Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread

I hope everyone made it through the hurricane okay. I know we didn't get hit as hard as expected. We had a few trees down, some flooding in the area, and power outages. We didn't have power for close to 48 hours, which compared to the 7 days we were told it would be, it wasn't bad at all.

But, you know, everyone around is complaining "I can't charge my phone!" "I can't watch TV!" "I can't see anything!" But I kinda liked it. No, I really liked it.

Now you get to do things like cook dinner over a fire (or a charcoal grill, close enough), force people to play Scrabble with you, bathe in the backyard (alright so that was just me, the rest of my family decided to shower at Grandma's. BORING.), and bake. How do you bake when your electric oven has no power, you ask? On the grill! We're just reaping resourcefulness over here. The only downside: power outages=no internet=no posting. So here I am a week later finally able to report back to you. I can't rub sticks together and get the internet to work, people. I tried.

So skillet cornbread can be a little tricky when working with a charcoal grill, just because the temperature isn't so easy to control. More oxygen, less oxygen, hot on this side, extremely hot on that side. It's just complicated. But I suggest just letting the coals go for a while, tweaking the amount of oxygen getting to them and using a thermometer so when the lid is closed it's somewhere between 350-420 degrees F. Dad also made the note the when baking on the grill KEEP THE LID CLOSED. Like, barely even peak at it. Since most of the heat is hitting the bottom of your pan, you need as much heat getting to the top of the pan as possible. And strategically place the pan near the edge of the grill or wherever it's a little less like the depths of hell.

Now that we've had that little pep talk, I think we're ready.

Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread
Adapted from Taylor Takes a Taste, which she calls "Perfect Cornbread," and she's not kidding!

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter, plus another 1/4 cup for the pan (I suggest using salted butter)
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 Tbsp chopped jalapeno

Get your grill ready, aiming for 400 degrees F (or preheat your oven....). Put the cast iron pan on the grill to heat up while you make the batter.Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices together. Add wet ingredients and stir until just combined, then add the corn and jalapeno. When ready to bake, put the remaining 1/4 cup of butter into the skillet and swirl to coat the pan. Immediately add batter and place back on the grill. Bake for about 30 minutes, depending on the temperature (we had ours around 425 degrees and it took almost 30 minutes). The middle should be just set (not liquid-y, but not dry).

The butter will bubble up over the batter once it's poured in. And not to boast, but I'm pretty sure I should be a hand model. 

Voila, we have cornbread! It's TV magic in blog form! 

This makes a pretty spicy cornbread to average folks, so use less (or more!) jalapeno depending on what you like.

Just doin' the dishes old school style, using a puddle in the yard. Disregard the basketball hoop laying in the driveway. And the flour hand print on my butt (it is my own THANK YOU VERY MUCH). 

Have a wonderful storm-free day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Coconut Cake

I feel bad. It's only been a little while since I started this blog and already this week I had such little time to devote to it. I promise it'll change! Work has been crazy busy! And I love every second of it. But at this point we should probably all just live at the restaurant. It'd be way more convenient. Plus there's tons of amazing food. And really comfy booths. And lots of booze. I think it could work. Right now my days consist of going to the gym and going right to work, then coming home late and sleeping. Where does baking fit in? I'm thinking I found a solution, but it's something I can't mention yet (even though I'm really, really, really excited!).

Well, the temporary non-solution solution was having my mom bake this cake for me. Is that an ultimate blogger sin? I guess it'd be worse if I pretended like I did it myself and didn't tell you. Anyway, luckily for me she's amazing in the kitchen and is the sole reason why I decided to spend any time in there in the first place. And so the only thing I had to do on my day off was whip up some frosting and custard and assemble the cake.

You know what else that left time for? If you guessed spending time with my family, you're wrong. It's drinking.

Fine, I was drinking with my family, so I guess I'll give you half credit (that's the elementary teacher side of me coming out, which doesn't happen often because THERE ARE NO JOBS AVAILABLE. Let's change the subject before things get all political up in here). Back to the alcohol. (Oh, and don't act like your elementary school teachers didn't enjoy a drink every once in a while. Don't you dare judge me. I'm just real, people. And a recent college graduate. There needs to be a buffer period, and that time is now.)

