Black-bottom Chocolate Mousse Pie

Since Thanksgiving is almost upon us and pie season is here, I decided to make my favorite dessert for the holiday: Chocolate Mousse Pie. This is a mash-up of recipes from my 100 Cookies book: the pie crust from French Silk Pie Bars [#63], the chocolat…

Black-bottom Chocolate Mousse Pie

Since Thanksgiving is almost upon us and pie season is here, I decided to make my favorite dessert for the holiday: Chocolate Mousse Pie. This is a mash-up of recipes from my 100 Cookies book: the pie crust from French Silk Pie Bars [#63], the chocolate ganache from the Banana Crunch Blondies [#37], and the chocolate mousse filling from the Mud Pie Bars [#64]. This pie is also inspired by Erin McDowell’s newest cookbook, How to Pie, which features: “ways to mix pie dough for extra flaky crusts, storage and freezing, recipe size conversions, and expert tips for decorating and styling, before diving into the recipes for all the different kinds of pies: fruit, custard, cream, chiffon, cold set, savory, and mini.” I borrowed her Mascarpone Whipped Cream for this pie, and will maybe always make whipped cream with mascarpone now? It’s incredible.  A few things: *My book comes up as unavailable online at most book sellers, alas. First, thank you to everyone who has purchased it! It has sold out again, and I am flabbergasted. It has also been reprinted yet again, and should be hitting stores soon, in time for the holidays!  *Thank you to everyone who voted […]

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Goat Cheese & Heirloom Tomato Tart

It’s summer in a tart shell: with creamy basil goat cheese and juicy vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes nestled in a savory parmesan shortcrust. Peak tomato season is officially here! Make the most of it with this gorgeous (and delicious) goat cheese and tomato tart, with fresh heirloom tomatoes rather than roasted to really showcase their bright […]

It’s summer in a tart shell: with creamy basil goat cheese and juicy vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes nestled in a savory parmesan shortcrust.

Peak tomato season is officially here! Make the most of it with this gorgeous (and delicious) goat cheese and tomato tart, with fresh heirloom tomatoes rather than roasted to really showcase their bright flavor and gorgeous colors.

Heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart on a gray background surrounded by heirloom tomatoes

This is the first week we’ve gotten tomatoes with our CSA, and this tart was the first thing on my list to make (along with some caprese, of course, and luckily we have more than enough tomatoes for both).

We first made this tart last summer after a particularly successful farmers market haul left us with a stunning assortment of heirloom tomatoes.

We had planned to make two meals out of it, considering the recipe yields a full 9-inch tart. But the two of us devoured the entire thing in a single sitting. That’s how good it is.

Goat Cheese & Heirloom Tomato Tart on a marble plate surrounded by more tomatoes

What differentiates this tart from the countless other tomato tart recipes out there is this one is unbaked, leaving the tomatoes fresh and juicy and brightly flavored. Sure, baked tomatoes have their place, but when your vine-ripe summer tomatoes are this good, it’s a shame to subject them to heat.

The crust is also simply spectacular, adding grated parmesan to a standard shortcrust for an extra savory twist. Not to mention it’s dead simple, you don’t even have to roll it out (just dump the crumb mixture into your tart pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides).

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie Key Lime Pie made with fresh lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and an easy graham cracker crust. It’s perfectly tart, creamy, smooth-the BEST key lime pie recipe! Key Lime Pie, a classic pie that has everything going for it. It’s sweet…

Key Lime Pie Key Lime Pie made with fresh lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and an easy graham cracker crust. It’s perfectly tart, creamy, smooth-the BEST key lime pie recipe! Key Lime Pie, a classic pie that has everything going for it. It’s sweet, salty, creamy, buttery, tart and tangy! One piece of pie will…

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Matcha Strawberry Tart

Savor springtime with these luscious strawberry and matcha tarts: with a rich matcha pastry cream filling and ripe fresh berries, it’s a unique combination your tastebuds will adore! My love for matcha is more than a spring fling, and this tart is no exception. The natural sweetness of the strawberries is the perfect contrast for […]

Savor springtime with these luscious strawberry and matcha tarts: with a rich matcha pastry cream filling and ripe fresh berries, it’s a unique combination your tastebuds will adore!

