Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie

Did you spring break?  Break for spring.  I am still waiting on spring…but that is another story…I won’t talk about the snow that greeted me this morning that had me silently weeping and cursing mother nature and wishing I lived in where snow was not in the vernacular after the calendar moved beyond winter.  (side note…that snow was one week ago.  We had another 7 inches on this past Saturday.)  I am done.  That is my rant. It snowed.  boo hoo.  It’s spring.  Kinda.

I am instituting a break for spring next year.  Too early to make 2015 resolutions?  It is about being prepared, people.

I am going to drive south or south west until I reach a consistent day time temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  I have no real destination in mind.  No real plan mapped in my head.  Only warm weather, fresh air, flip flops, refreshing cocktails, good company.  That is all that is needed.  No cruises with added expeditions.  No all inclusive clubs that require a 20 hour flight and drinking water restrictions.  None of that.  Simple and quiet and warm.  In 2015, in March…for one week…that is where you will find me.  Fingers crossed.

Until then…I have pie!  No substitute for spring break vacation…but, it’s a decent consolation prize for like 34th place.
Lemon buttermilk chess pie is all about bringing the south to you.   And with hope in my heart, bringing warm weather as well.  I am sort of caught up on this warm weather bit…I apologize.

And we are rollin…

Pie Crust : Flour, salt, sugar.  Butter.  Buttermilk.  Kaboom.

Cold butter into flour.  Stop when butter is pea sized.  Work fast.  If butter gets to warm and begins to soften, place in freezer for 15 minutes until chilled again.  Continue on…

Buttermilk in.  Stir until combined.  Turn out onto floured surface…knead a few times, gently, until a soft shaggy dough ball forms.  Don’t overwork.  You might need a bit more buttermilk.  It depends.

Pie crust needs to chill out in the fridge…just for a bit.  Not something you want to skip.  That butter needs to get cold again and the gluten needs to some R and R.

My crust never seems to keep it’s nice crimped edges…but, I have it at some point during the process.  That is good enough for me.

Say Hello! to my pie beans.  Blind baking…not as scary as it sounds.

Gather.  Eggs, citrus, sugar, flour, corn meal, butter, buttermilk.  Basic winter pantry stock items.

I like using zest … it is about using the whole fruit.

We are squeezing every last bit out of these lemons….

 And that orange.  Just the juice though.

Rubbing zest into sugar is stress relieving … smashing zest into granules of sugar and then the heavy aroma of citrus making its way to your nose… talk about sugar scrub meets aroma therapy meets sweet lemon flavored sugar.  Hello, Heaven!

Cornmeal assists flour today in the thickening department…it also brings a bit of texture to the table too.

 Eggs.  5.

But first, melted butter.  Cooled.  And then those lovely eggs are whisked in.  Whisk with all your  might until it’s all smooth and silky.   We are pie baking and bicep building…

Lemon and orange juice.

Piled dirty dishes … small bowls piled … makes my innards feel good.

Whisked bubbles.

It’s a pour and bake situation.

Share it.  Totally share it. We are in the business of making people happy.  Pie = fast route to happiness.

