Monday, February 17, 2014

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Normally I love winter. Anyone who knows me knows this fact.
This year has been different.
I've been perpetually freezing, and I haven't been super fond of it. Apparently any Nebraska I had in my veins left during the summer.
That being said, I was so tired of the freezing weather last week that I made up my mind to make as many things feel like summer as possible. So, I painted my toenails, browsed swimming suits, and decided to bake a summer-y pie.
(Side note - where is your favorite place to look for swimming suits? I looked around the mall for a little bit, but nothing was speaking to me)

You guys. This week's pie is currently a tie for first with the Maple Lime pie. This pie was a whole bunch of lemon-y sour creamy deliciousness. And don't worry - this pie was way less complicated than last week's. I mean, I made it at 9:00 on a Saturday morning after only getting 3 and a half hours of sleep, and it still turned out!

Before I get into that - check it out. My blog is different! Shout out to Jenny for fixing it up for me. Isn't she the coolest? Thanks again, Jen!

So, this pie.

You just make a single pie crust recipe (posted at the bottom of the previous entry). Roll it out. Set it in the pie plate. Crimp the edge (or braid it or whatever!) and pop it in the fridge for a bit.
Preheat the oven to 425 F while the pie is chillin' in the fridge. When the oven is pre-heated go ahead and put the pie in the oven for 20 minutes. I know that you're supposed to use pie weights on the dough so the crust won't bubble up, but I don't have any, so I put parchment paper over the pie dough and then I weighted that down with 2 spoons. I was gettin' all ghetto with that pie crust.
Whatevs, it totally worked.
After it had baked for 20 minutes, I took it out of the oven, removed the parchment paper/spoons and put it back in the oven for 8 minutes until the edge of the crust was golden-y brown. You won't have to worry about the crust again! Done-zo!

Go ahead and juice the lemons now. It calls for 5 tablespoons which I easily got out of two larger lemons. As always, make sure there are no seeds in the juice before you use it! (Duh, right?)

Grab a saucepan and pour in the sour cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice and start whisking them all together over medium heat. Keep stirring until it all starts to boil a little (not a full boil). Set the heat a little lower and constantly stir the mixture for another 2 minutes or so, and then remove the pan from the heat.

Now you get to whisk 4 egg yolks together in a separate bowl. Once those yolks are whisked add about a cup of the sour cream mixture in with the yolks. Once that is all mixed together combine both mixtures into the same pan. Let the mixture cool for a little bit (not not too much) because you'll then add 4 tablespoons of butter to the mixture. Once it has been added all you have to do is pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie shell.

See? Way easier than last week's. Oh, I put a layer of plastic wrap on top of the pie while it was cooling in the fridge so it wouldn't get a skin on top of it.

Also, I plan to make this custard a ton this summer in little ramekins. I mean, it would be perfect for the summer! Since the custard is made on the stovetop you wouldn't even need the stove if you just left the custard plain or maybe sprinkled graham crackers on top of it.

PS - I'm still super lame at this "take a picture of every single step of the baking process" thing, so there is only the one picture. Oops.

PPS - I kind of do feel bad for posting the entire recipe on the internet. What are the rules on this? It feels like plagiarism to me. Maybe just message me if you would like to make the pie for something? Or, grab a copy of the book!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Pie Challenge

Hello again! It's me - your favorite uber sporadic blogger.

If you follow me on TwitterFaceGram you've probably noticed that I've been fairly pie obsessed so far this year. That's because for Christmas I was gifted with a pie cookbook, so it is now a goal of mine to bake each recipe before the end of the year.
I know, I know. It sounds so cliche and like I just wanted to be like that Julie chick from Julie and Julia.
Well, I just like pie. So, that's why I'm doing it.

I have a few pies that I'll need to play catch-up on, so I will start with the most recent pie I baked: 
Sliced Sweet Potato and Apple Crumble Pie

OK, side note. This whole blogging thing is a little cray to me, so just bear with me as I pretend to be a food blogger this year. Sound cool? 

This pie was the 5th I have made from the pie book, and it was also the most involved of all of the pies.  There was a lot of slicing, stirring, simmering, etc... I'm pretty sure I used 3/4 of all of my pans and bowls. Oh, well. It was worth it.

This little fella moved up to the 2nd favorite pie I've made this year (topped only by Maple Lime - coming soon to a blog near you!). My trusted taste testers (parents, co-workers, and friends) agreed.

OK, here's where it's going to get weird. Do I just write out all of the instructions? I mean, they're in the book. I don't want to plagiarize, or anything. Alright guys. Here it goes.

