Butter Usage – by month – March 2016

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Meyer Lemon Bars

8 March – 16 Tbs – Raisin Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

11 March – 6 Tbs – Guinness Brownies

11 March – 16 Tbs – Pie Crust

12 March – 8 Tbs – Apple Walnut Pie

20 March – 13.5 Tbs – Walnut Muffins

24 March – 11 Tbs – White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

25 March – 16 Tbs – Meyer Lemon Bars

86.5 = 10.8125 sticks = 43.25 ounces = 2.703125 pounds

Not embarrassing, to say the least – in the butter use department. And I have to say that butter pie crust was so amazingly good. Now I am feeling slightly guilty about knowing the source for it. Will dig through lots of papers to figure it out.

(Lack of) Pie Repertoire

We were not a potato family growing up – that’s not to say we didn’t eat potatoes at all, but at any given meal, the starch of choice was rice. So, therefore, while I do love hash browns and home fries, I am not a huge fan of french fries, and definitely not of mashed potatoes. So, I in turn, don’t turn to potatoes all that often (potato salad excepting – there will more on that shortly). Latkes are a part of my Christmas tradition and I love a good corned beef hash w/onions and potatoes, but my repertoire is not very extensive.

The same holds true for pies. The only pie my mom made, as far as I can remember, was pecan pie for me for my birthday – that was my birthday “cake.” I don’t remember a single apple or berry pie from my childhood at all. No pumpkin or sweet potato either. Therefore the only pie I make on a regular basis is a pecan pie. I do make an occasional lemon curd tart thanks to an excellent recipe from the original (1992) Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts cookbook.* But I think it is past time to remedy this situation.

But then the question arises – how to do this when there are only three of us? And of those three, one who does not care for sweets, no less. Whole pies don’t make sense for just three people – at least not in my head they don’t. Is there a way of making smaller – individual pies?

Well, I did a little research and there is – I just purchased a 6″ glass pie dish from Williams-Sonoma. While I wait on the delivery, I will have time to decide how to down size recipes for pies that I want to try. Math is not my strong suit. Sigh.

What better time to start a round of individual pies than summer – and my first project will be a blueberry cream cheese pie. Blueberries are super inexpensive right now and I can get locally grown ones too — all the better.

* Amazingly good lemon curd recipe! There are many excellent recipes in this book and I will be getting more than just the lemon curd and green tomato pie sections messy in the near future.  The pictures are amazing – esp. the one of curds made from store bought eggs vs. fresh farm eggs. Need to find an egg source here that isn’t too far away.

French Silk Pie

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French Silk Pie

I was young-ish in one of my first jobs. This real proper job, because I was not going to go to college (how things change), was at a regional office of a fast food restaurant. One of our things was birthday celebrations for those of us in the office. And celebrations equalled pies from Village Inn. While I’m not a huge chocolate fan, and it was not my pie to order (read: lemon), French Silk was a favorite of just about everyone. My friend Marie gave me her recipe at the time and I made and enjoyed it, and while I cannot find it now, this one is not to far off the mark, and also better than I remember. It’s not too sweet, light, but slightly rich too. Small pieces are in order.

I was surprised to find that the name French Silk Pie didn’t translate to everyone. By definition, French Silk is a mousse-like chocolate pie. Am I being, as I’m often accused, a food snob again? Probably. And yes, raw eggs are used – get over it.

French Silk Pie
1 9″ pie crust, baked and cooled *
4 ozs bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 1/2 sticks, unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
Additional whipping cream, for topping

Heat the chocolate in a microwave on medium power until melted. Whisk in vanilla and espresso powder, if using, and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form, 2-3 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for one minute. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated. Add 2 eggs and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the remaining egg and beat for another 3 minutes until the mixture is silly and smooth.

Fold the chilled whipped cream into chocolate filling until no visible white streaks remain. Pour filling into prepared pie crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Decorate with freshly whipped cream.

Source: The Kitchn

Notes: I used my graham cracker crust* from the Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake, my go to cheesecake recipe that never fails to impress. Here are the details:

5 ozs graham crackers (1 sleeve)
5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse crackers, sugar, and salt to mix together. Add melted butter, and pulse to incorporate. Press into pie plate and refrigerate until needed.