Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

Finally spring is starting to take hold.  Hopefully it’s doing some serious weightlifting because it needs to be crazy strong to kick winter all the way to the curb and keep it there.

All the springtime signs are like a weight lifted from my shoulders.  The birds are singing, the chipmunks have come out of hibernation, the days are so much longer, the snow is almost melted (yeah, some of it’s still hanging on), and I didn’t even have to wear my coat the other day!

Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

If winter comes back again, I swear I’m gonna barricade myself in the house.  And maybe have a load of dirt and some flowers delivered to start a garden in the house because you can have anything delivered today.  Just ask my BFF, the UPS man.

There may have been some talk on the local news that snow is meteorologically possible until June.  But I put my fingers in my ears and chanted “la, la, la” like a five year old, so we’ll pretend like it didn’t happen.

Fluffernutter Pie

This Fluffernutter Pie definitely happened.  And I’m so glad it did.  I mean does it get better than a thick graham cracker crust, silky smooth peanut butter pastry cream, and homemade marshmallow fluff?  Um . . . no.  You’ll be tempted to eat the peanut butter pastry cream straight from the pot with a spoon, but save some for the pie.  You’ll thank me later!

Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 slices

Ingredients

Crust

2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peanut Butter Pastry Cream

2 cups milk or cream, divided (I used almond milk, use what you love)

¼ cup cornstarch

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 whole large eggs

4 large egg yolks

¾ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, use what you love)

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Marshmallow Fluff

½ cup water

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

5 large egg whites

½ plus ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

Make the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Pour into a pie pan and press in firmly with your hands, going all the way up the sides. Using a measuring cup press the bottom in very firmly. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely.

Make the marshmallow fluff. In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Once this happens, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high, and stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer.

In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium-high until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

When the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and the sugar mixture has reached 240, remove the syrup from the heat and turn the mixer to medium-low. Slowly and immediately begin drizzling the syrup into the egg whites, trying not to get it on the sides of the bowl. If the whites are done whipping before the syrup is done, turn them off until the syrup reaches 235, then turn them back on to make sure they are fluffy. If the syrup is done before the whites, turn the heat down or remove it from the heat for a minute or so.

Once the syrup is drizzled into the whites, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool and the marshmallow is thick, glossy, and voluminous. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix about 1 minute more. Marshmallow may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I recommend doing this as it makes assembling the pie easier.

Make the pastry cream. In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup milk and cornstarch. Place the remaining milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the mixture just starts to bubble.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks into the milk and cornstarch mixture until well combined. Slowly add about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while whisking. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk in the saucepan and place over medium low heat. It is important to keep the heat low so the mixture does not curdle. Whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla bean paste until fully combined.

Assemble the pie. Preheat the broiler. Pour pastry cream immediately into the baked and cooled crust. Top immediately with the marshmallow fluff. Make peaks in the marshmallow using the back of a spoon or a knife. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the marshmallow is golden brown. Do not walk away during this process, as it will burn quickly.

Allow the pie to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Pie may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Additional cooling and chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/fluffernutter-pie/

Emeril’s Famous Banana Cream Pie

Emeril's Famous Banana Cream Pie

When I mention Edie Falco, you probably think of Carmela Soprano.  I’ve barely seen more than the pilot and finale of The Sopranos, an embarrassing fact for a TV addict like me.  I have to watch it one day.  Since I’m a Sopranos novice, I think of Jackie Peyton, the main character on Nurse Jackie, when I think of Edie Falco.

Nurse Jackie is one of my favorite shows on TV.  It’s smart, touching, and one of the few shows that actually makes me laugh out loud, typically multiple times each episode.  The thirty minutes fly by, as I forget to even glance at the clock.  The credits roll far too soon, leaving me hungry for another episode.

Emeril's Famous Banana Cream Pie

Emeril's Famous Banana Cream Pie

Jackie is, of course, a nurse.  She is great at her job and cares about her patients as she does her family, fighting for the best for those around her.  She is a flawed person, having battled drug addiction which left her marriage in shambles.  Her desire to be a good person and do the right thing despite her flaws is inspiring and quite relatable.  She, like all of us, is just trying to do the best she can, which isn’t always good enough.

If you haven’t watched Nurse Jackie, perhaps you can catch up on Netflix or OnDemand.  It is definitely worth seeking out.  I would actually love to start watching from the beginning again.

Emeril's Famous Banana Cream Pie

Mom also loves the show, even if she hates to admit a Showtime show, full of swearing and adult situations, is one of her favorites.  It’s one of the many things we bond over.  Another is this Banana Cream Pie.  She has always loved banana cream pie and wanted to make it, and I’ve never had it before!  Ever!  Can you believe that?  Some high quality graham crackers from Zingerman’s inspired me to get in the kitchen and make one.

I used the famous recipe from Emeril’s New Orleans, as featured by Wolfgang Puck on the Best Thing I Ever Ate.  Since I’ll unfortunately probably never get to New Orleans, I figured I’d make it to see what all the fuss is about.  Let me tell you, this did not disappoint one bit.  I loved every bite and can’t wait to make it again . . . maybe with some peanut butter.  I made my first ever graham cracker crust, which was perfectly thick, crunchy, and slightly grainy, providing structure and texture to the layered bananas and thick, velvety vanilla bean pastry cream.  And then because it’s my favorite thing on Earth, I topped it with Italian meringue, which is lighter and a little sweeter than whipped cream.  Together the flavors and textures are a pretty unspeakably amazing combination.  My prescription: make this pie and watch Nurse Jackie.

