I haven’t tried making a pie in a while, and frankly, I felt it was time to try again, especially with the strawberries and peaches at the height of their season. It didn’t exactly turn out amazing (fumbling around with thawing pie crusts and super juicy fillings translates into a sudden cobbler transformation), but it’s good for a first try. Plus, it’s generally an amazing flavor combination – warmed, honeyed peaches and strawberries, with just a dash of bourbon and vanilla. 

Honey Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen pie crusts (one for the bottom, and one for the lattice top or whatever you can manage) (if you want the recipe for the crust as in the original recipe, click the link above)
  • 5 fresh sliced and pitted peaches (roughly 5 c)
  • 2 c strawberries, halved and hulled
  • 1/3 c dark brown sugar
  • .5 c flour
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 T bourbon
  • 2 T butter, sliced thin
  • 1 beaten egg
  • sugar, to sprinkle

Line the bottom of your pie plate with the crust. Toss together your peaches, strawberries, dark brown sugar, flour, honey, vanilla extract, and bourbon, and then spoon the filling into the pie plate, being sure to get all the juices. Add the thin butter slices over the top. 

Place the top crust over the top of the pie – if you can make a lattice, go for it! Otherwise, just crimp the edges on, and be sure to cut vents in the crust. (I tried to lattice it. It didn’t go very well.)  Brush the crust with the beaten egg, and then sprinkle the sugar on top. 

Chill the pie in the fridge until it’s firm, usually about 1 hour, but up to several days in advance. 

When you’re ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 350. Once heated, place the chilled pie on a baking sheet, in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is a good golden brown. Let the pie cool, and then om the nom out of it!

This is a very quick, very simple recipe, especially if you’re lazy like I was and decide to use a pre-made graham cracker crust. But it’s the perfect spring/summer dessert. It’s lemony, just a little bit alcoholic, and doesn’t involve the use of an oven at all, just your fridge. 

(There’s also a whipped cream recipe that goes with this, but I just saw a neat trick that I want to try out using it. Will report back on its success or failure.)

Limoncello Pie
Lasts 1 to 2 weeks

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 premade graham cracker crust (see linked recipe if you want to make the crust from scratch)

Filling:

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 28 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • .5 c limoncello
  • .5 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 t lemon zest

Whipped Cream:

  • Will be updated with a link once I’ve tried the trick

To make the pie’s filling, whip all ingredients together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Then, pour the filling in the pie crust and leave to set in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours before serving. 

Boom. Simple, lemony, delicious. Enjoy!

If you’re looking for an awesome dessert, this is it.  This babka is fantastic and rich, and as Deb points out, even if you think it looks not that pretty, that syrup makes everything look fantastic.  And plus, it gives you two loaves – one to share with friends, because you’re nice like that, and one to keep and eat for you.  Or maybe use for things like french toast.

(Better) Chocolate Babka
Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

Dough

  • 4.5 c flour
  • .5 c sugar
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2 t)
  • (zest of lemon or orange; didn’t add this this time)
  • 3 large eggs
  • .75 t sea salt
  • 2/3 c unsalted butter (just take 2 1/3 sections of a stick of butter)
  • (optional oil to grease)

Filling

  • 4 oz dark chocolate (equivalent to one baking bar)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • .5 c powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c special dark cocoa powder
  • cinnamon to taste

Syrup

  • 1/3 c water
  • 6 T sugar

Combine all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, yeast, zest) in a bowl, and mix together with your eggs and water until the dough comes together.  If you have a stand mixer to do this, great!  If not, you’re gonna be using a plastic spoon.  It might be a bit dry – if it doesn’t quite come together, don’t be scared to use some extra water.  Add in your salt and butter, and mix together until the dough is completely smooth (see picture 3).  This took about ten minutes of working the dough with my hands to have it come together perfectly – the dough should start pulling away from the sides of the bowl once it’s ready.  

Coat a bowl with oil, transfer the dough to the bowl, cover, and put in a fridge overnight (or half a day if you’re doing it same day).  The dough won’t quite double, but it will grow by at least half.

When you’re ready to assemble the babka, take your dough, let it warm up slightly, and split it in half and then roll one half out into a 12 by 10 rectangle.  After rolling out the dough, make your filling.  Melt your butter and dark chocolate over medium high heat (put your butter in first, and break the bar down into small chunks), and then stir in the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and cinnamon until you have a nice paste, and remove from heat.  Take half the filling, scoop it out onto the rolled out dough, and use a rubber spatula to spread it out all over the dough, leaving a half inch border, like so:

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To assemble the loaves, brush the furthest end from you with water (in this case the right end) and then roll into a long tight cigar, like so:

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Seal the water dampened end onto the dough.  Cut off a half inch off each end of the log and then slice each loaf in half length wise, so that it looks like picture 6.  Lay them so that they’re laying long ways with the cut sides laying up, and pinch the two top ends together.  Lift one side over the other to form a nice twist so that the cut sides face up and fan out, making a nice S shape (see picture 7).  Repeat this with your other dough, and feel free to make a small little baby babka like I did with the dough ends.  Transfer into greased loaf pans (or a rectangular cake pan in my case), cover with a damp hand/tea towel, and let rise for an hour and a half.  Preaheat your oven to 375.

