Tag Archives: Pie

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. The Pie is in Here (Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Coconut Crust).

This post is dedicated to Queequeg, Scully’s dog who was named after Queequeg. Do you remember when she had a dog? And then he got EATEN!? I do, I’ll always remember.

Guys, I know it’s been a really long time and you’re probably looking for an explanation for my absence. That’s only fair, and you deserve a candid answer. Honestly, I was abducted by aliens. The kind that live really, really far away. And we went on vacation, in New Zealand, in the future, and we had to get there by horse and cart ‘cause the ship ran out of juice. Then when we got there, there was a little trouble validating my visa and I was kept in the airport holding cell until we could contact the embassy, which is really difficult to do from the future. Everyone was pretty tied up I guess, so we called Liam Neeson, which was fruitful since in the future Liam Neeson is not busy at all. I’m sorry that I didn’t let you know sooner, but after a decent probing and a few unbelievable lamb dinners, I’m back. I’m back in a big way.

Here's a group photo of my extraterrestrial buds, drinking some chaammppss.

Here’s a group photo of my extraterrestrial buds, drinking some champs.

It appears that much has transpired since my brush with the extra-terrestrial. Some guy at the Atlantic is clowning on Morgan Spurlock (despite these McDonald’s egg whites having an actual ingredient list), also thinks I’m a rich snob because I eat broccoli. A lot of people on Facebook were really upset that Robin Thicke’s notably large penis wasn’t the feature story in this month’s Rolling Stone (even though I think my dad is probably the only one who actually read the issue).  Oh, and some shirtless photos of both Geraldo Riveira and Chaz Bono have finally surfaced on the internet. About time, America. Sorry I missed your birthday. Bilbo Baggins says hi.

Another holiday that happened during my absence was Father’s day. Obviously I was a little preoccupied resolving an X-File, but say that I wasn’t, I probably would have been eating lobster at my parents’ house, where we could have shared one claw cracker amongst four of us (disgusting), and I probably would have made some sort of accompanying dessert. Let’s all travel back to a time that never was and find out what that dessert could have been!

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie - Alex Marie Lombino

There are things that dads of a certain age share in common (I’m 26, so you do the math; I don’t want to blow up anyone’s spot).  One thing is World War II documentaries. They watch all of them. Maybe that’s a general man thing, but this particular demographic can’t get enough. Band of Brothers marathons also count. Another thing is tucking in shirts. They just love to really tuck ‘em in there good. Lastly, they like peanut butter. I want to believe that this has something to do with the food culture of the 50s and 60s, the inclination towards quick and processed foods, which really took a foothold in American culture during these two decades. Peanut butter is definitely a dad favorite. I can recall times during my childhood when my father would hole up in the kitchen, hovering over a carton of ice cream and a jar of peanut butter, alternating scoops of luscious treats, while watching 60 Minutes. This is probably why after every rigorous gym session, I can be found shoveling that natural type peanut butter and a little drizzled honey into my face crevice with little restraint. It would have been obvious to me, in the event of my attendance to some sort of Father’s day dinner, that peanut butter should play a significant role in this meal. Also my dad said he likes coconut too, so that got incorporated.

Thus I bring you this peanut butter mousse pie with coconut crust. I was actually really shocked at how well the gelatin set in this nut butter-laden bombe*. I was getting really down on myself as soon as I walked away to let it cool, thinking I’d return to find some shapeless peanut goo. But no! Stiff as Ian Mckellan backstage at the Package Tour.

If you have a Dad with whom you’re still on speaking terms, bring him this pie. He will readily lend you $20 for gas, bite his bottom lip while head-bobbing to Elvis Costello and shuffling his feet in a manner reminiscent of John Travolta’s sweaty heroin groove in Pulp Fiction, gliding lightly across the Home Depot linoleum kitchen flooring he laid down himself as he drifts into the late summer sunset.

Oh, and another thing. I mentioned to the man of the hour that it would be awesome to serve this pie with some ice cream, and do you know what he came back from the store with? Rum raisin. Rum raisin ice cream. That’s the shit that dads love.

*I snuck in a vocab word for all you guys taking notes.