Emeril's Famous Banana Cream Pie

Emeril's Famous Banana Cream Pie

Emeril’s Famous Banana Cream Pie

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: 8 slices

Ingredients

Crust

2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pie

2 cups heavy cream

1 ½ cups milk (I used almond milk)

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod and beans reserved

3 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

½ cup cornstarch

9 medium bananas, ripe but firm, sliced into ½ inch thick slices

1 recipe Italian meringue

Instructions

Make the pastry cream. In a large saucepan, combine cream, milk, ½ cup sugar, and vanilla bean pod and seeds. Bring to a slow boil, whisking frequently. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, eggs, cornstarch, and 1 cup sugar until lightened in color and texture. Slowly whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. Do not stop whisking. Then, slowly add the egg mixture to the hot cream mixture in the pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until the cream has thickened substantially, about 5 minutes. Pour into a medium bowl. Allow to cool at room temperature about 30 minutes, before covering with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerating for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Make the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Pour into a pie pan and press in firmly with your hands, going all the way up the sides. Using a measuring cup press the bottom in very firmly. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely.

Assemble the pie. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the pastry cream. Spread ½ cup pastry cream over the bottom of the cooled crust, smoothing into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Cover with bananas in a circular pattern. Press down on the bananas firmly but gently. Spread ¾ cup cream over the bananas, then cover with another layer of bananas and press down on them. Spread another ¾ cup cream over this layer of bananas and layer remaining bananas over the top, leaving about ½ inch border. Press down on bananas before topping with remaining cream. Cover the bananas entirely with the cream or they will brown. Cover the pie tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

When ready to serve the pie, top with Italian meringue. Do not top more than 30 minutes in advance or it will slide off. Alternatively, top individual pieces with meringue.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

http://piesandplots.net/emerils-famous-banana-cream-pie/

Lemon Meringue Pie #SundaySupper

Lemon Meringue Pie #SundaySupper

Today is Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  But Mom is the most important person in my world, and one Hallmark holiday is nowhere near enough to celebrate her.  No, she deserves to be celebrated day in and day out.  I’ve written about Mom here many times before and will many more in the future, I’m sure, but since it is Mother’s Day, I thought it was the perfect time to celebrate Mom a little more.

Mom, I love you.  I love you more than the biggest bear hug and all the roses in the world could express.  I love that you get dressed up and do your hair and makeup and wear short skirts and high heels, even if your feet sometimes hurt.  I love that you love to watch TV and movies with me.  Who knew we’d bond over watching Shameless?  I love that you bake and cook with me, though sometimes I know you’d rather just order a pizza.  I love even more that you do the dishes because that can’t be as fun as the cooking and baking.  I love that you love the moon and always look for it day and night.  I love that you believe the number twelve means something in our lives . . . now if we could just figure out what that meaning is.

Lemon Meringue Pie #SundaySupper

Lemon Meringue Pie #SundaySupper

I love that you don’t get mad when I wake you in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep.  I love that I can tell you or ask you absolutely anything and I know you won’t judge because some days I’ve got a lot I need to get off my mind.  I love that you are my biggest cheerleader.  You support me through everything even when you aren’t entirely sure what’s going to happen or if it’s the right thing to do.  I love that you want my dreams to come true as much as me and that you are fighting for them right alongside me.  I love that you are the most generous, kind, loving person, and I hope those traits have rubbed off on me.  I love that you love me even with all of my flaws.

Mom, thank you.  Thank you more than those two simple words and all the Manolo Blahniks in the world could say.  Thank you for going shopping with me and running all kinds of places that might not always sound like fun, but a lot of the time turn out to be.  Thank you for buying me all kinds of crazy designer clothes and accessories and an endless supply of nail polish.  I promise I’ll pay you back plus a bunch one day soon.  Thank you for taking me to musicals and to concerts, it has broadened my horizons and made me a well-rounded person.

Lemon Meringue Pie #SundaySupper

Thank you for not taking the role of hard core parent, but instead being my friend in a world where I’ve never been able to find any.  For this I am eternally grateful.  I know it is not always easy and puts a lot of pressure on you, but I don’t know where I’d be without your friendship.  Thank you for understanding that I’m different . . . like really, really different, and loving me through all of it.  Thank you for supporting me through ups and downs, crazy dreams and farfetched passions, successes and disappointments.  Some days are great and there is no one I’d rather share them with and some days are decidedly not great and there’s no one whose shoulder I’d rather cry on.

I know that I have not been the easiest child to raise and for that I apologize.  I know you have hard days too, days when you wish things were just a little different.  I do too.  But know this: I am doing everything in my power, as little power as that may be, to make great things happen for both of us (and Dad too!).  I will not give up.  I will not disappoint you.  Things will work out because they simply have to.  Great things are in store, I’m just not quite sure when.  So, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, I hope you enjoy the day! Lemon Meringue Pie #SundaySupper

I asked Mom what she wanted to make for Mother’s Day, and she said Lemon Meringue Pie.  That sounded great to me.  We’d made a similar pie once before prior to my blogging days and loved it, but this version is new and improved.  This is not the easiest recipe but it is one of the most impressive and delicious, well worth the time and effort.  A super flaky and crispy and buttery pie crust is blind baked before being filled with thick and smooth tart lemon filling and a mountain of Italian meringue that is broiled until lightly browned.

Italian meringue is one of my favorite things and I make it all the time.  But this time I was out of light corn syrup (tragedy, I know).  Instead, I reached for Lyle’s Golden Syrup.  The flavor was about the same, maybe slightly more caramelized, but the texture was light and fluffy.  It looked almost like buttercream, but tasted like a sweet, fluffy pillow.  I prefer the sticky corn syrup version for cupcakes or whoopie pies, but for the top of this pie, this version was perfect.  Together, the flaky crust, tart filling and sweet meringue are a match made in Mother’s Day heaven.  So go make this pie for your mom; I know she’ll appreciate it!

