Chewy Pecan Coconut Butterscotch Squares

These are the most perfect desert-snack of all time.

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I learned about them from my mother-in-law who is an expert baker. My husband actually told me about them when were first dating a million years ago but I wasn’t that into nutty treats so when I was at his house for some holiday I didn’t even try them. Which is probably good because I was pretty concerned about my figure back then and had about zero dieting skills besides eat-it-all or don’t-eat-any. Plus I’m sure she made them to share and I would have eaten them all. For sure.

It’s actually kind of hard to describe how perfect these are. They are perfect for a potluck (I just took them to one and everyone wanted the recipe, that’s why I’m making this blog post – you’re welcome) they are perfect for holiday parties, they are perfect for birthday parties, the are perfect for any time that there could possibly be cookies or brownies. But those are way over done and someone else is probably bringing them and if you want to stand out as having the awesomest finger-food desert snack than you should bring these.

Side benefit: Everyone will love you.

Or they hate you because they will probably eat way too many and that was not part of their diet and now they have to run two extra miles tomorrow. But that’s ok, running is good for you anyway and really you were doing them a favor because: endorphins.

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These things are super yummy.

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Plus they look kind of healthy right? I mean, look at all those nuts! And that tiny layer of frosting? They can’t be that unhealthy, right? (Wrong)

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Crust

1/2 cup room temp. butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup flour

1/4 t salt

Pre heat oven to 350 F

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Cream butter and sugar

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Mix together flour and salt

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Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 1/4 cup increments blending between each addition.

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Press into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan

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It will be very thin, try to get it as even as possible

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Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

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While the crust is baking make the chewy butterscotchy nutty deliciousness layer

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(See how there is a red X over the butter, that’s because there is no butter in this layer. I totally thought there was so I put it in the picture but I was wrong. No butter)

Nuts and Yum Layer

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon backing powder

2 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup coconut, lightly packed

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

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Chop your nuts and beat your eggs

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Mix your eggs and brown sugar together

(action shot!)

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Add your dry ingredients

(another action shot!)

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Add your vanilla and coconut (so gewy)

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Mix in your chopped pecans

(I was really feeling the action shots)

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Wow. Look at the super sticky nutty goodness? Yumtastic.

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Spread over your crust (which can still be hot)

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Bake at 350 for 25 minutes

When it’s done it should look like this: brown edges, lightly browned top. And your house will smell like heaven.

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Cover in about 1 cup of icing, or just enough so that you can just see through the icing to the nutty yumness.

I already had some icing on hand from making too much for a previous desert so I don’t have pictures of this process but it’s super easy.

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Almond Icing 

2 cups powdered sugar

2-4 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon almond extract (super important)

mix together adding more water to get a texture about like elmer’s glue (sorry, gross analogy but still totally true)

This is what it should look like when you have iced it and it’s still hot, see how you can see bits of the nut layer below the icing? That’s good. Too much icing makes it overwhelmingly sweet and it’s already a very sweet bar.

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Wait for it to cool completely before cutting into rectangles about 1 inch by 1.5 inches. The flavors are better when it is cold. You can eat them warm and they are good, but they are the best after they’ve cooled. This takes a few hours so plan accordingly!

Check it out:

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Oh yeah.

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So good. Much nutty.

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Layers of gewy perfection.

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Scrumptious

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Let me know what you think and what your friends reactions were and how much you love me for telling you about these in the comments below!

 

Blackberry Pie

Blackberry Pie!

Have I mentioned that I love berry season?

I love berry season. And I love that I live in a place where berries literally grow like weeds on the side of the road. My family and I went to the river this weekend to swim and play and ended up filling my son’s beach bucket with these beautiful black berries just because we could.

We got a few scratches here and there (blackberry vines are vicious) but it was totally worth it.

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I was really amazed with how well the berries held their shape. This did not turn into blackberry jam pie, this was for reals Blackberry pie.

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It was kind of amazing.

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Maybe a little too juicy (There is probably a full bottle of blackberry syrup swimming in this pie crust, and yes, I am going to pour it out and save it because: blackberry syrup.)

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Make your double pie crust early in the morning or the day before and keep in the fridge to pull out when needed.

