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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pumpkin Scones

My friend Julie made these and brought them to a lunch meeting we were having.  Hello, scrumptious!  I am a sucker for pumpkiny baked goods, and these were such an unexpected and delightful treat.  They are super easy to make, too.  It's rainy and cold where I live today, so these were the perfect comfort food.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

This is my husband's favorite pie, though he recently told me that it was tied with apple pie.  It's a recipe handed down from his paternal grandmother, who is such a good Southern cook.  I made it for dessert on Sunday and it turned out beautifully, which isn't always the case with this pie--you have to have CONSTANT VIGILANCE (as Mad-Eye Moody would say) when you are whisking the filling over the stove--my arm usually aches before I am done.

I used my flakiest pie crust recipe for the crust.  Single crusts are harder for me than double crusts, because they sometimes slide down in the pie pan while they're baking.  I pressed the edge of the pie dough just over the edge of the pie pan, then pressed it all around with the back of a fork, and it turned out pretty well. You want to poke the crust all over with a fork, even around the sides, so it won't puff up.  Bake your crust for about 15 minutes at 350, until it's barely golden brown.

The filling in this recipe is soooo rich and good, and it doesn't rely on cornstarch to thicken.  Hard to believe there's only about a third a cup of cocoa in it.  You must use whole milk or evaporated milk, or it will be runny, something I learned the hard way.  On Thanksgiving Day.  Such memories . . .

For the meringue, I beat the five egg whites until they got foamy, then I added about 2/3 cup of white sugar, beating it in a tablespoon at a time, until it began to get glossy.  Then I added a teaspoon of vanilla and a tiny pinch of salt and beat it until it was stiff.  It took a long time, even with an electric beater.  Use a completely dry bowl, and be sure there is no yolk in your egg whites, or it just won't turn out.  (I beat the meringue with my electric mixer until its ready, then use the mixer, with a little meringue on the beaters, to beat the warm pie filling in the saucepan before I scrape it into my prepared crust.  Then I top the filling with the meringue.  That way I don't have to use the beaters, then wash and dry and re-use them)
Meringue before baking
To prevent weeping or shrinking, you want to put the meringue on the filling while it is still warm, and make sure that you spread the meringue right up the edge of the crust.  I used my silicone spatula to swirl a design around the meringue before baking it for about 8 minutes in a 400-degree oven.
Meringue after baking--and my favorite tablecloth that
originally belonged to Grandmother Renfroe
I always crave pie when I am pregnant.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), it's not a food that's readily available--grocery store pies do not do it for me, and we are at least an hour from any bakery worth trying.  if you want something done, you've got to . . . well, you know.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Divine Chocolate Sauce

Julie knows her chocolate desserts.  Everyone at book club raved about this delicious sauce.

Debbie's Cinnamon Rolls

A delicious book club dessert, made by one of my favorite people!