Fine Fixin's

Strawberry Chiffon Pie

Westervin's Fine Fixin's: Strawberry Chiffon Pie Recipe

Summer is in full swing here in Arkansas! The sun is shining, and the humidity is through the roof. Stepping outside is like stepping into a sauna. A sauna with mosquitos… The plus side, however, is that summer fruits are plentiful! And while fruit is great on it’s own, sometimes the old sweet tooth takes over and you start craving a decadent fruit dessert. On a recent occasion, we turned to Cook’s Country for a recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie. It was amazing. Light and sweet, it’s perfect for summer, plus you only need to bake the crust (or buy one if you’re into shortcuts), which means you don’t have to heat up the whole house.

A Slice of Strawberry Chiffon Pie - Recipe from Westervin

INGREDIENTS

CRUST

1 (5.3-ounce) box shortbread cookies, broken into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FILLING

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons water

12 ounces strawberries, hulled (2 1/2 cups), plus 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, halved, and sliced thin (1 1/3 cups)

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

Light and Refreshing Strawberry Chiffon Pie - Recipe on the Westervin blog

Instructions

  1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Process cookies, sugar, and salt in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add almonds and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until combined, about 10 pulses. Transfer crumb mixture to pie plate. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, press crumbs evenly into bottom and up sides of plate. Bake until crust is golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Let crust cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes. (Crust can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.)
  1. FOR THE FILLING: Sprinkle gelatin over water in small bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Process hulled whole strawberries in food processor until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl and press on solids to extract 1 cup of juice; discard solids. Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and strawberry juice together in small saucepan.
  1. Bring juice mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer to large bowl, stir in lemon juice, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until glossy, stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of meringue into cooled strawberry mixture until smooth. Fold remaining meringue into strawberry mixture until only few white streaks remain.
  1. In now-empty mixer bowl, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Fold in sliced strawberries. Spoon filling into crust and spread into even layer using back of spoon. Refrigerate pie for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Serve.

from Cook’s Country, August/September 2014

Westervin Blog: Recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie

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Westervin Wishlist

26 Years

Pie from Bang Bang

It’s my birthday, y’all! Well, it will be tomorrow, and I’m gettin’ pumped. I have what I think is the perfect weekend-long birthday celebration ahead: Friday off from work (did someone say shopping); a trip with some frands to Six Flags on Saturday; and a joint-birthday potluck brunch in our backyard on Sunday (our pal LB is turning 24 that day). It will make for the most perfectest combination of relaxation, excitement, socializing, sunshine, and a little alcohol (Brian will be making fresh OJ for mimosas and tomato juice for bloody marys at the brunch)! Do I have it made or what?!

Because the anticipation is killing me, I thought I’d kill some time with a birthday wishlist, which includes some of these things I’m looking forward to and some things I’m still pining for.

The first is an entire pie from Bang Bang (see above). Preferably a chilled pie, like key lime or banana cream. Mmmmmm……. We’ll be picking up my pie order on Sunday for the brunch!

Six Flags roller coaster

Roller coasters via Six Flags. I need the thrill, baby!

edible arrangement

{ image from The Beautiful Thrifty Life }

An edible arrangement. Not kidding. I really want this. I’m literally so excited about one of these bad boys being delivered to my office tomorrow that I’ve probably spent 6 hours on their website looking at all the different fruit combinations and arrangements and asking Brian 50 times what time it’s gonna arrive!

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me

More reading material! These are just two of the titles on my list of books to read before classes start again in September.  Here’s hoping I can keep it up through the fall semester! (Who am I kidding?)

handmade bracelets

Bracelets! All the bracelets!

Clockwise: Ice Blue, River, Two-Toned, Amazonite, Maidenhair Fern, Coral & Cobalt

gray and white cat

A companion for Fitzgerald. This kitteh’s name is Prince, and he wants me to give him a forever home. I can tell by the look in his eyes.

cat temporary tattoos

Or at least temporary cat tattoos. But preferably both.

