baking boys Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie

I really haven’t been posting much lately; I just haven’t had time to cook anything interesting all summer (apart from my Tuesdays With Dorie recipes, of course). I will try to do better now that it’s cooling off out there.

I almost passed on this week’s TWD; I’m just not a huge fan of most pie, and I don’t particularly like lime (or lemon, or orange, or …). But the rest of my family loves lime everything, and there was a mini-rebellion when I suggested skipping this one.

So yesterday #2 Son and I went out and bought those baby graham crusts (thank you, Keebler) and made some pies.

He did the hard work, the zest grating and lime juicing and ingredient measuring.

lime pie 1

Isn’t it pretty?

lime pie 2

We took turns whisking the egg mixture over the simmering water; it took less than three minutes to get up to 180 degrees, so I guess our flame was a bit higher than Dorie’s suggestion, but it worked well. I’m not a patient person.

Straining didn’t work — the lime cream was just too thick to go through the holes, so I dumped it straight into the Vita-Mix and whirled it around. We used half the butter (thank you, P&Q), and boy, was that stuff tart.

We gave it three hours in the fridge — dinner was approaching, and as #2 Son pointed out, we had cut the recipe in half so it needed less time to cool. He did the shell-filling honors while I made the meringue (which I cooked a bit, following Peabody’s excellent suggestion; I used half a cup of sugar for two egg whites, which is slightly less sugar than Peabody calls for and more than Dorie calls for, but hey, I’m a rebel).

Then he applied the meringue artistically, six different ways, and I stuck them in the broiler, one at a time.

Turns out 30 seconds is too long.

lime pie 3

And 20 seconds is too short.

lime pie 4

But 25 seconds is just right.

lime pie 5

I was dubious about the broiler’s ability to set the meringue (which is one of the reasons I made Peabody’s version), but it was lovely. I actually liked the pie once all the components were together, and the rest of the family loved it:

Husband: I thought the marshmallowy meringue was a fantastic change. I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much with a more standard, chewier meringue. The lime flavor was spectacular, tart, deep, very pleasing. I could easily have eaten every single one of those little things.

#1 Son: The pie was delicious. The ginger in the lime filling made it bright and complex, and the marshmallowy meringue was a perfect companion.

#2 Son: I think the meringue could have been a little less sweet. The lime cream was good, but it had this weird aftertaste; I couldn’t figure out what it was. All in all, om-nom-nom, nom-nom, om-nom-nom. [Translation: That was quite delicious, Mother. May I have some more?]

There are sure to be many variations among the Tuesdays With Dorie bloggers, and Linda of Tender Crumb will have the recipe posted today. (Or buy the book!)

baking Dorie Friday dinner

Tuesdays With Dorie: Applesauce Spice Bars

I made these. I did. I took pictures. And then I worked constantly all weekend and all day Monday and didn’t write the post. I’m putting it up now, without photos, and I’ll update as soon as I can.

UPDATE: Now, with photos and actual content!

This is a funny color; I have no idea why. It wasn’t this color in real life:

applesauce 4

It was Friday night dinner, and #2 Son did the honors. This was his first wholly conceived and executed dinner (although he had a bit of technical assistance from the man of the house). He started with a pound of Trader Joe’s frozen chicken thighs, and from there I’ll turn it over to him:

“I chopped it into little bits, then I stuck it in a pan with 3 tablespoons of butter and sautéed it. While I was sauteeing it I put in three cloves of garlic, crushed into little bits, another half-stick of butter, and a little flour. And I added a generous serving of poultry seasoning and some kosher flake salt. I cooked it for about 8 minutes, till the chicken was brown and fried-ish. It had the outside consistency of the little bits of pork you get in pork fried rice. I served it over jasmine rice cooked with Star bouillon.”

He did. And we ate it. Not bad for 12, I think.

applesauce 5

And then we had the amazing applesauce spice bars, which were even more amazing the next day. And the next day. And the next day, even. (Can you tell the kids were away for most of that time?)

After reading the P&Q on the Tuesdays With Dorie page, I decided to double the glaze recipe, and I’m glad I did; that gave me extra to put on top of the vanilla ice cream I made (thank you yet again, David Lebovitz) to go with the bars.

applesauce 2

The result was perfect.

#1 Son: The cake was delicious and moist, with a nice range of flavors. The ice cream was kind of bland, though, and obliterated the subtlety of the cake when the two were eaten together. [Ignore him.]

#2 Son: The cake was moist; it was tasty. It could have used a little more cinnamon. The glaze was pretty good. The ice cream was awesome. It could have been less crystally, but other than that, delicious. Good with chocolate sauce, too.

