Summer S’mores Pie

Smores Pie

I love nothing more than a good, gooey S’more on a summers day. Unfortunately, due to the drought in California, most campsites have banned campfires in fear of it causing a forrest fire. Last year, I made my Ultimate S’mores Brownies which were an absolute crowd pleaser. This year, I am preparing for the summer with my Summer S’mores Pie. It is served cold, which is perfect for a hot summers day! This recipe is the same as the Double Chocolate Pudding Pie recipe, with the addition of the topping. The marshmallow topping is perfectly goopey and the graham cracker crust has the perfect crunch.

Smores Pie

To start out, make the graham cracker crust. Simply place the graham crackers into a freezer ziplock bag and crush it with a rolling pin. Pour in the sugar and melted butter and toss until fully combined. Press the contents into a well buttered pie dish and bake. Remember to butter the pie dish! I have had so many instances where I forgot and the crust would be stuck to the dish.

Graham cracker crust

Once the pie crust is ready, the filling is quite simple to make. Dissolve the gelatin in a small bowl of water and set aside for it to bloom. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, measure out the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt.

Smores Pie

Add in the milk and whisk the mixture together until there are no more lumps. Turn the heat onto medium high heat and continue to whisk until it begins to thicken. This will take about 10 minutes of constant stirring. If it is left by itself without any whisking, the pudding will become lumpy.

Smores Pie

When the mixture is bubbly and has thickened in consistency, turn the heat off.

Smores Pie

Add in the chocolate chips, vanilla, and the bloomed gelatin.

Smores Pie

Whisk until the gelatin and chocolate has melted into the pudding and pour the mixture into the prepared graham cracker crust. Refrigerate for at least three hours for the pie to cool down and set.

When the pie has set, take it out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. I know this sounds counterintuitive but it is to make sure the marshmallow topping can actually stick to the pie. Otherwise, it will just slide around the top. To make the marshmallow topping. Simply measure out all of the ingredients into a glass bowl.

Smores Pie

Set it over a double boiler and with a hand held mixer, whip the fluff until it thickens.

Take a paper towel and dab the top of the pie to remove any condensation or moisture. Pour the marshmallow fluff onto the pie and spread it out. With a fork or a spoon, make some peaks and swirls into the fluff.

If you have a kitchen torch, use it to caramelize the top. If not, simply place the pie under an oven broiler to brown. Place it back into the fridge until it is ready to be served.

Note that the topping is very gooey so serving the pie will be messy, but is worth it! 

Smores Pie

Smores Pie

Summer S'mores Pie

recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger, Food Network

Graham Cracker Crust

9 full sheets of graham crackers

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted (plus more if needed)

4 Tbsp sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9in pie pan.
  2. In a gallon size ziplock bag, crush the graham crackers until finely ground using a rolling pin.
  3. Open and pour in sugar and make sure it evenly disperses.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and mix so that all of the crumbs have absorbed some butter. When you take a handful of graham crackers and squeeze, it should hold its shape. If it comes loose, melt some more butter 1 Tbsp at a time until it holds.
  5. Pour the graham crackers inside the pie pan. Firmly press the graham crackers in place using the bottom of a measuring cup or small cup.
  6. Bake for 10-12 min, or until it is at a toasted golden brown, and then let it cool.

Chocolate Pudding Filling

1 pack unflavored gelatin

1/3 c cold water

2/3 c sugar

1/3 c cocoa

1/3 c cornstarch

pinch salt

3 c whole milk

2 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tsp vanilla

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.
  3. Turn the heat onto medium high and gradually pour in all of the milk.
  4. Whisk constantly; never leave or stop whisking otherwise it will turn lumpy. Make sure you whisk the bottom of the pot well as some may remain on the bottom and burn.
  5. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens to a pudding consistency. It may take about 5-10 min, then remove from heat.
  6. Add in chocolate, vanilla, and reserved gelatin.
  7. Pour mixture into pie crust and set for at least 3 hours (overnight recommended).

Marshmallow Topping

1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

pinch salt

3 Tbsp corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 teaspoon water

1 egg white

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a glass bowl and place over a double boiler.
  2. With a hand held mixer, whip the contents on medium high speed until it forms white, medium soft peaks.
  3. Leave the pie out to come to room temperature. Take a paper towel and dab the top of the pie to remove any moisture or condensation. (This will prevent the marshmallow topping from sliding right off the pie)
  4. Pour the marshmallow fluff onto the pie and with a fork or spoon, form swirls and peaks.
  5. Using a kitchen torch or oven broiler, caramelize the fluff until golden brown.
  6. Place it back into the refrigerator until the pie is cold. Once cold, it is ready to be served!

