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Posts Tagged ‘Pi Day’

Today is a very special day – 3/14 – the best excuse of the year to make pie!

So in honour of pi day, I share below my five favourite pies from last year.  May your days be filled with delicious pie!

– Catherine

 

Tourtiere – Easily my favourite savoury pie, this traditional Quebecois meat pie is a treat!

White Chocolate Cranberry Tart with Toasted Pistachios  – This combination of tart cranberries, nutty pistachios, and smooth chocolate is elegant and stunning. 

Raspberry Glacee Pie – If you ever need to bribe my mother, look no farther.  This delicate raspberry pie is truly divine served with whipped cream.



Pumpkin Pie – Nothing screams autumn more than impeccably spiced pumpkin pie.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie –  Whipped hazelnut cream filling topped with chocolate ganache.  Need I say more?

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For our final pi day celebration today, we offer you a savoury quiche, one of Sitelle’s specials.  This is perfect for any meal of the day, with the delicious cheese and veggies adding personality to the quiche.

And so, we offer you our Pi Day in a nutshell (well, aside from the other two pies):

We ate a few eggs along the way… (the recycling bin had 4 egg cartons by the end of our adventuring)

To quote our dear roomate and friend on our Pi Day activities: “that’s an insane amount of eggs you two used. You guys are like Michael Phelps”.

Higher compliments could not have been given!  We hope you love and indulge in Pi Day as much as we do!

Ingredients – 1 large quiche

-1 quantity savoury pastry crust (*https://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/savoury-pastry-crust/)
-4-5  large eggs (depends on size of dish and how many eggs you have)
-1 cup whipping or sour cream
-2 cups grated Emmenthal or Gruyère cheese
-1 cup red pepper julienne
-1 zucchini, cut 3/4 cm rounds
-1 cup broccoli florets
-1/2 cup green onions or shallots, diced
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 tsp salt (and more to taste)
-1 Tbsp parsley, finely minced
-1/2 tsp paprika (optional)
-black pepper, to taste

Directions

Chop the vegetables and grate the cheese, and set aside.  Prepare the savoury crust, then roll it out and place in a buttered pie or fluted quiche dish.  Prick it with a fork.  Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, crack the eggs, and whisk in the cream.  Add the onion, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Arrange the veggies on the crust, and pour the egg mixture over top.  There should not be too thick a layer of egg mixture.  Once it has been spread out (I usually gently shake the whole thing to spread it), sprinkle the cheese over top, and the paprika.

Bake in the oven until it is set, approximately 25 minutes.  This quiche is absolutely delicious with a green salad, and makes for absolutely amazing lunches the next day.  Happy Pi Day!

-Catherine and Sitelle

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For the second of our pies, we offer you a lemon meringue!

There is something truly decadent about a beautifully executed lemon meringue pie.  The tangy lemon curd lingers on your tongue as the meringue disintegrates.  One can never go wrong with being generous on the lemon or the meringue side!

While the other pies are recipes plucked from our heads, inspired from years of pie-baking, this one is from the classic Joy of Cooking. This is a classic in my family, being my sister and father’s favourite type of pie!

Lemon Meringue Pie
Ingredients:

1 portion pâte sucrée (https://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/savoury-pastry-crust/)

Lemon Curd:

1 ½ cups sugar

6 tablespoons constrach

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup cold water

½ cup fresh lemon juice

3 egg yolks, well beaten

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 ½ cups boiling water

1 generous teaspoon grated lemon zest

Meringue:

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

½ scant cup sugar, preferably superfine

½ teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Pie Shell:

To prebake (“blind bake”) the shell, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough and place into a 9-inch pie shell.  Cut off any overhang, and flute the edges decoratively.

Prick the shell using a fork. Line the pie with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with weights (beans or rice work perfectly).  Bake the pie for 15 minutes, remove the weights, and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is beautifully golden.  Cool before filling with the lemon curd.

Lemon Curd:

Over medium heat, combine in a saucepan sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Gradually blend in until smooth water and lemon juice.  Incorporate the eggs yolks in thoroughly. Gradually add in the butter.  Stirring constantly, add in the boiling water and bring the lemon curd to a full boil.  Once the lemon curd begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 or 2 more minutes.  Remove from the head and add the lemon zest.  Pour into the baked pie shell.

Meringue:

Using an hand-held beater, beat egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of trtar.  Tablespoon by tablespoon beat in the sugar until the peaks are stiff and glossy. Beat in the vanilla.

Spread the meringue over the hot lemon curd and bake for 20 more minutes.  Best eaten once cool (allows the lemon curd to solidify), but perfectly delicious warm.  Happy Pi Day!

–       Catherine & Sitelle

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Keeping the oven working hard!


Pi Day is a very special day in our lives. A few years back, we decided to celebrate it in all its full glory – a pie-baking escapade ensued resulting in 3 delicious pies: quiche, lemon meringue pie, and apple berry. We share with you today are delicious pi day adventures!

The first of this triplet today is apple wildberry pie.  This began as an apple pie adventure, but we ran out of apples!  So we added berries to ensure we had enough fruit (as you can tell from the photo, piling fuit high is key, since the fruit shrink in the oven).  The fruit add character to the apple pie, and give the recipe an infite number of combination possibilites!

 

Apple Wildberry Pie

Ingredients:
1 quantity sweet pastry crust (https://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/savoury-pastry-crust/)
4-6 apples (we like crisp apples, Macintosh work well, as to many others), diced (and peeled, if you like)
2-3 cups wildberries (frozen is fine, preferred even in the wintertime): a mix or solo of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries works beautifully
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (if you use frozen berries add a third Tbsp)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

The key to delicious apple wildberry pie is making sure to pile the fruit high!


 
Directions:
Prepare the sweet pastry crust 30 minutes in advance.  Dice and core the apples, and place them in a large bowl.  Drizzle the lemon juice over top to prevent browning.  Mix in the berries, and then sprinkle over the cinnamon, the salt, brown sugar, and flour.  Toss the mixture to ensure everything is coated evenly.  You can add more cinnamon if you like it to be stronger, the amount in this recipe is small to complement the fruit but some like more.

Grease a pie dish, roll out the crust, and prick it.  Pile the fruit in the crust.  The more, the merrier!  If you have left-over crust on the edges, we like to use it either for a whole top, or to make a lattice (as we did in this case).  The lattice can be made by cutting 1/2-inch wide strips of dough, and criss-crossing them over top (like weaving with huge fragile rope).  If you do end up making some kind of top, be sure to brush it with egg.  The part of the egg, however, is the chef’s dilemma: Sitelle likes to use yolk only, while Catherine is more in favour of whole egg or egg white only.  We both like to argue that our’s is best, but really, it comes down to what the chef prefers, and is only dangerous when there are two chefs in the house!

Cook this in the oven at 350F for approximately 35-40 minutes, once the top is golden, and you can see the fruit’s juice bubbling.  If you are impatient, as the aroma is likely to make you, take it out a little sooner and you’ll have a crunchier fruit filling!

-Catherine and Sitelle

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I’m sure that most will agree with me when I say crust is key to the success of pies and other delicious treats.  The crazy thing is, it only takes 5 minutes to make (well, once you’ve done it a few times).  I swear it is no more efficient to buy it in the grocery store ready-made, and it is definitely tastier home-made.  Plus, if you like making things in doubles, you can freeze half the dough in a ziplock and use it a week or two later.  Just take it out 1/2 an hour before rolling it out!

There are few ingredients in crusts, so the key is less them and more how they are handled.  Too much work and/or heat results in a rubbery mess that can be very disappointing.  To avoid this, use the coldest ingredients possible (if I use the food processor, I like to freeze cubes of butter 1/2 an hour in advance!), and I use water that I chill in the freezer while preparing the rest.  I’ll give both my machine-free and my food-processor variations so that everyone can indulge!

Ingredients

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 Tbsp granulated sugar (*OMIT For savoury crust)
-2/3 cups cold cold cold butter, cut into 1-2 cm cubes (put them back in the fridge or freezer after cutting them if it gets soft before being incorporated in the flour)
-1/2 cup cold cold cold water
-pinch salt

Directions

By hand

Cut butter into cubes, then refrigerate or freeze.  In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.  When ready, cut butter into dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives.  Cut the butter quickly, mixing it into the flour, until it forms pea-sized lumps.  At this point, add 1 Tbsp of water at a time as you try to form a ball with the dough.  Do not overwork the dough.  At the first real signs that it can form into a ball, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

By food processor

Cut the butter into cubes and place in freezer, as well as water.  Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse to mix.  Add the butter, and pulse several times until pea-sized lumps remain.  Turn this out into a bowl, and add water 1 Tbsp at a time, until a ball can be formed, without overworking it.  Place the ball in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

Then, the easiest method I find for rolling the pastry out is between 2 sheets of wax paper, using a rolling pin (or, as was often the case in the first years of university, a wine bottle).

Some recipes require blind baking, which is just cooking the pastry alone before filling it.  A simple blind-bake can be done by preheating the oven to 375F, rolling out the crust, and placing it into a greased pie dish.  Then, just prick the crust, and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper (make sure there’s at least 1 inch of overlap all around).  Place baking weights, or, if you’re like me and don’t happen to have any of those you can just as easily substitute uncooked rice or beans or lentils, onto the parchment paper.

Cook it for 10 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment paper (carefully, because you can reuse the weights an infinite number of times if you don’t spill them), and cook for another 10 minutes uncovered.  This allows the crust to be extra flaky in recipes like lemon tarts.

Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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