7 Pie Crust Tips for the Holidays

From crisp apple to seasonal mincemeat, thousands of holiday cooks will scramble to create the perfect pie for the dinner table. Thanksgiving and Christmas are popular occasions where pies become an important part of the festivities. To enhance the look and taste of your pies, consider the following tips for the holidays.

1. For a Flaky Crust

Thanks to pockets of fat in the dough, a pie crust develops its flakiness. A pastry blender or two knives that cut into the fat will help achieve these results. The dough should still have some pea-size pieces. It is important to handle the dough as little as possible with your hands. Another way to create a flakier crust is to substitute ice-cold sour cream or heavy cream for the water in your recipe.

2. Buttery and Tender Crusts

If you are interested in making a tender pie crust, use lard and shortening. If you want a buttery flavor in your crust, use half lard or shortening, and replace the other half with butter.

3. Refrigeration

For the best results, try refrigerating all of your ingredients (even the flour) before making the dough for your pie crust.

4. Easy Rolling

To make rolling the pie crust dough easier, chill for 30 minutes.

5. Spice Up Your Pie Crusts

Adding nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon to pie crust dough will enhance the overall flavor.

6. Choice of Baking Dish

The baking dish you select for your pies will affect the end result of your pie crust. Pyrex glass pie plates are a good choice because it evenly conducts heat and lets the bottom crust of the pie bake all of the way through. When using a glass pie plate, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Also, do not oil or grease your pie plates. Aluminum pie pans do not cook evenly and if you must use – try using two.

7. Egg Washes for a Better Appearance

When you’re looking for a shiny crust, use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash to the tops of your pies. For every egg, only one teaspoon of liquid is required. A few combinations to consider include combining a whole egg and salt for a shiny crust; egg yolk and cream for a shiny, dark crust; and just plain ol’ egg white to achieve a pale, crisp crust.

Gluten Free Restaurant Desserts

If you have Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, or even gluten sensitivity then, eating desserts outside of your house can be a bit difficult. Well now, it is not as hard as it used to be because so many chain restaurants now have gluten free dessert options.

GLUTEN FREE CHAIN RESTAURANTS

Houlihan’s has three homemade, ice cream flavors. They are caramel macchiato, chick-o-stick, and raspberry. Plus, their crème brûlée has a rich vanilla bean custard that has caramelized sugar all over the top.

Outback‘s dessert is called Chocolate Thunder From Down Under. It is an extra generous pecan brownie that is crowned with rich vanilla ice cream and drizzled with their classic warm chocolate sauce. To finish it off, they add chocolate shavings and whipped cream. This is simply a chocolate lover’s dream.

Pizza Fusion has a fresh, delicious homemade brownie. That is not only gluten free, but is vegan as well.

Chili’s has a stupendously sweet ending with their chocolate milkshake. A great choice on a hot summer day.

Photo Courtesy of Simon James Kent

Bertucci’sdessert is called Chocolate Budino. It is a rich, creamy, and bittersweet chocolate mousse that is topped off with a generous helping of whipped cream.

Lastly, Carrabba’s dessert is called John Dole. It is Blue Bell vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and roasted cinnamon, rum pecans.

A NIGHT OUT

So,don’t be afraid to have an evening out! Enjoy the sweet treats of your choosing anytime!

Non Dairy Desserts: Part Two

“Non dairy desserts: Part Two” is a continuation of our previous blog post. This time, instead of homemade treats, we’ll introduce you to some prepackaged ones. You can find them in your local grocery stores, health food stores, or in Whole Foods Market. You may have to kiss dairy goodbye, but not the types of treats you are used to enjoying. Having discovered these alternatives to dairy provides people with tasty options for enjoying decadent, creamy foods without the ramifications associated with dairy allergies.

PRE-PACKAGED TREATS: TOFUTTI & TURTLE MOUNTAIN

The first option is the Tofutti company. They offer Tofutti Cutie, which are snack sized ice cream sandwiches bars with delicious chocolate wafer cookies. Their flavors are vanilla, key lime, wild berry, chocolate, totally vanilla, and cookies ‘n cream.

They also have Premium Tofutti, which are prepacked pints of non dairy, frozen desserts. The flavors are vanilla, chocolate supreme, wild berry supreme, vanilla almond bark, vanilla fudge, chocolate cookie crunch, and better pecan.

The second on the list is Turtle Mountain. They offer coconut and soy based options. Coconut includes ice cream, sorbet, creamers, yogurts, ice cream novelties, and more. Coconut actually has a nice sweetness all on its own, so it’s a perfect choice to create ice cream. Especially, since milk has a natural sweetness to it from the lactose. As for soy based you have ice cream, ice cream novelties, and yogurts. To be more specific, the brand names go as followed: Purely Decadent, So Delicious, It Soy Delicious, and Sweet Nothings.

TAKE A BITE

Don’t just look forward to these tasty treats. Stop by your local grocery store and pick up a pint or a bar today! Then, you can curl up on your couch and enjoy your favorite dessert all over again.

Pumpkin Roll Recipe

With the holiday season officially upon us, a truly delightful and unique dessert recipe is called for to welcome the arrival of the season. LIBBY’S® pumpkin roll is the perfect recipe to do just that. It is the perfect holiday dessert with it’s sweet pumpkin cake rolled around thick layers of rich cream cheese. When sliced, the whimsical pinwheel cake delights everyone served.

