magic happens: our wonderful auctioneer starts the bidding. People go nuts, compelled by generosity, friendly competition, and a craving for dessert. The bidding starts anywhere from $10- $20, and pies have sold from $20 to even $100. Sometimes its obvious why some pies go for so much, like the deer heart mincemeat pie, from my friend's first hunt, or the professionally baked lemon meringue and pomegranate pie. Sometimes it's by pure supply and demand: the only pecan pie went for a killing. And sometimes, it's just the energy in the room: people outbid their friends, outbid their enemies, and outbid themselves in the heat of the moment.

Sally's Pie Auction Brainstorm!

I contributed four pies, which took most of the day to bake. First I made two gluten free pies, which involved pre-baking pecan and butter crusts. The filling was based on the Nothing-in-the-House recipes for Elvis Pies: it had cream cheese, peanut butter, a little sugar, some peanuts, and whipped cream folded in. I layered the crust with banana, then the chilled filling, then more whipped cream, and topped it off with a salty caramel sauce drizzled on top. I also made a zesty apple pie, with lemon zest, granny smiths, a bit of fresh ginger, and honey in the filling (plus some salt, sugar, and cinnamon), was the next pie. Rather than the usual lattice crust I would have done, I decided to spruce it up with a zig-zag chevron pattern, reminiscent of the mountains we all love! I also made a ginger-pumpkin pie, which is your basic pumpkin pie filling with condensed milk and pumpkin, plus a bunch of freshly grated ginger.

Visually Apple-ing (& Pumpkin) Pies

I made these pies with an all butter crust recipe which I always use, and an egg wash to make it golden brown in the oven. My recipe is simple and pretty imprecise: about 1 1/4 cups of flour to 10 tablespoons of butter (salted is fine, or if you use unsalted, just add a teaspoon of salt), and as little water as possible to get it to all stick together. Especially for the auction, it's important for pies to have visual appeal, so I fancied them up with a braided crust and "I heart mountains" decorations.

Mincemeat Pie with Deer Heart from a First Hunt

Over thirty pies were contributed to the auction. It was hard to pick my favorites, there were so many! Many of the pies were gluten free, some were vegan, and some were even meat based. They ranged from lavender chocolate, to cardamom carrot, to ginger pear, to venison pot pie, and good old fashioned apple. The spread was simply beautiful. And best of all, we raised over $1,200 for two wonderful organizations.


Lemon Meringue & Pomegranate Pie

The RReNEW Collective, which stands for Remembering and ReEngergizing Neighbors Economies and Watersheds, works to help place volunteers in organizations working for a sustainable Appalachia in the coal dependent region of Southwest Virginia. They support and initiate projects and organizations that promote healthy environments and just communities, and do wonderful work. The other organization is the Black Mesa Indigenous Support Group, which is committed to supporting Indigenous peoples of Black Mesa, Arizona, and their resistance to massive coal mining operations and force relocation policies. Both organizations are connected to the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining, and both are smaller organizations where the money we raised can go a long way.

Last Few Bites of Elvis Pie 

So come on down to Blacksburg next fall,  where there's sure to be even more pies, good bidding, and an overall wonderful time!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Five Holiday Pies on PBS Food


I was very excited when the writers of PBS Food asked if I would contribute a piece. All those years developing my part-Julia Child part-Mrs. Doubtfire cooking show host alter-ego Emily Pothole (pronounced poth-ole) finally paid off! Their request though, however unfortunately, was not for a prime-time TV spot between Martha Stewart and Mark Bittman, but instead for a written piece on their blog, to accompany their other "Five Ideas" holiday features. Though ENJOYING LIFE with Emily Pothole and Ms. Amanda Deitermeyer will have to be put on the back burner (so to speak), I was happy to oblige.

Five Ideas for Holiday Pies, though nothing especially new for Nothing-in-the-House readers, is a round-up of some of my favorite mostly seasonal and rather simple pie recipes for your winter celebration.  Check it out for blurbs on Shaker Orange Tarts, Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie, a Cranberry Lime Galette, Nutella Pie, and Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Glaze. And stay right here for all the recipes.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Cranberry Goat Cheese Tart with Almond Shortbread Crust & Delaware Thanksgiving


It seems that I've been blessed with really wonderful away-from-home Thanksgivings. There was two years ago at the Saltsman's in Maryland, all those spectacular Maine Thanksgivings, and this year's with Brent's family in Delaware.

We got in late Wednesday night, and after hanging out in the living room and a tour of Sandy & Dan's lovely antique-filled home, we quickly split into two groups. The ladies hung out in Jessie's red room, for girl talk--mostly family storytelling and remarks on how Neville Longbottom is kind of a babe now, while the guys, well I'm not sure what they were up to--probably drinking whiskey and watching the History Channel. In the morning we awoke to a beautiful unseasonably warm day along what I couldn't tell was there in the dark of night-- the Brandywine River.



After some online shopping, I joined Sandy in the kitchen to work on this Cranberry Goat Cheese Tart with Almond Shortbread Crust, which was, along with a Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Pie, my contribution to the feast. I'd made a version of this for Kickasserole last year, with a regular pie crust in rectangular tart pans, but I only got to try a sliver. This time I added an almond shortbread crust, spiked the cranberry-orange compote with Grand Marnier, and baked it in a full 11-inch tart shell.

I was really pleased with the result. The goat cheese filling is smooth and rich, similar to cheesecake but lighter (and with less lactose, which is good for a slightly dairy-intolerant like me), and the cranberry compote was perfectly sweet-tart.



Cranberry Goat Cheese Tart with Almond Shortbread Crust
Filling adapted from Maggie Foard's goatcheese; Compote adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients

For crust:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 c. almond meal (make your own by grinding almonds in the food processor)
3/4 c. confectioner's sugar 
10 Tblsp. (1 stick +2 Tblsp.) butter
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1 T. ice water


For filling:
8 oz. fresh chevre
8 oz. ricotta (goat or cow)
4 large eggs
2/3 c. + 2 Tblsp. sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 Tblsp. lemon zest

For cranberry-orange compote:
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
1 large navel orange, quartered and thinly sliced
1/4 c. fresh cranberries
1 Tblsp. Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur

Directions
For crust:
1. Combine flour, almond meal, and sugar in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add cold butter chunks to the almond mixture and process until mix is the size of small peas. Add egg yolks, extracts, and ice water and pulse just until dough begins to form. Remove pastry dough from the food processor and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour and up to 1 day.

2. After dough has chilled, lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 11-inch tart pan. Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper and transfer to the tart pan, forming the crust up the sides (dough will be crumbly, so you may have to piece it together). Fold dough over the sides to ensure that the tart will have a strong edge. Prick all over the bottom with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.


For filling:
1. Preheat over to 350. Blend chevre, eggs, 2/3 c. of sugar, and lemon juice. Zest the lemon and combine with the 2 Tblsp. of sugar. Combine the chevre & lemon mixtures until smooth. 

2. Pour the mixture into the tart shell, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is set (you may want to prepare the compote while the tart is baking). Let the tart cool on a cooling rack.

For compote and assembly:
1. In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange slices and cranberries and simmer over low-medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the mixture turns red, thick, and coats the back of a spoon, about 25-35 minutes. Add in the Grand Marnier and transfer the compote to a heatproof bowl. Let cool.

2. Once tart is baked and cooled, spoon the compote onto the tart and spread evenly with an offset or rubber spatula. Put in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes. Keep tart chilled until about 15 minutes before serving. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.



My favorite part of the day was an afternoon fire along the Brandywine. We brought down mugs of mulled wine and watched the resident family of ducks while Jack the dog enjoyed his natural habitat and dug up rocks. Brent and I brought down our instruments and played a few tunes until sunset. Then it was back inside for the final dinner preparations.


Thanksgiving dinner was classic and very delicious, with brined turkey, carrot souffle (I need the recipe for that one), Italian green beans, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole,  and cranberry sauce (and more which I'm sure I'm forgetting). This Cranberry Goat Cheese Tart and Drunken Pumpkin Pie were joined on the dessert table by Sandy's fantastic Pecan and Chocolate Pies. Then us "kids" naughtily printed out a version of Cards Against Humanity and forced the adults to play it--rather risqué and totally hilarious.

Thanks so much to Sandy and Dan (and Jack!) for hosting, and Brent, Brian, Luigia, Jessie, and the rest of the family for welcoming me in their Thanksgiving feast.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Pie Almanac Release Party!


