Eggnog Pudding Parfaits #SundaySupper

Eggnog Pudding Parfaits

The holidays can be a lot of pressure.  Decorate the house perfectly … more specifically better than your neighbors.  Buy the best gifts that don’t end up being returned or hated … and gift cards don’t count.  Host parties … that people remember year after year for all their awesomeness.  Cook and bake … picture perfect recipes that make it seem like you should be on Top Chef.

Oh and keep up with all the other things you do on a normal basis.

Eggnog Pudding Parfaits

It’s all a lot.  Too much.  I don’t know about you, but I am not Supergirl and I cannot do all of these things, at least not well, all at the same time.

Plus, those things, they are so not what the holidays are about.  Like not even a little.

The holidays are about being thankful and enjoying life.  They are about taking extra time with your loved ones, and no the computer for online shopping definitely doesn’t count.

Eggnog Pudding Parfaits

Don’t get me wrong, I am so looking forward to opening gifts on Christmas morning.  And I love our Christmas tree.  But I just don’t need everything to be the biggest and best, I don’t need everything to be perfect, which is good, because it’s never going to be.

For me in some ways the holidays are just other days that fall into place among the normal Thursday and Saturdays of the year.  I think this is a good thing because it means I try to take time most of those days to be extra thankful, bake a fun treat for a friend, give Mom and extra tight hug, or plug in the Christmas tree we leave up year round.  Why should we save those things for one or two days a year?

Eggnog Pudding Parfaits

We do save to save eggnog treats, like these Eggnog Pudding Parfaits because nog is only around at the holidays.  Eggnog isn’t exactly my thing, so I picked up some Califa Farms Almondmilk Nog and am kind of obsessed with it.  I’ve been putting it in my morning oatmeal and it’s kind of life changing.

So is the homemade eggnog pudding that is the star of these parfaits.  Pudding is one of my favorite homemade treats because it is easy to make and never too heavy.  The kick of bourbon really rounds out the flavor of this creamy pudding.

Because I wanted to make something extra special, I layered the pudding with homemade cranberry sauce and whipped cream, plus a dash of cinnamon.  I will happily devour this parfait any time of year.

Eggnog Pudding Parfaits

Eggnog Pudding Parfaits #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 ¼ cups eggnog
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Cranberry sauce, for serving
Cinnamon, for serving

Instructions

  1. Make the pudding. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the eggnog and egg yolks. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking continuously until mixture comes to a boil and thickens to pudding consistency. Remove from the heat and whisk in the bourbon. Pour into a heat proof bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours.
  2. When ready to assemble, make the whipped cream. In a large bowl, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar.
  3. Layer eggnog pudding, whipped cream, and cranberry sauce in your serving vessels. Top with a pinch of cinnamon and serve.
  4. Components of parfaits may be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.

Notes

Pudding recipe adapted from Pillsbury

Additional chilling time is necessary

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http://piesandplots.net/eggnog-pudding-parfaits-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out this week’s Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting!

Baked Goods

Beverages

Breakfast and Breakfast Pastries

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Mexican Chocolate Pudding #SundaySupper

Mexican Chocolate Pudding

A few weeks ago we had a Sunday Supper celebrating Greek cuisine.  I already ate all the leftovers of the walnut cake in the freezer.  So good!

We were talking about the new movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, and I mentioned that I saw the first movie in the theater years ago and wasn’t the biggest fan.

Mexican Chocolate Pudding

However, all the talk about the movie made me want to revisit it.  I wanted to see what made it the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time.  So I recorded it on my TiVo (yes I still have a TiVo and love it) and Mom and I watched it over a couple evenings.

I have to say I really enjoyed it.  I’m so glad I gave it another try and with fifteen or so years of perspective, I really got and appreciated it.  I may also have related just a little too much to Toula.

The story was funny, touching, and for the most part not too over the top like I thought it would be and remembered.  It is really a simple love story that lacks a lot of the glitz, glamour, and cheesiness of a lot of the rom coms out there.  Not that I don’t like a great rom com sometimes.