Buttermilk Lemon Chess Pie
 
Ingredients
Pie Crust
  • ½ Cup of Butter, cold (very)
  • 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ⅓ Cup Buttermilk - very cold
Filling
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Zest (1 lemon)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 + ½ Tablespoon Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 5 Tablespoon Butter, melted and cooled
  • ⅔ Cup Buttermilk
  • 7 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
Prepare Pie Crust
  1. Cut butter into small chunks or shred using a cheese grater. Place butter in freezer for about 10 minutes. While butter is chilling, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss butter in flour mixture and begin to break down the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers (this will be faster if you grate the butter). Work until butter is pea-sized. Return mixture to freezer for an additional 10 minutes - keeping the butter cold is key.
  2. Remove from freezer and form a well into the center of the mixture and pour in ice cold buttermilk all at once. With your hand or a fork, stir the flour into buttermilk well. A dough ball will begin to form, but the dough will be rather shaggy - if it remains rather dry, add an additional tablespoon of buttermilk. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge for an hour to chill out. This will give time for the butter to get cold again and the flour to get moist.
  3. After one hour, remove dough from fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll dough out into a 12 inch wide circle. Transfer pie dough to a 9 inch pie dish and without stretching dough, tuck the pie dough into the dish. There will be excess dough hanging over edges. If needed, trim off anything beyond ½ inch or so. Crimp edges with thumb and pointer fingers. Place pie in freezer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F
  5. Remove from freezer and with a large piece of tinfoil (about 2 pie lengths) - line pie crust with tinfoil, tucking it along the bottom and edges. Leave a few inches of foil hanging over the edges for easy removal later. Fill tinfoil lined pie crust wtih dried beans.
  6. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and carefully remove tinfoil and dried beans. Set aside and reuse for future pies. Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork 8 to 10 times. Return to oven and continue to bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until slightly golden brown. If the crust begins to puff up along the edges or bottom, poke tiny holes into those areas with a sharp paring knife. Remove from oven and let cool competely on a wire rack. Prepare filling.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon zest and both sugars. Rub zest into sugar using your fingers. Add cornmeal, flour, and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Stir in melted butter. Add eggs, mixing well between each addition. When all the eggs are added, stir filling briskly until thickened and light in color.
  4. Stir in buttermilk, lemon juice, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
  5. Strain mixture into partially pre baked pie crust and place in preheated oven. Bake until edges are puffed up and set and the center jiggles just a tad when it is nudged. The top will be golden brown. About 40 to 50 minutes. Don't over bake.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack for 3-4 hours before slicing and serving. Stores in refrigerator up to 2 to 3 days.

Oatmeal Raisin Pie

A snow day on a Saturday…which lets make this clear, all of my snow days are on Saturdays and Sundays.  Oh! how I was not aware of my love of snow days when I picked a profession that A) doesn’t recognize snow as a reason to not work and B)  a profession that in case of a snow emergency…I am one of the few lucky folks allowed on the roads to go to work…what was I thinking???  And I know, unless you are a teacher … you are in this snow boat with me.

I knew I liked snow days, but I was unaware of my deep love and adoration of them until they were abruptly removed from my life.  Just the mere possibility of one would be enough to appease me at this point.   I imagine a real mid-week snow day as an adult doesn’t vary far beyond that of when I was a teenager…they still require/demand pajamas until well past noon and perhaps even early evening and only after you watch NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams will you even consider a shower and fresh pajama bottoms (Disclaimer: I loved Brian Williams even when I was 15).  A day where the TV possibilities are endless and guilt free…Bravo for breakfast, Netflix for lunch, and Dirty Dancing for mid-afternoon snack.  And if something needs to be scheduled than let it be a nap…  Oh naps…don’t even get me started on the lack of naps in my life.

If I remember right, meals have no real structure on snow days…it is all about grazing and creating from tidbits gathered from within your overly stocked kitchen, because well…if you are me and have a food blog, then you generally can whip up a 5 course meal (or hot fudge and caramel for the vanilla ice cream in your freezer) without needing a trip to the grocery.   I was cracking eggs and whisking together flour and baking soda, making pancakes and chocolate chip cookies for my brothers and I on the numerous snow days we spent growing up together ….with only one bit of advise from my parents – don’t burn down the house.  That rule still stands.

I was made for enjoying snow days…Snow days are wasted on people like my brothers, both amazeball teachers, but who have no desire/need/want to whip something up besides pizza rolls as they play Call of Duty with 12 year olds on their numerous snow days each year.  I might be a bit bitter.  Because I am at work and they are still in their pajamas – however, when I talk to them later they will proclaim that they were productive about the house.  HA!  They may be able to fool my mother and perhaps their wives, but not me.  I know my brothers…they played Call of Duty all. day. long.  And tried this…which I can prove by a slew of text messages all day long about the breakneck speed at which they were running miles (they got sub 7 minute miles under the belts)…trying to beat eachother by mere seconds.  I am awaiting pictures of treadmill face burns.