Lemon Meringue Pie #SundaySupper

Please check out all the other Sunday Supper recipes celebrating mom!

 Mother’s Day Brunch:

Mother’s Day Entrees:

Mother’s Day Sides:

Mother’s Day Desserts and Drinks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, May 12th to celebrate Mother’s day! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes that celebrate mom.  Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Mom and Me

Mom and me at Taste of the Lions, which I’ll be posting about later this week!

 

Lemon Meringue Pie #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 5 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 slices

Ingredients

Crust

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed

½ cup vegetable shortening

4-7 tablespoons cold water

Filling

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

5 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup milk (I used almond)

1/2 cup cold water

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 large egg yolks

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon vodka or limoncello

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed

Meringue

½ cup water

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup

5 large egg whites

½ plus ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the crust. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add shortening and butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons of water and pulse to combine. Add more water as needed, until the dough comes together when pressed. It should not be overly moist. Dump the dough onto plastic, wrap it up, forming it into a disc. Refrigerate it for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

After the dough has chilled, divide it into 2 almost equal pieces, because this is a one crust pie, I use more than half. But you may talk only half and freeze the other half, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling and using. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the crust so it is large enough to fit your pie pan. Press it into the pan. Put the pan back into the refrigerator for about 1 hour to chill.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. After the crust has chilled, line it with parchment and fill the parchment with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. I actually used pecans because I didn’t have anything else and they came out pretty much perfectly toasted! Bake for 12 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment and continue baking for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

Make the filling. In a large non-reactive saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, milk, water, and salt over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer until the mixture thickens substantially about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, add the egg yolks two at a time. Then slowly drizzle in the lemon juice while whisking, followed by the lemon zest and lemon vodka. Continuing to whisk, add in the butter 1 piece at a time and then return to a simmer. After it has simmered, remove from the heat and immediately pour into the prepared pie crust.

Make the meringue. In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup or golden syrup over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Once this happens, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high, and stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer.

In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium-high until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

When the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and the sugar mixture has reached 240, remove the syrup from the heat and turn the mixer to medium-low. Slowly and immediately begin drizzling the syrup into the egg whites, trying not to get it on the sides of the bowl. If the whites are done whipping before the syrup is done, turn them off until the syrup reaches 235, then turn them back on to make sure they are fluffy. If the syrup is done before the whites, turn the heat down or remove it from the heat for a minute or so.

Once the syrup is drizzled into the whites, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool and the meringue is thick, glossy, and voluminous. Add the vanilla and mix about 1 minute more. Meringue may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I recommend doing this as it makes assembling the pie easier.

Once the filling is in the pie crust and the meringue is prepared, put the meringue over the filling, covering it completely. It is best to apply the meringue while the filling is still hot. Place pie in a preheated broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown and set the meringue. Do not walk away from the broiler. Keep a very close watch on the pie as this will happen quickly. Allow the pie to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, before refrigerating until completely chilled, about 3 hours. May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Pie may not be frozen.

Notes

Crust recipe adapted from Bobby Flay Filling recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

http://piesandplots.net/lemon-meringue-pie-sundaysupper/

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

I’m a pretty loyal Neiman Marcus shopper.  Wait!  Wait!  Don’t click away.  There already aren’t that many of you.  I’m not the Neiman Marcus shopper you probably have pictured in your mind and neither are most of the others who shop there.  I know who you’re picturing because it’s who I pictured before I started shopping there.  The little old lady dressed in a tweed Chanel suit and pearls, clacking around in kitten heels, a little dog accompanying her.  Her attitude is unfriendly; she is nice to no one and thinks she’s better than everyone.

Yeah.  That’s not me.  I’m really nice.  I swear.  I don’t wear tweed suits, pearls, or kitten heels and I don’t have any pets (though I’d really like a pet, but I wouldn’t take it shopping with me).  I see all kinds of people shopping at Neiman Marcus: young, old, mothers, daughters, guys scrambling to pick up that last minute gift for their wives or girlfriends, families, dressed up, dressed down, famous, not famous, and everything in between.

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

The first time I went to Neiman Marcus, it was to buy mints.  Seriously.  I was in sixth grade and during rehearsal for an assembly one of my classmates shared an entire tin of Neiman’s mints with a small group of us.  It was decidedly against the rules but made the boring afternoon go incredibly fast and I fell in love with these mints.  I had to have more.  Six months after that, I went back for some makeup and a year or so after that my first pair of designer shoes.  After that I was hooked and the rest is pretty much history.

The amazing merchandise is only part of what has made me a NM shopper.  The sales associates are the other part.  They’re actually more than sales associates; they are friends.  They are some of my most loyal blog readers, my cheerleaders, encouraging me to continue pursuing my passion.  We’ve gone to lunch and dinner with some of them, met their families, looked at vacation pictures.  And chatting on a visit to the store is the high point of my day.

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

The makeup ladies keep me in the know when it comes to the newest collections.  The shoe guy sends me pics of the freshest styles, and the PR manager makes sure I have a front row seat at the fashion shows.  Plus, I don’t even have to leave my house to go shopping.  A phone call has the newest want or need in a box, on a FedEx truck, and to me in no time.  I love going to the store when I can though, as it’s really not just a store, but an escape from the real world, even if it’s only a few steps away from it.

