Tag Archives: Pie

Dessert-apoolza at Baked Tribeca

Cookbook displayCookbook Display

On Thursday night, I dropped by Baked‘s new-ish Tribeca location for Dessert-apoolza, a cookbook signing and tasting event that raised moneys for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and Getting Out and Staying Out.  The former organization, as I’ve mentioned in the past, is one with which I have a personal connection, and, well, having dessert for dinner is just one of those perks of being a grown-up (the other is having dessert for breakfast), so this was right up my alley.  If you’re looking for some cookbook ideas for this holiday season, check out these ones that were at the sweets-fest last week:

Ample Hills ice creamsAmple Hills Creamery – Egg Nog and Drunken Thanksgiving Ice Cream

Samples of two seasonal flavors of this local ice cream company were available for tasting.  The Egg Nog was a creamy, frozen version of its namesake holiday party beverage.  The Drunken Thanksgiving combined pumpkin, gingersnaps, and bourbon.  This can take the place of pie at my holiday feast any year.

Baked - Tri-color Bars Wintermint CakeBaked – The Tri-Color Bar Wintermint Cake

The hosts for the evening put out this seasonal, festive mini-cakes for everyone to try.  They have several cookbooks as well as a range of baking mixes.  Really, though, stopping by one of their shops to pick out treats to take home (or to eat on site) is the way to go.

Baked Ideas displayBaked Ideas – Cookies

I’m a big, big fan of cookies, as I’ve mentioned in the past, so it was no surprise that I wanted to hang out at this table for a while.  Patti Paige had several different kinds of cookies, including gluten-free ones, available for the guests to try.  She even had decorating supplies for us to create our own designs.  My cookie frosting M.O., however, hasn’t changed since childhood and is just to slather on a glob of icing and to pop it in my mouth, which wasn’t exactly what I think she had in mind.

Butter & Scotch - S'mores PieButter & Scotch – S’mores Pie

Samples of the fabulous S’mores Pie and Bourbon-Ginger-Pecan pie from Butter & Scotch were available at this tasting, so I tried to limit my self to just one sample of each, along with copies of Allison Kave’s terrific book First Prize Pies.  Aside from Ample Hills’ ice cream, I’d take any of these pies on my holiday dinner table, as well.  Keep in touch with these ladies, as they’re opening up a brick & mortar shop in Crown Heights any week (day?) now.

Dorie Greenspan signing cookbooksDorie Greenspan signing cards

No discussion of the year’s best cookbooks, or must-have baking books in general, would be complete without mentioning ones by Dorie Greenspan.  I had a chance to talk to one of the women who worked on testing the recipes for her most recent volume, and she glowed as she raved about how delicious all of them were, including the Palets des Dames and Limoncello Cupcakes we could taste during the event.

Ovenly displayOvenly display

Two of my favorite kinds of cookies – Salted Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter – were on the table by the Ovenly folks on Thursday.  I always enjoy seeing their baked goods around town, as I know that they’ll be something special.  Fortunately, these were packed up for me to take away to save to eat later.

Buon appetito!

Pie Post Roundup – #PiePartyGE and #TBT

Table of piesPie Party spread

Tonight is #PiePartyGE!  It’s the almost annual celebration of pies (sweet and savory) that Jackie of The Diva that Ate New York and Ken of Hungry Rabbit took from being a virtual gathering of bloggers to an IRL (in real life) get-together we food bloggers and a few industry folks get together to eat pie, lots of pie.  They also line up some great sponsors like Kerrygold and Oxo and organize the GE Monogram design showroom, a really welcoming space, for the event.

Unfortunately, the flip-flopping weather and a severe allergy season have waylaid me this year, so I had to give back my coveted ticket to attend the festivities tonight.  I’m super sad to miss this, not only for the pie that I’m not eating but also for not having the chance to catch up with some of my wonderful fellow pie bakers.  So, I decided to round up my own list of pies (and tarts) that have appeared on this website over the years.  I have to say, I didn’t realize that this collection would be quite so large!