Smores Pie

 

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

The first time I heard of a mille crepe cake, I thought… interesting concept, don’t know how I feel about it, but it’s worth a try. With that, came the Berry Crepe Cake in which I filled traditional crepe layers with pastry cream and berry whipped cream, and it did not disappoint! Fastforward to present day. A crepe shop just opened up nearby and I was reminded once again of the mille crepe cake. This time, I wanted to take a different approach and make a Matcha Mille Crepe cake. And just for kicks, I thought it would be even better if it were miniature size.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

You begin by making the batter of the crepe. For this recipe, I adapted my go-to crepe recipe. As I am making one mini cake, I cut the recipe in half. The proportions that you see in the photos are only half of the recipe at the bottom of the page. To start out, sift the flour, matcha powder, and salt in one bowl.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

In another, whisk together the milk, egg, and melted butter.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Combine the two together and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix the batter, as it will cause the crepes to become tough. If there are a few lumps, that’s okay.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps. You should end up with a smooth batter. Cover the batter with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Once the batter has had time to rest, check the consistency. It should be on the liquid side, almost like chocolate milk. If it is too thick, gently whisk an additional tablespoon or two of milk.

Take a nonstick skillet and grease it with butter. Use a paper towel to dab off any excess. Save this paper towel, as you will use it to help re-grease the skillet between each crepe. Over medium heat, take about 1/4 cup of batter and pour it into the pan. Quickly swirl the pan around to evenly coat and allow it to cook. When the top side slightly dries out, it is ready to flip. Just a quick tip– the first crepe usually never turns out right, at least for me. So if your first one isn’t perfect, don’t be disheartened!

Flip, and cook the other side until it has dried and formed brown spots. Move the crepe to a plate, use the paper towel to re-grease the pan, and begin your next crepe. Continue until all of the batter has been used up and you have 8-10 crepes. Allow them to cool completely.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

To get them perfectly round and miniature, I use a cookie cutter. Each crepe will give two mini crepe circles. Cut and trim all the crepes to the desired size. You should have 16-20 mini crepes. A typical mille crepe cake will have 20 layers.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

For the filling, there are several options you can go with. Whipped cream, pastry cream, red bean paste, or fruit all go great with green tea, but I chose to go with a matcha whipped cream filling. As matcha powder lumps up fairly easily, you have to first mix it with heavy whipping cream that has not yet been whipped up.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Whisk together until most of the lumps are gone. Then, you can fold the liquid into some already whipped cream.

To assemble, it’s simply a matter of alternating the crepe and filling! I put it on a cake turn table to make it easier and am using a straight spatula. You want to make sure each layer of whipped cream is a thin layer, roughly equivalent to the thickness of each crepe layer. Spread the cream to the very edge of the crepe; it’s okay if some overspills.

Keep alternating until all of the layers are completed. You want your last layer to be a crepe, not whipped cream. You can use the straight spatula to clean up any cream that spilt over the edge.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Finally, dust the top with matcha powder. Use only enough matcha to just cover the top, as too much matcha can cause it to have a bitter taste.

Finally, it is finished! I recommend letting it sit in the refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before consuming so that the layers can meld together, but it can also be consumed right away. Enjoy!

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Matcha Mille Crêpe Cake

1 c flour

3 Tbsp matcha powder

pinch salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 c milk, plus more for thinning the batter if needed

