Jamocha Silk Pie

Jamocha Silk Pie

Jamocha Silk Pie

This pie is so incredibly good it’s hard to know where to begin describing it.  There are many layers of flavor that all come together to produce a uniquely rich flavor profile and texture, and one slice is totally satisfying.

It is very easy to make, and only takes about 10 minutes to assemble.   It starts with a tofu base to which cocoa, coffee, melted chocolate, coconut flakes and almond milk are added  Then it all gets poured into a crumb crust. A short time in the freezer to firm up and you are ready to cut and enjoy this creation.

If you love chocolate you will love this pie!!

If you love chocolate you will love this pie!!

The pie’s texture comes from the addition of unsweetened coconut flakes to the other ingredients in the blender, but it does not get blended completely smooth.  Then chopped pecans get stirred in at the end.  So what you get is the smooth, dark richness of chocolate, a rough texture and flavor from coconut and a bit of chew from the pecans.  An interesting mix that somehow works.  All of us at my house devoured this pie at one sitting.  No one even guessed it contained tofu, and although I haven’t tried it,  I believe you could get the same great results using an equal amount of cream cheese in its place.

JAMOCHA SILK PIE

Yield:   8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 12.3 oz. silken tofu  (one package)

    Assemble all the ingredients.

    Assemble all the ingredients.

  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. almond milk (add a little more if your blender needs extra liquid to get going)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brewed strong coffee
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp. brewed coffee
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1 graham cracker or chocolate crumb crust
  • whipped topping, optional

To Make:

1.  In a blender container, combine tofu, cocoa powder, almond milk, vanilla, coffee, and flaked coconut.  That’s not a mistake, the coconut makes the texture awesome when it all gets blended in.  Blend until smooth.

2.  In a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and a tablespoon of brewed coffee.  Melt and stir until smooth.  Let cool down a bit and add to the blender mixture.  Then add agave nectar to desired sweetness and the pinch salt.  Taste and adjust to desired sweetness and consistency.  The pie is intended to be rich and bittersweet.

3.  Pour into a bowl, and manually stir in the pecans.   Pour into the crumb crust.

Pour the chocolate filling into a crumb crust.

Pour the chocolate filling into a crumb crust.

Cover and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up. Or place in refrigerator if serving at a later time.

Chilled pie ready to be cut and served.

Chilled pie ready to be cut and served.

4.  Once the pie has reached desired firmness, cut into 8 equal serving pieces and crown with whipped topping of choice.

Deeee--lish!

Deeee–lish!

This pie will keep well for a week when covered and stored in the fridge.

SOURCE:   VegKitchen with Nava Atlas

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Peach Crostata

Fresh Peach Crostata.

Fresh Peach Crostata.

August is National Peach Month, and in its honor I have for you a quickie receipt that takes advantage of luscious, sweet smelling and sweet tasting peaches.

A crostata, or a galette as some folks call it, is a one-crust pastry that wraps itself not-quite over a fruit filling.  I love making this type of pastry because it is so quick.  With only one crust, there are fewer calories, fat and carbohydrates, and you get lots of crispy edges of flaky pastry in every bite.  With a package of refrigerated pie dough on hand and almost any kind of fruit, you can make one of these easy desserts in no time flat.  Stone fruits work well in the summer and apples and pears take their place in the fall.  A great recipe to keep in your go-to box when you want a fast dessert.

A dab of whipped topping is all it needs.

A dab of whipped topping is all it needs.

FRESH PEACH CROSTATA

Serves 4 – 6 people

Ingredients:

Mix together, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger and salt.

Mix together, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger and salt.

  • 4  medium-large peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Lightly spray a baking sheet or pie pan.

2.  Unroll pie crust on baking sheet,  or in pie pan (letting edges extend over the sides.)

3.  In a large bowl, toss peaches, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger and salt.  Arrange this mixture on crust, leaving a 2 inch border,  or in pie pan.  Fold border over filling.

Fold edges of pastry up over fruit filling.

Fold edges of pastry up over fruit filling.

Brush edges with milk or cream and sprinkle on sugar.

Brush edges with milk or cream and sprinkle on sugar.

4.  Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until crust is golden.

Fresh Peach Crostata.

Fresh Peach Crostata.

Perfect with a dab of whipped topping.

Perfect with a dab of whipped topping.

SOURCE:   Ali M. private catering

Keeping it Cool!

Creamy Watermelon Pie

Creamy Watermelon Pie

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

The heat wave in the East continues.  This is day #7, with at least one more day of it before some promised cooler weather makes its way here sometime over the weekend.  The electric company is asking us to limit power usage during peak times, so I’m not using the stove or oven, and it’s too darn hot to stand outside over the grill cooking.  What’s my solution to preparing meals?