My love for matcha is more than a spring fling, and this tart is no exception. The natural sweetness of the strawberries is the perfect contrast for the grassy bitterness of the matcha.

Matcha Strawberry Tart on a marble background, with turquoise basket of strawberries and a bowl of mini meringue kisses.

“I think we might go to the Clarksville place and pickup strawberries in just a bit. Want some?”

More exciting words have rarely been spoken. Or texted, in this case, by my friend Phillip on Friday afternoon.

Normally this time of year we’d have already made at least one trip out to one of the U-Pick strawberry farms within a 45 minute drive of Nashville, where we’d fill our buckets with more berries than two people could feasibly eat before they went soft. Some would be undoubtedly eaten straight from the fields, and more than a couple snuck from the tupperware container on the drive home. Some we’d freeze, a couple pounds would invariably make their way into some kind of jam. And the rest… well, I usually had some sort of springy strawberry concoction up my sleeve. From fresh strawberry pie to chocolate strawberry ice cream, strawberry blondies and even strawberry-topped guacamole, if you scroll back through the archives you’ll surely notice a few new strawberry recipes pop up each and every May.

But this year has been different for many reasons. So Phillip’s text took me off-guard, and I hadn’t had time to plan and scheme about what exactly I would do with all those berries. Although that didn’t stop be from replying that I’d take a gallon! without a second thought.

When he dropped off the flat of beautiful, glossy berries (seriously though, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen such pretty strawberries), I spent some time photographing them (as you do with pretty fruit)… but beyond that, I was stymied. Stumped. At a complete loss.

Overhead rectangle of ripe red strawberries on a marble background.

I know I’ve been a bit quieter here than usual, my 2-post-a-week streak long since broken, so I knew I had to put these berries to use in a way that would be worthy of a blog post. And that pressure, well, it paralyzed me. I simply couldn’t decide what to make, and the clock was ticking (unlike the white and crispy grocery store berries engineered for storage and transport, these local berries were picked at the peak of perfection, but that perfection doesn’t last long).

I wanted a recipe that was interesting, not the same basic cake or tart that’s been done before. But I also didn’t want something too complex, something that I’d have to test 2, 3 or 4 times to get it right, and also since I know we’re all taking fewer trips to the grocery store these days, and ingredients aren’t quite as easy to acquire. (Case in point: I didn’t even have a drop of heavy cream, which ruled out pretty much any sort of shortcake-take. On the plus side, I guess that cut down infinite possible choices to a less staggering number.)

Ultimately, after much hemming and hawing, I decided on a simple strawberry tart, one that would shine a spotlight on the beauty of the ruby red berries in their freshest form.

But, if you know me, you know I can’t leave well enough alone, and so a plain strawberry tart was out of the question. Most recipes call for a base of pastry cream that is then topped with a starburst or swirl of fresh sliced strawberries, and that pastry cream base was ripe (no pun intended… ok, maybe a little intended) for adaptation.

My choices having being limited even further, I now debated between almond pastry cream, or something slightly wackier, a vibrant green from either matcha or pistachio (you know how much I adore both of these ingredients).

Matcha ultimately won the day.

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Ube & Coconut Cream Pie

This deliciously stunning pie features an ube and coconut cream filling in a chocolate cookie crust, and is topped with fresh whipped cream and Halloween sprinkles for a fun and festive presentation! Have you ever seen a purple pie? The unusual color and mesmerizing flavor of this ube & coconut cream pie will please your […]

This deliciously stunning pie features an ube and coconut cream filling in a chocolate cookie crust, and is topped with fresh whipped cream and Halloween sprinkles for a fun and festive presentation!

Have you ever seen a purple pie? The unusual color and mesmerizing flavor of this ube & coconut cream pie will please your palate and tantalize your tastebuds, while your eyes devour the beautiful violet hue.

Ube and Coconut Cream Pie

If you know me at all, you know that I love playing with unexpected colors in food. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve been suffering from a mild case of obsession with purple sweet potatoes, ever since I found some in the store last fall. I simply adore their vibrant natural color, and proceeded to try and make purple versions of traditional orange sweet potato recipes.

