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Pies

Autumn/Fall is here! Hurray! I think this is my favourite season. Not too hot, not too cold. Amazing colour on the trees and time for the best time for good comfort cooking as the temperature starts to drop.

So in this Thanksgiving period, it’s appropriate to do some pumpkin baking. Instead of making a pumpkin pie, Megan found a recipe for whoopie pies and seeing as I hadn’t made whoopie pies before, then it was a perfect choice.

BUT I accidently doubled the size of the cookies so they turned out to be DOUBLE the size they were meant to be, ARGH. Oh well, they were still delicious.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Cookies

  • 1/2 can(s) (15-oz. solid-pack) pumpkin
  • 1 cup(s) (packed) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup(s) vegetable oil
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 5 1/2 teaspoon(s) ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) (ground) cloves

Filling

  • 1/4 cup(s) vegetable shortening, softened
  • 1 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg whites

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with vegetable shortening. In large bowl, beat together pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract with electric mixer until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cloves. Add to pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
  3. Drop batter by tablespoons onto prepared pans. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, beat together all filling ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.Spread 1/2 tsp. filling onto flat side of one cookie and top with another. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.

So I have to be honest, I’m not a huge pastry fan. So when I got a craving for Green & Black’s Chocolate Pecan Pie again, I thought I’d change up the crust. I swapped out the pie crust for a chocolate digestive biscuit base which really complimented the dreamy chocolate -pecan filling.

Also, I have neither the rolling pin or kitchen space to do any pastry justice. Maybe one day I will, but today is just not that day.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

(adapted from Green & Black’s)

For the base:

  • 80g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 60g dark (70-85% cocoa solids) chocolate
  • 225g digestive biscuits

– For the base, melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until completely melted and combined. Crush the biscuits (I use a blender) into fine crumbs and add to the melted mixture.

– Butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm loose-based tin. Put the base in the tin, press it down and let it chill for half an hour in the fridge.

For the filling:

  • 75g dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate, finely chopped
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100g pecans, finely chopped, plus 100g pecan halves, to decorate

– Preheat the oven to 180degreescelcius/gas mark 4.

– Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Cool slightly.

– Put the eggs, sugar, golden syrup, vanilla extract and cooled chocolate mixture in a large bowl and beat together until smooth. Fold in the chopped pecans, then pour into the chilled biscuit base. Decorate the surface with pecan halves.

– Bake for 40-45 minutes until just set.

Serve warm or at room temperature with cream or vanilla ice cream.

If I’m asked to bring  ‘something chocolatey‘  to a dinner then I am more than happy to oblige. This recipe couples a delightful nutty/digestive biscuit base with a silky rich chocolate filling. Perfect with a dollop of whipped cream.

Mississippi Mud Pie

(from Mark’s & Spencer Easy Chocolate)

Serves 12-14

CRUMB CRUST

  • 140g/3oz digestive biscuits
  • 85g/3oz pecan nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 85g/30z butter, melted

FILLING

  • 225g/8oz butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g/6oz plain chocolate, chopped
  • 125ml/4floz golden syrup
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 85g/30z pecan nuts, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 180DegreesCelcius/350DegreesFahrenheit/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a 23-cm/9-inch springform or loose-based cake tin.
  2. To make the crumb crust, put the digestive biscuits, pecan nuts, sugar and cinnamon into a food processor and process until fine crumbs form – do not overprocess to a powder. Add the melted butter and process again until moistened.
  3. Tip the crumb mixture into the prepared cake tin and press over the base and about 4cm/1 and a half inches up the sides of the tin. Cover the tin and chill while you make the filling.
  4. To make the filling, put the butter, chocolate and golden syrup into a saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and blended. Leave to cool, then beat in the eggs and pecan nuts.
  5. Pour the filling into the chilled crumb crust and smooth the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until just set but still soft in the centre. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

 

 

I am a complete sucker for any recipe that has a digestive biscuit/graham cracker crumb base and this one jumped right out at me, probably because of the mix of chocolate and fresh berries in the seductive Green & Black’s photograph.

The mix of chocolate, berries and whipped cream is DIVINE.

Chocolate Pudding Pie

(from Green & Black’s ‘Ultimate’)

For the base

  • 80g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 60g dark (70-80% cocoa solids) chocolate
  • 225g digestive biscuits

For the filling

  • 180g dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 180g unsalted butter
  • 4 medium free range eggs
  • 180g dark muscovado sugar
  • 180ml double cream
  • Creme fraiche, to serve
  • Preheat the oven to 180degrees celcius/gas mark 4.
  • For the base, melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until completely melted and combined. Crush the biscuits (I use a blender) into fine crumbs and add to the melted mixture.
  • Butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm loose-based tin. Put the base in the tin, press it down and let it chill for half an hour in the fridge.
  • Meanwhile melt the butter and dark chocolate for the filling in the same way. Put the eggs, sugar and cream in the blender and mix together. Allow the melted chocolate mixture to cool (otherwise you risk the cream curdling). Once cool, add the melted chocolate mixture to the blender and blend together again, making sure that all the sugar is mixed in.
  • Remove the base from the fridge and pour the filling over the base. Put in the oven and cook for 45 minutes until firm. It will rise up as it cooks but, once removed, will shrink again slightly.
  • Allow to cool and serve with a generous serving of creme fraiche.

