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

Mini Raspberry Linzertortes

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This past weekend my family celebrated a holiday. Most of you are thinking it was the obvious Cinco de Mayo celebration which, although was indeed Sunday, was not the only holiday of the day. For those of the Greek Orthodox faith it was Easter Sunday and in my house we were making Easter dinner with some Easter treats. I know what most of you may be thinking… Easter was a long time ago but that is not the case for the Greek Orthodox Christians as they follow the old calendar and not the new of the western world. Therefore, some years Easter will coincide and other years it will not. This year was one of those years.

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With that said I was in the kitchen making lamb and a slew of other yummy’s when I decided to make a new pastry for the family to try rather than the traditional Pasta Flora. I thought I would try a Linzertorte which surprisingly ended up being similar to the Pasta Flora of Greek Easter tradition. Both pastries are more crust/dough then filling, the dough’s are both lemon based, creating a smell I recognized from Pasta Flora as I prepared the Linzertorte. The only noticeable difference at that point was in texture. Lastly, both pastries are filled with a jam center.  Although these mini Linzertortes are much simpler than the traditional formulas from Austria, it is still a bit more tedious than the Greek Pasta Flora.

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The crust is made up of hazelnuts and almonds for a balanced nut flavor without bitterness. Traditional formulas ask for a hard boiled egg which is not only bizarre but time consuming. Time which a new mommy doesn’t have!!! Not to mention the hard boiled egg actually does too good a job at making the dough tender. A raw egg moistens the dough and brings it together just fine. For the final touch on the crust, cinnamon and allspice is added for spice. Once mixed up and flavored, the hardest step of the Linzertorte comes next… forming the crust in the tart pan with the rather sticky dough.

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I found the easiest way to do this is chill the dough until firm yet still malleable. Then divide the dough in two and roll each disk out between plastic wrap to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Be sure to chill the dough if at any point it gets too sticky to work with. When laying the lattice strips, be very careful as the dough softens and breaks easily. Also the jam center prevents the strips from being repositioned once initially laid down so study the instructions carefully before laying the first strip as it can be difficult to fix mistakes after beginning. If at any time the lattice strips tear or crack, don’t despair. Just piece them back together the best you can. Once you baste the dough with the cream and sugar, any cracks will be almost unnoticeable after baked. Once out of the oven, the traditional accompaniment is lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with kirsch or framboise but you can use vanilla if you do not want to use alcohol. Or of course you can skip the whipped cream and eat as is. The tarts keep very well for about 2 days at room temperature in a tightly sealed container. The following formula makes two small tarts and one pan of mini tartlets or one 11 inch Tart that serves 10 to 12.

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Mini Raspberry Linzertortes

 

 

Pastry Ingredients:

  •  1 cup (5 oz.) Unblanched Hazelnuts
  • ½ cup (2 oz.) Blanched Almonds
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 1 ½ cups (7 ½ oz.) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 12 tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces and kept chilled
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Filling:

  • 1 ¼ cups (13 ½ oz.) Raspberry Preserves
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

Glaze:

  • 1 tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • 1 ½ tsp. Turbinado or Demerara Sugar (optional)

 

 

Formula:

  1. For the Pastry: Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 350°. Toast nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, stirring once, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Cool nuts to room temperature. Do not turn off the oven.
  2. In a food processor, pulse cooled nuts, sugar, and salt until very finely ground, about eighteen 1-second pulses. Add lemon zest and pulse to combine. Add flour, cinnamon and allspice and pulse to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the butter lumps are no larger than peppercorns and the mixture resembles coarse meal, about twelve to fifteen 1-second pulses. In a small bowl, whisk lightly to combine the egg and vanilla. With the food processor running, pour the egg mixture through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a large ball, about 10 seconds.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and press together to form a cohesive mound. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough until firm but still malleable. If not using right away you can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
  4. Cut a parchment round to fit the tart pan or pans size that you are using. Spray the bottom and sides of the tart pan(s) with nonstick cooking spray. Separate the bottom from the sides of the tart pan(s) and line the bottom with the parchment round and spray the parchment with cooking spray. Roll out the dough into disk(s) between plastic wrap to a size just shy of the edges of the pan bottom. Place the dough on the pan bottom(s) and drop into the fluted ring(s). Using hands, press the dough into an even layer until flush with the sides of the tart pan(s). Using a fork, poke holes uniformly in the dough and set the tart pan(s) on a baking sheet. Bake until beginning to brown around the edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  5. Pinch pieces of dough from the remaining disk and roll with hands on a work surface to form a  rope. Place the rope against the side of the cool prebaked tart pan(s). Repeat with additional dough (you will have some dough left over for the lattice), connecting the ends of the ropes. When the entire inside wall of the tart pan(s) have been lined, use your fingers to gently press the rope into the flutes of the pan(s), creating walls about 5/8 in. high (walls should not be as high as the rim of the tart pan(s). Set the tart pan(s) aside on the baking sheet.
  6. Reshape the remaining dough into either one large 12 in. round if using a large tart pan or two 6 in. rounds if preparing two mini tarts. Dough should be rolled to 1/8 in. thickness between two sheets of parchment sprayed with cooking spray. If the dough becomes too sticky to work with, refrigerate or freeze it until firm but still malleable. Peel off the top layer of parchment. Using a ruler sprayed lightly with cooking spray and a pastry cutter, pizza cutter, or chef’s knife, neaten the edge of the dough round(s), then cut round into strips. You will need 10 strips for each tart. Slide parchment with dough onto a baking sheet and cover loosely with parchment. Freeze for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 40 minutes until firm but not fully stiff.
  7. For the Filling: While the lattice chills, in a small bowl stir the raspberry preserves and lemon juice together. Spread the preserves evenly in the tart shell(s).
  8. To Assemble, Glaze, & Bake: Invert the dough strips sandwiched between parchment and peel off the top layer. Using an icing spatula as needed, lift one of the longest strips from the center of the round and lay across the center of the tart at the 1 o’clock/7 o’clock position. Lift the second longest strip and lay across the center of the tart at the 3 o’clock/9 o’clock position. You should have an X formed across the tart at this stage. Lift a short strip and lay across the tart parallel to the first strip, near the edge of the tart. Working clockwise, repeat the positioning of outer strips parallel to the central strips. There should now be 6 strips in place. Lift one of the remaining strips and lay across the tart parallel to and equidistant from the central and edge strips. Working clockwise, repeat until lattice is complete with 10 strips. Press any excess dough against the rim of the tart pan to neatly trim. Repeat process with remaining tart if making two mini tarts.
  9. Gently brush lattice strips with heavy cream and, if using, sprinkle with sugar. Bake tart(s) on baking sheet until deep golden brown, about 50 minutes for one large tart or 20 minutes for mini tarts. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  10. To Serve: Remove outer tart pan ring. Slide a thin metal spatula between parchment paper and bottom of crust to loosen. Slide tart onto serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve with flavored whipped cream if desired.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM COOKS ILLUSTRATED

 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Pecan Praline Pie

Around the holidays, those of us in the south can’t resist having a pecan pie on the table along with, of course, the traditional Pumpkin. Pecan pie, although a holiday tradition to most families nowadays, is a rather new addition to the pastry world. The oldest formula for pecan pie dates back about 70 years, and is most likely a result of the Karo Corn Syrup companies marketing strategy. Too bad Goerge Washington and Thomas Jefferson never realized they had another use for all of those pecans grown on their Virginia estates. Traditionally, pecan pie should be presented to the table with a perfectly golden crust and rich, buttery center. Sadly, many people are forced to choose the storebought variety when strapped for time, which is often dry, burned, and overly chewy to the point of resembling a nutty taffy.

 So let’s begin constructing the pie of your families dreams, just in time for Christmas. The first crucial step you must make is to select the proper formula for your pie crust. Most people will select flaky believing it will lend them the rich, flaky crust they love but you will end up with a soggy mess. This is because in a flaky pie dough formula, there is more butter added to create the desired flaky finished product. But flaky pie doughs do not belong on the bottom crust of a pie, only the top. For the bottom, you must select a mealy pie dough. In a mealy pie dough formula, less butter is added so that when the pie bakes, the juices excreted from the filling will be absorbed into the crust. This creates a more flavorful crust and also maintaining its structure. Mealy pie doughs have the ability to absorb extra moisture so they prevent the dreaded soggy bottom crust.  Once you have selected a mealy pie dough formula, lets swap out the granulated sugar in exchange for brown sugar and use all butter instead of shortening and butter. This will lend the praline flavor to the crust.

To ensure a proper filling, begin by cooking it on the stovetop before pouring it into the crust. To prevent a gritty texture or non-cohesive filling, corn syrup is used rather than cream. The addition of eggs create added flavor and a binding agent, ensuring the filling will set up properly in the oven. For proper richness, a non-healthy dose of butter is melted in. Last but certainly not least, a bit of bourbon rounds out the nutty, praline flavors and is a much desired addition after dealing with a long month of holiday stress. I poured in about two tablespoons full but if you really want to taste the bourbon, as much as four tablespoons may be added without altering the filling’s texture.

*Note: The pecans called for in this formula must be chopped but be sure you do not include any of the dust or else it will cloud the filling. The pie should be removed from the oven when the center is set but still a bit jiggly. The residual heat will continue to cook the filling, allowing it to set up firm but not be dried out.

