weeknight gourmet

Category : Pie

Holiday Desserts: Bourbon Pecan Pie

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had a great holiday with Tim’s family and Charlotte loved her first big holiday.

Tim’s brother and his wife hosted Thanksgiving.  I brought two pies — an Apple Crumb and a Pecan Pie.  I had never made a pecan pie before but it is among Tim’s favorites and after 11 years together I figured he deserved one.  🙂  I solicited some advice on the pecan pie and my friend Todd insisted that the recipe include bourbon and my friend Mary suggested I look into Paula Deen recipes.  Both proved to be excellent pieces of advice!

The pie was devoured!  There wasn’t a single crumb left.  Apparently this will be my “go-to” pecan pie recipe!

Bourbon Pecan Pie
Paula Deen

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon
  • 1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie shell, unbaked

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar and melted butter. Add the corn syrup, eggs, pecans, and bourbon, and stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie shell, and place on a heavy-duty cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until pie is set. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

What's been cookin' in the Weeknight Gourmet's kitchen?

I haven’t gotten into the rhythm of posting since Charlotte was born but don’t think that means I haven’t been in the kitchen!  I have been cooking.  Weekly Fresh Direct deliveries, augmented by the occasional trip to Chelsea Market, have allowed me to have food on hand to prepare simple meals during the week.

I haven’t tried a ton of new recipes recently.  Instead I have been going back to recipes that I have made in the past that I can either prepare ahead of time or are very quick and easy to make.

Here are a few examples of meals I have made recently:

Lemon Spaghetti: I could eat this dish everyday!  So delicious — fresh and flavorful.  And, it only requires a few ingredients and virtually no chopping.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Asian Coleslaw: I prepped this ahead of time.  I was hoping there would be leftovers for lunch but it was all gone.  The coleslaw was a new recipe.  But, again, super simple and I was able to use the leftover soy glaze for another meal.

RIBS: This weekend we had Tim’s brother and his family up to the Berkshires.  I made my famous ribs, grilled corn, tomato and mozzarella, and shaved zucchini salad.  Instead of making the rub and sauce, I bought a store-made rub at Guido’s and used Bone Suckin’ Sauce.  The only side that really required any prep was the zucchini salad but it only took about 10 minutes.

Key Lime Pie: I made the easiest Key Lime Pie ever this weekend.  Judging by the fact four people finished it in two sittings, I think it was a hit!

Whole Wheat Penne with Eggplant and Mozzarella: I made myself some comfort food while Tim was traveling this week.  I bought some of my favorite eggplant cutlets from Trader Joe’s and cut them into bite-sized pieces.  I mixed the eggplant with whole wheat pasta, jarred tomato sauce, and diced fresh mozzarella.  Delish!

While I have been able to cook, our time around the dinner table has certainly changed since Charlotte was born.  She has uncanny timing — quiet as a mouse as I prepare dinner but then as soon as the meal hits the table the crying starts.  Tim and I sit together at the table and take turn eating and passing our gorgeous little girl back and forth.  I guess Charlotte already knows how important family dinners are and she doesn’t want to be left out.

And don’t worry — Angus has not allowed all the changes to affect his dinnertime behavior.  Our loving pooch sits at our feet desperately hoping for a scrap and being on the lookout for some dropped food.

Our little round kitchen table is getting more crowded and I couldn’t be happier.

Thanksgiving Dinner!

We enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving with my mom in the Berkshires.  Even though it was just three of us (plus Angus), we made the full bird and array of sides.  You shouldn’t have to sacrifice all your favorites tastes of the holiday even if you have a small crowd!  Below was our menu…everything was quite tasty and we all had a great holiday.

Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

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My Mom’s Stuffing
(My mom made the stuffing and it was as delicious as it always is but there’s no recipe.  I definitely need to document this someday.)

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Smashed Sweet Potatoes

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Tim’s Favorite Green Bean Casserole
(I just follow the Campbell’s Soup Recipe)

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Corn Spoon Bread

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Brussels Sprouts with Radicchio & Pancetta

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Cranberry Sauce
(shhh…we used store bought)

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Pumpkin Pie

Holiday Dessert: Pumpkin Pie

My pumpkin pie last year came out looking better (see big crack in pie on photo below) but it was just as delicious this year.  I’ve used the same Martha Stewart recipe for the past two years and everyone seems to really enjoy it.

I use canned pumpkin and refrigerator pie crust as shortcuts.  I just really don’t love working with pastry and didn’t have the time to roast a pumpkin.  If you buy canned pumpkin, make sure you do not buy canned pumpkin pie filling by mistake — just pure canned pumpkin.

When you skip making the crust yourself, the pie is super quick to make — no excuse for buying a pie.

Pumpkin Pie
Martha Stewart

Makes one 9-inch pie

  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh Pumpkin Puree, or canned
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • Pate Brisee (Pie Dough)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree, and 3 eggs. Beat well. Add evaporated milk, and combine. Set aside.

