Cinnamon Pie


Happy belated Pi(e) Day!!

I know, I know, I’m a few days late, but this pie was worth the wait. It is definitely reminiscent of Christmas time and the holidays, but cinnamon is such a wonderful flavour. I found this recipe, and couldn’t resist. The pictures on the original recipe made this pie look so fluffy that I had to make it.

Honestly, it was so simple to make as well! It does need cream cheese and heavy cream (which I don’t personally keep on hand at all times, but some people do!), but other than that, it took about 10 minutes to whip up the filling. Please, please make your own pie crust, because homemade pie crust is about a thousand times better than the stuff you can buy from the store.

Take the time to celebrate Pi Day in your own way. This pie is a good start!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1¼ c. heavy cream
¼ c. flour
3½ tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 recipe pie crust

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out pie crust and line pie plate. Trim crust and crimp edges. Refrigerate until needed.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cream cheese and brown sugar until combined and fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat well.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the cream, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Whisk until combined and smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie crust, and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until the center of the pie seems set when jiggled, but not completely firm. Bake for another 5 minutes or so if needed.

Cool completely, and chill. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, and serve with whipped cream if desired.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Okay. I haven’t made a cake in a long time, and I did so because two of my beautiful friends celebrated their birthdays and they are both a big fan of red wine!

I’m not the biggest wine fan myself, so I had a little help in choosing the wine to bake with, but if that is deterring anyone who is like me, and not a huge fan of wine, you can still make this cake! I found that the wine did not overpower the cake at all, and it added a nice flavour.


I found the recipe here, and I am quite pleased with it. I made my own vanilla buttercream instead of the icing suggested (because mascarpone is ridiculously expensive), and I’ve included that in the recipe below. It still worked very well together, but if you like mascarpone, go for it!

Enough chatter. On to cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-inch cake

For the cake:

¾ c. cocoa powder
1¾ c. flour
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
½ c. vegetable oil
1¾ c. sugar
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. red wine – I used Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

For the frosting:

2 c. butter, at room temperature
3¾c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

For the red wine reduction:

1 c. sweet red wine
4 tbsp. sugar

For the cake, preheat oven to 350° F. Brush 3 8-inch cake pans with miracle cake release or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, espresso powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine eggs and oil. Add in sugar, beating to combine, until mixture turns pale. Reduce speed to low, then add in vanilla and milk.

Add in dry ingredients, mix until just combined, then add in wine and combine until smooth.

Divide batter into pans evenly, then bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks completely before icing.

For the red wine reduction, in a small saucepan combine the wine and sugar. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer on medium-low heat until wine reduces to about ¼ c. It may take about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before using on cake.

For the vanilla buttercream frosting, in a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add vanilla and salt, and beat until smooth and combined.

To assemble cake, place cooled cake layer on a cake stand or board. Top with a generous layer of icing (doesn’t have to be too thick, but should still be there). Place second cake layer, repeat layer of icing, and finish with top layer of cake.

Ice the top and sides of the cake, getting the sides as smooth as possible. The original recipe had a “naked cake” look (meaning scant icing around the sides), and I decided not to do that. Drizzle the red wine reduction over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.

 

 

Sourdough Crackers


Hello friends! Sorry for the silence around this part of the internet lately. It’s been a little hectic to say the least. With all the marking, planning, et cetera that comes with being a teacher, this past month I’ve been finding it a little hard to make time for baking at all!

I have these crackers, that I decided to make on a whim because I knew that I needed to use my sourdough starter. I hate to throw the discard part of the starter away, so I’m always on the hunt for new recipes to try using the discard starter.

Of course, I was browsing through Pinterest this morning, trying to figure out what to use my starter for, and these crackers jumped out at me. I’m not sure why, but I was drawn to them. They looked good. They sounded good. I had to try them. It also didn’t hurt that they had a five-star rating on the original recipe, found here. I did change one thing. The original recipe called for butter, but of all the 5 star reviews left on these crackers, so many reviewers said to use oil instead. I took their advice, and they worked out beautifully.

