Smores Hand Pies

So I originally made these for the 4th of July but never got around to posting about them.  Luckily they have become relevant again for two reasons. First: it is HOT in southern California. Like 90 degrees. So it still feels like summer, which makes summer treats appropriate. Second, and more importantly: yesterday was election day! I am so proud that our country spoke up and re-elected President Obama, and that same sex marriage has been protected in four states! AMERICA!!!!!

I am very saddened that Prop 37 which would have required food containing GMOs to be labeled as so did not pass, but this was just the beginning. The fight against GMOs will continue!

Anyway, these pies were so yummy. They require a bit of backstory: back in April, my wonderful mother bought me a Breville electric personal pie maker (she knows me so well) and this was my first time using it. The manual suggest using puff pastry, but I love my mom’s pie crust that I went ahead and made my own from scratch!

It’s simple. You press your crust into the pie maker, then add in some graham cracker crumbs or chunks and some chocolate chips. Cook until the pie crust begins to brown on the edges, then, while they are still hot, top with marshmallows. And that’s it! Your own personal smores pie!



Thanksgiving Recipe Review #2- Apple Cider Cream Pie

So this was the second recipe I attempted for Thanksgiving dessert.  Sadly, it doesn’t look so great… Someone dipped their finger in the whipped cream, as you can see, and I completely forgot to garnish it with the dried apple slices I had prepared.  But I promise it tasted much better than it looks!  I got the recipe from The Galley Gourmet but it is originally from the November 11 issue of Food and Wine.

This was my first time ever making a pie.  I made it after the cupcakes in my previous post, and on Wednesday night ended up spending 6 hours baking between the two of these items.  By about the fourth hour, I wanted to say forget this damn pie I’m exhausted, but I went through with it and am glad I did because this pie is DELICIOUS.  I faced some challenges though, especially having never made a pie before.  I’ve watched my mom do it a thousand times, but it is trickier than it seems.

My main struggle in particular was due to the fact that I don’t own a pie dish.  When I got off work Wednesday afternoon I planned to buy one but couldn’t find a real one anywhere and was forced to buy a foil throw away one.  These things are really flimsy, so it was hard to get the crust in right, and even harder to put the pie in the oven- the meat of this pie is a custard, and before custard bakes it is a liquidy mess.  Due to my flimsy pie pan, some of my custard seeped behind the crust (as you can see in the photo), and some of it spilled out onto the bottom of the oven as I was placing it on the rack.  Now of course I couldn’t do anything but let it burn, I couldn’t try to clean it because the oven was too hot.  From all the smoke that was billowing out of the vents and into every room of my apartment, you would have thought the whole place was on fire.

I also struggled with the whipped cream.  I had also never made home made whipped cream before, and I couldn’t seem to get it as fluffy as I wanted.  But despite of all of these challenges, it tasted great and everyone enjoyed it.  I will definitely be sharing this recipe and trying it again, hopefully when I have some better tools in hand.

Apple Cider Cream Pie
serves 8
For the Crust
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons (3-ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup (2-ounces) chilled vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes
2 Tablespoons vodka
2 Tablespoons apple cider
For the Filling
2 cups apple cider
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 extra large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dried apple slices
Cinnamon sugar
For the Crust
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt with a few 1-second pulses.  Add the butter and shortening and process until the mixture just starts to come together and resembles coarse meal.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse to combine.  Sprinkle the vodka and cider over the flour mixture and process just until the dough comes together.  Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Using the corners of the plastic wrap and the back of your knuckles, press the dough into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Adjust oven rack to lower third of the oven and preheat to 425º F.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to a 12-inch circle.  Ease the dough into a 9-inch pie plate by gently lifting edge of dough and lightly pressing into the bottom of the pie plate, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang.  Fold the overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with the edge of pie plate.  Flute or decoratively crimp  the edge.  Refrigerate until cold and firm, 30-60 minutes.
Line the crust with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake until the crust is barely set, about 15 minutes.  Carefully remove the parchment and weights.  Cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield or strips of foil and bake until set, about 15 minutes more; set aside to cool (do not remove shield or strips).  Lower the oven temperature to 350º F.
In a medium saucepan, boil the cider until it is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10-15 minutes.  Transfer the cider and let cool slightly.  Whisk in 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, sour cream, and salt. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth and completely combined.  Keeping the shield or foil strips in place, pour the custard into the pie shell.  Bake until the custard is set around the edge, but the center is still slightly jiggly, about 35-40 minutes.  Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely.  (The cooled pie can be refrigerated up to this point in the process for 2 days).
In a medium bowl, beat the cream, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon using a whisk or a hand held mixer until soft, but firm peaks form.  Mound the cream onto the pie.  Garnish with dried apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Enjoy!