As it turns out, the two aren’t exactly interchangeable. It took me about 3 batches of gnocchi and about 4 pies before I finally realized that. The purple sweet potatoes I was using, called Stokes sweet potatoes and developed in the USA, have a much drier, starchier texture than orange sweet potatoes. This extra starchiness was problematic, especially when it came to the pie: I simply couldn’t achieve that silky smooth custard filling I was going for (rather, it felt like I’d just eaten a spoonful of wallpaper paste). Same for the gnocchi, the extra starch just resulted in a gummy, pasty texture that was less than ideal.

They were very pretty, no argument there, but they just weren’t very good (looks aren’t everything, you know).

Ube and Coconut Cream Pie

Thanksgiving came and went and I ultimately gave up my pursuit of a purple pie, tabling the idea for the next year (I decided that a purple pie would be more suitable for Halloween, anyway – bring one of these to Thanksgiving dinner and you’ll probably get a few questioning looks).

Now a year has come and gone and I’m still thinking about this purple pie. Clearly I had to try a different approach. After further research I realized that not all purple sweet potatoes are the same (as I had mistakenly assumed); rather, there are three distinct kinds of violet tubers throughout the world: Stokes purple sweet potatoes from the US, Okinawan purple sweet potatoes from Japan, and ube. All three are quite different in taste and texture and really aren’t interchangeable.

But the more I researched it, the more ube stood out to me as the best candidate for my purple pie. This purple yam from Southeast Asia is a bit sweeter and less starchy than the Stokes potatoes, and often used for flavoring dessert pastries and ice cream. Sounds perfect, right? Now I just needed to find some.

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Skillet Bourbon Peach Crisp

This boozy peach crisp is a perfect no-fuss summer dessert, packed with ripe local peaches and a delightfully crunchy oat topping. Peaches and bourbon were meant to be together. The vanilla-scented sweetness of the bourbon perfectly contrasts the bright acidity of the peaches, and the sweet and salty oat topping brings it all together. I […]

This boozy peach crisp is a perfect no-fuss summer dessert, packed with ripe local peaches and a delightfully crunchy oat topping.

Peaches and bourbon were meant to be together. The vanilla-scented sweetness of the bourbon perfectly contrasts the bright acidity of the peaches, and the sweet and salty oat topping brings it all together.

Skillet Bourbon Peach Crisp with fresh peaches on the side and a shot glass of bourbon.

I am not usually one for fruit desserts (if there’s chocolate or caramel or peanut butter on the dessert menu I will, without a doubt, veer in that direction versus the fruity option).

But. However. That said.

Every so often I surprise myself by making a fruit dessert that really hits the spot.

This is one of those desserts.

A serving spoon scooping a heaping serving of Skillet Bourbon Peach Crisp out of a cast iron skillet

Complete with sticky sweet bourbon-spiked peaches and topped with a sweet and salty and, most importantly, crunchy topping of buttery oats and brown sugar, this skillet peach crisp is a thing of beauty.

The topping here is actually virtually identical to my dulce de leche crumb bars, if you can believe it. Talk about a versatile recipe!

What makes it a crisp and not a cobbler or a crumble, you ask? Well, cobblers are typically topped with dollops of biscuit-like dough. Crumbles and crisps are very similar, but crisps typically contain oats in the topping (which amps up the crunch factor) and crumbles usually don’t. I say that although the only other crisp/crumble/cobbler I’ve ever posted contains oats and yet I still called that one a crumble, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

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cherries and cream slab pie (some notes on how I make pie)

It took me a long time to feel confident making pies. I never actually made one until my late twenties, as they had seemed so daunting and time consuming; so much work for something that had such a high percentage of not turning out right. My first att…

It took me a long time to feel confident making pies. I never actually made one until my late twenties, as they had seemed so daunting and time consuming; so much work for something that had such a high percentage of not turning out right. My first attempt actually was incredible: I made a perfect apple pie. The crust was flaky and golden brown, the filling perfectly cooked, with apples soft but not mushy. I remember bringing it to my Grandma’s house, and she raved and raved about it (she may have mentioned it was better than the pie my mom made) and I’m pretty sure she ate the rest of it for dinner that night. Brimming with confidence, I made another pie the next day: same recipe, same apples, same kitchen equipment, and alas, it was a total disaster. I’ve discovered I often have beginners luck with baking, only to completely mess up whatever I am making the next time I go to bake it. I think it’s the grace of the kitchen gods: they know of my love and need for baking, but also my lack of patience and follow through. I’m notorious on giving up on something […]

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