Between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll pate brisee into a 12-inch circle. Fit pastry into a 9-inch glass pie plate; trim dough evenly along edge, leaving about a 1/2-inch overhang. Pinch to form a decorative edge. If the dough begins to soften, chill for 15 minutes.

Make the glaze: Beat the remaining egg, and combine with heavy cream. Brush glaze very lightly on edges of pie shell. Fill pie shell with pumpkin mixture. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack.

Fall Desserts: Dutch Apple Pie

It’s apple season!  And, that means apple pie!

The Little Pie Company in our neighborhood has the most delicious Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie so I searched online for a similar recipe.  I didn’t find one with sour cream in the recipe but I found this absolutely delicious Dutch Apple Pie recipe in Food & Wine.

We picked up a peck of fresh Honey Crisps and Macouns at Windy Hill in Great Barrington, MA on Saturday so I used a combo of the two for the pie.  No changes to the recipe other than using a Pillsbury refrigerator crust as a time saver.

IMG_3631

Everyone loved the pie!!  The apple filling was delicious and the brown sugar topping was amazing with a little crunch from the walnuts.  This recipe is a keeper!

Dutch Apple Pie
Food & Wine

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed, plus 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 6 large apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks or thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a food processor, pulse 1 1/4 cups of the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add 1 stick of the butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Drizzle on the ice water and pulse until evenly moistened crumbs form; turn out onto a surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Set a baking sheet on the bottom rack. In a bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour and the cinnamon.
On a floured surface, roll a disk of the dough to a 13-inch round; fit it into a deep 10-inch glass pie plate and brush the overhang with water. Crimp the overhang. Spoon in the apples.
In a bowl, whisk the remaining 1 cup of flour, the light brown sugar, the baking soda and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the 6 tablespoons of softened butter and rub the mixture until sandy. Add the walnuts. Press the mixture into clumps and sprinkle over the pie.
Bake the pie in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cover the edge of the pie if it begins to darken. Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before serving.

Best Blueberry Pie Ever? Blueberry Crumble Pie

We had lots of visitors of the human, canine, and baby variety this weekend in Becket — the Sheehans (Amy, Colin and Lucy), the Fleckers (Kate, Evan, Duncan, and Sadie), and Danny, Rachel, and Maddie (woof!).  We had lots of fun, Angus had many playmates, and I think we all ate well.

Colin, Amy, and Lucy arrived in time for dinner on Friday.  We had grilled Asian salmon — again I made it with Sockeye Salmon which is so delicious.

Danny, Rachel, and little Maddie arrived in time for dessert.  I had baked this yummy blueberry crumble pie earlier in the day.  The pie was made with fresh wild blueberries from Becket, MA.  Danny said that this may have been the best blueberry pie he ever had.  At the very least, it was super delicious!!

I had a frozen pie crust in the freezer so I decided to use that.  What a time saver!  The crust was from the Vermont Mystic Pie Company.  This is definitely a higher-end (aka expensive) frozen pie crust.  I followed the recommendation on the box to bake it for a while with parchment paper and pie weights on top to ensure a crisp crust.

The filling couldn’t have been easier — blueberries, brown sugar, and flour.  The crumble was also very easier to make — cold butter, white sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.  I don’t have a pastry blender so I just used a fork and my hands to make the crumble topping.  I didn’t have quite enough light brown sugar, so there was a touch of dark brown sugar in the topping.

Overall, a simple pie showcasing our delicious local berries!  Look for more recipes from the weekend shortly!

WS's photo of the pie recipe.  Too much entertaining going on for me to photography my pie.
WS’s photo of the pie recipe. Too much entertaining going on for me to photography my pie.

Blueberry Crumble Pie
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans & Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2003)

  • 1 recipe Basic Pie Dough
  • 3/4 cup plus 5 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 5 cups blueberries

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

Roll out the dough and transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Refrigerate until firm. Line the chilled piecrust with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fill with dried beans, uncooked rice or pie weights. Bake until the crust dries out, about 15 minutes; to check, lift an edge of the foil. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Reduce the heat to 350°F. Continue to bake until the crust is lightly browned on the edges and dry-looking on the bottom, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the crust to a wire rack.

Increase the heat to 375°F.

In a large bowl, stir together the 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp. of the cinnamon and the salt. Scatter the butter pieces on top and toss with a fork or your fingers to coat with the flour mixture. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the ingredients together until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas. Set the topping aside.

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar, the remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon and 4 Tbs. of the flour. Stir gently to coat the blueberries evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbs. flour and the 1 Tbs. granulated sugar over the bottom of the prebaked crust. Pour the filling into the crust, spreading it evenly.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the blueberry filling. Bake the pie until the topping is golden brown and the blueberry filling just begins to bubble, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Serve at room temperature. The pie is best served the day it is baked.

Makes one 9-inch pie.