Passion Fruit Pie

Happy Pi Day! That wonderful day on the calendar, 3/14, were we celebrate the irrational number Pi. Irrational because it cannot be expressed exactly as a simple fraction and therefore is an infinite decimal. What it is exactly though is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and regardless of the size of the circle, it will always be the same number. So, due to this fun math themed day I bring you a new recipe for pie. I am always stumped to come up with a new pie recipe for today. When I start searching for a recipe most of the ones I come across are some sort of variation of an apple or pumpkin pie. Both of which I prefer baking during the Fall months. And of course there are the berry pies, but, I think those are better in the summer months when berries are in season. So I run out of options quickly. This year I started to think about pies I’ve made and flavors that I haven’t come across and I thought to myself what about a Passion Fruit Pie.

I decided to follow the recipe for my go-to Key Lime Pie but switch out the key lime juice for passion fruit pulp. I purchased frozen passion fruit pulp and let it defrost in my refrigerator overnight. I also switched up the crust I use. Normally I make Key Lime Pie with a store bought graham cracker crust, but for this pie I decided to make a shortbread cookie crust. And that was my first step in making this pie.

Using my food processor I pulsed shortbread cookies, I used Keebler Sandies Classic Shortbread Cookies, into fine crumbs and then combined the crumbs with melted unsalted butter. Next, I pressed the crumbs into the bottom and along the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. After baking it in a preheated 350 F oven for 10 minutes I let it cool while I made the filling. While baking the crust beforehand isn’t completely necessary I decided to do so so that the crust would be firmer once the pie was done. This would minimize the chances of it crumbling when cutting a piece of the pie.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, I beat egg yolks until they were light and fluffy. I continued beating the eggs while gradually adding in sweetened condensed milk. And finally, I added in the defrosted passion fruit pulp. Once the mixture was combined I poured it into the shortbread cookie crust and returned the dish to the oven for an additional 20 minutes. When done, the pie filling will be set.

I let the pie cool completely on a wire rack before transferring it to the refrigerator to chill before serving.

Before serving I whipped up a small batch of homemade whipped cream and decorated the top of the pie. To create the swirls I used a Wilton 6B piping tip.

This pie was delicious… It was the perfect texture and a wonderful combination of sweet and tart! And yes, pre-baking the crust did help in preventing it from falling apart when slicing into the pie.

Passion Fruit Pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups shortbread cookie crumbs*

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

4 egg yolks

14oz. can condensed milk

1/2 cup passion fruit pulp**

Whipped cream for decorating and/or serving

 

* I used about 15 Keebler Sandies Classic Shortbread Cookies. You could also purchase a 9-inch shortbread pie crust. If using a store bought pie crust there is no need to pre-bake it. Just fill it with the pie filling and bake as directed below.

** I purchased a frozen 14oz. package from Goya and left it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Combine the shortbread cookie crumbs and the butter in a medium bowl and mix them together. Once mixed, transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and press the crumbs in an even layer along the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the crust is cooling make the filling. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium, beat the egg yolks until they are light and fluffy. Gradually add in the condensed milk and continue beating until combined. Finally, add in the passion fruit pulp and continue beating until combined.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 20 minutes. The filling will be set.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and then refrigerate for a few hours before serving and/or decorating with whipped cream.

 

Whipped Cream

  • Servings: About 2 cups
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Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar and beat with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Key Lime Pie Revisited

I made Key Lime Pie for the first time last year when I came across the small limes while grocery shopping. I picked them up having only tried Key Lime Pie once and not caring for it and unsure how easy or difficult the pie would be to make. A quick call to friend and a Google search later let me know it wouldn’t be all that bad. And after my second tasting of Key Lime Pie I was hooked. Unfortunately key limes aren’t something that are readily available in my area throughout the year so I haven’t gotten to enjoy the pie since last year. Granted, I have seen key lime juice in the baking aisle of my local supermarket, but, I have a feeling that using the bottled juice just won’t taste the same as the freshly squeezed version. During a recent shopping trip I came across the limes once again and without hesitation I bought a bag and made another Key Lime Pie and just wanted to share the recipe with you all once again.

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Key Lime Pie

Ingredients

1 9-inch graham cracker pie shell

1/2 cup key lime juice (approximately 12 key limes)

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

4 egg yolks

Grated lime zest of one lime

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2) Whisk together the four eggs yolks until pale and fluffy

3) Gradually add in the condensed milk and continue mixing until the mixture becomes light and fluffy

4) Add in the lime juice and finally the lime zest.

5) Pour the filling into the graham cracker pie shell and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set.

6) Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack and then cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

7) Decorate with whipped cream or save for serving and drop heaping spoonfuls of whipped cream on each slice.

 

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Whip cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add in the vanilla extract and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

A Delicious Short-Cut Peach Pie

Short-cuts aren’t always a bad thing. When you are driving they can get you where you have to go quicker and hopefully help you avoid some traffic along the way. In our day-to-day lives they can make us a bit more efficient to get daily tasks completed. And in baking they can guarantee us a flakier crust and fruit that’s perfectly ripe for a pie!

A few weeks ago I got it in my head that I wanted to make a peach pie. I’m actually not a big fruit pie fan – I’m not that keen on fruit pie filling, especially when it’s on the runny side – but, I think the Pillsbury Pie Crust sitting in my refrigerator got me thinking. I’ve made pie crusts from scratch once or twice before but, like I said there’s nothing wrong with taking a short-cut every now and then. I went one step further with my short-cut and opted to use frozen peaches. I just wasn’t in the mood to peel and slice a few pounds of peaches.

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I combined 2 pounds of frozen sliced peaches with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice and almond extract. I decided on the almond extract after reading that many bakers used to add the nut – sometimes called a “bitter almond” –  that’s inside the pit of the peach to the pie while baking to give it an almond flavor. That practice has since diminished as it was discovered that the nut contains trace amounts of cyanide, granted you would have to eat a large quantity of them for anything to happen, but, who wants to bite down on something hard when they are enjoying a piece of pie.

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Next I unrolled one of the pie crusts and pressed it into the bottom of the pie dish.

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I then added the filling and mounded it slightly in the middle and dotted it with small pieces of unsalted butter.

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Instead of just unrolling the other pie crust on top of the pie I decided to give it a little pizazz with a lattice pattern that wouldn’t require weaving. First I sliced the top pie crust into 6 1-inch strips…

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And then divided those strips in half to end up with a total of 12 1/2-inch strips.

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I laid five strips across the pie, doing my best to equally space them

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Then I laid four strips across the previous strips diagonally.

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And after some trimming and crimping, voila, a simple lattice pattern.

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I then placed the pie on a baking sheet in a 400 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes. I then lowered the oven to 375 F and baked the pie for about another hour. Prior to lowering the temperature I brushed the top of the pie with an egg wash to ensure a nice golden brown color. I kept a close eye on the pie and when I noticed the rims of it were browning a tad bit too much I covered it with aluminum foil. I knew it was time to take the pie out of the oven when the filling was bubbling.

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After letting it cool it was time to slice into it…

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And I happy to say that the pie was a perfect consistency… Not too watery and not too dry! It was a definite winner!

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Peach Pie – Adapted from here

1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

Filling:

2 pounds of sliced and peeled frozen peaches (Use frozen, do not thaw)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour (I doubled the amount the original recipe called for to allot for the water the frozen fruit would release while baking)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Make the filling by mixing the peaches in a large bowl with the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, all spice and almond extract.

3. Unroll one pie crust and place in an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Add the filling, mounding it slightly in the center and dot with the butter.

4. Unroll the second crust and dust it lightly with flour and cut it into 1/2-inch wide strips. Lay half of the strips on the pie in one direction, leaving about a 1-inch space between each strip. Lay the remaining strips on top, crossing them diagonally to make a faux lattice pattern. Trim the edges of the strips leaving a small overhang and crimp the edges into the bottom crust with your fingers.

5. Place the pie on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 375 F and brush the pie with an egg wash (beat the egg with a tablespoon of water). Bake for another hour until the filling it bubbly. If you notice the out crusts of the pie is browning too quickly cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Once baked, transfer to a rack to cool completely before slicing. Store remaining pie in the refrigerator.

 

In Honor of Pi Day… A Banana Cream Pie

Happy Pi Day! What can I say; I am a bit of a math geek. It was my favorite subject throughout school and I was a Mathematics/Economics major in college. I sometimes think that my love of math is what drives some of my hobbies. Take baking; it’s not like cooking where a pinch of this and that can turn out something great. If an ingredient is slightly off when you bake you may end up with something completely inedible. When you are knitting or crocheting (especially knitting) being off with your count can completely mess up whatever you are making and with beading and jewelry making symmetry is key and adding one extra bead, stone or whatever can completely throw off the aesthetics of the final product. But, back to Pi Day… We celebrate it on this day (March 14th) since the first three numbers of Pi are 3.14. Some other things to note about this lovely number… It’s irrational (meaning it cannot be written as a ratio,) it’s never ending (3.14159…) and the decimal never repeats. So, in honor of this day I decided to bake a pie – how original!?!? – not just any pie though a pie I have never actually tried before – a Banana Cream Pie. I thought about making this pie a few weeks ago when I had a few ripe bananas staring at me in my kitchen, but then they got eaten so I decided to save the pie for today.

 

So, I had every intention of making my pie crust from scratch, well, let me clarify, I did make one from scratch and although I followed the directions exactly after baking it for slightly less time that directed it still came out a bit overcooked so I just opted to go with a store bought crust and baked it according to the directions on the package. Unfortunately my edge was a little uneven but I knew that wouldn’t take away from the taste.

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While the crust was cooling I began making the banana cream filling. To begin I prepped those ingredients that needed a bit of prepping: slicing three bananas, separating four eggs for the yolks and cutting up 2 tbsp. of butter.
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In a medium saucepan I combined sugar, cornstarch and salt and then whisked in milk. I cooked this over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture was thick and bubbling.
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I then whisked the milk mixture in with the eggs yolks. 
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After the milk and eggs were completely incorporated I returned the mixture to the saucepan and cooked it over medium heat once again stirring it constantly until it boiled.
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I then strained the mixture through a sieve…
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And then mixed in the butter and once it was melted I folded in the bananas.
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It was then time to pour the banana cream into the cooled pie crust and then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until the cream was set.
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Once the pie was set I made a whipped cream topping for it and sprinkled it with shaved chocolate curls.
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Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 recipe Pate Brisee to Make Two 9-Inch Single-Crust Pies or One Double-Crust or Lattice-Crust Pie (http://www.marthastewart.com/258439/pate-brisee), use 1 disc and reserve remaining disc for another use*

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

4 large egg yolks

2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 ripe bananas, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 block (about 5 ounces) bittersweet chocolate

*I opted to use a store-bought pie crust

Directions 

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into a 14-inch round (1/4 inch thick). Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim dough to extend above edges by 1 inch, fold under, and crimp. Prick bottom with a fork, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Cut a large round of parchment paper (about 11 inches), and place in pie shell, allowing excess to extend above edges. Fill with pie weights. Freeze until cold, about 10 minutes.

2. Bake crust 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove pie weights and parchment, and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack.

3. Make the filling: Combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add egg yolks, and whisk until smooth. Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup milk to yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour mixture into pan with hot milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble and is very thick, about 6 minutes.

4. Pour milk mixture through a large-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add butter, and stir until melted. Fold in bananas. Pour into crust. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

5. Make the topping: Beat together cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over filling. Using a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, shape topping into peaks.

6. Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate at a 45-degree angle, and scatter over pie. (You will only need about 1 ounce of chocolate for the shavings, but it will be easier to shave if you start with a larger piece than you need.) Serve.