Find a blackberry bush or a blackberry farm and pick about 3 cups of blackberries. (Or spend your life savings buying 12 blackberries for $5 in those tiny plastic clam shells from the grocery store)

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Ingredients:

3 cups blackberries

zest of 2 lemon

2 T lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar (3/4 cup if your berries lean towards bitter)

3 T cornstarch

Pinch of salt

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Mix all your dry ingredients (sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon zest)

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All mixed up

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Squeeze your lemon juice (Fresh is always best!)

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Add the 2 T lemon juice to your dry ingredients

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Mix it up

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Drizzle over your (rinsed) berries

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Toss gently to coat the berries

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Roll out you pre-made crust (I always make mine the day before and keep it in the fridge)

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This will give your berries some time to sit in the lemon/flour/sugar mix. They will lose some juice. I kept that juice in the pie, but if I was to do it again I would drain this off. The berries have plenty of flavor, you aren’t losing anything by draining this juice. You can always boil it and make a nice thick syrup for pouring over ice cream!

See that thick dark juice?? ->>

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Pour your berries into your crust. (I used a pie bird so that the bottom crust would cook well)

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I chose a simple lattice top crust (good with a juicy pie).

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Bake on the lowest shelf for 30 – 40 minutes until juices bubble.

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Let cool 3 or more hours to set. (Mine was still way over-juicy but very good)

Serve with Ice cream :)

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Isn’t it beautiful? It’s really a show stopping pie visually.

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I scooped some of the juice out of the pie and poured it over my ice cream. Yumtastic.

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Double scoop

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Creamy Lemon Icebox Pie

Creamy lemon icebox pie!

The recipe that I used for this pie called it something like “lemon cream cheese pie” but there is such a small amount of cream cheese I felt like that title was a little misleading. It really is more of a creamy lemon version of a key lime pie. I think I’ve said that before about another lemon pie I made.

I like this one better.

It’s smooth and creamy and not-too-tart. Maybe like the coconut cream version of lemon pie.

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Yum.

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I used a deep dish pan and thought it was lacking a little height so I added a layer of whipped cream. The original recipe I followed said to garnish with whipped cream but I love the look of a smooth whipped cream top so I went ahead and slathered it on there.

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* Quick note on timing. This pie requires that you make the first half then let that cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours then come back and make the second half. It’s totally necessary and you can’t skip this step. So, if you don’t have three hours of cooling time choose another pie.

This mid-pie cooling method is kind of fun though because if you do the initial crust and cool then have people over you look like a pie wizard when you say “hold on, let me make a quick pie.” Then throw the rest of the ingredients in the mixer, pour it all in the crust and voila – an amazing, delicious lemon pie in 5-10 minutes flat! They’ll think you’re a super hero. And in the I-can-pre-plan-pie-like-a-boss kind of way, you are. A pie hero!

Pie Filling Ingredients: 

1 1/4 cups water

1/2  cup sugar

1/4 cup corn starch

3 well beaten egg yolks

1/2 cup lemon juice (split) 

1 1/2 T butter

Dash of salt

7 oz (a little less than 1 cup) sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup instant lemon pudding mix

Whipped Cream

 

Graham Cracker Crust:

Pre-heat oven to 350

Smash 1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers (about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs)

Add 3 Tablespoons sugar

Add 1/3 cup of melted butter

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Mix until you have distributed the butter evenly to create nice wet crumbs:

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Press into pie pan and put in oven for 12 minutes (enjoy the smells, they will be very nice. But don’t enjoy them too much because you don’t get to eat any pie for at least 3 hours.)

Remove and let cool.

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Pie Filling:

Separate your three egg yolks (save the whites for something else. Maybe a healthy omelet because you’re going to be eating a bunch of pie soon.)

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Mix the yolks well.

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Combine 1 1/4 c water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup corn starch in a sauce pan.

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Stir the water, sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat until it bubbles and get’s thick. Mine got super thick. Like a giant ball of gack.

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Remove from heat and add about half to the egg yolks. You don’t want the egg yolks to cook so don’t put the hot gew directly in them. I pu them on the sides of my bowl and slowly mixed them in.

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All mixed!

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Now add that yellow mix back into your sauce pan with the rest of your gack and mix.

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Squeeze your lemons

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Add 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 1/2 T butter and mix.

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Stir over medium heat until it bubbles. Or, if yours is super thick like mine, just leave it there until it seems like it would be boiling if it wasn’t the consistency of rubber cement.

