pecan pie

Delicious.  Scrumptious.  Rich.  Nutty (obviously!)  Tasty.  I’m not a pecan pie expert and this is the first and only one I’ve made, but I think it is the best one!  Made this for a birthday celebration and it was loved by all.  Especially me! This is from smitten kitchen and Deb Perelman (the writer, cook and photographer) explained the greatness of this particular pecan pie in her blog.   I didn’t add the chocolate layer option because the birthday girl is more of a nut or vanilla fan.  But I imagine that would be very good.  Also, I didn’t have the booze in the house but I will next time.   I’m not re-writing the recipe because Deb wrote it out with terrific instructions.  I will just repeat to not overbake this.  I did a little.  I did.  It was still good, but you can do better.

You will need Lyle’s Golden Syrup which you can probably find at your grocery store but if not you can find it here.  And vanilla ice cream for sure.

pecan pie from smittenkitchen

Fruit Galettes

Yum – summertime fun and goodness all wrapped up in dough.  These galettes or rustic tarts are extremely easy to make and just delightful on the tongue.  I like them warm out of the oven but even more cold the next day (weird I know).  Made these for a IMG_9494dinner party and they were a hit.  Freshly whipped cream a top apricot and cherry – well, good stuff.  Berry galette too.  I didn’t change anything from Melissa Clarks recipes – and even though I know how to make these, I watched her video and it was terrific. You cannot go wrong!

chocolate pudding alice medrich (no eggs)

Oh, this pudding is DELICIOUS.  I absolutely LOVE it.  Really really good and quite easy to make!

It is so thoroughly chocolatey and not at all cloying like some puddings seem to be.  This one is different from the other chocolate pudding recipe on the blog in many ways, but most importantly, there are no eggs.  Yup.  So this is great if someone has an egg allergy and often can’t enjoy pudding.

chocolate pudding (from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich):
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup (1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably natural and a high-end cocoa)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate or 3 ounces semisweet (not both)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt together in a heavy medium saucepan.

Add about 30 tablespoons of the milk, and whisk to form a smooth paste.

Whit in the remaining milk and cream.

Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Try to get into the bottom edges of the pan especially as it almost reaches the boil.  Once it begins to thicken and bubble at the edges, cook for about 1 minute more on a simmer.  Add the chopped chocolate

and stir briskly until the chocolate is melted and the pudding is smooth.  (About 30 more seconds).  Remove from heat and add vanilla.

I made this into a pie – and you can too – or place in pretty glasses with freshly whipped cream.  Yum.  Check out an old post from April of… for a delicious crust and whipped cream topping.  Delicious.




puff pastry chocolate treat

I planned to make this little treat for my New Year’s brunch, but ran out of time so Rob jumped in and made it!  He will argue that he put it together, and didn’t bake anything – but even so, it shows you how easy this is.  (No offense meant for Rob, he just doesn’t bake a lot.)  Get some puff pastry in the house and grab a delicious piece of chocolate and you are prepared.

I love the Tasty recipes/videos on Facebook and Youtube.  They are so fun and charming.  Everything look so easy and fun.  Click here to see how to make this delicious treat.

Add almonds if you like.   Rob used bittersweet chocolate and it was delicious.  Enjoy –


cranberry streusal pie

Ignore the lousy photo – forgot to take and this is just the messy leftover!

This has to be one of my favorite desserts.  I mean really and truly.  First, the color!  Wow.  Gotta love that bright red pie.  Second is the flaky buttery crust.  Really mouth-watering.  Next is the filling – I know, I know, it is cranberries and many seem to be put off by them, but I don’t get it.  I really don’t.  This filling is delicious – bursting with flavor both tart and sweet and against the crust it is fabulous.  And lastly – the streusel topping!  Streusel is the best and on top of a pie – well…again, wow.  Make this if you have some serious dessert lovers.  Sylvie said it was probably the best thing that I’ve made in a long while.  And Andy, he wouldn’t try it.  So…enjoy if you can and have willing company or family.

I think this is easiest if you make this in steps.  Make the streusel one day during the week – it will keep in the fridge.  Make the tart dough and even roll out (then place in freezer) until ready to bake.

That way, in the AM, you can blind bake your pie crust, while it is baking make the filling (so easy) and then you already have streusel.  Just less overwhelming that way.

cranberry streusel pie (from Smitten Kitchen):


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (155 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (6 grams)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt  (3 grams)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks (4 ounces or 115 grams)
1/4 cup very cold water,  (60 ml) plus an additional tablespoon if needed


4 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (from 1 1/2 12-ounce bags)
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 to 2 more tablespoons, if desired, to taste
a little bit of orange zest
2 pinches kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch


2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup pecans, toasted first if you have the time
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Ok, so for the pie dough – I’m copying from Deb’s post – since she gives great detail and great direction.  I did the food processor method and the dough was perfection!  And I par baked the crust which she also suggests.

