Coconut Cream Pie

20170418_110650When I think of no-bake pies, coconut cream is hands down my favorite (lemon being a close second). I have fond memories of the sprawling collection of pies my grandparents would serve at every holiday. Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter we would always have a banana cream, pumpkin, chocolate ambrosia, mincemeat, and coconut cream pie. The pies would always be ordered from a local buffet called Bishop’s. Unfortunately, Bishop’s has long been closed and I have not had a coconut cream pie quite the same since. When the craving would call there is always a variety in the supermarket freezer section but they are never the same as freshly made.

20170418_110205I recall when I was a pre-teen (about 17 years ago), I attempted to make a coconut cream pie from scratch. I remember the taste being off and I never attempted to make it again since I could always count on the holidays to quench my craving. Since moving away from my hometown and the closure of Bishop’s I decided to make another attempt as an adult and serve this pie for Easter.

20170418_110216I believe my mistake all those years ago was from using coconut extract to flavor the filling. This time I decided to steep coconut in a blend of half-and-half and milk as my base for the filling. I strained out the raw coconut with cheesecloth, resulting in a smooth, flavorful custard that harbors a bit fewer calories and saturated fat. Add a homemade whipped cream topping and you have a dreamy mile-high coconut cream pie worth every second spent in the kitchen!

Coconut Cream Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen (9 inch) Deep-Dish Pie Crust
  • 2 cups 1% Low-Fat Milk
  • 1 cup Half-and-Half
  • 1 ½ cups flaked Sweetened Coconut
  • 1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 4 large Egg Yolks
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup flaked Sweetened Coconut; toasted

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven according to package directions of the pie crust. Bake the pie crust according to the package directions for a chilled/no-bake pie. Cool crust completely on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add 1 ½ cups coconut and vanilla extract. Bring milk mixture to a simmer then immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze over the bowl to release any extra moisture. Discard the coconut solids.
  3. Whisk together the 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually add the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir until smooth. Place the pan in a large bowl filled with ice for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour to set.
  4. While the pie chills prepare the whipped topping. Chill a large bowl and the beaters of a hand mixer in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Whip the cream in the chilled bowl with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Be sure you do not over mix! Chill until the pie filling is set.
  5. To assemble the pie, spread the whipped cream over the set custard filling. Top with the toasted coconut just before serving. Enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: KATHY KITCHENS DOWNIE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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No-Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

20161124_115845As fall approaches ever closer to its end and we begin to shift gears in preparation of winter, it is the best time to satisfy any last autumn inspired cravings. There are many flavors indicative of fall but none satisfy quite like a pumpkin pie does. Pumpkin pie has a way of pleasing the masses with its warm spiced flavor, which is why it is served by most Americans on Thanksgiving. Well I am one of those Americans that require pumpkin pie be at the table on Thanksgiving. However, as much as I adore pumpkin pie, I still have a dilemma every holiday.

20161124_115850You see, I love trying new things and I get bored making the “same old same old,” but I also can’t afford to not make my annual favorites. I have no shame and will openly confess I am forever conflicted when it comes to this. This year I managed to solve my dilemma with a reasonable compromise…….the pumpkin chiffon pie. This pie still has each of the traditional components (pie crust, spiced pumpkin filling, & dollop of whipped cream) all while taking pumpkin to a whole new level of awesome.

20161124_115945What separates this pie from the classic is the creamy filling. This version features a fluffier core, a welcoming change from the very dense original filling. It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any fall holiday gathering as it was at Thanksgiving this year for my family.

Note: 

  • This recipe yields 2 pies. Each pie produces 10 servings with serving size being one wedge.