Slab of duck pieA slab of Peking Duck-style Pie from 2012’s event

I was supposed to bring a larger, modified version of this pie tonight but won’t be able to do so.  This gives me more time to figure out how to turn it into a Peking Duck Galette for the next time!

Lemon-Lime-Coconut TartLemon-Lime-Coconut Tart

I also brought a sweet creation to the same pie party.  It was a riff on the classic Lemon Tart that we’d been making in culinary school at the time.

Mixed-Berry CrostataMixed-Berry Crostata

For the first Pie Party Live, I made this classic Italian dessert – a Mixed-Berry Crostata.  It’s super easy to throw together for a dinner party, and the leftovers are great with coffee for breakfast or snack.

Chocolate-Bourbon-Pecan PieChocolate-Bourbon-Pecan Pie

This is the sweet pie that I was going to make to bring tonight.  I thought it kind of fitting as the other name it sometimes goes by is Kentucky Derby Pie.  It’s sweet and a bit boozy, which is a great way to kick off the race this weekend.

Apple Tart TatinApple Tarte Tatin

Yes, tarts do fall into the acceptable category for the pie party (as they have a crust).  This one is a recipe from my London living days and has been a family favorite for a while.  It was also a bit hit when I made it for a client dinner a few weeks back. Fig-Almond TartFig and Almond Tart

Not all attempts to re-create European recipes are successful, as this photo shows.  The Fig-Almond Tart ended up with much more almond paste than figs and puff pastry.  I haven’t worked on it yet to get the right proportions.

Pear-Almond TartAlmond and Pear Tart

Other Euro recipes like this Almond and Pear Tart from a BBC dessert cookbook seem to come off without a hitch.  This was also the first time I’d made anything using my new oven after moving apartments.  As you can see, I couldn’t wait to dive into it.

Apricot TartTarte Abricot Verlet

Then, there’s a few pie and tart recipes that I have in my files that need the seasons to change in order to make them properly.  This Apricot Tart is definitely one of them.  Hopefully, this year, we’ll have a good harvest, as we haven’t had one for the past few years.

Apricot CrostataApricot Crostata

This is another mouth-watering recipe to save to use when apricots come into season.  It’s hard to choose, but I think that this Italian-inspired version adapted from Domenica Marchetti might just edge out the French one by Patricia Wells that I posted above.

Tomato TartTomato Tart with Cheddar Crust

I’ve also showcased a few savory tarts on this website, although the sweet ones far outweigh them.  This one for a Tomato Tart with a Cheddar Cheese Crust makes a wonderful light summertime summer (when the tomatoes are in season, that is).

Asparagus-Ramp TartAsparagus-Ramp-Goat Cheese Tart

The time to make this beauty is, however, fast approaching with the arrival of ramps in the local famers markets just last week.  Asparagus are sure to be soon behind, so I’m going to have to get my puff pastry making chops in order to whip up one of these.

Peanut Butter PiePeanut Butter Pie

Then, there’s the time that pie can help to try to mend a broken heart and to build a community.  When a fellow food blogger lost her husband suddenly several years ago, word went out that to remember him, everyone would make his favorite pie and post about it on our respective websites.  The response was overwhelming.  Hopefully, it also brought comfort to his friends and family.

To everyone attending tonight’s gathering: I hope you eat lots of pie!  So sorry to miss it, but I hope to join you again next year!

Buon appetito!

Peking Duck-style Duck Pie for #PiePartyGE

Pile of Duck Pancakes from Chinese New Year’s Potluck

With apologies to all fellow #PiePartyGE attendees who were waiting for this recipe.  Something named “Sandy” pre-empted the originally scheduled publishing of this post.  

It all started innocently enough.  I sent out a Tweet asking fellow #PiePartyGE attendees if I should try to recreate the Duck Pancakes that I made earlier this year for a Chinese New Year’s potluck into a pie for last week’s event.  The response was overwhelmingly positive.  So, then, I was on the hook to come up with just exactly how I would pull off this crazy idea.