It just goes to show that sometimes things are worth revisiting with an open mind.  Like the combination of sweet and spicy.  I’ve tried it before and it’s not really my thing, but with this Sunday Supper’s theme of Spice is Nice and Some Like it Hot, I knew I had to give that whole sweet and spicy thing another go.

Mexican Chocolate Pudding

So I made Mexican Chocolate Pudding.  Pudding is such a great thing to make – it’s easy, gluten free, and relatively healthy.  And I loved this.

Well … I loved it cold when the chili powder mellowed.  Warm the chili powder was the predominant flavor and overpowered everything else.  But after being chilled, I kind of wanted to eat the entire batch of pudding.  Seriously … all of it.

The chocolate (or in my case carob) shines through in the silky smooth pudding with a hint of cinnamon and chili powder.  I loved the cinnamon on top too.  Today we should all revisit something maybe we didn’t give enough of a chance in the past.

Mexican Chocolate Pudding

Mexican Chocolate Pudding #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup cocoa or carob powder

2 tablespoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ - ½ teaspoon chili powder

1 large egg

¼ cup carob or dark chocolate chips

2 cups milk (I used skim – use what you love)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cinnamon, for garnish

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa or carob powder, cornstarch, cinnamon, chili powder, egg, and carob or chocolate chips.

Place the pan over medium heat and whisk in the milk. Continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil. Allow to boil for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens significantly.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Continue whisking until the butter is completely melted.

Pour into serving vessels and place into the refrigerator until chilled, at least 4 hours. You may cover it with plastic wrap if you wish to prevent a skin from forming. Garnish with additional cinnamon or chili powder if you’re adventurous and serve. Pudding may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary Recipe adapted from The Kitchen Paper

http://piesandplots.net/mexican-chocolate-pudding-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Aromatic Appetizers

Distinctive Drinks

Daring Desserts

Masterful Mains

Seasoned Sides

Plus Homemade Ginger Ale and Spice is Nice Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Haunted Pudding Cups

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MixInMonsterMash #CollectiveBias

Haunted Pudding Cups

I like playing with my food. I know, we’ve always been told not to do that, but sometimes it’s okay to have fun. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making mashed potato sculptures in fancy steakhouses, but when the time is right, food is a wonderful art medium.

Halloween is especially conducive to edible art projects. Whether you want something fun to do with the kids or just want to remember what it was like to be young, candy is an inherently fun food.

Haunted Pudding Cups

Vanilla Snack Pack Pudding is a blank canvas for whatever fun things I want to create. It has an awesome flavor that works well with other treats. Plus, it’s an indulgence we can all feel good about since it has as much calcium as an 8 ounce glass of milk.

Shopping at Meijer

Even better, right now when you shop at Meijer, like me, if you are an mPerks member, you can get a $1 coupon off 4 Snack Packs through 10/31. Visit mPerks and search for Snack Pack to find the coupon.

Making Haunted Houses

Making Witches Hats

Once you’re all stocked up on Snack Packs, it’s time to have some fun. I made some easy haunted houses out of pretzel sticks and Peter Pan peanut butter. Just break the sticks in half and use the peanut butter as glue. They might fall apart, but at least they’ll still taste good! I used sour gummy pumpkins as accents, but feel free to use candy corn or gummy worms.

I also made witches’ hats. I took some caramel apple licorice twists I had and cut them lengthwise, then I just shaped them into hats by stacking little circles on top of each other. I wanted black licorice, but couldn’t find any at the store. The green is pretty cool for Halloween though.

Haunted Pudding Cups

These are easy, fun recipes that are perfect for kids to make. It’s a great break from the busy school year to make these fun pudding cups that taste even better than they look.

Be sure to check out more fun ideas on Meijer’s website to keep Halloween spooky good with Snack Packs and plenty of mix ins!

Haunted Pudding Cups

Haunted Pudding Cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 Pudding Cups

Ingredients

4 Snack Pack Pudding Cups

About 20 pretzel sticks, snapped in half

About ¼ cup creamy peanut butter

2 sour gummy pumpkins

2 caramel apple licorice twists

Candy corn, for decoration

Instructions

Peel the wrapper off the pudding cups so they are ready to go.