No-Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-Pack) Frozen Pie Crusts
  • 1 ¼ cups Canned Pumpkin
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¾ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Large Eggs; separated
  • 2/3 cup Evaporated Low-Fat Milk
  • 1 envelope Unflavored Gelatin
  • ¼ cup Pure Orange Juice
  • 1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 5 tbsp. Granulated Sugar; divided
  • 3 tbsp. Water
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Cinnamon (for dusting); optional

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven according to pie crust package directions. Place pie crusts on a baking sheet. Pierce bottoms of pie crusts with a fork. Bake pie crusts according to package directions for a no-bake pie (approximately 10 minutes). Cool completely on a wire rack.
  2. Whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and 2 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Stir in the evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer mixture, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove mixture from heat.
  3. Place orange juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the orange juice and let stand 1 minute. Microwave gelatin mixture on high for 15 seconds, stirring until the gelatin dissolves. Stir the gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Cool.
  4. Meanwhile, place 2 egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixture (or large bowl if using a hand mixer). Beat egg whites with a mixer at high-speed until frothy. Gradually add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring sugar mixture to a boil. Cook sugar mixture, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 250°. Pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over the egg whites with the mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir ¼ of the egg white mixture into the cooled pumpkin mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture and pour filling into the cooled crust. Refrigerate the pie for 4 hours or until set.
  5. Place the cream (preferably chilled) in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer on high-speed until stiff peaks form. Place into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe rosettes along the outside edge of the pie (where the crust and filling meet). Sprinkle ground cinnamon on the rosettes if desired. Serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Caramel Apple Pie

20160730_131312Caramel apples are one of my favorite desserts that signify the beginning of fall. Being that we are still in the heat of summer, fall remains a long ways off (especially for Floridians). This may leave you wondering then why I’m bringing up fall already. To be quite honest, I’m secretly longing for much cooler temperatures because I’m 8 months pregnant and only a few weeks from my scheduled delivery. The heat has really gotten to me and has pretty much kept me indoors the majority of the past few months. If the weather turns cooler I’m allowed to be outside more and I’ve been going crazy being cooped up in the house on modified bed rest. A few days ago I began thinking of fall and how much fun it will be with a new little one. It was all downhill from there and I practically doomed myself into having a craving for a caramel apple.

20160730_131037Since caramel apples are scarce to find this time of year I decided to dress up an old-fashioned apple pie with the flavors of a caramel apple in order to quench my hormone induced craving (or at least that is what I like to blame it on). In a traditional apple pie, I like to add the warm spices typically associated with fall, like cinnamon and nutmeg. However, in this pie the traditional spices have been left out and I assure you with good reason. Simply put, caramel apples are not spiced with cinnamon or nutmeg and this pie is meant to be an equivalent to the sticky treat not an old-fashioned apple pie topped with a bit of caramel. If that is what you are expecting from this recipe then unfortunately this pie won’t be for you.

20160730_131602For those still willing to give it a try, I can practically guarantee this pie will disappear far too quickly. Who can really resist the perfect blend of sweet and tart apple filling drizzled with caramel and blanketed with a crunchy streusel topping? I can’t think of anyone either!

Note:

  • This recipe will yield 2 (9 inch) pies with 12 servings per pie (24 servings total).
  • If not serving immediately, do not cover pies until completely cool, otherwise streusel topping will become soggy.

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Caramel Apple Pie

Topping Ingredients:

  • 4.4 ounces Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter; chilled & cut into small pieces

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 (2 pk.) Frozen Traditional Pie Crusts
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ pounds Granny Smith Apples; peeled & thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 pound Fuji Apples; peeled & thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • Caramel Sundae Syrup

Preparation:

  1. To prepare the streusel topping: Combine flour, brown sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until crumbly, approximately 10 to 15 pulses. Transfer topping mixture to a bowl, cover, and chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove frozen pie crusts from freezer and allow to thaw while preparing the filling.
  3. To prepare the filling: Place granulated sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until combined. Add apples to bowl and toss to evenly distribute sugar mixture. Distribute and arrange apple mixture evenly among the two pie crusts, mounding apples slightly higher in the center. Drizzle caramel syrup evenly over apple mixture, using as much or as little as desired. Bake pies for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove pies from oven and sprinkle both evenly with chilled streusel topping. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with additional caramel if desired.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: BILL JAMISON & CHERYL JAMISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

1Hello friends! I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving this past week enjoyed their holiday with friends, family, and lots of good food. I know our family had a delicious feast and this cheesecake was just one component. I was meaning to share this with you all sooner, however life, as usual, got in the way. I know that Thanksgiving has already passed, which happens to be the time most families enjoy pumpkin flavored desserts, but this was just too good not to share.

