Brownie Cheesecake Pie

The other day, I dedicated an hour to myself, and made a list. Not a to-do list, a project list, a house list, or even a what-to-bake list.

Although between you and me, I currently do have a what-to-bake list……and I’m working on a weekly what’s-for-dinner list so I can stop spending so much time figuring that last part out…..

Anyway, I made a list of all the posts on my blog – all 614 of them. I’m pretty sure there was an easier way to accomplish the task rather than the old fashioned way I did it – which is to say, I went page by page and typed out the title of every.single.post. onto a spreadsheet.

Cathartic? Yes. Productive? Absolutely. Impressive? Yes, at least to me it was. Impressive because I was able to see just how many great recipes I’ve tried along with our tried and true favorites.

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And this winning combination of brownies and cheesecake quickly joined the ranks of a family favorite. The original recipe called for a boxed brownie mix, but once again, I did it the old fashioned way and made it from scratch.

I think I’m dating myself when I refer to something as old fashioned…..

Brownie Cheesecake Pie – adapted from Cookie Madness

  • 1 unbaked 9 deep dish pie pan lined with crust
Cheesecake Mixture:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
Brownie Mixture:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Set aside.

Pour half the brownie mixture into the pie crust, then spread the cream cheese mixture over it. Spread remaining brownie mixture over that.

Bake for 40 minutes. The top should appear set and slightly cracked. If it’s still wobbly, bake for another 10. In my opinion, it’s better to underbake than overbake.

 

Cock-A-Leekie Pie

Here’s the pie I made for dinner that caused a few raised eyebrows and snickers the other evening:

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It took one bite for me to come to the conclusion that this is simply a glorified chicken pot pie - which is hugely popular in this house – and twice as delicious since it has a top and bottom crust.

All about the carbs around here. 

But wait….. can we take a moment to appreciate how nice the crust looks? I’ve been practicing and perfecting my ability to make pie dough for about three weeks now, and it’s nice to see my hard work paying off. I changed crust recipes and the one below is my newest favorite. The other recipe that I usually use is more cookie-like, which is perfect for desserts, but not so much for savory dishes.

However, I think the family might be secretly plotting to take away my rolling pin and pie pans, since pie has been the featured dessert more than they might have cared for in the past few weeks……

Anyway, I’m pleased with the outcome of the crust AND the pie filling – this was very simple to make and I can definitely say I will be making it again.

Cock-A-Leekie Pie – adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 6 tbs. unsalted butter, divided
  • slices bacon cut into ¼” pieces
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
  •  cup all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup milk
2 disks of pie dough (recipe below)
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 375°. Melt 2 tbs.. butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook bacon, stirring often, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Season chicken with pepper and cook in same skillet until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add leeks to skillet, season with pepper, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl. Shred chicken and add to leeks along with thyme leaves.
Melt remaining 4 tbs. butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in ⅓ cup flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisk in milk and wine, adding a little at a time, until smooth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5–7 minutes. Mix sauce into leek mixture; season with pepper. Let cool.
Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14” round. Transfer to a 10” cast-iron skillet or a 9½”-diameter deep pie dish. Lift up edge and let dough slump down into dish. Trim, leaving a 1” overhang. Spoon filling into skillet. Roll out second disk of dough to 11” round. Drape over filling and trim to a 1” overhang. Fold overhang under; crimp with a fork. Cut a few vents in top; brush with egg. Bake until crust is golden brown, 50–60 minutes. Let pie cool slightly.

My New Favorite Pie Crust – adapted from Add  A Pinch

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice water

Butter a 9-inch pie plate or skillet and set aside.

Pour the flour into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, or use your hands (my preferred method!).

Gradually add enough ice water to the mixture while mixing with a fork until a ball of dough is formed.

Pour the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Lightly flour the top of the pie dough and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Rolling from the center, roll until the dough is about a ⅛-inch thickness. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap, fold the dough over and lay across the pie plate and remove the bottom piece of plastic wrap. Press the pie dough lightly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Cover the pie plate with a piece of the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to overnight.

