Gingerbread Cream Pie with Cinnamon Meringue


I told you this was coming! I’m a crazy woman. I came up with the idea of a gingerbread cream pie a few weeks back. I searched high and low on Pinterest, to no avail. See, I’m picky when it comes to recipes. There were recipes for Gingerbread Cream Pie, but they all started with pre-made pie crusts and whipped topping. (I’m weird, but I can taste the fake of pre-made oil based whipped topping. Phhhhfffffflllllcckkk. It’s gross.)

Also, these pictures are terrible. I apologize, but there was no way to get a clean slice. I did the best I could. As is life. Oh well.

Anyways, because I didn’t love the recipes I found, I decided to make one myself!! How exciting. Paul was over the moon when I told him what I was going to make. Excited might be an understatement.

I didn’t want to start from scratch, so I actually took some inspiration from this recipe, of Kitchen Magpie fame. I pretty much used her recipe and made my own changes to make it Gingerbread pie.

Cream pies are usually custard based, so flapper pie was the perfect base for this Gingerbread Cream Pie. I just changed a few things. First, I asked Paul’s opinion for a crumb crust or pastry crust. He voted hands down for crumb crust, so I made a decision – gingersnaps, or something else? I ended up going with the something else – speculaas, a Dutch spice cookie. (If you’ve ever had Cookie Butter from anywhere, that’s what speculaas is but in actual cookie form.)

I crushed up the speculaas and mixed it with butter to form a crumb crust. I baked the crust, then added my Gingerbread inspiration to the rest of the pie, and BAM. Gingerbread Cream Pie with Cinnamon Meringue. You. Are. Welcome. 🙂 (But seriously, go try this pie!)

Ingredients:

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

For the crust:

1¼ c. speculaas cookies, crushed (you can use gingersnaps)
¼ c. butter, melted

For the filling:

2½ c. milk
½ c. sugar
¼ c. cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
3 tbsp. Fancy molasses
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cardamom

For the meringue:

3 egg whites
¼ c. sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and crushed cookies. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan, combine all of the filling ingredients. Whisk together until cohesive. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Mixture should become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and when a finger is run down the spoon, the mixture does not fill in the gap.

Set aside to cool while making the meringue. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Add in the cinnamon, and beat again to evenly distribute the cinnamon.

Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Top with dollops of meringue, using a knife to gently push the meringue in an even layer across the pie. Swipe up through the meringue with small strokes to make small peaks across the top of the pie.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until meringue peaks are turning golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack until room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator.

Sourdough Burger Buns


I have been looking for so long for a good sourdough bun! I actually used these as the bun for a homemade beef dip that I made when Paul was working one night, but I was so happy with how these turned out!

I was able to use my starter right out of the fridge (bonus!!), and these buns were so good right out of the oven and slathered with butter (one of my favourite ways to eat a bun/my guilty pleasure bread confession… warm bun with melted butter? I’m there).

These buns also didn’t take that long to make. I was worried, because I had decided to make buns after the meat was cooking (I also cooked it from frozen though), and wasn’t sure what would take longer – the buns to rise and cook, or the frozen meat to cook to tender and done in the oven. Turns out, the buns took slightly longer, but not by much.

I found the original recipe here, and the only thing I modified was to add a teaspoon of active dry yeast. I wasn’t sure, like I said, if the buns would rise in time with just the starter, so I wanted to help the buns along. I changed this in the recipe below.

Ingredients

Yield: 8 buns

2 c. sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3 tbsp. butter
½ c. milk, lukewarm
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. active dry yeast
3 c. flour

In a mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the sourdough starter, butter, milk, eggs, salt, sugar and yeast. Stir together. Add flour, and mix until a cohesive dough forms. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour. If it is very dry, add a tablespoon or so of water until the dough becomes smooth and satiny.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Once risen, form the dough into tennis-ball sized buns, making sure to pinch closed any seams to make the buns as seamless as possible. (If you want, you can roll out the dough and cut rounds with a 4 inch cookie cutter and then do the rise.)

Place buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

If you want, you can give the buns an egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Gingerbread Cake


Well, it’s midway through November, and temperatures are still really high! It doesn’t feel like November, that’s for sure, but the holidays inevitably rush closer.

Paul and I recently went on a Date Night, which we try to do once a week. We hadn’t had one in about a month (thank you, wedding planning!) so we felt it was high time we did so. We did a bit of research (so very indecisive) about where we wanted to go, and settled on one spot for dinner, and going to a different restaurant later for dessert.

What a dessert it was! A Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake and a Gingerbread Cake with roasted apples were the items we chose, and not going to lie, I had to tap out. I got so full on those decadent desserts, I was impressed!

The gingerbread cake, however, left me with a craving to try and replicate it. I took to the internet, and found this recipe. It’s a breeze to whip up, and can be done with pantry staples (if your pantry staples include Fancy Molasses, because mine does!) and some excellent spices. That was the only thing I changed in the recipe. It only calls for ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. I love those spices, but I feel that the ginger-spice flavour is elevated that much more when I also add a tiny bit of nutmeg and cardamom. These changes are reflected in the recipe below.

Keep an eye out though – I’m in the mood to experiment with gingerbread flavours, and this week, I’m planning on trying to execute a Gingerbread Pie as per Paul’s request… we’ll see how it goes!!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch square cake

½ c. sugar
½ c. butter
1 c. Fancy molasses (not blackstrap)
1 egg
2½ c. flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cardamom
1 c. hot water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Grease and flour. (I used my miracle cake release.)

