Extreme Mud Pie

This ice cream pie is dangerous! Deliciously dangerous that is… I love the comment I wrote in my cookbook after making this recipe for the first time a few years back: “Holy s**t amazing.” The original recipe calls for coffee ice cream (which is delicious) but really, any ice cream will work. This past week was my new roommate’s birthday and his favorite ice cream is the Extreme Moose Tracks (danger zone) so voila, this creation was born.

Note: You really have to be patient with the freezing process. This is a pretty simple recipe but requires a lot of patience. I made the mistake of cutting into it too early and the ice cream just started oozing. Trust me, the waiting is worth it 🙂

Extreme Mud Pie

Sooooo delicious

Extreme Mud Pie

Adaptation of Mississippi Mud Pie in the Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
  • 3 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 1 cup powered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate covered toffee bits
  • 1 quart Extreme Moose Tracks ice cream

Whiskey Whipped Cream

  • 1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 Tbs whiskey (I used Jameson)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs powered sugar

First make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Mix the cookie crumbs and sugar together then add the melted butter. Stir until everything is evenly combined. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan using your fingers. It will take a little maneuvering to get the crust evenly spread out. Bake until firm, about 7 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

Cookie Crumb Crust

While the crust is cooling, make the chocolate mixture that will line the crust as well as cover the top of the pie. In a double boiler (or in my case, a metal bowl over a pot of barely simmering water), combine the chocolate chips, butter, heavy cream, and corn syrup. Stir occasionally until everything is smooth and melted.

Starting the chocolate mixture

Remove the chocolate mixture from heat and add the powered sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Reserve ½ cup of the chocolate for the top. Spread the remaining mixture evenly over the bottom of the pie crust. I recommend pouring the mixture evenly around the bottom so  there is minimum usage of a spatula. Sprinkle with half the toffee chips (¼ cup). Refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.

Adding the powered sugar and vanilla

First Layer: Complete

Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes or until softened. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer and beat the ice cream until it is spreadable but not runny. Immediately pour the ice cream into the chilled crust and freeze until firm – at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Ice Cream Layer

Reheat the reserved chocolate mixture either in a double boiler or in the microwave. Now important tip: WAIT until the mixture is cool (spreadable but cool) and then spread over the ice cream. I did not wait and accidentally melted the ice cream on top which led to a messy chocolate/ice cream topping. Next sprinkle the remaining toffee bits over the top and return to the freezer. Freeze for at least another hour.

Ice Cream Topping

Finally, the whipped cream: Using a standing mixer, combine the heavy cream, whiskey, vanilla, and powered sugar. Using a wire whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the ice cream pie and top with the whipped cream. Return to the freezer and freeze until firm – at least 3-4 hours. Then… devour.

Final Layer: Whipped Cream!

Yummy!

All the layers!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Turnovers

It’s beginning to look a lot like SUMMER! In Colorado it certainly is warming up and I am loving it. This weather is perfect for blossoming gardens, sun tea, white wine, and a million other wonderful summer things. One of the best parts is all the delicious produce growing right in the backyard or in this case, my Mom’s backyard – her wild and scrumptious RHUBARB!! That plant grows like crazy.

Lately I have been on a pie kick that probably won’t end anytime soon. To mix things up, I decided to make turnovers with my pie crust instead of a traditional pie. I used a favorite recipe from my Williams-Sonoma Baking Book and added some fresh grated ginger to give the filling some flair. The filling was delicious and some of the turnovers turned out beautiful. Unfortunately, the success rate wasn’t as high as I had hoped but I have some Lessons Learned for you all!

Strawberry Rhubarb Turnovers

Strawberry Rhubarb Turnovers

Makes 14 turnovers

Ingredients:

  • 2 Awesome Pie Crust dough rounds – found here
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 6-8 stalks fresh rhubarb (about 3-4 cups), chopped into ½ inch bites
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • Milk and granulated sugar for sprinkling on top (maybe ¼ cup each)

Once the two pie crust dough rounds are thoroughly chilled, roll one out at a time. If it is as hot in your kitchen as it was in mine, move quickly. The key to delicious pie crust is cold fat (those chunks of butter and shortening are good!).  Roll out the dough and cut out circles, the size of your choice. I used the rim of a small bowl and made a total of fourteen 7-inch dough rounds. I lined a few baking sheets with parchment paper and placed two dough rounds per sheet. Then I used plastic wrap to layer the rounds so the circles stacked up 3-4 high. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is cold and firm, about 30-45 minutes.

While the dough circles are chilling, combine the dry ingredients – sugar, cornstarch, tapioca, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, and ginger.

Dry ingredients!

Fruit Mixture

When you are ready to start making the turnovers, combine the dry ingredients with the fruit. Looking back, I would have split the ingredients in half before mixing and waited to mix the second batch until I ran out of the first fruit mixture. After a while, the fruit gets soggy and juice forms at the bottom. You want the fruit to be as firm as possible when making the turnovers.

To maximize the cold dough, keep the baking sheets with the dough rounds in the refrigerator and remove one circle at a time. I used roughly 1/3 cup filling per round, scooping the filling to one side of the circle. Use a pastry brush to brush the edges lightly with ice water before folding the circle in half. It helps with the seal but if it becomes too wet, use flour to dry it up. Avoid making it too wet whenever possible.