PECAN PRALINE PIE

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9 in.) Pie Crust, baked
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Corn Syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 2 cups Whole Pecans, toasted, roughly chopped

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 275°.  If pie shell is not warm, place in oven to slightly re-heat while preparing filling.
  2. Cook butter, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter is melted. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add corn syrup, vanilla and bourbon. Return pan to heat, and stir until mixture is glossy and warm. Do not overheat. Remove pan immediately from heat if the mixture begins to bubble or steam. Temperature should register 130°. Remove pan from heat and gently stir in pecans.
  4. Pour mixture into the warm pie shell. Bake until the center feels like gelatin when pressed, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool pie completely. Pie is best served at room temperature but can be warmed briefly. Top with bourbon whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 Special Thanks to:  My boyfriend Peter and Bridget Lancaster

 All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011

Jefferson Davis Pie

Here in the south lies a delicious little known dessert originating from the Civil War era. It’s name you ask… is Jefferson Davis Pie.  This simple brown sugar custard laced with dried fruit and nuts is named after the Confederate leader. Jefferson Davis was not the only civil war era leader to have a pie named after them. Mr. Robert E. Lee inspired a cake filled with lemon curd. Quite possibly a future test formula so stay tuned!

 Now back to Mr. Davis. Before one should concern themselves with the custard it is crucial to establish a perfect basis for the custard to set. This basis being the pie crust. For a bottom crust of any pie, one should always choose a mealy pie dough recipe over flaky. Mealy has less butter and more open to receiving juices excreted during the baking process. Therefore when the pie is finished baking it will absorb the flavors of the above layer without causing the bottom crust to become soggy. Of course if you find yourself in a pinch or are too lazy then the Pillsbury Dough Boy can always come to the rescue and magically unroll your pie crust before you. This can save you an extra tedious step. Once the crust is pressed into the pie plate be sure to chill it while preparing the custard and fruit/nut mixture, regardless if you’re using a homemade mealy pie dough or the variety constructed by Pillsbury and his processed cousins.

Although I thoroughly enjoy the fruit/nut portion of the pie, I don’t feel it should be suspended in the custard as many formulas require. I desire a smooth, sliceable custard with the perfect flavor combination of sweetness and spice without any crunchy or chewy distractions hanging about. To simply solve the problem, process the fruit and nuts together until finely ground and press the mixture into the chilled pie dough. This creates a beautiful layer of fruit and nuts when sliced and continues to compliment the flavors of the custard poured above it without being a noticeable distraction. Having resolved the problems with soggy crust and distracting fruit and nuts the next step lies with the finicky custard.

In case you didn’t know, custard and I have never been the greatest of friends. However I’m trying to get to know it a little better with each baking experiment. The biggest issue with me and custards is texture. Baking the pie longer at a lower temperature allows the custard to set up to the proper firmness and the crust remains golden. If cooked at a higher temperature, the outer edges of the custard would burn along with the pie crust before the center ever set. Besides altering oven temperature and cooking time, heavy cream needed to replace milk in order for that slice to come out perfectly smooth. The cream thickens the texture and feels silkier on the palate. It also contributes a richer flavor. Which brings me to the next topic. How to achieve the balanced flavors of sweet and spice. The secret for this custard is to hold back on the sweet. Less brown sugar allows the subtle cues from the spices to shine through.

Once the pie has baked and cooled completely there is one final addition to enhance the flavor to mouth watering level. The addition of a homemade whipped cream. This is where I stress not to cheap out and dollop the pie with Cool Whip or spray a rosette of Redi-Whip on top!!! Why spend so much time creating this elaborate flavorful pie just to disgrace it with a bland processed variety of whipped cream when it is so simple to make from scratch. Honestly it takes no more than three minutes to whip up with a mixer. At times I have been known to whip by hand and still come out under five minutes. I will provide a quick and easy recipe for whipped cream below, however this pie also tastes great with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. If you do choose to whip your own cream, make sure to keep the heavy cream as cold as possible to shorten the whipping time. You may even place your whip attachment and mixing bowl in the refrigerator to speed up the process even further.

Jefferson Davis Pie

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Raisins
  • 4 oz. Chopped Dates
  • 2.25 oz. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • 1 (9 in.) pie shell, chilled
  • 3 tbsp. Pastry Flour
  • 1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 4 oz. Unsalted Butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 2.75 oz. Egg Yolk (about 5 large eggs)
  • 10.5 oz. Heavy Cream

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat to 325°. Pulse raisins, dates, and pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Place mixture into chilled pie shell and press into an even layer.
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a small bowl. With mixer on medium-low speed, cream sugar and butter together. Add in yolks, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add flour mixture and cream. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Pour custard filling over the fruit and nut mixture in the chilled pie crust. Bake until the surface of the custard appears dark brown and the center jiggles slightly, approximately 55 to 65 minutes.
  4. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 4 hours. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Top with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

With mixer on medium speed, beat 1 cup heavy cream, 1 1/2 tbsp. light brown sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Whipped cream can be refrigerated for 4 hours. To decorate, fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe reverse shells around the outer edge and rosettes in the center. Dust with ground cinnamon.

References: Special thanks to my boyfriend Peter for his photography and Cali Rich.

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011