Any who…a snow day, be it a Wednesday or a Saturday,  is just so darn delightful.  An excuse not to leave the house, which if you are a hermit like myself, this is a godsend…several inches of snow gives you ample reason to stay cooped up inside all day – the roads are treacherous, the air too cold for my sensitive lungs, my feet will become frozen and I will undoubtedly lose a toe…all feasible and believable reasons to remain at home…I might need to explain some day my absolute love of being at home but also my wanderlust that creeps up and unsettles my very being…it is a constant struggle and something for another time.

But for now just know…cold and snowy = Mallory is not leaving her house unless it is Monday through Friday in which I will venture out for 8 hours, just to return home and hibernate until the following morning.  I am a ball of fun in the winter.

This past Saturday, with no true plans because of a forecast full of snow, temperatures well below freezing, and whipping winds…I rose early from bed, started the coffee, put on some tunes, and put the butter in the freezer.

I had pie on the brain from the get go.

All butter crust…which calls for lots of butter.  This pie only needs one crust, but this recipe will make you two…because there are worst things than having an extra disk of pie dough in your fridge.  Keep your butter cold.   I like to stick mine in the freezer for about 15 minutes before I start cutting into the flour.  Gives me time to drink another cup of coffee.

Flour, salt, and a touch of sugar are whisked together (or pulsed a few times in a food processor) depending on your method for pie crust creation.

 

Disk of dough. Dough disks.  When this happens … talk about feeling like kitchen Queen.  Queen of the kitchen.  Then you dribble coffee down the front of your pajamas and well, back to being peasant of the kitchen.  Kitchen Peasant….with coffee on your socks.

 

An hour later…

 

5 minutes later…

 

27 minutes later and a few pounds of dried pinto beans later….

 

Wrangle together raisins, flour, cinnamon, salt,  melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, corn syrup,  and quick oats.  Staple items, people…nothing complicated needed.

Whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter.

Next goes in the raisins, oats, flour, cinnamon, and a touch of salt….

And then there were just dirty dishes…

 45.8 minutes later…

This is a top 5 pie in my world and with 8 slices – think of the ice cream variations that could be had.  Vanilla, butter pecan, maple something or other, rum raisin, whiskey and pecans, coffee?  peanut butter?
But trust me, you don’t need ice cream to enjoy this pie…it is delightful standing in your kitchen eating it like a slice of pizza careful not to drop any of the flaky buttery crust on the floor, because that would be disastrous.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Oatmeal Raisin Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 2+1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter (2 sticks), very cold and diced
  • ½ Cup Ice Water
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ Cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ Cup Butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ¾ Cup Quick-Cooking Rolled Oats
  • ¾ Cup Raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add cold diced butter and pulse until butter is pea sized. ( This can also be done by hand or with a pastry cutter.) With food processor on low, slowly add cold water just until a dough begins to come together and form a ball.
  2. Empty dough out onto a lightly floured surface - dough should be shaggy and not wet by any means.
  3. Divide dough into 2 balls and flatten slightly into disks. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. You will only need one dough disk for pie.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. After one hour, remove pie dough from fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to a ⅛th inch thickness, about 12 inches in diameter, which will fit a 9 inch pie plate with a little bit hanging over the edges of pie plate. Transfer dough to pie plate and without stretching dough, tuck the dough to fit the pie plate. Trim off any excess dough around edges and then with thumb and forefinger, crimp edges.
  6. Place pie shell in freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and with a piece of tinfoil, line pie shell - tucking it along the bottom edge and sides. Let the excess tinfoil hang over the edges. Fill tinfoil lined pie shell with enough dried beans to fill pie plate.
  7. Place in preheated oven and let bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and slowly lift tinfoil and beans out of pie shell - set aside and let cool. (use these beans over and over for pie weights)
  9. Prick the bottom of the pie shell about 8 to 10 times with the tines of a fork and the edges of the pie in a few spots.
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and let bake for an additional 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.
  11. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.
  12. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter.
  13. Stir in oats, raisins, flour, cinnamon, and salt and mix until combined.
  14. Pour filling into a cooled (at least somewhat) pie shell and with a fork, gently move raisins about to ensure even distribution. Place pie on a baking sheet and place in center of preheated oven.
  15. Bake pie until golden brown and the center is set - about 40 to 50 minutes. When you nudge the pie, the center should not jiggle. If the pie or crust is becoming overly brown, tent with a large piece of tinfoil (make sure it doesn't touch the top of the pie or it will pull the top right off)
  16. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting and serving.
Notes
This pie crust recipe will make 2 crusts, however you will only need one…but since it is as easy to make 2 as it is 1, I always make two crusts. Wrap and keep other crust in fridge for perhaps another pie in the coming week or wrap well and store in freezer and when in need of pie in the next month or so, you are ready to roll.