  1. Bombe: The egg, cream, gelatin, and flavoring base of a mousse, before the whipped cream has been incorporated

 

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Coconut Crust

Coconut Crust

12 oz. Coconut flakes, unsweetened
4 tbsp. Butter, melted
¼ cup Flour
1/3 cup Brown sugar
¼ cup Light corn syrup
½ tsp Salt
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350°

Ya’ll, this is most easy. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process for about 20-30 seconds, until dough is consistent. Remove and shape into a ball then flatten to a thick disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for about 30 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and use a rolling pin to roll out about ½ inch thick. This is too thick, I know, but the dough is probably very loose, somewhat crumbly. Transfer said crumbly dough to a pie pan and press into the shape of the pan with your fingers. You can use a flat cup to press and even out the dough. It should be about a ¼ inch thick in the end. Trim the excess dough, then place in the oven for about 30 minutes. The crust should be fragrant and golden brown. If you feel that it is browning too quickly, you can always turn your oven down.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Peanut Butter Mousse

4 oz Water
4 tsp Gelatin

6 oz Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
4 oz Sugar
4 Eggs
7 oz Peanut Butter, creamy and unsweetened (I used Whole Foods brand)

4 oz Heavy cream

In a small bowl or cup, sprinkle gelatin over 4 oz of water and put aside to set.

Combine milk, vanilla, and half of sugar in a medium pot and bring to a boil on the stove, whisking occasionally so that the bottom doesn’t burn. In a medium bowl, combine remaining sugar and eggs and whisk together. Never let the sugar rest on the eggs without thoroughly combining them, or this will “burn” the eggs.

Once the milk boils, remove from the heat. Gradually drizzle milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Once you have added about ¾ of the milk, combine the egg mixture with the rest of the milk in the pot. Return to the stove on medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon (preferably the wooden spoon). The mixture is done cooking when you can run your finger across the spoon without the base running down into that empty space (about 10 minutes, but no more). Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in gelatin, and then peanut butter. Transfer to a new bowl or container to cool.

When you are ready to finish the mousse, whip your cream to very stiff peaks. With a hand beater or in a standing mixture, beat your stiffened peanut butter base until it is smooth and loosened. Add ¼ of the cream to the peanut butter base and stir in to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the cream until the color is consistent.

Pour and spread your mousse into the crust, and allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Pie - Alex Marie Lombino

 

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Chicken Liver Mousse Tart: A Dog Floor Heroes Production.

Yolo
I’m back, guys! Back on the internet, and back on the East Coast. Another delayed entry this time is due to the fact that I spent Easter weekend in Las Vegas for a wedding. Not a “Vegas” wedding, mind you, but an actual wedding with catering and other upscale amenities, like a room shared with two other lovely ladies on the dog floor of the Flamingo. I returned last Wednesday, and it has taken just about this much time to recover both physically and spiritually. I find myself asking such rhetorical questions as, “Will I ever have fun again?” Working out has been a struggle. The Stairmaster tried to kill me the other day, I just know it. It kept speeding up at predictable intervals just as I had programmed it to. You know, the devil’s work.

Now I’m home in my Boston apartment, enjoying a surprising amount of sunshine and warm breeze. Don’t worry though, because it will be raining for the next three days hereafter. I’m going to enjoy the rest of this day to the fullest, for who knows when next the sun shall grace this forsaken seaport with her golden mercy. I will recall fondly the clammy warmth of Paradise, NV, as I close my eyes and transport myself to a time when nothing but my ability to break a fifty-dollar bill really mattered.

I wasn’t positive that I would like Vegas, but she is an enchantress, a sparkling siren. Before you know it, you’ve crashed your ship upon her rocky shores and you are purchasing $22 cocktails poolside with little thought to fiscal consequence. The only thing about Vegas I can’t get behind is this vague notion that a family vacation is possible is Sin City. DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN HERE. Exposing your brood to so much second-hand smoke should be punishable by law. We witnessed one little girl crying in the middle of the Strip being consoled by a bicycle cop, since her shitty parents must have been winning big at the craps table while their child wandered off in search of food and shelter.

Chicken Liver Tart

I’ve resisted cooking quite a bit post-vacation. I finally suited-up yesterday to create this homage to my new favorite amusement park, Las Vegas: Chicken Liver Mousse Tart with Red Grape and Onion Chutney and Hazelnuts. It’s like a charcuterie plate in a tart! And in congruence with its inspiration, there isn’t one healthy or balanced thing about it. In fact, it’s unreasonably decadent. Serve it with naked salad and Garlique if you want to live. I also just realized that this makes for two tart recipes in a row, but ask me if I care!

You could even think of this as three recipes in one post, so actually it appears I’ve out-done myself. I’ll see you all again in June!

Another photo disclaimer: I just gave up. I don’t know what I was thinking. IT’S DELCIOUS, I SWEAR.

