Saturday, June 19, 2010

The perfect summer pie.

To be honest, you’ve already wasted a ton of time in never having made this pie.  It is probably the best pie I’ve ever made, and I make a mean pie, especially in the summer when all the stone fruits and berries are singing their in-season siren song of irresistibility. 

This is a custard pie – homemade custard to be exact, filled with summery berries, poured into a homemade graham cracker crust and chilled.  As all the flavors blend together something really magical happens, and you start to question how you were ever able to achieve these flavors without the aid of unicorn tears.   This pie is time consuming but I implore you – do not use a store bought graham crust and please don’t skip the homemade custard for something instant – this will definitely not be the same pie if you do.

Hopefully you’ll make this pie asap, and its deliciousness will distract you from the fact that I won’t be posting for a couple of weeks…I’m off to Hawaii, but I promise a big picture-filled post on my return, so you can enjoy the island food I’ll get to partake of in just a couple of days!  Aloha!

Summer Fruit Cream Pie
by Martha Stewart, with my notes
Serves 12

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I use a bit more)
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
1 ½ cups berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries…use a nice even mix of whatever you like above!)
Graham Cracker crust (recipe follows)

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan; whisk in milk.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 7 minutes total (2 minutes after it comes to a boil).

Whisk yolks in a medium bowl until combined.  Pour in milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated.  Return mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until it reaches boil, 1 to 2 minutes (this actually happens really fast, so pay attention to when it actually boils again, not the minutes above, so as not to burn).

Immediately remove from heat, and stir in cinnamon.  Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until melted before adding another piece.  Let custard cool in saucepan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Gently fold in berries until evenly distributed.

Pour custard into previously prepared, cooled graham cracker crust.  Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard (to preserve texture and discourage a skin from forming).  Refrigerate until custard filling is chilled and firm, at least 4 hours (or overnight!)

Graham Cracker Crust

6 ½ ounces graham crackers (12 crackers) finely ground (1 ½ cups)
2 ½ ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Pulse graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined.

Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9 inch pie dish.  Bake until crust is fragrant and edges are golden, 12-14 minutes.  Let cool completely before using, on a wire rack.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Add a bit at a time until it tastes really good."

For me summer = come-over-for-a-cookout-let's-have-a-campfire-who-wants-another-cocktail-OMG-look-at-the-STARS.  I've been accused of entertaining my friends too much (who has ever heard of such a thing!?) and when the weather gets warm, the evenings longer, the stars brighter, I get out of control.  This past weekend for instance I hosted a dinner for friends (one of whom is an insanely insane ex-restaurant owning cook, PRESSURE!) and a kid friendly yet interesting-enough-for-grownups BBQ for my sister-in-law and her family.  So yes, I was basically cooking/baking all weekend and totally wore myself out.  But what can you do??

An old standby that almost everyone loves is onion dip with potato chips.  Oh, she's given herself a break, you're thinking.  A little Lipton onion soup mix and sour cream and presto, so easy!  And though that sounds like something that would have gone great with the kid friendly BBQ, I actually stepped it up about 5000 notches, assembling it from scratch and serving it as an appetizer at dinner the night before.  Yes, that means I finely chopped and painstakingly caramelized onions for an hour.  Yes, that means I am crazy.  But damn was this good!  When mixed with some sour cream, greek yogurt and your desired amount of the ever exotic onion granulates, this is a decadent addictive dip for any season...especially this lovely one we are just plunging into.

Caramelized Onion Dip Recipe
by Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks, and followed pretty much to the letter, with my notes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup sour cream (low fat is okay, but I prefer full)
3/4 cup Greek yogurt (same deal as above)
3 teaspoons dehydrated onion powder/granulates (salt-free and natural, Heidi recommends and I second)
scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt

In a large thick-bottomed skillet (cast iron is killer here) over medium heat saute the chopped onions in olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt.  Stir occasionally with a wood or metal spatula and cook until the onions are deeply golden, brown and caramelized - about 40-45 minutes. (If they're cooking too fast, depending on your stovetop you may want to switch to medium low after a while, which I did.) Set aside and let cool completely.

In the meantime, whisk together sour cream, yogurt, onion powder, and salt.  The important thing is to add whatever onion powder you are using to taste.  Add a bit at a time until it tastes really good.*  Set aside until the caramelized onions have cooled to room temperature.  Stir in 2/3 of the onions, scoop into serving bowl and top with the remaining onions.

I agree with Heidi that this dip is best at room temperature.  Serve with your favorite hefty natural, sea salty potato chips - you'll want a burly chip that will stand up to the savory intensity of this dip.  Enjoy!

*this may be the cutest instruction in a recipe ever.  You will likely end up adding a few more teaspoons beyond the suggested amount, for maximum deliciousness.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Our namesake, and more cookies to match…

Here at Effing-Delicious I try to stick to posting about recipes that really capture my heart, in a very special way.  And while I realize this is my second cookie post in a row, these buttery salty chocolaty caramelized morsels made me literally exclaim upon tasting them, in an admittedly rated-R manner!  Holy HELL are these cookies delicious! (there’s your PG-13 version)

I’m kind of obsessed-from-afar, if you will, with the Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC, though I’ve never been there.  Everything I read about this place makes me salivate – their baking style seems zany and fun, while at the same time being innovative and masterful. 

Anyway on a recent spin around the interwebs, I happened upon the blog Momofuku for 2, an appreciable effort on the part of blogger Stephanie Le to cook her way through the Momofuku cookbook.  A lover of all things Momofuku, she has also included some “copycat” recipes from the Milk Bar, for which I thank her endlessly!  The recipe I tried yields ridiculous cookies filled with caramelized cornflakes, chocolate chips and marshmallows that will make you completely freak out.

Copycat Momofuku Milk Bar’s Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies
From Momofuku for 2, by Stephanie Le, with slight adaptations

Caramelized Cornflakes

1 ½ cups cornflakes
6 tablespoons milk powder (okay, I did not buy this, but instead used 4 tablespoons of skim milk, which seemed to go fine…but try either!)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 275˚.  Lightly crush cornflakes in a bowl.  Mix together sugar and salt (and milk powder, if using).  Melt butter and pour over cornflakes (include milk here if you are using this instead of milk powder, don’t use both).  Sprinkle dry ingredients on top and toss until evenly coated.

Spread cornflake mixture evenly on foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20-24 minutes, until cornflakes have a deep caramelized color.  Remove from oven and cool completely before use.  Makes 1 ½ cups.


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (original recipe calls for 2, I used a bit more than one but still under 1 ½, and they were quite salty, but pleasantly so)
1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
1 large egg
¾ cups chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 ½ cups caramelized cornflakes

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375˚.  In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt – set aside.  Cream butter, sugar and corn syrup until well combined in an electric mixer.  Add egg and mix.

Add flour mixture in a couple of batches, mixing between each to incorporate.  Fold in chocolate chips, marshmallows and caramelized cornflakes by hand. 

Scoop dough into balls and place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Bake cookies rotating pans halfway though, until cookies are golden brown 13-15 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.  Cry out wildly upon first bite.

Makes about 36 cookies.