Tag Archives: butter

Post pour Pecan Pie por Plane!

22 May

I guess I cheated a bit on the title here, since “pour” and “por” are French and Spanish for “for”.  I just couldn’t resist the alliteration!

Anyways.  Apologies for not posting this last week.  Good news, I passed my prelim I took last week, the day after making the pie this post is about!  I’m taking another one tomorrow, and if I pass it too I’ll be done with big tests for a long time (maybe forever?  But we always think that and then people go do CFAs or random things like that).

I’ve always disliked pecan pie.  It’s bitter, the pecans are too hard, and it’s too heavily goopy- feels like my teeth are slowly rotting under the viscous syrup.  And then my friend Ellie (the one who organized the conference with me) gave me a slice of pecan pie for Pi Day (when I made the chess pie).  IT WAS INCREDIBLE.  So light and creamy, and the nutty bite of pecans perfectly offsets the gooeyness of the layer below.  There’s a bit less sugar in this pie than most, and she uses light Karo syrup which I think makes a huge difference.

If you make anything from this blog, this pie is in my top three recommendations (the others being the mushroom-burnt onion pate and the 1-ingredient chocolate mousse).  It’s simple, fast, and a huge crowd pleaser (I actually had some of this pie on Monday and then made it Wednesday).

Seven ingredients, I guess nine if you count EGGSactly

It’s super easy: you just whip up your eggs, and then mix in all the other ingredients.  Oh PRO TIP (a la the brownies and foil thing): IF YOU DROP A PIECE OF EGGSHELL IN YOUR DOUGH, DO NOT PANIC.  Use the big piece of eggshell to pick it up!  It’s a little bit magical, explained here: Just kidding!  I tried to google it and could not find an explanation (let me know if you know why this works).  It’s like the big piece of eggshell attracts the little pieces.

Keep calm and bake on!

I purposefully dropped a teeny bit of eggshell in this picture so you could see the next one, but I’m not so great at this whole taking pictures of a white speck floating in clear goop over another white background thing.

Don’t mind me, just taking a quick dip in the gene pool (the white is where DNA is, I think) [This may be a lie I’m not a scientist]

So you whip up your eggs, put in your softened butter (I just popped a stick in the microwave for ten seconds until I could poke it like this:)

James Polk was from the south, so maybe he too had pecan pie. Maybe he too poked some butter (seems ridiculously unlikely)

Literally you need a bowl and a whisk and a measuring cup:

The Q and R trains in NYC are pretty reliable, but I always wonder: can P do it? And then it shows up and I think Yes, PECAN

Stick it all in your premade pie crust (or make the stupid easy pie crust from the chess pie), and toss in your oven.

I wonder if sushi is super popular in the capital of North Carolina. Cuz, yknow, RAWleigh

I’m really into poking in this post: the pie is done when you gently poke the top and it springs back.

So easy!  SO DELICIOUS.

On a side note, you can bring pecan pie on a plane!  I was unsure how it’d go through security, but I wrapped it in foil, stuck it in a gallon freezer ziploc bag, and put it in my backpack.  Went through great!

My friend Shira, who also dislikes pecan pie, loved this one.  So make it!  Just writing about it makes me want to make it again: maybe next week!

Eleanor Reeves’ Pecan Pie (from my friend Ellie):

Beat:

3 eggs

1/4 c. soft margarine (or butter)
1 c. chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. light karo syrup
1/2 c. sugar

Mix, then pour into:

unbaked pie shell

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 10 min then at 350 degrees for 50 min.

Happy pi(e) day!

14 Mar

To celebrate, I made a chess pie.  A friend told me a story behind the name: when someone asked what kind of pie it was, the answer was “oh, jus’ pie” which eventually went from ” ‘jus” to “chess”.  In either case it’s delicious and super easy.