Adapted from Pie

Lemon Tart

I have taken a bit of a break.  Unexpected and unintentional….

Nights where I would normally plop down and flip on the TV to something mundane and focus most of my attention on editing photos – just a bit of a tweak…up-ing the contrast or brightness – not a whole lot, because in all honesty, I don’t understand photoshop one bit.  And then I try to write something down … generally the thoughts in my brain flood these pages….and more often than not, the words and thoughts have nothing to do with the recipes I post.  Which is fine.  And that is why I love blogging…there are no rules.  You can over share, under share.  It is up to you.  Or me.  More me than you…unless, you too, have a blog…which in that case you probably totally agree with me.

These nights of blogging haven’t been happening as of late.  Vegging out on the couch with a bourbon cocktail of some sort (or hot chocolate because it is still freaking freezing here in the great state of Ohio)  and watching Skyfall one more time or trying to watch Downton Abby Season 2  - which I just can’t get into.  I am a minority on this one, aren’t I?  My mind won’t stay focused.  Half way through and I am on Twitter.  Or find myself cleaning the kitchen.  Or looking for brownies in the freezer.  ADHD anyone?   Ugh.  I need Ritalin to watch Downton Abby.  I think I am calling it quits.  On to the next series.  I am taking recommendations. Anyone?

But here I am …getting back into some sort of routine.

WIth routine comes lemon tart, naturally.  There may be snow on the ground or freezing rain falling from the sky (ugh, really Ohio?)…but my daffodils are peeping through the ground and my mind is thinking spring.  As is my stomach.

Lemons are full on spring.  Right?  Bright and sunshiny….being that they are yellow.  Just makes sense.

Gather ingredients for your shortbread crust.  Carry them around in your favorite pie plate you may have swiped from your grandma.  The crack on the far edge makes me smile.  I am a lover of imperfections.

Your crust will need a lightly beaten egg.

Egg is like food spackle.   I work great with food spackle.  Real spackle.  Not. So. Much.

Fingerprinted crust.  You will need to Instagram this bad boy.  Normal, right?

I have a tendency to Instagram my weekend baking moments.

Bear with me.

Lemons.

Bright.  Sunshine.  Happy.

Voila!

And if I must be honest…this tart was epic, if I may say so myself.

And I will.

Epic, people.

Epic.

And delicious.

Tart. Bright. Sweet.

Just what this dreary March is in desperate need of.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Tart
 
Makes one 10 inch round tart.
Ingredients
  • 1+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Stick Butter (1/2 Cup), Room Temperature
  • ¼ Cup White Granulate Sugar
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten.
  • 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 6 lemons)
  • Zest of 1 Lemon, finely grated
  • 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
Instructions
  1. Prepare the crust first. Whisk together salt and flour. Set aside.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, gradually add beaten egg. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Add flour and mix until ball forms - it will be crumbly at first, but it will eventually come together.
  4. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10inch removable bottom tart pan. Place the dough into the prepared pan and with your fingertips, evenly press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Poke the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Place crust in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400F.
  6. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake crust for 5 minutes at 400F. Decrease oven temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare lemon curd filling.
  8. Prepare filling. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs and egg yolks. Set aside. Also, have a mesh strainer at the ready.
  9. in a medium sized saucepan, combine lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Place over medium-low to medium heat and cook until butter melts. Stirring occasionally.
  10. Once butter is melted, slowly whisk about ½ cup of the warm lemon mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, to warm(or temper) them.
  11. Scrape the warm egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining lemon mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens - about 20 minutes.
  12. Place mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and strain mixture, pressing the mixture through with a rubber spatula.
  13. Pour mixture into pre-baked tart shell and place in oven (at 350F) for about 5 to 10 minutes to set the filling.
  14. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

* lemon curd filling adapted from David Lebovitz

 

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Or it might be a tart….

