Pie Day 7 – Berry Tart – Success(ish!)!!

So, I’ve been struggling with whether a tart counted as a pie, but then the ultimate  pie book:  The Pie and Pastry Bible  or “Pible” as my husband has dubbed it, used a tart as it’s cover photo and I was convinced: tarts are a kind of pie. I’ll get more into the definition of “Pie” later, but for now suffice it to say that tarts count.

So, guess what? This week I made a tart!

I’m not really into tarts. I don’t really like the typical tart crust and since tarts tend to be mostly crust… well, you see where I’m going with this. However, when my little three year old boy finds a book that weighs almost as much as he does with a picture of a berry tart on the cover and lugs that book around to everyone he knows saying, “This one! This one please!” it is clear what needs to be done. I have to find a way to make a berry tart without a crappy tart crust.

And: Success!

Now, I feel like you might be looking at that picture and thinking, wait, that doesn’t look like a tart. That looks like a pile of goop on some bits of crust topped with berries. And you would be right. I destroyed my beautiful crust about half way through and had to just kind of make due. We’ll get to that later.

The point is: the crust was still delicious and the filling was tasty as well, so we’re calling it a Success!

Usually I suggest starting with the crust, but this filling needs a long time to cool down, so in this case start with the filling.


I made the filling that was suggested for the Basic Berry Tart in the Pible: Whipped Cream Pastry Cream.

2 large eggs

3 T cornstarch

2 c half and half

1/2 c sugar

1 t vanilla (or – if you are awesome 1 vanilla bean, split … I used the extract)

a pinch of salt

1 T unsalted butter

1/2 c-1 1/4 c heavy cream (made into whipped cream. I used about 1/2 c)

In a small bowl whisk together eggs and cornstarch.

Gradually add 1/4 cup of the half and half, whisking until the mixture is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved.

 Set aside.

In a heavy sauce pan add the sugar and the seeds from the sugar, rubbing the seeds into the sugar with your fingers. (if you used vanilla extract add it at the end)

If you did not use a vanilla bean add the 1/2 c sugar, pinch of salt ,and 1 3/4 cup of half and half in a heavy sauce pan and and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Temper the egg mixture by slowly pouring about half of the boiling milk mix into the eggs (start with 1-2 T then add another 2 than another slowly, whisking the whole time)

Pour this egg mix through a strainer to remove any cooked bits of egg.

Return the remainder of the milk mix to the stove top and bring back to a boil. (if you put in a vanilla pod, remove it now) Once it is boiling, add the egg mix whisking briskly.

Continue whisking briskly for 30-60 seconds as the custard thickens to a pudding like thickness.

Remove from heat and whisk in the 1 T butter and t of vanilla extract.

Pour in a bowl to cool.

Grease plastic wrap and place directly on top of the custard so that you don’t get a hard film while cooling.

Let cool to room temperature and then cool in fridge until cold.

Whip whipped cream and fold in desired amount right before you put the custard into the crust.

I didn’t use much whipped cream, maybe a cup, and I might not use any next time, it’s up to you. There is plenty of filling.

On to the…

Crust – long ago I had some kind of yummy tartish thing that had a crust that basically tasted like one of These shortbread cookies  (also known as the boring but still yummy cookie in the christmas cookie tin). It was delicious as a tart-like crust. So, I found a recipe that looked like it would make a similar crust.

This is a link to the Recipe I used for the crust, although I made some changes anciently that ended up working out well in the end. (I didn’t use the filling in this recipe however, I made the filling from the Pible.)


2 1/2 C flour

1 t salt

1 T sugar

2 sticks room temp butter

1 large egg

6 T heavy cream

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a mixer.

Once the dry ingredients are well combined add the butter and mix until well combined.

Whisk together egg and heavy cream then add to the flour/butter mix.

Mine was pretty sticky when it was mixed.

Form into a big flat saucer, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.

Grease a false bottom tart pan

Once the dough is chilled roll it out.

Lay in pan, press the edges into the ridges. Cut off the excess leaving about 1/2 inch and then crimp or pinch into shape. Put in the freezer for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 F. Fill crust with tin foil and bean weights. Bake for 20-25 mins. Remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes.