Rolled out scallion pancake for pie crust

First off, the main question was how to build a crust that would capture the same tastes and texture as the pancakes themselves.  After mulling it over, drawing some diagrams, and talking to one of my chef contacts at school, I came up with the thought, “What about if the ‘crust’ was actually made of a scallion pancake.”  Aha!  That sort of became the eureka moment for pulling this whole thing together and to create the flavors for which I was looking.

Whole roasted duck

The duck filling would be easy, as I decided to mimic the way that I’d constructed the pancakes, by using the whole roast duck recipe from Jamie Oliver that I’d used the last time.  Then, I used a second scallion pancake as the top to the pie.  Once the whole pie was baked, in order to get the Chinese-restaurant-style rolled pancake concept in every bite, I topped it with a slather of hoisin sauce, a handful of chopped scallions for crunch, some finely chopped cucumbers for freshness, and crumbled, crispy duck skin to add an extra pop of flavor.

Savory pies table

The results must have been a success because folks dove on the pie once we were allowed to start sampling the entries for this year’s event.  In fact, at one point, it was harder to get a spot at the savory pies table than it was to get one at the table filled with sweet pies.  When I managed to get back to the place where I’d originally left my pie, I saw a slightly crumpled, disposable aluminum pan with a lonely piece of the scallion pancake shell and a few crumbs of meat and scallions left in it.  The Duck Pie had been almost entirely demolished.

The remains of the pie

This pie wasn’t an entirely perfect production.  While I did capture the flavors that I wanted to have, the scallion pancake made a tougher crust than the usual pie dough recipe.  It also ended up being a bit difficult to cut through when the time came to serve it.  I’m not sure if a looser dough would help to solve this problem.  I might also add some extra hoisin sauce the next time to bake into the meat filling of the pie itself, as I’m a big fan of having that sauce with scallion pancakes and duck (often taking over a container of it just for myself, to be clear).  The only other option I’m toying around with is how to make these into handpies or mini dumplings to make them easier to serve at next year’s gathering.

Serving of Duck Pie

Peking Duck-style Duck Pie

Prep Time:  3 hours (includes time to roast the duck)

Serving Size: 8 portions


1 Whole Duck (this can be made with duck parts, too)

Chinese 5 Spice Powder


Ground Black Pepper

1 portion this recipe for Scallion Pancakes from Serious Eats

Toasted Sesame Oil

Hoisin Sauce

2 Scallions, white and green parts chopped finely

1/4 c. finely chopped Cucumbers


Seasoned whole duck

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place duck in a roasting pan.  Sprinkle the outside of the duck with Chinese 5 Spice Powder, salt, and pepper.  Rub seasoning into the skin.  Pierce the skin in several places with a fork to allow the fat to render out while roasting.

Roasted whole duck

Put the duck in the oven and cook for about two hours, basting every 10-15 minutes with the rendered duck fat so as to keep the skin crispy and to even out the cooking process.  Remove the duck from the oven when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and breast reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Let the meat cool while preparing the scallion pancake.

Shredded duck in duck fat

The duck can be roasted, the meat shredded, and then the meat stored in its own rendered fat for a couple of days prior to making the pie.  To prepare the duck for filling the pie, heat the meat and the fat in a shallow pan and add extra Chinese 5 Spice Powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Scallion pancake as bottom crust

About 30 minutes before the duck has finished roasting, being making the scallion pancakes according to this recipe.  Instead of dividing the dough into four pieces, split it into two, making a top and a bottom crust for the pie.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly brush the pancake with toasted sesame oil.  Place the pie pan with the scallion pancake into the oven and let it cook for about 20 minutes until lightly golden.

Duck pie topped with second scallion pancake

Remove the pie pan from the oven.  Brush the pancake base with a light coat of hoisin sauce.  Fill the pie shell with the shredded duck meat, drained of fat.  Top the filling with the second scallion pancake.  Brush that with some additional toasted sesame oil.

Duck Pie pre-garnish

Place in the oven and cook for another 20-25 minutes, enough to heat the meat through and to allow the crust to turn a light golden brown.  The pie can be served room temperature to warm, which made it a perfect dish to serve at the pie potluck.  Prior to putting it out on the table, garnish it with more hoisin sauce, the scallions, and cucumbers.  For an extra twist, fry up some of the duck skin and crumble it on top to add a bacon-y type, smoky crunch to the topping.  Serve some extra hoisin sauce on the side.