The other thing I did to celebrate: made a slight fool of myself on public radio!  I was on The Brian Lehrer Show to talk about pi(e) day.  Turns out I’m not very good on radio (actually I just rant incomprehensibly about baking cookies) but I’m excited that I was there, and the director of MoMath was a guest at the same time!  Glen Whitney is way awesome and excellent on the radio.  I liked just listening to him and am hitting myself for not saying anything to him about how great MoMath seems and how I’m excited to see it in a few weeks on my trip to NYC.

So, chess pie: pie crust, buttermilk, butter, sugar, vanilla, cornmeal.  Easy as… oh yeah.

Another way I was incredibly disappointing: Brian Lehrer asked if I knew any jokes with baking and math.  I  had nothing to say, and then I interrupted Glen Whitney to say I had nothing to say.  Sigh.  He mentioned that if you want to make a 9″ diameter round cake, but only have square pans, you can approximate it using an 8″ square pan.  Runs a math museum and knows interesting baking facts.  Is he sing- oh right.  I have a boyfriend.  And Glen Whitney has a wife and two daughters anyway, on a completely unrelated note.

UPDATE: you can listen to the show segment here.  Embarrassment and pride.  I feel like I’m watching my little kid at a recital of some instrument that she doesn’t know.  On another note, here’s an awesome video about pi and pie,

Let’s make a pie crust, shall we?

Joke on the radio: a country boy came back from college all full of himself. His parents asked what he’d learned, and he said “pi r squared!” To which his father replied, “any fool knows that pie are round!”

Usually I just buy frozen pie crusts, but I didn’t want to go to the store, so homemade it was.  This was the laziest way to do pie crust: put all the ingredients into the pie tin, stir, and then push them into a rough pie crust form with your hands.  It very quickly turns flaky and you worry there isn’t enough moisture for all the flour and sugar, but don’t.  It will work.  Trust the recipe.

Oil oil toil and trouble, oven warm and crust bubble (but not too much)

I did a teensy bit of work and stirred the flour, salt and sugar before adding the milk and oil, but then I just plopped it around and pressed, pressed pressed for a minute.  Voila, pie crust!  Toss this guy into the oven while you make the filling.  I think the recipe said 425 for 10 minutes, but I was baking black bean burgers at the time so it got to hang out at 350 for 15.  Doesn’t matter!

If I start getting fatter, I’m gonna name my spare tire “The Crust Belt”

Notice that mine isn’t that pretty.  It’s getting covered with filing anyway!  But if you do want pretty pie crusts, lay out some parchment paper under the mixed up dough, put another piece of parchment paper on top of your dough, and roll it with a rolling pin or wine bottle or hammer on top of a solid book if that’s all you’ve got.  I do like it when people crimp their crusts with a fork.  Or you can do what I did and just throw it in there.  I love this crust because it’s flaky without being too melty, and has just the right hint of salt.

Next, the filling.  Right after you throw your pie crust in the oven, put a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Then add enough milk to reach however much you need.  This recipe made enough filling for a deep dish pie crust, but I did not have one of those, so I multiplied all the ingredients by 3/4 and it was perfect.  This is 1/2 a cup of vinegared milk, to replace buttermilk.

Butter your pleasure, butter your fun, that’s the statement of the great scent of buttermilk (yum)

Meanwhile, stir together your 1 and a half c sugar and 1 TB of cornmeal (that gives your pie a nice crispy texture on top, like creme brulee).

Sometimes I feel like I should apologize for being such a fork with so many forky puns. The rest of the time I think they’re sweet.

Take a minute and melt just under a stick of butter in a bowl in the microwave (literally this took 60 seconds; my butter came out of the fridge).  Then beat three eggs into that, and stir it into the “buttermilk.”  Pour that whole beautiful pale yellow mixture into your sugar.

I so wish this cup was made of POURcelain right now. Only not because then it would probably break in the dishwasher.  Also I love that this photo looks sort of like a giant egg.

FrACTION shot! Because I had to multiply every ingredient in this bowl by 3/4.

Also, at some point, toss in a splash of vanilla.  I think sprinkling in a bit of salt wouldn’t hurt, but Southerners might be angry at me for saying that.  This pie is DELICIOUS without it.  Pour this whole mess into your crust and bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then lower the heat and bake at 300 for two episodes of TNG.  Or about an hour.  However you like to measure time the night before Pi Day.