I have loved pumpkin pie since I was a kid. It was the only pie I would crave besides the Chocolate Ambrosia our family would order at holidays from Bishop’s (a local restaurant that has since closed). I think the fact that my mom couldn’t eat it, therefore it was never in the house, made me crave it that much more. As much as I love pumpkin pie, sometimes you just want to try something new without sacrificing the same flavors you know you love. This cheesecake is the perfect solution to that problem. I get the same pumpkin pie flavor I know and love, but with a new texture that excites the palate and broadens once restricted horizons.

2I am not ashamed to admit that I am not the biggest fan of preparing cheesecakes. I despise having to use hot water baths as I always manage to burn myself and the fact that the cooked cheesecake then has to chill before I can dig in makes the extra effort seem not worth it. My intrigue of trying a pumpkin cheesecake pushed me past my comfort zone and I have to say I was quite surprised with its success. Not only did I not burn myself but it was a lot easier to prepare than expected. The final product came out rich, creamy, and full of pumpkin essence. In the past I have managed to turn what should have been perfect cheesecake into dry, flavorless blocks of blah that only the trash can would enjoy consuming. Also I know my recipe is a success if the hubby approves since he is not big on sweets at all.

Let me not forget to mention that this recipe is a skinnier version than most. A traditional pumpkin cheesecake will run you as much as 700 calories and over 30 grams of fat for a SINGLE wedge. Sure this is not my lightest “skinny” recipe but it sure as heck is a lot lighter than most without compromising flavor. One wedge of this cheesecake comes in at only 262 calories and 7.8 grams of fat. That makes for a big difference to those watching waistlines. If you desire to save even more calories and fat, skip out on the dollop of whipped topping, as the cheesecake is still delicious on its own.

3Although the typical pumpkin consuming holiday has since passed, I know many also offer pumpkin pie at Christmas as well. If you are one of the many that do I highly recommend trying this recipe. If you don’t, make it a point to make this as a special treat for your household to try rather than waiting until next year. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Skinny Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 1 Reduced-Fat Graham Cracker Pie Crust (Keebler Ready Crust)
  • 8 0z. Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (1/3 less fat); softened
  • ½ cup Sugar (preferably natural cane but you may sub granulated)
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed (preferably organic)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Unsweetened Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice

Whipped Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream; kept cold
  • 2 tsp. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preparation:

  1. For the cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350°. Bake graham cracker crust according to package directions or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer set to medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugars together until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree and eggs, beating until the mixture is combined (scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed). Add the bourbon, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust.
  3. Place the cheesecake pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with approximately 1 inch of hot water. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until the center barely jiggles when you tap the side of the pan. Remove from the oven and roasting pan. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours but preferably overnight (gives flavors time to develop).
  4. While the cheesecake chills in the refrigerator, prepare the whipped topping. In a small bowl, add the heavy cream and powdered sugar. Beat by hand or with a hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Cover and chill until ready to serve with cheesecake.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cheesecake Wedge & 1 tablespoon Whipped Cream)

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

Weight Watchers: 5 Points or 6 Points Plus

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: BILL JAMISON & CHERYL JAMISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Strawberry Heart Pie

20140206_144819_LLS Valentine’s Day is this week and that means red, pink, and white will be plastered everywhere, chocolates in heart boxes will be flying off the shelves, the women will be expecting red roses from the men of their lives, and the kiddos will be buying Valentine’s to pass at school hoping to get one from their own crushes of the moment. With all of this influence of St. Valentine on our lives it is no surprise that everyone in the food and beverage industry will be coming up with the next best thing to serve for Valentine’s Day.