Well, since the refrigerator can’t be turned off, I am making use of it to the max and we are eating cold foods.  Today, I went to the super market early in the morning to get some necessary items for my menu.  You know, I actually Shivered while shopping in the frozen foods isle.  Yikes, almost didn’t recognize what was happening!   When I got home I did a little preliminary cooking (morning is not peak time for power usage.), so that I could put together a cold salad plate for dinner.  It turned into a Salad Niçoise, but I’ll save that for another day.

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Two foods that always suggest coolness to me are watermelon and cucumbers.  Having purchased some of each of those foods, I was  led  to create a salad combining both of them.  Chilled watermelon and chunks of cucumber tossed with feta cheese, fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic dressing.  I love that salty-sweet-tangy thing going on.  It is guaranteed to keep you cool as a cucumber when the temperature outside will have you melting.  I could be happy eating just this for lunch;  it is so refreshing and cool.

The second item I made using watermelon was Creamy Watermelon Pie.  A pie so refreshing that it never lasts long on a hot summer day.  Using just a few convenience foods, you can make it in a flash, then sit back and wait for it to thicken.  Dee-lightful!

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CHILLED WATERMELON, CUCUMBER AND FETA SALAD

Yield:   Servings,  4IMG_4632

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chilled seedless watermelon, diced large
  • 1 medium chilled seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh mint – or basil- thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette

In a large bowl, place the watermelon and cucumbers.  Top with feta and mint or basil.   When ready to serve, drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette, and toss to combine.

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SOURCE:   adapted from  Skinny Taste.com

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CREAMY WATERMELON PIE

Yield:  6 – 8 servings

Ingredients:IMG_4608

  • 1 package  (3 ounces) watermelon flavor gelatin  (I used Jolly Rancher Brand)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 1  ( 9-inch) graham cracker (or other) pie crust.  (I always use Shortbread Cookie Crust)

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile cut up watermelon into small cubes. Whisk the whipped topping into the gelatin; then fold in the watermelon.  Spoon into the crust.  Refrigerate for 2 hours until set.  Yield 6 – 8 servings

Pour filling into crust and chill for at least two hours.

Pour filling into crust and chill for at least two hours.

Such a pretty pink.

Such a pretty pink.

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SOURCE:   Taste of Home

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

This may seem like an odd name for a recipe, but it comes from Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral:  A Year of Food Life.  In it she describes a winter of  relying on root vegetables and home-grown  canned goods, so the first green shoots to emerge from the earth in the spring were pounced upon by her family.  The minerals contained in these new shoots were believed to provide renewed vigor and energy for bodies tired of being cooped up all winter.

This recipe uses fresh young asparagus but if you’re in an area where fiddleheads** are available they would be a wonderful replacement for the asparagus.  The quantity of the recipe is designed to fit into a 9″ or 10″ pie pan.  If you’re using a shallower quiche pan  use 3 eggs and cut back the buttermilk to 3/4 cup.

The buttermilk called for in this recipe gives the custard a “tang” that is typical of buttermilk.  If you prefer a more traditional flavored  filling you may use regular milk instead with equally good results.  This quiche cuts and hold its shape vey well especially it you let it rest for about 15 minutes before serving as the recipe suggests.

IMG_4184

SPRING TONIC  (ASPARAGUS ) QUICHE

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Yield:   8 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 single recipe pie dough, or use 1/2 package refrigerator pie dough
  • 2  1/2 cup asparagus spears or fiddleheads, bias sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1  1/2 cup grated cheese ( your choice, but Swiss, Parmesan and/or Asiago are good)
  • 3 to 4 four large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1.  Preheat the oven to 425*F.  Line a 9 or 10-inch pie pan  or 10-inch quiche pan with the pastry.  Chill the lined dish while the oven comes up to temperature.  This will minimize shrinking while it bakes.

2.  Bake the chilled crust for 10 minutes;  remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375*.

3.  For the Filling:  Spread the sliced asparagus over the crust.  Place the tips around the outside edge for a nice effect.  Sprinkle the chives and cheese on top.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Whisk together the eggs, flour, buttermilk, and Worcestershire and pour over the vegetables and cheese.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

4.  Place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the custard is firm 3″ in from the edge and a knife inserted in that spot comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Out of the oven and cooling.

Out of the oven and cooling.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

**A note about fiddleheads:  These are the tops of ostrich ferns, and they appear in shady woodland spots in early May.  They look like green, fuzzy bumps;  below the brown stalks of last year’s growth.

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the ...

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the spring (taken in Rindge, New Hampshire). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They emerge tightly curled and covered in a brown, scaly papery covering.  They can easily be snapped off when they are no more than 3 or 4 inches high.  To clean them, wash well and remove the papery covering.  Cook in boiling salted water until you can just pierce them with a fork.  Drain and rinse and treat them as you would asparagus.

SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet, King Arthur Flour.

