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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 42

Sometimes having a food blog has its perks. Like when I have a perfectly valid excuse to make chocolate cream pie on a weeknight. What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t give you guys some chocolate dessert ideas for Valentine’s Day? I am so glad that I selected this recipe to feature. It is simply just amazing. And this is coming from the girl who is firmly in the fruit dessert camp and not the biggest fan of super chocolatey desserts. The homemade pudding is definitely the “pièce de résistance” in this pie. And when paired with the chocolate wafer crust and freshly whipped cream – home run! Make this for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day – I promise you won’t be disappointed :)

And on to news on the fitness and nutrition front (so appropriate in the same post as chocolate cream pie). Last weekend was definitely an over-the-top indulgent weekend for me. Lots of dining out, dessert and Super Bowl snacking. But I also attended a hot vinyasa yoga class Friday night, taught BodyPump Saturday morning and ran five miles Sunday afternoon. About the running…I am so frustrated with it right now. It’s been almost two months since my last last race and I took the biggest running break that I’ve taken in years. I’m one week into my new training program and having terrible pain in my left leg in the achilles tendon/lower calf area. It feels like there’s a big knot there and it hurts when I run and stays sore for days after I run. I’m really bummed and hoping if I keep icing it and try to rest it that it will get better. Fingers crossed.

Stocked up on lots of healthy foods, fruits and vegetables at the grocery for the week. Putting last weekend behind me and moving on! It’s all I can do. We all have to splurge sometimes!

Chocolate Cream Pie
(Recipe source Gourmet, February 2004)
Printable Recipe: Chocolate Cream Pie

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST
1 1/3 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (from about 26 cookies such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers or Oreos with cream scraped off)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

FOR THE FILLING
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
5 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), melted
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE TOPPING
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST
Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together crumbs, butter and sugar and press on bottom and up side of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes, and cool on a rack.

FOR THE FILLING
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and yolks until combined well.  Add milk in a slow stream, whisking and bring mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute (filling will be thick).

Pour filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in chocolates, butter and vanilla. Cover surface of filling with a buttered round of wax paper and cool completely, about 2 hours.

Spoon filling into crust and chill pie, loosely covered, at least six hours or overnight.

FOR THE TOPPING
Just before serving, beat cream and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Spoon on top of pie and serve with a dusting of cocoa powder or with fresh berries.

Yield: 8-10 servings

*Note: give yourself plenty of time to make this pie. You’ll want to make it the day before Valentine’s since you have to build in chilling time.

Other Valentine’s Day Treats
Lady Strawberry Cake
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Jamwich Cookies

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 18

Brandon had been requesting Chicken and Dumplings or Chicken Pot Pie for dinner for several weeks. I browsed through The Gourmet Cookbook and found this recipe for Chicken Pie with Biscuit Crust. Kind of a hybrid of Chicken and Dumplings and Chicken Pot Pie – perfect.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much. I mean, I knew it would be a good dinner but I’m really not a pot pie kind of person. I know that sounds strange…but in general I’m not really so into comfort food. I was wrong. This was amazing. So amazing that I insisted that I didn’t need any help with the cleanup so I could shovel down more as I was putting away the leftovers :)

This can be a relatively quick dinner if you use leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken or pre-roast a chicken. I put my chicken in to roast that morning while I was out on my run and getting ready for work. Really cut down on the prep time that night.

The biscuit crust was so delicious and the addition of cheddar cheese to the dough really made it special. The filling was a nice consistency and seasoned perfectly. This chicken pie will definitely become a winter tradition in our house!

Chicken pie with Biscuit Crust
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, printed in Gourmet magazine – January 1991)

Ingredients:

FOR THE FILLING
4 cups chicken broth
3 carrots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 pound red potatoes (about 2 medium), quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large celery ribs, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (the meat from around a 3 pound chicken)
1/2 cup green peas
1 onion, chopped
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

FOR THE BISCUIT CRUST
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/3 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk

An egg wash of 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of milk

Directions:

FOR THE FILLING
Bring the broth to a boil over medium high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the carrots, potatoes and celery and simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes. Vegetables should be tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a large bowl, reserving the broth. Add chicken and peas to the bowl.

In another saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and transparent. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes to create a roux. In a slow stream, add 3 cups of the reserved broth. Whisk constantly and bring to a boil. Add the thyme and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken mixture and stir gently until combined.

Transfer the mixture to a greased 2-quart shallow baking dish.

FOR THE BISCUIT CRUST

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Add the butter and blend mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the cheese and toss to coat. Beat together egg and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir just until the mixture comes together and a dough forms. Into a liquid measuring cup break the egg, add enough of the buttermilk to measure a total of 1/2 cup, and beat the mixture with a fork. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until the mixture just forms a dough. At this point you can either spoon 2-inch balls of dough onto the chicken mixture (drop biscuit style) or gather the dough into a ball, and on a floured surface pat out 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with a 2-inch cutter dipped in flour. Gather scraps and repeat until all dough has been used.  Arrange the rounds on the chicken mixture.