So the other day my dear little cousin, all ten years of him, blurted out, "You were happy drunk at your graduation party." Let me explain. Okay, there's not much to explain. There was way too much to drink and I guess I felt the need to take control of the situation. At least I was the "happy drunk cousin" and not the "angry drunk cousin" or the "emotional drunk cousin" or the....I'll stop there. Anyway, we've moved forward. But as we parted the other day, my too-wise-for-his-mere-ten-years cousin left me with a piece of advice (by yelling across the parking lot):

"Amanda. Do not drink alone! That's when it gets bad."

Thank you, kind sir. I will truly keep that in mind. I hope you learn from my mistakes, dearest cousin. Though it seems you know my mistakes before I even make them.

By the way. If you enjoyed the doughnuts in the last post, check out said cousin's website: United Doughnut Kingdom. That's right, a whole internet kingdom devoted to doughnuts. I'm not sure what could be better. Oh, and don't be upset if you missed the Doughnut Meeting that he had scheduled on April 15th, I'm sure there are plenty more to come. This website craftsmanship must run in the family or something.

You want me to get on to the recipe, you say? Fair enough, we'll continue to discuss my life's mistakes and mishaps another times. And I know that last sentence didn't make sense (and yes, I know I will be teaching your children someday), I just know these types of discussions are bound to occur on many, many occasions to come.

So, coconut cake. I didn't bake this cake. I admitted that. So I'm not going to claim to revamp a recipe or give you the play-by-play. But what I will do is give you the link. Cause this cake was awesome (as is the lady who made it!), and if you need a coconut cake recipe, let it be this one.

Coconut Cake

I had leftover buttercream so I crumb-coated the cake with that, and made a Swiss meringue buttercream to frost and decorate it. The filling was a chocolate custard that was super easy to put together (and the solution to having 5 egg yolks leftover from the frosting).

Chocolate Custard
5 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until fluffy and light yellow. Over medium heat, heat milk, heavy cream, chocolate and espresso powder until it begins to bubble around the edges of the pot (not boiling!). To temper the eggs, use a ladle to slowly add some of the milk mixture to the egg yolks while whisking constantly. After adding about a cup of the milk mixture to the egg yolks, strain the egg mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk. Whisk the mixture over medium-low heat until it thickens (it should happen fairly quickly). Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed right on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Cool custard completely in the fridge to finish thickening before using.

The ruffle technique has been featured on many blogs, so I'm sure it's nothing new to you! This was my first attempt and I'd like to take my time next time. Even if you don't make this cake all ruffly or it's not your grandma's 80th birthday, you should make it, 'cause it's just plain delicious. Happy birthday, Grandma!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homemade Yeast Doughnuts

Every Sunday growing up my family and I would go to church, immediately after going straight to Grandma's house for coffee, doughnuts and bagels (7 year-olds drink coffee, right? This may or may not be the reason I currently drink a minimum of 3 cups of black coffee a day). The doughnuts didn't come from some franchise shop (I'm not Munchkin hatin'-- those things are amazing, especially for bribing people), but from a local bakery, making them something special. I'm not a fan of cream-filled things (sorry!), or jelly-filled things (sorry again! This on top of what I admitted to in the past, I'm starting to question why I even bother to bake...), so obviously I went for the frosted doughnuts with sprinkles. Beautiful, colorful sprinkles. So when I decided to make doughnuts of my own, that's exactly the kind I made. No cream, no jelly, just sprinkles.