Pre-step: Make the crust. 
Mix the dry ingredients. Add the butter. Botta-bing. You've got yourself some pie dough. This just called for a single recipe, so I just rolled the dough into one blob, wrapped it in some plastic and stuck it in the fridge for about an hour. More on this later. Excitement!

Now for the pie - Peel 2 medium sweet potatoes. (It calls for about 2 cups sliced. I had a little more than 2 cups, and it seemed to work out OK). Once they've been peeled and sliced, pop them in a pan of water and bring them to a boil. Simmer those bad boys until they're tender when you test them with a knife. They won't be fully cooked otherwise they'll get mushy. Once they've reached the right softness, cool them off with cold water then let them sit and cool down. 
(Side note: I literally told them to "sit and think about what you've done." This has nothing to do with anything except to prove that I'm insane)

OK, I'm going to jump around a bit, because while the sweet potatoes were boiling/simmering I was rolling out my crust, and such. I'm not sure how to describe rolling out dough. I kind of feel like I could do an entire post on just pie dough. I love it so very much.
Anyhow, roll the dough out, fold the rolled out dough in half (gently!) and then transfer it to be on top of the pie plate. Center it. Admire it. It demands your admiration. Once you've fully appreciated what an awesome job you've done on the dough, stick that sucker in the fridge. It also needs to think about what it's done. (Not really. Pie dough is perfect)

Now for the (to me) trickiest part of the pie: the caramel sauce.
Yes. It was delicious, but I always stress when caramel sauce is on the line. (I keep shouting in my head DON'T BURN IT).
So, you get a saucepan and put some water and sugar in it. Whisk those items together over a low-medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter and bring the mixture to a low boil. You'll keep stirring your heart out until the mixture turns golden-ish brown. It's pretty. (Since I was stressed about this step, I was a blogger fool and did not snap a pic of what the mixture looked like when it had reached the golden-ish brown stage). Once it has reached that color you'll slowly add the cream. Then you'll let the sauce be patient and wait for its turn. All in good time, my good caramel sauce.

Remember those apples you bought? Peel and slice them. I used granny smith apples because apparently there was a rush on baking apples at the store I visited to purchase apples. I was planning to get golden delicious, but whatevs. Granny won. I can think of worse things in life. Like when you really want to hear a Radiohead song and The Strokes come on instead. Back to the apples - you'll need about 2 cups of them all said and done. Are they sliced? Cool. Now juice some lemons (I used 2) and make sure you get the seeds out of the juice. Toss the apple slices in the lemon juice. Now the apples get to wait.

OK, so your sweet potatoes are in timeout, your pie dough is chillin' in the fridge, and your caramel sauce is cooling on the counter.

Back to the pie - Your sweet potatoes have probably been in timeout long enough, so go ahead and start slicing them up. Get them thin. Like 1/8 of an inch thin. Then put the sliced sweet potatoes and the sliced apples (after they've been taken out of the lemon juice) together in a bowl. Sprinkle the brown sugar/spice mixture over them and start mixing them all together. Then pour that caramel sauce over the mixture. Try not to eat it all straight from the bowl (but nobody would blame you if you did).

Now go ahead and make the crumble part of the pie. You're going to need it in a jiffy.

Get that pie dough out of the fridge. It's time.
Put the apple/sweet potato/caramel mixture into the pie. Cover all of that with the crumble mixture.
Then you get to crimp the edges or braid the edges or whatever!
Put the pie in the oven. Let it bake. Take it out of the oven. Let it cool.
Eat it.
Eat it all.

Then report back and tell me what you think.

2 medium sweet potatoes (for about 2 cups sliced)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 heavy cream
2 lemons
2 or 3 baking apples (for about 2 cups sliced)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (to add to the caramel sauce after it has cooled)

Crumble top!
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter
(Mix all the ingredients together. Chop the cold butter into cubes (about 1 inch each) and mush it into the mixture with your hands. Fun, huh!)

The Crust! (I really want to do a separate entry on just the crust options)
Since this guy (the pie) had a crumble top, he only needed a single crust option:
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
(mix the dry ingredients)
Cut up 1 stick of cold, unsalted butter into 1 inch cubes. Cut the butter into the dry mixture. 
In a separate bowl add 1/2 cup cold water and 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Add 2 Tablespoons of the water/vinegar mixture to the butter/flour mixture. Add the water to the dough one tablespoon at a time until you've reached the right consistency. You'll just have to feel that one out. It will be sticky enough to mold together but not too wet that it will stick to everything when you roll it out. Be sure to flour the counter and such before you start rolling out the dough.