Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Nothing screams Thanksgiving to me like pumpkin pie. Sure there’s turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes, but what really gets me jazzed is the pie.

Baked Pie Full.jpg

There’s something about the flavor of pumpkin that sings holiday. Growing up, a staple at our Thanksgiving dinner was homemade pumpkin pie. My grandparents would make 8-10 pies accompanied with a fresh bowl of whipped cream. The best part about the pie was that there was almost always left overs. The tasty remains served as the perfect late night snack or breakfast the following morning.

Now that I’ve moved out of state, I’ve taken on baking the pumpkin pie as my personal tradition. This year I even ventured down the road of making homemade pumpkin puree for the filling; it was so much easier than I thought!

Placing Crust.jpg

The recipe below will satisfy your sweet tooth without overwhelming your taste buds. The pumpkin flavor isn’t too bold and pairs perfectly with the flaky, buttery crust.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 1 cup ice water

Filling

  • 1 sugar pumpkin (1 1/2 cups will be used)
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs

Whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Crust

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut chilled butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture.
  2. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or knife and fork. Once finished, the mixture should be crumbly and butter should be pea sized. You can also complete this step by pulsing the mixture several times in a food processor.
  3. Next, add ½ cup of the ice water and mix. Continue adding ice water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together. I like to start by mixing the dough with a wooden spoon and then switch to using my hands.
  4. Gather the mixture into a ball and divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (ideally two!). You can also prepare the dough ahead of time; it will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Pie Dough Rolled.jpg

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash, de-stem, and cut the pumpkin in half. After cutting in half, remove seeds and inner gooey flesh. For a tasty snack, keep the seeds and toast separately.
  3. Oil the outside of the pumpkin and place cut-side down on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool; once cooled, remove the skin and place pumpkin flesh into a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  6. Transfer pumpkin puree to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients: salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, brown sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and evaporated milk. Whisk until well combined.

DeSeeding Pumpkin.jpg

Pumpkin to Puree.jpg

Pie Assembly

  1. Set oven temperature to 375 degrees; roll one disk of the chilled pie dough until it forms a 14-inch round circle. Transfer dough to pie pan; trim and fold edges so that it is flush with the plan.
  2. Cover the center of the pie pan with parchment paper or foil (covering the crust) and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake shell for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove weights and parchment paper/foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes; remove the pie from the oven.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer pie filling to the pre-baked pie crust and place in oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the center is set (should spring back when touched).

Pie Dough Dish.jpg

Pie Mixture.jpg

Pie2.jpg

Advertisements

Twinkie Bundt Cake

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any baking.

Honestly, it’s been awhile since I’ve done anything other than wedding planning… and marry the love of my life. With the excitement and joy of the wedding day come and gone, I’m slowly rediscovering this thing called free time. As I unravel the day-to-day and embark on Mission Free Time, baking is at the top of my list.

FullSizeRender (8).jpg

Having seen this Twinkie Bundt cake on Instagram, I knew this could be the recipe to snap me out of my baking coma. After seeing the post, I couldn’t stop talking about it. A Twinkie Bundt cake?? It sounded so wrong that it could only be right.

Thinking of twinkies conjured up memories from childhood: a red vinyl lunchbox safe guarding a PB&J sandwich, apple slices, and the prized Hostess snack… a twinkie. A guilty pleasure that, at the time, we didn’t know we needed to feel guilty about. Even still, I say leave the guilt at the door, tie on your apron and get ready to impress your friends and families with this buttery delightful recreation of your favorite childhood snack.

FullSizeRender (10).jpg

The outer edges of the bundt glisten with a perfect golden brown hue while the soft yellow inside is offset by the shiny white marshmallow filling. As your fork dives in for a bite, you’ll notice the moist and spongy nature of the cake. A few crumbs may escape, but overall the slices maintain their form. The decadent buttery flavor will pique your tastebuds and leave you wanting more. The marshmallow filling adds another level of sweetness without being too overwhelming.

If you attempt making this cake (as you should!), I have three parting suggestions:

  1. Be generous: as you cut out the circles for the marshmallow filling, be careful not to break through the top of the cake but also be sure to remove enough of the cake so the marshmallow fills the slice. I wasn’t as generous with my scooping as a could have been which leads me to suggestions number two.
  2. Save the extra: if you find yourself with extra filling, save it! Serve each slice of cake with an extra dollop of mallow. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
  3. Top it off: for an extra flavor boost, try adding fresh strawberries or blueberries to each slice.