For the haunted houses, use the peanut butter to make the pretzels stick together. Make three walls, about 5 pretzels high, and two roof panels, also about 5 pretzels high. Use peanut butter to assemble the house. Place in the pudding cup. Decorate with gummy pumpkin.

For the witches’ hats, cut the licorice lengthwise into long, thin pieces. Roll up one piece into a bottom round. Flatten with your fingers. Roll a couple more pieces into increasingly smaller rounds and stack, using your fingers to mold them into a hat shape. Decorate with candy corn.

Serve immediately.

http://piesandplots.net/haunted-pudding-cups/

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

This is what I made for Easter. Along with a slow braised leg of lamb.

You should be jealous. Very jealous.

Yes, I know this cake is make with carob. And everyone thinks carob is weird and gross.

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Rest assured this cake is far from weird or gross. In fact, if you gave this cake to even the most verdant chocoholic, they’d never know the difference. EVER!

Even Mom was leery of the rich, almost black pudding, the chocolatey looking cake, and the fluffy frosting that left us in a cloud of carob. But once she tasted them, she was converted instantly.

Be careful not to overbake the cake. Mine was the tiniest bit dry, but once the pudding soaked into it, any dryness vanished into a distant memory. My favorite part of the cake was the bites where the cake and pudding became one.

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Traditionally the pudding is used as filling and frosting, but I stuck with Half Baked Harvest’s idea to add buttercream to the outside. Best decision EVER! It’s an inspired and totally necessary addition.

I have never had a cake slice as beautifully as this one. It rivals any bakery or restaurant slice in look and certainly taste. I may not have ever had a cake taste this good either.

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

The fluffy cake. The rich pudding soaking into the cake. The sweet frosting. My oh my, this is pretty much the perfect cake.

I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m just going to have to make it again ASAP. You should make it too!

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ cup canola oil

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¾ cup carob powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love!)

Pudding

3 cups water, divided

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup carob powder

Scant 2/3 cup cornstarch

5 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup carob powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons milk, if necessary

Instructions

Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment.

Cream the butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work as well. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is mixed in before adding another.

Beat in the vanilla, carob, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.

Divided batter between the two pans and bake for about 25 minutes, until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool in pans about 15 minutes, before carefully inverting onto plates to cool completely.

Make the pudding. In a large saucepan, bring 2 ½ cups water, sugar, honey, and carob to a boil, whisking occasionally. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and remaining ½ cup of water. Once the sugar mixture comes to a boil, whisk in the cornstarch mixture.

Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens substantially, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter one piece at a time, followed by the vanilla. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill until completely cool.

Make the frosting when ready to assemble the cake. Beat butter and sugar using a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add carob and vanilla and beat until fluffy and combined. My frosting was creamy and spreadable at this point, but if yours is not, add milk 1 tablespoon, at a time until it is.

Assemble the cake. Slice once of the cakes in half horizontally. Place on a cake stand. Cover with a generous amount of pudding. Place the other half of the cake on top. Cover that with a generous amount of pudding. Slice the other cake in half horizontally. Place the nicer of the two halves on top. Cover the cake with the frosting. I poured some additional pudding on top too.

Take the final, unused layer of cake and crumble it up with your hands. Push the crumbs into the frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Cake may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest Additional chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/carob-brooklyn-blackout-cake/

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackPackMixins #CollectiveBias

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

I’ve told you before how I’m obsessed with candy, especially at Easter. While a handful of jelly beans puts a huge smile on my face, I’m even happier when they are mixed with other ingredients and Snack Pack pudding for some #SnackPackMixins.

Whoever said you shouldn’t play with your food is totally and completely wrong. Food should be fun! The kitchen is the best place to get creative and let your unique personality shine through. It’s also a wonderful time to get kids involved, especially with these fun, easy to make pudding cups.

Pudding Cup Ingredients

Vanilla SUPER Snack Packs are the perfect vehicle for some fun family time in the kitchen. I picked them up at Walmart and had to resist buying one of every Snack Pack flavor – there are so many and they all sound so good. Because they don’t need to be refrigerated and have an easy open lid, they are also great for school lunches and parties. Oh, and it’s pretty awesome they have as much calcium as an 8 ounce glass of milk! I am not a milk drinker and am always looking for sources of calcium.  Walmart even has a coupon available now!

Buying the Pudding

The vanilla pudding itself is so creamy and has a really great flavor. I happily enjoyed it plain. That great vanilla flavor means that other flavors pair well with it too.

I started these fun pudding cups by stuffing a Mega Stuf Golden Oreo (or two) into the pudding. I loved how it absorbed the pudding and softened, blending in perfectly.

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

Then, I got creative with the toppings to create springtime scenes. I crushed some Honey Maid Teddy Grahams to create “sand” and used blue jelly beans for “water.” In another scene some of the Teddy Grahams frolicked with gummy bunnies under a yellow and orange jelly bean “sun.”

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

It was fun to color coordinate jelly beans to create the landscape, as well as use animal shaped gummies. The variety of candies you can use to create the scene is virtually endless. All of the fruit flavors really popped against the vanilla flavor and the cookies added a welcome crunch. Peanut butter and chocolate candies would definitely work as well.  The mix in possibilities are endless!

Making these Pudding Cups would be an awesome Easter festivity for kids since they can all create their own delicious masterpiece.

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla SUPER Snack Packs

Mega Stuf Golden Oreos

Cinnamon Teddy Grahams

Blue, yellow, and orange jelly beans

Gummy bunnies

Gummy butterflies

Instructions

Push an Oreo into each of the pudding cups so that it is in the middle, totally surrounded by pudding.

Crush some of the Teddy Grahams. An easy way to do this is to put them in a zipper bag and then smash them with a spoon.

Sprinkle Teddy Grahams on top of the pudding cups as desired. Decorate with more whole Teddy Grahams, jelly beans, and gummies. Use your creativity and whatever candies you like!

Notes

Make as many pudding cups as you like using whatever toppings you want. My ideas are only the beginning of the possibilities!

http://piesandplots.net/layered-easter-pudding-cups/

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding #SundaySupper

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Some people may say I’m old fashioned.

I always dress up. Even when I’m just going to the grocery store. In fact, other than my tennis shoes that are just for working out, I only own heels. I’m all about wearing skirts and doing my hair and makeup and looking presentable every time I leave the house.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Writing cards and thank you notes is one of my favorite things to do. And I’m not talking about emailed ones. I love having a pen in my hand and writing out an actual card that gets a stamp (and usually stickers) before being sent off in the mail box to the people who mean the most to me.

I take pictures with my actual camera. Yes, I love my camera phone. It is so useful when I’m out and about and don’t have my camera with me. But when I want awesome pictures before, during, or after an event, I use my camera. It’s not just for taking food photos.

And I love old fashioned foods. Pecan pie. Apple pie. Sugar cookies. Vanilla cake. Banana Pudding. I’ll take any of these things over cookie butter any day.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Speaking of old fashioned foods, I made Banana Pudding for today’s Old Fashioned Sunday Supper because Mom always talks about how her Aunt Rose made it when she was a kid. I’d never had banana pudding until I made this. How did I wait so long??? It is a delightful combination of homemade vanilla bean pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers.

Together the flavors and textures blend together perfectly. Mom and Dad loved it – I think it brought them back to childhood. I really liked it, but I think I would have liked it better with homemade vanilla wafers – no surprise there. All in all though, it’s another old fashioned recipe I’m glad to have in my repertoire.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

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

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices

Juice of 1 lemon

50-60 Nilla Wafers

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in egg and egg yolk. Whisk in milk until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Place the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble and thickens considerably. Think about what consistency you would like pudding to be.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time, making sure each piece is incorporated before adding another. Whisk in the vanilla bean paste.

Pour the pudding into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic directly on the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

After the pudding has chilled, combine the sliced bananas and lemon juice in a bowl.

In a medium sized glass bowl, place a small portion of pudding. Cover with a layer of Wafers, followed by a layer of bananas, and a layer of pudding. Continue until you have used all the bananas, Wafers, and pudding. Be sure to end with a layer of pudding. Decorate the top with a few more Wafers. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Pudding may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown Additional chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/old-fashioned-banana-pudding-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Bodacious Breakfasts and Appetizers:

Made in the Shade Main Dishes:

Swell Side Dishes:

Dreamy Desserts:

The Bee’s Knees Beverages:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

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/

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway!

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!!!!!!!

I can’t believe I’ve already been blogging one whole year.  It all began with hopes, dreams, and one amazing Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie.  A year later, the adventure is continuing with hopes, dreams, and one amazing Coconut Cream Pie.  It has been an exciting year.  I baked some really amazing things, like Momofuku Confetti Cookies, and no baked some pretty cool things too.  Hello Triple Peanut Butter Puppy Chow.  I was a part of Regis Philbin’s stage show.  And celebrated my golden birthday.  I even started to get photos accepted by Foodgawker and Tastespotting.

I have challenged myself to make the best, most creative treats possible.  Sometimes I am amazed at the things I come up with and even more so at the results.  There have been recipe failures, but I learned something from each of them.  I even made a few healthy recipes because life is all about balance.  Yay kale chips!  One of the best parts of this year has been the amazing “friends” I have made.  Though I haven’t met any of them and probably never will, the people who read this blog and leave comments make my day.  They have also inspired me with their fantastic recipes and words.

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

But the hardest lesson I’ve learned in the past year is that blogging is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life.  I face rejection on a daily basis, whether it’s looking at disappointing traffic numbers or seeing those dreaded rejection emails from the food photo sites.  Maybe I was being naïve, but I thought this would be easier, I thought the site would blossom and grow as long as I did all the things the books and other bloggers say.  But it hasn’t happened.  And I have to be completely honest with you: I have no idea why, and sometimes it crushes me.  So if you have a moment and wouldn’t mind, would you please spread the word about my blog?  Perhaps Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest?  You have no idea how much it would mean to me.

My writing is still where my heart lies.  I try to work on it every day.  Hopefully something amazing will happen with it, as well as the blog, soon.  I don’t know where the blog will be in another year or even if I’ll still be doing it, but for now I am enjoying the adventure, and quite an adventure it is.  Thank you for reading and leaving comments.  I truly appreciate it.

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

To thank you further and celebrate the occasion, the kind people at Wüsthof provided me with a giveaway.  They sent me an Offset Cake Knife, which is great for both cakes and pies, to try and will be sending one to the winner of this giveaway as well.  First I had to make a pie.  I was feeling a little uninspired with the lack of produce in the stores, but then saw Emeril’s Coconut Cream Pie lurking in my bookmarks and knew I had to give it a try.

One of the easier pies I have made, it may also be one of my favorites.  I stuck with my favorite Bobby Flay crust recipe which did not disappoint with its buttery, flaky goodness.  But that coconut cream filling is a real star.  It is so smooth and creamy without ever being too rich or heavy.  Vanilla comes through in the cream, with undertones of coconut, enhanced greatly by tons of shredded coconut in the custard.  The toasted coconut on top is not to be skipped, as it adds great texture and flavor.  I used Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened Flaked Coconut in the cream and on top and love the texture and flavor of it.  Surprisingly, this pie is not at all heavy; instead it was a rather light dessert.  I will definitely be making it again.  Whether you’re celebrating a special anniversary of your own or just the fact that it’s Saturday, make this Coconut Cream Pie to make the day even better.

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

On to the giveaway.  One person will win a Wüsthof Offset Cake Knife.  What is cool about this knife is that one side is a knife to cut into the cake or pie.  I found this part slightly difficult to use, as I wanted it to be on the opposite side of the server, but it did the job pretty well.  I love using the knife to get the pie out of dish.  Usually such a messy task as I try to use a knife and a spoon to grab the crust and filling without it spilling out everywhere, this server made it a breeze and left me with a very professional looking and appetizing piece of pie.  Where has this been all my life?  I know you guys will absolutely love this to impress all your friends and family at your next gathering.