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Pour your yellow blob into a bowl.

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Cover directly over the blob with plastic wrap (otherwise it will weep a lot) and put it in the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours.

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Come back in three hours and do this part – yey! Your pie will be done in about 10 minutes! So fun.

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Add your almost-1-cup of sweetened condensed milk, 4 oz or cream cheese, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of jello mix.

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Stir until creamy.

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Add cold-from-the-fridge gelatinous blob.

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Mix until smooth.

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Mmmm.. looks like butter.

Add filling to your (cold) crust:

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Yum! Lemon pie!

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I decided to put my “garnish” whipped cream as a second layer of my pie:

(instructions: make whipped cream, spread on pie)

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Present your beautiful pie to the hungry masses.

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Cut and serve pie-hero. You’re done!

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Looking for a different pie from my blog but don’t feel like scrolling through the archives? Check out my pinterest board dedicated to this blog! I will try to keep it updated with all the recipes on this blog. Friday’s Pie Days on Pinterest

Perfect Peach Pie, A la Mode

I love peaches. They are probably one of my favorite fruits if only because they smell so luscious when I walk past them in the market.

This was my first peach pie ever. I’ve made peach crisp before and I love it. I make it at least once every peach season, so it was a little scary to diverge from that and make a pie. But I’m glad I did! This pie was delicious! And now I have TWO must-make recipes for every peach season! It doesn’t get better than that.

I used an all shortening curst for this pie because I wanted it to be light; I didn’t want the crust to be heavy and detract from the flavor of the peaches. I was very happy with this crust, although next time I would sprinkle raw sugar over the top.

As usual, prepare your crust first and put it in the fridge for 3 hours minimum.

Peach Pie Filling

5/6 cups of sliced peaches. About 10 medium sized peaches.

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup corn starch

2 T butter

1/4 t salt

1 t cinnamon 

1/2 t nutmeg 

First peel all your peaches. It makes it REALLY easy to peal them if you blanch them. Boil water and drop your peaches in for 1 minute.

Remove from water and pull of the skin. It will peel right off leaving all the peach flesh behind.

Slice peaches into 1/4 inch slices. Mine did not want to pull off the pits and were a total pain in the butt to cut. Just do your best!

Pour peaches into a colander to get rid of extra juice and squeeze a lemon over them then toss lightly with your fingers. Doing this in a colander will drain some of the juice so that your pie won’t be soggy.

Mix the dry ingredients (1/2 c white 1/2 c brown sugar, 1/4 c flour 1/4 c cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg)

Pour the peaches into a large bowl and pour the mixed dry ingredients over the top.

Toss together to evenly coat peaches.

Roll out your bottom crust and lay in pie pan.

Pour peaches into pie pan.

dollop your 2 T of butter over the fruit.

Roll out top crust and cut into long strips (if you are making a lattice top crust) or just lay over the top and cut vents.

TaDa! A pretty pie!

OH SHOOT! I forgot to dollop the butter on top!

So I smeared it into the open spots on my crust and everything was ok. Fewf.

Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes then reduce to 350 F for another 30-35 minutes. Pie filling should be bubbling and crust brown.

Let cool for about an hour while you hide somewhere outside so that you can’t smell it and don’t cut it too early. Good thing it’s so nice and warm out, this shouldn’t be too hard. You want to wait until it’s still warm but not too hot.

Serve with ice cream!

Eat outside in the sunshine with friends!

The perfect summer pie :)

Chocolate Chess Pie – AKA Brownie Custard Pie!

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MMMmmm… chocolate chess pie.

This is an absolute must-try-pie for the chocolate lover.

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I first tired this pie at a Loretta Jean’s Pie Bakery. It was the pie of choice for my three year old son and it was life changing. I would easily say it was the best chocolate pie I have ever had.

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Mine was good, but it wasn’t as good as Loretta Jean’s. I think I over baked it. But it was still really really good. I’m going to try again because I know how good it can be and I didn’t quite get there.

For now, I’ll tell you what I did because it had beautiful flavor and was almost perfect in texture. I’m guessing 10 minutes less in the oven and it would have been perfect.

Crust

First, make your crust. A single crust is all that is needed but I always suggest making a double and freezing the extra for another day. For this pie I would suggest a shortening crust with only 1 teaspoon of salt rather than the 2 that my regular recipe calls for.

You are going to pre-bake the crust for this pie. Once your crust dough is ready (has been in the fridge for 3 hours or so) roll it out, lay it in your pan, and poke with a fork. Then cover with tinfoil so none of the crust is showing.

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Fill with pie beans or regular uncooked beans (I have a zip loc of uncooked black beans labeled “pie beans” in my baking cupboard)

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Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes.

Take out of the oven and carefully remove your tinfoil and bean. The crust will still be soft, not fully cooked, so be careful not to pull on the crust and break it.

Put the un-covered crust back in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes.

While it’s cooking make your pie filling.

Chocolate Pie Filling 

3 large eggs, separated (you will use the white and yolks so separate and save)

3/4 c granulated sugar

1/3 c butter melted

1/8 t salt

1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 c buttermilk

1 t cider vinegar

3 T cocoa powder

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, and salt

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In a stand mixer beat the egg whites on med/high until they are stiff and stand on their own.

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Add egg yolks one at a time to the sugar/butter mixture, mixing well between each addition. This is how it should look after all three have been added.

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Stir in the flour, buttermilk, and vinegar, mixing well.

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Mix in 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (If you leave this out it will just be Chess Pie, which I have never tried but is the classic form of this pie!)

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Yum… smooth chocolate yumminess.

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Fold in your stiff egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula.

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Pour the final batter into the (at least mostly cooled) crust.

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Bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes (I thought mine wasn’t done at 25 and put it back in for an extra 15 minutes (whoops) – I bet 30 minutes would have been enough)

When it’s done it will have a domed top which will flatten out about 10 minutes after it come out of the oven – this is a picture with the domed top:

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Let cool to room temperature or about 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream. Enjoy!

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This is seriously, no joke, one of my favorite pies of all time.

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It’s great served with coffee!

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It is a must try for chocolate lovers.

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Try this pie, you won’t regret it!

 

Pulled Pork Tamale Pie With a Polenta Top!

Pie for dinner, it just doesn’t get any better than that.  Well, ok, maybe it does: Mexcian style pie for dinner! With Pulled Pork! Today’s pie is a Tamale Pie with pulled pork and polenta. Today’s pie is awesome. Today’s pie also happens to be gluten free! Today’s pie is the best.

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I love pulled pork and I love cheese and I love salsa and polenta and beans so, obviously, I love this pie. And so did everyone else in my family, including my starting-to-get-picky 3-year-old.

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This is a great comfort food style pie. It is warm and hearty and filled with meat. And it heats up great as leftovers! Plus I made too much pulled pork so I had leftovers of that too, which is just fine by me. I’m already looking forward to BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and pulled pork tacos :) Anyway, back to this delicious pie…

Start by making the pork. It needs to boil for 2 hours so start early.

First get all your ingredients for flavoring your pork while it boils.

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Pulled Pork:

3-4 pounds pork shoulder or butt

4 T Olive Oil

2-3 teaspoons Salt

2-3 Cups chicken broth

3 tomatoes

1 large yellow onion

1 large purple onion

3 jalapenos

8-10 cloves garlic

2 limes

oregano (dry or fresh) to taste (I put 3 fresh sprigs)

Cumin to taste (I put about 1 teaspoon)

Canned Chipotle Peppers to taste (These will make it spicy and smokey, I used 2 peppers from the jar so my 3 year old could eat it, but I would probably have liked 4)

I made 4 pounds of pork, you probably only need to make 3 if you don’t want extra… but who doesn’t want extra pulled pork?

Cut the pork into chunks about the size of a deck of cards, maybe a little smaller, and cut out the big chunks of fat.

Rough chop 1 yellow and 1 purple onion, 3 tomatoes, 3 jalapenos, garlic cloves

Add olive oil to a large sauce pan and all the chopped veggies and any fresh spices

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Saute your veggies until soft

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Add chipotle peppers and dry spices

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Add the chicken broth. Mine was frozen from a chicken I had boiled on a different day.

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Bring to a boil and add your meat.

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Add the juice of 2 limes or lemons limes ar best but if they are super expensive because of a drought in California feel free to use lemons.