TIP

This is delicious made the day before and means you can avoid last-minute panics.

Christmas is next week. NEXT WEEK. We’re going to England for the Holidays, Yaaaaay! It’s been 1. 5 years since I’ve been home so this visit is long overdue and I’m buzzing with excitement.

But that doesn’t mean the baking has to stop just yet. This pie is one of those super delicious, addictive, ‘I’ll just have a little bit more’ sort of affairs. And this is possibly the best digestive biscuit base I’ve had before. Maybe that’s because they were chocolate digestives…? Just maybe.

Hope you enjoy the sexy, festive Christmas light background!

Triple Chocolate Pudding Pie

(from Bon Appetit)

yield: Makes 8 servings

Chill the pie for at least six hours before serving — or make it up to two days ahead.
Crust:

  • 9 whole chocolate graham crackers
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind graham crackers, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and blend to moisten crumbs. Firmly press mixture into 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Bake until crust sets, about 8 minutes. Cool.

For filling:
Whisk sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in 1 cup half and half. Whisk in remaining 2 1/2 cups half and half and yolks. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and boils, whisking constantly, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add both chocolates and butter; whisk until melted and smooth. Mix in vanilla. Transfer filling to crust. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of filling and chill until filling sets, at least 6 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

For topping:
Beat all ingredients in large bowl until peaks form. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewhisk to thicken before serving, if necessary.)

Peel plastic off pie. Cut pie into wedges. Spoon dollop of cream atop each slice. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans and serve.

Green & Black’s chocolate, you have my heart. All organic and righteous and utterly delectable.

This recipe comes from their chocolate recipe book and was perfect for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Preparation time: 35 minutes plus 25 minutes chilling
Cooking time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Use: 28cm (11in) loose-based tart tin
Serves: 8 – 10

PASTRY

  • 275g (10oz) plain flour
  • 75g (3oz) icing sugar
  • 150g (5oz) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 large egg yolks

FILLING

  • 275g (10oz) dark chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
  • 200g (7oz) shelled pecans, chopped
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 225g (8oz) light soft brown sugar
  • 250ml (9fl oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 50g (2oz) unsalted butter, melted
  1. To make the pastry, sift together the flour and icing sugar and cut the butter into cubes.
  2. Place in a food-processor and mix together, adding the egg yolks at the end to form a dough.
  3. Carefully roll out the pastry. You will need quite a lot of flour on your board and rolling pin as it sticks easily. The pastry needs to be very thin. Lift it carefully into the tart tin by rolling it up on the rolling pin, then slowly unroll it over the tin, press into the base and sides and trim away the excess, but allow a little extra as the pastry will shrink slightly. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  4. Bake the pastry case blind by using parchment or greaseproof paper and baking beans for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the beans and paper and return the pastry to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until it has developed a very light colour. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Mix together all the remaining ingredients for the filling, then stir in the melted chocolate. Spoon into the pastry case and return it to the oven for about 1 hour. Watch the pastry carefully and if necessary cover with foil to prevent it burning.

This pie is so good I want to throw it in my own face. I have no shame. But who needs shame when you have pie?

NOT I!

(I substituted the hazlenuts on top with Cool Whip because the pie looked sad without it)

Chocolate Mousse Tart

from the god herself, MARTHA STEWART.

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 18 sugar cones, coarsely crushed (6 ounces total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • FOR THE TOPPING AND FILLING:
  • 1/3 cup peeled raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Make crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, combine cones, salt, and sugar; process until fine crumbs form. With machine running, slowly pour butter through feed tube and process until mixture resembles wet sand. Press crumbs in bottom and up side of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake until crust is golden brown and set, 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, make topping: In a small saucepan, combine hazelnuts, granulated sugar, salt, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Strain hazelnuts and spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until nuts are toasted and shiny, 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
  3. Make filling: In a medium saucepan, bring 3/4 cup cream to a simmer; remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes; whisk to combine, then let cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, whip 1 cup cream with confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in chocolate mixture until combined. Pour filling into cooled crust and refrigerate until chilled and completely set, about 1 1/2 hours (or wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate, up to 2 days). To serve, top tart with hazelnuts.