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until smooth. Add in the egg, and beat well. Add the molasses, and beat again to combine.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and all the spices. Whisk together or toss with a fork to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and begin to combine on low speed.

Add in the hot water, and mix until a smooth batter forms. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.Start checking the cake around 45 minutes for doneness.

Allow to cool in pan. Slice, and serve alone or with whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon.

Homemade Pizza Crust


Now, I know that pizza crust isn’t a dessert. I have been mostly sticking to desserts on the blog, with the occasional savoury bread product. Now, there’s nothing wrong with desserts and bread, but pizza crust IS a bread product, and there is nothing like homemade pizza crust.

Cooked properly, and on a proper pizza stone, homemade pizza crust is the bomb. Fluffy, crispy on the bottom, browned nicely on the bottom and on the edges, this recipe isn’t too bread-like, but also isn’t too thin that you can’t enjoy it properly.

I have made pizza crust multiple times, and this recipe is awesome. Firstly, it makes enough for 2 pizzas. Secondly, it freezes beautifully. I actually doubled the recipe, so we were able to make one pizza, then freeze the other three portions to make pizza again.

When you make homemade pizza, as Annie says, be sure that you use a pizza stone. It makes homemade pizza that much better. If you use a pizza stone, however, you have to baby that thing! It must be placed in a cold oven, and preheated with the oven. Don’t EVER put a cold pizza stone in a hot oven – that’s how you crack and break it. Also, you have to let it cool completely in and with the oven. It may stay hot long after the oven, and what I usually do is leave the pizza stone in until the next morning, until I know it’s cool, then take it out of the oven and put it away.

Trust me – but trust Annie – she knows her stuff. In the post I linked you to she also includes a bunch of tips and tricks for pizza making.

P.S. Doesn’t that homemade pulled pork pizza look incredible?!?! Crust from scratch, Paul’s homemade pulled pork, a BBQ sauce base, with bacon and tons of cheese. Man, that pizza hit the spot!

Ingredients

Yield: Enough pizza crust for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones

½ c. warm water
2¼ tsp. yeast
4 c. (22 oz.) flour
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ c. water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a liquid measuring cup, add the warm water, and sprinkle the yeast on top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. Measure the room temperature water into the liquid measuring cup with the warm water and the yeast. With the mixer on low, pour in the water/yeast mixture and the olive oil. Mix until cohesive, then switch to a dough hook and mix until the dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1½ – 2 hours.

After the rise, press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, and form each piece into a smooth, round ball.

If you are freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. If you are using the dough, cover with a damp cloth and let the dough relax for 10-30 minutes.

As soon as the dough is relaxing, place a pizza stone in a cold oven and preheat oven to 500°F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface (I use a cutting board with parchment paper) and shape lightly with floured hands. Brush the outer edge with olive oil, and top the pizza as desired. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling, 8-15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

So, on the subject of lots of leftovers from the wedding, we also had TONS of mint leftover from our Blackberry Mojitos. I made pie with the blackberries, but Paul and I had so much mint left over that we were struggling to figure out what to do with it.
We chopped some of it up fresh, and Paul made us some lamb burgers with mint. We dried some of it out, so we have a store of dried mint if we ever need it. Paul also pureed some with oil, so we have a stash of mint oil in our cupboard now. Finally, I made him save me some fresh mint, and I went on the hunt for another recipe. When the idea of ice cream came to me with fresh mint, I immediately turned to Annie’s Eats, then to Pinterest.

I didn’t have to look far on the Annie’s Eats website, and ended up not using Pinterest at all. Annie’s recipe is absolutely fantastic! It is simple, uses mostly ingredients you should have on hand (I had to run out for some cream cheese and cream, but I usually have those things with me), but it does take some time.

Once you create the ice cream base, you add the mint in, and let it steep. The longer you steep it, the more intense the mint flavour. Annie recommends steeping for 4-12 hours. We steeped the mint in the ice cream base for about 12-16 hours, and as a result, the base smelled so wonderfully minty.

One final note – Paul and I have been experimenting with ice cream for a while now. Most recipes call for heavy cream. The recipes we first tried we used heavy cream, and we found the ice cream left a bit of a film in our mouths. Not the worst thing, but it just made it slightly weird to eat it. We have found, however, that using half-and-half cream solves that problem. This change is reflected in my ingredients below, but the link for Annie’s original recipe is above. Enjoy this ice cream!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 1 quart

2 c. milk, divided
4 tsp. cornstarch
1¼ c. half-and-half cream
Pinch of fine sea salt
2/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1½ oz. (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
Large handful of mint leaves, roughly torn

In a medium, heatproof mixing bowl, tear the mint roughly and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. milk and the cornstarch into a slurry. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remainder of the milk, the cream, salt, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the cornstarch slurry until smooth. Return the pan to the heat, then continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and whisk in the softened cream cheese until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into the mixing bowl with the mint, stir to cover the mint with the mixture.

Place in the refrigerator and let the mint steep between 4-16 hours. The longer you let the mint steep, the stronger the mint flavour.

After the mixture has steeped, strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the mint leaves. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, then freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once frozen, transfer to a container and transfer to the freezer.