Chocolate Cream Pie

How was your Thanksgiving? Have you eaten the last of your leftovers? At some point were you suffering from a food coma? Mine was good. I was in charge of dessert, and along with a traditional pumpkin pie and the Brown Butter Vanilla Pear PieI posted a few weeks ago I also made an Apple Streusel Dump Cake (come back tomorrow for that recipe) and today’s Chocolate Cream Pie. This pie was a HIT! Not too sweet… The perfect amount of chocolate! The recipe yields more mascarpone whipped cream than needed, don’t toss it, enjoy it with some berries. Use it to top off some hot chocolate. Or, spread it in a thin layer, freeze it and then use small cookie cutters to cut it into shapes to use in lieu of marshmallows in your hot chocolate.

And here’s my trio of pies from Thanksgiving…

 

Chocolate Cream Pie

For the crust:

1 disk homemade or store-bought pie crust

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Flour, for dusting

 

For the Filling:

2 1/2 cups whole milk

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

For the Whipped Cream

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

Shaved chocolate for decorating

 

Directions:

Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out the pie dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface then fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhang dough under itself and crimp the edges. Place a piece of parchment paper inside the pie crust and fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake until the crust is starting to set and brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and the beans/weights and bake for another 5 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp looking. Let it cool completely.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside of the pie crust with the melted chocolate in a thin layer, place in the refrigerator to harden.

Make the filling: Pour 2 cups of the milk into a heatproof bowl and set over the pan of simmering water. Heat the milk until it’s almost boiling. Add the unsweetened chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl whisk the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup milk and then add this mixture to the hot chocolate milk mixture. Raise the heat of the simmering water to medium-high and return the chocolate mixture over the water. Whisk in the egg yolks and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture is very thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Let the filling cool slightly and then pour into the pie shell. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the filling and refrigerate until cold, at least three hours,

Before serving make the mascarpone whipped cream: Beat the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl with a mixer until creamy. Add the heavy cream and continue beating until it holds stiff peaks. Add the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star and pipe it on top of the pie. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

Recipe from Food Network

Thanksgiving Desserts

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and joyous times with loved ones. This year I spent the day at a friend’s house enjoying said delicious food and joyous times – although I did cook a turkey the following day. At this point though I am kind of turkeyed out! I didn’t go empty handed to the Thanksgiving celebration though; I brought the dessert… three pies, a cheesecake and a chocolate cake. What can I say, I love to bake!

Among the pies was a Pumpkin Pie that I decorated using Fall themed pie cutters. Then there was a Sweet Potato Pie that I decorated with a leaf border. I made this pie because I had never tried sweet potato pie and was curious what the fuss was all about, it was good, but, I am partial to pumpkin. And finally an Apple Pie that I gave a nice twisted pie crust design.

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For the Cheesecake I stuck to a basic recipe that was a hit and topped it with sugared cranberries. The cranberries were so good that I ended up eating the leftovers like they were candy.

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And finally, the Chocolate Cake. The cake had a pumpkin spice mousse filling – it was super simple to make and delish thanks to a box of Jell-O Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix – and frosted it with chocolate frosting. And to give it a Fall theme I topped it with white chocolate leaves in seasonal colors.

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Homemade Pumpkin Puree

While at the supermarket a few weeks ago I came across sugar pumpkins on sale, I thought for a second or two of buying them and making my own pumpkin puree but it was just a fleeting thought at the moment and I stuck with the list of items I had in hand. Once I got home though I was curious as to how difficult it would be to turn those small pumpkins into puree and I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it would be, well, minus the elbow grease and patience. So, a few days later I picked up two pumpkins and got to work.

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I began by slicing the top of the pumpkin off. I should say I sawed it off as I did mention it required some elbow grease.

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Next, I sliced the pumpkin in half. This was by far the most difficult part. Since my knives were sharpened I probably just need some refresher tips on knife skills.

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And then scooped out all of the seeds and pulp.

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Following that I sliced the halves into halves – or simply put I cut the pumpkin into quarters. I then repeated these steps with the second pumpkin and placed all of the quarters on a baking sheet.

