Saturday, August 23, 2008

Elizabeth's June Pie - Gianuia Pie

Sorry I'm so late on this post. I birthed a child so shut up.

My June pie was AWESOME!! It is called Gianduia Pie and it comes from a book I got from the library called Icebox Pies, by Lauren Chattman.

In the words of the author, "This pie tastes like Baci, the yummy Italian version of a chocolate kiss." I would agree, although at the event I took this to, no one had ever heard of Baci or Gianduia, but they had all heard of Nutella, so no problems there! Besides, it tastes amazing, meaning there is really no need for explanation anyway. Plus, it's easy as, well...pie. (Come on, we all know you've been waiting for someone to make that joke for 6 months of pie posts.)

No pictures of my pie, I hate to report, but you can preview it by checking out the cover on the book above. It's the featured pie!

I took this to a baby shower and everyone loved it. I ended up having heart palpatations as I was trying to leave (pregnancy-related junk I have to deal with each time I have a baby), and so my friends had to help me back inside so I could lie down. No one thought to rescue the pie. (How dare they?) and so the leftovers died in the car. Jeff didn't get to taste it, so I still want to make it for him. Nummers.

This pie is easy but still has a little drama to it, which is a great combination. Enjoy!


Gianduia Pie (Makes one 9-inch pie; 6-8 servings)

3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
One 13-ounce jar Nutella
1 prepared chocolate cookie and nut crust

1. Place the skinned hazelnuts in the workbowl of a food processor and chop them very fine.
2. Combine the cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
3. Place the Nutella in a medium-size mixing bowl and stir in one quarter of the whipped cream. Gently fold the lightened Nutella mixture back into the remaining whipped cream. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
Scrape the filling into the prepared pie shell and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until the filling is completely set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

(My changes: I could only find chopped hazelnuts at the store so I didn't skin them. The pie still tasted great. I also covered the top with whipped cream and sprinkled hazelnuts over that.)

Chocolate Cookie and Nut Crust

22 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (about 1 cup crumbs)
1/2 cup skinned hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place cookies and nuts in the workbowl of a food processor and process them until they are finely ground. Combine the crumb-and-nut mixture, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium-size mixing bowl and stir until the crumb-and-nut mixture is moistened.
3. Press the mixture evenly across the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate and all the way up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly with your fingertips so it is even and compacted.
4. Bake the crust until it is crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Let it cool completely before filling it. (The crust may be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ann's June Pie - Rhubarb Custard

I had been quite keen to make a rhubarb pie during the year - after all, it is the pie plant. Being from Arizona, I have no idea of when things are in season, except for citrus - it's one of the 5 C's! Someone clued me in that early summer is rhubarb season and said that she'd seen some at the local farmers' market, so I headed down the next Saturday on the lookout. I was so disappointed to come home empty-handed! (Well, not quite - I was talked into three pounds of organic ground beef for $10.) This was actually the same weekend I made the watermelon pies, and had planned to just make an extra pie for kicks for the sake of getting a rhubarb pie this season. It seemed so Midwestern, and I just had to have one. So I mentioned this to Miss Hass's fiance, Ike, who lives on a lovely, picturesque farm just outside of town. I took pictures with my cell phone of a recent trip out to the farm, but I can't get them out of my phone and onto a computer screen. Suffice it to say that there were rolling hills, a white clap-board house, and tractors. You know, south-central Indiana at its finest. Anyway, back on topic. So I told Ike that I'd wanted to make a rhubarb pie and he said that his neighbor currently had a ton and he could get me some. We discussed how silly it is that so many people don't like rhubarb (what is there not to like?!). This reminded me that my dad's favorite pie is strawberry-rhubarb, so I considered making one in his honor. However, I found a recipe that I couldn't pass up...guess where????

According to the freaking awesome Pie book, Sumner, WA is considered the rhubarb pie capital of the country by more than one source. So Ken Haedrich called up the mayor and asked for the best recipe, and this is the one she supplied. It's from the St. Andrew's Church cookbook, which I think is great because it's a passed down recipe. That's what pie is all about!

It looks like Christmas pie!

This pie was so easy to make. I had a dough already made in the freezer (although it looked kind of greyish when I pulled it out, but it baked up fine), and then I mixed the rhubarb with sugar, eggs, milk, and nutmeg, which gave it deeper flavor than I expected from a summer pie, but was mellow and soothing to the plucky rhubarb. As multiple friends noted, it seemed like a breakfast pie, which I suspect came from the nutmeg. Mr. Haedrich also pointed out in this notes that this isn't a thick custard pie, but rather a light custard that sinks beneath the fruit (is rhubarb a fruit, though? I don't know). Some of my tasters weren't crazy about this pie, but they just don't understand the pleasures of rhubarb with it's sour, vinegary flavor offset with sugar. It's heavenly to me!

La Dolcezza modeled the pie for me because I looked wretched that day...something about rain and exercise. I also made a travesty of serving it - somehow all the pieces fell apart, but they tasted so good!

Sumner, Washington, Rhubarb Custard Pie

from Pie: 300 Tried-And-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie by Ken Haedrich

1 single pie crust, rolled out and fitted into pie plate, chilled for 15 minutes before filling


3 cups diced fresh rhubarb stalks
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Big pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Toss well, then set aside for several minutes to juice. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a small bowl. Add to the fruit, stirring well to combine. Scrape the filling into the chilled pie shell, smoothing the top of the fruit with a spoon. Dot the filling with the butter.

Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake until the top is crusted over and the filling is set, 50 to 55 minutes, rotating the pie 180 degrees halfway through the baking, so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces forward.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool. Serve barely warm, at room temperature, or chilled, with a dollop of whipped cream.