"Can She Bake a Cherry Pie, Charming Billy?"

We used to tease my brother, by singing, "can she bake a cherry pie...." two guesses what his name is...

He, not being one to miss the opportunity to joke, would reply that her ability to bake was the least of his concerns. He is actually a rather charming man and he is easily wooed with a sweet treat. And while I'm his sister his praise for my baking is especially sweet.

The Daring Bakers Challenge presented pies for June 2013. Bakers were required to bake one of the four pie recipes listed or all four if they were compelled.

I am keen for pies and being a slight over achiever I did three out of four-not just one and not all four. I passed on the apple pie because they are a staple part of my regular baking. Three pies were going to be enough to consume.

There was a Chocolate Caramel Tart. I went in search of my old pate sablee recipe which I just blogged about. I was impressed that the caramel flavor was discernible from the chocolate. Often when you have two happy flavors together one can overwhelm the other or neither shine brightly. Both the chocolate and caramel are great with this one.

Chocolate Caramel Tart
For the crust
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 hard-boiled large egg yolk
2 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups white flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Push the hard-boiled egg yolk through a sieve and stir the raw egg yolk and vanilla into it. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until blended.
Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture and stir until blended. You can roll it between sheets of parchment, or press into a the pan and tap it all down evenly. (which is what I did.) Dock with a fork, line with parchment and fill with weights, blind bake 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment and bake 15 minutes more.

For the caramel
7 tablespoons (105 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) granulated sugar
7 tablespoons (100ml) whole cream, hot

Have your shell ready.

Warm your cream.

Heat the sugar in a heavy bottom pan on high heat once it starts to brown around the edges swirl the pan until all the sugar is liquefied and you have a lovely dark brown color. When you have the rich color carefully add the hot cream and stir with a high heat spatula. It's going to spit like crazy but stir away. Briefly allow it to cool. Poor into the prepared crust and spread evenly.

For the chocolate mousse

2 large eggs
7 tablespoons (100ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) (75 gm) (2½ oz) powdered sugar (optional)
13 tablespoons (200ml) whole cream
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (280 ml) (200 gm) (7 oz) dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces

In a bowl combine the eggs and milk.

Bring sugar and cream to a hot simmer in a sauce pan. Remove from heat, add chocolate. Swirl the cream to cover the chocolate. Let sit 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and milk to chocolate and whisk until glossy. Poor over caramel layer and bake 30 minutes until the mousse is set but a wee bit wobbly in the middle.

Chill and serve.

Crack Pie
I can't say that I love the name. But I see how this is addictive. It's really a butterscotch custard in an oatmeal cookie crust. You may swoon now.

Cookie Part
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Crust making Part
3 tablespoons butter
5 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars thoroughly. Add the egg. After the egg is blended add the oats. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the oats. Spread onto a parchment covered 13x9 inch pan. Bake 14-16 minutes until it's lightly brown around the edges. Cool and crumble into pieces.

To the crumbled cookie add 3 T. butter and 5 teaspoons brown sugar. Press into pie pan.

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2 tablespoons (100ml) heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting

Cream the sugar, milk powder and butter. Add the cream, eggs and vanilla. Blend well, pour into shell. Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer. Chill top with powdered sugar.

Crostata di Strawberry Rhubarb

This pie uses a basic Italian pastry crust. Pasta Frolla which goes together beautifully.
2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1 tablespoon jam
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Make or buy a nice preserve. I made mine with rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and pectin. Dice the rhubarb small so not to blast someone with a huge mouthful of the tartness. I resented the fact I had to buy rhubarb. I'll be growing some next year. My mom always has a "pie plant" in the yard. Alas, her yard isn't in my city.
Preheat oven 350. Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla and zest. Add the flour and salt. Ball the dough and chill at least an hour. Roll between floured parchment. Line the tart pan or shallow pie pan, dock the dough. Line the pan with parchment, fill with weights, blind bake 15-18 minutes. Remove weights and parchment.
Fill with jam then top decoratively with a lattice or other pretty design. Bake. 35 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.
Glaze when removed from the oven. Chill and serve.
You may have noticed that my food photography isn't top quality. I used disposable plates, etc. Except for the crostata, where I did put a tad bit of effort into it. Often I take my food into work to share with the people I adore. I forget to photograph my work until we are ready to tuck in and we don't have pretty plates. The upside however is my people love me back and this is how they show it.  

My office chair


  1. Oh my stars, the strawberry rhubarb crostata sounds amazing! Nice work!

  2. Oh wow, all your pies look perfect - and 3 out of 4 is quite an amazing achievement!

  3. Julianna, your pies look amazing and well done doing three of them! :D


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