Finished Peking Duck-style Duck Pie

Buon appetito!

Thank you to GE Monogram for hosting us in their gorgeous kitchen showroom space.  Thanks as well to fellow sponsors Kerrygold USA, Smirnoff, Harvard Common Press, and Dub Pies for helping to make this gathering such a terrific event!

Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart for #PiePartyGE

A view of the sweet pies table

I’ve been procrastinating posting all day due to the on-going Hurricane Sandy drama.  The wind is howling outside of my windows like Catherine summoning Heathcliff, and the photos from beach areas along the Eastern Seaboard where I’ve spent many sunny summer days, show so much damage to these vulnerable environments.  This is in stark contrast from this past Thursday’s second annual blogger Pie Fest, known as #PiePartyGE on Twitter, where I gathered along with other amazing food folks to exercise our pastry making talents.  The photo above is just a small sample of the sweet treats which we all sampled.

Lemon Tart – International Culinary Center style

My contributions to the evening’s event were two pies, one sweet and one savory.  The sweet one was a Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart that’s a riff on the classic French Lemon Tart that I’ve kind been making recently in my culinary course.  I started off with the same shortcrust-like pie shell base – called a pâte sablée or “sandy dough” – that we’d used in class and then changed up some of the leftover filling that I’d made to add the lime and coconut components.  I’ve had this flavor combination noodling around in my brain for a while, so being apartment-bound during this storm was the perfect excuse to try to pull it all together.

Lemon-Lime Coconut Tart

This tart is prepared in two separate steps.  First the tart shell is baked and then the custard mixture is poured into the cooled-down pasty shell.  The whole thing is then baked in the oven, with the pre-toasted coconut added about 5-10 minutes before the tart comes out of the oven to add a little bit of crunch and texture to the final product.  The taste is more citrusy with the coconut just an added touch.  It can be omitted completely for those who don’t like it without changing the tart too much.

The remains of the tart

I brought the tart to the party, nervously hoping that it would find a positive audience among my blogging peers.  When I looked over at one point, it didn’t seem to be flying off of the table like other ones were.  Then, I saw people putting slivers of it into their take-away containers, so hopefully they enjoyed it when they got home.  I did manage to get a photo of the remains of the tart at the end of the evening.  Judging from these scraps, I think it might have been well-received, which means I’ll be keeping this recipe in my files to share at other events!

Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart

Prep Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours (including baking time)

Serving Size: 8 people or one hurricane-house-bound person


For pastry:

1/2 c. unsalted Butter, softened

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar

1 Egg

1 Egg Yolk

one pinch Salt

1 1/3 c. Cake Flour, sifted

1 Egg, lightly beaten

For Filling:

1/4 c. shredded Coconut, lightly toasted*

2 Eggs

3/8 c. White Sugar

2 oz. Heavy Cream

Juice and Zest of one Lemon

Juice and Zest of one Lime

Juice of one Lemon


Mix together softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  Whisk in the egg and egg yolk.  Add the pinch of salt and sifted cake flour together and combine with the butter mixture.  If the dough is too crumbly, you can add a few drops of ice water, but it should be possible to pull it together without it.  Shape the dough into a ball, pat it into a circle, cover it in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Here’s a tip to working with this fragile dough – roll it out between plastic wrap

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  On a lightly-floured board or between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll out the dough to fit the size and shape of the tart pan you will be using and to about a width that is the size of the space between the tines of a fork.  I made this dish in a 4 x 13 x 1-inch tart pan that looks like this one.  This dough is kind of forgiving, so if you end up with some places where it cracks or where there are holes, you can patch it together before baking it.

Tart shell with baking beans

With a fork, lightly poke holes on the bottom of the tart without going all the way through the dough.  Place parchment paper on top of the unbaked shell and fill the shell with baking beans before putting it into the oven to pre-bake.  Bake for 15 minutes with the beans and then remove the parchment paper and the beans and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the shell is lightly golden.

