Pies and Tarts

Blackberry Pie Bars

by Shawnda on May 8, 2011

in Cookies and Bars,Pies and Tarts

Blackberry Pie Bars

This week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge is being brought to you by Josie of Pink Parsley: Blackberry Pie Bars. A moist, tangy cobbler/pie/bar dessert/snack/breakfast hybrid that requires no utensils – the perfect dessert to take to a picnic or barbecue. Or the perfect breakfast to eat on the living room floor. I love blackberries. They grew wild along our fence line so we used to pick them all summer long for cobbler. MMMmm. Cobbler.

I had quite a few self-inflicted problems with the recipe this week. You know those times when you plow full-steam-ahead into a recipe that you didn’t completely read? Or… you know, even read at all? You just assume that you know what’s going to happen? And then you find yourself elbow deep in mistakes before you even get to step 3? Yeah…

Blackberry Pie Bars

Hi, my name is Shawnda. And I almost never read a recipe before I get started. It’s a sickness. I’ve lost count at the number of times that I’ve run into an over-night step in a dish when dinner is an hour away. Or like this week, I assumed the recipe was going one direction when really it was headed in another. In a bigger pan. One that could actually hold all the contents of the recipe.

Despite all the missteps I made along the way, they were really tasty. Serving them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was the perfect send off!

This is what we did differently… not all of them were intentional.

      - I cut the recipe in half because who needs that many blackberry pie bars hanging around, singing their sweet siren song from the kitchen counter all day long? We (I) don’t.
      - I cut the sugar by half again.
      - I used 1 lb fresh blackberries because they were on sale and cheaper than frozen.
      - I put the juice of a lemon in the bottom of my measuring cup before adding the sour cream – because blackberry + lemon = love.
      - I added water to the “pie crust” because I assumed we were making a pie crust. We weren’t. So don’t add water.
      - I bonked on the math when I was trying to figure if my 9-inch tart pan would hold the contents of an 8×8 square pan. (It won’t.)
      - When I poured the filling into the tart pan, I realized that I had really bonked on the math. Even worse than I had first thought.
      - I didn’t grease the sides of the tart pan well enough and, it stuck. Like glue. And not just any glue. Completely possessed, demon-spawn glue.

You can see the other Project Pastry Queen members’ take on Blackberry Pie bars:
Pink Parsley
Fake Ginger
20 Something Cupcakes
Smells Like Home

Thanks to Josie for picking such a delicious recipe! Next week, we’re going sticky & gooey with Sticky Finger Bars! Well, I assume they’re sticky & gooey. I haven’t read the recipe. Yet.

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Lemonade Cheesecake Tart

by Shawnda on April 28, 2011

in Pies and Tarts

Lemonade Cheesecake Tart

We’ve been enjoying plenty of light, citrusy desserts and drinks lately. The weather is absolutely perfect to hang out on the patio with a carafe of watermelon lemonade (or margaritas) and strawberry lemonade cupcakes.

Citrus anything (tequila optional) is one of our favorite treats to take out to the patio after a long day working. Or in my case, momming. Which is exactly like working, only with more teething and laundry than conference calls and budget meetings. But only slightly fewer conference calls and budget meetings.

I had intended to make a Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Tart but changed my mind at the last minute. But that’s okay because a cold wedge of light, plain lemony cheesecake topped with a fluffy dollop of whipped cream is the perfect spring afternoon treat. Especially with a tall glass of ice cold pink lemonade :)

Lemonade Cheesecake Tart

I only made half the filling because I know from a previous boil-over disasterexperience that my tart pan is a little on the short side. If you’re using a standard 9″ pie pan, you could double the recipe below with no problems for a full pie-sized cheesecake. But I think the tart approach is wonderful.