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Traditionally, my boyfriend and I always have strawberries so I wanted to incorporate strawberries in whatever I decided to make. I remembered an old icebox pie that included strawberries but it also included dreaded jello which I really don’t care to use since it leaves such an artificial taste. I ultimately decided to make the strawberry pie into mini heart shapes since I found a great deal on heart-shaped pans at a local market. If you can’t find a mini heart pan you can always use a larger disposable heart-shaped pan that are often sold in major supermarkets this time of year or just a regular pie pan if you care to make it at a different time of year. Just be sure to double all of the recipe ingredients except for the pie crust if you do decide to make this into a larger size pan.

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The great thing about this Strawberry pie is not only the taste but it is a lot more cost effective than usual recipes involving strawberries. I used frozen strawberries and cooked them in a saucepan until they reduced into a thick, jam-like consistency that increased the quality of flavor but also allowed me to use less fresh strawberries, which are expensive. To thicken the filling so that it is the proper consistency and not too bouncy, unflavored gelatin is mixed with some lemon juice, which not only helps the gelatin thicken further but also perk up the flavor of the strawberries. With a little bit of sugar and salt this pie had supreme berry flavor at a budget friendly price and perfect to share with your honey on the big day.

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Note: This recipe makes 6 individual mini heart pies. If you elect to double the recipe and cook in a larger pie pan the recipe will serve 8 clean slices. To save time I use store-bought pie dough but you can certainly whip up your own if you have the time. Be sure to reduce the filling adequately (about 1 cup) otherwise it will be too lose and won’t set up in the refrigerator. If the fresh strawberries you purchase don’t look ripe enough, you may want to add a bit more sugar to taste. The pie is best served the day it is made but can be stored for up to 24 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

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Strawberry Heart Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • ½ tbsp. Unflavored Gelatin
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ½ pound Fresh Strawberries; hulled & sliced thin
  • 1 (9-inch) Pie Shell; baked & cooled
  • Whipped Cream; optional

Formula:

  1. Press the pie crust into the individual heart cups of the pan. If the crust breaks, patch together with a dab of water on the finger and a gentle massaging motion to meld the dough back together. If using a traditional pie plate, unfold pie crust as described on the box or recipe. Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
  2. Cook the frozen strawberries in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. The berries will begin to release their juice. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jam-like, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in a small bowl. Set aside and let the gelatin soften and thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir the gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into the cooked strawberry mixture and return to a simmer for about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  4. Using a spatula or spoon, fold the fresh berries into the cooled filling. Spread evenly into the cooked heart shells or pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Boozy Pecan Pies

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner and as everyone is buying their turkey, green beans, and sweet potatoes to prepare the holiday’s traditional dishes, I can’t help but get caught up in thoughts of one thing… Pie, Pie, and more Pie. As a kid we always had a large spread of food at the table but it was the end of the meal that made me so excited. My family always had many different types of pies to choose from which made me ensure I left a shred of room to try slices of a few different ones.

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The most famous pie of the season and go to at Thanksgiving is undoubtedly Pumpkin. It is a flavor that seems to only have a rightful place this time of year. Everyone can’t wait for the time of year to come around so they can enjoy pumpkin again, but at the same token are very quick to dump the thought of Pumpkin once Thanksgiving ends, trading it for frosted sugar cookies and peppermint, even though pumpkin is still readily available in our modern market.

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The pie that takes a backseat to Pumpkin but manages to sneak onto most family’s Thanksgiving spreads is Pecan. I never cared for Pecan Pie growing up. It was always too dry and overly sweet. A few years ago I thought I would give the pie a try having more grown up taste buds. I did enjoy it more than I did as a kid but it still couldn’t beat out Pumpkin for my fall favorite pie. I made sure not to burn the thing but it still had way too much sweetness.

