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. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

To-Do List: Restaurants!

Oh, hey. It's me again. Your favorite ultra sporadic blogger.

At the beginning of 2013 I made a list of OKC restaurants that I wanted to visit before the end of the year. I only made it to 19 of the 34 on the list, but that's better than nothing, right?

Below is a list of places that have rolled over from last year.

Here's where I need your help: what other restaurants/bars/coffee places should be on the list?

Thank you, thank you!

Mutt's Hot Dogs
Mama E's
Tucker's Onion Burgers
Cafe du Brasil
Kitchen 324
Cafe Kacao

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Season To-Do List!

It's here! It's finally here!


You're right - the actual day of Christmas has not yet arrived, but Thanksgiving is behind us, it is officially December, and since Thanksgiving fell later in the month than usual, we have less than a month to pack in everything that is Christmas. It's a serious(ly fun) business. Since I loved crossing off items from my fall to-do list I thought it would be fun to create a similar list for the holiday season!

- Send Christmas cards (because who doesn't like Christmas cards!)
- Make Christmas treat deliveries. (DUH)
- Go ice skating.
- Go exploring for Edmond/OKC Christmas lights (duh).
- Get dressed up and go out for drinks. (Yes, please!)
- Watch as many Christmas movies as possible. This includes, but is not limited to: Home Alone 1 and 2, White Christmas, and Elf.

What else is quintessentially Christmas/Holiday that needs to be added? Who wants to sign up for things!

I haven't been ice skating since I was 10, but I've been wanting to go for the last few years, so maybe 2013 will finally be the year! I'm sure if I go I will look ridiculous and probably fall a lot, but the chances are high that we'll all laugh about it.

Let's all have holiday fun together!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Food Apologies

I was a fairly picky eater growing up. Don't get me wrong - I loved food, and I had no problem eating. Goodness knows I have loved to eat from day one. I just liked very basic food items when I was a child.
For instance, I loved pizza, but there better not be anything more exotic than pepperoni on that pizza. Mainly I just had eating oddities. I liked pancakes without butter or syrup. And don't bother trying to tell me that French toast was delicious, because I wouldn't touch it.
Butter grossed me out. Yeah. Beautiful, glorious butter. I didn't put butter on anything until a couple of years ago. (This does not include using butter to bake with, because I've been a huge proponent of that since I was an infant. That's not really possible, but you know what I mean). All of that to say that in recent years I've discovered that I in fact love many, many of the food items I used to refuse to eat.
So, I'd like to take this time to apologize to some of my now favorite food items that used to be abhorrent to me.

Sweet potatoes:
Sometimes I think to myself "what if I had never started liking sweet potatoes?" But then I get sad at the thought, so I change the subject. When I think back on all of those past Thanksgivings, I get frustrated at myself for grabbing a spoonful of your plain cousin "mashed potatoes" but skipping right over you. I was so young and naive.

I'm almost too ashamed to talk to you. I was such a mean girl to you. I've been sufficiently making up for lost time with you, though, because I put you on everything - even when you cost extra. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

Almonds and Pecans:
I feel bad for lumping you both together like this, because you are both so very different. That's one of the things I love most about you! Almonds, you've been in my desk drawers and kitchen cabinet so faithfully for the past 4 years. Without you I probably would have died of starvation behind my desk waiting for the noon hour to roll around.
Pecans! Oh, pecans. This is my first fall season to love you, so I'm beside myself with excitement to bake with you.

Perfect, versatile eggs. Please don't hold my ignorance toward your greatness against me. I know you're bigger than that, and you'd never do such a thing, but I felt it necessary to ask. You've been such a huge part of my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners now for a few years that I almost can't remember a time when we weren't close. Thank you for sticking with me (but not on my pans).

Monday, November 11, 2013

Planning for Friendsgiving

I tend to get ahead of myself when it comes to planning parties. I create lists for all of the imaginary parties I plan to host. I tear out ideas from magazines about centerpieces and place cards that I think would work well for said imaginary parties. I make mailing lists for all of the people who I'd love to see sitting around a table together. I tell you, there is a lot of planning that goes into these imaginary parties that will most likely never happen.

Most of these dinner gatherings end up just morphing into a regular evening of hanging out. People are invited (but not by fun mailed-out invitations), drinks are made (but not in fancy wine glasses), and food is consumed (but not in a three course meal sort of way). Laughter is always involved, so it's never a bad deal.
But Friendsgiving? Friendsgiving has always been the most elusive dinner gathering for me.

I've tried to plan one the past couple of years, but due to all the normal life things that come up between November and December, it has never come to fruition. Has this happened to anyone else? Am I the only one who has failed multiple times to provide a Friendsgiving?

This year Friendsgiving is planned for this Saturday, and I am pretty much super duper excited about it. I feel like I'm jinxing it by talking about it. Food has been planned and discussed and the prepping has begun. My place is tiny, so it will be a cozy (read: packed) evening, but I'm thoroughly excited.

Yay for food! Yay for holidays! Yay for friends!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Food Blogger Wannabe

Every time I bake something I think to myself, "Em. You should blog about this."

You see, I have this blog, but I don't really ever do anything with it. It kind of saddens me. (I realize that is a silly thing to sadden me, but silly things tend to sadden me no matter how much I wish they didn't. Like, it saddens me when I don't have time to sit and read through the magazines I get. See? Silly.)

Moving on! Like I said, I enjoy baking, and every time I begin the baking process I start out with the intention to blog it. It always seems simple enough at the beginning. Just bake, take pictures of the baking, and then write about it, right?
Well, I'm the worst at it. Maybe it's my lack of patience? Maybe I hate treating people like they're 4? (We all know how to mix in flour. Why are you telling me to move my spoon in circular motions until the flour is mixed in?)

Through these thoughts I've come to the conclusion that I will probably never become the next Joy the Baker. Big surprise, right? It's OK. I have other strengths. You know, like Instagramming on occasion and always having candy on my desk at the office. Maybe I should blog about that?
(Ex: Today I brought dark and milk chocolate Dove pieces to the office. Let me show you how I did it!)

I still like baking, though. So if you ever want to see pictures of food but you don't care about how those pictures were made, then follow me on Instagram (emlance).
In closing, I will leave you with pictures of the pie I made on Sunday. It was apple. It was delicious. I ate it for 4 meals straight; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breakfast again. Can we all say "fat kid" in unison? On three. One, two, three! Fat kid! I don't even care. It was worth it.

(Yes, I totally baked this pie while wearing pajamas)

Thus concludes the picture and writing portion of this post.