Crust

16 oz Flour
1 ½ oz Sugar
½ Salt
8 oz Butter, very cold and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Egg
1 Egg yolk
2 oz Water, very cold

In the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, combine flour, sugar, and salt and mix for a minute. Add cold, hard butter and mix on medium speed until butter is cut into the flour and pieces are about the size of a grape. Add egg and egg yolk, scrape down bowl, and mix until just incorporated. Add cold water, mix for 20 seconds, then stop! Do not overwork. You still want to see chunks of butter, about the size of large peas. Dough will still be crumbly. Turn out onto counter top, and need very gently until the dough just comes together, only 3-4 turns. Shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour or more.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Butter a tart ring or pan. If pan is bottomless, place on top of a sheet pan with parchment. After dough has chilled, turn out onto a very lightly floured surface and roll out about 1/8 inch thick, nice and thin. Transfer to tart pan, gently press into sides, and trim the edges. Chill for at least another half-hour. Bake chilled dough for 30-40 minutes. Turn oven down if the edges are browning significantly quicker than the rest of the dough. Remove crust and allow to cool to room temperature.

Red Grape and Onion Chutney

1 Large red onion
1 tbsp Olive oil
2 cups Red grapes, halved
1 ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
½ cup Red wine
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp Sugar
¼ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Crushed red pepper

In a medium sauce pan, sautee onions in olive oil until tender. Add grapes and mustard and continue to sautee for another minute. Add the remaining ingredients, and cook on medium high, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have cooked down to a preserve-like consistency. I prefer my chutney to maintain a little bite, but you may cook it to the texture of your preference.

Chicken Liver Pate

1 small Yellow onion, diced
2 sticks + 2 tbsps unsalted butter
1 tsp Fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp Fresh sage, chopped
1 lb Chicken Livers, trimmed and cleaned
5 oz Dry sherry
1 ½ tbsp Sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Black pepper

Optional

1 cup Heavy cream, whipped

If you don’t know how to trim chicken livers, I suggest you Google it. Also, this is not for the squeamish. If you’ve never handled raw livers, you’re in for a treat. This even makes me shudder a bit, and I’ve stabbed a lobster in the face before, split his writing body in half, and sautéed his brainless carcass in a pan as he continued to twitch for another 5 minutes.

In a large sautee pan, sweat onions with 2 tbsps butter and herbs. Add trimmed livers and cook on medium heat for one minute. Add sherry, sugar, lemon, salt, and pepper and cook on medium for another 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Puree mixture in a food processor, blender, or with immersion blender until very smooth, then gradually add 2 sticks of room temperature butter in large chunks until fully blended. Cool mixture to room temperature.

To Assemble

Chicken Liver Pate Tart

Spoon a layer of chutney onto the bottom of tart. Spoon or pipe pate into tart shell to fill. Top with toasted and chopped hazelnuts. Refrigerate tart for at least 4 hours, until set. Pate only gets more delicious with time, so I would suggest doing this overnight.

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A Culinary Song of Patriotism: Chicken, Cheddar and Apple Pie.

Hey guys, and welcome to this Sunday’s installation of Cries of Despair from the Lungs of a Fallen Eagle. That Eagle? Me. Those cries? Some wordiness eventually resulting in an absurdly decadent dinner-pie recipe.

Also, did you notice how all of those words up there were capitalized like they were part of the title of some piece of literature? I just wanted to see how that felt.

It’s been a difficult few weeks for me emotionally, and I guess generally, as I’ve been pursuing the grim prospect of employment during this trying period of our country’s history. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to market myself beyond my ability to carry a tray while looking fantastic in dim lighting, covered in beer. Beyond that, I am a proverbial infant. Meaning, yes, I cry myself to sleep every single night. All night. Just heavy, snotty sobs, yearning for my mother’s bosom.

Unfortunately for me and my delicate feelings, I live with a highly motivated and professional man who continuously reminds me, through a harmonious combination of inspirational speech and daily, unconscious action, that I should quit whining and just keep doing the damn thing until it gets done and it’s like, holy shit, that’s just America for you, isn’t it? That’s just some straight up inspirational American shit. My Grandpa spent his youth tearing the heads off of live chickens and chasing their headless bodies around a chicken-shit covered barn and I’m like, man, cover letters are hard and redundant. And you know what? They are hard and redundant. They are the worst. But they aren’t anything like twisting the tiny heads off of live chickens and playing poultry tag in the dusty springtime.

What I am trying to say is America. It is vast, and it is durable, and it is comprised of a bizarre dichotomy of people who boast of upholding its founding values and those who actually define it. Somewhere in the middle of those two things, people blog. This country, let’s be honest (without actually getting into it), is a weird ass country. But I believe in it. To America, I sing songs of rich justice. I sing songs that sound a lot like America the Beautiful, but I’m not going to claim to know all the lyrics to America the Beautiful. And to America I do dedicate this magical recipe: Chicken, Cheddar, and Apple Pie.

