Pumpkin Rosemary Pie, 2.0

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Last year, I wanted to try something a little different for Thanksgiving, so I crafted a recipe for Pumpkin Rosemary Pie. It turned out quite good, so I thought I’d made it a tradition, and bake it again this year. However, this time, I made two small changes:

1. I used 2% milk

2. I made an entirely different kind of crust.

The first one was basically because I thought a milk with more fat would just give the pie a little boost, texturally speaking, which it did. As for the second, well about mid-year, I found a recipe for a cornbread crust in this book that I just loved and have been using as much as I possibly can ever since. I thought this pie would be the perfect opportunity.

pie crust perfection.

pie crust perfection.

I topped it with a homemade cinnamon whipped cream (which was enthusiastically taste-tested by my boyfriend, who’s always willing to help out in these situations). Once we were sure it passed the test (it took multiple tastes – we just HAD to be sure it was good), I piped it on the pie, packed the whole thing up, and brought it to Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house, where it was devoured by all.

just before the carnage.

just before the carnage.

Stayed tuned ’til next year, for the release of version 3.0!

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Eat, Write, Retreat Culinary Challenge: Fig and Rosemary Scones.

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In less than one month, I’ll be attending the Eat, Write, Retreat! Conference which just so happens to be in my home city of Philadelphia this year! I’m so excited to be taking part in this wonderful opportunity to meet other bloggers, eat delicious dishes, and of course, write all about it!

As an attendee, I’m also taking part in the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge the conference is running! We are all assigned a secret ingredient, and tasked with creating an appetizer based on said ingredient. Being a baker, I of course went with something, well, you know….baked.

My ingredient was California Figs. I love figs! But I haven’t really incorporated them into my baking that much in the past, so this was my chance! I couldn’t have been happier to create something using a new ingredient that I also happen to adore!

gettin' figgy with it.

gettin’ figgy with it.

As much as I loved eating figs, I had no idea of their nutritional benefits prior to this challenge! Figs are a great source of fiber, for starters. They’re also rich in antioxidants (even richer than red wine!), and they’re an all-natural energy source, which makes them perfect as a pre-workout snack (looks like I’ll be eating some figs before my next marathon!).

So without further adieu…..here’s my creation! Hope you enjoy baking them as much as I did. 🙂

 

Fig and Rosemary Scones

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What you’ll need:

2 cups flour (sifted)

4 teaspoons baking power

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup shortening

¾ cup half and half

½ cup Dried California Black Mission Figs (chopped)

1 tbsp rosemary (finely chopped)

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the shortening until the mixture has a fine crumb texture.

may i cut in?

may i cut in?

Mix in the chopped figs and rosemary.  Stir in the half and half with a fork so it makes a soft dough. Knead the dough with clean hands about 10 times – do not overknead – it will become too stiff!

knead-y.

knead-y.

Break off roughly shaped pieces (just larger than a golf ball) and place  them on a greased cookie sheet. The shape doesn’t matter – the rougher the better – it gives them a more rustic look! Bake for 12 – 15 minutes (or until the edges being to turn golden brown).  Makes 22 – 24 scones.

rustically delicious.

rustically delicious.

Meatloaf Muffins: the journey from baking to cooking.

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I don’t cook.

I bake, yes  –  A LOT. But I just never got into cooking. Then one day a few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about cooking, and I decided that should change. Suddenly, I wanted to cook; and I’d never had any inkling of a desire to do it before. I started looking up recipes, and noticed that the things I most wanted to try were those meals that incorporated my baking skills – homemade pasta, meatloaf, baked eggplant, etc.  As I don’t yet own a pasta maker (this will soon be remedied), that was out for now. Shortly following this cooking epiphany, I stumbled across a meatloaf recipe. I figured it was a sign, and thus meatloaf would be my next challenge. I was discussing said meatloaf with a friend, explaining to her my reasons for selecting it (in addition to the sign from the universe),  one being that it was just like baking a loaf of bread, which I’ve done a thousand times. She then suggested that since I am only one person, I should try meatloaf muffins. This way, I could save some for future meals, and share some with others, if I so desired. I loved this idea! And so it was.