Our Pie Almanac Release Party last night at Ginger Root was SO. MUCH. FUN!  Except for one film shot of Diego (pictured in the Speculoos PEZ previously) eating the last crumbs of the Nutella Pie with a big smirk on his face, I only took pictures of pie, but the above Instagrams by Grant Dickie, Morgan of Panda Head and Carla of TPWP can help set the scene. It was really wonderful to see so many friends, and meet lots of new ones, all of whom were so encouraging and supportive and pumped on pie and pie art. Elizabeth and I want to extend a very big thank you to the Ginger Root gals for hosting us in their lovely space, DJ Dianamatic for playing awesome jams, and everyone who came, bought a book, sampled pie, or said hello. I even had two pals, Annie & Diego who drove all the way from Charlottesville! That little surprise made me feel really good.


I know some people were asking for recipes for the pies that were offered last night. Our selections were:
Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan
Nutella Pie
Shaker Lemon Pie (Shaker Orange Tart version here)
Speculoos Pie
Spiced Pumpkin Sorghum Pie (adapted from this recipe)
Sweet Potato Speculoos Pie (coming soon!)


If you missed the party, you can still order the almanac on Etsy here, where you can also find more of Elizabeth Graeber's work, like the framed pie prints pictured here! The almanac is now also for sale at local shops including Ginger Root and Meeps-- We'll keep you posted as they appear other places. Thanks again to everyone for their support and happy pie making!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

PIE. A Hand Drawn Almanac Out Today!


The books are here!!! And we're having a party to celebrate! Local DC friends, Elizabeth and I hope to see you tonight at Ginger Root Design from 5:30-8:30pm where will be selling the pie almanac, serving up glasses of mulled wine and slices of pie (spiced pumpkin sorghum, sweet potato speculoos, and Nutella icebox to name a few), and listening to jams by DJ Dianamatic! If you can't make it to pick up a book tonight, you can order them right here. Now off to party!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Shaker Orange Tarts


Though it's not officially winter yet, there are sure signs that it's here. The darkness sets in by the late afternoon, I've pulled my mittens out from the bottom of my sock drawer, and the skating rinks have opened up in the city (!). Another sign of the impending season is citrus! One of my co-workers is selling boxes of Florida oranges and grapefruits as a fundraiser for a local school, and I've seen oranges on-the-"vine" with leaves still attached for sale at the grocery store.

I tried out a Shaker Clementine Pie for Christmas last year, but it needed some work--it wasn't as juicy and deliciously tart as the Shaker Lemon Pie I'd made previously (the recipe is also included in our Pie Almanac!). This summer I made little Shaker Lemon Tarts for the Nothing-in-the-House Baking Co. debut at the DC Meet Market, and liked the open-face one-crust style that shows off the brilliant citrus color. This time I combined the two, for Shaker Orange (with a bit of lemon) Tarts.

The Shakers, a religious sect known for their frugality, simplicity, and quality craftsmanship are credited with the creation of what we now call Shaker Lemon Pie. In the early 1800s, lemons were quite expensive, so out of thrift, they developed this recipe that uses the whole lemon--rind, pith, and juice (okay, but no the seeds)-- to create a delicious tart-sweet, marmalade like pie filling.

The orange version is a little less tart, a little more marmalade-like, and very pretty. Make sure you plan ahead because the citrus rinds need to macerate overnight. And be careful while cutting them!



Shaker Orange Tarts
Crust adapted from Dorie Greenspan, Filling adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 6, 4-inch tarts or 1, 9-inch tart

Ingredients
For the crust:  
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. salt  
9 Tblsp. unsalted butter, cold & cubed  
2 large egg yolks (I usually only use one, but for some reason I needed an extra this time)

For the filling:
2 thin-skinned oranges, washed
1 lemon (Meyer or regular), washed
2 c. sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (optional)
4 large eggs

Directions
1. Wash and dry the oranges and lemon. Using a sharp chef's knife or a mandoline, slice the fruit as paper thin as you can; removing seeds. Transfer slices and juices to a large non-reactive bowl and gently stir in the sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight and up to 24 hours.

2. For the crust, combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse to incorporate until the mixture resembles cornmeal and peas. Add the egg yolks and pulse until the dough begins to form together. 

3. Using a pastry cutter or knife, Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll out the dough and pat it into your greased and floured tart pans. Freeze the tart shells for about 30 minutes while you assemble the filling. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 
 
4. Remove the filling from the fridge and add the eggs to the mixture, whisking until well incorporated. Drain the filling through a sieve into a medium bowl, keeping both citrus slices and liquid. Divid the liquid evenly into the tart shells and top with citrus slices, arranging decoratively.


5. Place tarts on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes more until crust is golden and filling is set. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove tarts from their pans. Let cool completely and serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream, if you wish!