26 October 2015

Snickerdoodle Pie

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Snickerdoodles.  I have posted about them here on latent chestnut and on Family Tree-Eats.  They are one of my favorite cookies, and Emilie's personal favorite.  The other day, Em and I were making fresh pasta, and she kept talking about wanting to make a pie with the pasta dough.  I told her that the dough was completely different and that we would make a pie another time.  Though, I must say that the rolled pasta sheets do look similar to pie crust.

She wouldn't let it go and kept talking about making a pie.  I kept telling her we would do it another day.  Out of the blue, she said, "Can we make a snickerdoodle pie?"  That question perked my ears up in a hurry.  I had never heard of a snickerdoodle pie, and this sounded like to perfect time to dream one up.  We had a few errands to run, so she sat in the backseat with a pen and paper and I started listing off some ingredients for her to write down.  Before we knew it, we had the makings of a snickerdoodle pie.

As soon as we got home, we made a pie crust and put it in the refrigerator to cool before rolling it out.  Then we got to work on making the filling. I must have channeled my grandma's buttermilk pie recipe when Emilie and I were thinking of ingredients, because these pies are very similar.  Perhaps because I thought buttermilk would be the perfect component to a snickerdoodle inspired pie, because of it's tang.  But what gives snickerdoodles that bit of tang, I wondered?

When I think of snickerdoodles, I think of a cookie that is soft and chewy on the inside, delightfully crispy on the edges.  I think of the warm spiciness of the cinnamon and the use of cream of tartar in the recipe.  Dare I add cream of tartar to the pie?  What does it even do?  Does it even have it's own flavor?  I needed answers!

I went straight to the source and popped open my jar of cream of tartar and tasted it all by itself.  It was quite tangy and acidic.  Which makes sense because my snickerdoodles have a bit of tang that is balanced out by the sugar and cinnamon.  Cream of tartar also acts as a stabilizer, so I thought that it couldn't hurt to add some to our new pie creation.  I think it is just as much a part of snickerdoodles as the cinnamon and sugar coating.

The pie filling came together like nothing, especially since Emilie did it all by herself while I was rolling out the pie crust.  I just gave it a final whisking at the end to make sure all the ingredients were thoroughly integrated.  To replicate the cinnamon sugar coating on the traditional cookie, we mixed some cinnamon and sugar together and rubbed it in to the empty pie shell.  Then, with about 20 left in the cooking process, we dusted the top of the pie with more cinnamon and sugar.

The pie had the look of a snickerdoodle, but it was now time for the moment of truth...tasting and judgment!  Upon removing the first slice of pie, I breathed a sigh of relief because the filling had set up beautifully.  It was nice and creamy, and just looked delicious.  After taking the first bite, my eyes lit up and I knew we had something special.

This pie is creamy, tangy, sweet and cinnamon-ny.  The pie crust and the cinnamon and sugar topping add a nice texture, that is ever so reminiscent of a snickerdoodle.  The tang from the buttermilk and cream of tartar are balanced by the sugar to create a truly unique pie.  This one is a keeper!

Just out of curiosity, I did an internet search for snickerdoodle pie and found the options very limited. So, not only is this pie incredibly satisfying and delicious, I think it is pretty unique, too.  To think, it probably wouldn't have happened if Emilie didn't want to make a pie with pasta dough...

Snickerdoodle Pie
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 stick melted butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup buttermilk

1 9 inch pie crust (preferably homemade)

1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, melted butter, flour, cream of tartar, and buttermilk until thoroughly combined.

In a small bowl or cup, mix together the cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Take half of the cinnamon sugar mixture and rub onto the top of the empty pie crust.  Then, pour the filling into the pie crust and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.   Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes. 

Then, pull out the oven rack or take the pie out of the oven and top with the remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Return the pie to the 300 degree oven and continue to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the filling barely jiggles when moved. Cool completely before serving.

22 October 2015

Chai Latte Bars

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Cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.  Comforting, warm spices that find perfect harmony in this delightful recipe that is perfect for autumn. 

This is another recipe that does not call for any leavening agent, so the bars are dense and packed with flavor.  The oats add just the right amount of texture and the white chocolate adds just the right amount of sweetness to balance the spice of the bars. 

Speaking of the white chocolate.  Please buy the real stuff in bar form.  Do not buy white morsels.  First of all, the Premier White Morsels do not say chocolate anywhere on them.  Secondly, they do not melt, or at least they do not melt for me.  I have even tried heating them over a water bath, in the microwave, you name it, and the morsels just end up a congealed mess.  I don't understand it. 

I do know that the actual white chocolate it bar form, melts like a dream, and spreads so nicely over the warm bars.  So, the extra expense is worth it for such drastic results.

Chai Latte Bars
Recipe inspired by Food Network Kitchens

2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons malted milk powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
9 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, malted milk powder, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.  Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. To the butter and sugar mixture, add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer to low and beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Place the batter in the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the top with the white chocolate, then return the pan to the oven until the chocolate softens, about 45 seconds.  Remove from the oven again and spread the chocolate into a smooth layer with a spatula.

Transfer to a rack and let cool completely, then cut into squares.

07 October 2015

Pumpkin Puree

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Simplicity.  Food doesn't have to be complicated.  This application can be done with two ingredients, pumpkins and salt.  The result will leave you never wanting to reach for a can again.

I always get a little rush of excitement when I see the pie pumpkins hit the store shelves.  I have been making my own pumpkin puree for several years now, and let me tell you, it will elevate your pumpkin pies and pumpkins breads to levels you could only imagine with the canned stuff.  I even added some pumpkin puree to my last batch of beef and noodles, and I couldn't believe how good it was, but that's another post.

The flavor added to the pumpkin from the roasting and salt, make it delicious enough to eat by the spoonful.  So, when you start with a product that tastes so good on it's own, you can't go wrong when making your favorite pumpkin recipe.

Pumpkin Puree
Recipe inspired by Alton Brown

1 (4 to 6-pound) baking pumpkin, rinsed and dried
Kosher salt


Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem from the pumpkin and split the pumpkin in half from top to bottom, using a large knife.  Scoop out the seeds and fiber. Sprinkle the inside pumpkin flesh with kosher salt and lay the halves, flesh side down, on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Roast the pumpkin until a paring knife can be easily inserted and removed from the flush, about 30 to 45 minutes. Test in several places to ensure doneness. Remove the half sheet pan from the oven to a cooling rack and cool for 1 hour.

Remove the roasted pumpkin flesh from the skin and place in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the flesh is smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.


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