Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pies, Pies and More Pies!

Easter is going to be all about pie, so I'm spending a busy day baking. Join me on my adventures!

I'm baking three pies for Easter. I'm baking a coconut cream pie, a peanut butter-oero chiffon pie, and of course, an Italian Easter Pie (pizza rustica if you must).

First pie of the day is the coconut cream as it's the most time-consuming. The recipe comes from Elaine Corn's book Gooey Desserts, the best dessert cookbook ever. I believe it's out of print though.

I started with the crust. It's a nice buttery crust that came together for me nicely. It rolled out for me well enough.

The problem is it completely fell apart when I put it in the plate. I've been known to completely patch together a crust in the plate when it refuses to be cohesive, but this defied even patching. I'm not sure what was wrong. I've made this crust recipe many times. I became frustrated enough to just mush it all back together and re-roll it. I knew this would sacrifice texture, but I just couldn't get it together the way it was. It still wouldn't stay together. I ended up growing really frustrated, scrapping the dough and starting over.

My next round was only slightly more successful. I did something that Corn advises in her book, but no other pastry chef ever says is okay. When I added the water to the dough in the food processor, I pulsed the dough until it formed a ball on its own instead of forming it into a ball myself. I knew this would sacrifice texture too, but at this point, I didn't care. I was making this pie for my family, not judges at the state fair. My delicious coconut filling was supposed to be the star, not the crust.

I pierced that sucker like crazy and weighted it down with every dried starch in my pantry. I was not going to stand for any shrinkage. (Huh huh. I said shrinkage.)

Could be worse. I painted the inside of the crust with melted chocolate to keep the bottom from becoming soggy and to add a little extra treat to the taste.

Filling is the best coconut filling ever. You mix the milk in the custard with coconut milk and rum. Then you fold in whipped cream and grated coconut.

The recipe calls for a meringue topping. In the past I always skipped that and used whipped cream. I'm beginning to realize that's a waste since the custard uses 5 egg yolks. I need to do something with the whites.

You will have to wait for the next blog to see the pie properly topped.

I paused for lunch. I ate Beth's leftover mac and cheese from last night. I decided to enhance it with a few good shakes of sriracha. Thanks to Emily's stint on the Ultimate Recipe Showdown, I really was craving some hot sauce in my mac and cheese.

On to the next pie. Get started on the Peanut-Butter-Oreo pie. This is a pie of my own devising that adapts a Williams Sonoma chiffon pie recipe to be a bit more fun.

Start with a basic crumb crust of Oreo cookies and butter. So much easier than rolling out pastry dough!

Peanut butter is mixed with milk,sugar, and eggs and simmered into a custard. Then came some softened gelatin.

Duckie, this one's for you.

I whipped cream and egg whites and then folded into the peanut-butter Jello. Then pieces of cookie that I had been keeping firm in the freezer were folded in. Garnish the top with whole cookies and you're good to go.

Our last pie is the Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Rustica if you must). This is the recipe my BFF rescued for me a couple of years ago.

I cut up three kinds of meat.

The meat is tossed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and eggs. The original recipe doesn't call for parmesan, but I added it instead of salt. I like the pop of flavor it gives.

The bread-like crust seals the whole thing in. I use an old-fashioned Corning Ware dish like the kind every family has tucked away somewhere.

More on the pies after Easter.


Elaine said...

Thank you for the nice mention and for using my book! I still make pies out of it, follow my own recipes. I have no idea why the crust fell apart on its journey into the pie plate -- but it sounds like it might have been too dry, in need of a bit more water. If you roll the crust up on the pin and then unroll it into the pie plate, it helps most times to hold it all together.

Dee said...

Happy Easter! Your pies sounded so good. I especially like the chocolate coating on the coconut cream pie. What a delicious way to prevent soggy pies. I'm making a note of that!

Sue said...

THREE pies?!!! And it's not even Thanksgiving! Wow!

You didn't mention anything about chilling the dough. Could that have been the problem? I NEVER chill the dough first. I roll it out between plastic and THEN chill it. But if this is such a hard dough to work with, maybe a quick 10 minutes in the fridge before rolling isn't a bad idea.

That last pie, the meat one, sounds amazing. I can't wait to see what it looks like all baked.

The Blonde Duck said...

Peanut butter pie with peanut butter still my heart!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Elaine - I'm honored to have you visit my profile. Gooey Desserts have been my favorite dessert cookbook since I received it as a gift some 15 or so years ago. Over the years this is the coconut cream pie recipe I always come back to. I don't know exactly what went wrong with my first attempt at the crust. It worked fine in the past. I found that my second attempt came out delicious (even if it wasn't pretty). It was buttery and the perfect texture.

Dee - The chocolate on the bottom of the pie really is perfect. It helps makes the slices easier to remove too.

Sue - I did chill it for a half hour. I chilled the second attempt and had better luck. I really don't know what the deal was with the first crust. I think piecrusts are just temperamental things!

Duckie - I knew you would appreciate the peanut butter pie. I was thinking of you the whole time I was making it!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm still craving your PB pie two days later, just so you know.

Emily said...

I don't know which one is my favorite... they all sound so good!

I think I would pick the coconut as my favorite. I lovvve that you used rum! Mmmm. Nice work.

The Blonde Duck said...

Come on down to Texas. We'll have Mexican food and pie.