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I roasted the pumpkin in a 350 F preheated oven for just shy of an hour until the pieces were fork tender. And I must say the smell of pumpkin in my house was heaven during that hour.

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After letting the pieces cool for a few minutes I was easily able to remove the skin from the pumpkin.

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And then it was time for the simplest part – well besides roasting the pumpkin – to making the puree, the blending.  I put a few pieces at a time in the bowl of my food processor and added a few tablespoons of water to help the process along.

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All in all I ended up with about 8 cups of fresh pumpkin puree.

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I refrigerated half of it and froze the other half in sandwich bags – putting a cup of puree in each of the bags.

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And since I didn’t want that refrigerated puree to go bad I was quick to whip up some delicious treats with it.

There was pumpkin pie, which I must say definitely had a much richer taste with the fresh puree.

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Pumpkin Ravioli using wonton wrappers…

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And my favorite, a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. I usually get one or two of these during the Fall at Starbucks but the coffee flavor is such a turn off for me since I am not a coffee drinker that being able to make this at home and control the coffee amount was perfect!

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Pumpkin Ravioli – Adapted from here and here

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh (or canned) pumpkin puree

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot minced

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/3 cup parmesan cheese grated

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute.

2. Add the pumpkin and cook until the pumpkin has absorbed the butter.

3. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream.

4. Remove from the heat and add in the cheese and nutmeg and stir until both are incorporated.

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte – Recipe from October 2014 Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

heaping 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

heaping 1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)

1/4 cup espresso (or strong brewed coffee)

whipped cream, for topping

Directions:

1. Combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a small saucepan.

2. Whisk in milk and espresso and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

3. Pour into 2 mugs and top with whipped cream and more nutmeg.

 

If you would like a more detailed description of how to make you own pumpkin puree check-out the directions I followed here from the Pioneer Woman’s (Ree Drummond) website.

 

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

So I ate the last of my Thanksgiving leftovers yesterday and they were definitely good while they lasted. Ironically cooking a turkey on Thanksgiving has never intimidated me like cooking on an everyday basis used to. Go figure! I would like to say that I turned those turkey leftovers into something creative, but, that just never happened (although I did have a thought or two about it.)

Along with my turkey (which I must say came out really juicy and tasty thanks to brining and an herbed butter rub)…

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I also made a Sweet Potato Casserole (it was the first time I ever made one and it will definitely become a staple of mine), Williams-Sonoma’s Focaccia Stuffing and Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions…

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And in my opinion Thanksgiving is just not complete without some Cranberry Sauce.

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For dessert I decided to make a Pumpkin Pecan Pie. I usually just make a plain old Pumpkin Pie but after seeing a recipe that included pecans I was intrigued to try it. In all honesty I didn’t particularly care for that recipe so originally I decided to add pecans to the usual recipe I follow for Pumpkin Pie, but, I decided this year to try out Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe. They are known for their packed pumpkin in cans so I figured they should know a thing or two about turning that into a delicious pie.

To start I toasted about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 350 degrees preheated oven for five minutes. After they cooled I scattered them on the bottom of a deep-dish pie shell. I took a major short-cut and opted to buy a frozen pie crust.

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Next, I made the pumpkin filling by beating 2 large eggs in a bowl and then adding in the pumpkin and a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves. And then I gradually stirred in a can of evaporated milk.

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And finally I poured that into the pecan covered pie crust and baked it for fifteen minutes in a 425 degrees preheated oven and then dropped the temperature to 350 degrees and baked it for another forty-five minutes.

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I loved the texture the pecans added to the pie as well as the nutty flavor.

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And while many were out scoring Black Friday deals I opted to stay in and work on some Christmas crafts… Stay tuned!

A Pumpkin Pie… And Tart

Thanksgiving is not only a day to indulge in some yummy food but also a day to save room for dessert. This year along with making the prerequisite pumpkin pie I also made something a little more special, a Pecan Pumpkin Frangipane Tart. (Frangipane is a filling that is made from or flavored with almonds.) I got the recipe two years ago when I attended a cooking demonstration at Williams & Sonoma. I made it for Thanksgiving that year and have wanted to make it again ever since.