Cranberry-Pear Pie

Pear Still Life

Today I’d like to speak on behalf of the pear.  I don’t think that pears get the attention they deserve.  The apple, on the other hand, gets all kinds of attention.  It’s as American as well, apple pie!  Eaten out of hand, baked into cakes, pies, squares, covered with caramel on a stick—I could go on and on.  But how about the pear?  Raise your hand if you’ve ever made a pear pie.  Right!  I thought not. So today I want to introduce you to a wonderful treat–a cranberry pear pie with a streusel crumb topping.

Cranberry Pear Pie with Streusel Topping

This is the time of year when pears are plentiful and there are many different kinds of pears.  The ones we are most familiar with are probably the Bartlett, the Anjou, and the Bosc. Each has its own characteristics, but one thing they all have in common is a juicy sweetness when they are ripe.  Most pears are not strong flavored so they pair well with other fruits and seasonings that bring out their flavor, like cranberries, ginger, nutmeg, and orange.  This pie incorporates three out of those four.  It has fresh cranberries, cooked with orange zest and ginger, which is then mixed with the fresh pears, and piled into a flaky pie crust.  Then it’s topped with a streusel that combines oatmeal with brown sugar, orange juice, more ginger and cinnamon.  There’s not much more I can say in praise of this pie except try it and find out how good it is for yourself!

CRANBERRY PEAR PIE WITH STREUSEL TOPPING

Source:   Cooking Light, 2009

Servings:  about 10

FOR THE PIE

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cranberries ( can be fresh or dried)
  • 1 ( 1-inch ) piece peeled fresh ginger cut into thin slices.
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 peeled pears, cored and sliced about 1/4″ thick  (Anjou or Bosc pears work best as they are firm)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • cooking spray

FOR THE STREUSEL

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Position oven rack in the lower third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To Prepare pie:

1.  In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar.  Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil;  add cranberries, ginger slices, and orange rind.  Return to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Remove from heat.  Discard ginger slices.  Cool.

Cook cranberries with sugar and ginger.

2.  Combine lemon juice and sliced pears in a large bowl; toss.  Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Add to pears; toss to coat.  Stir in cranberry mixture.

3.  Fit refrigerated pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan which has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Fold edges under; flute.  Spoon pear mixture into prepared crust.

Pile seasoned pear filling in the pie shell.

To prepare Streusel:

1.  Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave.  Add the orange juice and stir to mix.  Measure flour and add along with oats, and remaining ingredients;  toss.

2.  Sprinkle oat mixture over pear filling.

Sprinkle oatmeal crumb topping on pie filling.

Cover pie loosely with foil, place on a baking sheet.  Bake covered in the lower third of oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour.  Uncover; bake another 15 minutes or until nicely browned.  Cool on a rack 1 hour before serving.

Additional notes:  raisins would be a good addition if cranberries are not available.  Also you could vary the fruit and use apples instead with equally good ( and tasty) results.

A reeeealy good pie!

Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart

Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart

As a hostess gift when I went to visit in North Carolina I brought some apples grown right here in the town where I live.  We who live here are so spoiled by the ease with which we can obtain fresh orchard-grown apples and pears ( at this time of year) as well as other fruits earlier in the season.  Folks who formerly lived here miss that kind of freshness in the fruits they are able to buy in their local grocery stores, and the variety of kinds of apples.  So a gift like the one I brought with me is always welcome.

Coincidentally, my hostess wanted to make a baked gift to give to a friend who had been kind to her and her husband, so together we made this Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart.  Actually we made two;  one to keep and one to give.   We used some of the apples I brought, and some pears that she had on hand, ripe and beautiful.

This is very easy to make, goes together quickly and looks very impressive when completed. It tastes as delicious as it looks.  The recipient of this gift was surprised and delighted to receive it.

RUSTIC AUTUMN FRUIT TART

SERVINGS:   8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 roll packaged refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
  • 2 large apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 pear – peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam, warmed

DIRECTIONS

1.  Unroll the pie dough and lightly roll into a 10 – 11″ circle.  Fit into a 9 ” pie pan, or place flat on slightly greased baking sheet.

Tart can be made in a tart/pie pan or flat on a baking sheet.

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3.  Toss the sliced apples and pear with the orange juice.  Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cornstarch.  Toss the fruit with the sugar-spice mixture.

Toss sliced fruits with orange juice.

4.  Arrange the fruit decoratively in the pastry shell.  If you’re baking it on a baking sheet, leave a 2-inch rim of dough with the fruit arranged in the middle.

5.  Fold the dough up and over the edge of the fruit ( the pastry folds will overlap).

Fold edges of pastry up and over top of fruits, pleating the excess.

6.  Bake the tart in the preheated oven until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Remove the tart from the oven and brush the whole top with the warmed apricot jam.  This creates a beautiful glaze.

Serve warm with a dab of ice cream——Deeelish!