“the pie dough:

  • By hand, with my one-bowl method: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Form the crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Return to fridge until ready to fill.

[Optional: If you’d like to par-bake the crust, once you’ve rolled it out, freeze it for 10 minutes inside your pie tin, until solid. Prick unbaked crust with a fork several times. Line it with lightly buttered foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or pennies. Bake at 400°F (205°C) on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove paper or foil and weights, and bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and lightly crisp.]”

Ok, so heat oven to 375 degrees…or lower the oven if you just par baked.

For the filing, mix all the ingredients together.  And if cranberries are frozen, no worries, they will just take a few more minutes to warm up.   After about 5 minutes (or 10 if cranberries frozen), the cranberries will begin to leak juices.  Cook, stirring here and there until filling is loose.  You can crush some of the berries a bit too.  Transfer the filling to a bowl to let cool for a bit.

For the topping, place the oats (if you are using whole ones) in a food processor and grind until powdery.  Add toasted pecans and grind too.  Add flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt, and lastly, the butter, pulsing a few times to combine.

Sprinkle the streusel on top of the filling and bake the pie for about 45 to 50 minutes.  You want the juices to bubble.  If the pie browns to fast, just lay foil loosely on top.

When done, eat warm or cold (I like it cold!) with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Yum.




apple pan tart (simple)

Soooo easy, so simple, so apple-y, so flakey (the crust) so moist… just scrumptious.  Served this tart the other evening and friends Jason and Trent were ecstatic.  Well, that may be too strong of a word, but for grown men, they were all smiles.  I’m so happy I finally made an apple tart worth posting.  My mom makes a beautifully simple tart but I can’t seem to master it.  I’ve tried various recipes and ideas and although good, not great.  Until this one.   Found this with who else, but Ina Garten…   enjoy this and make this – you will not disappoint.

apple tart (from Ina Garten Food Network):

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

4 granny smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced small
1/2 cup apricot jelly, or warm, strained apricot jam
2 tablespoons calvados, rum or water

For the crust – place flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine.

Add the cold diced butter and pulse 10-12 times until the butter chunks are about the size of peas.

Get your ice water ready – make sure it is really cold (I make a tall glass of ice water, then measure out the water after it has a chance to really get cold).

With the motor runnIMG_5151ing, add the water and pulse until the dough just starts to come together.  Stop.

Remove from machine and dump onto a floured surface and quickly form into a ball.  Make sure all the flour is incorporated.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, then flatten the ball to form a disc shape.  Let sit in fridge for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment.

Roll the dough so that it is slightly larger than a 10×14 rectangle — and transfer to your baking sheet.  To transfer, roll the dough around your pin quickly and unroll on the parchment.

Peel, cut, core and slice your apples.  Cut them in half, through the stem.  Core.  Then slice crosswise in 1/4 inch slices.

Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally across the tart.  And continue on both sides until the dough is covered.  Sprinkle with the full (seems like a lot) 1/2 cup sugar.  Dot the apples with the small bits of butter as shown.

Bake for about 45 m to an hour (mine took an hour) – and rotate the pan at least once during baking.  Heat your jam and spirit (or water) and strain through a small sieve.  Gently brush the glaze over the tart.  Take a large spatula and loosen the tart from the pan.  Some of the sugar may have caramelized and it will stick if not unstuck while warm.

This was delicious warm, room temp and the next few days too.  You can also serve cold if that is what you like

banoffee pie (just a really good banana pie!!)

AMAZING Jason exclaimed, eyes wide the other night after he had a bite of this pie.  He was so excited!  And today I got a text from him asking for the recipe because “that was so insanely good and I want to try to make it for Thanksgiving.”  So…I figured many of you may be interested in this recipe for the holidays, because yes, so so so good, a little different and although there are a few steps to this, you can do them slowly and in advance of your meal (any meal).

The caramel filling is really decadent and rich.  The espresso powder in the whipped cream adds a something new to the flavor.  The digestive cookie crust is another departure from the normal graham cracker crust which really gives the pie more depth of flavor and less sweetness somehow.  And well, bananas are bananas!

You will need to get digestive cookies from the market.  You can also order them online here.  Hard to get less than three pack via mail, but they are good cookies – great to use to make the pie again, share with friends (Jason, I’m going to give you some) or crumble and put in vanilla ice cream so good!

