Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

pumpkin cream pie

Think of your love for pumpkin pie. Now make it lighter. Smoother. Creamier. Put it in a spiced cookie crust. Top it with whipped cream. And there you go.

Pumpkin Cream Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Gingersnap crust
1 1/4 c gingersnaps, ground (I used graham crackers spiked with spices to great effect)
2 tbs sugar
pinch of salt
4 tbs butter, melted

Pumpkin filling
2 c milk

1/2 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves, ground
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 c pumpkin (1 15-oz. can)

Make the crust:
Heat oven to 350 F. Combine cookies, sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture into 9-in. pie pan. Bake 10-15 min, till crust is brown and toasty.

Make the filling:
Mix sugar, cornstarch, spices, and salt together in a bowl. Rub mixture with fingers to evenly distribute cornstarch. Very important for a smooth cream! Whisk in egg yolks and vanilla.

In a separate pot, bring milk to a boil. Temper yolk mixture with some of the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return mixture to the pot, whisking away over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Mixture will turn thick, like pudding.

Whisk in pumpkin, then strain through a fine mesh sieve for maximum smoothness. Pour filling into crust, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate to set. Top with whipped cream when you're good and ready!

Friday, November 12, 2010

coconut almond shortbread

Toasted coconut and almonds, a bain marie, and coarse sea salt can only indicate these are swank cookies. I hope you have a dishwasher, though these cookies make an excellent bribe.

The original recipe calls for cutting in the butter into the flour, a task I'm not keen on. Instead I did the classic creaming of the butter + sugar together, with pleasing results.

Coconut Almond Shortbread
Rather adapted from Pastry Studio

1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c whole almonds, toasted
1 c unsweetened coconut
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
12 tbs unsalted butter ( 1.5 sticks!)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

4 oz semisweet chocolate
coarse salt

Toss almonds, coconut, and sugar in a blender. Blend till finely ground. Careful not to make almond coconut butter, though that's probably not a bad idea either...

Combine blended ingredients, flour, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar till nice and fluffy. Mix in the yolks and vanilla. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients.

Divide the dough into 2 balls, flatten each into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, then chill in fridge.

Roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness, then cut into shape of your choice. Pop on the fridge for a few minutes if the dough is getting too sticky. Put cookies on a cookie sheet. Chill.

Heat oven to 325 F. Bake cookies 13-16 minutes, pending on size and shape of cookie, till they start looking a bit toasty. Cool completely.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and coat cookies. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Nom!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the new digs

It has recently been brought to my attention that a few of you actually follow this thing and enjoy perusing my inane culinary happenings. I'm happy to report my cooking frequency is up, and my photography skills are about as poor as ever! That said, maybe, possibly some of it will make its way here. In the mean time, this is what I've been up to.

First, I moved from here:

To the other side:

It's pretty swell. If you roll up one pant leg, you can go see this:

Then on the weekends you can live the American dream and be buried in corn.
Life is good. How are you?