Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Star-tastic Blueberry Pie

With Halloween just around the corner I thought I'd do a blog post about...


Okay, pie has nothing to do with Halloween. Except I will be making some spook-tacular finger nail pie in the next week. Not to mention the harry arachnid cupcakes and the snot brulee. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

In the meantime, lets think pie, blueberry pie. Or more accurately lets think STAR-TASTIC blueberry pie! Sure this pie is screaming 4th of July, but really stars are not only for those who are patriotic. And frankly, you can be patriotic all year round (even on Halloween). Particularly if pie is involved!

(makes one pie)

1 recipe Pate Brisee
6 cups of blueberries
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter (cut in pieces)
1 egg
1 tbsp milk

1) Make one recipe of Pate Brisee for the pie dough.
2) Mix berries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
3) Put pie crust in bottom of pie pan, then fill with berry mixture and dot with butter.
4) Cover with second crust. To make it star-tacular, cut stars out of the crust with a star-shaped cookie cutter. Adorn crust with star shapes you've cut out.
5) Chill pie for 30 min.
6) While pie is chilling pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
7) Whisk egg and milk together and glaze the top of the pie.
8) Bake pie for 20 min at 425 degrees. Then turn temperature down to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 30 to 40 minutes.
9) Eat!!!

Star-tacular thanks to Russell Gearhart Photography for the star quality photographs!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Name is Brulee, Creme Brulee

If James Bond had a favorite dessert, I bet it would be Creme Brulee. The man is a sexy international spy, so it's only natural that he would desire something sophisticated and irresistible, (which of course also requires a blow torch). The name's Brulee, Creme Brulee! *Cue James Bond music, followed by an extensive car chase and million dollar explosions.*

That's right, now we're baking dangerously.

Okay, despite the set up, Creme Brulee is actually not that difficult to make. Yes, it does require a blow torch. But if a huge flame-o-phob like me can get over it (with much prodding by my long haired long term boyfriend) then so can you. Follow these simple steps and you just might find yourself in Her Majesties secret baking service. They call me double-O Cupcake, baby!

Classic Creme Brulee

(Serves 8)

1 quart heavy cream (this is the key ingredient so don't skimp on it. I buy the fancy organic stuff, and boy does it make a difference in the flavor!)
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar (for the baking)
1/2 cup sugar (for the brulee-ing)
6 large egg yolks

Blow Torch (I use one from Home Depot, it's cheaper than the fancy-shmancy baby ones at the kitchen boutiques, and works just as well. Plus it makes you look hard core!)
8 Ramekins


1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Place ramekins into one or two deep cake tins or casserole dishes.
3) Heat cream and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan at a medium-high temperature. Bring to a boil, and then remove pan from heat, cover, and let cream sit for 15 minutes.
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of sugar and egg yolks until light in color.
5) Stirring constantly, slowly add the cream to the bowl.
6) Pour or ladle the mixture into the 8 oz. ramekins.
7) Create a water bath by filling the cake tins/casserole dishes with water so that the water is about half way up the sides of the ramekins.
8) Bake the ramekins in the water bath for 40 to 45 minutes. The tops of the custards should wobble a bit. Be very careful when you remove the pans as the water will be very hot.
9) Let ramekins cool in the water bath for about 10 minutes.
10) Place ramekins in the fridge and let cool for a minimum of 2 hours.
11) When ready to serve, remove ramekins from fridge and sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the top of the custard (about 1/8 of an inch thick).

12) Flip a bowl upside down (or an unused ramekin) and place the custard you wish to brulee on top of it.

13) Fire up the torch baby!

14) With the flame about one inch long, hold the flame about 1/2 an inch to one inch above the sugared top of the custard. You will see the sugar bubble and melt. Slowly move through the whole custard so the top is melted in all areas. Take your time, it may take a minute or so.

15) Garnish with fresh berries or chocolate bits, and serve immediately!

Mmmm Mmmmm Good!

A fantastic shout out to Russell Gearhart Photography for documenting this process and for not catching on fire!