I think savory pies are so fantastic. It means you eat goddamn pie for dinner. There is baking and also there is salt. I think that is what our forefathers were getting at when they traded small pox for corn. They wanted their children to grow up in a world where dairy meets meat meets fruit meets dessert meets butter meets GOD.

I was nervous about how this whole thing might turn out. Flavor-wise, it’s right up my ally. But pies are tricky. Sometimes ingredients of pristine integrity turn to Oliver Twist-y soup-matter in pies, and you can’t see a damn thing happening until you cut that sucker open and all is lost (e.g. childbirth). It’s a lot to trust to blind fate. However, in my case, I’d like to just think my understanding of baking is so comprehensive that failure wasn’t even a variable. Now, despite that being the least true, we sat down to dinner and my boyfriend responded with, “It’s actually pretty good.” That is the My Boyfriend equivalent of seven Michelin stars, so make this pie now. If there’s anything I regret, it’s not putting a little more effort into making it beautiful, but it was, like, 9 p.m. and we were pretty hungry. You, however, should plan ahead, redeem my sloth.

Chicken head

Chicken, Cheddar, and Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 425°F

Crust

18 oz Flour
2 oz Sugar
½ oz Salt
1 tsp Baking powder
8 oz (2 sticks) Unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 egg
1 egg yolk
½ cup Cold water

Optional:

1 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Dried dill

In the bowl of a mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and seasoning (if you choose to use it). Mix on low with a dough hook until combined. Add butter and mix on medium-low until butter is cut into flour and chunks are the size of very small grapes. Add egg and egg yolk. Scrape down bowl and bit, then gradually add cold water. You may not need to add all of the water. Add water until the dough begins to form a solid ball, but you do not want dough to be wet or sticky. There should be some dry flour remaining in the bottom of the bowl. After dough starts to collect, turn dough onto a floured surface and kneed a few times until a solid ball is formed. Create a thick, round disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken

1 Full bone-in chicken breast
or 2 Boneless, skinless breasts
1/2 Large yellow onion
Herbs of your choosing

You can prepare the chicken in nearly any way you’d like. If I had had time, and we weren’t starving, I might have done it in the slow cooker and done a sort of pulled-chicken. You could also simply oven-roast the breasts for 20-30 minutes, covered, with a little oil and seasoning. I did the following:

Slice half an onion and place in a shallow pot with chicken. Fill pot with water (or stock) to cover chicken. Add herbs if so desired. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into 1-cm sized chunks, or shred it, or whatever.

Apples

4 Grannysmith apples, peeled and cored

First, dice the other half of the onion. Sautee in a small amount of oil or butter until translucent, and set aside. In the same pan, also sautee apples, diced, in a small amount of oil or butter until tender and sweet, but not soft. Set aside with onions.

Cheddar Filling

18 oz Milk
1 tbsp Sugar
1 oz Corn starch
1 Egg
1 Egg yolk
7 oz Light cream
12 oz Cheddar, grated
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
2 tsp Nutmeg
18-20 leaves Fresh sage, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium sauce pan, bring milk and sugar to a boil. In a medium bowl, combine corn starch, egg, egg yolk, and light cream and whisk until combined. When milk has boiled, remove from heat and temper starch mixture by slowly pouring in milk while simultaneously whisking. Return mixture to stove, and bring back to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and add cheddar, mixing until melted. Add remaining seasonings.

To Assemble:

Rolled dough

Divide dough in half. Roll out half of crust to an 1/8 inch thickness. Line your chosen pie dish wish dough, and press into bottom and sides very gently. “Dock” the bottom of the dough by piercing with the prongs of a fork.  Return to the refrigerator or freezer for an additional 15 minutes before filling.

Combine apples, onions, and chicken with cheddar filling. Remove second half of dough from fridge and roll out for the top of the pie. Remove pie crust from fridge and fill with chicken, apples, and cheddar. Cover with remaining dough, and press down on edges to seal. Cut along edges to remove excess dough. Use fingers or fork to press down and seal the layers of dough. Brush the dough with an egg wash (either whole egg or egg mixed with water) and cut slits in the top of dough. Make them nicer than mine.

Place pie in the middle of oven. Close door, and lower oven temperature to 375°F. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until crust is a deep, golden brown, turning the pie in the oven halfway through baking. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Hint: Spinach and fennel salad is a good friend to this pie.

A delicious pie

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