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A few more years passed and here we are today. This time I decided to use a more traditional recipe for Pecan Pie that did not use the processed, overly sweet Karo Syrup that originally marketed the pie to fame. The traditional style recipes of the south uses less processed syrups like sorghum and cane syrup. Sorghum is made from cereal grass and cane syrup comes from boiled down juice of the sugarcane plant. These aren’t widely available unless you scour organic markets or live in the south. Hence why Karo takes the place of these since it is more affordable and widely available. It is very easy to replicate the old-fashioned flavors using molasses, brown sugar, and pure maple syrup.

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To kick the pie up a notch and stray from tradition just a wee bit I added a touch of Bourbon. You can use any type of whiskey but my boozy preference is Bourbon. Be sure to use mild or regular molasses and not the more potent blackstrap variety. Also be sure not to use imitation maple syrup over pure as the results would be similar to the Karo syrup recipes since both are filled with corn syrup as main ingredients and produce overly processed, intensely sweet final products. You need the pure maple syrup to give complexity and compliment the earthy tones of the toasted pecans.

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As an option you can serve this with some whipped cream dolloped on top. If you really want to drive home the boozy flavor you can even add a bit of bourbon or other whiskey to the whipped cream. Add about 2 tbsp. of Bourbon per cup of heavy cream. Whip to stiff peaks with 1 tbsp. of light brown sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla. Keep refrigerated until ready to use or about 4 hours. This recipe makes 3 mini pies. You will need 3 mini tartlet pans.

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Boozy Pecan Pies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Maple Syrup
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ tbsp. Molasses
  • 1 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • ¾ cup Pecans; toasted & chopped
  • 1 Sheet of Rolled Pie Crust; such as Pillsbury

Formula:

  1. Unroll one sheet of pie crust over the first tartlet pan. Gently press into bottom and sides. Gather remaining dough and re-roll. Repeat with the remaining two tartlet pans. Place all three prepared pans in the refrigerator and chill crust for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 450°. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the maple syrup, sugar, cream, molasses, and bourbon. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove the syrup mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled, whisk in the butter and salt until combined. Quickly whisk in the egg yolks until incorporated.
  3. Remove the tartlet pans from the refrigerator and place on a baking sheet. Divide an even amount of pecans between the three tartlet pans and scatter pecans into each pie shell. Carefully pour the syrup mixture over the pecans. Place the pies in the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 325°. Bake until the filling is set. The pie center will still jiggle slightly when the baking sheet is gently shaken, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool pies on a rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until completely set, about 3 hours but no longer than 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream if desired. Bourbon whipped cream recipe can be found in the final paragraph above.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM DIANE UNGER

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

French Silk Chocolate Pie

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Another day. Another lost recipe. Today’s find=French Silk Chocolate Pie. Sure you can find some in your local grocers freezer section so it technically isn’t that lost of a recipe, but the reason I included it is because most home bakers refuse to tackle such a pie on because the original formula used raw eggs and as we know these days is completely unsafe. Second of all it is a pretty involved recipe and in our daily lives it is hard to fit in time to make any type of pie let alone this type, and if you want this type it is very tempting to just grab one from the freezer section, de-thaw it, and voila it is ready to serve with ease. In fact the way I stumbled upon this pie was from the freezer section of my local supermarket when there was a sale on pies. This caused me to look up its history.

