Pie #2- Peanut Butter Thank You Pie

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peanutbutterthankyouThis past weekend was the 5th annual Mid-South Girls Conference.  The conference is hosted at Sycamore View so I, by default, end up doing a whole lot of work!  It’s one of my favorite parts of my job but it’s also one of the more exhausting parts, so today I’m hiding away at home to take a little break.  Shout out to Stacy who I’m sure is still running at 100% today.

Since I had time today, I decided this was a great opportunity for dear old Pie #2… and I knew exactly who needed this one!  While Girls Conference did fill up my to-do list for a few weeks, our entire church staff worked so so hard to make this day incredible for our 534 participants… our front office ladies did flowers, lunch, and decorations, our worship minister helped with our set, our community minister scored us an awesome deal on Chick fil-a and my co-youth minister and our preacher gave up their wives for the entire weekend and took on the role of Mr. Mom… the list goes on.  I am so thankful to work at a church where the entire body comes together to bless others.  The beautiful picture below of all of those girls worshipping is only possible because of my incredible church.  I’m not sure a pie adequately thanks all of my awesome co-workers, but I suppose it’s worth a shot!

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The recipe I decided on is Peanut Butter Thank You Pie.  I was struggling with what to call it (Chocolate-Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Banana-Pie doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue), but the last time I tried this recipe it was also for a “thank you” so I figured I was on to something!  As long as the recipient doesn’t have a latent peanut allergy, this is a great way to show appreciation. I found the original recipe here about a year ago, although the first time I made it I left the bananas out.  If you’re looking for a fairly simple peanut butter pie this one is great and the addition of the homemade chocolate-chocolate crust and bananas just make a great pie even better.  And once again, I am in dire need of a food processor… a potato masher and a lot of patience will eventually make your crust, however.

Without further ado,

Peanut Butter Thank-You Pie

8 ounces chocolate cookies (I used Oreos and scraped the cream out- clearly I have too much free time)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 to 2 bananas
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar [powder sugar]
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs OR if you still haven’t purchased that food processor, pull out your handy-dandy potato masher and go to town. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

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Resist the temptation to eat the crust before you make the filling…
Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Place sliced or chopped bananas in the bottom of the crust and then pour the filling into the prepared pie pan. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

Deliver to someone who has done you a doozy of a favor.

Pie #1- Skillet Apple Berry Pie

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skilletapplePICThere has never been a more perfect day to have your oven set to 400°.  It is COLD in dear old Memphis and the weather is beyond gross… so gross in fact, that I took the office home with me this afternoon so that I didn’t get stuck in ice. There seems to be some understood rule around here that when you get on an icy overpass you slam on your breaks… safety first, right?

So the other day I spent an unfortunate amount of time searching through Pinterest for pie recipes and I stumbled across this little dear from a blog called Diethood (you can find her wonderful original post here).  Skillet Apple Berry Pie sounded too intriguing to pass up.

Generally diet-y things make me horribly nervous, but this recipe caught my attention because:

1. I love apple pies of all kinds

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2.  One of my most prized possessions is my grandmother’s cast iron skillet and I haven’t been brave enough to use it yet.  Grandma passed away in April and I feel inadequate to have brought home this skillet that made decades of bacon and sausage and other grandma goodies.  The bottom of the skillet is like glass… that thing has done its share of cooking.

The blog recipe had a crust recipe included, but I had wanted to give Martha Stewart’s butter crust a try so I went with that instead.  I came to the realization that if I’m going to do this thing right, I probably need a food processor- whoops!  If you are gadget-challenged like me, here’s a tip: you can use frozen butter and grate it on the largest hole of your box grater and it will get the butter to the same mealy consistency… it just takes more work!  This crust turned out perfectly.  Flaky and oh-so buttery… as long as you don’t think about how much butter you’re consuming, all is well 🙂

The pie itself is a definite keeper!  It was easy to assemble and the warmth and flavor made it perfect for a yucky icy day.  Next time I’ll cut the amount of nutmeg in half; it was a little strong for me.  Since it’s my very first pie of this adventure and since it’s -35° outside (or something like that) I decided to be selfish and keep this one.  I’m sure it won’t last long around here but if you want to stop by, I’ll share a little!

Martha Stewart’s Butter Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Directions:

  1. Pulse flour, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds (or use the box grater trick!). Start by drizzling 1/4 of cold water and carefully pulse (or combine) until the mixture stays together if you squish it between your fingers.  If it seems too dry, continue adding cold water, but be careful it shouldn’t be wet or sticky!  I ended up using the whole 1/2 cup of water.  It still seemed dry but once I started forming the disks I knew it was wet enough.
  2. Shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.  You only need on crust for the skillet pie, so you can freeze the other disk (for up to 3 months).

Once you have your dough chilled, you’re ready to go on the filling!

Diethood’s Skillet Apple Berry Pie

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg (I would suggest halving this)
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 medium-sized golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 package (12 oz) frozen mixed berries, thawed
  • 1 rolled pie crust
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and salt.
  • Add the apples and toss to coat. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large iron skillet over medium heat.
  • Mix in the berries and let cook down for 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the apples and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for a minute or two.
  • Roll out the pie crust and lay over the fruit filling, tucking the sides in.
  • Brush the top of crust with egg wash.
  • sliceCombine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle the top of crust with cinnamon sugar.
  • Place the iron skillet in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbling.

Mine ended up only needing about 22 minutes in the oven; I still haven’t gotten used to our new oven yet.  All in all, a successful first pie… you can see it in it’s cast iron glory at the top of the post! Stay tuned for pie #2!

The 25 Pies

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Welcome to my New Year’s Resolution.

But really…

For the past few years, I have (jokingly?) told people that my dream is to one day open my very own pie shop.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but if one day the Lord releases me from my call to ministry, I think pies sound like a pretty awesome plan B.

I love to bake and I especially love the beauty, order, and simplicity of a pie: a little package of goodness wrapped up in a crust.

So for 2013, I’m taking this dream of mine a little more seriously by committing myself to make pies, 25 of them to be exact, one for each year of my quarter-century life.  This will come out to about one pie every other week; hopefully manageable in my crazy busy schedule.

I’m not sure exactly where this will go but I am excited to test out family recipes, cookbook favorites, and Pinterest experiments and I’m even more excited to share these pies with all sorts of people (because no one needs to eat 25 pies in one year).  Check out the “About” tab to see my dream list of pie plans and recipients.

Check back tomorrow (time willing) for Pie #1- Skillet Berry Pie and the debut of my grandmother’s cast iron skillet in my kitchen.