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow is also an escape from the real world.  Peanut butter and marshmallow is my favorite flavor combination right now and puppy chow always sounds good.  Tons of peanut butter and peanut butter chips are melted together before enrobing Chex and Peanut Butter Toast Crunch.  Feel free to use all Chex, I am just in love with Peanut Butter Toast Crunch and wanted to intensify the peanut butter flavor.  Some mini marshmallows also join the party.  They don’t melt and become sticky, but rather soften only a little from the warm peanut butter.  A shower of confectioners’ sugar finishes the whole thing off, creating a crunchy, soft, sweet, nutty treat that you won’t want to stop eating.  Fluffernutter Puppy Chow is a dream come true, just like shopping at Neiman Marcus.  Just don’t combine the two.  Puppy chow and designer clothes definitely don’t mix 🙂

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

Fluffernutter Puppy Chow

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 11 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup peanut butter chips

3 cups Corn Chex

2-3 cups Peanut Butter Toast Crunch

1 cup mini marshmallows

3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt peanut butter and peanut butter chips in 30 second increments, stirring in between until fully melted. Immediately stir in cereal and marshmallows. Stir until they are fully coated and there is not too much of the peanut butter mixture in the bowl. Add about 4 cups of cereal to start and then continue adding in ½ cup increments until most of the peanut butter has been absorbed. I tend to like mine on the gooier side.

Add 3 cups confectioners’ sugar and stir until all of the cereal is coated. You may need to add more sugar based on how thick you would like the coating. May be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.

http://piesandplots.net/fluffernutter-puppy-chow/

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

Did you all have a good Christmas?  I hope so.  My parents and I had a wonderful day.  After a quick breakfast, it was time to open presents.  Dad loves his new watch, fleece pullover, French cuff shirts, and movie, among others.  Unfortunately Mom will be returning some of her gifts, but is enjoying an eye shadow, some track suits, and some awesome Moon wrapping paper from the Neiman Marcus Target collection.  I got some movies and books, including a personalized and autographed Aida Mollencamp cookbook, a few stuffed animals, makeup, and a Gucci key chain, which I am in total love with.

A couple days before Christmas, we had a family shopping outing.  We used to go shopping all together constantly, but with busy and ever changing schedules, it is now a rarity.  Mom and I each bought a pair of earrings as part of our Christmas presents.  We’ll pick them up in the New Year as mine had to be converted into clips.  Have I ever told you guys I don’t have pierced ears and have no intentions of doing so?  Just another quirk that makes me unique (or weird, depending on how you look at it).  In addition we opened a few presents since we were all dressed up.  On Christmas, I like to chill out and relax, which means no getting ready, which means I’m camera shy.  So it was nice to have a few memories of the season.

Me Opening Christmas Presents

Mom Opening Christmas Presents

Dad Opening Christmas Presents

After all the present opening ended, we made pumpkin whoopie pies.  They were better than ever and I updated the post with some new photos.  You should totally check it out because we all agree there might not be a better dessert than pumpkin whoopie pies.  Steaks were on the menu for dinner, but who cares when you have two giant cakey cookies stuffed with homemade marshmallow fluff waiting for you?

My only complaint about Christmas is that not every day can be that fun, special, and relaxing.  I didn’t even turn on my computer!  It is a reminder that any day can be just like that, perhaps without all the presents, if we take a little time to make it special.

Zingerman's Gelato

A few weeks before Christmas my aunt was kind enough to send us some gelato from Zingerman’s.  Zingerman’s is one of my favorite bakeries to visit and one of the best places to mail order gifts from whether for someone else or yourself.  Their products are of amazing quality, matched only by their customer service.  Case in point: the gelato had six pints, three of which were chocolate 🙁  Oh, no!  But one quick call to Zingerman’s customer service had a stollen in the mail and to us in the blink of an eye.  It is now in my freezer screaming my name, waiting to be eaten.  Rest assured, my neighbors are enjoying the chocolate gelato.

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

But that left me with three pints of gelato.  With baking almost constantly, I rarely sit down to a bowl of ice cream any longer, but that gelato is so, so good.  I couldn’t let it go to waste.  As I stared at a tray full of leftover whoopie pies and a KitchenAid bowl full of marshmallow, which is really Italian meringue, I got an idea.  I’ll make Baked Alaska.  I think I’ve actually only had it once at a restaurant but loved it.  Once you have all the ingredients ready, it’s really simple to prepare too.  I just took a whoopie pie, covered it with a mound of slightly softened and scoopable ice cream and put if back in the freezer for a few hours.  A heaping helping of marshmallow/meringue without any holes later, it went into a preheated broiler for about a minute and was golden brown and totally, amazingly, delicious.  Sweet, smooth, and a little sticky, the meringue was slightly hardened on the outside.  Then came the ice cream, vanilla, and maple pecan, barely melted, but soft enough to easily eat.  And the bottom?  That soft, moist, slightly spicy whoopie pie.  The combination of temperatures, textures, and flavors is incredible, as you venture from warm to cold, soft to crunchy (from pecans) to cakey, vanilla to maple to cinnamon.

In addition, the flavor combinations are endless.  I highly recommend using the Italian meringue, though you could flavor it with cinnamon, but from there any flavors of ice cream would be wonderful.  It is great if they have something crunchy in them to add texture but this is not necessary.  The base could be any cake or even a large cookie you have on hand.  We used one whoopie pie and a little more than ½ a pint of ice cream with tons of meringue and it was a very nice size.  The three of us shared it and had plenty.  Once you have all the components prepared, making the Baked Alaska itself is so easy and super impressive.  All your friends at your New Year’s Eve party will be so impressed to see you serving this.