 

Luby’s Chocolate Icebox Pie

I spent the better part of last month cleaning out my photo files in an effort to increase the storage space on my computer. I had multiple copies of pictures that took up so much room on my hard drive, I wasn’t able to download the new Yosemite operating system. It was no easy task, as I deleted well over 30,000 copies.

I’m very efficient when it comes to making sure everything is backed up. Experience is a very good teacher……

However, my efficiency got the better of me, as I cannot locate the picture of this pie. However, if you want to see what it should look like, visit Anna’s site. And while this wouldn’t be my go-to chocolate pie (you know my feelings about marshmallows...), J and Alexander loved it.

Luby’s Chocolate Icebox Pie – adapted from Texas Coop Power and Cookie Madness

2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tbs. butter or margarine
7 tbs. cornstarch
3 extra large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 baked 9-inch pie shell
Sweetened whipped cream, as needed
Chocolate curls or shavings, as needed

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk, sugar, cocoa and butter. Bring just to a boil over medium heat. In a medium bowl, mix together cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup milk until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Then whisk in egg yolks and vanilla extract until well-blended. Whisking constantly, gradually add egg and milk mixture to saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows until melted. Pour into pie shell. Press plastic wrap directly onto filling and refrigerate at least 4 hours. To serve, remove plastic wrap, top pie with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate curls.

Leek and Greens Pie

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat

Or at least in this house, it’s the Shih Tzu that’s getting fat:

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It’s not nice to say “fat” though …. so we shall say she’s getting….. plumpish.

She waits until Dyna the Indomitable Dachshund walks away from her bowl (Dyna eats one.piece.of.kibble.at.a.time… it’s maddening), then Daisy nonchalantly and very quietly moves in for the kill.

It’s quite genius, actually.

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And that story has nothing to do with this pie.

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However, making this recipe was a genius move on my part, because not only was it a cinch to put together, it was perfect warm from the oven (J and I had it for Thanksgiving dinner), and even better the next day.

Wait – I sense a familiar theme here… a genius move on Daisy’s part and a genius move on my part.

Great – I’m as intelligent as the dog.

Leek and Greens Pie – adapted from Food52

Cornmeal Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • pinch salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water, plus more as necessary

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt.

Add in the butter, then working quickly rub it in with your fingers or cut it in with a pastry cutter until it is mixed in and you have lumps about the size of peas. Stir in the quarter cup water with a fork until the dough just comes together into a bunch of large dough clumps. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to form the dough. Gather the pieces together and press them into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other, flatten them into discs, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.

When you are ready to make the pie, take the larger dough disc out of the fridge. If it is too hard to roll, let it sit at room temperature 5-10 minutes, but you don’t want it to get too soft. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger piece of dough out into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Lightly drape the rolled dough over a 9-inch round pie pan, press it into the pan and trim the edges. Wait to roll out the other piece of dough until the pie is filled.

Line the bottom crust with parchment or foil and weight it. Bake in a 425F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, remove the weights and lining, return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Then, set aside.

Greens Filling: 

  • 1 large bag of mixed winter greens
  • cloves of garlic, minced
  • medium leeks, washed well and thinly sliced – just the white and light green portions
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • cup packed grated Gruyere cheese
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • eggs
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. When the oil is shimmering, add the leeks. Stir and cook for 5 minutes over medium, then turn the heat to medium low and cook until the leeks are a lovely soft golden pile, about another 20 minutes. Turn the heat back to medium, stir in the greens and garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes until the flavors have mingled and any extra liquid has cooked off.

Transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in the cheese, lemon juice, eggs and sour cream until everything is well combined.

