Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Canned Pumpkin: scarce?!

The Pie Queen mentioned something on Facebook recently about a canned pumpkin shortage. To which I replied, "What?!". Apparently, it's no joke. But then there's this article that says it's over. I don't know. What I do know is that there isn't even a spot for it in the baking aisle at my local Target. So, you be the judge. I suggest taking a casual look for it everywhere you happen to go. That's what I've been doing. Found a small trove at my Winco and snatched up 3 cans. Of course, I've already used two of them.

Whether the shortage will continue into this Fall or not, I guess it's about time I learned how to use the meat of a real pumpkin for a pie. Because I simply can't imagine Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. Here's a site that details how to prepare the pumpkin puree (using either microwave, stovetop, or oven), for those of you like me who have never done it. And another. I will still use my own recipe beyond the point of pureeing, just because I like that mixture of spices.

Hopefully the Great Pumpkin will arrive before November and bless all the sincere pumpkin patches with a bounteous harvest.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse Pie

A while back I went to a port party, hosted by the inimitable Peter Brown. A lovely evening. With gorgeous port, wonderful food, and delicious people. One of the dishes that was brought was an amazing Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse. I had never tasted anything like it. It went perfectly with the port. And I decided then I would have to make it. And make it into a pie.

I only found one recipe online for Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse, and it wasn't a very good recipe. So I found a recipe for Chocolate Mousse Pie and I...messed with it. I don't know, I thought adding cinnamon to each level of the whole would make it more...complete. And I might have been right. Although I don't have a control to test against. But it's so perfectly delicious. A little reminiscent of Mexican Hot Cocoa. But cold. And with lots of air.

Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse Pie *click here for printable version*

adapted from Bon Appetit and smitten kitchen
Serves 8

5 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
1-1/2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (10 cinnamon graham crackers-pulsed in food processor until finely ground)
2 T sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (divided)
1 T + 1-1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
3-3/4 cups chilled whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar

For Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter 9- to 9-1/2 inch pie plate. Stir together all ingredients and press evenly into bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake 12-15 minutes, until slightly browned, then cool on a rack to room temperature.

For Mousse:
Combine chocolate, vanilla, 1 tsp. cinnamon, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in a heavy small saucepan. With processor running, gradually pour hot cream through the feed tube and process until chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Beat 2 cups cream, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and sugar in a large bowl to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. Spoon mousse into prepared crust. Chill until set, about 6 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Beat remaining 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl to firm peaks. Spoon a small portion on each slice of pie as you serve.

TGIP Rating--Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse Pie--So good I wish I had made two.

Next up: Pumpkin muffins. It's time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Top Chef Just Desserts

This starts tonight! Squee!

And one of the contestants works at BAKED Brooklyn! (And, btw, he stole the life I was meant to have)

And BAKED Brooklyn is giving away mini whoopie pies from 1-3 pm in honor of Top Chef Just Desserts Day! *angry fist that I don't live in Brooklyn*

/end, fangirl rant

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Farmers' Market Challenge

So, here's what I found at the Farmers' Market this weekend:

Of course, I found a lot more than that. But these were the things that tasted the best, looked the best, etc. So I bought them and brought them home.

And then I made these with them:

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Pie

The shortbread was new and interesting. I probably made the bottom crust too thin and the top crumbs too thick. I also probably cut the peaches too thin.

But they still turned out to be delicate, spicy and buttery. These brown bits you see in the crumbs are bits of brown (but not burnt) delicious.

I saved some of the crumbs to make myself a little baked peach with white streusel later in the week when all of these yummies are gone and I need a little something. The brown butter is something (as I've said before) that I need to find more uses for. I might try making our family Scotch shortbread recipe with it this Christmas. Brown butter shortbread with caramel drizzle maybe? Yes.

The pie. What can I say? My standby fresh fruit pie recipe that I've admittedly stolen from Dave/Miriam is so easy and delicious and adaptable.

I used 1 cup of blackberries and 1 cup of peaches (with a little less water than the recipe calls for) to make the mashed up jammy filling stuff, and 2 cups of peaches for the fruity part.

What a delicious, not too sweet, perfectly fresh tasting combination.

TGIP Rating--Baking with fresh peaches--KEEPER. My aversion to peach flavored foods is still well intact, but I think it no longer extends to peaches themselves. At least not the fresh ones. Yum.

Next up: I am going to make something that involves almost no baking. But it sounds delicious to me in a "Fall is coming" way.