January Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe #piealong

Welcome to Paige Lorrabeth’s Pie of the Month Club Bake-Along! We’ll be baking our first pie on Sunday January 26th at 2:00pm, so mark your calendars with #piealong and be ready to bake right along with us, via twitter and instagram of course! Here’s the recipe, as promised so you’ll have time to get your ingredients and supplies together.

Chocolate Cream Pie:

16 Oreo cookies, broken into rough pieces (must be single stuffed, glutino brand do not fit the bill – I’ve tried)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Gluten-free folks, I’m going to be experimenting on this one. I’m going to make my own chocolate cookie, and go from there. If you want to play along – or have some other grand plan, let me know in the comments and we’ll figure this out together. I’m bound and determined to make it work!

2  1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
6 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1  1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Crust:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Process the cookies in a food processor until coarsely ground, about 15 pulses, then continue to process to fine, even crumbs about 15 seconds longer. Sprinkle the butter over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate.
Sprinkle the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs into an even layer on the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake until the crust is fragrant and looks set, 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the Filling:
Bring the half and half, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
As the half and half mixture begins to simmer, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining sugar together in a medium bowl until smooth. Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the simmering half and half mixture into the yolk mixture to temper, then slowly whisk the tempered yolks back into the simmering saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously until the mixture is thickened and a few bubbles burst on the surface, about 30 seconds.
Off the heat, whisk in the butter and chocolates until completely smooth and melted. Stir in the vanilla. our the warm filling into the baked and cooled pie crust. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and refrigerate the pie until the filling is chilled and set, about 4 hours.

For the Topping:
Before serving, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla together with an electric mixer on medim low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue to whip until the cream forms soft peaks, 1 to 3 minutes. Spread the whipped cream attractively over the top of the pie.

The framework for this recipe comes from: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Paige Lorrabeth’s Pie of the Month Club

pieAs I mentioned yesterday, it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions to bake a different pie each month in 2014.  Below you’ll find a tentative list of each month’s pie.  Each month I will post the recipe in advance along with the date that I will be making the pie. This way, you can play too! If you’d like to bake along with me, just hop on to twitter and live tweet your baking experience too!  We’ll use the hashtag: #piealong since it’s a pie bake-along of sorts. If you’re having trouble with your pie or want to show it off we’ll all be there to help, or ooh and ah, or both! Follow @lorrabethblog on twitter right now so you don’t miss any pie-related details, and stay tuned on the blog for January’s date and recipe!
PS: I’ll be making all of my pies gluten free, but it will be easy to make them glutenous too so don’t hold back because of that!
PPS: It will be my first time making some of these pies too, so don’t be intimidated – we’re all in the same boat … or pie pan, oh you know what I mean.

The 12 Pies:

January: Chocolate Cream Pie

February: Cherry Pie

March: Lemon Chess Pie

April: Fresh Strawberry Pie

May: Key Lime Pie

June: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

July: Fresh Berry Tart

August: Blackberry Pie

September: Apple Pie

October: Coconut Cream Pie

November: Pumpkin Pie

December: Mini Mincemeat Pies

peanut butter cheesecake with brownie crust and sour cream topping

cakeBrooke requested this for her birthday and it turned out amazing. The recipe was from a recent issue of southern living and was surprisingly simple to make for something that seems so complicated. The brownie crust was easy to make with gluten free flour and might be a new staple in our repertoire of crusts. A regular cheesecake, or a chocolate pie with this crust would be super yummy too.

It’s a basic brownie recipe. The bottom is par-baked, and the sides are not. They are carefully spooned onto the edges of the pan, the filling goes in, and it’s baked.

Clearly I need to work on my chocolate shaving/curling skills. But the whole thing turned out perfectly otherwise! Sorry for not including a recipe, but I altered it so minimally that it didn’t seem cool to share. Again, check southern living if you’re dying for it.

the evolution of a pumpkin


pumpkinIt’s a little hard to have an appetite for pumpkin when it seems like pumpkin flavored everything exploded into every store ever, but a classic pumpkin pie is an essential holiday dish. Brooke and I get our pumpkins from a local pumpkin patch that offers an endless number of varieties of pumpkins and gourds.

We pick our pumpkins up around late October and save one from an early demise as a jack-o-lantern. That pumpkin sits unpunctured in the kitchen until mid-october when I finally find the time to chop it, gut it, and bake it. Once it’s baked (tender to a fork) I chunk it up into smaller bits and throw it in the blender. And that’s it. Pureed. Then, on Thanksgiving, it gets pie-ified.

So much more delicious than some gross can of pre-mixed pie mush. And SO much more vibrant. With a bit of dad’s perfectly home made whipped cream, I could eat the whole pie!

What goes into your holiday desserts? Are you a pumpkin person or a pecan person? I lean toward the pumpkin side of things, obviously.

Hawaiian Brians: Resturaunt Review


hawaiiThe “Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken” with Pineapple Coleslaw substituted for Macaroni Salad.
hawaiiThe “Kalua Pig”.

I rate this local joint as mediocre. The environment is a little lacking, but I don’t go to restaurants for the scenery! The food is so juicy and tender that it almost reminds me of Grandma’s house (except for that she can’t cook Hawaiian style food). The Kalua Pig dish featured some of the best roasted pork I have ever eaten! The pork was just melt in your mouth tender. The Shoyu Chicken dish is composed of boneless chicken thighs slow braised in the secret Shoyu sauce (which I’m pretty sure is a blend of soy sauce, pineapple juice, and something else I can’t put my finger on); this gave the chicken a tender flavorful finish. While the meats on each of these plates were extraordinarily good, the side dishes were bland. I would suggest doubling up on meat and steamed rice! Even though I didn’t care for the sides, I will definitely venture back to Hawaiian Brian’s soon!

P.S-They serve breakfast as well! If you’re into Spam and eggs, you’ll love it. If not, you should definitely give their lunch a try at least once!

Hawaiian Brian's on Urbanspoon

farmer’s market haul

haulAt the Fayetteville Farmers Market Brooke and I picked up: green beans, some super flavorful little onions in red and white, super cool and meaty varieties of sweet bell peppers, and delicious little baby potatoes. Then, my amazing friend brought us a gigantic bag of perfectly ripe blackberries. We are loving the summer market.

What’s great at your market right now? Are you somewhere warm enough to have tomatoes galore? If so we’re jealous!

Like our wood tray? Check out: Sticks and Stones