For the complete recipe, head on over to Smitten Kitchen.

IMG_6132.JPG

FullSizeRender (9).jpg

 

Strawberry Semifreddo

I almost always have ice cream on my mind. If it’s cold out, ice cream. If it’s stormy out, ice cream. Hot out, definitely ice cream. There’s something about the rich, smooth texture of ice cream that is refreshing no matter what the temperature is. Luckily, though, it’s summer and there’s no need to justify craving a cool treat. As the heat has been ramping up, I’ve even been considering investing in an ice cream maker. A dangerous purchase? Probably. But how could I resist being able to make frozen treats any time I want…. and in any flavor I want!?

*Spoiler alert* My will power sometimes surprises me and is stronger than I let on…

I didn’t buy the ice cream machine.

BUT, I do have an amazing semifreddo recipe to share with you.

FullSizeRender (1)

Semifreddo is an Italian world that translates to half cold and, unlike ice cream, is made with whipped cream; ice cream, on the other hand, comes together by churning air into the base mixture. I like to think of semifreddo as the dessert love child of ice cream, frozen yogurt, and mousse. It’s light, fluffy, smooth, and glides down your tongue. This particular recipe is layered with juicy strawberries that provide texture and sweetness. I wasn’t able to track down sesame seeds for the topping, so I opted to leave them off. If you don’t any have luck either, you could also substitute toasted almonds or pistachios or sprinkles!

For the full recipe and step by step instructions, venture over to Bon Appetit.

Blackberry Almond Cake

Summer is in the air, like 90 degrees in the air. I’d like to tell you this post is about me trying out creative recipes that don’t require baking in an oven. But, alas, I’m a sucker for freshly baked goodies. . . even in the hottest of summer months. . . in an apartment with no A/C. So with windows open, the whispers of a breeze flowing in, and the steady whir of fans in the background, I set out to bake this Blackberry Almond Cake.

FullSizeRender

I love this recipe for a couple of reasons:

  1. Incredibly approachable ingredients. This moist cake only calls for eleven items; the majority of which are are probably already in your kitchen.
  2. Prep time is a breeze. There’s no waiting, sifting, or rising involved with this cake; simply mix the ingredients, pour into a pan, and then pop it into the oven. What’s not to love about that?
  3. Berries. Berries. Berries. This cake will be amazing with any berry of your choosing; I opted for blackberries like the original recipe called for, but you can easily adjust depending on what’s in season or your personal preference. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, a berry medley …. need I go on?

The sweetness of this cake is subtle, which makes it perfect for breakfast (or really any time of day). The flavor ride starts with the spongy, moist cake slowly melting in your mouth and continues on to bursts of fresh, juicy berries, and gems of crystallized sugar. Finally, there’s the crunch of perfectly toasted almonds that adorn the top. My mouth is already watering…

For the complete recipe, head over to Seasons & Suppers.

Basic Sugar Cookies

I don’t know how Santa Claus did it. Somehow, in the midst of delivering all those presents, he’s managed to get the rep of needing a plate of cookies when he arrives at your house. Whether it started with parents and their sweet tooths or an older tradition, the idea of leaving cookies and milk out for good ol’ Kris Kringle has stuck. I’m not mad about it. That’s actually one of the traditions I love. However, you may be wondering why I’m talking about Santa in April. Well, with Easter upon us it has me thinking…. what about the Easter Bunny?

He’s big. He’s fluffy. He gives out Easter baskets. Wouldn’t he like some cookies too?

Better believe it.

So, Easter Bunny, this post is for you.

IMG_3106

This basic sugar cookie recipe is great for any occasion. The dough calls for less than 10 ingredients and can be made up to 3 days in advance. Just remember, it does need to chill for at least 1 hour!

I love these cookies because they aren’t overly sweet but still provide satisfaction to a sugar craving; I could eat them in the morning with coffee or after dinner for dessert, but then again, that’s how I like to enjoy most sweets.

The royal icing is also relatively simple and only requires 3 ingredients. When making the icing, you will want to prepare piping frosting as well as flooding frosting; the main difference between the two is their thickness. The piping frosting should be used first to line the edges of the cookie and is what will prevent the flooding icing from running off the sides; the piping frosting is also used to add designs to the cookies. The flooding icing, as the name suggests, is more fluid and can be used to add the base color to the sugar cookie. If you’re confused and want to dive more into icing, Sweet Sugarbelle does a great job detailing the process.

