Archive for Pies


Is it possible to have too much fun? These past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of graduation events, parties, BBQs, and weddings. I think I’ve had more alcohol this past week than plain old water (which, if you know me at all, is not something I normally do). Is that bad?

Consequently, blogging has hit the backburner as I slowly make it through the flurry of goodbyes (many of my friends are leaving the area, myself included, and moving elsewhere for residency) and soaking up the last bits of free time we’ll all have in a long time. I apologize. I’ll try to post consistently but the commenting thing may not happen until I’m settled in July. Be patient.

In the meantime, this crostata was an easy dessert to prepare for my family when time was short. It tasted of summer without requiring any completely fresh fruit (is anyone else terrible at picking out the sweetest fruit from the stand?). You can substitute any jam/preserves you wish making this insanely adaptable to your pantry! Can you really go wrong with Giada?

Crostata with Raspberry Preserves
adapted from Giada at Food Network


  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp ice water
  • 12 oz (3/4 c) raspberry preserves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • powdered sugar, optional

In a food processor, blend flour, sugar, and lemon zest. Add in butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add salt and continue pulsing. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough begins to form together when pressed with your fingers. I used 3 1/2 tablespoons in total. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a round, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, approximately one hour.

Once chilled, preheat oven to 400F. Roll dough out into an 11-inch round on a piece of parchment cut to fit your baking sheet. In a small bowl mix together preserves and lemon juice. Spread over dough, leaving 2 inches all around. Fold over crust, sealing gently, to create an 8-inch round. Place parchment on baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned. When cooled, sprinkle toasted almonds and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Cookie Dough Pie

As of sometime today I will officially be a doctor. (I hear I won’t leave the premises for 6 hours.. so the exact timing of this doctor-hood beginning is unknown.)

Can you believe it?

Me neither.

Since coming back from China it’s been a whirlwind of tying up loose ends and graduation festivities. I alternate from sleeping in and being sleep-deprived. My mood switches rapidly from sadness to be closing this chapter and happiness for the same thing. And in the midst of it all, of course, I’ve been baking.

I made this pie for a barbecue last week. I unfortunately had to leave early and didn’t get the chance to hear everyone’s feedback but I stole a slice, took a bite, and I was in complete heaven. Before we left, Boy had stolen two pieces of his own and the entire group knew we thought the pie was perfection in a spoon.

Cookie Dough Cream Pie
adapted from Love and Olive Oil

For crust:

  • 7 oz chocolate wafer cookies like Oreos, filling scraped out/eaten
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For cookie dough:

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/8 c granulated sugar
  • 3/8 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c mini chocolate chips

For brown sugar cream:

  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 c milk, divided
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For whipped topping:

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Using a food processor (or your own hands if you have some pent up anger), grind the cookie wafers into crumbs. Combine with melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate, using the bottom of a measuring cup or ramekin to ensure even thickness. Bake for 8 minutes and set aside to cool completely. Keep oven on for cookies.

For cookie dough/cookie garnish: Beat butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and milk and combine. Add in flour, salt, and baking soda on low speed until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips by hand. Take 8 small chunks of dough and form 1/2″ balls, reserving the rest of the dough for the pie. Bake small balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 7-9 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Cool completely.

For brown sugar cream: In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, flour and salt. Add in one cup of milk and while stirring constantly bring to a boil over medium heat. Thicken for 2 minutes then remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and remaining cup of milk. Temper egg yolks by adding some of the thickened heated mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisking to warm. Pour entire egg yolk mixture back into saucepan, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil again. Then, lower heat and simmer for another minute, until it is the consistency of thick pudding. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.

For assembly: Break off pieces of cookie dough and begin forming a cookie dough layer atop the cookie crust. You want a layer approximately 1/2″ thick. If there’s leftover feel free to snack. Then, pour slightly cooled cream filling atop the cookie dough layer, smoothing over the top with a spatula. Pop in the fridge until completely chilled.

For whipped topping: When ready to serve, beat heavy cream on low to medium speed until soft peaks form. Add in sugar and vanilla and continue beating on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread over top of pie, reserving some for a piping bag if desired. Garnish with cooled cookies and serve!

Yes, I took this picture in Boy’s car while driving to the party. Shoot me.

Congratulations Class of 2011!!

Crack Pie

ATTENTION ATTENTION: If you or anyone you know is trying to lose weight, stop (STOP STOP) reading this post right now at this very second.

Or, if you absolutely must, read the post but eat two giant handfuls of salad right afterward because you will feel your thighs twitching.

I made Momofuku’s famous Crack Pie.

I don’t know what came over me. Really, I plead temporary insanity brought on by the grumbling in my stomach and a distinct memory of the pie I ate months ago on a summery NYC night.

My brother, a to-be lawyer, has assured me that this insanity defense will stand up in court when you all sue me for millions on account of the insane amount of weight you’ll gain after even just seeing this stuff.

It’s that sinful.

But don’t the most sinful things taste the most amazing? It feels good to be bad.

I almost didn’t share this with you, by the way. Actually, I’m not really sharing with anyone at this point in time. I’ve hidden the pie away underneath piles of leftovers in the fridge and no one in this house but me knows that it’s there. I’ve been sneaking small pieces of it every chance I get and then slipping it back into its hiding spot. The one time I let Boy have a bit, the tiniest bite I could possibly give up without demanding some form of monetary compensation (or dishwashing, a baker’s dream – am I right or am I right?!), he said, “Whoa. You can NOT be making that kind of pie.” He then instructed me to stop eating it. He knew already by the look of the mostly eaten pie plate, that I was addicted.

No wonder they call it Crack Pie!

Apparently this is the week where I share how my recipes don’t always come out perfectly because this pie, thought perfectly delicious, caused me much anguish when it came out of the fridge (after coming out of the oven) and proceeded to ooze all over the place when cut. Underbaked. I threw a tantrum.

And then I took a bite of the ooey-gooeyness. And then another. And two pieces later I decided that it wasn’t the prettiest thing ever, but it was certainly the most delicious. It had to be shared. At all costs. You see, it’s an oatmeal cookie-based crust, barely sweet, completely homemade and laden with butter that complements the buttery sweet filling. It tastes almost like a pecan pie but without all those annoying pecans and more carefully balanced with its perfect crust.

I’ll cry when there’s no more pie to be had.

Crack Pie
adapted from the LA Times’ posting of a Momofuku favorite and seen on Almost Bourdain

Makes 2 10″ pies. (I halved this and made one pie but the measurements were sketchy at times so I’m posting the original.)

Note: The recipe did not specify whether or not the brown sugar should be packed. I packed it but not overly tightly.


For cookie to be used in crust:

  • 2/3 c + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • scant 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • scant 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • scant 1 c rolled oats

For crust:

  • 1 sheet cooled oatmeal cookie, crumbled
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

For filling:

  • 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c + scant 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c + 1 tsp milk powder
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 c + scant 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 egg yolks
  • powdered sugar (optional)

For cookie to be used in crust, Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg and mix until well combined. Beat in the flour a little bit at a time until incorporated. Stir in oats.

Spread mixture onto a 9×13″ baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

For crust, Combine cookie, butter, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture begins to stick to itself and is well combined. Divide among 2 10″ pie plates and press onto the bottom and up the sides of each plate. Set aside.

For filling, Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together sugar, brown sugar, salt, and milk powder in a large bowl. Whisk in the melted butter followed by the heavy cream and vanilla. Finally, whisk in the egg yolks but take care not to add too much air. When combined, divide the filling between the 2 prepared shells. One at a time, bake each pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325F and bake just until the filling is slightly jiggly, approximately 10 minutes more. Note: If you are using 9″ plates, baking time will have to be increased approximately 5 minutes to account for the thicker filling. Cool pies on rack to room temperature, then refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold and dusted with powdered sugar if desired.

Excuse me while I get more pie. I’m in withdrawal.

DB November – Chocolate Fruit Crostata


So how did it go, everyone?

Lots of family, friends, and love? Some turkey with stuffing?  Mashed goodness? Sweet goodies in crusts?

I was lucky this year and celebrated two Thanksgivings, once with my friends and once with my family. That meant double the fun, double the cheer, double the poultry, and double the dessert. So this month’s Daring Bakers challenge could not have come at a better time! This way, I could make the challenge for one Thanksgiving and make the dessert of my choosing for the next. And ohhh how excited I was to make this challenge! It was actually quite easy and I imagine it won’t be the last time I attempt to make a lovely crostata with some minis for snacking.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge the Daring Bakers to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Chocolate Fruit Crostata
adapted from the Daring Bakers website and Dorie

Makes 1 crostata.