The start of the turnover

By the end, I figured my personal technique was holding the turnover while making the initial sealing of the dough. Then I put the turnover down and crimped the edges. I had to move fast though because the heat from my hands did effect the dough. As this was my first time trying turnovers, it worked for me but I bet there are better, faster methods!

Sealing the turnover

Crimped

Place the turnovers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, make a few slits on the top to allow steam to escape. Once the baking sheet is full, lightly brush the turnovers with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the dough is chilled, immediately put into the oven and bake for 22-28 minutes. Let cool on a rack. EAT!

Strawberry Rhubarb Turnover

Lessons Learned:

  • The fruit got too soggy by the end. Either move quickly or combine the dry and fruit ingredients twice like I mention in the recipe.
  • Only remove the dough from the refrigerator when necessary. It is crucial to keep the dough as cold and firm as possible so the turnover is easy to shape.
  • The pie recipe I converted called for a few small cold chunks of butter on top of the filling. I forgot this and am wondering how it would have affected the result…

I’m still experimenting this whole ‘pie thing’ 😉 mainly the part about making them look attractive… But it certainly is a fun thing to play with in the kitchen! Enjoy!

Pumpkinlicious (part 2)

As mentioned in the previous post, Steph and I baked and pureed a pumpkin. Having a ridiculous amount of pumpkin puree meant we needed to get creative with using most of it up. I had some disposable aluminum mini-tart pans in the cupboard so, spur of the moment decision, we decided to make Mini Pumpkin Ginger Pies.

I have an incredible pie crust recipe thanks to Cooks Illustrated that I’ve been using for several years now. The secret? Ice cold vodka.

Awesome Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 Tablespoon sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons cold vodka
  • 2 Tablespoons cold water

In a food processor, combine 3/4 cup flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse for a few 1-second pulses until combined. Add cold butter and shortening and pulse for about 10 seconds or until dough begins to clump together. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse mixture for an additional few seconds or until the mixture is evenly combined. Pour dough into a medium bowl.

About to add the liquid

Sprinkle the cold water and vodka over the flour mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, press the dough together until the mixture sticks to itself and forms a tacky dough (don’t combine too much, you want the chunks of butter and shortening to remain distinct). Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or until cold.

I doubled this recipe for my 8 mini-pies but this recipe is meant for one pie crust. If you’re making a pie with a dough top (for example, an apple pie) then simply double this recipe and make two 4-inch disks refrigerating.

Once the dough is cold, remove from the refrigerator and roll out on a baking mat. I used the mini pans to measure how much dough to use – cutting out a circle an inch larger than the top of the pan.

Rolling out pie dough

Press the dough into the small pans and store in the freezer to speed up the cooling process. After all eight pans have dough lining them, pull two out at a time, and flute the top of the crust. The trick to delicious flaky pie crust is keeping the dough as cold as possible so the fats remain in chunks in the dough.

Fluting the mini pies
Keeping the pie crust cold in the freezer

After all eight mini-pie pans have cold crust again, cover each crust with foil and add pie weights. You can really use anything oven-safe for pie weights. Dried beans or rice works great and I’ve even used actual rocks before, thanks to my mom’s plethora of tumbled stones in her art studio.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes. Remove the foil (with the pie weights) and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until pie crusts are golden brown. Cool.

Pie crusts cooling

Mini-Pumpkin Pies with Ginger Almond Topping:

Disclaimer: Below is how much we actually made. However, it was too much for eight mini-tart pans and we had to quickly whip up a graham cracker crust so we could use up the rest of the filling and make Pumpkin Ginger Bars. I’d recommend either cutting down the filling recipe to three-fourths the size or making 12 mini-pie crusts. It is likely you’ll have enough dough for 12 mini-pies if you double the pie crust recipe above like we did (we had extra dough).

Pumpkin Filling:

  • 4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a food processor, puree the pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, and salt until smooth.Pour mixture into a large saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until sputtering and thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Add evaporated milk to pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Then whisk in eggs and vanilla.
Steph adding the evaporated milk

Pour filling into warm pie crusts and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until center barely moves when pies are shaken and the filling edges are cracked. While the pies bake, make the topping.

Filling the pies
Pies baking

Ginger Almond Topping:

  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine the almonds, crystallized ginger, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the corn syrup and vanilla, making sure all ingredients are well blended.

Topping

Once the pies have cooked as specified above, sprinkle the topping evenly over all the pies. Bake pies for an additional 5-7 minutes or until topping is bubbling. Cool completely.

Sprinkling the topping
Fresh out of the oven

If you so desire, top with a delicious Sweetened Whipping Cream:

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, blend on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Serve mini-pies with a dollop on top! Bon Appetit!

Yum!

p.s. Steph also made some delicious pumpkin seeds. Taking the pumpkin seeds that’d been dug out of the pumpkin, the seeds were washed in a colander with cold water to remove as much pumpkin guts as possible.

Before being washed

Next, in a large pot bring 6 cups water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt and then add the pumpkin seeds. Boil the seeds for 10 minutes. Drain and dry the pumpkin seeds on paper towels. Once the seeds are dry, toss in a medium bowl with seasoning:

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Marsala
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Place on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 250F for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown in color. Stir seeds at least once while baking. Enjoy!

About to be baked!

For more photos from this pumpkin kitchen adventure, click here.