Pi it’s all Greek to me?….(Pie)

I dedicate this to my brother-in-law, Dave, who is a mathematician, and got me through college algebra. He and his boys, Ben and Sam, love to work on a problem that can’t be solved because it’s there!

 

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PI day is celebrated by mathematicians and math enthusiast from around the world every year on 3/14.    The Greek symbol used in mathematics represents a constant-the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it diameter which is approximately 3.14159265358979323846…..pi Math teachers have been using  pie as an example to explain Pi to confused high school students for years.  The earliest known official or large scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by  physicist Larry Shaw in 1988 while he worked at the San Francisco Exploratorium.  It is said that Shaw, with staff and public, marched around one of the it’s circular spaces while consuming fruit pies.  The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations.   In the year 2015, Pi Day had a special significance on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 am and also p.m..  The date in this format along with the the time represented the first 10 digits of Pi.

It did not take long for companies like King Author flour to jump in on the celebration of Pi Day and use it as one of the greatest marketing tools around.  Every year they have sales on everything you need to bake a pie and encourage home bakers to bake and enjoy Pi (pie) Day.  This is a cleaver connection because there is a lot of math involved in baking.   And on Pi Day, restaurants around the country will offer the public a free piece of pie in celebration.

Below I have shared a few of my favorite pie recipes for Pi Day.   How ever you intend to celebrate 3/14/2016…solving a mathematical equation, baking a pie, or both, ENJOY!

Happy Pi (pie) Day!  I hope you enjoyed today’s story along with these yummy recipes.

Thanks for Reading….K. K.

 

Strawberry Pie       From the Kitchen of Mom                 images

9” Baked Pie Shell pre baked
1 quart Strawberries cut in half or in thirds (set aside)
3/4 cup of white sugar
2 Tablespoon of corn starch
2 Tablespoons of small pearl minute tapioca
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup of water

In a sauce pan, combine sugar, corn starch, minute tapioca, lemon juice and water. Stir over low heat until everything is dissolved and thick. Remove from heat and cool. Place the strawberries in the crust and pour the thickened jell over the strawberries and refrigerate until set. Top with whipped cream and serve. Note: I like to toss and coat the strawberries with some of the jell to evenly coat them before placing the strawberries in pie shell and then top with the remaining jell.

Tip: If jell is not thick enough, add 3 tablespoons of strawberry Jello during the cooking process and cook until it is dissolved.

Ingredients for Never Fail Pie Crust: this recipe makes enough dough for 2 double crust pies or 4 single pies.

3 cups Flour ( all-purpose is fine to use but my preference is bread flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 cup of Lard or Butter
1 whole egg (Room Temperature)
1/2 cup of Ice cold milk
1 Tablespoon of Vinegar

Procedure for making of the crust:
I do this by hand but you can use a food processor.  Combine all the dry ingredients together.  Cut in the fat until the mixture looks like corn meal. Whisk your the egg and vinegar together and add to the mixture along with the milk and mix until if it forms a ball. Cut the dough into four equal pieces, form into balls and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.

Note: I make my dough a day ahead.

Baking of the Crust: Preheat Oven to 375 F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-14-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch, deep glass pie dish. Fold dough edge over and crimp decoratively, securing dough edge to rim of dish. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 15 minutes. Place baking beads on the bottom of the crust then bake 30 minutes until golden brown. Once baked put on rack and cool and prepare your filling.

Note: If you do not have baking beads, you can follow one of these following tips. 1. Place Foil on the bottom of the crust and pour a bag of dried beans on top and bake. Carefully remove the foil in the last 5 minutes of baking so the center can get a golden brown color. 2. You can press back any bubbles that occur during the baking process with a fork.

 

Chocolate Cream Pie    From the Kitchen of Karen Komarinski, cc

1 pre-baked 9 inch pie crust.                                              IMG_0102

Ingredients for Filling

1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tablespoon unsweetened Cocoa Powder ( I use a dark cocoa powder )
1/8 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of Espresso Powder ( this is optional, I’ve added this over the years)
4 large Egg Yolks ( Room Temperature) “reserve egg whites for topping”
2 cups of whole Milk ( Room Temperature)
1/2 cup Whipping Cream (Room Temperature)
5 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or Semisweet chocolate Chopped (note Chocolate chips are fine to use)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Procedure for making the Filling: Whisk Sugar, Cornstarch, Cocoa, and salt in heavy, medium saucepan to blend. Add egg yolks, milk and cream; whisk until smooth. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add Chocolate, butter and vanilla, whisk until melted and smooth. Pour filling into crust. Place plastic wrap over top of filling so a skin does not form. Place on rack and cool.      Top Pie with Whip Cream serve and enjoy.

