Monthly Archives: April 2013

French Silk Pie

French Silk Pie

Easter was several weeks ago, and my husband and I had some of my family over to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  Time to fellowship with them over a feast that could have fed a small army was wonderful.  Among other things, I made this pie, most especially for my Uncle Buddy whose birthday had been a couple of weeks before and who also loves chocolate pie.  I’m not much of a fan of the chocolate pudding pie, but I can chow down on some French Silk Pie, it’s more like a mousse than pudding and oh so delicious!  Mmmmm!

Now, let me warn you, this pie takes a bit of time and effort, but it is worth it.  It’s not necessarily difficult, but it does have many steps and requires some careful stove-top cooking.  Don’t get intimidated, though; just take a breath and dive right in.

I got this recipe, along with the crust recipe (because it was right across the page and only made one crust) from the Better Homes and Gardens Our Best Recipes cook book, page 262-263.

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Pie Crust Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 4-5 tbsp. cold water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening.
  4. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water; gently toss with a fork.  Push to the sides of the bowl.
  5. Repeat with additional water, until all is moistened.  (If you need more than 5 tablespoons, use it.)
  6. Form into a ball.
  7. On a slightly floured surface (or between two pieces of parchment paper), slightly flatten dough.  Roll from center to edge into a circle about 12-inches in diameter.
  8. Wrap around rolling pin, unroll in a 9-inch pie plate.  Ease into pie plate, being careful not to stretch the dough.
  9. Trim pastry to about 1/2 an inch from the edge of the plate.  Fold under extra pastry.  Crimp edge.  Do not prick.
  10. Line with a double thickness of foil and bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil.  Bake for 5 to 6 minutes more or until golden.
  11. Cool on a wire rack.

French Silk Pie Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 baked 9-inch pie crust
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz.)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 3 tbsp. whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped (optional)
  • chocolate curls (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare pie crust; set aside.
  2. In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate chips, butter, and sugar.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat.
  3. Gradually stir half the hot mixture into the egg yolks.  (This is called tempering the eggs.  You do it so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in your pie.)  Return egg  yolk mixture to chocolate mixture in saucepan.
  4. Cook over low-medium heat heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened and begins to bubble (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat.  (Mixture may appear to separate.)
  5. Stir in 3 tablespoons of whipping cream (or crème de cacao – I’m not sure what that is.).
  6. Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water; stir occasionally until the mixture stiffens and becomes hard to stir (about 20 minutes).
  7. Transfer cooled mixture to a medium mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  8. Spread in the cooled pie crust.
  9. Cover and chill for 5-24 hours.
  10. Top with whipped cream and chocolate curls to serve.

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Pancake Muffins

pancake muffins

Pancake muffins are something I’ve seen all over Pinterest.  Recently a blogging buddy of mine, Amy Kinnard, wrote up a post about her forray into pancake muffins, and I thought I might have to go ahead and try it.  (You can read Amy’s post here:  http://thekinnardfamily.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/pancake-breakfast-cups/.)  Using my own pancake recipe, I spooned the batter into a muffin tin, popped them in the oven, and a few minutes later, we had these cute little tasties to eat.  Nicholas wasn’t quite as keen on the idea as I was, but he did eat several of them and was okay with them once he cut them open and poured syrup on them.  It may not be something I do every time, but if time is short, it works for me.  What I really liked about them was that I could easily eat them with toppings other than syrup.  I tried honey and strawberry jelly, and both were quite yummy.  Go ahead, give them a shot using your favorite pancake batter recipe.

My pancake recipe can be read here:  https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/buttermilk-pancakes/.  There is no need to alter the recipe for baking.  It makes a dozen pancake muffins.

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Directions: 

  1. Mix up a batch of your favorite pancake batter.
  2. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake at 325-350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  (My oven cooks hotter, so I cooked them on 325 for about 20 minutes.  Just cook them until a toothpick comes out clean.)
  4. Serve warm with butter, syrup, and your other favorite toppings.

