My career, in my opinion, has taken a nose dive since the baby was born. Going from a 100 hr/week attorney to a part-time attorney has been a major hit on my career self-esteem. So, when one of my cases recently was scheduled for back to back depositions and a settlement conference, it was my time to get back on the work horse. And, I loved it.
After very successful depositions, I marched into the settlement conference with dare I say — a swagger. My client and I sat in one room while the opposing party was in another and the attorneys were to walk back and forth with settlement offers. Walking back to my client’s room, I happily thought that I put aside the mom clothes and was back to my old self. I took one step inside my client’s waiting room when she said, “I think you sat in chocolate.” Mortified, I stood there for a minute attempting to salvage this most unprofessional situation. But, she was right. Somewhere between feeding my kid a chocolate chip granola bar and driving, I sat in it. Oh, and my suit was tan/light brown. It paired well with my dark chocolate chip stain.
Luckily, my client quickly said, “Oh, I figured your son did that,” and went on about her life as a mom. And, there I was – in my professional element, exchanging mom advice with my client. The settlement went well and on the drive home, I accepted the duality that has become my life, where the mom part is the base and everything else is seemingly built around that. When I got home, I celebrated by making a pie. No chocolate.
- 2 cups graham crackers, finely crushed into crumbs
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 2 (14 oz) cans dulce de leche
- 4 large bananas, sliced
- 2 heavy whipping cream, cold
- 3 tbsp confectioner’s (powdered sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a 9-inch pie plate, mix together the graham crackers and butter, and evenly press into the pie plate for the crust. Bake for 5 minutes to set the crust. Set aside to cool.
- Once the crust is cooled, spread the dulce de leche from one can over the crust. Layer with bananas. Finish with the last can of dulce de leche.
- Chill in a refrigerator.
- Make the whipped cream: With a stand or handheld mixer, whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff. Spread evenly over the cake. Serve immediately or put back in the fridge to chill.
Filed under Desserts, Pie
I have dreams about this pie. Wicked dreams. If I had to fight someone for this pie, I would. And, if we’re talking last piece – it’s on like Donkey Kong. No joke. This is a serious pie. Ever since I made this for Thanksgiving, I have been looking for reasons to make it again everyday since then.
Oh this pie is the mac daddy of all pies and really just should have a holiday on its own. Albeit usually seen during Thanksgiving, this pecan pie, my friends, needs a special place at your dining table. I have held off making this pie in fear that I could not even compete with the store-bought version to which my entire family has grown accustom. And, using a recipe that lacked corn syrup really made me nervous that people wouldn’t have the nostalgia of the ‘typical’ pecan pie. Luckily I’m dead wrong and I will be making all pies for all future pie holidays.
Also, it’s not a looker per se, but it’s all substance. Don’t judge this pie by my evidently rushed pie crust formation.
Oh, and the crust. It’s the only time that flakey can be a marvelous thing. It has taken me a while to develop this pie crust and I can say that I’m so happy with it that I declare (yes, declare) that I’ve done it. Perfectly flakey and light without being too weak to hold oodles of golden brown sugar and toasted pecans.
yields 8 servings
Filling adapted from Allrecipes.com
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp half and half
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans and 1/4 cup whole pecans for decorations
- 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust, recipe below
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter. Add in the brown sugar, white sugar and flour, and mix well.
- Finally, add the half and half, vanilla and nuts.
- Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. Top with pecans for decoration, if using.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Then, reduce temperature of oven to 300F and bake for 35-40 minutes.
yields one 9-inch crust
- 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes – keep it chilled
- 4 tbsp ice water
- Sift together the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea sized pieces of butter. Pour the water over the mixture and using a fork until the mixture comes together into a ball.
- Wrap in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. You can make this dough up to 2 days in advance.
- Roll out the dough, and place in a pie plate. Fill and bake.
Friends come. Most go. Some stay. Few stay through it all. Through heartache, fights, distance, late night consoling, weddings, birth, death, and everything else. For those people, there should be a word more meaningful than friends. I’m very fortunate to have one of those friends. We met in college, became roommates, and have stayed great friends since. For fear of jinxing anything by calling her my best friend, I just call her – well, I call her whatever I can think of. I’m obviously on the better side of this friendship deal.
