Friday, October 8, 2010

Emeril's Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie





For a sure-fire winner this time of year, nothing beats pecan pie. It's a favorite down-South dessert that is always on the menu for gatherings at my house. Let your little helpers add the pecans and chocolate chips, then measure and mix the easy filling ingredients. The aroma of this pie baking will bring your kids (and guests) running.

Emeril's Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie

SERVINGS:10

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 store-bought or homemade pie crust in a deep-dish 9-inch plate
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for coating chocolate chips
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread pecans in crust. In a small bowl, toss chocolate chips in a little flour to coat, then scatter evenly over pecans. In a medium bowl, stir together eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, butter, and flour until well combined. Pour filling over pecans and chocolate chips.

Bake until filling is set and crust is browned, about 70 minutes. (If pie browns too quickly, loosely tent with foil.) Let cool on a wire rack at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Deep-Dish Pumpkin-Meringue Pie





Room-temperature egg whites will produce the most voluminous meringue. For just the right texture, whip the whites until they hold stiff, glossy peaks--but keep the mixture still spreadable enough that you can make decorative swirls in it as you top the pie.


Deep-Dish Pumpkin-Meringue Pie

SERVINGS:10

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1 small disk Pate Brisee
  • All-purpose flour, for surface

FOR THE FILLING:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

FOR THE MERINGUE:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature

Cook's Note:
Pie can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Top with meringue just before serving.


Instructions:


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the crust: Roll out pate brisee to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Trim edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang; fold edges under and crimp as desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line crust with parchment, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges just start to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment. Bake until crust is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the nutmeg in a large bowl.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until center is set but still slightly wobbly, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pie plate set on a wire rack. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).

Just before serving, make the meringue: Combine granulated sugar and egg whites in the heatproof bowl of a mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer, and whisk on medium speed for 3 minutes. Raise speed to high, and whisk until stiff glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes more. Dollop meringue onto pie, and spread using a swirling motion.

Hold a small handheld kitchen torch at a 90-degree angle 3 to 4 inches from surface of meringue. Move flame back and forth until meringue starts to brown.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Squares





The milk-chocolate topping of these cookies looks like the result of masterful piping, but it's actually a cinch to make using a mold. Beneath the chocolate hides a layer of peanut butter on top of brown-sugar shortbread, all of them adding up to a treat that's creamy and crumbly and rich throughout.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Squares

YIELD: Makes about 36 squares

Ingredients:
  • Vegetable oil, cooking spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter

Cook's Note:
You will need a basket-weave mat (I used an 8"-by-16" rubber texture mat in basket weave (PA 01-6), $12, from chineseclayart.com) to imprint the chocolate with the woven motif. To make the squares without a mat, spread the melted chocolate atop the peanut butter layer, and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.


Instructions:

Coat a 9 1/2-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides, and coat parchment with spray.

Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl. Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, add sugar, and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Press dough evenly into pan. Cover, and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake shortbread until golden brown and firm in center, 45 to 50 minutes. Let shortbread cool in pan on a wire rack.

Place a basket-weave mat, trimmed to fit pan, on a rimmed baking sheet, and spread melted chocolate evenly on mat. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Use parchment to unmold shortbread from pan, and trim edges to create a square. Spread peanut butter evenly on shortbread. Carefully center chocolate, mat side up, on top of peanut butter, and gently peel off mat. Cut shortbread into 1 1/2-inch squares. Shortbread will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cauliflower Gratin





Rich in vitamin C, cauliflower is a good source of folate and vitamin B6.

Cauliflower Gratin

SERVINGS:4

Ingredients:
  • 3 slices white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and cut into small florets
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (1 cup)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine bread and Parmesan. Pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 3 to 4 times; set aside.

In a large saucepan with a lid, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Whisk in milk.

Add cauliflower, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover, and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually stir in Gruyere.

Pour mixture into a 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Cover with aluminum foil; bake until cauliflower is easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Remove foil, and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Serve.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cream-Cheese Pound Cakes





For best results, bake these cakes at least a day before serving. Store, wrapped in plastic, for up to three days at room temperature, or freeze for up to three months,,

Cream-Cheese Pound Cakes

YIELD: Makes 2

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 bar (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. With mixer on low, add flour and salt in two additions, beating until just combined.

Generously coat two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2- by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans (1 1/2 quarts each) with cooking spray; immediately pour in batter (pan will seem full). Tap pans on work surface to eliminate any large air bubbles.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out almost clean, 60 to 75 minutes (if the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil).

Cool 10 minutes in the pan. Turn out the cakes; cool completely, with top sides up, on a wire rack.