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

In order to enter the giveaway, answer the question: What is your favorite special occasion dessert?

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.
The giveaway ends Wednesday, February 20, 2013 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.  Good luck!

Disclaimer: Wüsthof provided this giveaway, but all opinions, as always, are my own.

Please check out Wüsthof’s website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway

5.0 from 17 reviews
Coconut Cream Pie, Blogiversary, and Giveaway!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1⅓ sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 4-7 tablespoons cold water
Filling
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk (I used Trader Joe’s – it’s not in a can – yay!)
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, divided
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flaked unsweetened coconut, toasted, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Make the crust. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse to mix. Add shortening and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water, starting with 4 tablespoons. And pulse, adding more water one tablespoon at a time as necessary, until the dough comes together when pressed in your hand. Pour dough onto plastic wrap. Wrap firmly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. After the dough is chilled, take about half, I used a little more, and roll it out to about ¼ inch thick and so it is wide enough to fit easily in your pie pan. The other half can be frozen, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 2 months to be used for another pie. Place the rolled dough into your pie pan. Flute the edges of the crust and refrigerate it for 30 minutes more.
  3. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once it is chilled, bake for 30-35 minutes, until light golden brown, rotating halfway through if necessary. Allow to cool completely.
  4. When the crust is cool, make the filling. In a 1 quart saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, coconut milk, and 1 cup of whole milk. Bring to a boil.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup whole milk and cornstarch. Make sure the cornstarch is fully combined in the milk. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and salt together. Once the milk has come to a boil, remove it from the heat and slowly add about ½ cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks while whisking vigorously. Then add the egg yolk mixture along with the cornstarch mixture to the milk in the pot.
  6. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes, until it has thickened considerably. Remove from the heat and add the coconut, vanilla, and butter. Whisk to combine. Pour the filling in the prepared pie shell and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You may cover it if you like with plastic wrap, but I really liked the skin that formed from leaving it uncovered.
  7. Once the pie is chilled, top with toasted coconut and serve. Pie may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. It may not be frozen.
Notes
Crust adapted from Bobby Flay Filling adapted from Emeril Lagasse

 

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Warm, soft, gooey, decadent.  These are all things I look for in desserts in the winter.  Something comforting.  Something to combat the cold winter weather.  Something like bread pudding.  It really doesn’t get warmer, softer, gooey-er, or more decadent than bread pudding.

I love the idea of bread pudding, but so often it is disappointing.  I am happy to report that after one bite of this, I could. Not. Stop. Eating. It.  Seriously, it was a major problem.  I had to give it away to my neighbors to get it out of the house.  I started with challah bread from the amazing Avalon Bakery in Detroit.  I had never been there before, but it is such a great little bakery full of tons of amazing looking treats.  The braided apple raisin coffee cake was a huge hit as was the orange cranberry bread, but the challah really shined in this bread pudding.

It was perfect to soak up the super-rich and eggy custard, enhanced with spices, vanilla, and bourbon.  Apples add a little texture.  Then I drizzled it with my favorite caramel sauce.  It was simply awesome, especially warm out of the oven with warm caramel heaped over it.

Speaking of eggs, this is another recipe I developed for Davidson’s Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs.  They are so perfect for this recipe because then it’s okay if the custard isn’t all the way set.  So please head over to their site for the blog post and recipe.  You definitely want to make Caramel Apple Bread Pudding this holiday season.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Vanilla Pudding Candy Corn Oreo Parfaits

Vanilla Pudding Candy Corn Oreo Parfaits

Music plays a huge roll in my life.  It makes me feel.  Makes me happy, sad, relieves stress, brings a huge smile to my face.  It makes me dance (badly) and sing (even worse).  It keeps me calm when alone and a little nervous or stuck in a traffic jam in the middle of rush hour.

When I was growing up, MTV still aired music videos all the time.  Though I was probably a little too young, my grade school days were filled with TRL introducing me to the latest and greatest from pop to hip hop to rap.  I rushed home from school to see what would be number one each day.  I’d listen to the radio non-stop, and there were even days when I got up early for school so my baby-sitter and I could stop at Target on the way to pick up the newest Britney Spears or NSYNC CD.  CDs, remember those?

