“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” This one was particularly full of fall leaves, cold mornings, and warm goodies. To keep up with my pie a week regiment, I knocked out three more before Halloween thanks to a few friends.
Week Seven – Salted Pecan Mini Tarts
A few Saturdays ago we had a BKE day with Stephen and Elizabeth. Originally we had hoped to go camping (we did last fall and it was a blast) but Mark needed to be within reach of work. Such is the life of an IP transaction lawyer. Instead we enjoyed strolling our University South neighborhood, a bottle of Imagery Sangiovese, and laughter over table top games. Guillotine and Dominion, anyone?
- Date: October 24, 2015
- Likelihood of repeat: Definite. These are my current favorites from Ashley English’s A Year of Pies. I’m hoping to bring a batch to Thanksgiving on my mom’s side.
- Pluses: Using older crust and even leftover scraps worked rather well – we got beautiful flakiness. Vanilla ice cream paired wonderfully (and apparently so does coffee the next morning, according to Elizabeth). We sprayed Pam on the mini cupcake pan and it was so easy to clean.
- Deltas: More gooey filling. Some of the tarts were pretty nut heavy, but those with extra gooiness were the best. I didn’t have course salt so I skipped the topping, but some friends just gave us a bag of beautiful Hawaiian sea salt that I can’t wait to try!
- Lessons learned: I love pecan pie. How about that? And when something is tiny, imperfections are not only forgivable but actually adorable. Every little thing wrong with these made them even cuter! I’d never felt that way about anything I’ve created before. Is that what becoming a parent feels like? Plus sleep deprivation?
Week Eight – Chai Spice Apple Pie
Friday night is for laundry, house projects, friends, and pie. After work and such, Mark and I met at Lydia’s. Together we all laughed and accomplished more than if we’d been apart. My particular achievement: week eight in a year of pies.
This Chai Spice Apple Pie calls for black tea, fennel, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and cloves. What a delicious, aromatic blend. We had Gala and Fuji apples from local stores plus Winesap and Jonegold from Mark’s childhood orchard, Oak Glenn. Combined in a crust that was dusted with raw sugar and cinnamon, the resulting pie was fragrant and golden brown.
- Date: October 30, 2015
- Likelihood of repeat: Unlikely. Personally, I’d rather eat a classic apple pie with a slice of sharp cheddar.
- Pluses: The spice and tea blend smelled amazing; I would put it in homemade rice crispy treats. And per English’s exhortations, we made cinnamon ice cream. It was divine. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t consider herself an ice cream person. Years from now I’ll be old and eating cinnamon ice cream. My family will say to me, “After all this time?” and I will respond, “Always.”
- Deltas: Since I wanted to use some of Lydia’s star cookie cutters as guides, I cut my vents after rolling out the top crust but before placing it on the pie. The result? Off center vents. Drove me a little nutty, but I think that was the best way to achieve the pattern I wanted. Solution? Do a different pattern after the top crust has been affixed.
- Lessons learned: I admit it…I’m an apple chunks girl, not a thin apple slice person. The corer/peeler is so easy but I’d rather do it by hand to get the size I want.
Week Nine – Pumpkin Tiramisu Pie
Happy belated Halloween from Petaluma! This is our second year spending the holiday with Stephen and Elizabeth in their charming town, but this time we made an overnighter of it. We popped by Imagery for a casual tasting during the day, since the BKEs’ apartment is so close. Then the men shopped and made dinner, bringing out wine and cheese to Elizabeth and me while we passed out candy (a first for both of us). We spent the evening watching Corpse Bride, playing games, and whipping up this ‘pie.’
- Date: October 31, 2015
- Likelihood of repeat: Unlikely, almost certainly not. If I have a dear friend who is both a pumpkin and tiramisu enthusiast plus who doesn’t care about presentation, I’d perhaps consider it.
- Pluses: The marcapone whipped cream layer was great. I’m trying to think of more ways to incorporate it into other dishes! Any suggestions?
- Deltas: I’d be the first to admit that I have limited experience with pumpkin, bit I missed the home-roasted version after using a can for this pie. Also, setting time was crucial for both texture and flavor. After assembly, we tried eating a slice almost immediately – it was messy and unsatisfying. The next morning at breakfast, however, our tiramisu was easy (ok, easier) to cut and the flavors had married.
- Lessons learned: Cakes are fun, too. This recipe starts by making a pound cake. Creaming butter and sugar, whipping egg whites, folding in flour. I have a big cupcake project coming up so I desperately needed a reminder that I first loved cake making. This recipe was the perfect way to get me excited about room temperature ingredients again.
Halloween may be over, but we’re only halfway through fall recipes! There are weeks of autumn to enjoy yet. And as briefly mentioned, I must shift focus to chocolate cupcakes for two weeks. Watch out around Thanksgiving through. I’ll be catching up and cranking out desserts for family gatherings.
Thank you to our wonderful friends and hosts, Lyds and the BKEs. It was delightful to spend some much time with all of your this October. I especially love the way we wash each other’s dishes.