Category Archives: Pies & Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Kolaches

Pecan Pie KolachesHello! Everything is upside down here in New York, but I’m trying to make the best of it and blog anyway (because I love it). I know that baking is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind these days, but it’s a great way to relax and put your focus elsewhere for a little while. And it just so happens that tomorrow is one of my favorite food holidays: Pi Day!Pecan Pie KolachesIf you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the calendar date 3/14, which corresponds to Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, enumerated as 3.14159265359 aka “π.” Whew MATH.Pecan Pie KolachesIt’s not technically a food holiday (National Pie Day was January 23), but it’s the unofficial day to celebrate math by making pie. And why not? Pie is circular, requires math (fractions/ratios) to make, and has the perfect name. Also, it’s delicious.Pecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie Kolaches Pecan Pie KolachesAll that said, I did not make a pie for Pi Day this year. I did, however, mix up a batch of the filling from my Pecan Pie Brownies and put it in a bunch of kolaches. In case you haven’t noticed, they are also circular(-ish), require math to make, and have “pi(e)” in the name. Also, they are reeeeeally delicious.Pecan Pie KolachesThey’re super soft, buttery, filled with sticky nutmeg-scented pecan filling, and topped off with a big pinch of posypka (crumble). Oh my lord.Pecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie Kolaches, y’all. They’re something to celebrate.Pecan Pie Kolaches

Pecan Pie Kolaches
makes about 1.5 dozen kolaches

Kolache Dough:
1/2 cup (1 stick) + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 1/3 cup pecan halves
2/3 cup maple syrup or light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Posypka (Crumble):
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter into 8 pieces. Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, nutmeg and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

Make the filling. Scatter pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool completely and then chop finely.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together maple syrup (or corn syrup), brown sugar, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat, just until bubbles are beginning to form at the edges. Mixture will barely thicken.

Set a mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Pour filling mixture through to remove any bits of cooked egg. Fold pecans into filling. Let cool overnight.

In the morning, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut kolaches, rerolling as necessary. Place 3 inches apart on prepared pans.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Brush on the tops of cut kolache dough. Flour the back of a tablespoon and press it into the center of one kolache to make a well. Immediately fill with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of pecan filling. Flour the tablespoon again and repeat process with all remaining kolaches on the baking pan. Repeat process with remaining baking sheet.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap (or greased foil) and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes, or until puffy.

Make the posypka (crumble). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until crumbly.

Position oven racks near the center. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove plastic wrap from one baking sheet of dough. Top each kolache with a big pinch of posypka. Bake kolaches uncovered for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans front to back at the 10 minute mark. They will be light-golden when they are done. Brush baked kolaches with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Let kolaches cool slightly on the pans. Serve warm.

Kolaches are best the day they are made, but may be refrigerated for a couple of days. Warm before serving.Pecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie Kolaches

Pecan Pie Brownies

Pecan Pie BrowniesIt’s Christmastime, y’all. I’ve got visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. And by sugarplums, I mostly mean these Pecan Pie Brownies.Pecan Pie BrowniesJust imagine a pan of rich, chocolaty Super Fudgy Brownies with a layer of pecan pie filling on top. That’s literally what these are. Look at those layers 😍Pecan Pie BrowniesDuring testing, I tried three different methods of adhering the pecan filling to the top of the brownies. The best, by far, is giving the filling a quick (3-5 minute) pre-cook on the stovetop to jumpstart the thickening. It’s very easy, but does require a sieve. Please don’t let that stop you though—I loathe sieving things, but this is pretty painless, and it beats the hell out of slicing up your brownies only to find scrambled egg bits or a thin layer of pecanless goo underneath. *shudder*Pecan Pie BrowniesOnce you’ve done the 15 seconds of sieving, you get to stir in toasted pecans and spoon it over some soft-set brownies and bake until…divine. Yes—that’s the only word for these. Chewy, fudgy, nutty and sticky-sweet without being cloying; let’s just say these are difficult to resist. I brought a box on my family vacation to D.C., and we chose them over fancy restaurant dessert for all but one night. That’s really saying something—we love fancy restaurant dessert.Pecan Pie BrowniesAs if these need more endorsement, Pecan Pie Brownies also happen to be gluten-free. There are no unusual flours or gums here—this recipe simply doesn’t require gluten-containing ingredients. Inclusive holiday treats for the win!Pecan Pie BrowniesPecan Pie Brownies would be wonderful as part of a cookie tin or holiday party spread, or for enjoying during a cozy Christmas movie night at home. I’m sure they’d work well left as a treat for Santa, too! I will say that, as a childless adult, they really hit the spot when eaten in PJs while watching The Crown and counting down the days until you head home for the holidays. You know, in case you were wondering.Pecan Pie Brownies

Pecan Pie Brownies
makes about 16-25 brownies

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 1/3 cup pecan halves
2/3 cup maple syrup or light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Brownies:
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch rimmed square baking pan with butter. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Set aside.

Scatter pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside.

Make the brownie batter. Combine cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl, and use a fork to combine. Set aside.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place butter and chocolate in heatproof bowl. When water comes to a simmer, turn heat to low and place heatproof bowl over the top. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir frequently until melted and smooth. Add sugar and whisk for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in dry ingredients.

Combine eggs and vanilla in a small mixing bowl. Use a whisk or fork to beat until a bit bubbly, about 1 minute. Whisk into chocolate mixture until smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Tap full pan five times on the countertop to release air bubbles. Bake 15 minutes, until top has begun to set.

Make pecan pie filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk together maple syrup (or corn syrup), brown sugar, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat until bubbles are beginning to form at the edges, about 3-5 minutes. Mixture will barely thicken.

Set a mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Pour filling mixture through to remove any bits of cooked egg. Fold pecans into filling.

Spoon pecan pie filling over partially-baked brownies. Bake an additional 30-35 minutes, or until the center barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Chill for 1-2 hours for clean slicing.

Use parchment overhang to remove brownies to a cutting board. Slice into 16-25 pieces and serve.

Leftovers will keep an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. These may also be layered with wax paper or parchment and frozen.Pecan Pie BrowniesPecan Pie BrowniesPecan Pie Brownies

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Here we are, six days from Thanksgiving. Six days!Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}I’ll have one more holiday recipe for you on Monday—a really simple one—but first, pie. More specifically, Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Just imagine a layer of vanilla-scented buttermilk custard soft enough to squidge (technical term) against your teeth, and a crisp, lightly-spiced crust reminiscent of an old-fashioned oatmeal cookie. That’s what you get with this recipe.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Oh, and it’s easy. The filling comes together with a whisk and a mixing bowl. It’s incredibly simple, and the results are old-fashioned and delicious.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}As for the crust, well, let’s just say I’m in love. It’s a little thicker than your average pastry crust, but it’s also like a big cookie—a big cookie filled with buttermilk custard!Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}This oatmeal crust comes together in a food processor before being pressed into a greased pie plate. No need for chilling, rolling or crimping. Easy easy easy.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}And did I mention that both components just happen to be gluten-free? Yesssss. I love inclusive recipes—that goes double at the holidays.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}
makes one 9-inch pie

Oatmeal Crust:
3 cups old-fashioned oats* (use certified gluten-free for gluten-free crust)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter,* cut into pieces
4 tablespoons water

Buttermilk Pie Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk (preferably whole)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For serving (optional):
whipped cream

Place an oven rack in the lowest position, leaving a lot of headroom above. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a pie plate.

Make the crust. Scatter oats in an even layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool a few minutes.

Add oats to the bowl of a food processor, along with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter. Process to combine. Add water and process again until clumps form.

Press mixture in an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie plate. Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.

Make the pie filling. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs for 2 minutes, or until very thick and foamy. Gradually whisk in sugar mixture, followed by melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla. Mixture will be thin. Pour into crust.

Carefully move the pie (still on the baking sheet) to the oven. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 35-45 minutes, or until the top is light golden, the edges are puffed, and the center is still a little jiggly (not soupy). Tent with foil if it is darkening too quickly. Turn off oven and crack the door open. Let the pie sit in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove pie to a rack to cool completely. Chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

Buttermilk Pie is best served cold. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes:

    You may use an equal volume of coconut oil.
    To make this in a regular pie crust, follow the crust-baking (partial blind-baking) instructions here.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}

Apple Pie

Apple PieI’ve somehow blogged my way through five Thanksgivings without ever posting an apple pie. There was one Cranberry Apple Pie that got a little toasty on top, a couple of apple cakes, some shortbread bars and even Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls, but a mile-high, nicely spiced Apple Pie has never made it into my Thanksgiving Recipe line-up until right now. I think it was worth the wait.Apple PieI kind of feel like I should preface this recipe by saying that I know there are a million and a half apple pie recipes and that this is nothing revolutionary, but

  1. screw that.
  2. when is homemade apple pie anything other than revolutionary?Apple Pie