Vanilla Pudding

Candy Corn Oreos

I can’t remember the last time my TV was turned to MTV or even the last music video I watched all the way through, nor the last time I saw a concert.  The radio station I listened to has been turned into some DJless monstrosity that isn’t even a part of my presets.  I now almost exclusively listen to Sirius radio and love it.  I love that it introduces me to music regular radio doesn’t.  I have a few hundred iTunes songs on my computer, but I don’t even have an iPod or a CD player except the one in my computer.  I still love music, though.  I love listening to it in the car and typically put away my cell phone to enjoy the music.  I watch performances on all the talk shows.  The Grammys and AMAs are appointment television.

I still smile every time a Spice Girls’ song comes on the ‘90s channel, and yes, I still know most of the words.  The song “Hallelujah” makes me cry within hearing only a few notes.  I watch Glee mostly for the performances and Love Actually is my favorite movie of all time due in large part to the fantastic music that propels the story.  I even had to stifle tears in the middle of Hallmark last year when the Charlie Brown Christmas music was playing.

Music reaches my soul without even trying.  It hits all my emotions and makes me feel more alive.  I may enjoy it differently than I used to, but I still enjoy it pretty much every single day.

Vanilla Pudding Candy Corn Oreo Parfaits

Vanilla Pudding Candy Corn Oreo Trifle, it will be music to your taste buds with its symphony of flavors.  The homemade vanilla pudding is wonderful.  Super easy to make, it has true vanilla flavor with vanilla bean specks throughout.  It’s also super thick and creamy with a melt in your mouth texture, no straining required.  It’s like store bought pudding taken to the nth degree.  And while this pudding is totally awesome all on its own, I wanted to do something different with it.  So I layered it with crushed Candy Corn Oreos.  I like to think of this as my version of dirt pudding.  I left the Oreos in somewhat large pieces, though feel free to crush them as much as you like.  The pudding and Oreos together are a match made in heaven, each bringing out the best flavors of the other.  I love to let the parfait sit in the refrigerator for awhile so the Oreos soften.  I bet regular Golden Oreos or even regular Oreos would be great in this as well.  This is the perfect treat for Halloween.  Kids and adults alike will love it and forget about all the candy from the store or their Trick or Treating.

Vanilla Pudding Candy Corn Oreo Parfaits

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vanilla Pudding Candy Corn Oreo Parfaits
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs (I highly recommend pasteurized for this recipe)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • About 10 Candy Corn Oreos
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt until combined. In a medium-large bowl, whisk eggs until slightly lightened in color and there are no lumps. Whisk in cornstarch mixture until smooth and fully combined.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, remaining sugar, and vanilla bean seeds. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, slowly and steadily pour it into the egg mixture, whisking quite vigorously and constantly until all the milk is added.
  3. Pour the mixture back in the saucepan and place back over medium-high heat. Allow the mixture to cook, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes until it is thickened. It is fine if it comes to boil, but it may not. You will be able to tell that the mixture has thickened significantly and is ready.
  4. Immediately pour the mixture into a medium heat proof bowl. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. Place pudding immediately in the refrigerator. After it has been in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, cover it with plastic wrap, placing the plastic directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 3 more hours.
  5. Using a rolling pin, food processor, or your fingers crush the Oreos. I used my fingers and left them in large pieces, but feel free to use your method of choice and crush them as finely as you wish.
  6. Retrieve 4 small serving vessels of your choice, I used wine glasses, and remove the pudding from the refrigerator. Place a dollop of pudding in the bottom of each glass, covering the bottom completely. Sprinkle with Oreos until the pudding is covered. Add another layer of pudding, before topping with Oreos. Place back in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. I highly recommend this step, as I like how it allows the Oreos to soften. The pudding may be stored in the refrigerator overnight, but I would not store the parfaits longer than a few hours, and I would not freeze any part of this recipe.
Notes
Pudding recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

 

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