A Sunday Ritual

Apricot Pie

Apricot Pie from Debbie Carlos

Like any other place that is cold for most of the year, the midwest truly appreciates the summer months. We spend as much time outside as possible, and we eat really well. We’ve got corn, zucchinis, tomatoes, melons, and berries out the wazoo… but stone fruits! Stone fruits are the jewels of summer. For me, absolutely nothing beats biting into a ripe peach that’s so juicy you need to eat it with a bib or a bowl or, if you can’t wait to take any of those things out, you just eat it over the sink.

One stone fruit that took me awhile to take a liking to has been the apricot. Peaches have always been #1 in my book, so I usually opt to purchase those over their smaller, bright orange cousins. Recently, apricots and I have had a breakthrough, and I can’t seem to get enough of them. I love how they veer a little more tart than peaches do, and they are just so cute to look at in your hand. When not in season, I’m pretty much snacking on the dried version constantly.

Ever since seeing Ruth Reichl make her super simple apricot pie on this episode of Diary of a Foodie a few years ago, it has never left my mind. Another recent trip to the farmers market yielded a large bunch of apricots, and I went home to make her recipe. I love that there are minimal ingredients, not too much prep work (even less if you use a pre-made, frozen pie crust), and it makes the most delicious sweet/tart, crunchy-topped pie that really lets the fruit shine. Best decision so far of my apricot-loving career.

Ruth Reichl’s Apricot Pie

pie dough
2 lbs ripe apricots
1 stick butter
¾ Cup flour
¾ Cup sugar
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
egg white from 1 egg for brushing (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Pull apart the apricots into halves, discarding the pits. No need to peel. Set aside.

2. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and roll out pie dough with a lightly floured rolling pin to fit a 9” pie dish with about ½” overhang. Fold overhang under and crimp decoratively (I don’t do this sometimes, because I like how rustic/rough it looks. Also, I’m lazy). Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

3. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Stir in flour, sugar, and nutmeg and mix until it looks like a paste. Set aside for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

3. Take pie dough out of the freezer. If using egg wash, brush the dough with the egg white. This is just to ensure that the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy.

4. Spread the apricots on the crust and crumble the butter/flour paste over the fruit. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 50 minutes to an hour.

Let cool before serving. Obviously, fantastic with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Editor’s Note: this post is part of the series “A Sunday Ritual” by guest blogger Debbie Carlos.

Fine Fixin's

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

bourbon chocolate pecan pie

When we eventually made it back home after visiting Woodford Reserve, we didn’t just sit around drinking. We started baking! Here’s a great recipe we tried for a bourbon-y chocolate pecan pie from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients:

1 dough / crust
2 cups pecan halves, toasted
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

If you’re starting with pie dough, dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Unwrap the ball of chilled dough and put it directly on the work surface.

Roll out into a 12-inch round.

Transfer the dough to a pie dish and carefully work it into the pie dish, folding any overhang under and crimping the edge as you go.

Wrap and freeze the crust until firm, about 2 hours or up to 3 months.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Coarsely chop 3/4 cup of the pecans. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until combined. Add the corn syrup, sugars, butter, salt, vanilla, and bourbon. Whisk again until combined. Stir in the chopped pecans and set the filling aside.

Spread the chocolate chips evenly along the bottom of the frozen pie shell.

Slowly pour the filling on top of the chocolate chips.

Arrange the remaining 1 1/4 cups pecan halves on top of the filling.

Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes. Test the pie by sticking a knife in the center of the filling. If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done. If the knife comes out with clumps of filling sticking to it, bake for another 5 minutes and test again.

Cool the pie on a wire rack and serve.

Fine Fixin's, Swig & Swill

Fine Fixin’s: Apple Pie!

So the other day we shared a simple chess pie recipe with you, but now it’s time to get down to business. Thanksgiving is here, and we need a thanksgiving pie. While pumpkin and sweet potato are certainly excellent choices, my favorite pie for thanksgiving (if not of all-time), is the apple pie. I’ve gone through numerous apple pie recipes, but I’m really liking this one from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking right now. Here I’m going to concentrate on the filling and not the crust as it seems everyone has their favorite crust recipe. However, we will do a write-up with some pictures at some point. We have to make a Christmas pie after all!

Apple Pie!