2 Tbsp melted butter, cooled to room temp

1 cup Matcha whipped cream, recipe below

Matcha powder, to dust

  1. Sift flour, matcha powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and butter until combined.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture and add in the milk mixture and whisk until just combined. Strain it through a mesh sieve to remove any remaining lumps.
  4. Cover the batter with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Once the batter has had time to rest, check the consistency. It should be a thin batter. If it is too thick, gently whisk in an additional tablespoon or two of milk.
  5. Take a nonstick skillet and grease it with butter. Use a paper towel to dab off any excess. Save this paper towel, as you will use it to help re-grease the skillet between each crepe.
  6. Over medium heat, take about 1/4 cup of batter and pour it into the pan. Quickly swirl the pan around to evenly coat and allow it to cook. You will know when it is ready to flip when the top side slightly dries out.
  7. Flip, and cook the other side until it has dried and formed brown spots. Move the crepe to a plate, re-grease the pan with the paper towel, and begin your next crepe. Continue until all of the batter has been used up, making about 16-20 crepes. Allow them to cool completely.
  8. To get them perfectly round and miniature, use a round cookie cutter. Each crepe will give two mini crepe circles, making about 32-40 mini crepes. Use half for one cake and the other half for a second cake.
  9. To assemble, alternate the crepe and filling. Make sure each layer of whipped cream is a thin layer, roughly equivalent to the thickness of each crepe layer. Spread the cream to the very edge of the crepe.
  10. Keep alternating until all of the layers are completed. The last layer of the cake should be a crepe, not whipped cream. Use a straight spatula to clean up any cream that spilt over the edge.
  11. Finally, dust the top with matcha powder. Use only enough matcha to just cover the top, as too much matcha can cause it to have a bitter taste.
  12. Letting it sit in the refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before consuming so that the layers can meld together. Serve cold.

Matcha Whipped Cream

2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream, not yet whipped (liquid form)

1 Tbsp matcha powder

1 c whipped cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Whisk together 2 Tbsp liquid form heavy whipping cream and 1 Tbsp matcha powder until most of the lumps are gone. Then, fold the liquid into 1 cup of whipped cream.

Matcha Mille Crepe Cake

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Profiteroles. As opposed to Cream Puffs which are filled with whipped cream and the occasional fruit, profiteroles are often filled with ice cream or pastry cream. I had some Earl Grey Pastry Cream left over from a previous baking project, and decided to use it as a filling for these profiteroles!

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

When I was a senior in high school, I used to work at a cream puff bakery every weekend. Some of my friends would ask me about if I ever became tired of the glorious whiff of fresh puffs baking in the oven. Yes, most definitely yes. Smelling the same smell for eight hours takes a toll. But after finishing my work there at the end of high school, I have come to love the smell once more. These puffs are inspired by my Earl Grey Pie, using both chocolate ganache and pistachios to complement the Earl Grey flavor. It’s easy to make, full of flavor, with a slight crunch on the outside while decadent on the inside.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

In a medium saucepan (it is best not to use a non-stick pan), mix together the butter, milk, water, salt, and sugar. Some recipes only call for milk, which enhances its decadence, while others only call for water, which enhances the texture. I use both to bring a little of each to the table. Turn the heat on medium and bring it to a boil.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

As soon as it reaches a boil, take the pan off the heat.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Dump the flour in, and with a wooden spoon, begin to mix to form a dough.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Once it has formed a dough ball, return it onto medium heat to cook the flour. Continue to stir it around to release any steam. Too much steam inside of the pastry may cause it to be too moist on the inside.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

You will know when the flour is cooked when a thin layer of dough begins to coat the bottom of the pan.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Turn off the heat and allow it to slightly cool. You can spread it out into a thin layer in the pan to let it cool faster. Form a well.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Once the dough is cool enough to touch, crack one egg into the well, then begin to stir vigorously. You do not want to cook the egg and make scrambled eggs. That’s why its important to allow it to slightly cool and use room temperature eggs.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

At first it may seem lumpy and gooey, but continue to beat the two together with the wooden spoon. Once it becomes one smooth mixture, form another well, crack the second egg in, and mix once more.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

By now, the dough should be a smooth, shiny yellow blob. The dough should be able to drop off the spoon when it is lifted out.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Take a pastry bag and fit it with a large round piping tip. I am using the Wilton 1A. To prevent the top from getting messy, fold the bag inside out over your hand.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Transfer the dough into the bag. You may want to use a rubber spatula to help make the transfer easier.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

On a silicon mat or parchment paper, pipe straight down, while slowly pulling up. Some people make swirls, but that will create lopsided puffs.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

As there are points, dab your finger in water and press all the peaks down.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

These golden blobs are ready for the oven! Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until it is golden brown all over.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

They came out so beautiful! Perfectly puffed, nicely golden, and the kitchen smells incredible! Transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. While it’s cooling, you can get the filling and topping ready.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

This was the Earl Grey Pastry Cream I had left. It is absolutely decadent, not too sweet, but still full of flavor. For a full step by step tutorial, click on the link.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Transfer it to a pastry bag. I had it fitted with a Wilton 10 tip, but any medium round tip will do. Refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Give the pistachios a rough chop.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Then, make the chocolate ganache sauce. Simply pour the cream into a glass bowl and microwave until it begins to bubble. Add in the chocolate chips and gently mix until it forms a smooth mixture.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Once the puffs have cooled, they may be filled. Find an area on the puff that is soft and poke the piping tip in. Fill the puff with pastry cream.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

After they have all been filled, take a fork, and drizzle the chocolate ganache sauce over the top of the puffs. If the ganache has cooled down and thickened, place it back in the microwave to heat it up.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Move the puffs to a serving platter and sprinkle pistachios all over before the chocolate cools.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Each puff is beautifully filled. The chocolate ganache drizzle is just enough to complement the flavor of the Earl Grey, as the crunch from the pastry and pistachios complement the smoothness from the cream. Hope you give it a try!