Don’t be intimidated by this dessert’s fanciful appearance. Roll cakes may look elaborate, but if you follow the instructions and roll up the hot cake as soon as it is removed from the oven, the dessert will construct perfectly and slice into beautiful pinwheels when served. Store in the refrigerator and serve at all of your holiday dinner parties this season!

 

Ingredients

 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 c granulated sugar
2/3 c LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 c powdered sugar, sifted
6 tbsp butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan or deep cookie sheet; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle towel with powdered sugar.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

3. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

4. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Chess Pie Recipe

Chess pie is a Southern delicacy. With simple ingredients like butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and eggs, it is also a simple delicacy. Because of its simple ingredients and delicious flavor, chess pie has become a staple in Southern kitchens. The dessert has humble beginnings in plantation kitchens where ingredients were scarce. Some food historians say that chess pie began as a cheese-less cheesecake. Whatever its beginnings were, this pie is a truly decadent treat that Southerners and Northerners alike can enjoy.

This recipe is a family heirloom of sorts. It has been passed down from great, great-grandmothers and is still as tasty as ever. It is buttery, sweet, and creamy and a perfect addition to any meal. This recipe also makes a great base for add ins like chocolate and lemon to make delicious variations to this classic dessert. Make sure to bake until the center is completely set before removing from the oven. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or serve at room temperature. Chess pie is sure to become your next simple, go-to dessert and this classic Southern recipe will be your favorite. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp all purpose flour
3 eggs
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vinegar
4 tbsp milk
1 prepared pie crust

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl.

2. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until set in the middle.

3. Cool or serve warm from the oven.

Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce Recipe

Bread pudding was once considered a poor man’s dessert. It is made from scraps of stale bread soaked in a custard of milk and eggs and baked until a thick pudding-like consistency is accomplished. The first bread puddings were soaked in water and spices to sweeten it. Today’s bread puddings have come a long way. The thick, rich custards of today’s variety replace the bland water of the original bread puddings. Raisins are often added along with other dried fruits to create an extra special dessert. With all of the improvements made to the original dessert, bread pudding is often considered a culinary treat that many upscale restaurants serve as a specialty dessert.

This bread pudding is so easy and delicious, you will surely add it to your arsenal of favorite dessert recipes. It makes quite a bit so it is a great dessert to serve at a large dinner party. Make sure the bread is a few days stale and thoroughly soaked before baking. If the bread is too fresh, it will be more like mush instead of cake-like. Pour the rum sauce on top while it is still hot so it can soak into the bread pudding and be even more decadent! Enjoy!

Ingredients

Bread Pudding:
4 c scalded milk
8 thick slices of stale French bread, diced into cubes
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Rum Sauce:
2 egg yolks
1/2 stick of butter
1/3 c dark rum
1 c powdered sugar

Directions

1. Soak bread in scalded milk for several minutes. Reserve milk in separate bowl and transfer bread to a greased pan.

2. Add the butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla to the reserved hot milk and mix until well combined.

3. Slowly pour mixture over bread and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

For the rum sauce:

1. In a saucepan, add butter, powdered sugar and rum.

2. Stir until melted and slowly add egg yolks.

3. Cook until thick and pour over cooked bread pudding.

Cinnamon Dessert Bread Recipe

Breads are not typically associated with desserts, however many “cakes” of the past were actually sweetened breads served as an after dinner sweet treat. The varieties are endless. Traditional dessert breads contain nuts, spices or fruits and are prepared for special occasions or during the holidays. Fruit cake is a good example of a traditional dessert bread. Dessert breads are a great alternative to a cake or pie because they can be topped with ice cream, homemade fruit spreads or served warm with fresh, creamy butter. They are also great served with coffee so you can eat your dessert for breakfast!

This cinnamon bread is incredibly cinnamon-y. It is a great addition to your holiday spread or would make a tasty coffee cake served at brunch. It is considered a quick bread recipe because there is no kneading of dough or proofing of yeast required. In other words, it is quick and easy but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. Serve it warm with apple butter and coffee. Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp butter

Directions

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.

2. Pour into a greased loaf pan.

3. In a separate bowl, combine 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and butter until it appears crumbly.

4. Put the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the bread batter and swirl in with a butter knife.

5. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour.

Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

In a sea of rich chocolate and sugary sweet dessert options, lemon meringue pie stands out as a tart alternative. With its velvety smooth filling and light as air meringue, this pie is unmatched in flavor and texture. It is a staple in summer when lemons are at their peak, but can be enjoyed any time of the year as a special treat.

This recipe is very simple and calls for basic ingredients you may already have in your pantry. Prepare ahead of time to allow to cool and set before serving. This special dessert is a great treat that may not be as sweet as its counterparts, but with a mile high meringue it is sure to please!

Ingredients
1 c white sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c water
2 lemons, juiced and zested
2 tbsp butter
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 pie crust, baked
4 egg whites
6 tbsp white sugar

Directions

For pie filling:

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt.

2. Stir in lemon juice, zest and water.

3. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter.

4. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick.

5. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.

For meringue:

1. In a large glass or metal bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy.

2. Add sugar slowly, and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.

3. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.