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

5.0 from 3 reviews
Baked Alaska
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Line a paper plate with plastic wrap. Place whoopie pie on the plastic. Take a generous scoop of maple pecan gelato and place it on top of the whoopie pie. Leave about a ½ inch border of cake, but spread the gelato to cover the rest of the cake. Take a generous scoop of vanilla gelato and spread on top of the maple pecan gelato. Wrap the plastic up around the entire thing and press the gelato together so it forms an oval shape. Freeze for at least 2 hours and up to 12.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat broiler. Remove the frozen cake and ice cream from the freezer, unwrap it, and place it on the tray. Cover the entire thing with meringue. Be very generous and do not leave any ice cream or cake uncovered. Try to make some pretty peaks in the meringue before placing under the broiler for about 1 minute. Keep a very close eye on it and do not walk away from the oven, as it can burn very easily. Serve immediately.

 

 

Gingerbread Marshmallow Biscoff Bars

Gingerbread Marshmallow Biscoff Bars

Sometimes I hear about or see something and know instantly I have to have it, have to make it, be a part of it.  This thing must be a part of my life in some way.  Maybe it’s a dress that made its way down the runway during New York Fashion Week.  One that I have no place to wear but can’t stop thinking about nonetheless.  Perhaps it’s the newest nail polish shade from Chanel.  The hottest color, I will undoubtedly work all my makeup sources to hoard it before it sells out.  I might even fall in love with a flower I see in an email or online.  Years ago we ordered black tulip bulbs to plant.  They were the most beautiful flowers.  But then the squirrels dug up the bulbs and they are no more 🙁

Then there are the places I want to visit.  Reading about local restaurants in the newspaper has me scribbling them down on a list of places I want to dine.  I have hundreds of bookmarks for places I want to visit across the country, mostly related to food, which is why I try to mail order food on occasion.  My eyes light up at the sight of a new play or musical coming to town, as my fingers click over to Ticketmaster to snap up some hopefully front row seats.

Gingerbread Peep

Gingerbread Peep

Gingerbread Marshmallow Biscoff Bars

Of course, there are nearly countless recipes that I want to make one day too.  I have to be honest, I have tons bookmarked and printed, plus cookbooks full of decadent delights that I hope fill my kitchen one day.  But rare is the recipe that makes me stop in my tracks and put it on my baking schedule.  Most of the things I make come from my imagination, a need for a recipe to use a certain ingredient, or finally getting around to one that’s stared at me for years.

This is not one of those recipes.  Rather it is one that demanded my instant attention.  I saw this recipe for Peanut Chewy Payday Bars on Averie Cooks and could not stop thinking about it.  I tweeted it, pinned it, and most importantly printed it.  That’s right, this recipe didn’t even rest in the bookmarks.  I can’t remember the last time a recipe appealed to me so much that it was mere days, and a stop at the store for a box of Rice Krispies, before I was making it.

Gingerbread Marshmallow Biscoff Bars

Gingerbread Marshmallow Biscoff Bars

The original recipe called for ingredients that mimic the flavor of a Payday bar, one of my favorite candies.  And while I want to try the recipe in its original form soon, I wanted to make something a little more holiday, more festive.  So I swapped peanut butter for Biscoff, eliminated the corn syrup, because it turns out corn syrup makes Biscoff seize, peanuts for walnuts, and some of the marshmallows for Gingerbread Peeps.  I’m kind of obsessed with marshmallows.  You might be able to tell that based on how often I make and use my favorite marshmallow frosting.  It tastes much better than store bought marshmallows, but there is totally a place and time for those.  I added some here for balance, but the surprisingly tasty Gingerbread Peeps were calling to make an appearance in a recipe.  What says Christmas more than Peeps shaped like gingerbread men with amazing gingerbread flavor?

The end result?  It lived up to all my wild expectations and then some.  The crust was firm, but still a little crumble and sandy.  The insanely thick layer of marshmallows was soft and gooey with some of that great gingerbread flavor.  The topping, crunchy with walnuts and Rice Krispies and rich with Biscoff.  Together, the flavor combination is amazing, and this is one addictive and super easy to make treat.  The title may not be the catchiest, but I can assure you the bars themselves are.  I can’t wait to make the original because if my remix is this good, I can only wonder what greatness the original has in store.  Give yourself an early Christmas present and make these bars.

Gingerbread Marshmallow Biscoff Bars

Gingerbread Marshmallow Biscoff Bars

5.0 from 5 reviews
Ginger Biscoff Marshmallow Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • ¾ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
Filling
  • 10 Gingerbread Peeps
  • About 1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows
Topping
  • 1 cup creamy Biscoff
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups Rice Krispies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 by 8 inch pan with parchment, leaving overhang above the edges of the pan. Butter the parchment generously.
  2. In a medium bowl, smash together the butter, flour, and brown sugar until the mixture is crumbly and the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the pan and press it in very firmly with fingers or the back of a spoon (or both). Bake for about 12 minutes, until the crust is set and very light golden brown.
  3. Pack the Gingerbread Peeps tightly over the crust. Top with enough miniature marshmallows to completely cover the Peeps. The more marshmallows the better. Return to the oven for 5-7 minutes until the marshmallows are puffed and melted, but not brown at all. Set aside.
  4. Make the topping. In a medium microwave safe bowl, microwave Biscoff and butter until fully melted and combined. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting. Stir in the vanilla. Add the walnuts and Rice Krispies and stir until they are distributed and fully coated. Pour over the marshmallows and smooth, covering the entire surface. Cool completely in pan.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, cut into bars once cooled and serve. May be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks

 

 

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes and Giveaway!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

This giveaway is CLOSED!