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup milk

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp flour

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 c pistachios, chopped

Chocolate Ganache Sauce, recipe below

1 1/2 cup Earl Grey Pastry Cream, recipe below (**must be made several hours in advance**)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium sauce pan (not a non-stick), over medium heat, add the butter, milk, water, salt, and sugar, and bring it to a boil.
  3. Once it begins to boil, remove the pan from the heat and add all of the flour.
  4. With a wooden spoon, mix the flour into the liquid to form a dough ball.
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and cook the dough. You will know it is cooked when a thin layer of dough begins to coat the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
  6. Allow the dough to slightly cool. When it is cool enough to touch, form a well in the dough.
  7. Crack one egg into the well and quickly beat the egg into the dough. Be sure not to let the egg cook on any hot surface. The mixture will seem gooey at first but it will eventually form a smooth mixture. Then, add in the second egg and mix until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
  8. Transfer the dough into a piping bag with a Wilton 1A, or any other large round tip. Pipe the dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  9. Once it has all been piped, wet your finger with water then push down all of the pointy peaks of each puff.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until it is golden brown.
  11. Transfer them to cooling racks and allow them to completely cool. Meanwhile, prepare the ganache, pistachios, and transfer the pastry cream into a piping bag with a round tip.
  12. Once it is cooled, find a soft spot on the side of the puff and poke the pastry cream tip inside. Fill with pastry cream. Repeat for all of the puffs.
  13. Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate ganache sauce over the tops, and sprinkle with pistachios.

Chocolate Ganache Sauce

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

3 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a small glass bowl, heat the heavy whipping cream in a microwave for 20-30 seconds, until it just starts to bubble. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until it is one smooth mixture. It will firm up as it cools. It may be refrigerated and stored for a week. To bring it back to its sauce consistency, simply place it back into the microwave for 15 seconds at a time, stirring between each interval until it is completely melted again.

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

adapted from Tartine Bakery’s Pastry Cream

2 cups milk

5 bags Earl Grey Tea Bags (Twinings Earl Grey)

1/4 tsp salt

5 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

Heat the milk, tea bags, and salt in a sauce pan on low for 5-10 minutes, constantly stirring until the color turns a medium-light grey color. If some tea leaves fall out, it is okay, you will strain it out later. Once it has reached the desired color, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, sugar, and eggs in a medium bowl until thick and smooth. When the milk is at a boil, take it off the heat. Place a strainer over the egg mixture. Pour half of the boiling milk through the strainer into the egg mixture to temper the eggs, making sure to whisk vigorously to prevent the eggs from cooking.  Once all of the milk has been mixed in, return this mixture into the saucepan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until the cornstarch cooks and the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and whisk until smooth and completely incorporated. Pour into a heatproof bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface of the cream to cool to avoid the creation of a “skin” layer. Allow to cool completely before using, about 3-4 hours. The cooled earl grey pastry cream should be very firm, needing to be lightened with whipped cream before using.

Earl Grey and Pistachio Profiteroles

 

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

Earl Grey Pie

Ever since I’ve discovered how to make earl grey pastry cream, I’ve been meaning to do a step-by-step photo post. I first came up with the recipe for this Earl Grey Pie for a Pi day wedding last year. I modeled the pie after Pie Hole’s Earl Grey pie and the recipe has been adapted from Tartine bakery’s recipes. Since then, it has been my number one asked for pastry as well as this blogs most popular post! I hope that with these step-by-step photos, more people will be willing to try it at home and not be intimidated by it. Earl grey may sound fancy but making it is not! To learn how to make the pie crust, visit the post on the Perfect Pie Crust.

earl grey2

I always use Twinings Earl Grey Tea bags. Some other brands that make Earl Grey tea include other spices into the mix which will impact the taste of the pastry cream. I just like to keep it simple and pure.

