TWD: Apple Pielets

So, pie we meet again.  I think everyone has an archenemy in their life.  This doesn’t have to be a person.  It just has to be something that gives people grief.  Mine is pie.  I don’t know what it is about pie, but we just don’t get along.  I can make large 3 layer cakes, I can butterfly and debone a chicken, and I can make frittatas without a problem.  Once you want me to make a pie for dessert, or a chicken pot pie or a quiche, then all bets are off.

My first experience with pie happened shortly after I got married.  I decided I would make a peach pie.  So, I followed a recipe.  I used refrigerated pie crust (because who makes pie crust from scratch right?).  Well, the pie was a disaster.  I had liquid seeping out of the pie and the crust was horrible!  In fact, I think it created liquid, which is something that as an engineer I know is impossibly.  But this pie seemed to be defying the laws of physics.  My engineer husband agrees with me.  After that disaster I wrote off pies.  Who really needs pie when you can make cake?  And I can make a good cake.


It wasn’t until I joined the original Tuesdays with Dorie that I had to face my fear.  This time though, I did so with a good friend.  She was an expert at making pies.  So, we did it.  We made an apple pie.  It was good, but again, I think cake is better.  Even if I go out to eat, I’ll pick cake over pie.  There is only one exception and that is for cherry pie, and it has to be from a specific restaurant in Door County, Wisconsin that is world famous for cherries.  This place puts 5lbs of cherries into 1 pie!  It’s spectacular.  And the crust is so flaky and flavorful.  So, that is my only exception.


Fast forward 9 years (gulp!) from my peach pie debacle and here we are.  Now, I have to say that I still struggle off and on with pies.  But I’ve found that my main problem lies with the refrigerated pie crusts.  What is supposed to be fool-proof, just doesn’t work for me.  So, now whenever I need a pie crust, I go to Dorie Greenspan or America’s Test Kitchen.  Those two sources have provided me with excellent recipes.  I’ve also learned a few tricks, such as that the food processor is my best friend.  And the butter should be frozen.  Heat is the enemy of pie crust.


So, onto this week’s TWD recipe.  It is Apple Pielets (aka mini apple pies).  I made a half batch, which amounted to 6 little pies.  Dorie’s pie crust came together and worked beautifully for me.  My only comment is that Dorie called for us to cut out 3″ circles to put in the muffin tin.  Next time I would go with 4 or 5 inch circles.  I had to put in more crust to make the pieletes reach the top of the muffin tins, and I used regular sized muffin tins.  I also only baked these for 35minutes, instead of the recommended 45minutes.  I don’t like dough that is too brown, unlike Dorie.  I’ve learned to keep a watchful eye on the recipes in this book, because she tends to estimate what she refers to as the “French bake”.

In the end, my whole family enjoyed the recipe.  We ate them a la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Overall, while delicious, I don’t know if I would make these again.  I think I would just go for a regular 9″ pie next time.  That way I get more filling, which is my favorite part.  But if you prefer the crust to the filling, then by all means, I recommend this recipe.  (P.S. My son ate his with his fingers.  That was one perk of the small stature, which he enjoyed.  Maybe I’ll put one in his lunchbox tomorrow for a surprise!)


Please go see how other’s enjoyed the recipe.  Enjoy!



Filed under Dessert, Recipes

TWD: Tiger Cakes

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for tigers.  Everyone seems to have some animal that they almost have a special attachment too.  Tigers are mine.  I find them very regal but yet adorable.  Yes, I know that sounds odd.  But for someone who was raised with cats her entire life, I always see tigers as great big cats.  So, in my mind tigers are both adorable and dangerous.  And that is exactly how my husband described these little cakes.  “These are dangerous.” he said after taking his first bite.  Then I ate one.  I would have to agree.  These little Tiger Cakes are both adorable and dangerous.


They are adorable in the way that every mini cake is adorable, but dangerous in that they are unsuspecting in their taste.  Just like a tiger, they sneak up on you.  We ate our first ones while they were still warm from the oven.  They were as good as warm chocolate chip cookies in my mind.  They were so good that when I asked my husband (the chocoholic of the house) if I should dip them in chocolate like Dorie suggests, he actually said no.


Since these cakes were so easy to make, which again, makes them dangerous in another way, my husband brought them to work to share with his co-workers.  I even received an e-mail asking for the recipe.  My only additional note on the recipe is that make sure you grease the muffin tin very, very well.  All of my cakes stuck to the bottom.  It didn’t seem to impact their flavor, but it did impact their appearance.  So, please excuse the not so beautiful cakes, but realize that no everything is as it seems in a picture.

Please go see how other TWD baker’s enjoyed their Tiger Cakes.  And if you want the recipe, please purchase the book.



Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes

TWD: Apple Kuchen

I am at a loss for words tonight as I try to write this.  I have no particular reason for it.  Maybe it’s because it’s Monday and I just worked all day and then came home and took care of the kids.  I heard once that women have to say so many words each day.  I must have said all of mine already.  Looking back at the day, I did talk more than usual.  Not in a gossiping, unproductive way either, just in a we need to talk about such and such project but times 10 people.


My mood tonight is perfect for describing this week’s TWD recipe.  The recipe was Apple Kuchen.  While I typically love apple desserts, this was not my favorite.  It wasn’t bad either, it just wasn’t a home run that an apple pie or apple crisp can be.  I will say that I liked how this was not overly sweet.   It did really let the flavor of the apples shine through.


Well, in my loss of words mood tonight, that is really all I have to say.  Please go over to the TWD site to see how other people enjoyed this recipe.  And if you would like to make it, please purchase the book.  It does have wonderful recipes.




Filed under Dessert, Recipes

TWD: Jam Filled Sandwich Cookies

My little boy is starting 4K this year.  This is a big change for him.  For the past 4 years he has been going to an in-home daycare center with the most wonderful sitter.  She has been the biggest blessing in our life.  Granted, our daughter will still be there and our son will still be there two days a week, but this is still a big change.  I’m not sure how he’s going to handle it.  I’m both excited and nervous for him.  He’s growing up.  He’s leaving the nice little bubble that he’s lived in his whole life so far.  I have loved his bubble.

Yes, I completely realize that part of my sadness is because I am somewhat a control freak and so I will be losing some control over his life.  Yes, yes, I completely understand that it is a normal part of life.  It doesn’t mean that I have to relish the moment.  It really doesn’t help that all of my co-workers are men over the age of 50 who constantly tell me that this time will go over before I know it.  They all like to tell me how it goes by too fast.  At least they understand me then and don’t ask questions when I ask not to travel a lot or if I don’t want to stay late.  I am very fortunate in that regards.


So, in my attempt to keep some sense of control in his life, I plan on packing his lunch on most school days.  We’ll let him get hot lunch when the option seems somewhat healthy or like something he might enjoy.  I don’t want him missing out on things because of my desire for control.  I try not to go to extremes.  The cookie for this week’s TWD baking club will be in his lunch box on his first day of school though.  I’m hoping it will be a nice treat for him.

The cookie recipe was “Jam Filled Sandwich Cookies”.  I filled ours with raspberry jam.  Since I hate rolling out cookie dough, I decided to make this in the slice-and-bake option.  I rolled the dough into a log with a 2″ diameter.  Then after it was done chilling, I sliced it into 1/8″ rounds, topped half with jam, topped the jam and bottom with the top, and then baked them.  It worked out quite well.  I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference.  It’s quite a time saver though.


Please go to the website and see how other people enjoyed their cookies!  Enjoy!


Filed under Dessert, Recipes

TWD: Bubble Eclairs

Wisconsin is a funny place in some regards.  There is a very French heritage in the state that is present in the name of its cities and towns (e.g. La Crosse, Eau Claire).  The French heritage is quite old and mostly forgotten now.  It came with the French fur traders.  Then there is the German heritage which everyone is more familiar with.  I’ve been told many times that Wisconsin has so many Germans because the landscape reminded the German immigrants of Germany, so they stayed.  That is where some of the most familiar Wisconsin things come from (e.g. beer and sausage).

Even though most of the French heritage has been forgotten in all but names, there is one thing that remains.  While other states boast of “fried everything on a stick” at their state fairs, Wisconsin’s most popular state fair item isn’t fried at all.  It’s a cream puff.  A humongous, delicious cream puff piles with tons of fresh whipped cream and powdered sugar.  They even have a drive thru outside the fairgrounds for cream puffs!  Whenever I go to the Wisconsin State Fair I always make sure to see the pig races and then there are two things I always eat, a corn on the cob and the other is a cream puff.  That’s all I need.