DON’T FORGET THAT THE PAN HAS A FALSE BOTTOM WHEN REMOVING FORM OVEN. You have to hold the sides, not a flat palm in the middle.

Or this will happen:

And you’ll burn yourself.

Yeah. Then you’ll have to make “rustic” pie.

But whatever, it will still be delicious.

Let cool and fill with custard filling and pile on the berries!

Serve immediately and enjoy!


Pie Day 6 – Chocolate Mousse Pie – Success!!!!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I made you a pie 🙂

Actually I made myself a pie. But you can have the recipe and go make one for yourself, too! Or make it for your girlfriend (Women love home-made pie and women love chocolate, this is a win win boys – go, bake, be happy)

This is not just any pie. This is chocolate. Mousse. Pie. Not even “chocolate pie”, this is Chocolate Mousse... pie. I used a mousse recipe for the filling. That’s right. You know those little tiny cups of mousse you get with a little tiny spoon when you order “chocolate mousse” for desert at a fancy restaurant and the whole time you’re eating it you’re giving your date the stink eye and thinking, “why did I agree to share this desert? If they hadn’t given us these tiny spoons it would only be four bites of food!” and then you remember that you ordered 2 deserts and agreed to split both of them but it turns out that no one is really interested in that special “home-made” doughnut when there is chocolate mousse around.

Yeah, this is a whole pie made out of that.

Now, I know there are lots of things called “chocolate mousse pie” out there and maybe I was just looking in the wrong places, but none of the chocolate mousse pie recipes and the chocolate mousse recipes were similar enough for me. I wanted the real deal. I wanted light and fluffy and rich. I wanted mousse. So I made it, and stuck it in a crust. And I’m happy to say, it worked out just right.

On the topic of mousse pie crusts: I asked my husband, who I know loves chocolate pie, what he felt was the proper crust and he said Graham Cracker. But none of the recipes out there called for graham cracker, they called for chocolate cookie or regular pie crust. But I like the graham cracker idea and I like to make my man happy so I made a fun little compromise: chocolate graham cracker crust! I loved it. He still wanted regular beige crackers. C’est la vie. You do whatever sounds best to you. I recommend chocolate graham cracker.


1.5 Cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 c sugar (I would reduce this to 1/4 cup next time)

6 Tablespoons melted butter (I had to add an extra 1/2 T, maybe I didn’t break up the graham crackers enough)

Smash up graham crackers (I put them in a zip lock and let my 3-year-old bash them with a rolling-pin)

Mix crumbs and sugar

Mix in melted butter

Press into pie plate (2 inch deep dish)

Let son lick the bowl


I used This Recipe and added an extra yolk for a little more stability.

Buy some good dark chocolate. Remember, whatever chocolate you buy informs the basic flavor of your mousse.

8 oz chocolate (I only had 6 here so I added some chocolate chips too)

1/3 cup whole milk

3 T sugar

1/8 t salt

3 egg yolks lightly beaten

4 egg whites

1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold

Heat a couple of inches of water in a large sauce pan to a boil.

Break up chocolate and put in a metal bowl that can rest over your sauce pan. Once the water is boiling turn the heat down to medium and place your metal bowl full of chocolate over the steam. Move the chocolate around with a whisk, stirring as it melts. Once melted, set aside.

In a large bowl (this is the bowl all the ingredients will eventually go into) whisk your yolks.

In a small sauce pan heat milk and sugar until sugar dissolves, bring to a boil.

Slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg yolk. Only pour a little at a time – maybe one tablespoon – mixing well between each drizzle so that you don’t scramble your egg! (This is called “tempering the egg”, so if you ever run across the instruction “Temper” in a recipe, this is what it wants you to do)

Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture and whisk until combined.

Yum.. looking good so far! (those bumps are bubbles, it should be very creamy, not lumpy)

In another metal bowl over a sauce pan of boiling water: add your 4 egg whites and mix with a hand mixer until fluffy hot to the touch.

I say “with a hand mixer” because I tried just using a hand whisk the first time and some of the egg cooked, some turned to water, some got fluffy. It was a mess. I couldn’t whisk fast enough. I had to start over with 4 new egg whites.

Here is a picture of the bad egg whites:

See the little white cooked egg bits? See the watery stuff at the bottom?? No good. Start over. You want it all to be fluffy and soft.

Take off heat, add salt, and continue to beat until soft peaks form.

Whist 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Fold the rest of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

I think I need a lesson on “folding in” because I’m not good at it. But still the mousse came out great so, even if you aren’t great at folding, it should be ok. Just do your best. This is what mine looked like half way folded.

Once I had folded it all together (I kind of had to hack up big clumps of egg, maybe I over beat my eggs…) I still had little bits of white floating in the chocolate. I was worried, but it turned out not to be a problem at all. Once the whipped cream was incorporated it all came out smooth.

In a separate bowl (a cold bowl is good but not necessary) whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream until it holds a strong peak.

Mix 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.

Fold the rest of the whipped cream into the mixture.

Pour into prepared crust.

It will be like a fairly thick liquid, don’t worry, it will set.

Chill in fridge for 2 hours.

Mix 1.5 cups of whipped cream in the mixer, add a splash of vanilla and 3 T of sugar as it starts to thicken.

Once thick, spread over the top of your firm mousse filling

Yum. At this piont your pie is done! Congratulations! Now go eat!

Or you can some flair…

Today, because it’s Valentine’s day, I decided to go all out and add a hot-chocolate-mix heart to the top!

To do this, cut out a heart (or whatever shape you like) from a piece of paper then have someone hold the paper right over the pie (as close as they can get without touching) while you sprinkle the hot chocolate mix on! I sprinkled it through a metal strainer so that it fell more uniformly than just shaking it off a spoon.

Eat and enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Pie Day 5 – Oxtail Pie (Also known as Slimy Shallot Pie) – Success??

I don’t know.

I think this pie tasted how it was supposed to taste, I just don’t think it was my cup of tea. The meat was good, but it was a measly amount of meat, maybe half what I would have liked. Particularly because the only ingredients in the filling of the pie besides meat were shallots and peppers. But mostly shallots.

Don’t get me wrong, I love shallots. But a spoonful of slimy shallot gew with hints of oxtail isn’t what I was hoping for from this pie. If I was to make it again I would add more… something. Starch probably. Potatoes in the pie or rice on the side – something to cut through the slime.

On the plus side: I made something with Oxtail! It’s always fun brining  a new ingredient into my life. I’m now totally comfortable with oxtail. Bring on the oxtail.

And my crust was delicious.

Here’s the pics and the recipe in case you want to give it a go. If you do, please let me know how it turns out for you and what changes (if any) you made!

This is a slice from Saturday morning, that’s why it’s hard and not a sloppy mess.

Pie in a pan with folded over crust 🙂  At leaste it looks nice! That counts for something, right??


Always make a pie crust first or have one in the fridge ready. I made a 1/2 butter 1/2 shortening crust and it was perfect. You can make one crust and let the edges fold over or make two and have a top crust, it’s up to you.

Braise the meat and make a broth with these ingredients:

Ingredients for braising/stock:

6 T olive oil split

6 oxtails (I would use 8-10 if I did this again)

5 carrots

4 celery stalks

2 onions (that is what the recipe called for, I used one large one and it was fine)

4 cloves garlic smashed

~3 C red wine

~3 C chicken stock or other stock

Medium chop all veggies

Heat 3 T oil until is shines in a dutch oven on medium-high heat

Brown the oxtails. Add your oxtail 3 at a time, leaving plenty of room around them (about 2 inches around each) you may need to brown in batches.

Once you have browned both sides of all your oxtail, set aside.  If there is anything burnt in the pan, wash before moving on to the next step.

Heat remaining oil and add onions and garlic, cook until fragrant then add the rest of the veggies. Cook until they begin to soften.

Add the oxtail and fill with liquids until it just reaches the top of the meat.

Bring to a boil and then simmer with lid on for 4-5 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.

This is not the prettiest picture but see how the meat is literally falling off the bone? That’s how you want it.

Next strain all the veggies out of your broth, you will be using 2 cups of the broth in your pie filling.

Pie Filling:

 Filling Ingredients 

3 T olive oil

6 shallots (used 5 because they were big)

4 cloves garlic

8 sweet and hot peppers (I used 8-10 because they were small)

2 T butter

5 T flour

2 C stock

Oxtail meat (with 6 oxtails I ended up with about 1 cup of meat)

Separate all the oxtail meat from the bone/fat (I suggest using your fingers, there isn’t much meat and it’s hard to find with a fork)

Cut your garlic into thin slivers

Medium chop all your veggies removing seeds from peppers.

Heat your olive oil to med in a heavy pan (I washed and re-used the same pan)

Mix in shallots and garlic and heat until soft. Add peppers and heat about 10 minutes.

Add 2 T butter and let melt.

Mix in flour.

Mix in 2 cups of stock and meat. Stir and let thicken.

Heat oven to 425 F

For a single crust pie: roll one pie crust and lay in a cast iron skillet. Do not cut edges. Pour filling into crust and lay the edges over the filling.

Spread a wash over the crust (optional: I forgot)

Cook for about 30 minutes until crust is browned.

Let cool slightly and serve. I suggest serving it with something like rice or mashed potatoes – maybe even a mashed potato top! If you use extra meat and reduce the shallots this might not be necessary. Or if you just like slimy onion pie, then serve as is.


Pie Day 4: Buttermilk Pie – Success!!!!

Oh me, oh my, oh Buttermilk Pie.

Why had I never heard of this amazing, light, fluffy, custard pie? Maybe it’s because this pie isn’t as flashy as some of the other pies out there. She doesn’t flaunt herself, she doesn’t always have just the right event to attend, she just carries on, out of the spot light, being absolutely amazing and knowing all the while that anyone who takes the time to get to know her will fall in love with her. That’s the kind of pie this is.

This is a pie you should make:

1. Any time you have a cup of left over buttermilk

2. Anytime you are going to a potluck brunch and want to be the star. This pie is a great breakfast pie – and it is absolutely amazing paired with coffee, in fact, I’m eating it with a cup of coffee right now. Speaking of which…

3. Anytime you are drinking coffee

4. Anytime you want a light sweet desert

5. Anytime.

This pie does not need a special occasion. This pie is quick and easy to make, it isn’t too heavy or oppressive, it is a perfect everyday desert.

I made a raspberry sauce for the side and really liked the addition, although it’s completely not necessary. The pie has such a delicate taste and feel (super light and fluffy) that some may feel the raspberry sauce is too overpowering. It’s up to you.

To Make This Pie:

First, make your basic pie crust. I made a half butter, half shortening crust and I think it worked perfectly for this pie.

After your crust has cooled in the fridge for a good three hours minimum: roll it out, lay it in your pie pan, put it back in the fridge

Buttermilk Pie Filling Ingredients (I used This Recipe, it was perfect, I’m re-writng it below)

3 Large Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

2 T Flour

1 Stick Butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 Cup Buttermilk

2 t Pure Vanilla Extract


Heat oven to 325 F

Melt butter and set aside to cool

In a mixer (or a bowl) beat eggs slightly

Mix sugar and flour together well

Slowly mix the sugar/flour mix into the eggs, mix until creamy

Add melted butter into the mix, mix well

Mix in buttermilk and vanilla extract

You will now have a very runny mix. That is how it is supposed to be. Take your pie crust out of the fridge and fill will the mixture

Put in the oven at 325 F for 45 minutes – 1 hour. (Mine took 55 minutes) when you take it out jiggle it. It should jiggle. You’ll know it’s done when the middle doesn’t jiggle More than the sides. The jiggling should be uniform throughout the pie. You’re going for a uniform jiggle.

Set on a pie rack and let cool (it took 2-3 hours for mine to cool to a nice warm pie, it is also amazing cold)

Slice and serve with any combination of whipped creme, raspberry sauce, and coffee. Or eat it on its own, because it’s perfect like that too!

Raspberry Sauce

Pour 1 bag of frozen raspberries (8-10oz) in a sauce pan add 1 T lemon juice and sugar to your liking. (It’s a sweet pie so you may want your sauce more tart to even out, but keep in mind the pie is very light so too tart can over power the pie.) Stir until the berries turn into a sauce and are warm.