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Bring back to a boil for 1-2 minutes and then cover and reduce heat to LOW. Simmer for 2 hours. At the end of two hours your pork should be SUPER tender. I pulled mine out with tongs and if I wasn’t very gentle while lifting it would fall apart!

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Once you’ve separate all your pork from the broth shred it up in a large glass baking dish.

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I added about 1 1/2 cups of broth to the pork after I shredded it so it wouldn’t dry out in the oven.

Place on a high rack and bake at 450 F for 20 minutes so you get those nice crispy tips.

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While your pork is baking you can make your Polenta!

Polenta:

6 cups of water

2 t salt

1 3/4 C Corn Meal

3 T butter

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Bring water and Salt to a boil.

Add the Corn meal, sprinkling it into the water while whisking constantly.

Reduce heat to medium low and cook until it gets as thick as pudding, about 20 minutes. (It will harden up quite a bit after it cools slightly.)

Remove from heat and mix in butter.

Tada! Polenta is done.

Drain 1 can of pinto beans and heat in the microwave, covered, until hot.

Mix the beans with about 2 – 3 cups of pulled pork and fill the bottom of your deep dish pie pan.

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Pour your Polenta over the top, I covered the pork with about an inch of polenta and had some left over which I put in a pan and will eat with a different meal; create the proportion that you think you would like best.

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Add about 1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice to the top. I used a Colby/Jack mix and it was very good, but I may use mozzarella next time.

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Here is a side view so you can see my proportions. I would have liked a little more pork, I only used 2 cups, next time I would use 3.

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Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. You might have to hit the broil button for the last 5 minutes.

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Wow. That’s cheese.

Serve right away while piping hot!

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Eat with your favorite salsa and hot sauce!

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Yum. Yum. Yum.

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Yum.

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Caramelized Banana Cream Pie – Yumtastic

My little sister served carmalized bananas over ice-cream the last time I was at her house for dinner and it sparked this idea in my mind: why have I never had Caramelized Banana Cream Pie? I’ve always kind of found Banana Cream Pie to be an unexciting bland kind of pie… maybe I just haven’t had a good one… but to me caramelizing the bananas seemed like the perfect solution.

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I LOVED this pie. It was sweet and delicious and beautiful and easy!

Use whatever curst you would like – Graham Cracker is a popular option. I made mine with a gluten coconut cookie crust. It was delicious and I would absolutely make it with this crust again (if I could get the crust to hold together a little better).

This sentence is a link to the coconut cookie crust as well as a DIY on making your own coconut flour from shaved unsweetened coconut. 

Make your crust and have it cooled and ready to fill. This pie is a no-bake pie, so make sure you pre-bake whatever crust you choose.

Caramelized Banana Cream Pie Filling

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Corn Starch

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1 1/2 Cup Milk

3 Large Egg Yolks

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a large thick sauce pan.

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Turn heat to medium high and whisk the whipped cream and milk into the sugar and cornstarch mixture.

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Once it is fully incorporated, mix in your three egg yolks.

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Stir continuously until it turns into a thick pudding, about 8-10 minutes.

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Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.

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Mix until fully incorporated. Move pudding to a cold bowl and let cool completely, whisking every now and then so it doesn’t get a thick crust on top.

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While the pudding cools:

Cut up two bananas into 1/4 inch slices.

Put 1 T butter into a hot pan. Add your banana slices. Sprinkle the tops of your bananas with 1-2 T of sugar.

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Flip bananas and sprinkle opposite sides with 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar. Cook until bananas have a dark brown caramel crust.

Cut two more bananas (total of 4 largish bananas) into 1/4 inch slices.

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Arrange the fresh banana slices into the bottom of the crust in an even layer.

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Spread a layer of the pudding over the fresh banana layer.

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Use about half of the pudding.

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Layer your cooled caramelized banana slices over your first pudding layer.

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Cover with the rest of the pudding.

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Whip your heavy whipping cream — sweeten to taste.

Cover the top of the pie with your whipped cream!

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Ta-DA! A beautiful pie :) Put in the fridge and let cool for at least 2 hours. Keep refrigerated.

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Can be served with a salted caramel sauce for extra awesomeness – I had some on hand and served it with the sauce, but it is totally not necessary. This pie stands on its own.

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See the beautiful layer of caramlized bananas? Yum.

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With a salted caramel sauce:

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