Bright Triple Berry Pie

Triple Berry Pie

My daughter Lucy sat and read the whole pie section of America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook on Saturday in order to pick which pie we should make for fireworks that night (in addition to the already decided key lime pie), and we both settled on this one. I thought it sounded fine, good even, but when we sat to eat it, I was way more excited by the flavor than I thought I would be. This pie is better than all the parts, and a really nice alternative to all the cream pies, which I have a soft spot for, but can be a little too rich after a big grill. So, this is an easy, bright alternative that is a delicious pie, and actually flew off the table faster than the key lime. How did that happen?! Happy Fourth!

Bright Triple Berry Pie

Graham Cracker Crust
9 graham crackers, broken into rough pieces
2 T sugar
5 T unsalted butter, melted and warm

 

Berry Filling

2 c raspberries (about 9 ounces) (I used strawberries, which were great!)
2 c blackberries (about 11 ounces)
2 c blueberries (about 10 ounces)
1⁄2 c granulated sugar (3 ½ ounces)
3 T cornstarch
1⁄8 t salt
1 T lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 T red currant jelly

 

Whipped Cream

1 c cold heavy cream
1 T sugar
1 t vanilla extract

For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a food processor, process the graham crackers until evenly fine, about 30 seconds (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Continue to pulse while adding the warm melted butter in a steady stream; pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand and then transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch glass pie plate. Using a ½-cup dry measuring cup, press the crumb mixture into the plate.

Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely while making the filling.

For the filling: Combine the berries in a large colander and gently rinse (taking care not to bruise them); spread the berries on a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels and gently pat dry with additional paper towels.

In a food processor, puree 2 ½ cups mixed berries until smooth and fully pureed, about 1 minute. Strain the puree through a mesh strainer into a small nonreactive saucepan, scraping and pressing on the seeds to extract as much puree as possible (you should have 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups).

Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl to combine, then whisk the mixture into the puree. Bring the puree to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon; when the mixture reaches a boil and is thickened to the consistency of pudding, remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and set aside to cool slightly.

While the puree is cooling, place the remaining berries in a medium bowl.

Heat the jelly in a second small saucepan over low heat until fully melted.Drizzle the melted jelly over the berries and toss gently with a rubber spatula to coat. Pour the slightly cooled puree into the cooled pie shell and smooth the top with a spatula. Distribute the glazed berries evenly over the puree and gently press them into the puree.

Loosely cover the pie with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled and the puree has set, about 3 hours or up to 1 day.

For the whipped cream: Just before serving, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium; continue beating until the beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds longer.

Increase the speed to high; continue beating until the cream is smooth, thick, nearly doubled in volume, and forms soft peaks, about 30 to 60 seconds.

Cut the pie into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Triple Berry Pie 2

Blueberry Cream Hand Pies


So, right now my kitchen is a mess and I have papers to grade, but I’m so excited to write about these little pies that I can’t wait. Having Valentines be on Sunday this year will make it easier to have these sweet little pies for breakfast, which I usually try to do, and have been known to even roll out of bed early to make it happen (though this is really not typical of me). I started making these handpies specifically for Valentines Day a couple of years for the simple reason that I bought a pie press in the shape of a heart and I wanted to use it. But now, these are just my favorite way to share a little love, and create one of the best breakfasts (or desserts, depending on how busy the day becomes!) of the year. I’ve changed the filling, but otherwise am using the recipe from the
Flour bakery cookbook called Homemade Pop-Tarts. 

Blueberry Cream Hand Pies

Pâte Brisée (recipe below)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (340 grams) blueberry jam*
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, whipped, and at room temperature

Simple Vanilla Glaze
1 cup (140 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Press each half into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight 3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch rectangles (about the size of an index card). [If using a decorative cutter, plan accordingly.]

Brush the top surface of the entire scored rectangle with the egg [this is an IMPORTANT step]. Spoon 1 tablespoon of cheese and 1 tablespoon of the jam in a mound in the center of each scored rectangle. Lay the second large dough rectangle directly on top of the first. Using fingertips, carefully press down all around each jam mound, so the pastry sheets adhere to each other.

Using a knife, a pizza roller (easier), or a fluted roller (easier and prettier), and following the scored lines, cut the layered dough into 8 rectangles. Place the rectangles, well spaced, on a baking sheet. [You, of course, can also use the heart pie press if you also couldn’t resist buying one at the store.]