Go read all the other TWD blogs, and then try these yourself. Really. Now. Buy the book, or go visit Something Sweet, where Karen will have the recipe for you.

applesauce 3

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Brownie Buttons

The best-laid plans of mice and mothers …

So, this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Brownie Buttons (chosen for us by Jayma of Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen), which I thought would be perfect (in their unadorned state) for our Civil Air Patrol squadron’s cookout. I quadrupled the recipe, giving me (I hoped) 64 little bits of brownies to be inhaled by the cadets and their parents.

And you know what? Trust the recipe. Don’t be thinking “Oh, she can’t mean that. It must be a typo. I’ll just do it my way.”

Because you’ll be wrong.

It says to use mini muffin pans. Check. It says to put a teaspoon of batter in each. Check. But it also says that that teaspoon will fill the cups about two-thirds full. Not check. So I used a tablespoon of batter, which did.

brownie buttons 2

And the brownies baked fine. They came out of the oven. They were delicious, warm and cocoa-y and melty in my mouth. But there was no way I was going to get 64. So for the third batch I dropped back to a teaspoon of batter.

And they also baked fine, delicious, warm, etc. But then I dropped the fourth batch, losing most of them to the searing heat. And then I burned the fifth and sixth batches. And then I gave up.

So I didn’t take them to CAP, which made me very sad. But #1 Son saved the day yet again, first by making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies for the cookout and second by suggesting that the brownies we did have would be good as ice cream mix-ins.

As happens fairly often, he was right.

He suggested peanut butter ice cream, but I went with a flavor from Perfect Scoop that I’ve been wanting to try for ages: Vietnamese coffee. It’s just condensed milk mixed with and equal amount of extra-strong coffee (I used the cold-brewed decaf I always have in the fridge) and a little half-and-half and vanilla. The mixture was too sweet, but once it was frozen it was perfect. And #1 Son was right: The brownies were delicious in it. And under it. And near it.

brownie buttons 1

Try the brownies (either buy the book or visit Jayma’s blog for the recipe). Just don’t use too much batter. And check out the hundreds of variations produced by the Tuesdays With Dorie bloggers.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Classic Banana Bundt Cake

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, chosen for us by Mary of The Food Librarian, was for banana bundt cake. For a while now, my go-to banana bread/cake/yumminess recipe was courtesy of David Lebovitz, whose name seems to be popping up in my posts a lot lately. His reasonably healthful (when made with white while-wheat flour and walnuts, and only occasionally chocolate chips) banana cake shows up a lot on our weekend breakfast table, and I usually have a loaf in the freezer.

But I thought OK, I’ll try Dorie’s. I’ll be a good sport. And in fact, Dorie’s was good. But I’m spoiled by David’s, which I always make with the optional shot of espresso he recommends.

bundt cake 1

I made the cake on Friday evening, figuring I’d let it sit overnight as Dorie recommends; we were having company for breakfast on Saturday. You’d think I’d have learned by now not to bake at night, because by 4 p.m. my brain has pretty much packed it in for the day. And yet.

I used white whole-wheat flour and Greek yogurt and added half a teaspoon of almond extract, but otherwise made the recipe straight. Oh, and the bananas I found in the freezer didn’t make up quite enough puree, so I filled it out with apple butter. I had intended to toast some pecans and toss those in there too, but, um, I didn’t. Much angst.

When I poured the batter into my trusty Bundt pan, it filled it nearly to the top. That worried me, because some of the P&Q comments mentioned that this cake rises quite a bit. So I put it on a cookie sheet. Yay me!

Half an hour later, when the top was brown (and there were lumps of batter spattered onto the cookie sheet), I tented the cake with aluminum foil. It made no appreciable difference. By the time the cake was finally done, at about 75 minutes, the top was actually burnt.

Luckily, the top of a Bundt cake is also the bottom!

When the cake finally made it to the table on Saturday morning, accompanied by Greek yogurt and fresh local blueberries, it looked very pretty. The 2-year-old girl who was visiting scarfed her piece right up; I wish I’d gotten a photo. She’s adorable. (She also loved the Tall and Creamy Cheesecake back in December — my perfect customer!)

bundt cake 3

Anyway, we liked it. It was moist, although not as moist as I would have liked; I supposed I could have overbaked it, but it was mushy in the middle till right before I took it out of the oven for the last time. The banana flavor was good. I think I’ll stick with Mr. Lebovitz in future, but this one looks prettier, so it’s better for guests.

bundt cake 2

Go see what all the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers did with the cake. And if you want to try it yourself, buy the book, Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or head over to The Food Librarian.

See you next week!