Seeing each other through all of life’s ups and downs, we make it a point to keep in touch. Luckily we live about 30 minutes apart and meet up once a month. What started as a girls’ night out has now become a couples’ night in since the baby. Our girls’ night out was a dinner followed by a guilty-pleasure movie. Ninety percent of the time, we’d end up missing the movie because we’d be too busy catching up on life, including but not limited to husbands, family, celebrities, work, and dessert. Always dessert. Despite moving the party indoors, dessert is still mandatory. And, for these type of friends, the no-nonsense, solid friends, you need a dessert of the same caliber.
Some people are meant to be pairs. She is that one. The macaroni to my cheese. The cookies to my milk. The chocolate to my peanut butter.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
barely adapted from The Pioneer Woman
- 26 Oreos, divided
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
- 1 and 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 (8 oz) package Cool Whip, thawed
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Make the crust: In a food processor, process 25 Oreos until they become fine crumbs. Pour melted butter over the crumbs and stir to moisten and combine. Press into a pie pan and bake for 5-7 minutes until the crust has set. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
- Make the filling: In an electric stand mixer, cream the cream cheese. Add the peanut butter and beat with the cream cheese until incorporated. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the Cool Whip and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Spread to even out the filling.
- Loosely crumble the one remaining Oreo and sprinkle over the pie for decoration.
- Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours to set.
Filed under Desserts, Pie
Happy Fourth of July! This is a very important time for me. Are you ready? Pastry cream. Have you had it? I thought I had. I have only now just discovered it. I have tasted several pastries and tarts from bakeries, that have just left me wondering why it was any different from vanilla pudding. It’s better. How much better? So good that I (1) considered eating the whole bowl, (2) wanted to slather myself with it like lotion, and (3) paired it with a buttery crust and decorate it with fresh berries.
Don’t judge my excitement. When you discover, albeit later than almost everyone in this nation, something so wonderful, I could shout it from the rooftops – or at least from my kitchen. Glorious velvety cream that should never be given a supporting role. Rather, use it as a filling for a flaky butter pie crust that is light enough to complement the vanilla cream and slightly tart berries.
I love pies on Fourth of July, and this cream based pie is a nice stunning alternative to the usual, and a great way to take advantage of the summer berries. Served cold, it’s quite refreshing for the Texas and/or July heat, as well.
Fresh Berry Cream Pie
dough adapted from Joy the Baker; pastry cream adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 and 1/4 cup cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk, cold
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Fresh blueberries
- Fresh strawberries, cut in half
- Apricot or apple jelly, for glazing
- To make pie crust: Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture until its coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk and mix Turn out onto a clean surface and knead until the dough comes together. Once the dough comes together, gather into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least and hour. At this point, preheat your oven to 350F. After chilling, roll out the dough to a 12-inch diameter circle. Drape onto your pie dish. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about 30 minutes. After, remove plastic wrap, place parchment paper/aluminum foil on top and add pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool with the pie weights. Remove pie weights and parchment/foil. Poke holes on the bottom with a fork. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- To make pastry cream: In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, stir together milk and 1/3 cup sugar and bring to a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Add the cornstarch and sugar and thoroughly combine. When the milk is boiling, take about a 1/2 cup of the boiling mixture and add it slowly to the egg mix, whisking constantly. You do not want the eggs to cook or the mixture to curdle, so whisk vigorously. Add the mixture into the boiling milk and continue to whisk until the mixture boils. Once the mix boils, turn off the stove and move off the heat. Now, stir in the butter and vanilla until fully incorporated. Pour into a heat-safe container, cover with plastic wrap touching the top of the cream as to avoid a skin forming, and chill in the refrigerator until cool. If you leave it in the fridge for too long, it will be gelatinous. If so, just beat it again with the mixer and it will come back to form.
- To assemble the tart: Spread the pastry cream on the cooled pie crust evenly. Decorate with the berries as desired. Heat the jelly in the microwave and using a pastry brush, slightly brush the fruit with the jam for a shine.