So, if you think that homemade crackers are too complicated, you are wrong! I have made homemade graham crackers in the past (which I need to do again and put on here!), and these crackers took me all of 10 minutes to mix together. After that, you chill the dough, roll, top, cut and bake. Sounds complicated, but very easy. I promise.

Let’s get cracking!

(Sorry… I couldn’t resist…)

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 100 crackers

1 c. flour (can use Whole Wheat flour)
1 c. unfed sourdough starter
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. olive oil (or butter)
2 tbsp. dried herb of choice (I used rosemary)

Mix together the flour, starter, salt, oil and herbs until a cohesive dough forms. Split dough into two halves. Pat down into even rectangles, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes (or longer), until dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

*Rolling out the dough for the crackers can be done two ways – pasta rollers or rolling pin. I will put instructions for both ways.*

If using pasta rollers, lightly flour pasta rollers and pass one piece at a time through the rollers on setting 1. If you want a thinner cracker, go to setting 2 or 3. Place on a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board.

If using a rolling pin, place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface, then lightly flour the parchment, your rolling pin, and the top of the dough. Roll the dough out to about 1/16″ thick. Try to get it as even as you can. Transfer the parchment paper to a cutting board.

Lightly brush the rolled dough with olive oil and coarse salt (sea salt, kosher or flake salt works), and prick the dough all over, evenly, with a fork.

Cut the dough into 1¼ inch squares. Using a pizza wheel works well.

Bake the crackers for 13-20 minutes, turning to prevent over-browning. Take them out when the crackers begin to brown around the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack, and store in an airtight bag for 1 week or freeze.

Salted Caramel Pecan Cheesecake


Hello friends! I’ve been extremely busy lately, with the ending of the first semester of school, exam week, marking, planning for the second semester of school, and moving my classroom. Thank you for being so patient with me, I promise this cheesecake is worth it.

As some of you may know, before starting teaching, I spent 8 years working in the restaurant industry. The last restaurant I worked for, Moxie’s, a well-known chain up in Canada, had a dessert almost identical to this one. However, for a recent staff meeting, I decided to make my take on the Salted Caramel Pecan Cheesecake.

This recipe is two recipes amalgamated together, as well as my own few touches… therefore, I consider the final recipe all mine. I’ll still link to the original recipes I used, but I’ll post my “changed” recipe below. I used the crust recipe from here, and changed it. This is the filling recipe that I used, again, changing it as I needed it.

I will let you know, all you health-conscious people out there – this recipe is gluten-free! My principal is actually unable to eat gluten, and I really wanted to make cheesecake, so I took a page out of the Moxie’s playbook and decided to make the crust of the cheesecake out of pecans. Because I was never in the kitchen of Moxie’s, I never knew the recipe, so I found one online and went with that, adding in my own touches here and there.

I was SO sad, because I forgot to take a picture of the whole cheesecake, and I was so proud because the cheesecake didn’t even crack! Usually, because my oven is old and temperamental, any cheesecakes I make end up cracking, but this one didn’t! It was so beautiful and I’m mad at myself for forgetting… Oh well… Next time!

P.S. This cheesecake was awesome. I rarely make cheesecake, because when I do, I’m the only one who eats it (unless I give it away). This one was DECADENT, but incredible. It was perfect.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 10-inch cheesecake

For the salted caramel:

1 c. sugar
6 tbsp. butter, room temperature
½ c. heavy cream
1 tsp. salt

For the crust:

2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped or ground
1 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ c. butter

For the filling:

36 oz. (or 1 kg. or 2½lbs.) cream cheese, room temperature
1½ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
4 eggs
½ c. sour cream
¼ c. heavy cream
½ – ¾ c. homemade salted caramel (depending on preference)

To make the salted caramel, have the cream, butter and salt ready to go near your stove. Make sure the cream and butter is room temperature, and the butter is divided up into tablespoons so you can add a tablespoon at a time.