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops of the pastries are evenly golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

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To make the glaze: While the pastries are cooling, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and enough of the water to make a smooth, pourable glaze. You should have about 1/2 cup. (The glaze can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)

When the pastries have cooled for 30 minutes, brush the tops evenly with the glaze, or write sweet messages with the glaze in a piping bag. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the glaze to set before serving.

The pastries can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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Pate Brisee Recipe

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks / 228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold milk

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), mix together the flour, sugar, and salt for 10 to 15 seconds, or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top. Mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or just until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it and lumps of butter the size of pecans are visible throughout.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk until blended. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough just barely comes together. It will look really shaggy and more like a mess than a dough.

Dump the dough out onto an unfloured work surface, then gather it together into a tight mound. Using your palm and starting on one side of the mound, smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top of the mound and then sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface (at Flour we call this “going down the mountain”), until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough and the dough comes together. Do this once or twice on each part of the dough, moving through the mound until the whole mess has been smeared into a cohesive dough with streaks of butter.

Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

*I usually make my own blueberry jam by heating up about a cup of frozen blueberries, without adding water, and a 1/2 c. of sugar, over medium heat, in a covered pot. Once the mixture is boiling, I mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water and stir it in slowly, and return the mixture to a boil. After it thickens, I remove the pot and add 1 T. of vanilla extract (I love it with the blueberries!) but you can be more circumspect, or even not include it altogether. One teaspoon of lemon juice is also a nice addition. As is vanilla bean paste.

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Happy Valentines Day!!

Lemon Chess Pie

Lemon Chess Pie
For Thanksgiving, I did a grand sweep of all my favorite pies (eight in total!), first, because it was Thanksgiving, and second, because I just wanted to remember them all. Well, I remembered that this is my favorite. Not too lemony, but sweet and custardy with the bright citrus flavor. It’s just lovely. In fact, I was so sad it was gone by Friday, that I made another one Saturday. Lucy and I just ate the last bites. Hopefully, we won’t wait until Thanksgiving next year to have this again. This simple pie is perfect for any night or for company, and it comes from America’s Test Kitchen Annual 2011, but has been reprinted in some of their other publications as well.

Lemon Chess Pie

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 c. plus 1 t. sugar
  • 1 T. grated lemon zest and 3 T. juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 T. cornmeal
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 (9-inch) pie shell, chilled (try the cream cheese pie crust if you don’t have a recipe you like!)
1. MAKE FILLING: Whisk eggs in large bowl until smooth. Slowly whisk in 1¾ cups sugar, lemon zest and juice, cornmeal, and salt until -combined. Whisk in butter.2. BAKE CRUST: Poke pie shell all over with fork. Refrigerate 40 minutes, then freeze 20 minutes. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake shell until small bubbles appear and surface begins to look dry, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

3. BAKE PIE: Whisk filling briefly to recombine. Scrape filling into prepared pie shell and bake until surface is light brown and center jiggles slightly when shaken, 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon sugar. Cool -completely on wire rack, about 4 hours. Serve. (Pie can be refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, for 2 days.)

Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Dough

This recipe was recommended to me by my fabulous baker/friend Claudine, who described it as “no-fail.” I totally agree! This recipe is from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible. Note: as you will soon see, Berenbaum is extremely particular and I’m sure her attention to detail yields an amazing crust. I, however, simply use her recipe by putting all the ingredients in my food processor, blending the dry, adding the butter, then the liquid, make into a disk, refrigerate for 1/2 hour, then proceed with my recipes. Maybe someday, I’ll be a little more of a perfectionist . .
Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Dough

[Pastry for a 9-inch pie shell or a 9 1/2- or 10- by 1-inch tart shell]

  • 6 T. unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 c. + 1 T. pastry flour or 1 c. (dip and sweep method) bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 t. salt (for savory recipes, use 1 1/2 times the salt)
  • 1/8 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. cream cheese, cold
  • 1 T. ice water
  • 1 1/2 t. cider vinegar

Food processor method:

  1. Cut the butter into small (about 3/4-inch) cubes. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it until frozen solid, at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place the flour mixture in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Set the bag aside.
  3. Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the butter is larger than the size of a pea. (Toss with a fork to see it better.) Remove the cover and add the water and vinegar. Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together. Spoon it into the plastic bag. (For a double-crust pie, it is easiest to divide the mixture in half at this point.)
  4. Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag with the knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.
  5. Wrap the dough with the plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc (or discs) and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight. (For a pie shell and lattice, divide it in a ratio of two thirds:one third — use about 9.5 ounces for the shell and the rest for the lattice, flattening the smaller part into a rectangle.)

