Baking Bible post: Mud Turtle Pie

Many layers of deliciousness make up this Mud Turtle Pie. First is the flaky cream cheese crust, seen here rolled out and patched up, and then with one of my big cold brew coffee filters sitting on top of it filled with rice so it will keep its shape as it bakes:

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and here it is post-baking, and ready to fill.

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Speaking of filling:

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Yummy chopped, toasted pecans (don’t ask me about the ones I burnt trying to multitask for this recipe, I’m still mourning them!) and the brown sugar sauce that will surround them. Using golden syrup instead of dark corn syrup definitely improved the flavor. Let me just warn you though; avoid the plastic squeeze bottles of golden syrup unless you’re planning to use the whole bottle up soon. I had some that was a couple of years old that had crystallized in the bottle. I managed to warm it up and retrieve most of it, but the process would have been much simpler with a can.

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Now the chocolate! Dark and white chopped chocolate into the food processor, add warm heavy cream¬† and presto! Licking the bowl afterwards was my reward. ūüėČ

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Here’s the pie pre-ganache while I’m still adding the custard, and fresh from the oven.

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Ta-da! That’s what my daughter said when she showed me the turtle she’d made for the pie. It has peanuts, not pecans for legs and head because she got so excited by the challenge that she didn’t come upstairs to ask me where the pecans were, she just used peanuts. I think it came out pretty well anyway.

Baking Bible post: Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year

slice nestled 2 2048x1536Today I’m beginning with the end in mind, as author Steven Covey advises. Here’s the cake I made last week on the Jewish New Year. It was tasty, if I do say so myself! I took the liberty¬† of interpreting¬† Rose’s suggestion of creme fraiche with the cake to mean whipped cream, since I know my family is partial to it. It was good, if extra sweet.

Backing up, here’s what the ingredients looked like:

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Here are the spices waiting to be mixed with the dry ingredients. Lots and lots of spice here! I loved the complexity they added to the cake.

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The spices are added into the flour here.  Just enough cocoa in the mix to darken the cake and add a deep flavor note without any detectable chocolate flavor.

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The dry and wet ingredients are ready to be mixed together. Look how much liquid!

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Pre/post oven shot. Looks much better afterwards, I must admit.

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Finally, here’s the post-slice view. ūüėČ

NPR had a piece on honey cake right around Rosh Hashana, calling it the Jewish fruitcake. Their point was that both cakes have a long history, and recipes from 100 years ago were written for people with different expectations from desserts. I’ve had honey cake made from old recipes and it was definitely denser and more clove-y, with less complex spices than this cake.¬† Let’s just say I thoroughly enjoyed the end I began with this week.

Baking Bible post: Pepparkakor

Can you say pepparkakor three times fast? I sound a little like a parrot when I do. Curious about the name, I Googled it and found that it sounds much nicer when pronounced by a native Swedish speaker than when I   attempt it. Here: pepparkakor.

Pepparkakor are peppery gingersnaps. Luckily for me I read this recipe through a week before I was planning to make them, so I knew to save the cardboard from a  paper towel roll to use as a mold.

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And of course, the all-important freshly ground pepper:

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After that, everything came together nicely. I particularly like the way the molasses looks being added to the butter.

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Here’s the dough going from mixer (see those ribbons of molasses top left? yum!) to a log ready to be wrapped up and frozen in a cardboard tube. It was hard, wrapping the dough up and leaving it in the freezer overnight before baking any of it! But I was sure it would be worth the wait.

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cookies ready to bake
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and ready to eat!

And they were.

One last note; I made granola while my cookie dough was chilling. By chance I’d decided on ginger granola. Pro tip; crumbled pepparkakors make a great addition!

Baking Bible post: Luscious Apple Pie

apples at the ready finished pie

Two observations here. First, no, no, noooo why did you make me bake an apple pie on Labor Day when I’m trying so hard to hang onto summer? Sigh.

Second, I need better lighting or something. My pictures of sliced apples and cinnamon were not appetizing, so this post will be light on visuals.

My cream cheese crust making technique is definitely improving. I got everything refrigerated, and whizzed up into the right texture in the food processor, then rolled out into a pretty good-looking dough.

The technique of thickening cider with cornstarch and reducing the apple juices was intriguing. I’ve been thinking of buying some boiled cider to make pies with. Now I think I’ll have to try it just for comparison’s sake.

I had pie for breakfast. The verdict: very tasty!

pie slice