Measure the milk and pour it into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Unwrap five teabags and snip the strings off. Over the next 5-10 minutes, allow the tea to infuse into the milk while gently stirring to prevent the milk from burning at the bottom of the pan. While you are waiting for the tea to infuse, you can prepare the other half of ingredients.

In a medium bowl, measure the sugar, eggs, salt, and cornstarch and whisk until it is completely smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside.

earl grey6

Once the milk is at a beautiful tan, turn the heat up so it can come to a rolling boil. If some Earl Grey leaves escape from the bag, don’t worry, they’re going to be strained out. Take the pot off the heat.

earl grey7

As just mentioned, there may be some Earl Grey tea leaves that escape the tea bags. To strain them out, I put a strainer above the egg mixture.

Now comes the task of mixing the two. As the milk mixture is hot and the egg mixture is cold, I don’t want the hot milk to immediately cook the eggs and make scrambled eggs. To avoid this, we need to “temper” the egg mixture by gradually adding in small amounts of milk at a time while whisking the egg mixture vigorously. This will slowly bring the temperature of the egg mixture up while dispersing the heat from the milk mixture. In small batches, pour the milk through the strainer to strain out any of the leaves, and quickly whisk the egg mixture as the milk falls through. Continue this process until all of the milk has been passed through the strainer and has been mixed in. Personally, I like to see small bits of Earl Grey tea leaves in my pie because it looks more authentic, so I’ll usually add a small amount of the tea leaves back into the mixture, but that’s just personal preference. If you happen to see small bits of cooked egg, don’t worry, simply pass it through the strainer once more to strain out the cooked egg bits.

Pour the cream back into the medium saucepan and return it onto medium heat. Use the whisk to constantly stir the mixture until it thickens. As the temperature of the cream goes up and reaches a certain temperature, the cornstarch will be activated and begin to thicken. At this stage, it is prone to burning or thickening at the bottom of the pot since that is where it receives the most heat. Just make sure you keep an eye on it and continually whisk until it is smooth, lump free, and bubbly. If there are lumps (like the top right photo), whisk faster and it should smooth it out.

earl grey13

Once it is thick and bubbly, you know that the cornstarch has thickened it to the maximum. Take it off the heat and add in the unsalted butter and whisk until it is completely melted an incorporated in.

Pour the pastry cream into a glass bowl. Take saran wrap and press it onto the surface of the cream, so that there is no part of the pastry cream exposed to air. Any part that is exposed to air as it cools will harden and form a “skin” over the top. Allow it to cool completely in the refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to use the pastry cream, whip up the whipped cream. I like to use the brand Pastry Pride as it is an extremely stable and smooth when whipped up, but it’s sometimes hard to find. Whip until it reaches stiff peaks.

earl grey18

Now from that batch of whipped cream, remove about 2 cups of cream. This will be reserved for the topping.

Now into the bowl goes the Earl Grey cream. As you can see, it has firmed up quite a bit which is why it is necessary to lighten it up with whipping cream.

earl grey21

At first, it will look disgusting. The whisk attachment will break up the pastry cream as it gets coated with whipped cream. Keep whisking.

earl grey22

Then, it will look like cottage cheese. There will be lumps of Earl Grey as well as whisps of whipping cream. At this stage, it might be a good idea to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Then, turn the machine back on and continue to whisk.

earl grey23

Finally, all of the lumps will smooth itself out as the whipping cream is completely mixed into the Earl Grey. The color has lightened, the texture has lightened, and the consistency is smooth and silky. This pastry cream is finally ready to fill a pie!

Earl Grey Pie with topping

Earl Grey Pie

recipe inspired by Pie Hole, Los Angeles & Pasadena

Flaky Pie Crust

recipe from Tartine Bakery

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 c very cold water

1 1/2 c + 1 Tbsp flour

1/2 c + 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Dissolve salt in water and keep refrigerated until needed. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter and flour until it forms large crumbs. Add in water and continue to mix with the pastry blender until it loosely holds together. Roll it together so that it holds, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When completely chilled, roll out to be 1/8 in thick and cover the pie tins. Use the back of a knife to cut off any excess dough. Place back in the refrigerator in case some of the butter has melted from handling the dough. Once it has completely chilled, use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust. Line the top with parchment paper and weigh it down with baking weights (beans, rice, etc). Bake for 20-25 min, until golden brown around the sides. Remove the parchment paper and bake for 5 more min, until all moisture has evaporated from the crust. Allow the crust to cool completely on a wire rack.