SOURCE:   allrecipes.com

Rustic Plum Tart

A rustic tart, also known as a Galette, is a very easy fruit filled pastry.  Really, just a single crust pie with the outside edges of the pie-crust folded up over the edges of the fruit, leaving the center open.  I like making these for a couple of reasons: they are quicker to make than regular pie,  one crust means less fat and calories,  they are not as apt to go over in the oven and make a mess, and it looks rustic, casual and free-form, so it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect.   Another reason to love it:  it’s satisfying as a dessert, but not too sweet.  In fact it is low in sugar–only what’s in the jam and the little you sprinkle on the crust.

This is a great dessert to serve to guests when you need something rather quickly, and it is impressive; i.e., looks like more work than it is.  You can mix and match your favorite stone fruits, or berries with appropriate jams.  Serve warm with a little ice cream or whipped cream.  YUM!

INGREDIENTS

Serves:   6

  • 1 sheet of refrigerated pie crust from a 14.1-ounce box
  • 1/4 cup jam  (with plums I used plum jam )
  • 1 pound or about 2 cups pitted plums, cut into 1/4″ wedges ( don’t be too fussy here)
  • 1 egg, or 2-3 tablespoons egg beater product
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar (demerera sugar)
  • ice cream or whipped cream for serving

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Unroll pie crust onto the parchment paper.  Spread jam on the crust, leaving a 2 inch clean border around the edges.

3.  Arrange the plums on top of the jam.

4.  Fold the crust’s edges inward, pleating as needed;  leave the center of the tart exposed.  Press the dough lightly to seal.

5.  Whisk the egg with a little water in a small dish,  or use egg beater product;  brush the egg wash on the dough and sprinkle with the sugar.  Bake until the crust is cooked through and golden brown, about 35 minutes.

6.  Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

SOURCE:   Adapted from a recipe by   Sonny Anderson,  The Food Network.

No-Bake Fresh Strawberry Pie

In the area where I live many of the farms are still picking  strawberries, since the days have been very warm and sunny.  I didn’t want to miss out on having some native strawberries, but I also didn’t want to use my oven unless really necessary.  This recipe for a no-bake version of strawberry pie caught my attention for those reasons.  The combination of juicy spring berries piled atop a layer of creamy filling in a chocolate crust.  What’s not to like here?

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ready-made chocolate crumb  9 inch pie crust (such as Oreo)
  • 6 ounces 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed  (I used fat-free)
  • 2 Tablespoons seedless strawberry jam
  • 1 Tablespoon raspberry-flavored liqueur (I use my own homemade liqueur, but Chambord is one you can purchase)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut in half, or pieces

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place pie crust in the freezer to chill while you make the filling.
  2. Place cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl;  beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  3. Fold in whipped topping.  Carefully spread over bottom of crust.
  4. Place strawberry jam in a large microwave safe bowl;  microwave at HIGH 10 seconds or until softened .  Add liqueur and lemon juice;  stir with a whisk until smooth.  Add the berries; toss to coat the berries with the jam mixture.
  5. Arrange berries over the filling.  Chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Cut into wedges;  serves  8
   

SOURCE:   slightly adapted from  Cooking Light Magazine,  May, 2012

How to Make the Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

I always associate lemon meringue pie with Easter, but in the past whenever I  made one, I was always dissatisfied for one reason or another.   Either the filling didn’t set up well, or the meringue was “weepy”, the  crust got soggy, and any leftover pie turned to liquid.  Alas, I gave up and turned to lemon squares instead.

This year was different!  I made a lemon meringue pie that was perfect in every way.  Everyone said so!  How, you ask?   In one of my many food related magazines, I read a tip about how to get a stable meringue that whips up really stiff and doesn’t deflate.   The secret is Marshmallow  Cream added to the egg whites.

Here is the recipe for my version of Lemon Pie with Mile-High Meringue

1  prebaked 9″pie shell,  or graham cracker crust.

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks ( save whites for topping)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup boiling water

Topping

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 jar ( 7 oz) marshmallow cream

In a medium saucepan, slightly whisk the egg yolks.  Whisk in the sugar, cornstarch, salt, pineapple and lemon juices.  Combine thoroughly.  Place on medium heat, stirring gently, but constantly, until mixture comes to a simmer.  Add butter and boiling water;  continue heating, stirring, until thickened and bubbling.  Remove from heat and pour into prepared pie crust.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Whip egg whites in a large grease-free bowl with an electric mixer until white and foamy.  Add marshmallow cream; whip until very fluffy.  Spread onto pie, making sure to touch all edges of crust to seal.  Using a knife or spatula, create  swirls and peaks for a pretty texture.

Bake until lightly browned on top, about 5 minutes.  Allow to cool, then chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Categories: desserts, baked goods, pies and pastry, Carolyn’s Originals