Adapted from Alton Brown
Homemade Yeast Doughnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup shortening 
  • 2 packages instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (lukewarm to the touch, not hot!)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface (Alton suggests you weigh the flour, which I did and it worked perfectly. Unfortunately that means I don't have it converted into cups...)
  • 1 gallon frying oil (peanut is best, but I used canola) 

  • Place shortening in a bowl. Heat milk over medium heat, just enough to melt the shortening. Pour warm milk into the bowl with the shortening. In a separate bowl put warm water and sprinkle with the packets of yeast, allowing to dissolve for 5 minutes. Transfer the yeast mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the shortening/yeast mixture when it only slightly warm. Next add eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and half of the flour, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the rest of the flour on low speed, then switch to medium speed and beat until well-combined. Change to the dough hook and beat the dough until it's smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 3 minutes). Grease a large bowl and transfer the dough. Let rise for an hour until the dough has doubled. Roll out the dough on a generously-floured surface to about 1/2 inch think. Using a biscuit cutter, doughnut cutter or whatever large and small round cutter you'd like,* cut out your doughnuts. Place on a floured surface or baking sheet and cover with a towel. Allow to proof for 30 more minutes. Place a cooling rack on top of a sheet pan. Heat oil to 365 degrees F. Fry the donuts (a couple at a time, don't overcrowd!) for a minute per side, until cooked and light golden brown. Place cooked doughnuts on cooling rack and allow to cool before glazing. 
  • *I used a larger glass for the doughnut and a shot glass for the hole. I just finished college, don't judge. 

  • Vanilla Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp* milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Combine ingredients and mix well. *Add more or less milk to reach desired consistency.

  • Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp softened butter
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup

  • Heat cream over double boiler until it just begins to bubble. Pour over bowl of chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for a couple minutes, then slowly whisk to combine. Add butter and corn syrup and mix well. Cool slightly before glazing doughnuts. 

  • Dip or drizzle donuts in glaze of your choice, and top with sprinkles (absolutely not optional).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Specialty Cakes

There's no recipe for this post--mostly pictures and a few words so there's less opportunity to embarrass myself in front of you, cause I'd really like to keep you around. I wanted to share some of the specialty cakes I've made for people in the past. I'll probably do it over the course of a few posts, so I don't overload you with cakes! (If that's even possible...) The quality of some of these photos is really exceptional and definitely not taken with my phone. Just sayin'.

Leopard Cake: Devil's food cake with cookies and cream buttercream
This cake was raffled off during a promotional event!

Butterfly Cake: Vanilla bean cake with key lime custard and vanilla buttercream
I made this cake for my 21st birthday. It was a combination of lots of my favorite things: vanilla bean, key lime and butterflies.

Pink Blossom Wedding Cake: Chocolate and vanilla cake layers with fresh strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream
This cake was for the wedding one of my best and most amazing friends. So happy I was able to be a part of her big day!

Global Outreach Cake
Donated to an event for a friend from school!

Marist Rugby Ball Cake: Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream
Made for the great guys on Marist's rugby team! 

Guinness Cake: Red velvet cake with chocolate-hazelnut filling and cream cheese frosting
It may be deceiving that this cake isn't actually made with Guinness, but it ended up incorporating many of the birthday girl's favorite things!

Coral Damask Cake: Devil's food cake with raspberry-orange filling and chocolate buttercream
Happily made for my aunt's birthday!

Monkey Baby Shower Cake: Bottom tier--Peach cake with vanilla buttercream, Top tier--Banana cake with salted caramel frosting 
This cake was made for the same amazing friend as the wedding cake. She couldn't have picked a cuter theme!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Southern Homemaker Cake

I start work in a restaurant on Monday. I couldn't be more excited! I'll finally get paid for being around food even if I'm not making it, instead of being around payrolls (which is equally as exciting with all those paper cuts...and ringing phones...and freezing cold offices. Just, you know, not for me.). And as with any new job, I'm a little nervous. But I'm not nervous about what I'll be doing or who I'll be working with. No. There's only one thing I'm nervous about....


I feel it's kind of important in this blog for you to get to know me as much as my food, and I've tried pretty hard to give you some insight into who I am and what I'm about. Well, you wanna know something? I'm clumsy.