Before baking brush tops with an egg wash or whole milk. Prick holes into the biscuits with a fork. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are puffed and golden and the filling is bubbling.

Yield: 4 servings

NOTE:
* Filling can be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Bring the mixture to room temperature before continuing with the recipe.

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icecreamsundaepie

Brandon had been asking for and ice cream pie. I was tempted to make my standby, cookies and cream with an Oreo crust, but decided to look around to see if anything else caught my eye. I saw this Malt Shop Ice Cream Pie on myrecipes.com and thought with a few modifications it would be a winning combination. One of Brandon’s all time favorite desserts is a chocolate malt so I knew he would love this pie.

I think what sold me on it the most was the sugar cone crust. What a fun idea! The crust didn’t really hold together well but I think if I had crushed the cones a little finer I wouldn’t have had that problem. I substituted the strawberry ice cream in the Cooking Light recipe for chocolate and made my own fudge sauce to go in between layers and on top.

I’ll definitely be making this pie again but next time I’ll add more malt powder to get a stronger malt flavor. I think this would be great to serve to dinner guests topped with a cherry!

icecreamsundaewholepie

Malted Ice Cream Sundae Pie
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons  honey
2 tablespoons  butter, melted
12 sugar cones, crushed
2 cups low-fat chocolate ice cream, softened
1/4 cup malted milk powder, divided
1/2 cup  hot fudge topping, plus more for topping
2  cups low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened
Canned whipped cream

Directions:

Combine crushed sugar cones, honey and butter in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.

Place softened chocolate ice cream and 2 tablespoons of malted milk powder in a bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy. Spread mixture evenly into crust and spread hot fudge over the ice cream. Freeze 30 minutes or until firm.

Place softened vanilla ice cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of malted milk powder in a bowl. Beat with a mixer at hight speed until smooth and creamy. Spread mixture evenly over first 2 layers.

Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm. Top with hot fudge and whipped cream just before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

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mudpie

We had friends over for dinner Friday night and I wanted to make an easy dessert. Ice cream pie seemed like the perfect thing now that we’re having days with temperatures in the 80′s. This Mississippi Mud Pie did not disappoint. It was great! The recipe was recommended to me from Annie’s Eats.

The only change I would make next time would be to make extra crust. I didn’t have enough to go up the sides of my pie pan. I used a 9-inch pie pan. I’m reflecting that change in my recipe below. Otherwise, everything was perfect. The homemade chocolate mixture is sinfully delicious (I was definitely sampling the leftover chocolate sauce at 7 a.m. Friday morning when I was making the pie!)  and I think the toffee chips make this pie.

Mississippi Mud Pie
(Recipe source Annie’s Eats, originally from Williams-Sonoma)

Ingredients:

FOR THE COOKIE CRUST
2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE PIE
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 quart coffee ice cream, softened

Directions:

FOR THE COOKIE CRUST
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together cookie crumbs, butter and sugar until crumbs are well moistened. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Firmly pack in crumbs and work up the sides of the pan.

Bake for 5-10 minutes (depending on desired crust firmness). Note that the crust will firm up more as it cools.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
In a double boiler, combine the chocolate chips, butter, cream and corn syrup. Heat over low heat, stirring often, until chocolate is melted. If you do not have a double broiler, you can use a small metal bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Bowl should not be touching the water.

Alternatively, in a microwave proof bowl, combine the chocolate, butter, cream and corn syrup and melt in microwave in 30-second intervals at 50 percent power. Stir mixture well after each 30 second interval. Do not overcook! Chocolate can burn quickly in microwave.

Add powdered sugar and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and whisk together. Reserve 1⁄3 cup of the chocolate mixture for the top of the pie. Spread the remaining mixture evenly in the bottom of the cookie crust and sprinkle half of the toffee bits over the chocolate. Refrigerate until chilled and set, about 1 hour.

TO ASSEMBLE THE PIE
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the softened ice cream on medium speed until it is spreadable but not runny. Immediately spread in pie shell and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Reheat the reserved chocolate mixture in the microwave at 50 percent power in 30-second intervals, until it is spreadable but not hot. Use a spatula to spread it over the ice cream. Sprinkle with remaining toffee bits and return the pie to the freezer until it is completely firm before serving, 3 to 4 hours.

To slice, run a knife under hot water, then dry it off. If frozen overnight, pie may need to stand at room temperature for a few minutes before it is soft enough to slice easily.ream

Yield: One 9-inch pie; 8 servings

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