my take on my grandmother’s pie…

My grandmother was a great baker. My grandfather used to end every meal telling her he would keep her around for another 6 months… all thanks to her baking abilities! :0) It was something we would all look forward to hearing…

My grandmother’s lemon meringue pie was probably our favourite dessert – Paul would always request it on his birthday. I decided to try my hand at it today – it was so warm and sunny and beautiful outside this afternoon that I wanted to bake something that made me feel the same way.

I made my basic pie crust – and then had to blind bake it. To blind bake just take your pie crust, line it with wax paper and fill it with about 4 c. of dried peas (use them over and over again to blind bake your crusts – just store them after use). I baked it for about 15 minutes at 425 F and then put it aside.

Meanwhile, I put together my pie filling… my whole apartment smelt of lemons (Allison even woke up from a nap and could smell the lemons in her bedroom). I thought it was going to be way more daunting of a recipe than it turned out to be… super simple and really not time consuming at all. Which shouldn’t have been a surprise… I can’t picture my grandmother slaving away in the kitchen…

Isabel’s Lemon Meringue Pie
1 c. sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tbsp (or a little more) Limoncino
2 tsp lemon zest (the zest of an entire lemon)
1 tbsp butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour, water, lemon juice, limoncino, and lemon zest. Put the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring until it comes to a boil and slightly thickens.

Remove it from heat and stir in the butter. Take about 1/2 c. of the mixture and add it to the egg yolks – it’ll temper the yolks and keep them from curdling. Whisk the egg yolks well – once they’re smooth, pour them into the saucepan. Return the pan to the heat and cook it, whisking constantly – bubbles will form in the mixture. That’s when you’ll know that it’s ready to be poured into the prepared pie crust.

Set aside and make your meringue.

4 egg whites
1/4 c sugar

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high until foamy. Incorporate the sugar a spoonful at a time – continue to beat the egg whites until they form still glossy peaks. Spread over the pie, make sure that you seal it well to the crust so that it doesn’t shrink while baking.

Place in the oven and bake, on a top rack, for between 10 and 12 minutes (my oven at that point was so warm that it took 10 minutes).

Remove from heat, cool and then chill. The filling will set and then it’s ready to serve.

Just making this was fun – great memories – and I can’t wait to bake it for my family… I think Mayrse’s visit from Japan will totally warrant it! Enjoy.

good mornin’ muffin :0)

I had some banana’s hanging out in the freezer and wanted to use them – and since I made my banana peanut butter and honey loaf – I decided to try a recipe out of my Super Natural Cooking cookbook by Heidi Swanson (same author as 101 cookbooks website) and found Heidi’s Espresso Banana Muffins.

This is my take on the recipe – I changed it up just a bit. Super delicious. The result is a not too sweet muffin with a little mocha kick – which is never a bad thing :0)

Chocolate-Espresso Banana Pecan Muffins
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. oatbran
2 tsp b. powder
1/2 tsp fine-grain salt
1/4 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
1 c. chopped pecans, toasted
1 tbsp fine espresso powder
1 tbsp dutch cocoa powder
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. plain yogurt
1 1/2 c. mashed bananas (about 3)

preheat your oven to 375 F. Position the racks low in the oven. spray your muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray/ or line with paper liners.

Combine the flour, oatbran, b. powder, salt, 3/4 c. of the nuts, espresso and cocoa powders in a bowl, stir well.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, yogurt, and mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and gently combine them (don’t over mix).

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (I used my ice cream scoop) and top with the remaining 1/2 c. of nuts and bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

I found that this batter made 12 regular sized muffins – baked for 25 minutes and 12 mini muffins – baked for 14 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

Enjoy! healthy and yummy. who could ask for anything more?

Recipe update

I’ve been tweaking the gluten-free brownies… the recipe has been adjusted a little (see below) AND I decided to dress them up a little – using both dark chocolate and white chocolate and marbling them. I’ve very pleased with the final product (and they taste just as great)…

Black & White Brownies
3/4 c. chocolate (decide whatever type you like)
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1/4 c. brown rice flour

preheat the oven to 400 F and grease a brownie pan.

temper the chocolate with the butter over a simmering pot of water – make sure that the water doesn’t touch the chocolate.

I used both white and dark chocolate – so I divided them in half and divided the butter (3 tbsp each) and tempered them each over the water until they melted.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the two flours together.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and eggs. add the vanilla and then the flour. combine. add the melted dark chocolate.

pour into your prepared pan and then add the white chocolate and take the spoon and pull it through the batter – it’ll create a marbled effect.

pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. when baked, remove and place in the ice water (yep, still sticking with that idea) and allow to cool completely.

you should get about 20 brownies. I’ll say it again – I HEART these brownies… enjoy mes amies.