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

adapted from Tartine Bakery’s Pastry Cream

2 cups milk

5 bags Earl Grey Tea Bags (Twinings Earl Grey)

1/4 tsp salt

5 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

Heat the milk, tea bags, and salt in a sauce pan on low for 5-10 minutes, constantly stirring until the color turns a medium-light grey color. If some tea leaves fall out, it is okay, you will strain it out later. Once it has reached the desired color, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, sugar, and eggs in a medium bowl until thick and smooth. When the milk is at a boil, take it off the heat. Place a strainer over the egg mixture. Pour half of the boiling milk through the strainer into the egg mixture to temper the eggs, making sure to whisk vigorously to prevent the eggs from cooking.  Once all of the milk has been mixed in, return this mixture into the saucepan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until the cornstarch cooks and the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and whisk until smooth and completely incorporated. Pour into a heatproof bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface of the cream to cool to avoid the creation of a “skin” layer. Allow to cool completely before using, about 3-4 hours. The cooled earl grey pastry cream should be very firm, needing to be lightened with whipped cream before using.

Assembly

Earl Grey Pastry Cream

1 1/2 c ready to whip whipping cream (I recommend Pastry Pride)

1 fully cooled pie shell

1/4 c heavy whipping cream

1/2 c chocolate chips

Small handful pistachios, roughly chopped

Once the pastry cream is ready to use, whip up the 1 1/2 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks. Remove 2 cups of whipped cream and reserve in a separate bowl. To the mixing bowl, add in the pastry cream and whisk the both together until completely smooth.

Meanwhile, microwave the 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in a heatproof bowl until it is bubbly. Add in chocolate chips and stir until smooth, making a chocolate ganache. Spoon the chocolate ganache into the pie shell, spread it into a thin layer, and allow it to cool completely.

Take the finished earl grey pastry cream and fill the pie. Smooth out the top. Take the 2 cups of reserved whipping cream and spoon onto the top and spread it out. Decorate with pistachios. Serve cold.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon Rolls

It’s October and once again, I’m asking myself where the time has gone. I’ve already been in school for over a month now and we are starting to prepare for midterms soon. Despite it, October is one of my favorite months. Usually, that means layering up, not looking too weird with a fuzzy scarf or vest or pea coat. However, I’m in Southern California where it seems as if summer wants to extend her stay. To bring in some kind of fall, I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls for my friends that are coming over later. I remember the first time I tried making cinnamon rolls…it was a complete flop. The yeast was either already expired to begin with or I used milk that was too hot, and thus, the rolls did not rise. They came out to be these tiny one inch circular hard biscuits that had a swirl of cinnamon brown sugar inside. Since then, I have told myself no more. Until now. A while ago, I found the absolute best Monkey Bread recipe. It tastes just like cinnamon rolls, so I figured it would be perfect to use.

Cinnamon Rolls

While this dough is probably the easiest anyone can ever make, it does take patience. And time. LOTS of time. You want to allow enough time for the dough to properly rise, for the needed reactions to take place, for the gluten to be able to rest, all that science-y chemistry stuff.

Cinnamon Rolls

To begin, make the dough. Combine the milk, water, and butter into a glass pyrex cup. As it is heated, the milk and water will begin to melt the butter. Microwave until the liquids reach 110 degrees, or just slightly warm to the touch. Once it reaches that temperature, add in the sugar and yeast and stir until it is completely dissolved.

Cinnamon Rolls

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment, measure in the flour and the salt. On low speed, slowly add in the milk mixture. Once it is all mixed in, turn it on high and beat until it comes together, about three minutes. The dough should be sticky, but not too wet where it cannot be managed. If it is too sticky, add in more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.

Cinnamon Rolls

Turn the dough out into a lightly greased (with butter or oil) bowl and cover with saran wrap. Set it in a warm area of the house or outside if its hot and allow it to double in size. I allowed mine to rise for about two hours.

Once it has doubled and you are ready to use, punch it down and roll it out onto a floured surface. You can see the bubbles that have been released from the yeast.

Cinnamon Rolls

Roll it out into as even of a rectangle as possible. Make sure the dough is not sticking too much to the counter otherwise it will be hard to roll up.

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I use the rolling pin to almost flatten one of the long edges. This way, It will be able to seal up each roll without too much of a noticeable seam.

