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Posts Tagged ‘Pie’

Chocolate Strawberry Tart

 mmm…Chocolate and even better Strawberries!!!  I know I have for years put my nose up to baking, but these days I find when I am really stressed out I bake. For whatever reason baking relaxes me.  I think it is because of how much focus it takes to get the recipe correct.  When you cook you can throw a little bit of this and that and save the dish, but when you bake it has to be exact to the umpteenth degree and if you mess up there is no saving it.  It is that level of focus that allows me to take my mind off of whatever problems I am having at that time.

I made this dessert back in mid July to impress a date.  Dinner ended up being so filling, Egg Plant Rollatini with Angel Hair Pasta in my families age old Marinara Sauce with Garlic Bread, that we never made it to dessert, instead moving right on to a nice bottle of Prosecco on the beach while basking in the beautiful lighting of a full moon.  It was quite the spread, although I would later find out from that unappreciative bitch that as she put it “my cooking was trash”.  Whatever (see yesterdays blog The State of Lisanti Land Address all about Whatever).

Anyway this Tart is bound to impress any female you decide to bake it for.  I mean it has a splendid strawberry walnut crust filled with a rich chocolate strawberry filling topped with fresh strawberries.  It’s a girls best friend.  Pair it with a bottle of Moscato D’Asti or a Champagne or Prosecco and you are bound to have a good night.  Maybe that is where I blew it, not taking the tart with me to the beach.  In hindsight I am glad I did not cause that chick was definitely not worth it.  Its rather tasty and somewhat simple to make although a bit time consuming.

Serving Size: 8
Total Cost: $13.75
Prep Time: 1 hr
Bake Time 25 mins
Rest Time: 2 hrs

Ingredient List:

  • Crust
    • All Purpose Flour – 1 cup
    • Sugar – 3 table spoons
    • Salt – ¼ tea spoon
    • Walnuts – 1 ½ oz
    • Unsalted Butter – ½ cup (chilled)
    • Egg Yolk – 2 yolks
    • Strawberry Jam – 1/3 cup
  • Filling
    • Whipping Cream – ¾ cup plus 2 table spoons
    • Semisweet Chocolate – 6 oz (chopped)
    • Strawberry Jam – 1/3 cup
    • Strawberries – 2x 1 pt basket (hulled and halfed)

 Step 1: Mix ingredients for your crust: In a food processor mince walnuts till they are a sand like composure.  In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and processed walnuts.  Add in butter.  Make sure to break the butter up into tiny pieces before addition to the mixture.  Mix by hand or with an electric mixer (I used an electric mixer) till it resembles a coarse meal.  Add Yolks and Strawberry Jam and mix until moist clumps form. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Your meal like conformity of dry ingredients and butter.

Your rough dough after adding jam and egg yolks

Your dough disk pre-cooling

Step 2: Form Crust: Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a 9” diameter pan with removable bottom if possible, you can use a fixed bottom pan if it is all you have, I did.  Roll out your chilled dough between two sheets of wax paper to around an 11” diameter.  Remove top sheet of wax paper. Turn you dough upside down so that the wax paper on the bottom is now on the top and firmly press it inside the pan till it fits snug.  Remove paper and trim the edges of your crust so that it just comes over the pan.  Fold edges  just over the top of pan.  Freeze crust for 15 minutes.  Bake 25 minutes or till golden brown.  Spread another 1/3 cup of Jam over the crust and bake another 4 minutes till jam sets. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature.

Crust pre-baking

Step 3: Make Filling: Heat cream in heavy small saucepan on a medium flame until bubbles appear around edge of pot.  Remove from flame and add chocolate.  Stir till completely melted and blended with cream.  Cool until mixture is beginning to thicken, stirring occasionally.  It should still be pourable, probably around 40 to 50 minutes.  Pour Chocolate filling into crust. Refrigerate for at least two hours till filling solidifies.

Chocolate filling poured into my very sad looking crust. I suck at crusts still, but they are getting better.

Step 4: Arrange Strawberries: Cut the tops off of all berries and then half them.  This can be down while you wait for step three to finish.  Arrange on top of tart as shown in the picture or whatever way your little heart desires.  Enjoy.

Now Tell me that does not look to die for. Still think this wont get you laid?

Just in case you were wondering what the Lisanti Land kitchen where all of these master pieces get cooked up in looked like here it is. Pretty gnarly huh?

 

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How to Make a Pumpkin Pie From a Real Pumpkin

Yummy!!!!!!!

I talked about it for years and mulled it over in my head every fall, but for whatever reason (most likely surfing) I did not ever get around to making a pumpkin pie from scratch.  This year I was motivated and thanks to a very entertaining trip to the local pumpkin patch and nearly getting lost forever in a corn maze I had a pumpkin.  Now there are certain kinds of pumpkins that are suggested for pie making and those pre-canned pumpkin mixes are actually made from a type of squash and not real pumpkin at all.  I decided to use the one that I picked, like I said I wanted this thing to be as authentic as possible down to physically going and picking the thing off the vine (although most of the pumpkins were already pre picked and I think the vines were just there for show and truthfully if I really wanted to go all the way from scratch I should have grown the damn thing from a seed).  For all this seasonal fun I got to pay $10 bucks for a pumpkin I could have waited till after they closed and stole the damn thing like I normally do this time of year.