Pre-baked tart shell

The edges will have started to become light brown.  Remove it from the oven and let it cook on a rack while you make the filling.  Brush lightly with a thin coating of the beaten egg (you won’t use very much of the egg).  This is to keep the filling from seeping through the bottom of the tart when it bakes.

Lemon-Lime Tart filling

To make it easy to pour into the tart shell, use a container or measuring cup to hold the filling ingredients.  Lightly beat together the eggs.  Add in sugar and heavy cream.  Then, whisk in lemon and lime zest and lemon and lime juice until the mixture is smooth.

Here’s the trick to getting the maximum filling into the tart

Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the tart shell on the baking rack and pour the filling into the shell while it is sitting on the rack so that you don’t run the risk of spilling all the filling while trying to put it into the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the outside of the filling has set.

Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart out of the ovenLemon-Lime-Coconut Tart out of the oven

Sprinkle toasted coconut on top of the tart and continue to back for another 5-10 minutes until the the filling doesn’t move when you wiggle the tart.  Remove from the oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.  This should be served room temperature.  You can store it in the refrigerator, but bring it to room temperature before serving it.

Buon appetito!

*Kitchen Witch Tip:

I’ve found for baking things like this tart or Magic Cookie Bars, that it helps to toast the coconut prior to including it in the baked dish.  That way, it retains a crisp, crunchy texture and develops a golden brown color.  To do this, spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking tray and put it into a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven to cook for about 10-15 minutes.

Sweet Thanksgiving – Chocolate-Pecan-Bourbon Pie

Just look at this beauty. It is my contribution to a Thanksgiving feast to which I’ve been invited. A chocolate-pecan pie with a healthy dose of bourbon. The original recipe was given to me by a former roommate from college. Over the years, I’ve tweaked it and adapted the ingredients until I think it is fool-proof and a little bit more like me. It is a great dessert to bring to share for any dinner.

This pie is a bit rich, and made even more so by the optional addition of whipped cream at the end. It is always completely devoured at any dinner to which I’ve brought it, no matter in what city or country I’ve lived. I’m bringing it to what another former roommate had years ago termed an “Orphans’ Thanksgiving.” This is just a roundup of friends, co-workers and associates who would not have anywhere else to go to share a meal with which to celebrate the holiday.

When talking on pre-Turkey Day catch-up calls with a few friends, we all agreed that these get-togethers of assorted folks that we’ve all been at in past years were some of the most enjoyable meals that we have shared. It somehow really captures the essence and spirit of the holiday, not to be sappy about it or anything, to bring people around a table to share a dinner to which everyone contributed something.

Having it as a potluck, with each person chipping in to feed the others, is somewhat similar to what we are told happened between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. I’m sure that they didn’t bring this particular dessert, pecans and bourbon being a bit more Southern, but I like to think that they served something sweet that day. Pie just seems integrally linked to this holiday.

Chocolate-Pecan-Bourbon Pie
Serves: Depends on how much you like pie (at least 8)
Total prep time: 15-20 minutes with an additional 45 for baking

1 prepared pie shell (use your favorite recipe)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3-4 Tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3.5 ounce bar of semi-sweet (70% cocoa) chocolate, broken into small pieces

Melt butter and set aside to cool. Beat eggs, gradually add sugar and beat until pale. Pour in bourbon and incorporate fully. Add melted butter a little at a time and whisk completely.

Add cornstarch. Whisk again. Sprinkle in salt. Fold in chopped pecans and chocolate pieces. Blend thoroughly. Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Centigrade / Gas Mark 4) for 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Allow to cool and serve room temperature or just slightly warm. This pie can be transported cold and then warmed up (not reheated). It can also be made a day or a morning ahead of time and refrigerated until warmed up for serving.

Buon appetito e buona festa!

Kitchen Witch Tip:

That serrated knife that you have in your drawer? Guess what. Its jagged edge is the perfect tool for cutting up nuts and hacking up a bar of chocolate into small enough pieces for baking into this pie. Don’t overlook it just because it is normally kept safe for slicing up bread.

I just thought that another view of this was necessary!