 

Banana Cream pie gone wild from the Kitchen of Karen Komarinski, cc            Makes 1 Pie

imagesIngredients

1  9 inch pre-baked pie shell

Vanilla Custard

3 cups of whole milk

9 Egg Yolks

2/3 cups of granulated sugar

6 tablespoons of cornstarch

3 tablespoons of butter

1 1/2 teaspoon of pure Vanilla extract.

1 large banana diced

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup of hot cream

1 cup of Dark Chocolate chips

1 large banana thinly slice.

Procedure:  First melt the chocolate:  put one cup dark chocolate chips in a glass bowl and pour the hot cream over top. Let sit 5 min then stir until smooth.  Take half the chocolate and pour on the bottom of the pie crust and spread evenly. Cover the chocolate with the sliced bananas. Pour the rest of melted chocolate over the bananas and set aside while you make the custard filling.

Making the Custard:

In a heavy saucepan over medium- low heat, heat milk to barely simmering.  While the milk is heating,  combine your egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium size bowl, whisk to blend smoothly and the eggs are a pale gold.  Slowly add the heated milk to the eggs  whisking the whole time.  This is called tempering the egg mixture. Once all milk is incorporated, return mixture to the heavy sauce pan, bring back to a soft boil over medium low heat and whisk continually.  Once the egg mixture starts to bubble, cook for 1 minute.  Remove pan from heat add the butter, vanilla, and diced banana.  Stir until butter is melted. Let cool slightly before pouring into the prepared chocolate/banana crust.  Once the filling is poured into the prepared chocolate/banana crust, cover with plastic wrap so a skin does not form on top and refrigerate.  Chill pie for at least 3 hours before you top it with whipping cream, slice and serve.

Homemade whipped cream:   1 cup heavy whipping cream, 3 tablespoons of sifted confectioner sugar.  Whip the heavy cream ,sifted sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.  Now it is time to top the pie with the whipped cream cut and serve.

Mom’s  Apple Pie    From the Kitchen of Mom

Preheat Oven 400 F or 200 C                                  IMG_0950

Never-Fail pie Crust : recipe found in the strawberry pie recipe

4 large Ganny Smith apples: peeled, cored, and sliced

4 lage Macintosh apples: peeled, cored, and sliced

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Juice of half a lemon

3/4 cup of Sugar in the Raw (you can also use Coconut Sugar)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of corn starch

2 tablespoons of small instant Tapioca pearls(this helps to prevent a soggy bottom crust)

1 egg for egg wash

5 pats of butter                        IMG_0949

Place the sliced apples in a large mixing bowl and toss with the next 6 ingredients, coat everything well and set aside.  Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured pastry mat.  The dough circle should be slightly bigger than the 9″ pie pan.  Place the dough into the pie pan, make sure it fits well and has no air bubbles.  Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with the tapioca pearls, add the apple filling and top with the pats of butter spreading them out.  Next roll out a top crust, just like the bottom crust.  Place over the filling, crimp together, and cut any excess away.  Take the egg and beat it with a tablespoon of cold water.  With a pastry brush, paint the top of the crust with the beaten egg.  Make four slits into the top crust so steam can escape.  Place the pie into a 400 F or 200 C oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn the oven temp down to 350 F or 180 C and continue to bake for 55 -60 minutes.  The crust should be golden brown and the pie should be bubbling through the steam slits. If the crust is browning to quickly tent it with foil.  Cool and enjoy.  To make it extra special, serve with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Food Trends Gone Wild

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Pumpkin you either love it and can’t live without it, or it’s not even a blip on your radar.  For some, pumpkin is a fruit, yes I said fruit, and others it shall remain nameless.  A pumpkin is not a vegetable; it’s a fruit! In fact, it’s a berry. Pumpkins belong to the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes cucumbers, melons, squash, and gourds. Within this family is the genus Cucurbita which includes gourds, winter and summer squash, and all varieties of pumpkin. There are four species that are considered “pumpkins,” but only one is the species most people would recognize as the traditional pumpkin used for carving jack-o-lanterns and baking pies.”  

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I have to say when I was younger I liked the smell of the pumpkin spices more than the pumpkin itself. When you smelled that aroma in the farm house, you knew Thanksgiving was not far behind and family and friends would be coming to celebrate.    I was the kid who preferred chocolate cream pie for dessert and to make others happy I would have a little pumpkin pie with lots and lots of whip cream.  At Thanksgiving you would find pumpkin cookies with maple icing, pumpkin pie, apple cake, and Texas sheet cake.  These are the dessert items my mom would make for Thanksgiving.  We would only have them at this time of year, which made them not only a tradition but a favorite treat.