Place the sugar in a medium saucepan. With the heat on medium-medium high, stir sugar constantly with a wooden spoon or a heat-resistant rubber spatula. Sugar should start to melt, and become a deep amber colour. Keep stirring, and do not let sugar burn.

When all the lumps have melted, turn the heat down to low and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon when the first one is melted. It is very important – STIR THE CARAMEL CONSTANTLY. Once the butter is incorporated,take off the heat and add the cream and the salt. **If the caramel starts to seize up when adding the cream, the cream was too cold! Make folding motions (as if to “fold in” the cream) if this happens, keeping the caramel moving. Do this until the cream becomes incorporated into the caramel, and you have a thick sauce.

Transfer caramel to an air-safe container, and let cool. Caramel will thicken more as it cools.

To make the cheesecake, preheat oven to 375°F. Line a springform pan with parchment paper (the bottom and sides), and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the pecans, sugar, and salt, and toss with a fork to combine. In a small, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and add to the pecans. Toss to combine, then press into the prepared springform pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

Lower oven heat to 325°F. Fill 1-2 metal loaf pans or roasting pans with warm or hot water, and put in the lower rack of your oven.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the cream cheese and beat until fluffy. Add the sugar and eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add in the sour cream and heavy cream, and beat again. Finally, add in the salted caramel. Add in amount of salted caramel to your personal taste. I added half a cup in first, then added a bit more because I wanted a stronger caramel flavour in the cheesecake.

Beat all ingredients so that caramel is incorporated throughout the filling and filling is smooth, not lumpy.

Pour cheesecake filling into springform pan. Place pan in preheated oven (on the middle rack).

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, then turn the oven off. Leave the cheesecake to finish cooking in the warm oven until the cheesecake is room temperature. Transfer cheesecake to refrigerator, and chill completely before slicing with a hot knife and serving.

Garnish cheesecake with leftover caramel sauce.

Nanaimo Bar Tart


Well, another original recipe. This recipe came about quite suddenly. Paul and I had been talking about tortes and tarts, and my mind just started wandering when Paul went to work.

I wondered if a Nanaimo Bar Tart could possibly work, and started thinking…. I took a shortbread recipe for the crust, and changed it up a bit, as well as using the custard powder and turning it into a thick custard, topping it off with a smooth chocolate topping.


I threw it all in the fridge to set up. That was the hard part – waiting for it to set to make sure that everything tasted good and worked together. However, the waiting and experimentation paid off, because WOW did taste good!

The tart turned out very good, but very rich, and already I’m cursing the slightly-bigger-than-normal piece that I cut for myself and finished with gusto because it was just THAT good. Either way, if you are a Nanaimo Bar fan, then this tart should be right up your alley!

Enjoy an original recipe! 🙂

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-9 inch tart

For the tart shell:

1 c. butter
1¼ c. flour
¾c. coconut
½ c. sugar
¼ c. cocoa

For the custard layer:

¼ c. plus 1 tbsp. custard powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. sugar
2½ c. milk

For the chocolate layer:

½ c. butter
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium microwave safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Add in the flour, coconut, sugar, and cocoa. Mix together until combined, and press into the tart pan and up the sides, trying to make as uniform and even as possible.

Bake the tart shell in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, and set aside to cool while making the filling.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the custard powder and sugar, then gradually pour in the vanilla and milk while whisking to create a cohesive sauce with no lumps. Whisk over a medium heat until a full boil and the custard thickens, whisking frequently. Once the custard thickens, pour into the cooled tart shell and let thicken and cool.

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate chips and melt on short bursts, combining until smooth.

Once the custard has thickened more, and formed a skin on top, pour the chocolate over top of the tart and even out, being careful not to mix the custard into the chocolate.

Let cool and set completely, in the fridge or on a wire rack, then slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator.