Category Archives: Pies & Pie Bars

Friday Favorites: Pumpkin II

Okay, I give in.

I’m a real stickler for keeping pumpkin (and other fall flavors) off the blog until it’s actually fall—I’m not a year round pumpkin person and you’ll never see me breaking out my stash of Libby’s on August 1st. That said, insufferable as I am, I could really go for a Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Square right now. So, there will be no *new* pumpkin content until Wednesday, when it will finally be fall. Pre-existing pumpkin though? Don’t mind if I do.

If you’ve been here a while, you may know that I did a Friday Favorites for pumpkin three years ago, but I’ve made a lot of new pumpkin recipes since then, so let’s call this a companion piece. Enjoy these favorites from the archives! Oh, and come back Wednesday for a new pumpkin recipe, and in three years for Friday Favorites: Pumpkin III.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

These soft, chewy cookies have a double dose of pumpkin pie spice! It’s mixed into the pumpkin dough and then whisked into a sugary coating before baking. If you are a pumpkin spice purist, these are for you.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

If, however, you like your pumpkin extra-shareable and with a side of chocolate, go this route. Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies are vegan, due in large part to the fact that pumpkin makes a great egg substitute. From there, I just swapped the usual butter for coconut oil. Easy peasy.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

I love a good blondie recipe! These are quick and easy and studded with chocolate chips. Can’t wait to make a batch in Maine in a few weeks.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

I’ve never loved Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I will gladly throw pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and granulated espresso into cookie bars and then top them off with a thick layer of vanilla buttercream. What can I say? I’m filled with contradictions.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Babka

This, the one and only babka on this blog, was a labor of love. I made 18 of them before I got this recipe how I want it. This is so delicious, y’all. Buttery brioche dough is filled with pumpkin pie filling, twisted together, baked until golden and made glossy with a pumpkin spice syrup. Enjoy this yeasted cake for breakfast or a snack, or use it for a hyper-seasonal French toast.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes are my all-time favorite weekend breakfast, so of course I had to make a pumpkin version! Super easy, super delicious. This is perfect for any lazy morning, or as a Thanksgiving breakfast.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread

This quick bread is actually a half-batch of my Pumpkin Bundt Cake swirled with cheesecake and baked in a loaf pan. It’s very simple and a stunner every time.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Pie with Toasted Pecan Crust {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Everyone needs a great pumpkin pie recipe, and while I have a more traditional one in the archives, I think this vegan, gluten-free version is my favorite. The filling is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar and the crust is made primarily of pecans, cornstarch and coconut oil, and the whole thing is really fantastic. Put it on your Thanksgiving menu, or maybe just make one for the hell of it.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Oat Dog Treats

Yes, I even have pumpkin for pups! These nutritious five ingredient treats come together in a food processor, and though they are for dogs, they are delicious for humans too. That’s right, I have to taste test everything on this blog. Even the dog treats.

Have you made any of these or any of my other pumpkin recipes? What’s your favorite thing to make with pumpkin? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: PumpkinFriday Favorites: Pumpkin

Black & Blueberry Galette

Black & Blueberry GaletteWhile there is a time and place for a traditional crimped and latticed pie, my kitchen in the middle of a heatwave is not it. That said, there are a ton of berries at the markets right now, and it would be a real shame to miss tucking them all into a flaky shell, now wouldn’t it?Black & Blueberry GaletteBlack & Blueberry GaletteGalettes to the rescue! They’re pie’s no-nonsense, rustic sisters–we’re talking all the flavor and beauty of pie with less than half the work. You don’t even need a pie plate! Simply roll out some pie dough, mound a fruit filling in the middle, fold up the edges and bake ‘til golden and bubbly. Boom, done, galette.Black & Blueberry GaletteI used my All-Butter Pie Dough for this glossy beauty, but I know pie dough scares the bejeezus out of some of you. Also, I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to mess with temperature-dependent dough in the middle of summer. I’ll admit that trying to keep tiny bits of butter from melting is not my favorite warm-weather activity either, but when all is said, done, sliced & served, it sure is worth the effort.Black & Blueberry GaletteGenerally speaking, I think baking should be an enjoyable process, so if making dough from scratch is going to ruin the fun of making a galette, by all means, take the easy way out. Use whatever pie dough you like here, even the refrigerated store-bought stuff. I am pretty sure a sheet of puff pastry would work, too. Whatever your dough of choice, just remember to keep your surfaces floured and your dough cold.

