Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie

So today I realized it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post.  I blame it on one thing: The Walking Dead.

I’m about 859395 minutes late to the party, so I spent the last week watching the first two seasons.  It was an enormous race to watch all the episodes before the new episode on Sunday.  Good news: I’m all caught up.

Now I freak out when my lights flicker, but that’s okay.  If fictional tv shows freak you out (like they do me), just think of pie.

Then head into the kitchen to make this…

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie

Single Pie Crust:

175g All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 stick of Butter, cold
2 tbsp (maybe more) Ice Water

Filling:
6 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp bourbon/whiskey

Caramel:

1 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp Bourbon
few pinches of salt

Topping:

1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp White Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
pinch of Salt
3 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp bourbon

Prepare pie crust by combing flour, sugar and salt.  Using your fingers, break the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse crumbs (even pea sized is fine).  Add ice water and bring it all together into a ball using your hands.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours.  You can make this up to two days in advance.

Once your dough has rested sufficiently, you can start to assemble your pie.  Roll our dough and place into a 9inch pie dish, trim the edges, make them look pretty if you’d like.

Next make the caramel.  In a deep saucepan, melt sugar over medium heat.  Do not stir.  Once it reaches a golden brown color, remove from heat.  Stir in butter (it will bubble a lot, keep stirring), then stream in cream while stirring then stir in bourbon and salt.  If you get some clumps it’s not a big deal.    Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350F.   Stick the prepared crust in the freezer while you make the filling and topping.  For the filling, I like to throw all the ingredients into a large ziploc bag, close it and toss it around.  A bowl works too.

Set aside while you make the topping. Next make crumble topping.  Combine dry ingredients.  Add butter and using your fingers work it into the mixture.  Drizzle in bourbon and toss to combine.  The mixture should look sort of like crumbs.

Next assemble the pie.  Pour a bit of the caramel into the pie crust and spread.  Next lay in half the apple mixture, pour some more caramel sauce (maybe 1/3 of it? also note if your caramel cooled too much and hardened just warm it up a bit on the stove).  Add the remaining apples and drizzle with some more caramel.  You should have about 1/4 of the caramel left over.  Sprinkle the crumble topping on the apples, then drizzle remaining caramel on top.  Place pie on a baking sheet and bake 45-60 mins or until golden and the fruit is bubbling in the middle.

Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then serve!

I recommend having this with a glass of bourbon while watching The Walking Dead (or maybe Vampire Diaries is more your supernatural style?).

Avocado Pie

My boyfriend told me that the first time he heard about me (right before we met over 2 years ago on a random trip to Las Vegas) he thought I was going to be a rich snob.  Makes sense.  I went to Cornell at the time and when I first meet people I tend to be quiet.  I guess that translated to rich-bitch-face for me.  But luckily, we moved past that.

2 years later, he’s coming to find that I’m quite the opposite.  I might be the cheapest person I’ve ever met (after my mother that is… I had to get it somewhere right?).  Yesterday, I had us walk to Costco before going to the movie theater so we could buy the cheaper tickets there.  $8 savings!  I say yes.

My frugality translated to food as well.  For a long time, I would NEVER buy avocados.  $1+ for an avocado seemed outrageous.  But now, I’m growing up.  And guys… I buy avocados.  In fact, I just bought 2 right before writing this post.  Is my cheapness fizzing away?

I don’t think so (the avocados I just bought were on sale), but if you’re cheap like me but want to use your avocados to your full potential, here’s how:

In pie form.

Yes, it’s sweet.  Not savory, and truth be told, I don’t really taste the avocado in it.  What I do taste (and trust me I tasted this one a lot, I ate it for breakfast 3 days last week…) is delicious creamy-ness.

Avocado Pie

from Blue Ribbon Pies (mostly)

1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 large avocado (or 1 1/2 small, which is what I used), lightly mashed
1/4 cup lime juice
2 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (15 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Prepare crust by mixing together melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 powdered sugar.  Press into a 9” pie pan.  Put in the freezer until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 325.