  • 2 balls of pie dough for the top and bottom (chilled for at least 1 hr)
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 7 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Laird’s Bonded apple brandy
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Start with a lightly floured work surface. Unwrap one of your dough balls and plop it down on your work surface. Roll the thing out into a 12″ round. Transfer to a pie pan (I like to roll the thing around a rolling pin for easy transport, just make sure it is lightly floured). Carefully work the dough into your pie dish and fold the edges under themselves and crimp however you’d like (I’m not very good at this part, sigh). Wrap the pie pan up and freeze it for at least 2 hours (you can keep it in there for up to three months!).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the cornstarch and brown sugar in a bowl. Peel and core the apples and cut them into little 1/8″ wedges.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring occasionally until the butter begins to brown. Once the butter is browned evenly, dump in half of your apple wedges. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are softened.

Add the remaining apples and the cornstarch/sugar mixture. Mix until the sugar has melted, then add vanilla, brandy, and cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes or until the filling is thick and bubbly.

Dust a work surface with flour, Unwrap the second dough ball, and roll it out into a 12″ round.

Pour all of that yummy filling into your frozen pie crust, and top with the second dough round. Trim the dough, leaving about a 1/2″ overhang. Crimp the edges together, brush with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut a few steam vents into the top crust.

Bake the pie until the filling starts bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool the pie on a rack for 1 hour, and serve.

I have to say that I ran into a bit of a crust problem in my first apple pie attempt of the year, but this filling was resilient enough to make it the best apple pie ever!

Note that you will find yourself with a nearly full bottle of Laird’s bonded apple brandy after making this pie, and you may be wondering what on earth you can do with it. Here’s an option:

Pan American Clipper

Adapted from The Gentleman’s Companion, by Charles H. Baker, Jr., 1939

    • 1 1/2 ounces applejack (Baker recommends Calvados; I went with Laird’s bonded)
    • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
    • 1/4 ounce homemade grenadine (to taste, depending on sweetness)
    • 1 dash absinthe

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Proceed.

via Cocktail Chronicles

I’ve also experimented with subbing allspice dram for the grenadine, or using a combination. It helps punch up the holiday vibe. Definitely try it if you have some on hand. Also, please use good grenadine, preferably your own!

Fine Fixin's

Fine Fixin’s: Chocolate Chess Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie

With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, it certainly seems like pie time out there. Before Sarah and I hunkered down to make our Thanksgiving day apple pie, I wanted to try a classic chess pie. Usually chess pie is a very simple buttermilk pie. This recipe, however, is a bit different. I figured Sarah would appreciate chocolate more than buttermilk, so I found an equally simple recipe for Chocolate Chess Pie. If you are in need of a really simple pie composed of ingredients you may very well have, please get bakin’.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Adapted from Southern Pies by Nancie McDermott
Serves 8

For the crust
1 sleeve chocolate graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

For the filling
1 stick butter
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate (or 3 tablespoons cocoa powder)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°.

To make the crust, crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. (I like to put them in a large ziploc and smash them with a rolling pin. It’s very satisfying.) Add sugar and melted butter and mix until well combined. Push into a 9 inch pie pan to form a thin crust on the bottom and sides. (I also like to save a few bites for myself.) Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven, and chill until firm and crunchy, about an hour.

Lower oven temperature to 325°.

To make the filling, heat the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium until melted and smooth. Remove from the burner and add the sugar, mixing until well combined. Stir in eggs, vanilla, and salt. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for around 45 minutes, until top is puffed and the center is just set. To be honest, I like mine a little on the gooey side so I start checking around 40 minutes just to be safe (however, my mom likes her chess pie totally set and would prefer around 50 minutes. It’s your call here.). I also covered the edges of the crust with foil about half way through to keep it from burning.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 – 30 minutes.

via theKitchn

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A Westervin Wedding, Fine Fixin's

Fine Fixins: Cup Pies

cup pies

As you, dear reader, may have noticed, Sarah likes cute things. What you may also know, is that she isn’t one to hang around the kitchen. However, I have discovered that cooking or baking things that are fanciful or cute is a surefire way to get her excited (and not loathing) helping out in the Kitchen. You see her natural aversion to cooking is overcome by her natural inclination towards pretty little cute things.

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