Pie 15.0

Pie 15.0

Remember that old song lyric “If I knew you were coming I’da baked a cake”? That always sounded so welcoming, so I never do a drop in. I always call ahead before I visit so I’ll be greeted with a cake. It doesn’t work, but I still try. I mean, there’s a song, so somebody must make cakes for expected guests, right?

Anyway, my sister was coming, and I knew she was coming, and it was all a big secret surprise for my other sister, so I baked a pie.

Pie 15.0. Baked late at night in an ill-equipped kitchen. No rolling pin. No teaspoon (but I always have my palm). No whisk. No blades for the mixer (so I brought mine from home). No big bowl (so I used a cereal bowl). No pie pan (so I bought an aluminum one from the stupid market). You get the picture.

Speaking of stupid market–they didn’t sell chocolate covered coffee beans. Nowhere to be found. So I compromised.

Back up the bus. I forgot to describe the pie. It’s officially called “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee Pie” from page 123 of the Sugar Butter Flour cookbook. It was chosen while in the stupid market, when my sister responded to my text question about what we should eat for the weekend we would spend together with this: “Sat morning coffee. Sat evening eat out. Sunday morning coffee. Sunday lunch your choice.” We are Irish twins, live 1000 miles apart, and both love coffee.

Anyway, I started the pie in the dark by crushing the package of graham crackers with my hands and mixing them with melted butter. I pressed the mush into the tiny pan, chilled, baked and chilled. You know the drill by now.

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Then I made espresso in my little pot. Drank some, let some cool, and made the filling.

20181012_165534Here is the nasty smelling unflavored gelatin.

20181011_20111020181011_201050I had to whip some egg whites to fold into the cooked coffee/gelatin/other ingredient concoction, but I should have used a bigger bowl.

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There was way too much filling for the tiny pie shell.

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This had to set and cool in the fridge for many hours, so I went to sleep.

The topping called for Kahlua, but I didn’t have any, so I made some by boiling down some espresso and mixing with whiskey.

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Then I whipped the cream and added the yummy tasty ingredients and spread it on the pie filling.

 

As I mentioned, the store didn’t sell the required chocolate covered coffee beans, so I shredded a tiny Hershey bar and sprinkled it on top. Voila!

Yummy Beige Pie.

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I love my sisters more than coffee.

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Pie 14.0

Pie 14.0

This is the best pie I have ever tasted.

(So far.)

I made Pie 14.0 in my sunny kitchen yesterday morning. I started at 8 am and didn’t take a taste until 7:30 pm. I found her on page 83 of the Sugar Butter Flour cookbook.

It only took two trips to the store to buy all the ingredients. Two trips are annoying, but they were both during my 2-hour Friday evening commute, and together they extended my commute to 3 hours, but what’s an hour in a long work week in the 7th week of a semester that’s blowing by like a typhoon?

I awoke yesterday before the sun. Weekends cannot dent my internal clock during the semester. My brain snaps awake and wonders what it forgot to do. My first thought was pie. My second thought was coffee. Instantly I stopped worrying about the tortuous mess we are in and set my brain on bake. This is my self-soothe. Let me share it with you, at least in words and pictures, if not in the hug it brought me to bake and taste.

The crumb crust called for chocolate wafers and both stores did not sell any. I used chocolate graham crackers because, obviously, I’m a genius.

Instead of my normal crumble technique with a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin, I slammed a whole pack of crackers on the counter and then squeezed them with my bare hands around the throat until they were pulverized. Like I said, I’m a(n angry) genius.

While the crumb crust chilled and baked and cooled (an hour process, at least) I tackled the strawberries. First, I hulled all the strawberries as directed. Then, I crushed five of them with a fork until they were mush and put them in the fridge. Next, I melted chocolate chips with a secret ingredient in the microwave at reduced power for many, many cycles of 30 seconds. I stirred until glossy. I did not lick my fingers.

And then I was momentarily stumped by the directions “Holding the berries by the stem end, dip them one at a time into the bowl.” The stem end was obvious, but the stem for holding was gone, hulled away by the genius. That made the task tricky. How the –bleep- to hold the stemless berries while dipping? Needless to say, the genius got quite sticky. Yet, still she did not lick her fingers.