Recipe, adapted from two recipes on allrecipes: crust and pie:

For crust:

Mix together in a pie pan:

1.5 c flour

1.5 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Then pour in:

2 TB soy milk (add 1/2 tsp sugar if using regular milk)

1/2 c oil

Stir together, then pat around to make a roughly even pie crust.  Throw in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 300-350 degrees while you prepare the filling.

For filling:

Either use buttermilk, or stir 1 TB of vinegar with enough milk (cow milk this time) to make 1/2 cup.  Let sit while you do the rest.

Stir together:

1 1/2 c sugar

1 TB cornmeal

Separately, melt:

6 TB butter (2 TB less than a stick)

And beat into it:

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Mix the butter and eggs with the buttermilk.  Then pour into the sugar/cornmeal and stir.  Pour into your prepared pie crust, then bake at 425 for 10 minutes.  Turn the heat down to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until custard is set.

2 Mar

I’m no stranger to banana “bread,” especially chocolate chip banana bread, so I decided to finally throw up my hands and accept that this is actually cake.  Bready cake, and not quite as sweet as cake in a box cake (or cake pops cake), but still sweet chocolatey goodness anyway.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this, but my smart phone got jacked while I was in Haifa so these pictures sort of suck.  They’re all taken from my netbook.

Anyways!  A non-eventful not-that-productive week at school means some cheer-me-up baking time!  Whenever we buy bananas and some of them get too ripe, we throw ’em in the freezer.  I used to use plastic baggies and cut them up before so I could just take some banana chunks for smoothies etc., but then I’d have these frozen, sometimes punctured plastic baggies when bananas already have their own packaging!

These bananas are bananas, b a n a n a s.  Gwen Stefani sure called it.

So I throw these frozen bananas into a big juice glass of water and let them sit for a few minutes.  Then the peels come right off and your bananas are ready to be mushed!  With an egg, a bit less than 1/4 c milk, 1 tsp vanilla., and 1 c of melted butter (I used the microwave for 30 seconds).

Mush, whisk, mush! These puns sleigh me.

As usual, you’ve got the dry ingredients in a bigger bowl: whisk together 1.5 c flour, 1.5 tsp baking soda, and 1 c sugar.  Then mix those wet ingredients into your dry.

Big bowl: Chinese and Th-oh wait. I meant Big Bowl: wet and dry ingredients

Mix in a cup of chocolate chips, then throw this guy in the oven in a greased pan for 40 minutes at 350.  Before you eat all the delicious batter (the batter is SO GOOD).

Did you guys know ‘doughhead’ is an idiom for someone who acts without thinking? I tried looking up idioms with ‘dough’ and that came up. Weird.

Meanwhile you can enjoy your eggplant sandwich and an episode of “Glee.”  Then your oven timer goes off and yum!

Yo ho ho and a plate of crumbs

Recipe, adapted from this one on allrecipes:

Preheat oven to 350

Mix in a big bowl:

1.5 c flour

1.5 tsp baking soda

1 c white sugar

(1/4 tsp salt)

Melt:

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Mash in:

2 bananas (if frozen, use a bit less milk)

And whisk in:

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c milk (I use soy, which means use a little less sugar)

Mix dry ingredients with wet, then fold in

1 c chocolate chips

Bake in a greased 8×8 or whatever size pan for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Beware: this post contains CORNographic materials

19 Feb

Note: this draft has been sitting around for two weeks, so the collard greens last night is a lie.  The rest of the post is true though!

I made a crockpot of collard greens last night, and decided to do some bacon and cornbread to have for breakfast.  Cornbread is WAY EASY (almost as much as shortbread).

Keeping the corny jokes to a minimum

Mix together your cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder.

Then beat your two eggs with 1/4 c honey, 1/4 c sugar, melted stick of butter and 1 c milk.

Use egg-sactly two eggs and softened butter!