The Christmas season also means it’s baking season.  Whether you’re fulfilling a holiday tradition, whipping up something for your child’s school, or baking up a storm for a dessert spread at your Christmas party, even those who steer clear of the kitchen most of the year find themselves elbow deep in flour, sugar, and butter around the holidays.  You know you can always find tons of amazing desserts to liven up your holidays here on my blog that will be sure fire hits, but I wanted to make sure you have some baking supplies too.

So it’s time for another giveaway.  I exclusively use King Arthur flour products when baking.  They are of very high quality and produce amazing results.  One of my favorite products is their Unbleached Cake Flour.  It is the only cake flour that is unbleached.  I use it all the time to make cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and have even used it instead of all-purpose to great success when I find myself out of all-purpose (a true baking emergency!).  The end result is always light and fluffy, just what you want in a cake.  I was also pleasantly surprised at the high quality of their cupcake liners.  I’m super picky when it comes to cupcake liners (none made in China, thank you), but these are the nicest I have ever used.  They are sturdy and didn’t fade during baking.  In addition, they didn’t fall apart as I made sure there was not a single crumb of yummy cupcake left on my liner.  The snowflakes on them are also adorable; I much prefer snowflakes on cupcake liners than the ground outside.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

You need to know how to use the cake flour and liners, right?  How about Snickerdoodle Cupcakes?  You know I love Snickerdoodles with all their cinnamon-y goodness, and putting them into cupcake form sounded too good to be true.  Snickerdoodle cookies can move aside, these Snickerdoodle Cupcakes are fantastic.  They are light, fluffy, and moist with a fine crumb, but it is the complex and very prominent cinnamon flavor that impresses and makes them taste remarkably similar to the cookies.  The cinnamon flavor is allowed to shine, rounded out by vanilla.

Topped with my favorite marshmallow frosting and a sprinkling of cinnamon, these cupcakes are beauties that will impress all of your holiday guests.  Their individual serving size is also perfect for a party spread and what says Christmas more than cake, cinnamon, and marshmallow?  Perhaps a giveaway?

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Here are all the details.  One person will win one box of King Arthur Cake Flour and a package of snowflake cupcake liners.  To enter, answer the question: what’s your favorite kind of cupcake?

To earn additional entries:

Follow @piesandplots on Twitter.  Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Like Pies and Plots on Facebook.  Come back and let me know you’ve liked me in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Follow Pies and Plots on Pinterest.  Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Follow @piesandplots on Instagram.  Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Subscribe to Pies and Plots via email using the form at the top of the page on the right hand side.  Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Important:  In order for each of your entries to count, you must leave entirely separate comments.  Meaning it is possible for the first six comments to all have been left by one person.  If you leave all of this information in one comment, you will only be entered in the giveaway one time.

The giveaway ends Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST.

The winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on random.org.  The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be chosen.

This giveaway is only open to US residents.

Disclaimer: I was provided with flour and cupcake liners for both my personal use and for the giveaway by King Arthur.

Good luck!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

4.9 from 14 reviews
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes and Giveaway!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
Cupcakes
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups milk (I used almond milk)
Frosting
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ½ plus ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 20 muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the eggs 1 or 2 at a time and mix until once again light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture. Add the flour in 3 installments and the milk in 2, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
  3. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin pans. They should be almost all the way full. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Make the frosting. In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Once this happens, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high, and stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
  5. In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium-high until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  6. When the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and the sugar mixture has reached 240, remove the syrup from the heat and turn the mixer to medium-low. Slowly and immediately begin drizzling the syrup into the egg whites, trying not to get it on the sides of the bowl. If the whites are done whipping before the syrup is done, turn them off until the syrup reaches 235, then turn them back on to make sure they are fluffy. If the syrup is done before the whites, turn the heat down or remove it from the heat for a minute or so.
  7. Once the syrup is drizzled into the whites, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool and the frosting is thick, glossy, and sticky.
  8. Assemble the cupcakes. Dollop frosting on each of the cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cupcakes without frosting may be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Frosting may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, covered tightly with plastic wrap. Do not assemble cupcakes until the day they are to be served.

 

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Marshmallow

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Marshmallow

You can probably tell by the title of my blog that pies are one of my favorite things to eat and make.  Though the writer in me also really liked the alliteration 🙂  I make pies quite frequently, but they can be kind of a hassle to make with rolling out the crust, and when I roll out crust it never looks as pretty as it does on TV.  Then slicing the pie, it never comes out all perfect and completely intact.  So I made Mini Pumpkin Pies with Marshmallow.  These . . . yeah, they came out pretty perfect.  And oh yeah, you don’t have to roll out the crust!

Instead it’s pressed into a muffin tin, filled up with spicy pumpkin goodness, and baked.  When it’s cooled, I topped it with a heaping helping of marshmallow.  It’s basically marshmallow fluff like from the store, but a million times better.  I could eat the whole bowl it’s so yummy.  You may or may not choose to brulee the marshmallow, but it looks and tastes awesome after a minute or so under the broiler.  One of those super cool kitchen torches would do the trick too.

So if by now I don’t have you craving one of these pies, I clearly haven’t done my job.  But I bet you can’t wait to get your hands on the recipe.  This is my second post for Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs.  It’s a partnership I’m still ecstatic about, so please head over to their site to read my blog post and recipe.  Then prepare your muffin tin to make some pies.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Coconut Key Lime Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ice Cream Cupcake

Ever heard of ice cream cupcakes?  I bet you haven’t.  I hadn’t either until I found this recipe contest, which can also be found here.  I was intrigued immediately, as I hoped it would give my blog more exposure, but more importantly because it sounded crazy awesome and creative.  Even though I’ve seen every episode of Cupcake Wars (don’t judge) and have researched and bookmarked more than my fair share of cupcake bakeries, I’ve never seen ice cream cupcakes.  Sure I’ve found a bunch of insanely creative and just plain insane cupcakes, but never ones stuffed with ice cream.  The moment I saw this contest and idea in general, I began thinking of possible flavor combinations, excited to see what my creation was going to taste like and hoping I might have a good chance of winning the contest.