I started with an onion. I cried. A lot.

96 tears.

96 tears.

I then mixed all the ingredients in a large bowl. The recipe called for pepper. I wanted rosemary. I did what I wanted.

a loaf waiting to happen.

a loaf waiting to happen.

Next, I shaped it into a loaf, and then broke it down into muffin-sized lumps.

she's lump. she's lump. she's lump. she's in my head.

she’s lump. she’s lump. she’s lump. she’s in my head.

I baked them,  took them out 5 minutes early, topped them with shredded Gruyere, and baked them for 5 more minutes.

mini meats.

mini meats.

I removed them from the oven, and let them cool. I realized at this point that I did not yet understand the principles of baking meat and how it differed from baking a cake. When you bake a cake, it conforms to the size and shape of the pan it’s being baked in. Not meat – it retains the shape you make it. So I wound up with what looked more like meat boulders.  Next time, I’ll know better.

boulders of joy.

boulders of joy.

Now for the true test. I poured myself a glass of wine, and selected two meat boulders. They certainly smelled delicious, and honestly, looked rather delectable.

red wine and meat boulders: the perfect pairing.

red wine and meat boulders: the perfect pairing.

I put some extra barbecue sauce on the side for dipping, and dug in. I couldn’t believe it – success!! This was some good meatloaf! I put down the fork and called my mom. I had to share my cooking success story with someone who I knew would be proud.

And now, my friends, I’m hooked. Small Indulgences are not just for baking anymore. Here’s to new adventures!

 

Recipe Tuesday Afternoon: Pumpkin Rosemary Pie.

Serendipity has always been one of my favorite words – even before the movie with John Cusack (which is also one of my favorite movies). I love the idea of a fortunate accident – that every event happens for a reason and contributes to the making of something truly great. In this case, it’s a pumpkin pie – with rosemary.

Two simultaneous events lead to the serendipitous creation of this particular pie :

1. I was given a container of fresh rosemary yesterday morning. It smelled wonderful. I had no idea what to do with it, but i knew I  had to do something – it was much too good to just go untouched and its freshness wouldn’t last forever. I had to strike while the iron was hot.

the scent of the gods.

2. I got sick. Sometimes bad things happen for a good reason. In fact, they usually do. I was going to have my friend over on Monday night and I was originally going to make a pumpkin pie on Sunday night for it. I got sick, and did not make the pie on Sunday night. I told my friend yesterday morning that I should be ok by Tuesday night (tonight) so we could reschedule. Then I was given the rosemary. Then I wound up feeling worse, and stayed home from work today. However, this gave me plenty of time to focus on the pie, and as I began getting the ingredients together, I saw the rosemary on the counter. So I did what any adventurous baker would do – I added it in.

pumpkin, fate, rosemary and time.

The resulting pie was truly meant to be: I’ve never made a better pie in my life, and that’s the truth. And now you can make it too – because good things are always meant to be shared. And life’s too short to let your rosemary go bad – you never know when it might come your way again. 🙂

pie love.

Pumpkin Rosemary Pie.

The Crust:

What you’ll need:

10 whole cinnamon graham cracker sheets

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons butter (melted)

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 475. Combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a food processor. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” pie pan. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until slightly brown and set.

The Filling:

What you’ll need:

1 cup fat-free milk

15 oz pumpkin puree

2 eggs

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon fresh minced rosemary

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, and eggs.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rosemary until well combined, then fold it into pumpkin mixture. Pour mixture into pre-baked crust, until it almost reaches the top (you will most likely have some extra filling – enough for a personal-sized pie!).  Bake for 50 – 55 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The Topping:

What you’ll need:

1 lb heavy cream

2.5 oz confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Add the sugar and cinnamon mixture and the vanilla to the cream, and continue whipping until is forms stiff peaks. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

a little piece of heaven.