If you want to make it by hand, please see Epicurious for more directions.

Pear Custard Pie

Pear Custard Pie 2

I clipped this recipe a few years ago from Saveur, and it took me a little while to get around to making it (well, it was actually my sweet neighbor giving me a basket of her pears that got me around to making it!) and now I’ve made it twice in the last two weeks, and I am planning to add it to the Thanksgiving day line-up. Pears and custard are heaven. This lovely recipe combine the two for a sweet, subtle flavor that I love. And notice how simple! This recipe comes from the September 2013 Saveur.


Pear Custard Pie
Flour, for dusting, plus 3 T.
12 recipe Buttery Pie Dough (if you don’t have one you like, try the one below)
4 large ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
34 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 c. heavy cream
1 t. clear vanilla [my addition] or vanilla bean paste

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12″ round. Fit into a 9″ pie plate. Trim edges and crimp; chill for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400°. Combine the sugar and flour in a small bowl. Fan half the pears evenly over dough. Sprinkle half of the sugar and flour mixture over pears and drizzle with half the cream. Repeat with remaining pears, sugar, flour, and cream. [I’ve also mixed the sugar, flour, cream in a bowl and poured over the pears, which I believe makes it even creamier.] Bake until crust is golden and filling is set, about 1 hour. Let cool completely before serving.

 

Rosemary Apple Pie

Rosemary Apple Pie

This is my favorite apple pie recipe. I clipped it a two years ago from a Saveur magazine, made it immediately, and have made it five times since. love. The rosemary in the crust is very subtle–most people taste something unique, but can’t put a finger on it, and the cinnamon paired with the apples is intense and perfect. I also love the sweetness in the crust, with the crunch of the cornmeal. This is the pie I buy my first bag of apples for in the fall, and commit all tart apples to, should a lovely neighbor give me some of their harvest.

Note: as with all pies, it’s best to start on them early in the day. It’s not a lot of hands-on work, but it does take a lot of time with the chilling and cooling, etc. Better to have time on your side.

Rosemary Apple Pie

For the Crust
2 c. flour, plus more for dusting
14 c. sugar
2 T. cornmeal
12 T. finely chopped rosemary
1 t. kosher salt
12 T. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
12 c. ice-cold water
For the Filling
3 lb. sweet or tart apples, such as Golden Delicious or McIntosh, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
34 c. sugar, plus 1 T. for sprinkling
3 T. cornstarch
1 1T. ground cinnamon
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 12 t. vanilla extract
12 t. kosher salt
4 T. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 T. water
Make the crust: Pulse flour, sugar, cornmeal, rosemary, salt, and butter in a food processor into pea-size crumbles. Add water; pulse until dough comes together. Form ⅔ dough into a flat disk; repeat with remaining ⅓ dough. Wrap disks in plastic wrap; chill for 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll larger disk of dough into a 12″ round. Fit dough into a 9″ pie plate. Trim edges, leaving about 1″ dough overhanging edge of plate. Roll the smaller disk into an 8″ square. Slice into 8 strips; chill both doughs 30 minutes.
Make the filling: Toss apples, ¾ cup sugar, cornstarch, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Arrange apples evenly over dough in the pie plate; dot with butter. To make the lattice, lay 4 dough strips horizontally across top of pie, fold first and third strips back on themselves, then lay another strip perpendicular to them, just off center. Unfold first and third strips, fold back second and fourth strips, then lay another strip to the right of first perpendicular strip. Repeat weave pattern with remaining dough strips; chill 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400°. Trim edges of dough and crimp. Brush with egg mixture; sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar and remaining cinnamon. Bake until crust is golden brown and apples are tender, about 1 hour. Let cool completely before serving.

Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie

Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie
So, I know this recipe comes off as a little overwhelming. I’ve had it in my “to bake” pile for, actually, a few summers. But, when I actually read through the steps carefully, I realized it wasn’t as complicated as I first assumed, and since I had some time to do it in, I did. What a winner. Worth all the steps and truly delicious. Unique. Fun. Summer. Plus, out of the four pies I made for the party I went too, this is the only one that completely disappeared. This recipe comes from the Aug. 2011 bon appetit. And, of course, you can simplify it by leaving out the honeycomb, but the honeycomb really came together in a matter of minutes and was a super beautiful addition.

Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie

for the crust
9 graham crackers, coarsely crushed
1/4 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg
6 T. (3/4 stick) butter, melted

for the filling
8 large egg yolks
12 T. sugar, divided
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 T. powdered sugar
1/2 t. kosher salt

for the topping 
2 oz bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
2 1/2 T. unsalted butter
Honeycomb (see below)
1/4 c. roasted, salted peanuts

for the crust
Preheat oven to 325°. Finely grind graham crackers, sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a food processor.Transfer crumb mixture to a medium bowl. Add butter and stir to blend. Use bottom and sides of a measuring cup to pack crumbs onto bottom and up sides of 9″ glass or metal pie pan.Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

for the filling
Mix yolks and 6 Tbsp. sugar in the bowl of a stand mixers fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat at high speed until ribbons form, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.

Combine milk and remaining 6 Tbsp. sugar in a large saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add bean. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove bean. With mixer running, gradually add hot milk mixture to yolk mixture. Scrape mixture back into pan. Clean bowl. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove pan from heat; whisk vigorously for 1 minute. Return custard to mixing bowl, beat on high speed until cool, about 4 minutes. Mix in butter on Tbsp. at a time. Add peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt; beat to blend. Scrape filling into cooled crust; smooth top. Chill until set, 2-3 hours.

for the topping
Stir chocolate and butter in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth.

Drizzle some of the chocolate glaze over the peanut butter filling, making a circle in the middle of the pie and leaving a 1″-2″ plain border. Pile pieces of honeycomb and salted peanuts on top, then drizzle remaining chocolate glaze over.

Honeycomb Recipe

1 1/2 c. sugar
3 T. corn syrup
1 T. honey
1 T. baking soda, sifted

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Combine sugar, corn syrum, honey, and 1/4 cup water in a heavy deep saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar turns pale amber. Working quickly, add baking soda (mixture will foam up dramatically); whisk quickly just to combine. Immediately pour candy over prepared sheet (do not spread out). Let stand undisturbed until cool, about 20 minutes. Hit candy in several places with the handle of a knife to crack into pieces.

Dutch Oven Apple Pie

Well, we don’t venture out camping very often, but last week we spent two nights in the great outdoors, so of course, I was excited to do a little dutch oven baking! I have made bread in our dutch oven before, baking it just in our home oven, and it works beautifully, but I was a little scared to try it outside. I decided to make soup, bread, and pie, but I was especially happy with how the bread and pie turned out. I used a bunch of granny apples I had on hand, and I went ahead and prepared the crusts (I rolled them out on parchment and put them in the dutch oven before we left), and then brought all the filling ingredients pre-mixed, so all I had to do was core the apples (we had to get a little creative for that), and then toss it all together and bake. 

Dutch Oven Rex 2

Here’s the hubby and baby boy helping out with the cooking. We didn’t realize until later that this was perhaps a little precarious of a situation to be putting our baby in (since he kind-of looks like he’s about to fall out of the backpack–into hot charcoals. Whoops). So dutch oven soup, bread, and pie were all a success, but I especially pleased when we opened the lid to the pie. It was like magic!

Dutch Oven Apple 2

Dutch Oven Apple Pie

5 large tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced (5 cups)
1 c. sugar
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. flour
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
double crust pie dough (recipe below)
sugar for dusting
1 T. butter, cut into 6 pieces

Combine all ingredients except butter and let stand while preparing pastry. Line 10-inch dutch oven with pastry [I left the pastry on the parchment paper, and placed the dough and parchment paper inside the dutch oven, which also made for easy cleaning]; add filling and dot with butter. Cover with rolled dough for top crust. Seal and flute edge, then sprinkle crust with sugar. Make slits to allow steam to escape, and cover with the dutch-oven lid.

If baking at home, bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce to 350 degrees and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until crust is golden. If baking outdoors, place 10 charcoals under the dutch oven and 12 coals on top of the lid, and bake for about 45 minutes, or again, until the crust is golden.

