Sour Cream Pumpkin-Banana Pie

P1020049 small

I thought Dorie Greenspan’s decision to add banana to the pumpkin pie was inspired.  The flavors just blend together so well, and the banana adds an element of surprise for those expecting a traditional pumpkin pie.

 

Sour Cream Pumpkin-Banana Pie
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 2 9-inch pies

For the crust:

  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 2 cups (canned) unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas
  • Lightly sweetened lightly whipped cream, for topping

 

To make the crust:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  3. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, divide it in half and gather each half into a ball.
  4. On a well-floured surface, flatten the first ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  5. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.
  7. Repeat with second ball.

To make the filling:

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 450°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and put the pie plates on it.

  2. Slice bananas into 1/4-inch slices on the bias, and line the bottoms of the crusts.  (If you forget this step, don’t worry – you can put the banana slices on top of the pies after they bake and cool, then cover with whipped cream.)
  3. Put all of the filling ingredients in a food processor and process for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together vigorously in a mixing bowl.

     

  4. Rap the work bowl or mixing bowl against the counter to burst any surface bubbles, and pour the filling into the crusts.

  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and continue to bake for 35-45 minutes longer, or until a knife inserted close to the center comes out clean.  (If you don’t want to create a slash in your masterpiece, tap the pan gently—if the custard doesn’t jiggle, or only jiggles a teensy bit in the very center, it’s done.)

     

  6. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature, then top with whipped cream.

 

Advertisements

Caramel Pumpkin Pie

P1020041 small

Caramel pumpkin pie is an interesting twist on the classic pumpkin pie.  The caramel really stands out in the filling, complementing the other flavors perfectly.

 

Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9″  pie

For the crust:

  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum, cognac, or apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Tiny pinch of ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For topping:

  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream

 

To make the crust:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  3. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, gather it into a ball.
  4. On a well-floured surface, flatten the ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  5. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

To make the filling:

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Place the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the sugar evenly over the bottom of a large nonstick skillet.
  3. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and, staying close by, cook until the sugar melts and starts to color.  Once you see a little color, gently swirl the skillet so that the sugar colors evenly.
  4. Cook the sugar, without stirring, until it turns deep amber – almost mahogany.  The sugar will bubble up and foam and soon it will start to smoke.  It is very dramatic, and it might make you think you’ve gone too far, but you want a dark (though not burned black) color; the darker the sugar, the fuller the flavor.  When the bubbles have gone from foamy to big and fat, you will probably have reached the right color.  To check the color, drop a bit of the caramelized sugar on a white plate.
  5. Lower the heat to medium, stand back, and pour the cream into the skillet.  The sugar will bubble and hiss and, if the cream was cold, it may even clump.  Just continue to cook, stirring and it will even out.
  6. Add the rum/cognac/cider and butter, and cook just until the caramel is smooth.
  7. Pour the caramel into a heatproof pitcher or bowl and cool it for about 15 minutes.
  8. Working with a whisk in a large bowl, beat the pumpkin to break it up and smooth it.
  9. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar to the pumpkin and beat to blend.
  10. Whisk in the spices, salt, vanilla, and eggs, beating until the mixture is smooth.
  11. Whisk in the caramel.
  12. Rap the bowl against the counter a few times to de-bubble the filling, then pour the filling into the crust.
  13. Bake 45-50 minutes (actually, I needed to go to 60 minutes), or until the filling is puffed and set.  A thin knife inserted into the center of the pie will come out clean.  It will also leave a gash in the filling, but you’ll be covering it with whipped cream.
  14. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature, or cool and refrigerate.
  15. When you are ready to serve, spread the lightly whipped cream over the top of the pie.  If you’d like a dressier look, whip the cream until it is firm, put it into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe rosettes over the surface of the pie.  Alternatively, you can pipe the cream in a lattice pattern.

Persimmon-Apple Pie

P1010956 small

Fall is the time for persimmons, so what could be more seasonal than a persimmon-apple pie?  For this recipe, make sure to get fuyu persimmons – they are the smaller, squatter type that you can eat when crunchy.  (For hachiya persimmons, you have to wait until they’re extremely soft otherwise they taste terrible.)

 

Persimmon-Apple Pie
Adapted from Betty Crocker

Yield: One 9-inch pie

Crust:

  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 cups thinly sliced, pared fuyu persimmons
  • 1 cup thinly sliced, pared tart apples (about 1 medium apple – I like using Granny Smith or Fuji)

 

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  3. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  4. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, divide it in half.  Gather each half into a ball.
  5. On a well-floured surface, flatten the first ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  6. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  7. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

 

To make the filling and assemble the pie:

  1. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg (if using), cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Stir in persimmon and apple slices, tossing with fork to coat them with the sugar mixture.
  3. Turn filling into the pastry-lined pie plate.
  4. Roll out the other ball of pastry.  Fold into quarters and unfold again over the filling, cutting slits so steam can escape. (Alternatively, if you’re in a fancy mood, you can cut the pastry into thin strips and make a lattice pattern.)
  5. Trim overhanging edges of the top crust 1 inch from the rim of plate.
  6. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal it.  For a pretty pattern, press the tines of a fork into the edge of the pastry all around the rim.
  7. Put pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any juice overflow.
  8. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust.