Stir in the wet ingredients to the dry, and bake at 400 for half an hour.  Donezo!

Make sure you don’t overbake it or you’ll be overdry, like mine was.  SO I made stuffing instead (the next day).  Honestly, slather a slightly dry cornbread with butter and honey and you won’t miss a thing.

Tip of the post: smashing garlic.  Put your big knife flat against the unpeeled clove of garlic, so it is parallel to the ground.  Then push down with the palm of your hand, hard, right on the clove.  That’ll smash the clove and loosen the paper covering it.  You can then cook with your smashed clove, or mince it (it’s a little easier now that it’s flat).

Time to (gar)lick this clove into shape!

So I rarely do actual recipes for non-sweet baked goods, so I’ll just tell you roughly what went in this stuffing:

Saute:

1/2 diced onion

4 cloves of garlic

in some butter + olive oil while you cut the other ingredients.  Then add

2 cut up stalks of celery

1 chopped carrot

a handful of cut up mushrooms

Sure, add some mushrooms, do whatever, I could carrot less

Cook those for awhile, then add about 1 cup of stock (animal, vegetable, mineral, whatever floats your boat) and some salt and pepper. I tossed in some parsley because it was sitting in our fridge.

Sorry, what did you say? I couldn’t quite parse-ley that.

Then mix in your dried, cubed leftover bread from the day(s) before, and bake the whole thing at 350 for half an hour.  Stuffing!

Mix 1 c cornmeal, 1 c flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 TB baking powder.

Separately, beat 2 eggs, 1 c milk, 1 stick melted butter, 1/4 c honey, 1/4 c sugar.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together (mix will be super lumpy), then pour into a greased pan and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Baking with tea!

28 Jan

I tried googling recipes of baking with peppermint tea, but didn’t get too many hits.  So I looked up my own recipe for shortbread, and adapted it.  This texture was a little bit chalky, but I do know what I’ll do in the future to avoid that.

Give me a “T’! And give me a… oh wait that’s it.

So in the future, rather than brew a very strong tea, I think I’ll infuse the butter by cooking it with the tea, and then chill it again.  What I did this time was throw three tea bags in a bowl and pour a bit of boiling water over it.

If you have some tea, and no one else can help, and if you can find it, maybe you can hire the S-team.

Then did the usual shortbread recipe, but I ended up adding an extra cup of flour because the dough was so wet and gummy.  I think gummy dough corresponds to chalky baked good.

No one wants to be defeated… just beat it!

I added the super strong tea (a bit less than a quarter cup) with the wet ingredients, and I tasted the dough and it didn’t seem quite minty enough.  So I cut up the tea bags and mixed it in to the batter.

Do these guys ever wonder, am I my sciss(t)or’s keeper?

I swear we have a rolling pin somewhere in the house, but I couldn’t find it, so I used an old mason jar to roll out the dough.

We could’ve had it all, rolling with the dough…

The cookies at the end had a pleasant little mint bite and flecks of green.

Lost the pizza wheel too… oops

Here’s the recipe again:

Cream:

2 sticks of butter

1/2 c sugar

a few tablespoons of very strong mint tea

3 c flour

1/2-1 tsp salt

A bag or three of mint tea

Bake at 300 for half an hour, and no longer.

I also did something silly, where I left my house while baking.  So I actually turned off the oven after about 20 minutes and left the cookies in there.  That’s also why they were chalky, overbaked and dry.  Sad face.

Still tasty!

Scintillating scones

11 Dec

So it’s finals week, which means I have two take home finals due this week and have to proctor and grade an exam later.  And of course, that means that while I’m working on my take home real analysis final and wondering why $\int_{[a,b]} f dm\geq 0$ for every rational $a implies that $f(x)\geq 0$ a.e.  (Don’t tell me!  Or at least not til after Wednesday, and hopefully I’ll have figured it out by then), I’m also daydreaming about what I can bake tonight as a treat for myself.  (I don’t know exactly how to use parenthetical sentences; like where does the question mark go here?)  I still had chocolate chips leftover from my pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies a few weeks ago, and some OJ because I love me some orange juice in the mornings.

