Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie

A pie for Pi Day! To celebrate Pi Day this year I am bringing you a Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie. Meyer lemons are a tad sweeter than your traditional lemons. They are a cross between regular lemons and mandarins and tend to be smaller, rounder and smoother than traditional lemons. They also have a deep yellow / orange hue to them.

I began by thinly slicing the lemons, removing the pits.

I then combined the sliced lemons with sugar and salt and set it aside.

In a medium bowl I whisked together 4 large eggs with vanilla extract and then combined that with the lemons. I opted to use refrigerated store-bought pie dough. After letting it come to room temperature I rolled it out about and extra 1/2-inch and then pressed it into a pie dish that I greased with butter. I brushed the crust with a beaten egg yolk and then poured the lemon mixture into the crust.

Next, I rolled out the other half of my pie crust approximately an extra 1/2 inch and then placed it on top of my pie. I attempted to do a decorate crust my crimping the ends. I am not a great pie maker so I was happy with the way this crust looked when I was done. I did my best not to rush through it and I was very happy that I was able to cut slits in the pie that were four individual slits as opposed to four slits that I over sliced and turned into 2. It’s happened. I am telling you, baking pies knocks me off-kilter and I end up doing something wrong. Practice makes perfect though. My plan at this point was to freeze the pie for an hour prior to baking. But, I found out the hard way (when I went to go put the pie in the freezer) that my freezer wasn’t wide enough for me to get the dish in. UGH! So, I ended up refrigerating the pie overnight instead. On a side note, when it comes time for me to purchase a new refrigerator I will be going to the store with a bag of pie dishes and cookie sheets to make sure I get a freezer part that I will be able to fit things in. Not being able to get certain dishes and pans in my freezer can be maddening at times. I didn’t find it to be such an annoyance until I decided to freeze my cookie dough back in December and I was only able to fit one cookie sheet in there from the 10+ that I own. It definitely slowed down my flow of getting things done! Anyhoo…

After refrigerating the pie overnight I baked it the following morning… I was pleased with the golden brown color of the crust and that my decorative edge didn’t fall apart completely while the pie was baking.

I let the pie cool for a bit and then sliced into it… The filling was jammy as it’s supposed to be, but, I found it incredibly sweet. I tried taking a few bites, but, it was just too much for me. If I make this again I will definitely cut back on the amount of sugar I used per the directions (2 cups). While I was scooping the sugar out to combine with the lemons in the back of my mind I was already thinking “this is way too much sugar,” but since other recipes I saw called for that much I followed along.

While the recipe I followed didn’t call for the lemons and sugar to macerate for 24 hours, I found that many recipes called for this step in order to break down the rind and pith of the lemons to eliminate any bitterness.  If I were to make this recipe again I would definitely do that as well as cut back on some of the sugar. While the pie did have a nice taste to it and the bitterness from the rind and pith wasn’t strong, as I mentioned, the sweetness was just too much for me. So, here is what I would do. I would slice the lemons and combine them with the sugar (probably only a cup and a quarter to a cup and a half) and salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. The following day I would then continue with the recipe, whisking together the eggs and vanilla and then combining that with the lemons. And instead of freezing / refrigerating the pie before baking, I would omit this step and go ahead and bake the pie

Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie

Ingredients:

4 to 7 small to medium Meyer lemons

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 store-bought pie crust or homemade

 

To finish the pie:

1 large egg separated, white and yolk whisked separately

2 teaspoons sugar

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the lemons, removing any seeds. You will need 2 cups of sliced lemons. Combine the lemon slices with the sugar and salt and set aside to allow the lemon to macerate. Whisk the 4 eggs and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl.

Lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish. Roll out half of the dough to fit in the dish with a 1-inch overhang. Brush the dough with the beaten egg yolk.

Combine the sliced lemons and egg mixture and then spread into the prepared pie crust.

Roll out the other half of the dough. If using store bought dough, roll it out approximately a 1/2 inch more and then place on top of the dough in the pie dish. Trim off any excess dough and pinch the bottom and top crust together and crimp or seal the edges with your finger or fork.

Cut 4 slits on the top and brush with the beaten egg white and sprinkle the sugar on top. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Bake the pie on the lowest rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 375 F and move the pie to the center rack and bake for another 30 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown too quickly, cover with a pie cover or strips of aluminum foil.

Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Recipe from The Kitchn

Hidden Heart Cake

Are you looking for something fun to bake for Valentine’s Day but are thinking that it’s too late? Well, this may just be the cake for you. All you need is 2 boxes of cake mix (I used white & chocolate), a loaf pan, a 2-inch heart cookie cutter and pink (or red) food coloring. While I used a white cake mix tinted pink for the hearts inside of a chocolate cake, you could try pink hearts inside of a white cake, red hearts inside of a white cake, red hearts inside of a yellow cake and so forth. It’s really up to you.

To begin, I prepped a box of white cake mix per the directions and then tinted it pink with a few drops of gel food coloring. I poured it into a loaf pan that I sprayed with baking spray and baked it in a 350 F oven for 40 minutes, the cake wasn’t quite done but was browning considerably along the top so I dropped the temperature to 325 F and baked it for another 10 minutes. I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in the pan and then transferred it to a wire rack to cool completely.

After the cake cooled, I sliced it into approximately 1 inch slices. Some of the slices were a little thicker, some a little thinner. In the end, it didn’t matter.

Next, using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter I cut hearts from the slices of cake and set them aside. Those mini hearts were for a different baking project that turned out to be a fail… Oh well.

You will have a bunch of cake scraps left, I ended up snacking on a few pieces and then tossing the rest. If you make cake pops, or have been wanting to make cake pops, save these scraps for just that.

I then prepared the chocolate cake mix per the box directions. I spread about a 1/2 inch layer of the batter into the bottom of my loaf pan that I prepped with baking spray.

Next, I arranged the 2-inch hearts in a row down the middle of the pan, leaving a small space between the first and last heart and the pan, but, making sure the hearts in the middle were close together. This is why I said that if your slices aren’t exactly 1-inch thick it won’t matter. Once you line them together it will all be good.

I used a ladle to slowly pour the rest of the batter along the sides and on the top of the hearts. You don’t want to just pour the batter into the pan, this could disturb the hearts and you could end up with chocolate in between them. I did make sure that the hearts were completely covered with the batter. You don’t want a heart peeking out of the top of the cake… that would ruin the surprise.

I then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 40 minutes. I inserted a cake tester and the inside was still a little underdone so I lowered the oven temperature to 325 F and baked it for an additional 10 minutes, similar to what I did with the pink cake. Once again, I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in the pan and then removed it and let it completely cool on a wire rack.

Once it was cool it was time to slice and see if my hidden heart cake was a success (and it was)!

Happy Holidays!

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was good… Surrounded by loved ones, delicious food and sweet-tooth satisfying desserts. Of course, I did my fair share of baking… Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie, Pumpkin Pie, a Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake and the below Pear Cranberry Pie, just to name a few things.

 

I’ll admit that I took some major shortcuts when it came to making the crust for this pie. First off, I used a frozen deep dish pie crust as the base and for the lattice pattern I used refrigerated pie crust that I cut into strips to weave and braid and then added a decorative border with leaf cut-outs. I decided to brush the pie with milk prior to baking – I usually use an egg, but, after all of the baking I did I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like cracking and whisking an egg – so I made sure to dab a little milk under the leaf border so to that the leaves and the lattice and braided strips would adhere to the crust. One other thing to note, I let the frozen crust sit out at room temperature for a few minutes after filling it so that it would be easier for my top crust stick to it. As for the filling, if you’ve never had pear pie you should definitely try one. For me, pear pie isn’t as sweet as apple pie and while I do bake a lot I actually don’t like things that are overly sweet. If you want the best of both worlds, try this Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie I made last year for Thanksgiving. While the filling consists mainly of pears, there is 1 apple in the mix. As for the recipe for this or, I got it from the premiere issues of Magnolia Journal last year. You can find the recipe here.

Now that Thanksgiving is over I am looking forward to Christmas and New Year’s. I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown by. Fourth of July honestly feels like it was just a few short weeks ago, but, it was more like 5 long months ago. Today marks my three-month anniversary at my new job, oh yeah, I never mentioned that, I got a new job. I was working part-time before but I am now working full-time, which has given me some challenges when it comes to writing blog posts and sometimes baking, but, not really. I can always squeeze in some time for baking.

Next week I will be bringing you my 3rd annual Cookie Palooza… Hopefully you’ll try at least one of the recipes and just maybe it will become one of your staples. One of the cookies is actually one I am planning on making and gifting later this month, oops, later next month – we are still in November. I kind of like that Thanksgiving was early this year. I feel like it cuts down on the panic of realizing that the next set of holidays are just around the corner. Although, I was at Walmart a few weeks ago and seeing people shopping for what seemed like Christmas gifts already had me panicking a bit. Like I was short on time to get things done. Yikes! I have to-do lists everywhere I look.