 

I used your average everyday run of the mill pumpkin and it came out fabulous, definitely a slightly different taste but very good just the same.  Here is this week’s Recipe D’Jour in honor of Turkey Day.  I just made my second pumpkin pie ever, finishing it an hour ago for tomorrow.  My buddy Ryan invited me over for Thanksgiving with his family so I decided to provide the desert.  Although this recipe comes a bit too late for your holiday maybe you can use it next year.

 

Total Cost: $15.50 (yeah you can buy a whole pie for like $3, remember the pumpkin cost $10)
Feeds about eight people

Ingredient List:

  • Pumpkin – 2-4lbs
  • Vegetable Oil – Table spoon
  • Water – 1 cup
  • 9inch Pie Crust
    • Ice Water – 1 ½ cup
    • Flour –  1 ¼ cup
    • Salt – ¼ Teaspoon
    • Butter – 4 Tablespoons
    • Shortening – 2 Tablespoons
  • Pumpkin Puree – 1 ½ cup (you create from pumpkin)
  • Heavy Cream – 1 ½ cup
  • Brown Sugar – ½ cup
  • Flour – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon (ground)
  • Ginger – ½ teaspoon (ground)
  • Nutmeg – ¼ teaspoon (ground)
  • Light Corn Syrup – ½ cup
  • Egg – 3
  • Vanilla – 1 teaspoon

 

Step 1: Prep Pumpkin – Wipe pumpkin clean of all residue and dirt with a damp rag. Remove stem.  Cut pumpkin in half vertically.  Remove all pumpkin seeds and subsequent insides.  Save seeds for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.  Coat the inside of pumpkin with Vegetable oil.

This is your pumpkin after step 1

Step 2: Cook Down Pumpkin – In a baking pan large enough to fit both halves place pumpkin halves open side down.  Add 1 cup of water to pan.  Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F and cook at this temperature for around 60-80 minutes until pumpkin is adequately soft.

This is what your pumpkin should look like after being cooked down.

Step 3: Get the Puree – Allow pumpkin to cool to a comfortable handling temperature.  Scoop out entire inside of shell with a spoon.  It should come off rather easily. Mash up insides by hand.  This can also be done with a blender, hand mixer or a food processor.  I used a potato masher and then finished it off with an electric mixer.

Scoop out inside of pumpkin.

Your collected puree.

Step 4: Drain the Puree of any excess fluids – Scoop mixed puree into a sieve, I made a make shift one out of a strainer lined with three coffee filters and suspend over a bowl with enough room to catch excess fluids but without touching the sieve.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for around 3-4 hours to properly drain the puree.   After drained put aside 1 ½ cup for your pie any other excess you can freeze, but do it in 1 ½ cup portions so that you only have to defrost one pie worth the next time you feel so inclined to make a pumpkin pie.  I got three portions out of my pumpkin.

The make shift sieve.

Step 5: Make the Crust – Sure you can go to the store and buy those Pillsbury pre-made crusts or similar product, but like I said we are doing this from scratch.  Mix Flour, Salt, Butter and Shortening in large mixing bowl till it becomes a conglomerate of little beads of flour.  Add Ice water as needed, just enough to allow the dough to be kneaded. It is very necessary that ice water is used or crust will not roll out well and will be all cracky when you try and fit it to the pan.  Knead dough into a ball.  On a flat surface flatten ball into circle and then roll about 1/8 inch thick and ten-inch circumference.  You don’t need to have a perfect circle just as long as it is circular and fits inside your pan with a small overlap.  Place inside round pan and fold over the excess dough to form outside of piecrust.

 

Step 6: Make Filling – In large mixing bowl mix together flour and brown sugar.  Then add drained pumpkin puree from step 4 and Heavy Cream, blend together either by hand or with a mixer.  Add Salt, Cinnamon, Ginger and Nutmeg and mix again. Add Corn syrup and blend some more.  Add beaten Eggs and Vanilla and blend once more.

Mix your filling.

Step 7: Pour Filling Into Shell – Pour filling form step 6 into shell from step 5.

Step 8: Bake Pie – Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F and bake pie for 55-60 minutes.  After thirty minutes check to make sure crust is not getting burned, if so cover with tin foil.  Be sure to remove tin foil for last ten minutes of baking or so to brown up pie.

 

Step 9: Cool Pie – Check pie for doneness by either sticking a knife in it and if knife comes out clean it is done or jiggle it, if pie is not too jiggly it is done.  Allow pie to fully cool before serving.

 

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