Once the hour and a half is up, put the loaves in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  You’ll know it’s done when you’re able to stick a fork or skewer into the middle of a loaf with no restistance (instead of it feeling rubbery/bouncy).

While the babka bakes, make your syrup by simmering together your water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  As soon as the babka is ready, take it out of the oven, drizzle the sugar syrup over the two loaves, and enjoy the fantastic.  The final pic is how your babka will look after you drizzle the syrup on it.  This was what was left of the babka less than twenty minutes later:

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It’s good shit.

This cake is my crowning glory. mithingthepoint​ originally made this back in the days of yore as a FFXII dessert for Balthier, and it pretty much had me from the initial list of ingredients. I’ve made it three times in my life, and none of them has been perfect, but this is pretty damn close. Time one, I didn’t have a springform and I’m 99% sure I screwed up the second layer pretty badly. Time two, I had the springform, but opened it too early, and it got all over everything.

And now, time 3. I got pretty much everything right this time around, except for the second layer – that still ended up a bit on the liquid side, likely because I didn’t beat the merengue/whipped cream bit of it for long enough.  The result is still amazing.  

This will take you several days to make. This has been sitting in my fridge for about a week now due to needing to pick up extra whipping cream and Kahlua for the final stage.  It is worth every minute you put into it.

Kahlua Mousse Cake
Lasts 2 weeks worth of desserts

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 c white sugar
  • .25 c special dark cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 c hot brewed coffee (I used a leftover Pumpkin Spice Via I had from last year’s batch, this year’s is shit)
  • 1/3 c hot melted butter
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • liberal amounts of Kahlua

Mousse Layer

  • 16 oz white baking chocolate
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 8 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 4 T white sugar
  • 1.5 c heavy whipping cream

Kahlua Whipped Cream

  • 2 c heavy whipping cream
  • .75 c powdered sugar
  • .5 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T Kahlua

Kahlua Glaze

  • 1.5 c powdered sugar
  • 6 T Kahlua

Preheat your oven to 350. If your springform pan is not nonstick, grease and flour it, or put parchment paper in.  In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt), and form a small well in the middle. Add the hot brewed coffee directly in the center of the well, followed by the melted butter, vanilla extract, and egg, like so:

image

 Mix together, and pour into your springform.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Then, take your Kahlua, and pour it all over the cake. Trust me. Just do it.  The amount in picture two was about a quarter of a 750 ml bottle.  Chill for at minimum an hour in the fridge.  Longer is better here.

To make the mousse layer, melt together your stick of butter and your white chocolate over medium heat.  (I started with the butter, and added the chocolate in small chunks, and that was honestly the best way to get it to the lovely smoothness in picture 3.)  Then stir in the salt and vanilla, and whisk in the egg yolks (see picture 4 for what that looks like), and remove from heat. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy (see picture five), and slowly add the sugar in, beating until you get stiff peaks and the sugar is disolved, giving you a nice merengue.  I probably didn’t do the eggs long enough here to get that.  Fold into the white chocolate mixture.  Then beat your heavy whipping cream until thick and firm, and then fold that into the mixture as well.  

Pour the resulting confection over the soaked cake, and let it sit for one to two days. Mine sat for about five. 

On the day you’re ready to serve the cake, make the Kahlua whipped cream and the glaze.  For the whipped cream, work with all ingredients except the sugar cold, and start by using an electric mixer to beat the cream.  Slowly add the sugar, followed by the vanilla, and finally the Kahlua, and beat until thick (see pictures 7 and 8 for what that should look like).  If you properly did the confection layer, you will be able to safely open the springform and pour the whipped cream over the cake. If not, no worries, you can still pour the whipped cream on top of the cake in the springform and it’ll still work well.

For the glaze, work with the Kahlua cold, and mix it together with the powdered sugar (see picture 9).  Pipe it over the edges of the cake and/or in an abstract fashion. If you’re like me and using this as an exercise in spite baking, you might, say write this:

image

Before glazing it over to be a bit more socially acceptable (see final picture).

Either way? Enjoy your ridiculously boozy decadent ass cake.  You deserve it. Yes, you.

Creme brulee.  One of the classic desserts to make, and always fun to see if you can make at home. This was my first try ever doing so, and honestly, I’d say these turned out really damn good. Creme brulee is awesome by itself, but add in a good swig of Kahlua, and it only gets even better. 