I mean, look at this golden, lattice-domed thing! It’s stuffed to the gills—there are 4.5 pounds of apples in there! They’re a mix of Granny Smith, Gala and Honeycrisp, so there are a variety of flavors and textures, but they are all delicious baked between two layers of All-Butter Pie Dough.Apple PieApple PieIn terms of flavoring, there’s all sorts of good stuff in here. The apples are tossed in a mixture of granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar before being left to macerate (sit and release liquid) for an hour. After that, a mixture of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves is stirred in, along with some cornstarch for thickening and salt for balance. Mmhmm.Apple PieApple PieThe filling—accumulated liquid and all—is piled high into a pie crust before being topped with another crust. I went for a classic lattice and a couple of braids here, but feel free to do a whole top crust (make sure to cut some vents!) or whatever makes you happy. Then brush that thing with egg wash, sprinkle it with coarse sugar and bake the crap out of it.Apple PieApple PieWhen you read through this recipe, you’ll notice that there are a lot of pauses and chills and that this pie bakes for more than an hour. Pie takes time, y’all. There’s no way around it. If I wrote a chill in there, it’s because I think it’s important. I don’t want to put anymore time between you (or me!) and that first slice than absolutely necessary.Apple PieAs for baking, this pie is a bit of a diva, but aren’t they all?! In apple pie’s case, you’ll need to preheat a rimmed baking sheet when you heat the oven. This serves two purposes: protecting your oven floor from overflow and helping ensure that the bottom crust doesn’t wind up completely raw. Also, this pie starts baking at 400F for fifteen minutes and finishes at 375F for 50-60 more. It’s a long time, but this is a big pie! Try to be patient, and don’t forget to tent with foil as necessary. You want that golden top!Apple PieApple PieI promise all this work will be worth it when you slice this thing up. Homemade apple pie always is.Apple Pie

Apple Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

Filling:
10 medium baking apples or about 4.5 lbs (I used a mix of Granny Smith, Gala and Honeycrisp)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Pie Crust:
1 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good double crust recipe, divided

Egg Wash & Garnish:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar

Prepare the apples. Peel and core apples and slice in 1/8-inch slices. Place pieces in a large mixing bowl and toss with vinegar, sugar, and brown sugar. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature, tossing occasionally, so they can release some liquid.

Prepare the bottom crust. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll one disk of pie dough out to a 14-inch diameter. Fit it in a pie plate, trim any overhang to 1-inch. Crimp as desired. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Prepare the top crust. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll one disk of pie dough out to a 14-inch diameter. Slice in strips or carefully fold in quarters (depending what kind of top crust you’d like), wrap loosely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.

Once the apples’ time has elapsed, add cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt, and toss to combine. Transfer filling (including all accumulated liquid) to prepared bottom crust. Use refrigerated prepared top crust to either create a lattice or cover completely and cut a few vents. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position. Place a rimmed baking sheet on that rack. Preheat oven to 400F.

Make the egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Use a pastry brush mixture over all exposed crust. Sprinkle coarse sugar over the top.

Bake the pie. Place pie on hot baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake another 50-60 minutes until crust is golden and fruit is cooked but not mushy. Loosely tend with foil at the 30 minute mark, or if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Use rimmed baking sheet to remove pie from the oven. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for a minimum of 4 hours before slicing and serving.

Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.Apple PieApple PieApple Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan PieI am all about this Chocolate Pecan Pie right now. I am into it. So into it, in fact, that I thought about it for a year and a half before I actually made it, and then I made it six times. Six times!Chocolate Pecan PieSome recipes take two or three tries. Some I even get on the first go. Both of this week’s took six rounds. What does that say about me? I don’t know, except that there has been A LOT of pie in my apartment lately.

(Not a bad thing.)

(Also, please come over for pie.)Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan Pie, y’all. It’s rich and fudgy and studded with toasted pecans—the sort of dessert that haunts my dreams. But the good kind of haunting. The kind where I get to eat pie.Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieBut I digress. The filling here is somewhere between traditional pecan pie, chocolate pie, and brownies. It’s soft, deeply chocolaty, and dense but somehow not heavy…and that’s to say nothing of the bevy of naturally caramelly pecans strewn throughout. Add to that that it’s all wrapped up in flaky All-Butter Pie Dough and…best pie ever?!Chocolate Pecan PieI cannot overstate how delicious this is, with or without whipped cream and shaved chocolate. It’s a guaranteed Turkey Day slam dunk! I mean, it’s also a slam dunk when you’re hovering over it at 1am on a random Tuesday, evening out edges and eating it with your fingers like a wild animal, but I somehow think your guests will prefer the former.Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

2 cups pecan halves, chopped + more for topping
1 unbaked pie crust (I used 1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup light corn syrup (or golden syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Egg wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For serving:
whipped cream
shaved bittersweet chocolate

Place the oven rack in the bottom-third position. Preheat oven to 400F.

Scatter chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn.

On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Fit in pie plate. Cut excess to 1/2-inch, and crimp as desired. Chill pie crust.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, light brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Mix in corn syrup and vanilla.

Combine bittersweet chocolate and butter a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes just so it’s not screaming hot.

Whisking constantly, add chocolate mixture to egg mixture.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator and place it on top of a rimmed baking sheet (for ease of removal from the oven). Place chopped pecans in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour chocolate filling over the top. Scatter more pecan halves over the top, if desired.

Make egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Brush mixture over exposed crust.

Bake pie 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 350F and continue to bake 30-40 minutes, loosely tenting with foil at the 15 minute mark. Pie is done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream and shaved chocolate, if desired.

Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan Pie