"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." Julia Child

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

new year, new pie

Growing up, the holidays weren't complete without a french silk pie from Bakers Square. This is my attempt to create a new memory (and tradition) with this from scratch version. The sinful richness of the filling camouflaged the obvious issues with the pie crust's appearance, enticing family to come back for seconds. :)

And, if you're spending the evening in with Ryan Seacrest, this chocolatey goodness will keep your blood sugar up as you watch the ball drop in Times Square.

Spoiler alert: French silk pie contains raw eggs.  

Yield: 1 pie
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 210 minutes to overnight proof, depending on pie crust method

the pie crust
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch slices
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water

the pie filling
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs

1. In your food processor with the blade attached, process the flour, salt, and until combined (about 2 one-second pulses).

2. Add the butter and shortening, processing process until a chunky dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds.

3. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl, 4 to 6 quick pulses.

4. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl, pour in the vodka and use a folding motion with your hand until the dough is lightly tacky and sticks together.

5. Divide dough into two even balls, flatten each into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

6. Remove the one of the dough balls from the fridge and place it between two pieces of parchment paper.

7. Roll into an even circle that’s roughly 2 inches wider than your pie plate.

8. Place the dough disc into your freezer for about 15 minutes.

9. Remove the dough disc from your freezer, slowly peel off one side of the parchment paper, place on top of your lightly greased pie plate, peel off the second piece of parchment paper, and allow to sit atop the pie plate for a minute or two.

10. Shape the pie crust, poke holes into the base, cover parchment paper and line with baking beads (or beans), and place aluminum foil around the edges. 

11. Bake (in an oven preheated to 425 degrees) for 15 minutes, remove the parchment paper and baking beads, place on a cookie sheet, and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

12. Remove from the oven to cool. Definite shrink issues. I'm thinking the culprits were the pie plate and lack of pinching. Lesson learned: Taking shortcuts doesn't pay off. :(

13. Place the unsweetened baking chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl, cooking in high for 45 seconds.

14. In your stand mixer bowl with the whisk attached, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

15. Add in the cooled baking chocolate, vanilla and beat on a medium speed until combined.

16. With your stand mixer speed set on medium speed, over a period of 20 minutes add in the four eggs (that equals one egg every 5 minutes).

 After 5 minutes
 After 10 minutes
 After 15 minutes
After 20 minutes

17. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell and refrigerate for at least two hours (preferably longer).

Original recipes found here and here.

Helpful resource on pie crusts and blind baking found here and here.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

pumpkin roulade with mascarpone buttercream

roulade by any other name would taste as sweet.

Yield: 1 cake
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

the cake
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

the filling
16 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Grease a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan, line it with parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper.

3. In your stand mixer bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt, stirring with the paddle attachment to combine.

4. Add in the eggs and granulated sugar, beating a medium-high speed for 3 minutes until light yellow and thickened.

5. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix on “stir” or 2 until just combined.


6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.

8. While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface dust generously with confectioners’ sugar.

9. When the cake is finished baking, invert (cake side down, parchment side up) it onto the towel.

10. Peel off the parchment paper and with a light touch starting from the short side of the cake, roll the warm cake and the towel together.

11. Place in a wire rack to cool.

12. While the cake is cooling, combine “the filling” ingredients in your stand mixer bowl (or, use a medium bowl and hand mixer).

13. With the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, confectioners' sugar, and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy.

14. Slowly unroll the cake and evenly spread the over the filling.

15. Re-roll the cake and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Original recipe found here.