Memorable Clumsy Moments:
-Four years old: Mama thinking I need glasses because I constantly miss the doorway and run into the wall.
-Ninth birthday: Missing a branch while climbing trees with all my nine-year-old friends and breaking my wrist.
-Not too long ago: Falling on the treadmill while running at the gym. Worst. Fear. Come. True.
-Daily: Falling upstairs, whacking my head on the top of the car door, and/or tripping over sidewalk cracks.
-Miss New Jersey USA 2009 Pageant: Round two of evening gowns, tripping over my dress in front of hundreds of people.

Okay, that didn't really happen, but I pictured the scenario nonstop until it was over and I successfully was able to move one foot in front of the other on stage in blinding light. How horrified did you feel for me just then though? You were probably like, "Wow this girl is really is embarrassing and if I'm seen reading her blog her embarrassing-ness is probably going to seep through the screen and infect my life forever so I should probably just exit out of this now while I still have a chance." But you don't have to do that, cause I'm not that embarrassing.

I digress.

So now that I'll be wearing high heels every day and walking constantly, the risk of tripping greatly increases. I'm sure I could throw together a line graph or a flow chart that demonstrates these relationships, I mean, if you're more of a visual learner.

I wonder if classy Southern women are clumsy? I bet they're not.

So I made this cake today. I call it my "Southern Homemaker Cake," just because when I looked at the finished product I could see it sitting on a dining room table next to a giant plate of fried chicken, like it was effortlessly thrown together (I wish I could say it was effortless...). And don't question the cake and fried chicken combo--you know you'd love that meal.

This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe. Technically calls it "Chocolate Mocha Cake," but no one ever picks up on the coffee flavor, so I just use it as plain, amazing chocolate cake. I usually change recipes around and tweak them here or there, but this one's so good as is, no tweaking needed.

Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1 cup hot water (I use hot coffee)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9" round cake pans. Put all ingredients, except espresso powder and hot water/coffee, in mixing bowl. Combine and mix on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Dissolve espresso powder in hot liquid then slowly add while mixer is on low speed (batter will be on the thinner side). Transfer to cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean.


Vanilla Buttercream
I use Wilton's recipe, which also doesn't need tweaking!

1/2 cup butter*
1/2 cup shortening*
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
*Sometimes I use a full cup of butter and omit the the shortening, or all shortening can be used for a more pure-white frosting.

Cream butter and shortening together. Slowly add sugar until completed incorporated. Add vanilla and milk and whip until light and fluffy. More or less milk can be added for a softer or stiffer frosting.

Cherry Buttercream Filling
1 cup vanilla buttercream
3/4 cup chopped cherries, divided
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar, more or less depending on the sweetness of the cherries

Simmer 1/2 cup of the cherries, water and sugar together over medium heat until liquid reduces by half and a syrup has formed. Cool cherry syrup. Slowly whisk into vanilla buttercream until fully incorporated. Stir in remaining cherries. Frosting will be thin and best used as a filling.

I decorated the cake with fondant and gum-paste blossoms, but it by no means needs the extra work! Because the amount of work is directly related to the amount of devastation when you trip carrying the cake and and it explodes on the floor. Luckily this hasn't happened...yet. 

PS- Happy Birthday Mrs. Miley! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lavender Pale Ale: Part II

I hope you're not totally lost from the last post. I'm a little lost myself. I don't even remember where we left off. Oh, right..needing beer to make beer. I must have taken that a little too seriously and blacked out (totally kidding). 


Moving on. So after the hops are added and the wort boils a little longer, it has to be cooled. It's done by inserting a copper coil thing attached to the garden hose. (I thought we agreed on not making things technical?) 

Taking a sample of the beer. Which isn't even alcohol yet so it's basically pointless. Oh, I was just informed that it's needed for more important numbers and things that are beyond my brain capacity right now.

The wort is then strained and transferred to the primary fermentor (...I  mean a big, plastic bucket). 

That's the lavender!

Finally, the yeast is added and the lid is secured. 

My brother holding the bag o' yeast. Note his Bonnaroo shirt...he would feel this is necessary to point out. 

