Archive for September, 2013

Peaches ‘n Creme

Peaches 'n creme pie

Peaches ‘n creme pie

Believe it or not, I do bake things other than pies (more diverse posts coming this fall…). But for now, I’d like to continue to share some pie love with you.

I recently bought some beautiful, local, last call for summer peaches and couldn’t wait to head to the kitchen with them. I’m a big fan of a traditional peach pie, but I wanted to try something a little different this time. These chilly mornings are making me crave creamy, comforting sweets (see Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie) and I had the idea to make some kind of peaches ‘n creme dessert. Mission accomplished. This creamy, fruity pie is the perfect combination for a late summer / early fall dessert.

Even though there are three layers to this pie, all are very simple, quick to prepare and well worth the effort. This pie is a looker too. The layers make each slice look fancy and indulgent. Enjoy!

Peaches ‘n Creme Pie
Yield – one, 9-inch pie

One single crust pie shell, rolled into a 9-inch pie plate and par-baked (with weights) at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (recipe here)
Crumble topping (recipe follows)
Cheesecake layer (recipe follows)
Peach filling (recipe follows)

Crumble topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

Cheesecake layer
8 ounces cold cream cheese (not low fat)
1/3 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peach filling
5 medium ripe peaches, pit removed and sliced into half inch slices (removing the peach skin is optional, I did)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (optional), opened and scraped (bean discarded or saved for other use)

To make the layers
To make the crumble topping, mix together the flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the soft butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Use your hands to make sure all ingredients are well combined. Set aside.

To make the cheesecake layer, beat the sugar and cream cheese in a mixer on medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and salt  and continue to beat until all ingredients are incorporated and the mixture begins to thicken, 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

To make the peach filling, place peach slices in a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar, cornstarch and vanilla bean seeds over the peaches and stir until combined.

To assemble the pie
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the bottom of the par-baked, cooled, pie crust. Carefully spread the peach filling over the cheesecake layer, making sure to create an even layer that is slightly mounded in the middle. Break up the crumble topping with your fingers and sprinkle the pieces over the fruit. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 65-70 minutes, or until the crumble topping is golden brown.  Serve this pie at room temperature and store it in the refrigerator.


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Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie

Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie

Welcome fall! That’s right, it’s September already. I’m embarrassed to see how much time has passed since my last post. For those of you wondering, yes, I’m still here! I promise to jump back on the blogosphere with renewed time and energy for the remainder of 2013.

I love pie any time of year. This summer I enjoyed a particularly ripe strawberry pie, which isn’t an easy find. Now I’m excited for cold season pies – cue Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie!

Also known as “desperation pie” and the official state pie of Indiana, a Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie is comprised of a simple and silky custard and single crust pastry. It dates back to the early 1800s as a go to farmers’ dessert once the apple bins were empty. Farmers would depend on their fresh milk and cream to make this simple sweet pastry. It’s still popular in Amish communities throughout the country and in plenty of bakeries and eateries across Indiana.

Despite its name, this custard pie isn’t overtly sweet. But it is American comfort food at its best and one of the easiest recipes I have ever made. For a fun twist, set your whisk aside and try the finger stirring method.

I used half and half in the recipe below, but you can use an equal part mixture of cream and milk if that’s what you have on hand. Use the highest quality dairy products for the best result.

A traditional sugar cream pie has no particular finish. I used a light sprinkling of powdered sugar. You could also sprinkle some raw sugar on top of the custard and brulee it for a nice crunch. My husband says that this pie is best with fresh strawberries. You be the judge.

Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie
Yields one 9-inch pie or tart

1 ½ cups half n’ half
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
One single crust pie recipe (half of the double crust recipe here)

Roll out the pie crust and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan or tart shell. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your pie crust with foil and pie weights, rice or beans. Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes, remove the foil and weights and set aside to cool. Keep your oven temperature at 350 degrees.

To make the custard, combine the flour, sugars, nutmeg and vanilla bean seeds in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the half and half, cream, milk and vanilla extract and whisk just until combined (30 seconds). Do not over whisk the custard or the heavy cream will be begin to whip.

Pour the custard into your pre-baked pie crust and bake for approximately 60-70 minutes. The custard should still jiggle in the center and the top should just begin to get a light golden color. Cool completely and then refrigerate. Serve at room temperature with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

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