pomegranate-winter-chiffon-pieSUMMARY – light and fluffy with whipped egg whites and whipped cream. Beautifully pink, but tart pomegranate keeps this dessert sophisticated and not girly. Perfect for the holiday season, but I could imagine this with other fruit juice in different seasons.


This pie reminded me of my childhood.


My paternal grandmother made jello salads. Her two specialties were orange jello with grated carrots and pineapple, and red (I think cherry?) jello with chopped marachino cherries and walnuts.


They weren’t quite desserts, but they weren’t quite salads either.


It also reminds me of my mother’s pumpkin chiffon pie. I think I talked about this when we made the pumpkin pecan pie.


My maternal grandmother and her sister, and now my mother and her cousin, made and still make Mrs. Eisenhower’s pumpkin chiffon pie for the holidays. Yes, the pie that my roommate calls “pudding in a shell”.


The first time I had regular baked pumpkin pie I was traumatized by it, and realized that our family does things a little different than other families. Which kind of explains a few things about my personality!


And now you also see how my mind works sometimes.


If you combine red jello salad with pumpkin chiffon pie, two clear and different food memories, you end up with this pie!


I went with Marie and made the cookie crust. Because I thought the baked meringue crust would be too stressful.


I also pressed the dough into my square tart pan.


Because the last time I rolled out cookie dough crust it was a giant project. And again, no desire for a giant project.


BTW the Serious Eats blog showed a new way to blind bake pastry using sugar and foil. Great technique! Now I have toasted sugar!


I didn’t want to overmix the egg whites and the whipped cream and completely deflate it. The chiffon was not at all homogeneous!


I like the pink stripes in the tart filling. And, like Marie, I found that it had separated the next day.


I had enough extra chiffon that I poured it into two bowls and had a cooks treat. Which makes me think that the chiffon could be made with other juice. Cherry, strawberry, blueberry … I am thinking summer parfaits. Mmmmmmmmm.


Last, the tartness and pie color also reminded me a bit of cranberry (or bogberry *cough* ugh) without using cranberries. Win!

Cherry Sweetie Pie

SUMMARY – plum puree gives this cherry pie a little something extra. The filling stays in the crust and is not runny, even when warm.

The great thing about pies is that you have to make separate components for them – the crust and the filling. Then you have to assemble it, bake it, and cool it.

Which is awesome if you aren’t in a hurry for a pie. Annoying if you want homemade pie immediately.

Thankfully, I was not in a hurry for pie.

I worked on the crust Sunday, made the filling Monday, assembled the pie on Tuesday morning, baked it when I got home from work, and ate some Tuesday night with ice cream. Perfect!

Of course, I have observations about this pie.

I liked the idea of adding plum puree to this for some extra tartness. The plums I got were reasonably soft, juicy and peeled easily. But they lacked flavor.

They were not farmers market plums, the ones you have to eat outside because they are so juicy.

If I made this pie again, I would probably cheat and buy some organic plum baby food. Because the plums in it would probably be better than supermarket plums, the pureeing is already done for you, and I don’t have to remember to hit the farmers market.

I used frozen cherries, too. Because, well, pitting. It was a bag of mixed sweet and tart cherries. Not exactly what this recipe called for. Actually looked pretty good; the cherries weren’t all icky-looking like Marie’s canned sour cherries.


I also wanted to try a fancy lattice top. There’s one with thick and thin dough strips that looked really cool. But I couldn’t find a ruler to use as a cutting guide. Plus my crust dough was rather stiff. I didn’t want to risk messing it up. And, this is the second lattice-topped pie that I have made in my life. I went with the regular non-fancy lattice top. And the strips still broke.

Considering the presence of tart cherries and lackluster plums, this pie was a success. I did get feedback that it was a little tart. I liked the tart flavor. And … there is now pie left.

Ah, the power of pie.


SUMMARY – three different apple varieties, cider and cream cheese crust made several very luscious apple pies.

4-apple-piesI would have had finished done earlier, but I took a semi-spontaneous trip to Cape Cod this week. Part of the reason it was semi-spontaneous was that I had to finish this project!

