Cookies & Cream Chiffon Pie

A little bit fussy, Pie
I got out the good china for this pie – it’s a light chocolate-flecked vanilla mousse in a chocolate cookie crumb crust. It’s the devil’s food because it is so light and tasty you can end up eating the whole dang thing if you’re not careful.

  • 9″ chocolate cookie crust, baked and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelain
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate pailletés, or shaved chocolate

Combine gelatin, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Add egg yolks and milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the gelatin dissolves and the mixtures thickens slightly, just enough to coat a spoon. Chill to room temperature.

Beat heavy cream with vanilla and rum extracts until thick. Fold gently into the custard mixture.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites and chocolate pailletés into the custard and cream mixture gently until thoroughly combined.

Pour into prepared chocolate crust and chill until set, at least 4 hours.

Peach Pie

A little bit fussy, Pie
Nothing tastes like summer more than peach pie. I did a cost-benefit analysis to determine if turning the oven on when it’s 99°F outside is worth the pie, and the pie won.

Double Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter (115g), cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup lard (70g), cup into pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Peach Filling:

  • 5 cups sliced fresh peaches
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • cinnamon sugar for top ( 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, stirred to combine)

Combine flour, salt and sugar in food processor. Add butter and lard and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than peas. Add ice water and pulse until dough just comes together, about 5 times.

Divide dough in half. Form each half into a disc. Roll out each disc between two pieces of wax paper, peeling the paper and flipping the crust over to make rolling easier and uniform.

Line pie plate with bottom crust. Keep top crust between two pieces of wax paper and refrigerate both until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Dip peaches in boiling water for a few seconds. Peel and slice into bite-sized pieces. Combine peaches with sugars, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice and almond extract.

Pour peaches into prepared pie crust. Top with second crust (either in a lattice pattern or leave plain) and crimp edges. Cut slits in top crust if not using a lattice top.

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 450°F for 20 minutes. Place foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch drips and reduce heat to 350°F. Bake for 45 minutes more until the filling is bubbling in the center of the pie. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Grasshopper Pie

A little bit fussy, Pie
Happy Pi Day! No one could talk me out of making this grasshopper pie – it’s light and tasty and goes down easy. Which is a good thing since I’ll have to make this about 20 more times now that I have this entire bottle of creme de menthe.

Chocolate Cookie Crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (chocolate graham crackers, nabisco wafers, etc)
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter

Grasshopper Filling:

  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup creme de menthe
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Sweetened Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 TBSP sugar

Chocolate Ganache Drizzle:

  • 75g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Make Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine chocolate cookie crumbs and melted butter. Pat into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie shell.

Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to Cool.

Make Filling: Whisk together sugar, gelatin and creme de menthe in a small saucepan. Whisk in egg yolks. Whisk over medium heat until thickened – about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat just before the mixture starts to boil (bubbles around the sides of the pan are fine). Transfer to a bowl and let come to room temperature – stirring occasionally.

Beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until firm peaks. Set aside.

Whip heavy cream in another bowl. Combine cooled creme de menthe mixture with the whipped cream – folding until smooth.

Gently fold egg whites into the creme de menthe/whipped cream mixture until combined. Pour into cooled chocolate crust. You may have filling leftover. Chill.

Make Sweetened Whipped Cream: Beat cream and sugar together until stiff. Top the pie with whipped cream – by piping or spreading. Chill.

Make Ganache Drizzle: Heat heavy cream in a small liquid measuring cup in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Add chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Drizzle over the chilled pie. Chill until ready to serve.

Butterfinger Candy

A little bit fussy, Candy
I’m not sure it’s a good thing to know how to make butterfingers. I made them for Valentine’s Day and I am already thinking about when I can have an excuse to make them again.

  • 1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 TBSP butter

Special equipment:

  • candy thermometer
  • silicon molds

Preheat oven to 200°F. Stir peanut butter and salt together in a large, heatproof bowl. Place bowl in preheated oven to keep warm.

Combine vanilla and baking soda in a small bowl and keep handy next to the stove.

Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once sugar has dissolved, attach a candy thermometer and cook until the syrup reaches 285°F.

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla – the mixture will foam.

Carefully take peanut butter out of oven and fold in foaming syrup – fold together until the mixture is somewhat combined but there are still streaks of peanut butter throughout. The mixture will become quite stiff.

Working quickly while the mixture is still warm, divide among your silicon molds. Any molds will work, but I like these to be about 3/4″ to 1″ thick, so I don’t fill my molds all the way to the top. Any extra can be molded on parchment paper. The cooled bars don’t cut well, but you can break them up into shards which are just as tasty.

Let the butterfingers cool and harden for a couple hours or overnight. Remove from molds and dip in chocolate. Crispity crunchity.

Fruitcake Cookies

A little bit fussy, Cookies
These are actually a little more like Stollen cookies – almond flavored dough studded with fruit and toasted pecans. The texture is soft and chewy and total perfection in my book.

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit (apricots, figs, raisins, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup candied cherries (morello, maraschino, etc.)
  • 1 cup Brandy or Cognac
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 8 oz. almond paste
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP brandy or cognac
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Chop the dried fruit into small pieces- about the same size as your raisins. Halve the candied cherries. Place in a bowl and cover with Cognac or Brandy. Let sit overnight.

Drain the fruit and reserve 1 TBSP cognac/brandy.

Toast pecans in 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Let cool and chop coarsely.

Cream butter, almond paste and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the tablespoon of brandy/cognac and mix. Scrape bowl and mix well.

Stir together flour, baking powder, cloves and salt. Add to the butter and mix until combined, scraping bowl if necessary. Add fruit and pecans and mix well.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 15″ log and roll up in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice the dough into 1/2″ slices using a sharp knife. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2″ apart. Alternately, to get a more uniform cookie – you can do what Dorie Greenspan does and bake each round in the cup of a muffin tin.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until starting to brown around the edges.