You also need to get some sweetened condensed milk and some espresso powder.  You can get the milk at the store and espresso powder here or here or at a specialty store.  It lasts for a long time – and it is called for in many chocolate cake recipes as well.

Make the filling and crust up to a day before you plan to serve it.  Finish it closer to service with the topping and bananas.

banoffee pie (very slightly adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor):


2 cans (14 oz each) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
hot/boiling water as needed

crumb crust

2 1/2 cups (plus extra to sprinkle on top) wholemeal digestive biscuit crumbs (use a food processor to make the crumbs)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


3-4 medium bananas
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the filling, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, dark brown sugar, melted butter, and salt.  Place mixture in a 6 cup oven proof dish (approx.) and cover with tin foil.  Place this  filling pan, inside a larger baking pan (approx 9×13).   Place the double pans in the oven, then take hot or boiling water and fill the outer pan with water – about half way up thebrownie-pudding-pour sides.  Your custard will remain dry, covered and inside of the pan with the water.  (Example on the left is a chocolate dessert, but similar idea, remember the foil though.)  Bake for about 1 1/2 -2 hours.  Stir after 30 minutes, then in 15 minute intervals until the filling turns a toasty caramel color and thickens.  Remove from oven and hot water and let cool.  Make the crust while the filling cools – or while it is baking if you have 2 ovens.

For the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the crumbs, sugar, melted butter and salt together with a fork or your hands.  Press the mixture somewhat firmly into a 9 inch pie shell – or a similar sized container (a tart pan, decorative quiche pan) and place in the oven.  Bake for about 6-7 minutes until a little deeper brown.   Let cool.

Scoop and spoon the cooled filling into the pie shell.  At this point, you can cover and let sit for us to 24 hours.  But let sit for at least a few hours to set.

Make the topping by whipping up the cream with the sugar, epresso powder and vanilla.  Go to freshly whipped cream for instructions on how to do this.

Now, sprinkle a little awesome salt if you have it on top of the caramel filling.  I love my Malden sea salt.  Cut the bananas in about 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place on top of the filling.  I really jammed the bananas in since I really wanted to taste them.  Cover the bananas with the whipped cream.  Make sure you cover them all so they don’t brown.

Sprinkle bits of the crumbled digestive cookies on top and place in the fridge for a bit.  Serve when you are ready!







how to cut, peel and core apples

IMG_4874Apples are soooo good – especially now.  And I know when you see that the ingredients read – 8 apples roughly chopped, your heart might sink a bit with the prep work.  So, here is the plan of attack.  First, put on some really good music.

Cut the top and bottoms off of the apples.  All of them.  Then peel each apple with a sharp paring knife (I do this) but try not to take too much of the flesh off.  If you are lousy at this – use a peeler.  Peel them all.

Slice the apples in half.  All of them.

IMG_4877Taker your apple corer (you should get one) and scoop out the center core by gently pushing the scooper in and twisting.  Then use the scooper to take the little extra rough bits around the core.

Core them all.

Take each apple half and slice.  Now you have slices.

Turn apple, slice again – now you have roughly chopped apples.


IMG_4880 IMG_4888IMG_4886

banana caramel cream pie

Lousy photo I know!  Forgot to take picture and this is on a plate, mostly eaten, with berry ice cream.

This is part of an email I received in the morning after serving this pie the night before:

Gregg just came in from a run, opened the fridge and asked if there was any more of your pie!  He said that it was “the most decadent outstanding thing he has ever eaten”… coming from a non dessert eater, not a bad compliment!  So I found the recipe on your blog, but where did you add the bananas?
Nice, right?  So yes, this is very similar to the salted caramel pie – but the caramel is a little richer (omgoodness) and there is the addition of bananas.  So delicious.  Rich though.  VERY rich.  Beth called me the morning after I brought the pie to her house and asked if I could bring some back (she made me take it home the night before!)  She said Jason (her son) wanted to try it because Sarah (her daughter) told him how good it was (she sampled the night before).  I also think Beth wanted it too and regretted forcing it upon me as I left her house!   I was more than happy to get it out of my house because although I do have decent restraint, I couldn’t stop taking spoonfuls in the early am! And honestly at that point it was making me feel sick.  Anyway – that is how Gregg was lucky to find it in his refrigerator the next AM.   This recipe came from Jill O’Connor’s cookbook Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.  And it is a good one!  Enjoy –

You can start this pie the day before you plan to serve it if you like.  Just save the bananas and whipped cream for the next day.  You can also make the caramel filling 2-3 days before and store in a container until ready to use.  This would be nice also in parfait glasses — no crust and just layer with whipped cream and bananas.

banana caramel cream pie (slightly adapted from cookbook above):


2 cans (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter (melted, unsalted)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

crust –
2 1/2 cups wholemeal digestive biscuit crumbs — or graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt

topping –

3 medium barely ripe bananas
2 cups heavy cream
1.5  to 2.5  tablespoon sugar (to taste) – I prefer my whipped cream to be less sweet here since the caramel is very sweet.

Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

For the filling, stir together the condensed milk, vanilla, dark brown sugar, melted butter and salt.  Place mixture in a 6 cup oven proof dish – a Pyrex pan is good.  To see if 6 cups will fit in your pan, just pour 6 cups of water into it and see.  If you need to go bigger that is fine, but cooking time will be less.  Cover the pan with foil.

Place the pan with the covered mixture in it into another pan (9×13) and place in the oven.  Similar to chocolate photo below (although your’s will be covered and likely in a rectangular pan.)  Next pour very hot water into the larger pan so that it comes up about 1/2 way up the sides of the dish.  Bake this mixture until it as reduced and thickened and turned a nice toasty caramel color.  This should take 1 1/2 -2 hours – and try to stir with a spatula every 15 minutes or so.

When done, carefully remove from oven and the water bath and let cool.  Reduce temp to 350 degrees.  If you are waiting to use the filling cover and refrigerate once cooler.

For the crust — in a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, butter and sugar and salt.  Stir until crumbs are wet and all is combined.  Press into a 9 inch pie plate or a 9 inch tart pan (3 inches deep).  Bake at 350 until fragrant and a little crisp about 8-10 minutes.  Place on rack and let cool.

When the caramel is cool but still soft, spoon into the cooled crumb crust – spread in an even layer an refrigerate until the filling is set.  You can cover and keep pie at this point for 24 hours.  Or, just chill for 2 hours.

Cut the bananas into 1/2 inch thick slices and place them all over the caramel filling.

Place the heavy cream and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer – or with hand held beaters and whisk on medium speed until medium peaks form.  Spoon the whipped cream on top of the bananas – and make sure to cover the bananas to prevent browning.

Chill in fridge until ready to serve.


salted caramel pie (don’t miss this one)

Although my memory is hazy  from a night or day (?) a few weeks ago, I do remember Jason (my non chocolate loving friend) standing up and exclaiming “Lisi, hands down the BEST thing you ever made!”  (Kind of like I won the game!)  Everyone else agreed by mmmm…ing and eating as he made this pronouncement.  This pie is ridiculously and particularly easy to pull together and the taste is so decadent and luscious.  It truly is.  I decided to make it again last weekend and Rob and Steph couldn’t get enough of it.  They mmm…ed too and were delighted to keep the pie for friends who were coming over later.  My friend Beth poo poo’d the dessert when I told her about it saying “but where is the chocolate?!”  but she too tried it and loved it – although we both did agree that some sort of chocolate addition would also be quite awesome.  Maybe a chocolate wafer crust and/or bananas too.  Next time.  Anyway, this pie is sweet and salty – gooey and rich.  I love love love it.

Oh and btw, you can make the filling 3 in advance to make life easier on the day you plan to serve it.

salted caramel pie (very slightly adapted from Simplethings Sandwich & Pie Shop in LA written up in the November issue of Food & Wine):

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
two 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
fleur de sel or Malden sea salt (delicious)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2  tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the graham crumbs, brown sugar, melted butter and salt.  Once all incorporated place and press into an 8-9 inch glass or metal pie pan.  Place in the oven for about 11 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden.  Remove and set aside.

Increase oven temp to 425 degrees.

Place the condensed milk into a 9×13 pyrex pan – or of similar size.  Cover the pan with foil.  Then place that pan into a bigger roasting pan and place in the oven.  Fill the roasting pan (the outside pan) with enough hot water so that it comes about 1/3 up the sides of the condensed milk pan.  I like to do this with the pans in the oven so that I don’t have to carry the pan with water sloshing around.

Now bake the condensed milk for about 2 hours.  During this time, lift the foil and mix with a spatula.  Do this 3-4 times while it cooks.  It should thicken like dolce de leche  and turn nice and golden (versus the whitish color it started out as).  Don’t worry if lumpy – you can smooth out later.  Also – check the water level during this time and add more if necessary (keeping the water 1/3 up the sides of the pan.)

Remove from the oven and let cool.

Scrape caramel into pie crust.  Cover with plastic wrap (spray this with veggie oil spray so that it doesn’t stick to the caramel) and let sit until the filling is chilled and set (about 4 hours).

Whip up heavy cream and sugar (check out whipped cream post for more instruction).  Sprinkle with the fleur de sel/Maldon salt (best!)

And slice and serve…wait for the mmms….