Sweet Potato Pie

P1010953 small

Fall seems like the perfect time for sweet potato pie.  Get into the spirit of the season with this recipe!

Original recipe

 

Sweet Potato Pie
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: 9-inch pie

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 1 lb sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar OR 1/2 cup white sugar + dollop molasses
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves OR allspice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, to thicken
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

To make the crust:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  3. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, gather it into a ball.
  4. On a well-floured surface, flatten the ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  5. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

To make filling:

  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40-50 minutes, or until you can easily poke a skewer through it. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin. For the best texture, use the sweet potato immediately; do not refrigerate.
  2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
  3. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice, flour, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
  4. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust, making sure to stop just below the edge of the crust, since the filling will puff up as it bakes. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil to catch any drippings.
  5. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary, add to the baking time 5 minutes at a time. The top will be golden-brown when it is done. The pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Pecan Pie

P1010894 small

For those who don’t happen to have corn syrup on hand, here is a pecan pie recipe that uses sugars alone to achieve pecan-pie-ness.  The top puffs up like a souffle while baking and forms a crisp, tasty crust.

Original recipe

 

Pecan Pie
From All Recipes

Yield: 9-inch pie

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

 

To make the crust:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  3. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, gather it into a ball.
  4. On a well-floured surface, flatten the ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  5. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

To make filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar, and flour; mix well.
  4. Lastly, add the milk, vanilla, and nuts.
  5. Pour into pie crust.
  6. Bake 10 minutes at 400ºF, then reduce temperature to 300ºF and bake for about 50-60 minutes. The pie top will puff up like a souffle and will be browned and cracked when done. A toothpick inserted into the pie might still come out sticky, but the filling will set as it cools.

Marbled Chocolate-Banana Bread

P1010689 small

I think marbled chocolate-banana bread is great for taking to dinner parties and such, because it’s tasty, pretty, and straightforward to make.

Original recipe

 

Marbled Chocolate-Banana Bread
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 9″ x 5″ loaf

  • 3 large very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar OR 3/4 cup white sugar + dollop molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (preferably dark, but any kind is fine)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

 

  1. Center rack in oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick baking spray.
  2. Melt butter in the bottom of a large bowl in the microwave.
  3. Mash the bananas right into it until mostly smooth.
  4. Whisk in brown sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add 1 cup of the flour, stirring just until it disappears.
  6. Pour half of batter into a second bowl. (You can eyeball it, it’s fine.)  Into one bowl, stir the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and ground cinnamon. Into the other bowl, stir in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of the two batters randomly into the loaf pan.
  8. Plunge a table knife deep into the batter and zigzag from one end of the pan to the other, making only 6-8 zigzags.  Even though it’s fun, you don’t want to mix the two batters too much.
  9. Bake 55-65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. (A melted chocolate chip smear is expected, however.)
  10. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature.  The banana bread will keep for up to 4 days, wrapped in foil, at room temperature.

     

Chocolate Chunkers

P1000416 small

Chocolate chunkers are cookies that are basically chocolate chips, nuts, and raisins held together by a brownie.  All the different flavors and textures make the cookies fun to bite into and chew, and I find that the raisins cut the sweetness of the white chocolate nicely.

 

Chocolate Chunkers
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 24 cookies

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped OR 1/2 cup semisweet + 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips or chunks
  • 6 ounces premium-quality milk or white chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped nuts, preferably salted peanuts or toasted pecans
  • 1 cup moist, plump raisins

 

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder.

  3. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the butter, bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate and heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted. The chocolate and butter should be smooth and shiny but not so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the heat and set it on the counter to cool.

  4. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until they are pale and foamy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then scrape down the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the melted butter and chocolate, mixing only until incorporated. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl, then, on low speed, add the dry ingredients. Mix just until the dry ingredients disappear into the dough, which will be thick, smooth and shiny. Scrape down the bowl and, using the rubber spatula, mix in the semisweet and milk (or white) chocolate chunks, nuts and raisins. You’ll have more crunchies than dough at this point.  (Dough can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

  5. Drop the dough by generously heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between the mounds of dough.

  6. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will look a little dry but the interiors should still be soft. Remove the baking sheet and carefully, using a broad metal spatula, lift the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.

  7. Repeat with the remaining dough, baking only one sheet of cookies at a time and making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches.

  8. If, when the cookies are cooled, the chocolate is still gooey and you’d like it to be a bit firmer, just pop the cookies into the fridge for about 10 minutes.