I wanted to make orange juice-chocolate chip cookies, but a quick google search convinced me that scones were the way to go.  I’ve probably memorized about three baking recipes: the shortbread was one; this is the second; there’s probably a third somewhere in my head (I get lost up there sometimes).  (That’s when I use a lot of parentheses.)  (Or when I’ve been thinking about math all day.)

One HUGE TIP to making scones: USE A FOOD PROCESSOR.  It makes scones take absolutely no time.  Also, chill your butter!  Keeps the dough together without getting too sticky.

Me being myself, I followed neither of these pieces of advice nor my recipe too closely this time.

First, whisk together:

2 c flour

1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt

1/3 c sugar

Golly gee whisk, Batman! Whisks are so effective!

I’ve always had trouble with my dry ingredients and having bites of baking soda and/or salt in my baked goods.  And then I discovered whisks!  Whisk are so great!  Though this would have been even easier with a food processor.

As a present to myself, I bought a grater from K-Mart!  I was hoping for a microplane but neither the grocery store nor k-mart had it and I was over it by then.  I also bought an orange (the only part of this recipe that I didn’t already have in my pantry) for zesting.  Those of you who read the fruitcake post know what a big deal this grater is.

Life is so much greater with the right tools.

Toss in the zest of an orange or two to that flour bowl.

Then cut in a stick of butter using two knives (or your food processor or your pastry cutter).  I’ve never understood what this direction means in recipes.  Cutting butter into flour seems to work just as well with a knife and fork, or even one knife.  It’s also sort of sadly ineffectual.  I was going to put in a picture but it just looks sad.

Next, and here’s the key, mix in

1/4-1/2 cup of sour cream (I use yogurt)

1 egg

whatever else you want to throw in there

I added about 1/4 cup of OJ, squeezing in those oranges I zested and adding some breakfast goodness.  This is also a good time for dried cranberries or chocolate chips or walnuts.

Hey, leggo my egg yo-gurt! And mix in there.

Don’t mix it too much, just mix so everything is sticking together.  Then plop thoat sucker down on a silpat on a baking sheet, split it into two balls and pat ’em down, and use your buttered knife to score them into quarters or sixths or eighths.  I got to about this point when I remembered my chocolate chips because I’m a doofus, and so I just smashed a handful of them down into one of my lumps.

Wheel of fortune! Every spin is a good one.

So, once you’ve got your sixths or eighths or quarters, sprinkle them with some granulated sugar and toss the cookie sheet into a 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Then you can cut along your score marks and get cute little scones.

Nothin left, nothin left for me to do. You’re the scone that I want! Ooh ooh ooh honey!

4 Dec

Last week I had a few friends over for a potluck and games night, and one guy brought this CRACK SHORTBREAD. It is the easiest recipe ever and it’s SOOOOO GOOD. I’ve never made shortbread before, and when he told me his recipe I memorized it and made it this night!

I’ve mentioned before how I’m not the best measurer, and I just guessed looking at a block of butter if it was a cup (two sticks).  This is pretty much the easiest recipe ever and only takes  four ingredients.

All for one and one flour all! The four musketeers of shortbread

Mix:

2 c flour

1/2 c sugar

1 c butter (2 sticks)

1/2 tsp salt

Pat or roll out to about half an inch thick.  I used a silpat; love these!

Bake at 300 for half an hour or so.

Patty cake patty cake, baker’s rectangle

A pizza cutter is THE way to cut shortbread.  So easy!

Pizza pizza! Oh whoops I meant shortbread shortbread! I don’t think the Little Caesar’s guy would be disappointed with this

For extra decadence, melt some chocolate chips (I wish I’d used a deeper bowl to get more chocolate on the ends) and dip your cookies in the melted chocolate and then some chopped walnuts.  Yum!

Jack Sprat would probably die a hundred times over from one of these

Now please excuse me while my roommates and I stuff our faces.  Beware, this stuff is ADDICTING.