Lemonade Cheesecake Tart

It doesn't take long to make your own graham cracker crust, but you can always purchase a premade crust if desired. Pink lemonade concentrate (thawed) can be substituted for the lemon juice for a pink lemonade treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sleeves graham crackers
  • 5 Tbsp butter, melted
  • zest of 2 lemons, divided
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 3 oz fresh lemon juice (or frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • Whipped cream and mint, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Process graham crackers into fine crumbs and stream in melted butter and the zest of 1 lemon, until evenly moist and crumbly.
  3. Evenly press crumbs into the bottoms and up the sides of a greased 9-inch tart pan
  4. Bake for 5-7 minutes and let cool completely.
  5. Reduce oven to 350.
  6. Mix ricotta, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg, sugar and flour on medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once.
  7. Pour into crust and bake ~20 minutes, until the center is just set.
  8. Cool completely and refrigerate until cold.
  9. Serve garnished with whipped cream and mint leaves.

Notes

Yields: 8

Adapted from Sargento Cheese

Estimated time: 40 minutes

This post was sponsored by Sargento Cheese. Confections of a Foodie Bride has partnered with Sargento to share recipes highlighting their cheeses. I was compensated for the ingredients used and my time. As always, all opinions are expressed are mine.

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Buttermilk Pecan Pie

by Shawnda on April 24, 2011

in Pies and Tarts,Project Pastry Queen

Buttermilk Pecan Pie

This week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge was selected by Mariana of Food Junky: Buttermilk Pecan Pie.

I’ll be blunt. Had this recipe not been part of Project Pastry Queen, I wouldn’t have posted it. But we post the good, bad, and the ugly! Of the ~50 recipes I’ve made from the book, this is only the second one that just wasn’t my thing. I didn’t dig the texture of the filling or the lack of sweetness. It was definitely my brother and his girlfriend’s thing. (Of course, their biggest complaint about our usual pecan pie is that it’s too sweet. )

I did, however, dig the recipe for pie crust. Since making it with the banana cream pie, it has become my new go-to pie crust. It’s all kinds of flaky! I served the pie with whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

Check out the other Project Pastry Queen members’ take on Buttermilk Pecan Pie:

Fake Ginger
Food Junky

Next week, it’s my turn to host Project Pastry Queen and, surprise! I’ve picked a Mexican-ish dish: Gulf Coast Shrimp Quesadillas.

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Peanut Butter Cup Tart

by Shawnda on April 21, 2011

in Desserts,Pies and Tarts

Peanut Butter Cup Tart

This is the final recipe in our feature of Simply Suppers, by Jennifer Chandler. We managed to narrow 5 excellent recipes down to 3 to showcase this week. There might have been some Rock-Paper-Scissors involved but there was no debate about sharing this dessert. It looks like a giant peanut butter cup that’s covered in smaller peanut butter cups. We both absolutely love chocolate + peanut butter. How could we not publish this one?

The crust is very Oreo-like, made from crushed chocolate wafers (which my store doesn’t carry… so I just made my own). The top coating of rich chocolate ganache is garnished with peanut butter cups. And the filling? The center is my favorite part. A light and creamy peanut butter-cream cheese mixture that’s reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite frostings.

I wish I had more to say about the dessert. I mean, it’s chocolate and peanut butter. What else matters :)

Peanut Butter Cup Tart

Peanut butter and chocolate come together for an indulgent dessert.

Ingredients

  • 9 oz chocolate wafer cookies (1 box)
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 5 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temp
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a food processor, finely grind the cookies and bittersweet chocolate.
  3. Add the butter and pulse until well incorporated and moist clumps form
  4. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the side.
  5. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  7. In another bowl, beat 1 cup heavy cream until stiff. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until well combined.
  8. Evenly spoon into the cooled crust. Place the tart in the fridge to set while making the topping.
  9. Place the semisweet chocolate, 1 Tbsp butter, and remaining cream in a heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30 second burts until hot. Whisk until smooth.
  10. Pour the chocolate evenly over the tart. Garnish the edges with chopped peanut butter cups.
  11. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Notes

Yields: 8 Servings

Adapted from Simply Suppers, by Jennifer Chandler

Estimated time: 1 hour

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