Well, that's the gist of it! Not too shabby, eh? The hardest part comes next...for a few weeks it'll sit in the big, plastic bucket bubbling away. Then we'll transfer it to the carboy where it'll sit for a few more weeks. Then keg it, let it sit, then DRINK IT. FINALLY. (Dammit, beer, you're almost worse than waiting in line for the ladies' room at a sporting event.) I'll post random updates, but I hope you enjoyed a little insight into a pretty typical weekend around here! Unless I just completely freaked you out...yeah I'll just stick to the baked goods for a little while. 

PS-Here's the pizza we made with the spent grain dough, in case you were wondering. Even if you weren't wondering I'm going to show you anyway. That's right, because I can. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lavender Pale Ale: Part I

I like to think my family is pretty "normal," whatever the heck that is. I mean, we all genuinely get along and enjoy each other's company (unless they secretly have always been annoyed by my awkward jokes and love of country music and haven't told me, which is definitely plausible. Update: My brothers have since made it very clear that they, in fact, do not enjoy my company, and reminded me that they tell me on almost a daily basis that I'm weird and a nuisance in their lives. Who knew? Must've blocked that out).

However. I no longer think we're normal. I believe it hit me while sitting in a circle of lawn chairs in the back yard, surrounding a boiling pot of water in 90 degree weather, with this music blaring from giant speakers that are pressed up one of the windows. I wouldn't blame you for thinking there's witchcraft going on back there. Or a 70s funk convention. Either way, both sound kinda fun. So even if a misinterpretation of my family being normal has dramatically changed the way I view the past 20+ years, at least we're having fun turning people into rabid animals making beer.

For those of you who don't know, brewing is quite a process. Thus why I will be sharing it with you over a couple of posts. From deciding on a recipe to having the finished, drinkable product, it can take over a month. My dad and brothers are the main force behind brewing in this house, but my mama and I offer our (obviously well-informed) opinions, temperature-gauging abilities, excellent (and definitely not intrusive) photography skills, and snacks (my God, I can't believe I just used that word. I despise that word in the way that most people despise the word "moist." Did you just cringe? Well, I hate the s-word, so don't expect to hear it again. And don't ask questions.)

For this beer, we wanted to use herbs we have growing in the garden. So step one was gathering a bunch of herbs and making tea out of them to decide on a flavor that we liked.

1. Sage 2. Lavender 3. Costmary 4. Chocolate Mint 5. Rosemary 6. Tarragon 7. Oregano 8. Savory 
9. Broadleaf Sage 10. Thyme 11. Hop Flowers

We decided lavender was the most enjoyable and settled on it for this beer. Pretty girly if you ask me, Dad, but you didn't. So moving on. (Just kidding, it was a great choice, Pops. The rest were kinda gross.)

Next we got the grains we wanted to use: 9 lbs of 2-row, 1 lb Crystal malt 60L, and 1 lb of Victory malt. (You totally understand what that means, right? Cause I definitely do.)

This is bound to get slightly technical. Technical=boring. So you might want to just look at the pictures. That's what I'll probably do so I don't fall asleep reading this later. 

When it came time to brew, we created a mash by mixing the grains with hot water. After letting the mash sit at 155 degrees F for a little while, the liquid is extracted and the spent grains are disposed (or used to make pizza dough. Refer to paragraph 1 for reasons why my family is not normal). This precious liquid is the wort. 

The mash


I'm over technicalities. You are, too? That's what I like to hear. Yeah, so then we boil the wort for a while, certain temperatures, specific timing, yada yada...Well, if you really want to know you can ask and I'll refer to the brains behind this operation. (Oh, you thought that was me? That's so kind of you.) 

It's during this time that the lavender and hops are added. We used hop pellets and hop flowers we have growing in our garden. 

Oh, snap! I almost forgot the most crucial part! 

"It takes beer to make beer."