The second week in December I am bringing you something new… A Holiday Cake Week. The idea came about last year when I never seemed to get the time to post about a Yule Log Cake I made and then some Snickerdoodle Cupcakes I made. So, I figured I would save the write-up for both and create a special week for them this year. Rounding out the five is a Pull-Apart Cupcake Christmas Wreath, a Rum Cake and a Rainbow Cookie Cake. Yum!

So, sit back, enjoy this last month of the year and don’t forget to indulge in some delicious treats. ‘Tis the season!

Slow Cooker Sunday: Maple Cinnamon Pear-Applesauce

I have an abundance of apples from my recent apple picking outing and while I have been enjoying eating them, I decided to use some of them to make a homemade pear-applesauce. Making homemade applesauce is quicker and easier than you may think. And healthier since you can control the level of sweetness. You could also customize the flavors by adding in different fruits (i.e. peaches, mangoes, cranberries) or different spices.

I began by peeling, coring and chopping 2 lbs. each apples (I used red delicious and granny smith) and pears (I used Bartlett). I added the apples along with pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, a cinnamon stick, lemon juice and water to the inset of a slow cooker.

I set it took on low for 4 hours and was left with apples and pears that were perfectly tender for the next step.

I removed the cinnamon stick and using a slotted spoon transferred the apples and pears to the bowl of a food processor. To prevent the sauce from becoming too watery I didn’t add too much of the juices. I then pulsed the mixture to my desired consistency, making sure no large apple or pear chunks remained.

I transferred the pear-applesauce to a container to let it cool and then covered and refrigerated it.

 

Slow Cooker Maple Cinnamon Pear-Applesauce

Ingredients:

2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and chopped

2 pounds pears, peeled, cored and chopped

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 cup water

Juice from 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker (at least 6 quarts) and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the apples and pears are tender, about 4 hours.

Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse until desired consistency. You could also transfer to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher for a chunkier sauce.

Let cool and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Recipe from Real Simple

If you would prefer to make this on the stove, increase the water amount to a cup and combine all of the ingredients in large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 25 minutes.

For both versions (slow cooker or stove top) you could substitute apple juice for the water.

 

 

 

 

Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake

I’ve been wanting to make this Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake for over a year now. Somehow it just got away from me last summer and it almost did the same this summer. I truly feel the flavors of this cake are ideal for the summer months. This isn’t my first crepe cake though, last fall I made a Chocolate-Pumpkin Crepe Cake which was quite delish.

Unfortunately this crepe cake wasn’t a hit amongst my friends who tried it. Not because of the taste but because they weren’t keen on the crepes. They agreed that the lemon curd cream filling between the crepes was good but the crepes themselves not so great. Not so much the flavor, but, the texture. Which I can completely understand. Eating a cake of crepes is nothing like eating a fluffy moist cake. I myself enjoyed it, but, I’m a texture person. In other words, I like sprinkles on my ice cream, nuts in brownies and cookies and so forth. Oh well… You can’t always bake something that everyone will rave about.

One thing I have to point out… This very apropos cake stand I used for this cake. It has a glass lemon as the stem between the base and the plate. I got it from a dear friend’s mom a few days before I made this cake and it made making this cake a little more fun!

 

Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake

Ingredients:

Lemon Curd*:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 large egg

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 5 to 6 lemons

 

Crepes:

1 3/4 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup flour

6 tablespoons finely ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

An additional 3 tablespoons of butter to cook the Crepes

 

Assembly:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

5 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crushed amaretti cookies, for garnish (optional)**

 

*If you opt to use store bought lemon curd, you will need 1 cup.

**I used Stella D’oro Breakfast Treats

 

Directions:

Lemon Curd: Beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the whole egg. Once well combined, gradually add in the egg yolks, then the lemon juice. The mixture may appear curdles. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until cool. You can keep the lemon curd in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Crepes: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Once the batter is cold, stir it the batter until smooth again. Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1 ounce of batter on the skillet and tilt it to even distribute the batter. Cook until the edges on the crepe turn golden and then carefully flip and cook until just set. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Melt another 1/2 teaspoon of butter and continue cooking the crepes in the same manner. Mix the batter between each crepe. Stack the crepes on top of one another and let cool for 30 minutes. You will have between 16-20 crepes.

Assembly: Beat 1 1/4 cups heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the whipped cream into the lemon curd with a rubber spatula until combined. Then fold the cream-curd mixture into the remaining whipped cream until completely combined.

Place 1 crepe on the center of a cake stand and spread 3 tablespoons of the curd mixture evenly over the crepe. Repeat layering with remaining crepes and curd mixture, ending with a crepe.

Whisk together the remaining cream and confectioners’ sugar with the mascarpone and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Spread the mascarpone cream on the top and the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes and garnish with crushed cookies before serving.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Homemade No Churn Coffee-Caramel Ice Cream

It’s the first day of summer and while the day started off rainy the sun has finally made an appearance. Are you ready and excited for the summer? I’ve been doing a good amount of yard work to get my yard ready. It seems like wherever I look there is a weed to pull or a tree/bush to trim back, it just never ends. Summer is synonymous with one of my favorite treats… Ice Cream. Granted, I can eat ice cream in the winter, but, the warmer days are definitely prime time for an ice cream treat. I was racking my brain to think of an ice cream flavor to make but I was coming up empty. I think I have too many things running around in my mind and a slew of mental to-do lists to focus on one thing. And then, just in time, the current issue of Food Network magazine showed up in my mailbox and wouldn’t ya’ know they had 3 recipes for no-churn ice cream. Granted, I do have an ice cream maker, but, the simpler the better sometimes (usually all the time to be honest.) I settled on trying the No Churn Coffee-Caramel Ice Cream. A little disclaimer, the original recipe included toffee chips with I decided to omit.

The prep time for making this ice cream took me less than 10 minutes. In a large bowl I whisked together condensed milk, espresso powder (I used Café Bustelo Espresso Instant Coffee), heavy cream and salt until it was smooth. You will have speckles from the espresso powder, don’t worry, once you incorporate the whipped heavy cream the speckles will go away. Speaking of the whipped heavy cream, in another large bowl beat heavy cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold half of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture until fully combined and then fold in the remaining whipped cream until completely incorporated. I tasted the mixture at this point and it tasted like my favorite coffee flavored ice cream…. YUM! I would have been happy to just put this in the freezer, but, I decided to follow the recipe and added in dulce de leche (a milk-based caramel) and then swirled it in the mixture. I transferred the mixture to a 9×5 metal loaf and dotted the top of the mixture with more dulce de leche. I covered the pan with plastic wrap and then placed it in the freezer.

The next day I enjoyed a scoop or two and it was delish! The coffee and dulce de leche flavor go together so well. I’ll definitely be making this again a few more times during the summer (and winter.)

Looking for more ice cream flavors to try… Check out some of my previous ice cream posts:

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Lavender Vanilla Ice Cream

 

No Churn Coffee-Caramel Ice Cream

Ingredients:

3 / 4 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1 1 / 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Pinch of salt

1 / 3 cup dulce de leche

 

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together the condensed milk, espresso powder, 1 tablespoon heavy cream and salt.

In a separate large bowl beat the remaining heavy cream with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula fold half of the mixture into the condensed milk mixture until combined and then fold in the remaining heavy cream until completely incorporated and no white streaks remain. The color will look like coffee with milk added in.

Dot the mixture with the dulce de leche and using the rubber spatula swirl the dulce de leche into the mixture. Transfer to a 9×5 metal loaf pan and then top with more dulce de leche. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Recipe from Food Network

Lemon Ricotta Bars

So, even after I made the Ricotta Orange Pound Cake I posted about last week, I still had ricotta cheese left-over and I didn’t want to toss it. So, I decided to make Lemon Ricotta Bars. Lemon & ricotta go together so well… If you don’t believe me try making these bars, these pancakes I posted about a few years ago or these cookies I posted right before the holidays last year. All were delish!

Lemon Ricotta Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (15 crackers)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 cup whole-milk ricotta

4 large eggs, beaten

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons lemon zest

2/3 cup lemon juice, from 3 to 4 large lemons

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9x13x2 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust: Combine the ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl and mix until moistened. Press the mixture evenly in the prepared pan and about 1/4 inch up the sides of the dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until set, and then set aside to cool.

Reduce the oven to 325F.

For the filling: Whisk the ricotta, eggs, sugar and flour in a bowl until well combined. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and blend well. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until filling is firm, about 30 minutes.

Let the pan cool on a wire rack, at least 2 hours. Cut into desired sized bars with a knife, wiping the knife between cuts.

Recipe adapted from Food Network and Food52