February

22
February
2013

Oscars Dessert: "Life of Pi" Pie

Fun, Easy Dessert for Oscars Party

Oscars Dessert:

 

What would be the perfect pie for sharing at an Oscars party?  What would celebrate the stars, the golden statuettes, the talented filmmakers and crew members who make that magic happen?  What would celebrate a good story well told, a story that moves us more than just excites our nerves for 2 hours?

How about a Life of Pi Pie?  Irresistible.  It would have to feature stripes, like Richard Parker (the tiger).  Maybe be blue like the ocean and sky?  Maybe rich brown, like Pi’s dark eyes?  Yes, that’s it:  chocolate chess pie – rich, dark brown -- with orange stripes. 

What would the stripes be made of, to have them be orange like the stripes on the tiger?  We want to complement the pie and not make it overly sweet like a frosting would.  So, start with orange juice, stir in just a little creamy peanut butter to give it body.  Maybe a little powdered sugar, but not too much, just enough to make it the right texture for making stripes.  Add a tiny touch of yellow & red food coloring to brighten the color a bit. Below is a little recipe.

This is easy!  Bake and let the chocolate chess pie cool entirely, then drizzle wide bands of the orange mixture to create the “stripes.”  Let it chill.  Roar when you serve it.

There you go:  Life of Pi Pie.

Have fun, Rebecca

Life of Pi Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie, made ahead and cooled completely.ChocChessedrjd

For the “Richard Parker” tiger stripes – approximate proportions:

2 T.      orange juice

1/2 t.    creamy peanut butter

3/4 c.   powdered sugar

Tiny touches of yellow and red food coloring.

Mix the juice and peanut butter until smooth.  Stir in enough powdered sugar until the mix is about as thick as you would make the frosting for sugar cookies (thick enough to stay where you put it but will still drizzle off a spoon or pastry brush).  Using the tip of a toothpick dipped into food coloring, add just a touch of food colorings to brighten the color to orange. 

Make stripes using a spoon or pastry brush, and chill until they set.

17
February
2013

Bees and Pie

Dreaming of Gardens and Pies to Come

Bees and Pie

Gardens are calling.  Some gardens are fairly shouting by this time of year.  “Yo!  Over here!  Do me!”

Apples, rhubarb, peaches, berries -- obviously, gardens provide ingredients for delicious homemade pies.  Now, in mid-February, those fruits are far off.  Depending on where you live and what gardening arrangements you have, you may already be nurturing a winter garden of vegetables.  But fruits?  Those respond to spring warmth, water and bees.

Ah, bees. What would we do without them?  Starve to death.  They pollinate our gardens and crops everywhere.  And right now, bees in North America are being threatened by “Colony Collapse Disorder,” where the worker bees mysteriously and abruptly disappear.[1] 

And it’s not just the pollinating that’s good.  What about that honey?  Besides being a nectar of golden goodness, honey has many noted health benefits, both nutritional and medicinal.  Check them out here.

This is definitely the time of year for dreaming of gardens-to-come, lush, verdant, fertile:  Peas dripping off of vines, little curling wisps holding them to the garden twine; cucumbers stretching out in the shade of their own big leaves; an abundance of berries, cherries, and apricots.  And always, tomatoes!

Beyond providing the goods for pies, why do we pie bakers love our gardens?  To me, the two are related by a love of the Earth herself, a knowingness about the connection we have with the Earth and all things that are round, yin, grounded, based in nurturing and love. 

People instinctively enjoy growing food.  And it gives us an opportunity to be grateful for all that the Earth gives us and for our chance to nurture her in return.  Yes, gardens are work – the planning, the prepping the soil, the planting, the watering, the endless weeding, even the harvesting takes energy.  But what gardens give back, when we pat the Earth and watch for new growth, is priceless.

And pies are like gardens, don’t you think?  Full of goodness, created with effort, tended with intention and love, requiring planning & cleanup as well as providing nurturing and enjoyment.  There’s nothing like lifting a bubbling, breathing pie from the oven!

So, today, let’s thank our bees, plan our gardens, and think about making a pie or tart that features local honey, as we look forward to the abundance to come.  Try the “Honey Nut Tart” and toast the bees that bring us this opulent goodness.



[1] Colony collapse, first noted in 2006 with a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of honey bee colonies, is significant economically and ecologically (because bees play such a significant role in the reproduction of plants).  Read more about CCD and possible reasons here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder

10
February
2013

Pie for Lovers

Ways to say "I love you!"

Pie for Lovers

Seduction can be simple.  As easy as pie, in fact. 

If you want to impress anyone, make a homemade pie.  If you want to get the attention of someone special, give him or her a Valentine’s pie.  Seduction is nearly guaranteed.

Americans do love their pie.  A survey[1] of Americans reveals that our favorites are apple, lemon meringue, pecan and pumpkin, with cherry, strawberry rhubarb and chocolate rounding out the pie chart. 

But, for Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to tailor your pie-giving to your talents and the recipient’s tastes.  Basic guidelines:  make it yourself, make it rich, and make it with love. 

Here are the 5 steps to wowing your way through Valentine’s Day:

1.      Without giving away your plans, find out what your lover loves:  Chocolate?  Lemon?   Pecans?  Raspberries?

2.     Make the crust if you can.  Buy a frozen one if you can’t.

3.     Make the pie early in the day (or the night before) so that it has time to cool and set.

4.     Pick a recipe at your level of experience that will still meet your partner’s fancy so that you won’t stress out:  easy, average or more challenging.  Find recipes at all levels and for all flavors at:  www.piepals.com

5.     Above all, don’t worry about how it looks.  The person receiving it will be so blown away that you might want to have a camera handy to catch his/her expression upon realizing you made this pie.

Suggestions:

1.      For chocolate lovers:  "Over the Top" Chocolate Mousse Pie (challenging) or Chocolate Chess Pie (easy)

2.     For lemon lovers:  Lemon Chess Pie (easy)

3.     For nut lovers:  Pecan Pie (average)

4.     For fruit lovers:  Raspberry Rhubarb (average) or Easy as Apple Pie (um, easy)

When it comes to making pie, there are some tips and tricks that make it easier the first few times.  Check out the “Tips and Tricks” section of www.PiePals.com.

Most people say the crust is the challenging part, and I would agree.  The main thing is to act with confidence and not let that crust manipulate you into defeat.  You are in charge.  True, a gentle touch is the best, but don’t give your power away, roll the dough too much or burst into tears.  Just roll it out gently, fix any cracks, loosen it with a big spatula, and roll it onto your rolling pin and then unroll it gently over the pie plate.  Lift it to let it fall down into the plate and then trim it with a dull knife against your finger.  You’ll be fine and so will the crust.

Oh, yes, the other big thing for a good crust is to make sure the crust is well-chilled before you put the filling into it and bake it.  It’s about the chemistry of when the fat melts, so just make sure the crust is well-chilled before baking.  Ta da.  There you go, you lover, you. 

This could be your most memorable Valentine’s ever.

Your Pie Pal,
Follow Us
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter RSS Feed
Sign up to
Become a Pie Pal


Free Best of Show Recipe
Expert Pie Tips & Tricks
Pie Contests & Events 

Categories