Coffee Caramel Macadamia Pie

Macadiamia Nut Pie
My final pie in the Pie trilogy is a coffee caramel macadamia pie.

Based on last week’s hotel bed eating confession, it’s no surprise to hear that, on a recent business trip to Hawaii, I polished off an entire canister of coffee glazed macadamia nuts while lying in bed. I’m not proud of it, but constant traveling, even to tropical locations, messes with my eating, sleeping, and exercise regimen – but especially my eating. Six hours in coach, 24 hours on Oahu, another plane, 24 hours on Maui and then six hours back home – that is not a vacation. So, when I stumbled into my hotel room, tired and stiff from waking up at 3:30 a.m. and flying across the Pacific in a tin can, is it any wonder that my first act, even before unpacking, was to crack open the comfort food canister of nuts waiting for me in my hotel room?

This pie is inspired by those coffee glaze nuts – a little salty, a bit sweet, with a dash of coffee to compliment the buttery richness of the macadamia nuts…all encased in a flaky pastry crust.

Aloha!


Coffee Caramel Macadamia Pie

  • Servings: One 9” Pie
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This pie is inspired by coffee glaze macadamia nuts – a little salty, a bit sweet, with a dash of coffee to compliment the buttery richness of the nuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 9” pie crust (pre-made if you must, but I recommend homemade)
  • 2 cups roasted unsalted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large yolks
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Flaky sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat to 350 degrees F. Blind bake the crust for about 15 minutes until just beginning to brown. Cool, cover pie crust with macadamia nuts and chill crust until ready to use.
  2. Beat together the eggs, yolks, sugar, corn syrup, instant coffee, and salt. Whisk in the melted butter, heavy cream, flour and vanilla. Pour over macadamia nuts and sprinkle flaky sea salt on top. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the filling is set at the edge but slightly wobbly in the center. Cool pie completely before slicing.

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie
I have no idea who Mencius was, but he’s attributed with the quote, “The best things in life come in threes.” I decided to make a pie this weekend and it just so happens that my favorite pie crust recipe makes three crusts. Rather than scale the recipe down and attempt to divide a large egg by 3 (50 grams / 3 = 17ish grams), I decided to make a whole batch and go on a pie spree for the week.

A coworker described this first recipe, Chocolate Pecan, as tasting like a candy bar – loaded with toasty nuts but not too sweet. It’s definitely rich; a little goes a long way. Even moi, the consumer of all things dessert, only needed a small slice to satisfy my ever-aching sweet tooth.


Chocolate Pecan Pie

  • Servings: One 9” Pie
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This crust is adapted from The Pioneer Woman and makes three thin crusts or two crusts with plenty of leftover dough for decorations.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 5 Tablespoons cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Karo syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups toasted pecan halves
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Chill butter and Crisco until very cold by placing both in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and Crisco to flour and pulse on/off until mixture resembles coarse meal (you can also combine the flour and fats using a pastry blender if you don’t want to drag out your processor – more effort, less clean-up). Scrape mixture into a large bowl, add egg mixture, and stir until combined. Don’t overwork dough.
  2. Separate the dough into thirds (If you prefer a more substantial crust, separate in half) and roll into balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill. (If you will be storing the dough in the freezer for a longer period, form dough into a disk and seal in a Ziplock bag. Thaw 15 minutes before using).
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium bowl, beat together the melted butter, brown sugar, Karo syrup, eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt until frothy. Stir in pecan halves and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350⁰. In between two sheets of waxed paper, roll out the crust, starting at the center and working your way out into a 11” – 12” circle. Once the dough is the correct size, peel off the top layer of waxed paper and, using the bottom sheet, transfer the dough to a 9” pie pan. Flip the dough over, peel off the bottom sheet, and gently press the dough into the pan. Go around the pie pan tucking the dough to make a clean edge and then crimp. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the crust from the freezer. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and cover with filling. Bake 40-50 minutes until the topping is firm and dark golden brown. Transfer pie to wire rack to cool. Cut yourself a slide – you done good.

a slice of chocolate pecan pie

Ben’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb Pie
I have a confession. I’ve never baked a strawberry rhubarb pie. Are you surprised? And if I’m being completely honest, until today, I’d never eaten one either. That’s a shame, I know now, since the strawberries’ sweetness marries quite perfectly with the tart rhubarb – and you can’t go wrong wrapping it all up in a flaky pastry crust (she says as she polishes off her second slice). I didn’t know. I blame this whole rhubarb ignorance tragedy on growing up in Southern California. Rhubarb needs a cold climate to grow, something not in abundance in the sunny state. Rhubarb pie isn’t that common here. Deep fried avocado on a stick? You bet! Rhubarb? Perhaps not. I also blame mom – I don’t think she was a fan of rhubarb, so it never graced our table.

My friend, Ben, recently declared it his favorite pie and asked me to make one a few months back. Frankly, I was a little daunted to work with rhubarb; hearing parts of it were poisonous. It’s actually quite straightforward – wash it, cut off the leaves (the poisonous part), trim the top and the bottom of the stalk to remove any dried, soggy or damaged bits and finally, on any larger stalks, remove any fibrous ribs with a paring knife (just like celery!).