For Pasta Frolla:

  • scant 3/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small piece

For Assembly:

  • fruits of your choice, sliced if necessary


For Pasta Frolla: [I made mine using a food processor but see the DB website if you are making it by hand.] Pulse sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor to mix. Then add cold butter and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Empty contents of the food processor onto your work surface.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the beaten eggs.  Using a fork, begin to combine the eggs with the dry ingredients then use fingertips to finish. Knead until a ball forms – do NOT overknead as the cold butter will get warmed by your hands and you will lose the flaky crust – and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, patting into a round disk. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch or 3 mm and place in tart pan (or pie plate which is where I made mine). Cut off excess around the edges. Place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to cover the dough and hang over the edges and place in pan. Fill with dried beans or rice in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes. Take off weights and foil/parchment and bake again for 5 more minutes. If the dough begins to puff up without the weights, gently push it back down with the back of a spoon. Allow shell to cool completely before filling.

You can use leftover dough to make cookies or these little fruit crostatas I made by spooning a bit of strawberry jam atop rounds of dough followed by a lazy lattice (not woven) of dough strips on top.

For Pastry Cream: Heat milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick. Whisk in about 1/4 c of the hot milk, stirring constantly so as not to cook the eggs. Then, slowly add the rest of the milk while whisking constantly. Heat this over medium heat and bring to a boil while continue to stir constantly. Once at a boil, continue to cook while whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Whisk in the melted chocolate and let sit for five minutes. Then, whisk in the butter until fully incorporated. Cool the custard either by refrigerating with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface or using an ice bath and stirring occasionally.

To Assemble: Whisk cream briefly, then spoon into pastry shell. Smooth top with back of spoon. Layer fruit however desired.

PS. Don’t forget about the giveaway!

No-Bake White Chocolate Pie

My mood is much MUCH better today than it was a few days ago. I apologize for that quite uncharacteristic sob story. Honestly, one of the lowest moments I’ve ever had. Except for the time frame of lasting only a few days, I could have been clinically diagnosed with depression.

You can tell I feel much better when the nerd in me makes an appearance.

You know I was never really THAT bad since I kept a running tab of how many criteria for depression I filled at any given time.

Anyway, a big part of my stress and depress(ion) was this here weekend. While pulling my full load on my medicine clerkship (which is killing me by the way)  PLUS make a diaper cake for a friend’s baby shower (have you ever seen one of these? They’re adorable but quite time-consuming to make!), create some cupcakes for the same shower (settled on lychee mango.. will be sharing that recipe soon because they were a hit!), and coming up with something/making something for Boy’s BBQ tomorrow (going to do my first Daring Bakers challenge!! eeeeeeek!). And now that we’re halfway through the weekend and the shower’s over, I can rest a little easier.

And I am.

By parking myself in front of my parents’ humongo flat-screen with my laptop on which I’m doing questions. I am! So far.. I’ve done 22 in 2 hours. Clearly, my efficiency needs improvement. Or the Travel Channel needs to stop showing their Extreme series. Extreme Pig Outs and Extreme Fast Food? So interesting. Have you seen the monstrosities people actually eat? Like here. THE HEART ATTACK GRILL! Insanity.

This probably won’t give you a heart attack and at 350 calories per serving (the recipe makes 8), it’s really pretty healthy compared to  the 7,000 calorie burger I just saw on television (it looked delicious in case you’re wondering).

In honor of the BBQ tomorrow, I’m posting a pie I made for another recent outdoor event. It’s a bit like a cheesecake but much lighter, takes much less time, and is still heavenly. Now that I think about it, you don’t have to stop at bananas. Why not go for strawberries? Or kiwi fruit? Bacon? Freudian slip. Point is, it’s very easily adapted to whatever suits your taste.

No-Bake White Chocolate Pie
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

4 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c sour cream
1/2 c heavy cream, chilled
1 banana, thinly sliced
One ready-made 9″ graham-cracker crust [You can make one and bake it up but I just bought one. My guilt was made up for by time saved.]

Warm the chocolate in a bowl set over a pot of lightly simmering water. Remove from heat when only partially melted; stir to melt completely.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the chocolate, then the sour cream. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until firm; gently fold into chocolate mixture.

Arrangethe banana slices on the crust. [I’ve also made one with toffee chips. Sprinkle about 1-2 oz of toffee chips on top of the bananas. Not too many or it’ll take over the pie!] Top with the filling. Decorate with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings. Strawberries perhaps?  Chill at least 2 hours.

Yayyyyyyy PIE!

– Sharlene