This really is a genius idea.  Cupcakes by themselves are awesome.  Your own personal cake topped with tons of frosting.  I’d usually rather have a piece of a whole cake, but there’s something special about that individual little cake.  Peeling away the wrapper, making sure to get off as many crumbs as possible, tasting the cake, then the frosting, then both together.  But to take it one step further and hollow out the center, though that center is certainly not to be wasted, and stuff it with as much ice cream as possible without breaking the cupcake into pieces must result in a delicious treat.

In the end, I settled on coconut cupcakes, stuffed with Ciao Bella Key Lime Graham Gelato, topped with vanilla marshmallow frosting and toasted coconut and a homemade graham cracker just to gild the lily.  I was inspired by my resent trip to Joe Muer Seafood, where for dessert I had coconut cake and key lime pie and was rendered completely unable to choose which one I liked better.  Creating a dessert combining those flavors sounded like an awesome idea.

Coconut Cupcakes

The result was awesome.  The almond and vanilla scented marshmallow frosting was killer as always, and even though it uses a candy thermometer, it’s easy to make.  The gelato had amazing flavor, really tasting like key lime pie, which kind of surprised me.  Toasted coconut added crunch and flavor and the graham cracker tasted even better than just a few days before.  But then again, doesn’t any cookie covered in marshmallow frosting?  Here’s the thing:  the coconut cupcakes themselves?  Not too tasty.

Hollowed Out Cupcakes

Cupcakes Stuffed with Ice Cream

I used Ina Garten’s recipe and followed it with only a couple of very minor adjustments, but the cupcakes just weren’t very good.  In the past her recipes have been hit and miss for me from an apple pie that was so bad most of it went in the trash to peach cake and apple and cranberry cake that I can’t wait to make again.  The cupcakes were dry and flavorless, with no discernible taste of coconut even though I added a ton.  I was expecting a rich, moist, decadent cake, and instead found a cupcake that tasted like it came from a grocery store.

I still highly recommend you try this idea using the ice cream and frosting and a coconut cupcake.  Just choose a different cupcake recipe please, even a favorite vanilla cupcake recipe would work; just add a little almond extract and a bunch of coconut.  I don’t want you to be disappointed in one of my recipes.  With a killer coconut cupcake, you won’t be able to believe how yummy these are.  There are definitely more ice cream cupcakes in my future.

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ice Cream Cupcakes

4.8 from 5 reviews
Coconut Key Lime Ice Cream Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
Coconut Cupcakes
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
Marshmallow Frosting
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups, plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ½ + ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
Assembly
  • 1 pint Ciao Bella Key Lime Graham Gelato
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (Again, I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 20 small graham crackers
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Make the cupcakes. Line 20 muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, or alternatively in a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, being sure to fully incorporate each before adding another. Add extracts and mix to combine.
  2. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, with the mixer continuously running on medium-low. Once the batter is almost mixed, stir by hand to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated before folding in the coconut.
  3. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Make the frosting. In a small saucepan, combine water, 1 ½ cups sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Once this happens, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high, and stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer. In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium-high until the egg whites form soft peaks. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar, before resuming beating until stiff peaks form.
  5. When the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and the sugar mixture has reached 240, remove the syrup from the heat and turn the mixer to medium-low. Slowly and immediately begin drizzling the syrup into the egg whites, trying not to get it on the side of the bowl. If the whites are done whipping before the syrup is done, turn them off until the syrup reaches 235, then turn them back on to make sure they are fluffy. If the syrup is done before the whites, turn the heat down or remove it from the heat for a minute or so.
  6. Once the syrup is drizzled into the whites, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool and the frosting is thick, glossy, and sticky. Put in refrigerator with plastic wrap pressed directly on top of the frosting until completely cool.
  7. Assemble the cupcakes. Using a small paring knife, hollow out the center of each cupcake. (Snack time!) Fill the centers with ice cream, pressing down to fill it as full as possible. Top with a heaping helping of frosting, an ice cream scoop can be used for this since it’s too sticky to be piped. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and stick a graham cracker in the frosting. Enjoy immediately so the ice cream doesn’t melt. May be stored in the freezer, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature for just a few minutes.
Notes
Cupcake recipe adapted from Ina Garten

 

 

Peach Blackberry Layer Cake

Piece of Cake

As I’ve mentioned before, my all-time favorite pie is Bobby Flay’s Peach Blackberry Pie.  I still remember making it, the first pie I made, about four years ago like it was yesterday.  But as much as I love pie, and I do love pie, just look at the title of the blog, sometimes I’m more of a cake girl.  I attribute this to the fact that to get my cake fix I almost always have to make it myself because most restaurants and bakeries focus on chocolate cake or cross contaminate other cakes with chocolate.  So I thought I’d make a cake inspired by my favorite pie.

This idea actually came to me when I was writing one of my novels.  Because I’m pretty obsessed with food, it usually makes a couple of appearances in my writing.  Write what you know, right?  I wrote about a peach blackberry cake and recently figured I should go ahead and try to make it.  This is mostly a peach cake, with tons of fresh peaches in both the cake and frosting.  However, the blackberry may be the most important part, giving brightness and a bit of acidity to an otherwise sweet cake.  I used American Spoon Blackberry Spoon Fruit.  Yes, there are seeds in it, but I didn’t detect them and felt the Spoon Fruit gave amazing flavor to the cake.  Feel free to use any kind of blackberry jam or preserves with or without seeds.