I thought that I could finish the post in the motel, and I even downloaded WordPress and Dropbox to my tablet. But the free motel wi-fi was terrible, and I couldn’t get Dropbox to cooperate with WordPress on my tablet. I love it when technology refuses to cooperate. Here it is, a few days late.

mini-pie-makerI made small pies, because we picked up a display model mini-pie maker for $4.00. I don’t normally buy single-use appliances like this, but it was a total deal.

It was also interesting assembling the pies. Homemade crust is not the best crust for the pie maker, since it’s very fragile. You are trying to get the crust into a hot surface, and then patch the holes that you will make!

Break out the premade pie dough for this thing, but if you don’t mind potentially burnt fingers, use the homemade crust. The pies were really good! And very cute.

cooling-apple-piesSo after making these, my roommate and I decided to leave them for the boys, who weren’t going.

We could have packed them and ate them on the road, but we were going to the ocean!

cut-apple-mini-pieWe did split one and ate it for breakfast. It was pretty good. But since the little pies were only cooked for 10 minutes, the apples were a little al dente. I didn’t mind it but it made it a little crisper than normal.

Seagull-beach-cape-codBy the way, if you live in the northeast or New England, the Cape is the place to be after Labor Day. No kids, the water is warm, the shops are still open, and there’s lot of sales.

Since I won’t be sitting on the beach this weekend, hopefully the Pepparkakor won’t be late.

This post is part of the Alpha Bakers bake along. It’s an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared. If you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe please let me know. You might want to get the book for yourself, or at least check it out from your local library before deciding.


SUMMARY: three kinds of chocolate and three separate layers of flavor elevate these brownies far above anything from a box!

“These brownies are killer!” exclaimed my roommate after eating one.

I have to agree.

Even after spending an entire day working on some component of the brownies, and finishing up the galette.

I thought, nothing can be good enough to be worth all this trouble. No wonder Woody’s mom only broke these out for the holidays. What a pain!

It was totally worth it for these brownies.

Of course I did a few things differently. Some deliberate, some accidental 😉

baked-brownieFirst, I used toasted slivered almonds and chopped hazelnuts. I thought I had pecans, but I guess I used them on the coffee cake I made for the fair. I like almonds and hazelnuts better anyway 😛

chocolate-barsI used darker chocolate for the brownies. I figured that part could take it better than the ganache.

I forgot to wrap the brownie pan with the strips and forgot to spray the parchment! That’s OK nothing got over browned and nothing stuck.

white-chocolateBTW the white chocolate layer? It took me FOREVAH to do it! My problem was that I kept whisking the mixture after I added the eggs to the white chocolate and butter. Whisking seemed to work better than stirring, because I used a round bottom bowl over a pot. But the temperature wouldn’t go up at all. So I stopped stirring, walked a way for a bit, and that seemed to work.

unmolded-browniesI didn’t trim the brownie top (because I would have eaten it) and I used all the white chocolate butter cream (again, because I would have eaten it). I kept everything together in the pan so I didn’t have to worry about drippy ganache. It came out fine 😉

2015-08-23 21.07.31I think I may have found my first recipe for fair baking next year!

About the peach galette. I finished it. YAY! The weather cooled off and I would work pie dough.

2015-08-23 09.38.47I splurged and bought myself a magic dough mat. I also put it in the freezer to cool the dough even more. It seemed to work well, although logistically, it’s a bit hard to wash in my tiny sink.

The dough followed my inverse pie crust rule – the more difficult to roll the dough, the better the crust will be.

baked-galetteI made sure to keep the galette cool before baking it. It was a little leaky but not too bad.

brownie-galette-platedFunny enough I served both the galette and the brownies for dessert. Bad mistake. After eating the brownie, the consensus was that the galette was merely OK! But I brought the other half of the galette to work and my coworkers enjoyed it.

I shared some brownies with the neighbors and the gals at the local coffee/convenience store.

This post is part of the Alpha Bakers bake along. It’s an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared. If you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe please let me know. You might want to get the book for yourself, or at least check it out from your local library before deciding.

Elderberries? All I know about elderberries came from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Embroidered elderberries

I had to look them up to know what they look like! And they look to me like baby grapes.