The cream puffs at the Wisconsin State Fair are made out of the same dough that this week’s TWD recipe for Bubble Eclairs is made out of, a pate de choux.  This recipe comes from Dorie’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook, which is a lovely compilation of French inspired desserts.  I’ve never made a pate de choux before, but I have to say that it came together quite quickly and easily.  I made it all in one pot and with one utensils, a wooden spoon.

For the filling for my Bubble Éclairs, I choose to go with Dorie’s chocolate pastry cream.  This pastry cream also only required one pot, and it pretty much just like chocolate pudding.  My éclairs baked up beautifully.  Instead of brushing mine with egg though, I did milk since I didn’t want to waste an egg.  They still browned nicely.  Once assembled, I sprinkled them with powdered sugar and we dug in.


All four of us enjoyed these.  I would love to say what we said about them, but instead of talking it was mostly silent at the table.  In my mind, that is a better response than words.  They did remind me of the Wisconsin State Fair, which sadly, we didn’t make it to this year for my annual cream puff.  These éclairs will hold me over though.

Please go over to the TWD site to see how other people filled and enjoyed their Bubble Éclairs.  And if you want the recipe, please buy the book.




Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes

TWD: Cherry Crumb Tart

Oh, cherries.  I do love you.  Why do you have such a short season?  I only get to enjoy you for a couple weeks a year.  I love you tart and sweet.  I love you pies, tarts, muffins, smoothies and just plain fresh.  Oh, don’t try to fool me with some “cherry flavoring” that is just way too over-powering and cloyingly sweet.  Your flavors are to fresh and clean and sometimes very subtle.  And canned pie filling?  Please, it should say “cherry flavored jelly with a few cherries” on the can.  I need CHERRIES in my pies, not jelly.

IMG_3152 This week the TWD group went right to my heart.  We made Dorie’s Cherry Crumb Tart.  This tart consisted of a hazelnut cream, fresh cherries and then a streusel topping.  There were no parts for me to dislike.  The recipe had a pound of fresh, sweet cherries.  This is probably one of the last weeks I’m going to be able to find fresh, in-season cherries and I’m glad this recipe showed them off.

Cherries here in Wisconsin are kind of hit or miss for the rest of the year.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make it to Door County, Wisconsin, next weekend to pick some tart cherries.  Some of you might not know this, but Door County is world renowned for their tart cherries.  I’ve been so spoiled to live less than 2 hours away.  It should be prime picking season next weekend, so I need to get there soon.  That season only lasts a few days each year.


If you aren’t fortunate enough to live where cherries are available though, this tart would also be great with blueberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, or even apricots.  It was definitely a hit in this household.  I made it over the course of three days, which was great since there are 4 parts to the recipe.  There is the tart dough, the streusel, the nut cream, and then you have to pit a pound of cherries.  My 4 year old son helped.  He helped me make the tart crust and the nut cream.  He loves using the food processor.

If you are so fortunate to have an excess of cherries, I would recommend making this tart.  At least you know one pound of them won’t go to waste.  Enjoy!


Filed under Dessert, Recipes

TWD: Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta

This week’s recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie was Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta.  This recipe is great for the hot weather days we have been having.  It did not require me to turn on the oven, which is a definite no-no when the temperature gets above 80degrees outside, which is has been almost all month.  For this recipe there is a smooth mango puree on the bottom of a vanilla bean panna cotta.  I got some vanilla beans while back and I had been saving them for a special occasion.  I wasn’t going to use one of them for this, but then I thought “What am I really saving these for? I can always buy more.” So, I used one of them.  I loved the fragrance of the bean.  And it was neat to see all the little seeds flecked throughout the panna cotta.


Overall, this dessert was just so-so for us.  I didn’t mind the flavors, but the texture wasn’t what I was expecting.  I was expecting more of a creamy, pudding like texture instead of the Jell-O style texture that it had.  I love creamy desserts and so I think my expectations were just slightly off.  Like I said, the flavors were good.  The vanilla and mango were very refreshing.  I don’t know if I’ll make this again, as I would prefer pudding, but it was a nice change of pace and that is why I joined this group.  I love trying all of the different recipes.


Filed under Dessert