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Despite the name including the word “French” this pie is an all-American concoction. It’s first appearance was at the Pillsbury Bake-Off competition of 1951 where its creator, Betty Cooper of Maryland, won the $1,000 prize. The pie is classic icebox style with an exotic name that reflects the international curiosity of postwar America. Originally Betty Cooper used a pie crust. I decided to switch it up for a more simple graham cracker crust. To whisk the chocolate portion of the filling into a light, silky texture without the use of Cooper’s raw eggs formula, a double boiler is necessary. Now I don’t buy those pricey contraptions. To be honest they are gimmicks to the baking enthusiast but completely unnecessary. Just take a large saucepan and a slightly smaller heatproof bowl that will rest securely on top of the saucepan. Place enough water in the saucepan to bring to a simmer but not boil. Place the bowl on top of the pan making sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. And there you have it… a homemade double boiler. Heck if you don’t have a heatproof bowl you can always use a slightly smaller saucepan in place of the bowl.

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Now the reason the double boiler is necessary is to cook the eggs. Pillsbury offers a simpler option for the original bake-off recipe by using egg substitutes as a way to be safe but these give off an artificial flavor that is no different then going back to the frozen section and buying the pre-made ones. By beating the eggs with sugar over the double boiler you incorporate air which gives the filling the light texture that is so desirable about this pie. When the egg mixture reaches the safe temperature it gets very thick and foamy. This is when you remove it from the heat and let it cool down. Once it is cool you can add the chocolate and butter which gives the pie the signature rich flavor and silky smooth texture.

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While researching this project I realized the drastic changes made to the Pillsbury Bake-Off competition. What used to be a competition that was pretty much open to any creative and delicious baked good now became a competition that forces contestants to use Pillsbury products like cookie dough or crescent rolls as their staple ingredient and therefore market the brand more than baking innovation itself. This competition is just a reminder of how our society has changed over the years. Contestants in the 50’s were treated like celebrities. Contestants wore corsages on fine outfits, worked in facilities set up at the posh Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, and were served dishes like Guinea Hen Breast and Nectarines Flambe at a complimentary dinner… fare reserved nowadays for only the finest of restaurants.

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The Bake-Off certainly has a rich history, dating all the way back to 1949 when it debuted as the “Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest”. General Mills probably had no idea that it would launch the most recognized of all modern American recipe contests and have such an affect on America’s culinary heritage. The original grand prize winner for No-Knead Water Rising Twists won $50,000, an award so prestige at the time it was presented by Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1954, Open Sesame Pie became so popular it launched a nationwide use of sesame seeds. In the years to come, the kids bake sale favorite, Peanut Blossom Cookies would rake in millions for the Hershey Company and the Tunnel of Fudge Cake would launch the popularity of the Bundt pan, causing factories to work round the clock to keep production up to consumer demand. Although French Silk Pie didn’t retain the initial popularity it gained in 1951, it is definitely a pie worth revisiting, with just a few modern tweaks.

Note: You may use homemade whipped cream for the topping or a tub of Cool Whip for convenience. A garnish of miniature chocolate chips around the outer edge of the pie is optional but a great finishing touch. Pie serves 8 to 10 people. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream; chilled
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • 8 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; melted & cooled
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter;  softened & cut into pieces
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream or 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • Miniature Chocolate Chips (optional)

Formula:

  1. Prepare the crust: Melt butter in a small dish. Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Add the melted butter and stir until no dry crumbs remain. Line a spring-form pan with food grade acetate. Press graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
  2. With mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate.
  3. Combine eggs, sugar, and water in a large heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan filled halfway with simmering water. Be sure you don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. With a hand mixer set to medium speed, beat egg mixture until it has thickened and registers 160°, about 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to beat until the mixture has cooled to room temperature and the texture is fluffy, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla to the cooled egg mixture, beating until incorporated. Beat in the butter, one piece at a time, until well combined. Using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape filling over the graham cracker crust and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Once set, whip heavy cream to medium peaks or for convenience use a tub of Cool Whip and spread evenly over the set chocolate filling. If desired, sprinkle miniature chocolate chips around the outer edge of the pie and serve.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM DIANE UNGER

PILLSBURY BAKE-OFF® CONTEST

KRAFT FOODS: COOL WHIP

GENERAL MILLS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013