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Pumpkin Pie with Hazelnuts and Chocolate

6 Dec

This recipe combines Martha Stewart’s pie crust recipe, pumpkin pie filling from a Heidi Swanson recipe on http://www.101cookbooks.com, and my own addition of a hazelnut chunk and chocolate layer on the bottom of the pie.  This was an excellent way to round out our Thanksgiving meal.  For the pie crust, I employed the help of my food processor to mix the dough–it worked very nicely, but you can make the dough with a pastry blender or even a fork. Though this is the crust I used, feel free to buy a pre-made crust or use any recipe you like.  Martha’s recipe has always given me excellent results.

Martha’s Pie Crust

Makes enough dough for two crusts, or a top and bottom crust for one pie.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, or unbleached white flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces (make sure it’s very cold)

1/4 cup-1/2 cup ice water

Preparation

Put flour, sugar, and salt in the food processor, and pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and run the processor until the dough looks grainy–the butter and flour are completely combined.  As you pulse, add the ice water little by little.  The dough should stick together now and not be grainy–the water should be enough to bind everything together.  Form the dough into two equally-sized balls with your hands.  Store one for later use.  Refrigerate the dough you will use for the pumpkin pie until you are ready to put together the pie.  What you don’t want is for the dough to get warm…the butter should not melt.  Bad!

Pumpkin Pie with Hazelnuts and Chocolate

1 pie crust

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted (instructions below on how to toast)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp ground ginger

(or, instead of each spice individually, use 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (you can find arrowroot in the bulk foods section of most stores, or you can substitute cornstarch)

1 can pumpkin puree (do NOT use pumpkin pie mix….you want pure, plain pumpkin puree)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 cup coconut milk (you can buy a half-size can of coconut milk that equals about 1 cup; otherwise, buy the big can and freeze the other half of it if you don’t have a use for it right away)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the hazelnuts in a small baking dish, and toast for about 10 minutes.

Set aside the hazelnuts.  Prepare the pie filling.  Mix the brown sugar, spices, salt, and arrowroot in a large mixing bowl. Once combined, add pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Then, add eggs and coconut milk.

It is easiest to use an electric mixer, but a whisk will also work.

Next, roll out the dough on a floured work surface.

Next, place the crust in a pie pan.  Trim the edges.  I used the excess to make a few tiny pies with leftover pie filling.

Next, add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips to the bottom of the crust.  Lightly chop the hazelnuts first if you like. 

Next, pour the pie filling over the crust.  I had a bit left over, which I used to make tiny pies in small ramekins (see pictures that follow).

Bake the pie for about 40 minutes, then check.  Stick a knife in the center, and if it comes out clean, the pie is done.  The pie may take up to 50 minutes, but my oven seems to cook things faster.  My small pies had to come out after about 30 minutes.

I made one small pie with just the filling, and the other with crust on top and bottom.  Yum!  Though I did not serve the pie with whipped cream, that would make an excellent addition.  Not Cool Whip for god’s sake…real whipped cream!  This pie is excellent with a cup of strong coffee.

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Tangerine-Infused Cranberry Sauce

5 Dec

Part of the Thanksgiving feast I made for my boyfriend and myself was cranberry sauce.  I really don’t like canned cranberry sauce….I can’t get over the congealed, can-shaped “sauce” that emerges.  So, I make my own.  Fresh cranberries are everywhere this time of year, but they won’t last long.  I usually stop seeing them in Austin stores pretty soon after the New Year.

Orange and cranberry are a natural flavor match, so I added zest from a tangerine plus the juice of the tangerine to the cranberries.  The zest, juice, cranberries, water, and sugar are the only ingredients you need.

Ingredients

1-1 pound bag fresh cranberries

Zest and juice from one tangerine or orange

2/3 cup sugar

2 cups water

Preparation

Add the cranberries, water, sugar, zest, and juice to a medium sauce pan.

Turn on high and bring to a boil.  Immediately turn heat down to medium low, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes.  You’ll know the cranberries are done when they pop.  Fun!  Once the sauce is done simmering, let sit for about 15 minutes to cool and to thicken.