Did you grab yourself a brew too? Good. Check back for Part II to see the rest of the process! And keep drinking...maybe you'll actually find my humor less awkward that way (unlike my family). 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lime Ombre Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ah, the first of my cake posts. There are plenty of these to come! I've made a lot of cakes in my day (I like statements that make me sound wise beyond my years), but to be quite honest...I'm not a fan of cake. Is that allowed? Is it too soon to tell you that? Please still order my cakes, I swear there's still a good helping of love in them! I like the blank slate that a cake gives me to be creative with flavors, colors, and decorations. I think the frosting is where it gets's just too sweet. So this particular cake was not sickeningly sweet, but by all means add more sugar/reduce the salt to your liking!

Lime Ombre Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Vanilla Cake recipe adapted from Rock Recipes
Lime Ombre Cake:
1 1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt 
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
2 cups white sugar
4 room temperature eggs
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
3/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 plain Greek yogurt
Food coloring of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 9" round cake pans with  butter, flour and parchment (you'll need 4 pans total, but I only have two--so I baked the first two layers, allowed them to cool a bit, removed them from the pans and re-greased them for the last two layers). Sift together flours, baking powder and salt. In a mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Alternate adding dry ingredients with wet ingredients (milk and lime juice) until just combined. Gently fold in yogurt. Divide batter into fourths. Add  enough food coloring to 1/4 of the batter to reach the darkest desired color. Add a little less food coloring to the next 1/4 (about half as much used for the darkest layer). Add even less to the next 1/4 of batter (very little food coloring at this point to reach a pale hue). No food coloring is necessary for the final layer. Bake each layer for 10-12 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, but not completely dry.

Adapted from Sweetapolita
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
5 room temperature egg whites
1 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
4 sticks butter (I used salted, but would probably use unsalted next time)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Food coloring for decorating

Using a double boiler method, whisk egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pot of simmering water until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch (or 140 degrees F if you feel like getting technical). Transfer egg white-sugar mixture to a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and whip until fluffy and cooled (this may take a little while!). Change to a  paddle attachment and beat in butter one tablespoon at a time. Mix in salt and vanilla. Finally, you can color some of the frosting for decorating, if you'd like!
Note: Many recipes call for one pound, or 4 sticks of butter for Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but I think I'd use less next time. It deflated the fluffy egg whites quite a bit, and a whole pound just didn't seem necessary. So I'll test it out and report back!

To assemble the cake start with the darkest layer on the bottom, moving up gradually with the lightest layer on top, laying buttercream in between. Then frost and decorate!

This method has been popping up quite a bit lately and takes very little extra effort, but makes quite the impact! Just don't try frosting a cake in 100 degree weather. Learn from my mistakes, my friends. I mean, we're still friends, right? Even after admitting my true feelings about cake? Ok, good, just checking.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Pie with Almond Crust

As I'm sure with many people, lots of times I get ideas for recipes out of nowhere. A picture will pop up in my mind of something I have yet to create, and then I'm on an all-out quest to make it. At least I think this happens to everyone...(though I shouldn't assume as much...last time I had a similar thought it turned out I had this). Anyway, this recipe is a result of one of those mind pop-ups (brain spam?), and I'm really glad I went with it! Key lime pie is my all time fave, and this pie definitely has some of the same things going on. Nice and summery, and super easy to throw together!

Lemon Poppyseed Pie with Almond Crust
Original Recipe

Almond Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup ground almonds
7 Tbsp melted butter (I use salted)
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. Press into a pie dish and bake for 7-8 minutes to harden slightly. Cool before adding filling (you can stick it in the fridge or freezer to speed this part up!)

Lemon Poppyseed Filling:
The juice of 5 lemons
6 egg yolks
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp poppyseeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (if not already on from making the crust). Whisk lemon juice, egg yolks and condensed milk together. Mix in poppyseeds just before transferring to pie shell. Pour into cooled pie shell and bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges have mostly solidified (the middle will still be slightly loose). If it looks like the crust is browning too quickly, cover the pie with foil for the remainder of the baking time. Let cool and transfer to the fridge to firm up for at least 2 hours.

I topped mine with whipped cream! But straight out of the dish with a fork is always an acceptable option ;)

PS-sorry for the lack of pictures! Newer recipes will have more to look at!