First up though… The Pumpkin Pie. I followed a recipe that I got from the Food Network website. This is probably one of the simplest recipes I have seen for pumpkin pie but it turns out one the yummiest ones I have ever tasted. I actually wasn’t a big fan of pumpkin pie until I made this one; I always thought it tasted quite bland. Although, I did cheat a little and bought my pie crust instead of making it from scratch as the recipe calls for. I opted to use the Keebler Ready Crust Graham 2 Extra Servings Pie Crust to make sure that my filling wouldn’t overflow. I used a regular sized pie crust once and quickly learned my lesson. The filling overflowed and I had to spend a considerable amount of time cleaning my oven afterwards. Not fun!

 

To make the Pecan Pumpkin Frangipane Tart I started off by making my crust. Using a store bought crust for this tart just wouldn’t be the same. Using a food processor I pulsed together the following ingredients: salt, eggs, flour, confectioners’ sugar & butter.

 

I then formed the dough into a disk and refrigerated it for 2 hours.

Afterwards I rolled out the dough and pressed it into my tart pan and refrigerated it once again. It needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. I ended up being refrigerating mine for a few hours, but, it had no effect on the final outcome.

To make the frangipane I used sugar, cake flour, eggs, almond paste and butter.

I combined all of these ingredients in my mixer.

Now it was time to assemble the tart.

I started out by spreading Pecan Pumpkin Butter, which I bought from Williams & Sonoma, on the bottom of my dough. Unfortunately this is a seasonal item so it’s only available in the early fall. But, this isn’t the only thing you can use as the base for this tart. You could actually use fruit, jams/jellies, pudding and so forth. The frangipane is what really gives this tart it’s burst of flavor so whatever you use as the base is just a complement to that.

 

I then spooned the frangipane on top and smoothed it out evenly.

I baked it for about 30 minutes and this was the final product and it was delicious!

 

Pumpkin Pie

Recipe courtesy Joanne Chang

Pie Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons milk

Filling:
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
7 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
6 1/2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch ground clove
Pinch salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Equipment: 9-inch pie pan

Directions

Make the Pie Dough: In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix to combine. Add the butter and continue mixing until the mixture holds together when you clump it, and there are pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and milk in small bowl.

Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap well and store in the refrigerator for several hours. (The dough will keep for several days in the fridge and several weeks in the freezer.)

On a lightly floured work surface, roll half of the dough into a 11 to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Line the pan with the dough and crimp the edges. Chill the pie shell for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the pie shell with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans. Bake the shell until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and beans.

Meanwhile, make the Filling: Lower the oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, mix together the pumpkin and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, milks, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, eggs, and yolk. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake until set, about 45 to 55 minutes. Cool and serve

 

Pecan Pumpkin Frangipane Tart

From Williams & Sonoma

For the Pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
10 tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten with 1 tbs. water

For the Frangipane:
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup firmly packed almond paste
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 egg white
1/3 cup plus 1 tbs. cake flour

3/4 cup (1/2 jar) Murihead Pecan Pumpkin Butter

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

To make the pastry, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and process in short pulses until pea-size crumbs form, 20 to 25 seconds. While pulsing, add the egg yolk mixture and process to form large, moist crumbs, 10 to 15 seconds more.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Roll out the dough 1⁄8 inch thick, dusting it with confectioners’ sugar if it begins to stick. Transfer the dough round into a 10-inch tart pan and, using your fingers, press the dough into the pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

To make the frangipane, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the almond paste and granulated sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. While beating, add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and fold in the cake flour until just blended and no lumps of flour remain.

Spread the pecan pumpkin butter into the chilled tart shell, forming a layer about 1⁄4 inch thick. Spoon the frangipane on top in an even layer. Bake until the tart is golden and set, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the tart cool to room temperature, then remove it from the pan. Dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Makes one 10-inch tart.