Cold dough = cold butter = super flaky crust.Black & Blueberry Galette I used blackberries and blueberries in this galette for a multitude of reasons, chief amongst them that these varieties looked the best at my local green market a few weeks ago. They also happen to remind me of Maine—I love when food and nostalgia line up. I went with a 50:50 ratio of blackberries to blueberries, but you should feel free to play around with the amounts, use all of one berry or the other, or swap in some raspberries. When it comes to galettes and summer berries, there are no bad ideas.Black & Blueberry Galette

Black & Blueberry Galette
makes 1 galette, about 8 servings

1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough, or other good single-crust pie dough
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar, for sprinkling
whipped cream, for serving (optional)
vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine blackberries and blueberries in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, and lime juice. Stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Trim edges so that you have a 12-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pan. Mound filling in the middle of the dough, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on all sides. Fold dough over the sides of the filling to contain it. Scatter butter over exposed filling.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush mixture on exposed pie dough. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Move to the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 more minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Galette will keep covered at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to four.Black & Blueberry GaletteBlack & Blueberry Galette

Little Lemon Pie Jars {No-Bake}

Little Lemon Pie JarsThese Little Lemon Pie Jars are are the best no-bake dessert I’ve had in quite some time. They’re cold, creamy and tangy, but not overly rich, and their single-serve presentation makes them ideal for any socially-distanced gathering during these hotter months.Little Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie Jars are incredibly simple to make. The lemon filling is made with a fluffy combination of cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream, and my favorite Lazy Lemon Curd. While the curd takes a little forethought so it can cool completely, it’s very easy to make—sweetened condensed milk does all the heavy lifting. You could certainly use store bought lemon curd or make a traditional recipe, but I really want to encourage you to try this easy version. It’s dead-simple to make, perfectly balanced, and one recipe makes twice the amount you’ll need for these little pies, meaning you’ll have plenty leftover for toast or biscuits or slapping together a few Lemon Meringue S’mores. Yum.Little Lemon Pie JarsOnce the curd is made and cooled, the filling takes all of ten minutes to mix and spoon over the crust. Oooh, this crust. While the lemon filling is plenty sweet and refreshing on its own, the crust provides textural contrast and cuts the richness.Little Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsSimply mix up some graham cracker crumbs, confectioner’s sugar, a pinch of salt and melted butter until everything is lightly moistened, then press the mixture into the bottoms of eight small mason jars. It won’t set hard, instead staying a little on the crumbly side. Where this wouldn’t work particularly well for a traditional pie, it works like a dream here. I love that I can dig my spoon into the bottom of the jar and get a little crust in every bite.Little Lemon Pie JarsYou can garnish these little pies however you like or not at all. I’ve been saying some version of this a lot lately, but it’s the truth: we’re in a pandemic and there are no dessert rules. I dressed these pictured pie jars up with whipped cream, teensy lemon wedges and extra drizzles of lemon curd for their glamour shots, but I ate the leftovers plain out of the fridge and they were just as delicious. Little Lemon Pie Jars

Little Lemon Pie Jars
makes 8 4-ounce pie jars

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 whole graham crackers)
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
6 tablespoons heavy cream, very cold
3/4 cup Lazy Lemon Curd (or other lemon curd), recipe below
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Garnish:
whipped cream
Lazy Lemon Curd
small lemon wedges

Special Equipment:
8 4-ounce mason jars or ramekins

Make the crust. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add melted butter and whisk until everything is lightly moistened and resembles damp sand.

Divide mixture among 8 4-ounce mason jars (or ramekins), about 2-3 heaping tablespoons each. Tamp down the crust with the back of a spoon. Set aside.

Make the filling. Pour heavy cream into a small-medium mixing bowl, and use an electric mixer to beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together Lazy Lemon Curd and cream cheese. It may be a little lumpy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt and beat to combine. Mix in vanilla.

Use a silicone spatula to stir half the whipped cream into the lemon mixture. Gently fold in the second half of the whipped cream. Spoon filling into mason jars, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or press plastic wrap to the surfaces and chill up to 2 days. If you are short on time, these may be frozen for an hour.

To serve, top with whipped cream. Drizzle with more Lazy Lemon Curd (I did this with a snipped piping bag) and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Lazy Lemon Curd
makes about 1 1/2 cups

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3-4 lemons)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks, room temperature

Make the filling. 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.

In the heatproof bowl, whisk together lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. Place bowl over simmering water, creating a double boiler. Let cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer filling to a heatproof container. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface. Let cool completely at room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.Little Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie Jars

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