Key Lime Pie

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“Pie makes everybody happy”

Squeezing the last bits of summer out with this key lime pie – kinda literally. The only key limes I could find were so tiny I had to squeeze a ton of them to get my key lime juice! But it was totally worth it! This pie is perfect part tart and sweet – you won’t regret making it this weekend!

Crust

2.5 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Chop graham crackers in food processor until you get smooth crumbs. Add the brown sugar and continue to process for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth. Pour this mix into a large bowl and add melted butter and mix. Use a spoon to press this crust into a 9-9.5 inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Meanwhile, make filling.

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Key Lime Filling

8-10 key limes (depending on size)

1/3 cup Key lime juice

3 large egg yolks

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Zest limes in one bowl, and then squeeze zested limes to collect juice in a separate bowl. Set aside. Beat egg yolks in your stand mixer until the yolks become thickened and pale. Mix zest in, then add in the condensed milk and beat for a couple minutes. Now mix in the juice for another minute.

Pour filling into the cooled crust. Bake pie for about 15 minutes –  do not let the top brown! Let cool completely to room temperature before topping with meringue and little lime slices.

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Meringue topping

3 egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place a large metal bowl over a saucepan of just boiling water. In the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer this to your stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment to firm peaks. Add vanilla and beat to stiff peaks. Pipe the meringue onto your cooled pie. Next use a kitchen torch to brown the tips a bit. Make sure to always hold the torch at a safe distance and turn it off when you’re all done. (Follow the directions that come with your torch.) Top your finished pie with some zest.

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Loquat, Strawberry, and Mascarpone mini Galettes

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“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like” -Mark Twain

Well that sure is some pleasant advice! What if I like eating pie? Can I eat all the pie?? The perfect solution – bake mini galettes, throw in some fruit, and it’s kinda healthy too, right? 🙂

What is a galette? This is a French term for, usually, a flat, round, flaky pastry, often made of pie crust, but baked without a pie pan. It can be savory or sweet – and this one is definitely sweet! This galette recipe includes loquats, which are a Chinese fruit, orange in color, and sweet when ripe. I also added in some strawberries because the flavors tend to complement each other. Mascarpone brings the whole galette up a notch! Hope you enjoy it!

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Crust

1 1/4 cup flour

2 tsp sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into cubes

4 tbsp ice water

In a food processor, mix first 3 ingredients until combined. Next, add the small cubes of butter and pulse in processor until you get course crumbs. Now add the water, 1 tbsp at a time until the dough comes together. You may have to add 1 or 2 more or less tbsp than I did to get that nice dough consistency. Take the dough out of the processor, shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

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Filling and Assembly

Dough

1 box strawberries, chopped

10-15 loquats, peeled and chopped

1 8 oz box mascarpone cheese

1 egg (beat, to use as eggwash)

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Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out the chilled dough and use a round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut dough into mini circles, about 4 inches in diameter. Spread the mascarpone in the center of each circle (as you see in the photos), leaving a border without any mascarpone to fold. Place 4-5 cubes of each fruit into the center of each galette. Next fold the edges towards the center, overlapping, until all folded in, with the center left exposed. Cover the dough with the eggwash. Place the galettes in the oven for about 12 minutes or golden in color. Remove, let cool, and enjoy!

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Individual Key Lime Tarts

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“Keep calm…it’s almost summer.”

Yes! What kind of desserts make you think of summer? I’ll tell ya one of mine is definitely Key Lime Pie. So Key Lime Pie originates from none other than Key West, Florida. It’s a bit embarrassing but I had never actually tried the pie until I went to Key West and ordered it…and let me tell you, though nothing compares to the original, this recipe comes preeeetty close! It got rave reviews from family and friends – so I hope you like it!

Since I like to make mini things, and hadn’t used my tart pans for a long time, I decided it was time to break those babies out and put ’em to work! This recipe makes 6 individual sized Key Lime tarts. I topped these with meringue – Key Lime pie can also be topped with whipped cream, but since the recipe for the filling calls for egg yolks, I prefer to use the whites for the topping so as not to be wasteful 🙂

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Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

Chop graham crackers in food processor until you get smooth crumbs. Add the brown sugar and continue to process for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth. Pour this mix into a large bowl and add melted butter and mix. Use a spoon to press these into the tart pans (with removable bottoms – makes everything that much easier).

Bake this crust in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

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Key Lime Filling

1 tbsp. Key lime zest

1/2 cup Key lime juice

3 large egg yolks

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

Zest limes and then squeeze zested limes to collect juice into a separate bowl. This will take anywhere from 6-12 limes depending on the size of your Key Limes. Set aside. Beat egg yolks in your stand mixer until the yolks become thickened and pale. Mix zest in, then add in the condensed milk and beat for a couple minutes. Now mix in the juice for another minute.