Don’t have a kitchen torch? Don’t trust your broiler to properly caramelize the crust? No problem!  Use the spoon method (which I will detail below!)

White Russian Creme Brulee
Makes 4 ramekins (mine were larger so it was 3)

Ingredients

  • 1.25 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 c whole milk
  • 1 t vanilla extract (or vanilla pod if you have it on hand)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • .25 c sugar
  • 1 T Kahlua (I used a bit more than this)

Preheat your oven to 325. Take your whipping cream, milk, and vanilla, and heat in a pan over medium low heat, whisking constantly. When the milk starts to steam and bubble, remove it from heat and cover it, letting it cool. 

Using an electric mixer, beat together your egg yolks and sugar until they’re well blended and light in color.  Slowly add the cooled scalded cream into the mixture, followed by the Kahlua. Once it’s well blended, strain it through a strainer. 

Fill your ramekins with the mixture, and put them in a cake pan. Boil a pot of water, and add it to the pan, so that it comes up to halfway up the dishes. Bake for 25 minutes – you’ll know when the custards are set by shaking them – if they jiggle, they’re done.  Place them in the refrigerator for a minimum of a day. 

Once you’re ready to serve them, bring them out of the fridge and bring to room temperature (usually takes about 20 minutes). Sprinkle 1-2 t of sugar on top.  Don’t have a torch?  This is where your stove comes in. Take a metal spoon, turn a flame on your gas stove to high, and heat the spoon over the flame for about 1 to 2 minutes. (Not pictured is the pot holder I had wrapped around the spoon so I didn’t burn myself.)  Take your heated spoon, and press down on the sugar for about 30 seconds so that you hear a sizzle, and maybe see a bit of smoke. 

And then behold, your awesome boozy creme brulee!

So, this? This right here? This may be one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. The bacon lattice on this means that the bacon grease cooks and drips down into the spiced baking apples, resulting in what is pretty much the perfect storm of savory and sweet. Like, if I was trying to get someone into bed, this is the pie I would make.  

I made this in my awesome friends’ kitchen in return for them putting me up for the better part of last week.  My friend had this to say about the pie: “I want to marry this pie and have its baby. I’d let you eat the baby.”  I’d say it went over pretty well.  😛

Brief note: I ended up wetting down the brown sugar spice mixture when I probably should’ve nuked the brown sugar, which led to a soggier crust than it should’ve. Good to know for the future.

Bacon Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 9-inch pie shell, unbaked
  • ¾ c packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • .5 t nutmeg
  • .5 t ground cardamom
  • .25 t ground cloves
  • 1.5 to 2 lbs peeled and cored apples, sliced thick
  • 8 to 12 slices thick-cut bacon (definitely go with farmer’s market bacon if you can)

Preheat your oven to 350, and set your unbaked pie shell on a flat, sturdy baking sheet and set aside.

In a bowl, rub together the brown sugar and spices with your fingers until properly blended.  Add the apples to the mix and toss to coat. Dump the bowl’s contents (all apple slices, any juices, and loose spiced sugar) into the pie shell. 

Lay the unsliced bacon on the top of the spiced apples, starting at the center, going vertically, and then weaving the horizontal ones in an over/under pattern to get a lovely lattice work going. Should be between four to six slices both horizontally and vertically.  Once they’ve been woven, trim the edges and pinch crust over the ends to seal the pie. 

Cover the pie with aluminum foil and bake for an hour in the middle of the oven on the baking sheet. After an hour, take the foil off and continue baking for fifteen additional minutes, until the bacon is similar to the final pic. 

And then, enjoy the sexy sexy pie. 

This was the first recipe I used the new oven (or at least the oven portion) on, and man, I cannot explain the joys of having an oven that doesn’t run constantly hot, cooks well, and also is not at risk of setting itself on fire every time it gets above 400. 

This sauce is perfect with farmer’s market blueberries, a splash of a good red wine (I used leftover Cupcake Winery Red Velvet from the Kahlua cherries), and some high quality vanilla extract. I’m gong to be making some vanilla custard to go with this, and this would also go great with ice cream, too, off the top of my head. Either way, it’s summer in a sauce. 

Roasted Red Wine Blueberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 c fresh blueberries
  • a splash of red wine (my red of choice is Cupcake Winery’s Red Velvet)
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • 2 T sugar

Combine all ingredients in a baking dish, heat oven to 400 and then roast for twenty minutes. The original recipe recommends pulling it out halfway through and giving them a stir, but it worked just fine even when I didn’t. Once your sauce is done, you might want to smash the berries a bit with the back of your spoon, but otherwise, you’re going to have an amazing smelling sauce that you can use with just about everything.