Spread the vegetable and cheese mixture into the prepared tart crust. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the second piece of dough into a 9 inch circle (use a pie plate to trace and trim it into a perfect circle), cut a shape or slits in the top and lay this over the tart filling. You don’t need to seal the top crust with the bottom, leaving a space gives the tart another air vent, and adds aesthetic interest.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom shelf of your oven to catch any drips, and place the tart on the middle shelf. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and fragrant. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before attempting to serve

Serve the pie warm or at room temperature.

Buttermilk Pie

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have been thinking about pie a lot these last few days. All different kinds of pie, that is – lemon, pecan, chocolate cream, pumpkin….. the list is endless.

What prompted this line of thought was that last year, on Thanksgiving Day, J and I made what I thought was a Buttermilk Pie. We had a great time making it, too. My contribution was the crust – don’t snicker – and I actually did a really good job.

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So imagine my surprise when I served a slice of this pie to him a few weeks ago, expecting some sort of recollection of our pie-making time together last year. Instead of the hoped-for trip down memory lane, he simply looked at me and said, “This is really good honey – what is it?” I looked at him for a moment, and replied, “Do you remember when we made buttermilk pie together last year?”

His response? “Oh that was CHESS pie, not buttermilk”.

No wonder it tasted so different……

Buttermilk Pie – adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs. flour
1 tbs grated lemon zest
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 stick butter, melted
1 unbaked 10-inch basic pie crust shell

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and lemon zest. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the buttermilk and melted butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the pie shell and bake until the top is lightly browned and the center sets, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Slice the pie into individual servings.

Roasted Cauliflower and Ricotta Pizza

I have a very complex and complicated relationship with homemade pizza. I have multiple kitchen gadgets (dough docker, iron pizza stone, and mini pizza oven, to name just a few) to assist me in the creation/baking process, yet I am invariably disappointed with the results. Either the crust is flavorless, underdone, overdone, lacking that wonderful crispy/chewy bite you get from restaurant style pizza, or is just plain blahhhh.

Until now. 

This recipe, from the current issue of Bon Appetit, was foolproof and delicious. The crust had the perfect ratio of crunchy edges to chewy middle, the topping was outstanding, and although there were a few steps to creating this masterpiece (i.e don’t attempt it for a weeknight dinner unless you have all the components prepped ahead of time), it was well worth every bit of time and effort to make it.

In fact, I think I’m going to try one of the other variations for tonight’s dinner.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Ricotta Pizza – adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters, seeded
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup finely ground breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup)

Assembly

  • Cauliflower:

Preheat oven to 400°. Toss cauliflower, lemon, and garlic with oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.
Roast, tossing occasionally, until cauliflower is tender but not browned, about 20 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over cauliflower and toss to coat. Discard lemon and garlic, if desired.
  • Breadcrumbs

Meanwhile, toss breadcrumbs and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool; toss with Parmesan.

  • Assembly

Place a rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 525° or as high as oven will go.
Once dough has risen in baking sheet, top with mozzarella, dot with ricotta, and top with cauliflower mixture. Bake until golden brown and crisp on bottom and sides, 20–30 minutes. Top pie with toasted breadcrumbs and bake 1 minute longer.

Serve topped with parsley.

 

Crack Pie

It is very rare to hear me say that a dessert is too sweet for me.

Very rare.

I honestly can’t even remember the last time the words “too sweet” came to mind.

Unless you’re talking about me, of course.

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I’m kidding, I’m kidding.….

One bite of this pie, though, and all I could taste was “sweet”. Like tooth-achingly sweet. I even bribed persuaded cajoled Sabrina into trying a bite, for an unbiased, third party opinion.

Her words: “Wow…..this is really sugary sweet.”

Now I am well aware of the fact that this recipe, from the legendary Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC, is universally loved and adored by millions.

I just don’t happen to be one of them. 

Crack Pie – adapted from Chrisina Tosi

Crust:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 9 tbs (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 5 1/2 tbs. (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 6 1/2 tbs heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

Filling:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk together both sugars and melted butter until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight.

Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.