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After I roll it out, I give it a little time to rest as I make the filling. Simply melt the butter in a bowl and whisk in the cinnamon and brown sugar. Using an offset spatula, spread it out into an even layer of the cinnamon mixture onto the dough. Get every edge except the one that has the thinner border.

Slowly begin to roll up the dough, making sure to keep it tightly rolled up as you go until you get a log. To slice the cinnamon rolls, you can cut it in half, line it up, and cut them in half then in half again. That will give you eight nice sized pieces.

Cinnamon Rolls

Line them up into a baking dish. I’m using my cast iron to bake it in.

Cinnamon Rolls

Leave enough space between each one so that it has room for the dough to spread out and proof during its second rise.

Cinnamon Rolls

Place it back in a warm area and allow the dough to rise one more time for another hour. You will notice it to be ready when it has a puffed appearance.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Make sure you turn the pan halfway to ensure even baking. As it’s baking, whip up the maple cream cheese frosting in a stand mixer. Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth, then slowly add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup.

Cinnamon Rolls

When the rolls have finished baking, remove from the oven and immediately spread the frosting over the rolls. This will allow the frosting to melt and fall into every crevice of dish.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

These rolls are incredibly easy to make. They make the house smell amazing, the textures are very fluffy and light, and the cinnamon is powerfully present. I think my friends are gonna enjoy these tonight!

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Dough

2 Tbsp melted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish

1 c warm milk, about 110 degrees

1/3 c warm water, about 110 degrees

1/4 c granulated sugar

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one package)

3 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more if needed if dough is too sticky

2 tsp salt

Brown Sugar Filling

1 c packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

1/2 c butter, melted (1 stick)

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 package cream cheese frosting (8 ounce)

2 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup maple syrup

Liberally butter a baking dish with softened butter. Set aside.

In a large pyrex measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together. Dough should still be sticky, but dry enough to handle.

Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl and turn it around to grease the dough. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.

Once it has risen, punch the dough down, and turn the dough out onto a floured counter surface. Use a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle. Use the rolling pin to flatten one of the long edges to create flat border. This will help the cinnamon roll seal. Let the dough rest while you make the filling.

Melt the butter in a glass bowl, then whisk in the cinnamon and brown sugar. With an offset spatula, spread the mixture over the dough in an even layer, avoiding the flattened border edge. Begin to roll the dough into an even log.

Cut into two inch pieces, and line it up in a buttered baking dish. Allow there to be some space between each roll as the dough will continue to expand during the second proofing. Cover with saran wrap and set it back in a warm location for an hour.

Once it has puffed, bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Turn the pan halfway during baking to ensure it browns evenly.

While it bakes, make the frosting. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. On low speed, add in the powdered sugar. Once it is incorporated, turn the speed high and let it whip. Slowly drizzle in the vanilla and maple syrup until fully incorporated.

When the buns have finished baking, remove from the oven and slather on the maple cream cheese frosting immediately. It will slightly melt the frosting and allow it to seep into the crevices of the rolls. Enjoy immediately.

Tri-Berry Crisp

Tri-Berry Crisp

Happy Labor Day! It has been an absolutely busy week here, to say the least. I’ve had to make countless to-do lists on my phone just to remember which classroom I am headed to next, what I am supposed to buy at a grocery store, what books am I supposed to find, etc. A special thank you goes out to Apple Notes for keeping my sanity in check. One of my biggest hurdles this semester is how to survive my PE classes. As I am graduating this semester and failed to take PE classes in the past, I was required to take four PE classes in order to satisfy my GE requirements. Thus, my schedule pans out with three PE classes back to back…to back. One. right. after. another. ugh.

Tri-Berry Crisp

I like to think that I used to be athletic. Somewhat. In the past, I took various yoga classes, pilate classes, I ran freshmen year, and did the occasional Turbo Jam or Billy Blanks Tae Bo (if you have no idea what those are, you should check them out). Then Junior year came and things became busy with work and school and I told myself climbing the stairs to the third floor everyday was good enough.

Fast forward to present day and I am taking Aerobics, Weight Training, and Strength and Stretch, a total of three hours of exercise twice a week. I had a taste of what the rest of my semester was going to be like and let me just say, everywhere hurts. My back. My legs. My arms. I’m told it will get easier as the semester goes on and I sure hope so. In keeping with a “going healthy” theme, I have decided to make a triple berry crisp to celebrate the end of summer and to welcome in the fall. Unfortunately, southern California doesn’t seem to have a fall season since it’s all desert and forever in the 80-90+ degrees range. Nevertheless, we can always hope. This crisp is beautifully naturally sweet and when paired with ice cream, becomes creamy with a crunch from the crisp! Absolutely perfect, absolutely beautiful, and absolutely already gone.