Pour filling into the crusts that have been cooling. Bake tarts in preheated 350F oven again, for 12-15 minutes – but do not let the tops brown! Turn off oven and remove tarts. Let cool completely to room temperature and remove from tart pans before topping with meringue.

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Meringue topping

3 egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place a large metal bowl over a saucepan of just boiling water. In the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer this to your stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment to firm peaks. Add vanilla and beat to stiff peaks. Pipe the meringue onto your cooled Key Lime tarts in whatever fashion you prefer. I used the closed star tip and did three different styles. I did the rose design (pipe from inside out), a cupcake style swirl (from outside in), and little star dollops (squeeze piping  bag at 90 degrees to get a star shape, then stop squeezing, and quickly release and lift). Then use a kitchen torch to brown the tips a bit. Make sure to always hold the torch at a safe distance and turn it off when you’re all done. (Follow the directions that come with your torch.) Top your finished tarts with some lime zest and dig in!

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Classic Apple Pie

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“There’s no place like home”

I don’t think any statement is more true than this one! I baked this apple pie for a special person coming back home. Is there really any more welcoming dessert than a warm, freshly baked apple pie?? And with some sweet writing and a big heart to boot, it’s bound to put a smile on your face 🙂

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Crust

2 ½ cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 egg yolks

¼ cup water

1 tsp vanilla

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. In stand mixer, beat butter until it is smooth. Add dry ingredients to butter until the mixture looks like course crumbs. Mix together the egg yolks and water. Add this to the stand mixer as well as the tsp of vanilla. Combine well. Once you get a smooth dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

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Apple Pie Filling

3 Tbsp butter

5 Gala apples

2 cup apple juice

½ cup white sugar +1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Pinch of salt

3 Tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup water

1 egg

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Core and peel the apples. Chop roughly or slice thinly (I prefer small cubes). Add apples to melted butter on large pan over medium heat until they appear a bit browned. Meanwhile heat apple juice in a saucepan until it boils and then add it to the apples. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients (except for the cornstarch!) and add to the apple pan after a couple minutes. Mix to coat evenly. Next combine the cornstarch with water and add it to the pan to get that gooey apple pie filling. Mix well to combine everything. After a couple minutes, turn off the heat and go prepare your pie crust.

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Assembly

Place dough into a 9 or 10 inch ovenproof glass pie plate. Press gently into the sides and leave enough of an overhang to make a cool edge or enough to attach playful pieces for an edge like I did. To make the letters, roll the dough out individually for each letter, except for the “el”, “co”, and “me” in “welcome home”. I rolled those out together to give it more of that cursive look. Fill pie dough with apple pie filling. Place each letter right where you want it on the top of the filling – because that’s where it will stay – so make sure you space it out well ahead of time! Cut out little 1 inch circles with a cookie cutter and attach them, overlapping, to edge of pie, pressing down to make sure they don’t fall off. Brush crust with egg. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes uncovered, then cover edges with foil or a silicone pie crust shield and bake an additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown (just make sure your letters and edges are not burning!) Let cool a bit, and then enjoy!

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“You Complete Me” Blueberry and Brown Sugar Pies

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It’s like that old saying goes… “two pies are better than one”…

Is that the saying? Maybe I made it up – but it should be – because, well, it’s true! This weekend I baked these deliciously sweet blueberry and brown sugar pies. More Valentine’s ideas for you as we move into February here. So why two pies? Because what was I gonna do with all those little hearts after I punched them out of my dough for the pie? Make another pie and cover it with those little guys, of course! They complete each other ❤

 

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Pie Dough

2 ½ cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 egg yolks

¼ cup water

1 tsp vanilla

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In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. In stand mixer, beat butter until it is smooth. Add dry ingredients to butter until the mixture looks like course crumbs. Mix together the egg yolks and water. Add this to the stand mixer as well as the tsp of vanilla. Combine well. Once you get a smooth dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. I like to make the dough ahead and refrigerate overnight. If you have extra dough (this recipe makes two pies), you can always wrap it up super well and keep it in the freezer for a looong time. The longest I’ve kept it is about 1 month – mostly because I tend to find a reason to use it pretty soon J However, some people say you can keep it for about 6 months.

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Blueberry Brown Sugar Filling (makes 2 pies)

1 freshly squeezed lemon

2 tsp heavy cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ cup flour

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In a large bowl, sprinkle lemon juice and cream over blueberries and mix together. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and then pour into blueberries and mix.

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Assembly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out dough into 4 circles, two of them being 1 inch larger than your pie tin/plate. Place larger dough circles into pie plates and press down firmly. For the top crust – one of them, punch out little hearts, and for the other one, save the hearts to place in concentric circles as a top crust. Spoon filling into pies and then cover with top pie crusts. Use egg whites you had from making the dough to brush the top of the pies and lightly sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered, then for about 35 minutes covered with foil. Uncover for a couple minutes at the end before removing.

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Enjoy!