A tart pan was used in the making of this pie.  Or tart.  Ugh, I don’t know.  A tart pan with fluted edges and a removable bottom.  Very French.  Also, the cheapest thing I have ever purchased from William Sonoma.  That store kills me.

For the purpose of this post and my sanity…let’s call it a pie.  I am more of a pie gal, anyways.

Pie is very Saturday night family dinner, served by grandmas and eaten with mismatched forks and chipped plates around a crowded kitchen table while your brothers tell off color jokes and the resident 3+1/2 year old counts to 25, skipping the number 15 altogether…every single time.

Tarts are meant for catered wedding and baby showers and fancy brunches…  Tarts sound like straight back chairs and uncomfortable couches that weren’t actually meant to sit on and throw pillows that are just to be admired, never ever ever used.  Boring…stuffy?

Pies get ice cream.

Tarts…just a dollop of whipped cream.

I prefer ice cream and crowded kitchen tables….

Pie it is.

But I like the look of a tart (I am so torn!)  The edges standing so straight and strong…yet so flaky and buttery and fragile.  The removable bottom is key to that cherished edge.  You wanna know what else is key?…  greasing the edges of the pan…like, really greasing the edges…liberally is not to be taken lightly.  Because if the tart won’t release from the sides of the pan…that removable bottom is useless and a disaster waiting to happen.  Trust me.  Butter.  It.  Up.  Or make a pie crust (like the one below) that is so buttery…that there won’t be an issue on the release.  Score!

Let’s make a pie.  Or a tart…

… 

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Apple Pie

Apples, quintessential fall food, right?
Sure they are great year round, but fall…fall is when they are at their peak.
During my childhood, fall was always filled with apple desserts….not pumpkin.  Apples.  Apples were always in abundance because mom and grandma would take us apple picking.  A small orchard (and in all reality I haven’t a clue to the real size of the place…I was young, but telling you it was small makes sense for some reason) anywho….we would pick apples by the bushel and when we were done, a tractor pulling a flatbed trailer would sweep by and pick us up.  This was my favorite part.  A tractor ride.  And would still be today…swear, you just can’t take the country/child out of this girl.

Apple pie, crisp, applesauce, stewed apples, apple dumplings…this is what my fall tasted like.

I went through a long stretch of falls where apple picking didn’t happen…you know high school where it wasn’t really cool to be picking apples with your grandma…but it totally should have been…Dear teenager self…go pick apples with grandma.  She will enjoy it, as will you.
Thankfully in college…I started it back up again, this time with friends and roommates.  We would traipse out into a local orchard, in old jeans and hoodies, cups of coffee and warm apple cider, and empty bushels.  We would pick way too many apples…eating more than intended, climbing higher than advised, and looking forward to the apple crisp and pies that would be made.


I haven’t been apple picking since college.  It currently is on my fall bucket list…But until I can make my way to an orchard, I depend on the grocery/farmer markets.  Which I am thankful for, because last week, I needed apple pie.  Or wanted.  Such a thin line I walk.  I spent the entire weekend stealing sweet cinnamony apple slices from the depths of a flaky pie crust with each sweep through the kitchen.  Boy do I love pie.

 

Good Ole Apple Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Double Pie Crust
  • 5 Small Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 4 Medium Fuji Appels, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 1 + ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Roll out bottom pie crust and fit (do not stretch) into 9 inch pie plate, leaving edges hanging over and place in freezer until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, combine apple slices, corn starch, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss to combine.
  4. Pour filling into bottom pie crust.
  5. Roll out top crust and lay over apple filling. Crimp edges together using either a fork or pinching with thumb and pointer fingers.
  6. Brush top with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Cut small slits in top of crust to let steam escape.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes until crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.