As I got older, I had a better appreciation for this fruit but I’m still a chocoholic at heart.  Don’t get me wrong, I was caught up in the whole pumpkin trend that consisted of a couple  beers and lattes.  They would come out around the middle of October and last until Thanksgiving.  But sad to say, this fruit has taken on a life of its own thanks to over marketing.  I truly believe this is a case of less is more.  Now there are more types of pumpkin beer every year, and they keep coming out earlier and earlier.  This year they hit the market the end of July. The owner of my local beer distributor said get it now because it won’t be here by Thanksgiving.  Then Starbucks, I think it was the end of August or the beginning of September, gave out a secret code to get your pumpkin latte early.  We rush through everything and nothing is special anymore.  To make my point further, I was in the drive through getting a non pumpkin coffee (lol), and the menu said hurry and try our fall items before they are gone.  The date was September 25, 2015.  Fall officially started two days prior on September 23rd, and Fall does not officially end until December 21.  Sometimes I feel we live such a rat race that we are missing out and loosing family traditions along with recipes and making memories with family and friends.

Below you will find pictures of products I found in the store this year, and others, satire making fun of this trend.

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Theses are the two new items that caught my eye. You also can have pumpkin spiced ravioli, tortellini, pumpkin sauce, pumpkin Ice Cream, pumpkin pancakes, waffles, crepes, pumpkin granola (that is artificial flavored?) pumpkin coffee, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin soda, pumpkin brûlée, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, doughnuts & scones, pumpkin scented  candles, soaps, body sprays, lotions and shampoo.

These Items started to appear before the first chill in the air was felt and before the trees started to be tipped in color.  Sorry to feel so jaded, but from food to sports nothing has a season any longer. its all about marketing and money.

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IMG_1295Hope these made you Laugh!!!!12096338_1543725669181497_4633810422617230741_n

I still love fall, and as a chef/baker I do bake pumpkin goodies with spices and love.  I will be sharing a few of my family favorites.  I have to admit that  the “Pumpkin Roll” I have not made for a while.   It was Levi’s,my nephew, favorite.  I would bake extra just for him.  Levi will be gone four years this November.  I think this may be the year to make it again.

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling (Yields 10 servings)  From the Kitchen of Karen’s Karousel of Delights

Cake ingredients:

Powder Sugar

3/4 cup Bread Flour ( you can use all purpose flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

3 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 cup of granulated sugar

2/3 cup 100% pure Pumpkin ( I use “LIBBY”S brand)

1 cup dark mini chocolate chips (OPTIONAL)

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (OPTIONAL)

Filling Ingredients:

1 package 8oz cream cheese, soften (I use “Philadelphia” brand)

1 cup sifted powder sugar

6 tablespoons butter, soften (unsalted)

1 teaspoon Vanilla

Procedure:

Cake: Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C. Grease 15X10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax or parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper. Sprinkle  heavily a 100% cotton towel (it is also known as Flour Sack 100% cotton and white) with powder sugar.

Combine: Flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl.  Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bow until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. (now is the time to sprinkle with the chips or nuts or both; if you choose to)

Bake: for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully pull off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

For Filling: 

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake, without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powder sugar before serving.

Notes: 1 large can of pumpkin will make 5 Rolls and you need 2 cups of filling per roll.  Also this freezes very well, double wrap in plastic wrap and then freezer paper.     IMG_1300

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake: Yields 10 to 12 servings. from the kitchen of Karen’s Karousel of Delights

Crust:

1 1/2 cups of Chocolate graham crackers crushed into crumbs (approximately 1 1/2 Packages)

1/3 cup of butter melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Filling:

3 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese soften (I use regular “Philadelphia” brand cream cheese)

1 1/4 cups of Sugar in the Raw (make sure it’s the real deal;  option if you cannot find Sugar in the raw you can use 1cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup of light brown sugar) 

2 large eggs (room temperature)

1 15oz can of Pure Pumpkin (my preference is “LIBBY’S”)

2/3 cup of Evaporated Milk (my preference is “NESTLE” CARNATION”)

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups of dark or milk chocolate chips divided and melted

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C

For Crust:

Combined graham cracker crumbs, butter and granulated sugar in medium bowl.  Press onto bottom and 1inch up side of

9-inch springform pan. Bake 6-8 minutes (do not over bake). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

For Filling:

Beat cream cheese, sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk. Add cornstarch, and spices; beat well. Pour into crust. Now take 1 cup of the melted chocolate and spoon onto the top of the cheese cake; then take a butter knife and swirl the chocolate to make a marbling effect.

Bake: for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but center still giggles slightly. Baking the cheese cake in a water bath is optional and your choice. This can be done two ways; first place the cheese cake in a shallow pan, place on oven rack and pour hot water half way up or you can place a pan directly underneath the cheese cake fill with hot water and bake.  My cheese cakes have cracked with or without a water bath.   Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or over night. Before serving remove sides of spring form pan; melt the remaining chocolate chips and drizzle over the top of the cheese cake. Cut and serve.

Note: If you don’t like chocolate use regular graham crackers for the crust and omit the 2 cups of chocolate chips.

I hope you try these recipes and they become your family favorites too. Thank you for your support and Enjoy! ❤ KK