Peaches

This cake went through a few tests, and I believe I have now perfected it, as I had to stop myself from going in for a second piece, something that very rarely happens to me.  The cake itself is moist and rich.  It is a butter cake, but the addition of peaches adds to the moistness greatly.  It bakes up nicely.  Slicing it in half may be a bit tricky, but with patience it is doable, and if the cake breaks, just put it back together with some frosting.  The bits of peach in the cake a like hidden gems, enclosing the flavor of summer.

Cake

Sliced Cakes

Speaking of which, the frosting is an Italian meringue buttercream.  I’m not a big fan of traditional buttercream, as it’s quite buttery and grainy from the confectioners’ sugar.  Italian meringue buttercream has a few more steps, including one with a candy thermometer, but don’t be afraid, it’s really quite easy and forgiving, and definitely worth the effort.  It’s smooth, silky, and flavorful, as it melts in your mouth.  Here’s a step by step guide on how to make it.

Egg Whites

When the egg whites are whipped, they should look like the photo above.  During this time, the syrup should also be cooking.

Meringue

After the syrup is added and the mixture beats on high for about 7 minutes, you have Italian meringue.  This is addictively, unbelievably delicious as is, but buttercream tastes better on this cake.  Feel free to take a taste or two at this point.  You won’t regret it.

Soupy Frosting

After slowly adding the butter and beating, this is probably what you’ll have.  It looks gross and doesn’t taste very good either.  Put it in the refrigerator for awhile.  Then beat again.

Peach Puree

This is the peach puree.  It is also addictively delicious.  I could eat it like a soup.  It must be chilled before adding to the frosting.

Frosting

After chilling in the refrigerator and being whipped again, usually for a short period of time, the frosting will be smooth and silky.  Add the peach puree little by little, and this is what you have.  Tasting at this point would also be appropriate.

Adding the peach puree to the frosting thins it out a little, be sure not to add too much or it will become soupy, but I love the mellow peach flavor of it.  Mom thinks it would be good without it.  Try it either way.  If you make the peach puree, drizzle some over your slice of cake.  It gives pure peach flavor and a restaurant quality eye appeal.  The combined flavor of the cake, frosting, and jam screams summer, may be better than the pie that inspired it, and is an explosion of flavor.  Take a few hours and give this cake a try; you and anyone you share it with, if you can give any of it up, will be impressed.

Whole Cake

Inside of Cake

Peach Cake

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Peach Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups finely chopped peaches and juice from peaches, peeled and pitted
Peach Puree
  • 3 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Frosting
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ½ + ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup peach puree
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment. Butter and flour parchment and pan, making sure to tap out any excess flour.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, combine sugars and butter until light and fluffy, using wooden spoon or spatula. If butter is truly room temperature machinery should not be necessary. Add eggs and vanilla, stirring to fully combine. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour. You should add flour in 3 installments and milk in 2. Stir the batter until just combined. Fold in the peaches. Divide the batter as evenly as possible between the 2 pans. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes completely in pans.
  3. Make the peach puree. Combine peaches and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened juices, about five minutes. Remove from heat to cool slightly. Pour peach mixture into bowl of food processor. Process until the mixture is completely smooth, about 1 minute. Pour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours and up to 2 days to cool and thicken.
  4. Make the frosting. In a small saucepan, combine the water, 1 ½ cups sugar, and corn syrup over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once this occurs, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium, and stop stirring. Bring the mixture to 240 degrees F on the thermometer. In the meantime, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium-high until they become frothy. Once this happens, add the cream of tartar. Continue whipping until soft peaks form; then add 2 teaspoons sugar and whip until stiff, but not dry peaks form. Timing is tricky. If the egg whites look done before the syrup, stop them for a few moments, then begin whipping again when the syrup is almost done. If the syrup is close to done before the egg whites, turn the heat down to low. Raise it when the whites are ready.
  5. Once the syrup is at 240 and the egg whites are whipped, turn the mixer to low and slowly drizzle the syrup into the egg whites while still bubbling hot. Try not to get the syrup on the side of the bowl. Once the syrup is in the egg whites, turn the mixer back up to medium high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the mixtures has grown in size and is thick, glossy, and sticky. The bottom of the bowl should also have cooled, but will still be warm.
  6. With the mixer still running on medium-high, begin adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure each tablespoon is fully incorporated before another addition. Slowly counting to 10 is enough time. After all the butter has been added, beat for about 5 more minutes. If it looks like thick, silky buttercream, move on to the next step of adding the peach puree, but chances are it will look like a soupy mess. Don’t panic. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to three. Then, place it back on the mixer and whip for up to another 5 minutes, or longer if truly necessary. You should have buttercream!
  7. Take the peach puree out of the refrigerator right before using. Slowly add the puree to the buttercream, stirring after each small addition. The frosting should thin slightly. Once this happens do not add any more puree or the frosting will become soupy.
  8. Assemble the cake. Cut each of the cakes in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Do your best to create even layers, but they do not need to be perfect. Place one half of one cake on a serving plate. Spread with frosting. Place another half on top. Spread with blackberry jam. Place the third half on the cake. Spread with frosting. Place the final layer of cake and cover the entire cake with frosting. You should use it all. A crumb coat may be necessary, as the cake has many crumbs.
  9. Cake may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day, but it should come to room temperature before serving. It may also be frozen, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours, keeping in mind the larger the piece, the longer it will take to thaw.

 

 

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