Unfortunately there were no elderberries to be found, as it isn’t their season yet. But my neighbor still has raspberries! So me and my inner 9 year-old went next door, sat on the wet grass, collected some scratches, and picked some raspberries. I had to remember my old skills from picking raspberries at my great-grandmother’s house and also not eat as many as I picked 😉

raspberry picking

I had already started assembling the crust ingredients. The Cream Cheese crust, my favorite from Rose’s Pie and Pastry Bible!

dry-ingredients-baggedI used the food processor method. All the dry ingredients (pastry flour, salt and baking soda) in a bag, and butter into the freezer overnight, to get everything good and chilled. I ran out of big ziplocks so I made a bag with the Food Saver. I wrapped up the butter in a separate bag. Keeping the crust ingredients cold (or frozen even) does help with keeping the crust tender. BTW this is the best pie crust EVAH – easy to work with and a lot less likely to get tough.

I chilled the wet ingredients for making the crust. I usually use water in crusts, so I made up some ice water. I also put the bottle of vinegar in the freezer to cool it down. Then broke out the food processor.


I put the dry ingredients and cream cheese into the food processor bowl and processed for 20 seconds. Put in the butter and pulsed it a few times. Added the cold water and cold cider vinegar and pulsed til the butter bits were small. I divided the dough, spooning some of it into the bag I used before. I worked the dough in the bag, squishing it so it would stay together. Then I did the same with the rest of the dough mix. When that was done, I wrapped both the pieces separately in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge to cool off and relax the gluten.

red-berriesNow for the filling, or part 2. I made a bit of a mistake with the filling. Actually, more like a miscalculation and a mistake. I didn’t have the full 10 ounces of raspberries, only 6 ounces or so. Oops.

But fortunately I had the rest of a bag of frozen mixed berries, which put me at 10 ounces. Yay!

cooked-fillingMy mistake was putting all the fruit in the pan together. Bad move on my part. What I should have done was put in the blueberries and frozen fruit and cooked those to where I wanted them, and just stirred in the raspberries. But no I didn’t do that. Since there was no going back, I just went ahead, stirring everything together so the pan wouldn’t scorch. Sadly, although everything thickened and it tasted pretty good, the filling looked like blueberry soup because the raspberries fell apart. Ah well, lesson learned. Poured it into my big measuring cup and chilled it.

rolled-crust Part 3 – rolling the crust and assembly. I don’t have Rose’s crust rolling mat or silicone rolling pin. But they are both now on my Amazon wish list [*cough* hint *cough*]. I rolled it the old fashioned way, using pastry flour to keep the stickiness down and moving the crust around with help from a bench knife. Not to bad. The cream cheese dough is fortunately pretty good to work with, and I didn’t toughen it up too much with extra flour. [I hope!]

filling-in-crustI poured the cooled filling/blueberry raspberry soup into the crust and added the top crust. I decided against cutting the circles in the top crust. I am glad I did that, because I had [yet another] minor mishap; I put the top crust too far back and ended up not having the top and bottom crusts meet. I tried to patch it but ended up with a bit of a purple top crust. Sigh. Ah well. I cut some slits in the top and put it in the fridge to firm up, again.

This morning, I ended up getting up an hour before I usually get up for work. So I got up, went down to the kitchen, and turned on the oven to preheat it to bake the pie. Got back into bed and read. Got up for the last time 45 minutes or so later, put the pie in the oven, set the timer, and got ready for work. And boy did the baking pie smell good!

baked-pie-topSuccess! It looks pretty good – if you like rustic pies. It didn’t drip out too badly in spite of the patch job. I put it on a wire rack and put it up high so the 4-legged canine children would get into it. Because it is going to be dessert tonight!

2015-07-27 20.08.00And a yummy dessert it is. Had a half-gallon of vanilla bean ice cream all ready to go. Served it right up and no complaints. The crust was reasonably tender and non-cardboard-y.

I think the seediness of the raspberries mirrored the seediness of the elderberries. Plus, to me, real fresh local raspberries have a more subtle and real flavor than the California raspberries found in the plastic clamshell at the market. Sure they may look pretty, but the flavor isn’t the same. The pie has great flavor and the filling set up perfectly.

Now that I know what elderberries are, I know what to do with them if I spot them at the farmers market. Or end up with an unexpected windfall!

Next week: 100% Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf


This post is part of the Alpha Bakers bake along. It’s an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared. If you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe please let me know. You might want to get the book for yourself, or at least check it out from your local library before deciding.