Pie Class – Super Sweet Chocolate Pecan Pie

Classes are coming to an end.  I love them, but I am ready to claim my weekends back.  Again, two pies – chocolate pecan pie and chocolate walnut raisin pie.

The corn syrup base to which we add the nuts.  I was happy to learn that one could substitute maple syrup or rice syrup instead of corn syrup.  IMG_6459

Toasted pecans and walnuts.

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Chocolate cookie dough for the pie crust.  That’s right, it’s cookie dough!

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Laying down the nut fillings.

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Now, we didn’t chill our pies long enough before baking so, my wavy pie crust, failed to stay up while baking.  Next time, no rushing!

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When I got home, I made thumbprint cookies with the leftover cookie dough.  A milk chocolate centre.IMG_6471

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I do enjoy pecan pie and the cookie dough crust was an awesome touch.  A tad too sweet for me however, but it was an office hit.  I had line-ups of people clamouring for a slice.  This pie is a winner. =)

Pie Class – Lemon Meringue and Pumpkin

An enjoyable class today.  Everyone was in fine mood and I made the acquaintance of some new table mates.   I am happy when I meet people who share a similar sense of humour.  It is always nice to share a laugh or two.

Today we were taught to make a lemon meringue and pumpkin pie.  Both are considered custard pies of sorts, except one, the pie shell is baked first and the custard cooked on the stove, while the other is baked along with its crust.

First off, the lemon meringue pie.  It begins by blind baking the pie shell.  The dough is rolled out.  Again, I am so happy that I am starting to get better at rolling out dough.  I am learning better technique every time.  We want to ensure the pie crust dough stays cold.  We also ensure the oven is hot, today we have it warmed up to 425 degrees.  It has been docked, to prevent air bubbles, lined with foil and beans to weigh it down.  We bake for 15 minutes just to set the dough, then remove the foil and beans.  Then bake longer until it gains some colour. IMG_6380

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While the pie shell cools, it is time to make the lemon custard.  In a saucepan, we bring water, sugar, salt and lemon zest to a boil.  In a separate bowl, lemon juice, water and cornstarch are mixed along with 5 eggs.  We temper the water, sugar mixture into the egg mixture and then the entire egg mixture is added to the saucepan.  Everything is continuously stirred until thick.  It resembles a lemon yellow pudding.  Lastly, some butter is added, which melts and is well mixed in.  IMG_6392 IMG_6393

By now the pie shell is cool and the custard thick.  The custard is poured into the shell.  IMG_6395

Time to make meringue!  There are 3 types of meringue – French meringue which is uncooked and requires super fine sugar to be whipped into egg whites , an Italian meringue which involves beating hot sugar syrup in to egg whites and a Swiss meringue where sugar and egg whites are heated and then whipped to stiff peaks.

For today’s class, Swiss meringue is the choice.  Egg whites and sugar, heated until hot to touch using a double boiler.  Then whipped for about 15 minutes until cooled and stiff peaks form.  One way to describe the consistency is that it resembles marshmallow fluff.  IMG_6400

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Then using a spoon, or a piping bag, the meringue is layered over the lemon custard.  Using a mini blow torch, we scald the merge to add come colour.  IMG_6407

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Time for pumpkin pie!  The filling is made with pumpkin pulp, brown sugar, eggs, spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg and milk.  Although evaporated milk could be used instead.  IMG_6381

The mixture is then poured into the pie shell and baked until the filling has a slight jiggle and the edges show some colour.

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Today’s class went smoothly and quickly but it was full of great little tidbits of baking advice.  I am so thankful that the chef teachers I have had throughout my classes have been so gracious with their wisdom and with sharing their real world experiences in baking.

Next week one savoury pie and a pie cake.  Stay tuned! =)

Pie Class – Strawberry Rhubarb & Cherry Cheesecake

So begins another session of classes. This time it’s PIES!

I am so very excited to be in this class. From my first one, I am under impression that pies are a lot of work, or perhaps it is because we are baking two different recipes each class. In any case, I am happy to be learning such staple pies as strawberry rhubarb.

Per the norm, ingredients everywhere!

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Pie dough, softening up. IMG_6342

Rolling out the dough. I am very proud, I am getting better at rolling out dough in a circular shape.IMG_6344

The pie filling is made up of rhubarb, strawberry & apple. We cooked down the apples, blanched the rhubarb to make it soft and added the strawberries.IMG_6345

The streusel topping is made up of bread flour, butter, brown sugar, pecans and oatmeal.IMG_6346

Fresh from the oven, piping hot and still bubbling.

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The second pie was a cherry cheesecake pie, also with a streusel topping.IMG_6347 IMG_6348

Pie is always great with ice cream or in this case some vanilla frozen yogurt.IMG_6352

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Pie for supper. =)