Now that you know the basics, let your creativity abound. Happy frosting, friends!

Recipe links:
Sugar Cookie Dough (Thanks Real Simple!)
Royal Icing (I used the egg white version, thanks Joy of Baking!)

Double Crumb Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Dear Mr. Coffee Cake.

Oh, coffee cake. I’m not sure how we got off on the wrong foot. But somehow, we just don’t seem to see eye to eye. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with you. In fact, you’re sweet, comforting, and pack a welcome punch of cinnamon flavor. You even have multiple textures, which I adore. But somehow, you never quite make it to the top of my “I want to bake you” list. You always seem to be overlooked and quickly pushed aside when other flashier desserts come along.

coffeecake_editMy roommate, though, she never underestimates you. I often ask her what she thinks I should bake, and she always brings you up. I told her for weeks that I would bake you, but every time I had the baking itch (which we know is often), you never made the cut. Finally, enough was enough. I couldn’t put it off any longer. You and I needed to try and reconcile our differences.

And so, I searched and searched, and finally settled on this Double Crumb Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake recipe (because who only wants to settle for a single crumb coffee cake? Not me). And, I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. You had so much dimension: ribbons of cinnamon, layers of brown sugar, moist cake, hints of nuttiness, and a sweet gooey vanilla glaze.

Coffee cake, I have to apologize for before. From now on, you’re alright in my book.

All-the-Berries-Berry Pie

Some days just call for pie. They really do.

The morning was slightly overcast, and Mother Nature was starting to hint that fall is coming. So naturally with the grey clouds and cooler temperatures, I woke up craving pie. What, that’s never happened to you? Well, morning pie cravings happen to me more than I’d like to admit, but rarely do I give in to them. This time, however, I couldn’t resist. It was just one of those days that called for pie. I wanted the comfort of flaky crust, sweet berries, and fluffy whipped cream paired with a warm cup of coffee while I curled up in my reading chair. Now you see where I’m going with this. Sounds pretty good, right? I know. That’s why I made pie.

IMG_1580

You may have heard of berry pie or even a triple berry pie, but get ready, this pie has ALL the berries in it. Okay, not literally all of them, but it does have four different types: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. It’s like one big berry dance party in your mouth.

And for the crust, oh man, this recipe delivers 100% flaky, buttery, golden goodness. I’m a pretty harsh critic when it comes to crust, but will definitely bookmark this to use for future pie endeavors.

Finally, top your pie with homemade whipped cream and voila, pie perfection. Enjoy!Pie_good

Pie Crust
2 and ½ cups all purpose flour
1 and ¼ teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
¾ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
½ – ⅔ cups ice water
1 egg, beaten (for brushing the crust)

Berry Filling
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 cups strawberries, halved (fresh or frozen)
2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen, I used frozen blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Directions
Begin by preparing your pie dough at least 1 hour before you plan on baking your pie; the dough needs time to chill. You can find step by step instructions here at Sally’s Baking Addiction.

After the dough has chilled for nearly an hour, you can prepare the filling. To make the berry filling, first mix sugar and cornstarch together in a medium bowl; set aside 1 tablespoon of this mixture (it will later be sprinkled on the pie dough). Next, add in berries and cinnamon then stir until well combined. Let the berry mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.

While the berry mixture rests, preheat the oven to 375ºF and then roll out your pie dough. Remove one of the dough disks from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to form a 12-inch circle (mine was a little closer to 14-inches; just make sure the rolled dough will cover the bottom and sides of the pan. You will want a little bit of excess hanging over the sides which will be helpful when connecting the lattice pieces). To easily transfer the dough to the bottom of the pie pan, roll the dough around the rolling pin and then unroll into the pie pan. Once transferred, gently press the dough into the corners of the pan. Next sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch and sugar on top of the rolled out dough; this will help prevent the bottom of the pie from becoming soggy. Next pour berry filling into pie pan. Finish your pie by rolling out the second dough disk into a 12-14 inch circle and then cut into 1 inch strips to be used as the lattice. For further detailed instructions on preparing your lattice top, you can check out this overview.

Once you’ve finished your lattice, brush the dough with egg and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes until edges are golden brown, then cover edges with foil and continue baking for an additional 20-30 minutes until the center is bubbly and has thickened.

To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream to a chilled mixing bowl. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks are about to form then add in sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form; be careful not to over-whip or the cream will become too thick and lumpy.