No-Fail Pie Crust

2 1/2 c. sifted flour
1 t. salt
1 c. butter
1/4 c. cold water
1 T. vinegar
1 egg, beaten

Sift together flour and salt. Cut in 1/2 the butter until the mixture resembles small peas, then cut in the rest of the butter until the mixture resembles navy beans [I love these directions–never read anything like it before!]. In a mixing bowl, combine water, vinegar, and egg. Pour into flour mixture and mix lightly with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry forms a ball. Divide pastry into two portions (2/3 for bottom, 1/3 for top). Roll out between parchment or waxed paper.

Recipe from The Friends of Old Deseret Dutch Oven Cookbook

 

Cherry Clafouti

Cherry ClafoutiI really love cherry season, and for some reason, cherries are the fruit I get most excited about baking with. I know this is strange–I think it has something to do with memories of Hostess Cherry Pies. Anyway, turns out that nothing from my kitchen has ever tasted like a Hostess Cherry Pie (I’m not really sure how they accomplish it, to be honest), but my adult tastes don’t enjoy them much anymore, anyway. So, if you’re interested in doing something with the cherries you’ve just picked up from a fruit stand, here’s a great option. A clafouti (which, I believe is pronounced “cla–foo-tee”) can be a dessert or if you live at my house, a breakfast food. Ina Garten’s recipes, which I’ve used here, calls for pears, but I’ve adapted it back to the more traditional cherries. Essentially, this is a custard (crepe-like) batter baked with fruit. It’s very simple to make and it looks great straight out of the oven, but stays quite hot, so if you’re serving it to kids, best to wait for 15 minutes or so (the cherries capture a lot of heat). This recipe is adapted from Garten’s Barefoot in Paris.

Cherry Clafouti

1 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 c. plus 1 T. granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 T. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. heavy cream (you can use milk here, it will just lessen the creaminess, which works for me!)
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 t. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. almond extract
1 c. sweet cherries
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 10 x 3 x 1 1/2-inch round baking (pie) dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 T. of the granulated sugar.

Beat the eggs and the 1/3 c. of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and almond extract. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pit the cherries either by slicing them in half or with a cherry pitter. Sprinkle the cherries in the baking dish, and pour the batter over the cherries. Bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

Cherry Clafouti 2(My husband liked this picture better, so I included them both!)

Toucinho do Ceu or Heavenly Portuguese Custard Pie

There were many culinary winners from my trip to Lisbon this summer, but this one was just a wonderful surprise. We had it in a small family restaurant. In order to accommodate me, the waiter was speaking English, and he kept telling me that this pie was made of “prosciutto, onions, and sugar” and that it won some sort of city-wide dessert award. I was so baffled that I ordered it, and my husband laughed when he finally read the name and understood what the waiter meant. The literal translation of this custard pie is “Heavenly Bacon,” only because historically it was made from leftover pork fat, but not anymore. And we think the English word for “almond” somehow got confused for “onion” in the waiter’s vocabulary. Needless to say, this custard pie has nothing to do with onions or bacon, but it is a slice of delightful marzipan-y custard.  I got this recipe from a site called Chef Leticia.

Toucinho do Ceu or Heavenly Portuguese Custard Pie

½ c. water
1¼ c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
1¾ c. (250g) ground almonds, skinless (This is easily done by submerging almonds in water and microwaving for 5 minutes)
4 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
5 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 t. almond extract (or Amaretto)
1 t. orange zest, finely grated
powdered sugar, for dusting

One 10-inch round cake mold, with parchment paper on the bottom, buttered and floured.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a big sauce pan, boil together the water, sugar, and salt. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the ground almonds. Using a wooden spoon, keep mixing, over low-medium heat. Stir constantly until it starts to thicken, leaving a trace after the wooden spoon in a way that you should be able to see the bottom of the pan (about 2 minutes). Do not over mix. You are looking for a soft almond paste.

Remove the pan from the heat and add butter cut into pieces. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

In a different bowl, lightly beat together the yolks and eggs. Incorporate the egg mixture into the almond mixture with a spatula. Add the amaretto and the orange zest and pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30- 35 minutes or until the cake is firm, and the center is not jiggly. The top should turn a medium golden brown. Let it cool inside the mold, then remove it from the mold, peel the parchment paper, and dust with powdered sugar. Cut the cake into wedges and serve at room temperature.