Strawberries and Rhubarb – truly a quintessential combo. This first pie iteration was mine for testing, but needs no alterations. The next one is Ben’s.


Ben’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  • Servings: One 9” Pie
  • Print
This crust is adapted from The Pioneer Woman and makes three thin crusts or two crusts with plenty of leftover dough for decorations (or a second crumb-topped pie).

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 5 Tablespoons cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ lbs. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ½ inch thick slices (about 3 ½ cups)
  • 1 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 3 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca
  • ¼ cup panko crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar (raw sugar) or white sugar

Directions

  1. Chill butter and Crisco until very cold by placing both in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and Crisco to flour and pulse on/off until mixture resembles coarse meal (you can also combine the flour and fats using a pastry blender if you don’t want to drag out your processor – more effort, less clean-up). Scrape mixture into a large bowl, add egg mixture, and stir until combined. Don’t overwork dough.
  2. Separate the dough into thirds (If you prefer a more substantial crust, separate in half) and roll into balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill. (If you will be storing the dough in the freezer for a longer period, form dough into a disk and seal in a Ziplock bag. Thaw 15 minutes before using).
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb and strawberries and set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine sugars, zest, salt and tapioca. Set aside. (I keep sugar and fruit separate until the last minute to reduce the amount of accumulated juices)
  4. Preheat the oven to 400⁰. In between two sheets of waxed paper, roll out the bottom crust, starting at the center and working your way out into a 11” – 12” circle. Once the dough is the correct size, peel off the top layer of waxed paper and, using the bottom sheet, transfer the dough to a 9” pie pan. Flip the dough over, peel off the bottom sheet, and gently press the dough into the pan. Go around the pie pan tucking the dough to make a clean edge. Freeze until second crust is rolled out. Roll out the second crust into a 12” circle between two sheets of waxed paper and transfer to freezer until ready to use.
  5. Remove the bottom crust from the freezer. Sprinkle with panko crumbs (this helps avoid a soggy bottom crust). Combine reserved sugar/tapioca mixture with fruit, stir well, and mound filling inside bottom pie crust. Dot filling with bits of unsalted butter. Remove top crust from freezer. Peel off top sheet of waxed paper, flip crust on top of filling, and trim top pie dough so that overhang beyond the pie plate lip is only about 1/2-inch. Tuck rim of dough underneath itself and crimp decoratively. Cut a few decorative vents on top of pie. Transfer pie to a baking sheet and brush egg yolk mixture over dough and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350⁰ and bake for an additional 30 – 35 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly. Transfer pie to wire rack to cool. While warm pie is heaven, it’s important to let the pie fully cool giving the tapioca time to do its work or you’ll have a flash flood of filling. When fully cool, the juices gel.

Classic Apple Pie

Classic Apple Pie

I was scrolling through Facebook yesterday and came across two videos of recipes being prepared in fast-motion. They weren’t special recipes – one was carrot cake and other was banana bread. I was astonished to realize the banana bread recipe had received over 8 million hits. Eight…million…hits – for banana bread. My blog is almost 9 years old and I haven’t reached 8 million hits total, let alone for one post.

I have online presence envy.

The truth is that I’ll probably never have 8 million hits for a post. Those videos are for people who want a recipe that’s fast…and easy…with as little fuss as possible…and doesn’t require a special pan or spice…and results in something the whole family will love. Those videos are for what I call “Everyday Cooks.” You know who they are. After a full day at work, these folks are expected to arrive home and whip up something soul-satisfying and delicious day after day after day. God bless them. I could never do that – it would suck the joy of cooking right out of me.

Instead, I write for the food enthusiast, culinary explorers who learn about different cultures through preparing and eating their food, who are enamored by new ingredients or cooking techniques, and are willing to sacrifice gluten sensitivities and sugar phobias for the perfect slice of homemade apple pie. We relish the fuss. We are a special breed, our numbers are small, but our passion is deep.

For my fellow enthusiasts…


Classic Apple Pie

A homemade crust doesn’t need to be difficult. My mom used this simple “Wesson oil” crust for all of her pies.

Ingredients

  • 4 apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I used Fuji and Granny Smith)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Rind from ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 2/3 cup sifted flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cups canola oil
  • 6 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice and rind, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss to coat. Set apple mixture aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Combine oil and milk and gently add to flour mixture. Divide pastry in half and roll each between two sheets of waxed paper.
  3. Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom crust and sprinkle with panko (this helps avoid a soggy bottom crust). Trim pastry even with edge. Fill with apple mixture, but do not include any juice/liquid that may have accumulated at the bottom of the bowl; dot with butter. Place second crust over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry.
  4. Beat egg white until foamy; brush over pastry. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover edges loosely with foil to avoid burning. Bake at 375° for 45-60 minutes or until crust is brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.