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Pumpkin-Nut Bread

pumpkin nut breadI recently mentioned the move my family has in our near future, and along with cleaning the house we are currently in, I am also trying to clean out our “pantry.”  The less I have to pack, the better.  Last fall, I made some pumpkin pureé from a couple of pie pumpkins and froze it.  (Check out the post here:  https://crystalpoe.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/pumpkin-puree/.)  I decided that I needed to clean out the freezer first, just so we don’t have to move a bunch of stuff that needs to stay cool, so I pulled out a package of the pureé and let it thaw.  While it was thawing, I went through a couple of cookbooks to find a good pumpkin bread recipe, and I found one in Quick and Easy Family Baking:  Cakes, Cookies, Pies, & Breads That Anyone Can Bake called “Old Pioneer Pumpkin Bread.”  The recipe easily makes two loaves of bread, and I even got 16 mini-muffins out of it, too.  It’s pretty simple to make, and my grandma told me she loved the bread.  My three year old niece even ate one of the muffins and declared it, “Mmmm!”  High praise indeed from a kid who normally won’t even eat the cake part of a cake.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups (1 can) pumpkin pureé
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg  (The book says all-spice, but I didn’t have that.)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup craisins or raisins (The book says chopped dates, but I didn’t have that, either.  I used craisins.)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Combine oil and sugar in bowl.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla and pumpkin; mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour.
  6. Add to sugar/pumpkin mixture, and beat well.
  7. Stir in craisins and pecans.
  8. Grease and flour two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
  9. Pour batter into pans.  (As I said before, I also got 16 mini-muffins from this batter.  I just used muffin liners for those.)
  10. Bake for one hour and ten minutes to one hour and fifteen minutes. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Bake the mini-muffins for about 20 minutes on 325-degrees.

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Microwave Popcorn

microwave popcorn 1

Oooh, popcorn!  Ya gotta love it!  It’s the perfect snack for watching movies and ball games, eating at sleep-overs, and munching on while star-gazing.  It’s one of America’s oldest snacks; if I remember my history correctly, even the Native Americans ate popcorn.  It ranks right up there with baseball and apple pie when you’re listing American classic icons.

Call me biased, but nobody makes stovetop popcorn as good as my daddy, step-mom, and step-sister.  They just know exactly how much butter, oil, and kernels to put in the pan and just how long to let it pop.  Try as I might (and I have), I’m just not nearly as talented at it.  Not to mention, I currently don’t have a good pan for popping popcorn.  I’ve tried several kinds of microwave popcorn, searching for some that tastes like it was popped on the stovetop but to no avail.  There just isn’t any out there.  I will say that the closest I found, which is still good stuff, was some Orville Redenbacher Natural Simply Salted popcorn, but it’s pretty expensive, as you can imagine.

Well, have no fear, my fellow popcorn lovers!  I have discovered a simple way to make your own natural simply salted microwave popcorn for pennies.  Just buy a bag of popcorn kernels, a package of brown paper sacks, and some butter.  Using a small amount of parchment paper is optional.  Trust me, it’s simple, tasty, and economical.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. If you’re using parchment paper, line the paper sack with it.
  2. Drop a dollop (approximately 1 tablespoon) of butter in the sack.
  3. Pour in 1/4 cup popcorn kernels.
  4. Turn down the top of the sack two or three times.
  5. Place in microwave.
  6. Press the popcorn button, if you have one, or cook on high for about two minutes or two minutes, ten seconds.
  7. Carefully empty into a bowl and salt to taste.
  8. Enjoy!

microwave popcorn 2

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Simple Kitchen Cleaner

Before Pictures

burner pans before stovetop before stovetop tray before

My husband and I recently began the process of buying a house.  It’ll be our first time buying one, and we are quite excited.  However, that means that we have a move in the near future, so we have to get the house we’re renting as clean as we can to get our deposit back.  I decided to start with the stove-top.  It was needing it, anyway, and I figured it was a good place to start.  As you can see from the above pictures, it was well past due time for a good cleaning.

Now, I know you know that I’m a bit of a fan of pinterest.  As you can imagine, there are boo-koos of cleaning tips on there, so I decided to give one a shot.  It requires two ingredients that I can almost guarantee you have in your house:  baking soda and peroxide.  Now pay attention because this is the tough part:  make a paste with the soda and peroxide, smear it on whatever you’re cleaning, let it set if it’s a tough stain, and scrub/wipe off, depending on how tough your stain is.  I know; it’s difficult to figure out.  😉

Now, on the tray under the stove-top, there was a lot of soot.  I got that out first using paper towels.  If you have a little hand-held broom and dustpan, just sweep it up.  Under the large burner, everything was extra-stuck, so I let the paste sit on there longer.  I also scrubbed it with a cleaning rag before wiping up the paste.  I also had to let the paste sit for awhile on some of the burner pans, especially the big one to get all the grime off, and I did cheat a little on those and use a Brillo pad to scrub them before wiping everything off.  I also just used a Brillo pad to clean the enameled stove-top; it was getting late, and the stove-top itself wasn’t nearly as bad as the burner pans and tray under the top.

This was a time-consuming project, but it would have been no matter how I cleaned it because it was so bad.  However, in the end, the stove-top came clean.  Basically, I would definitely recommend this paste to someone looking to clean hard-to-clean stuff.  You can even use this to clean stained cookie sheets and other tin-ware.

P.S.  I don’t know if I needed to or not, but I wore a pair of those yellow plastic gloves when I did this.  If nothing else, it kept my fingernails and fingertips from getting worn off.

After Pictures

burner pans after stovetop after stovetop tray after

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