Here I am! Back from third-person-land, a blackhole that tried to suck me in. Anyway, almost half of the melted chocolate was left over after the strawberry-dipping. I considered re-dipping them. Then I considered eating it all with a spoon. (No, Laura!) And then I poured it all onto waxed paper to harden and save for another pie.

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I was delighted by the next step. I snuck some strawberry preserves from the fridge and added a secret ingredient. I spread the mush onto the bottom of the crust and put her back in the fridge so I could attack the filling.

I forgot to mention the formal name of this pie: “Jenna’s Devil’s Food Chocolate Oasis Pie.” The filling needs some separated eggs, a LOT of milk, the magic of cornstarch, and bittersweet chocolate. There is boiling and whisking and sieving involved. It was all too complicated to describe and almost beyond the ability of this baking genius. The hardest parts required three hands. Like the pouring of the massive quantity of milk in a “slow steady steam” while whisking (and holding the handle of the pan). And the pouring of the heavy hot chocolate concoction through a sieve while pressing with a spatula. I only swore a little. Most of the chocolate I spilled has been found and wiped up.

The hot chocolate concoction had to be cooled to room temperature under a buttered wax paper in a glass bowl. The cooling took 2.5 hours. The buttered wax paper was the butter wrapper. What? It’s clean on the inside and it was already buttered.

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I eversocarefully dumped the filling over the surprise strawberry layer in the crust and got to work on the topping (5 hours later). In the meantime I napped and watched football. The chocolate filling had to cool for half a day. Eventually I got to the topping.

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After a dozen pies, I’m finally pretty good at whipping cream. I folded in another secret ingredient (listen, if you want to know the secrets, you have to buy the cookbook) and spread the deliciousness over the chocolate. Then I pressed on the huge chocolate covered strawberries and Pie 14.0 was complete in all her splendor.

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I ate just a tiny sliver (what? I’m on diet again, ok?) and almost groaned at the light and fluffy combination of strawberry/chocolate/whipped cream/crunchy crust in my mouth. This was the best pie I’ve ever tasted. Yet. There’s a lot left if you want to come by for a slice.

 

 

 

 

 

Pie 11.0

Pie 11.0

I love chocolate.

This pie cookbook has so many chocolate delights. It’s hard to choose. Someday I’ll get to them all. Apparently the chef didn’t even try to decide which chocolates to focus on for Pie 11.0. She just used them all. I say bravo!

My crazy pie journey started about 4 months ago with the extraordinary Pie 1.0. Eleven pies in, I promise I’m not giving up. Just slowing down. Busy in the summer. Perhaps on a diet so I need to pace myself. And I might never make all the savory ones after the jerk chicken experience. Enough ado. I give you Pie 11.0.

Officially called “In the Dark Dark Triple Chocolate Truffle Pie” from page 86 of the Sugar Butter Flour cookbook, Pie 11.0 was built from dark chocolate, white chocolate, cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, and chocolate cookies, from Ghirardelli’s, Baker’s and Hershey’s–even a small piece of chocolate is ridiculously good. I’ve never thrown out a Hershey in my life.

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Here are the chocolates posing for a portrait. (Coffee photo bombed again.)

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The crust was the same deliciousness I made for Pie 3.0–crushed chocolate cookies. The butter did not explode in the microwave (like it did for Pie 7.0) this time. Ah memories.

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The filling was thin like chocolate milk and baked for 45 minutes until it set.

The topping was chocolate (duh) and fluffy (is that what truffle means? Somebody look that up.) I piped it on with an X tip hooked to a plastic bag, in my normal don’t-have-an-icing-bag-but-a-Ziploc-will-do. Good enough.

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I tried to make chocolate curls for the garnish with a paring knife and my innate skill, but the bars melted in my summer hot hands. I should have just used the cheese grater. Somehow I persevered and managed to make a pile o’chocolate shreds for the top. I licked my hands, washed them good, and finished up.

Another globetrotter, this one. She rode frozen in the car to VA, like Pie 2.0 and was eaten for the three days of a long weekend. Perfect for breakfast with coffee.

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Pie 12.0 will be made in a week with my daughter, who will also choose the pie. Stay tuned for pictures of more delicious stuff you don’t get to eat. Cheerio!