Our lime juice over avocado slices and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until thick (few minutes took me about 5?).  Add avocado and lime juice and beat, add vanilla and continue to beat.  Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until well combined.  Pour mixture into prepared graham cracker crust.  Bake 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.  Meanwhile, mix together sour cream, vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar.  Once the pie is completely cool, spread sour cream mixture over the pie.  Chill for a few hours (I chilled it over night) then serve!

Ok so cheapness aside, I can’t take credit for this recipe.  I owe it to my lovely friend, Rhoda.  She shares my affinity for pies and cost-effectiveness, which I greatly appreciate.

But take my word for it, make this pie no one will think you’re a cheap-o.  They’ll think your awesome for 1. giving them pie, 2. making an amazing pie that looks crazy but tastes great!

Passion Fruit Cream Pie

There are a few things I’m certain about.

1. If you are at a party full of latinos and you want them to dance, play this song:

Everyone will be on the dance floor within 30 seconds.  Truth.

2.  My sister and I have a 20 degree temperature range of comfort.  Anything below 65F is too cold, and anything about 85F is far too hot.  I have no idea how I lived in central NY for 2 years.

3.  This is my new go to summer dessert.  Really this has to do with #2 and the fact that my apartment is an oven, therefore I refuse to turn on the oven.

Passion Fruit Cream Pie

For Crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

For Filling:
8 oz cream cheese
1  1/4 cup passion fruit curd (recipe follows)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 Mango diced, or sliced strawberries, thinly sliced lemon, extra whipped cream or other fruit for topping

Passionfruit Curd
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup passion fruit pulp (Goya has some frozen, check out the freezer section or a latin grocery store)
4 tbsp butter

First prepare the passion fruit curd, it needs to cool completely before you make this.  In a glass bowl that fits over a saucepan, combine eggs, passion fruit pulp and sugar.  Place over a sauce pan with boiling water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).  Stir constantly until thick (this will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes).  Stir in butter and pass through a fine mesh strainer.  Set aside to cool and refrigerate until ready to use.  This can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Once you’re ready to make your pie.  Melt butter in a bowl.  Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Press into 9” pie dish.  Place in freezer while you prepare the filling.

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and 1 cup of passionfruit curd.

In a separate bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until it holds firm peaks.

Fold whipped cream into cream cheese/passion fruit mixture.  Pour mixture into prepared pie dish.   Spread any remaining passion fruit curd (will be about 1/4 cup) on to the top of the pie mixture (that is if you haven’t eaten it already because it’s so deliciously good).

Top with your fruit of choice and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until ready to serve.    I topped one with mango and one with thinly sliced lemon pieces.

Note that decorating this with lemons is totally misleading.  Half the people at the party I took this to were expecting it to be a lemon dessert.

The good news is you totally can make this into a lemon dessert!  All you have to do is replace the passionfruit curd with lemon curd and TA DA! Instant no-bake lemon dessert!

Now, let me be honest, I’ve made both a lemon version and a passion fruit version… The passion fruit version wins.

Topped with mango.  To die for.

Either way, I’m thinking that this is my new favorite no bake dessert.

It might even beat the peanut butter banana cream pie… and that’s saying a lot.

Ok but we’re all friends here, turn on some music (or maybe the song I linked above), dance in the kitchen and make both the passion fruit cream pie and the peanut butter banana cream pie.  I’m certain you (and whoever you decide to share them with) will love them.

Milk Chocolate Brownie Pie with Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Crust

Remember when I told you to look forward to pies?  Well I didn’t make you wait long.  Here it is.



And let’s be honest about this.  Not all pies are pretty, but even if they’re not pretty they can still be tasty.  Let’s call it functional, not beautiful.  I’m pretty certain this pie won’t get as many pins as other ones.

You know what makes this even more functional: it’s easy.  Not that other pies are hard to make but with this one, you don’t have to deal with rolling a crust, peeling or chopping fruit, making a topping or even pulling out the hand mixer.

This pie is essentially chocolate chess pie.  However, no one seems to know what that is (not even me really…).  So my original intention was to call this Chocolate Milk Pie, because to me, it tastes like chocolate milk in a pie form.  But when I took it to work everyone kept calling it brownie pie.  I guess that might be a more accurate descriptions.

Hence…

Milk Chocolate Brownie Pie with Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Crust

adapted from Chocolate Chess Pie

For Crust:

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup powdered sugar

For Filling:

4 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
5 oz evaporated milk (you can buy 5 oz cans)

Pre-heat oven to 325F. Prepare the crust.  Melt butter and peanut butter together in a bowl.  Add sugar and graham cracker crumbs.  Combine and press into a 9inch pie dish.  Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Mix all the ingredients.  Pour filling into the pie dish.  Place use a pie shield or line the edges with aluminum foil (this really is crucial).  Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until the top is cracked but the inside still looks gooey.

Allow to cool completely and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream (optional).

The inside will be ooey, gooey and lovely.  I can guarantee you’ll love it, even if it’s not the most visually appealing.

But you know what is totally appealing (aside from this pie of course)? Birthday countdowns.

Boyfriend’s birthday in 1 week. My birthday in 2 weeks.  That means lots of pie/cake-making is on the way.

FYI, I’m totally okay with making a birthday cake/pie for myself.  Is that weird?

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (…with a touch of Bourbon)

Some people have 4th of July traditions. Not me.  Every 4th of July is different over here.  Last year, I went to Morro Bay with my sister and her friends and hung out on a boat.  That was awesome.

The year before, I went to Burlington, VT with some friends and hung out on a boat on Lake Champlain.

Also awesome… boats were becoming a trend, no complaints there.  This year was much more low-key, but equally fun.  I’ll spare you the rant about how unfortunate it was that 4th of July fell on a Wednesday this year.  Instead, let’s talk pies.


Pies feel super American to me.

You know what else feels super American? Rhubarb.

It’s probably not, but I wasn’t introduced to rhubarb until I lived in Central NY, now it feels like a hidden secret that the middle of America let me in on.  It randomly came in one of my CSA shares, and I had no idea what to do with it.  But after an apple-rhubarb crisp making adventure, I was hooked.  Ever since I pretty much think it’s the most amazing, tangy tasting vegetable on Earth.

The best part:  It’s a vegetable that gets turned into dessert.  I can get behind that.

So randomly one day last week I saw rhubarb at the grocery store.  It sparked an idea in my brain as I had coffee on Wednesday morning…  Like all good baking ideas, it was to impress a boy.  I bet he’s never tried rhubarb.   But let’s be honest, rhubarb can be intense so I went the traditional route and paired it with strawberry.

I was right.  He had never had rhubarb.  But for someone who shares my affinity for putting lemon on everything, I knew the tangy-ness was going to be a hit.

So the next time you want to feel patriotic and/or impress someone, make this pie.  It won’t disappoint… I should also warn you that like all other things, I put bourbon in this too.  Bet you didn’t think those would go together, right?

Yeah they totally do.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a Touch of Bourbon

Single Pie Crust:

175g All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 stick of Butter, cold
2 tbsp (maybe more) Ice Water

Filling:

2 heaping cups fresh chopped rhubarb (about 1/2 pound)
3-4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp bourbon/whiskey
1/4 cup flour

Crumble Topping:

1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp White Sugar
pinch of Salt
3 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp bourbon

Prepare pie crust by combing flour, sugar and salt.  Using your fingers, break the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse crumbs (even pea sized is fine).  Add ice water and bring it all together into a ball using your hands.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours.  You can make this up to two days in advance.  I actually had one freezer, already in the pie dish, stored in a ziploc bag, for about a month or so (making this whole pie making business wayyy easier).

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.   Prepare the filling.  Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside while you make the crumble topping, by combining all the ingredients and breaking up the butter with your fingers until you get a coarse texture.

Pour filling into prepared pie pan (note: if you have an enormous pie dish, you might want to do more of the filling, the pie dish I used is way smaller than other glass pie dishes I own, so be warned), top with crumble topping, place pan on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.  Bake for about an hour (mine took about 1 hr and 10 minutes) or until juices are bubbling like woah (that’s really the best way to describe it).

Once the pie is golden, gooey and ready.  Allow it to cool completely.  Then serve.

This one was a winner.  Not to mention the crumble topping gives it a nice crunch and you don’t have to worry about rolling most crust for the top or taking on the lattice.

I might have to make it again, it might just happen, because in addition to July being the month for Independence Day, it’s also birthday month.  You know what the mean?  Pie and cake-making must happen.

Any suggestions for pie/cake flavors I should try out?

Bourbon Peach Pie with Crumble Topping

I’ve been in my new apartment a week.  I’ve already used at least 7 sticks of butter and made at least 4 pies.

This was one of them.

Doesn’t this look like a dream?  I promise it’s reality.  Furthermore, it’s proof that burning things is not the norm for me.

I took it to a potluck, but was in a hurry so didn’t have time to photograph for a full blog post. I’ll make it again and legit photograph it and write a blog post about it (EDIT:  Here’s the recipe for the Milk Chocolate Brownie Pie above!).  But until then, I’ll tell you about this one:

Bourbon Peach Pie.

I know.  I put bourbon in everything, but generally I think it belongs in most situations. In a pie.  In a cake. In a cup…

Honestly, you can’t really taste the bourbon, but it adds a little something extra.

Bourbon Peach Pie with Crumble Topping

Single Pie Crust:

175g All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 stick of Butter, cold
2 tbsp (maybe more) Ice Water

Filling:

6 Peached, thinly sliced
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
3 tbsp Bourbon/Whiskey

Crumble Topping:

1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp White Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
pinch of Salt
3 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp bourbon

Prepare pie crust by combing flour, sugar and salt.  Using your fingers, break the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse crumbs (even pea sized is fine).  Add ice water and bring it all together into a ball using your hands.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours.  You can make this up to two days in advance.

Once your dough has rested sufficiently, you can start to assemble your pie.  Roll our dough and place into a 9inch pie dish, trim the edges, make them look pretty if you’d like.

Preheat the oven to 350F.   Stick the prepared crust in the freezer while you make the filling and topping.  For the filling, I like to throw all the ingredients into a large ziploc bag, close it and toss it around.  A bowl works too. Set aside while you make the topping.

Next make crumble topping.  Combine dry ingredients.  Add butter and using your fingers work it into the mixture.  Drizzle in bourbon and toss to combine.  The mixture should look sort of like crumbs.

Next, pour the fruit filling into the crust, arranged sort of evenly and slightly mounted in the center.  Top with crumble topping, place on a baking sheet and bake 45-60 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the pie is golden brown and the fruit is bumbling.

Allow to cool completely and serve.

That’s all for tonight.

Don’t worry, I fully intend to use two more sticks of butter before the night is up.

What To Do When You Burn A Pie

Sometimes we forget that we stick something in the oven.   When that happens and your pie burns…

Feed it to a boy.

Laugh when he struggles to cut through the burnt crust.

Smile when the center is still totally edible and delicious.

Lastly, try again later.

What Making A Peach Pie Can Teach You About Life

A few years ago, I made terrible pies.  No really.  They were not good.  They were runny, caved in.

In short, not cute.

But I kept at it.  Now I can honestly say I know how to make a good pie.

Throughout my pie (mis)adventures, I learned a few things about pie making that I think apply to life as well. These are my pearls of wisdom:

1. Be patient.
Pies, like all good things, take time.  Your crust needs to rest.  First as a ball of dough (at least a few hours). Then as a rolled pie crust (at least an hour, better if a day).

Give it time and keep it cool.  It’ll be worth it in the end.

2.  When life gives you ____, make pie.
In this case, peach pie.

Leave the skin on, sometimes things are better when they’re a little rough around the edges.  Remember, pies (and you) don’t need to be perfect.

3.  Be generous with the sugar.

Both in pies and in life, the more sugar, the better.  Smile at strangers.  Hug your friends.  Kiss your loved ones.  You won’t regret it.

4.  Don’t forget a little spice.

A dash of cinnamon makes most pies delicious.  A little sass in your life won’t hurt either.  Just a dash.  Not too much.  No one likes a diva.

5.  Sometimes things don’t go your way…
and you drop a piece of the filling on the floor.

When things fall apart, wipe it up and carry on.

6. Fill your life with sweet things.

I’m not talking about inducing diabetes, sometimes a sweet thing doesn’t have to be food.  Nice people.  Good books.  Cute puppies.  All sweet things.

7. Don’t be afraid to get complicated

Even if in the end it’s not perfect.  It’ll be worth the effort.

8.  If you’re not ready for a pie in the oven yet, wrap it up.

Yeah I said it.  Truth.

9.  Lastly, like the first lesson, be patient some more.

It’s a long process, and takes about an hour to bake (at 375F).  But in the end it’s totally worth it.  Can’t we say that about most things… degrees. relationships. work.

Continue reading

Blueberry Pie and a Giveaway

Because yesterday was my birthday

and because I made an amazing blueberry pie.

No really, I was pleased.  Who needs a birthday cake when you have blueberry pie.

I think the trick is to make it a few days in advance and freeze it then bake it when it’s still sorta frozen in order to keep the crust from shrinking.

And because Stonyfield sent me this super cool summer in a box gift package

The box is really what sold me.  The stuff inside was pretty cool too!

Included in the gift box:

  • Two coupons for Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Bars in two delicious flavors
  •  Badger After-Sun Balm
  • Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream
  • Tom’s Toothpaste, Soap and Deodorant
  • Uncle Matt’s Organic Lemonade and Juices Coupon

We want to share one with you too.

So leave me a comment, link this post on your blog, or tweet at me (@karlapd) with a link to this post (or all of the above!) by Saturday, August 6th at 8:00pm PST and Stonyfield will give one lucky reader a Summer in a Box!

I’ll announce a winner by Sunday afternoon.

I would share the pie with you too

but that’s not as easy to mail.

Also my sister ate it.

Summer Pie in a Jar

Ithaca made me a jar person.

At the risk of sounding totally hippie/granola, I will say I find jars to be very multifunctional.  Not only can you carry soups, beverages and meals in them, you can also make a pie in one…

Versatile.  I like it.  I also like blueberries and nectarines.  Let’s find a way to combine them all.

Doesn’t that look like summer?  I thought so.

Summer Blueberry-Nectarine Pie in a Jar

5 half pint mason jars
1 recipe for pate brisee (this is the crust, you can also use store bought)
2 nectarine, diced (optional to peel)
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

A quick note before starting: make your crust/pate brisee a few hours, or the night before, to prevent the dreaded shrinking crust. The longer it rests, the better!

Roll your crust on a well floured surface.  I suggest rolling it thinner than you would roll your average pie crust, if not your crust to filling ratio will be quite high, but keep it thick if that’s you’re style.  After rolling, line jars with pie crust.  This was a little tricky for me.  I bought the jars that were kinda narrow so I couldn’t fit my hand in it, so I suggest using the wider mouthed jars.  I had to piece to together and use a spoon to press it down.  Either way it should look somewhat like this by the end:

Place them in the fridge or freezer as soon as they’re ready.  You don’t want melted/soft crusts in your jar!

While your jars chill, dice (and peel, if you like) your nectarines and wash your blueberries.  In a bowl, combine nectarines, blueberries, sugar, flour and vanilla.  Toss to coat all the fruit in the sugar and flour.  Let sit for a few minutes.

In the meantime, make your pie lids.  Roll out some more pie dough then using the jar lid, cut out circles.

Next, quickly fill your pie jars with fruit filling.

Put on the lids and either press the edges using a fork, or your fingers.

Whichever you prefer is fine.  You can also get creative with cookie cutters and cut out different shapes to make the top, or use a crumble topping.

At this point you can either put them in a freezer and save them for a rainy day or you can bake them off!

Should you choose to bake them right away, pre-heat your oven to 400F.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling on the top.

I used the toaster oven.  It’s summer after all.  Who wants to turn the oven on and heat up the whole house?

No thanks.  But I would say yes to this

After they’ve cooled, you can put a bow on them

and give it as a gift.

or serve it up on a plate.

Either way, this is a pretty fun way to use a jar!