Tri-Berry Crisp

To begin the Tri-Berry Crisp, wash your fruit. You of course don’t have to use three berries, you can do all strawberries, blueberries, or all raspberries. It’s completely up to you! Quarter the strawberries so they are about the same size as the other berries.

Tri-Berry Crisp

Sprinkle in the sugar and flour. Toss the fruit around until the berries are completely coated. Spoon into whichever baking bowl you want to use. I’ve used cast iron in the past, but for today, I’m making individual crisps. Set aside.

To make the crisp, combine all the ingredients into a bowl.

Tri-Berry Crisp

You can use either your hands or a pastry blender, but I like to use my hands since it’s faster. Squish the butter and the dry ingredients together until it clumps together.

Pinch out small clumps of dough and drop onto the berries.

Tri-Berry Crisp

Place a sheet of aluminum foil on your baking rack in case any berry juice bubbles over. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the berries are bubbly and the crisp is nicely browned.

Tri-Berry Crisp

Wait about 5-10 minutes before serving because the berries and its juice will be extremely hot! Top off with vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy!

Tri-Berry Crisp

Tri-Berry Crisp

1 c blueberries

1 c strawberries, quartered

1/2 c raspberries

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp flour

For the crisp:

3/4 c old fashioned oats

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp flour

1 tsp cinnamon

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the oven rack with a piece of aluminum foil.

Wash the berries. Sprinkle in the sugar and flour, then toss with a spoon until evenly coated. Spoon into a baking dish and set aside.

To make the crisp, combine all the ingredients into a bowl. With your hands or pastry blender, blend the ingredients so that the butter is dispersed into the dry ingredients. Pinch off small clumps and place on top of the berries, making an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes or until the berries are bubbly and the crisp is golden brown on top.

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving as it will be extremely hot! Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Cakey Brownies

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This has been an absolute whirlwind of a week! School has begun once more, and with that comes the long 6 hour drive down, the moving in, unpacking, and getting everything settled. Class has already started and it has been very bittersweet for me as this is also my final semester before graduating in December. In the midst of this, I was asked by a couple to bake for their adoption fundraiser they were having this weekend. I have known them since I could remember and they are now adopting their second child!! To learn more about their adoption process, head over to their own blog page, One More Blessing, to find out more about their journey!

Cakey Brownies

I was very honored to have been asked to bake for their fundraise! To help their efforts, I baked a Chocolatey Chocolate Sprinkles Cake, a Carrot Cake, my red velvet whoopie pies, chocolate chip cookies, and a pan of brownies for their bake sale.  These are all of my classic recipe that I have made well over ten times each and is always a crowd pleaser. In the past, I have made my Classic Brownies which are brownies with more of a fudge consistency, but since we already have an intense chocolate cake, I decided to make a cakey brownie instead, which is more gentle with the chocolate flavor. This version takes almost the same ingredients and concept as the Classic brownies, but by substituting half of the chocolate chips for cocoa powder, it creates a much lighter and cakier brownie!

Over a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips. Remove from the heat, then, add the sugar and whisk until fully incorporated. The mixture will be grainy, but that is okay. Quickly whisk the eggs in one at a time, as you do not want the hot chocolate mixture to cook the eggs.

Cakey Brownies

Once that is completely mixed through, sift in the dry ingredients.

Cakey Brownies

Whisk until just combined. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan that is lined with parchment paper, and smooth out the top. LOOK AT THAT BEAUTY!!

Cakey Brownies

Bake for 25-30 minutes in a oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The top will be shiny and gorgeously crackly.

Cakey Brownies

Allow it to completely cool before slicing in. You could eat it while it is still warm, but then some of the steam will escape and cause the brownies to be dry. Waiting until it is completely cooled will allow the moisture to remain inside.

Cakey Brownies

By just changing one ingredient, you can turn a brownie from a fudge to a cake consistency!!

Cakey Brownies

Cakey Brownies

  • Servings: 12 brownies
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recipe adapted from Classic Brownies

2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c unsalted butter (1 stick)

1 c sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 c all purpose flour

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.

Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and butter until completely melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar. Add the eggs in one at a time, whisking completely to incorporate. Add the vanilla, whisk, then sift in the dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined, then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to completely cool before serving!