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Food

Coconut-Taro Cream Pie

coconut-taro-cream-pie-recipe-8coconut-taro-cream-pie-recipe-21 coconut-taro-cream-pie-recipe-1Today is National Pie Day, if you believe in those sorts of holidays. And I do, if only for the sake of my stomach. While I was laying in bed dreaming up different pies I could make to celebrate this most-made-up and most-delicious of holidays, my mind kept wandering to another sweet treat: the ice cream cone. More specifically, a particular ice cream from Mitchell’s, the best little ice cream shop in San Francisco. On hot fall nights, I used to leash Clarabelle up and walk the ten minutes from my house to Mitchell’s to wait in line for what I consider to be the best combo there: one scoop of taro ice cream topped with a scoop of young coconut all stacked on a freshly-made sugar cone. It’s the perfect mix of light, tropical flavors and I love the playful purple color of taro.

Since I couldn’t stop thinking about my favorite Mitchell’s cone, I decided to turn it into a timely pie. Behold: the coconut-taro cream pie with a sugar cone crust and a cherry on top. Taro powder, which can be bought online and at your local Asian market, added to a classic coconut custard lends a signature purple color and incomparable sweet and starchy flavor to the pie. A crushed-up sugar cone base is not only the easiest crust you’ll ever make, it adds the perfect amount of crunch to the otherwise light and creamy fare. All-in-all, I’m pretty darn pleased with this creation.

coconut-taro-cream-pie-recipe-13Coconut-Taro Cream Pie
adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup cornstarch
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (one 13.75 oz can)
• 1 1/4 cups whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
• 1/4 cup taro instant tea powder
• purple food coloring (optional)

For Topping:
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
• maraschino cherries

For Crust:
• 8 Tbsp melted butter
• 12 sugar cones

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. To make the crust, crunch or blend sugar cones until they resemble a coarse sand. I also left a few bigger-size chunks for added texture. Add the melted butter to the crunched-up cones and mix until combined.

3. Press the mixture evenly into a standard pie pant and bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned. Let cool completely.

4. To make the filling, Combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in coconut milk and whole milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 7 minutes.

5. Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture to yolks in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return tosaucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Pour the custard into a bowl and stir in vanilla, taro powder and shredded coconut. Add food coloring for a more impactful purple, if desired. Pour into pie crust, and smooth top. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until filling is completely set, at least 4 hours (N.B. I didn’t have time to let my custard set completely, so mine oozed a bit when I sliced into the pie. I recommend chilling the pie for as long as a day or two to ensure everything sets properly).

7. When you’re ready to dig in or your patience wears thin, whichever comes first, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar together until soft peaks form. Spread atop the pie, building it up a bit in the middle, and plop bright red cherry right on top.

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Food

Candied Key Lime Pie

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This weekend, I had the most amazingly fun time hanging out with my family in Texas. My mom always goes out of her way to have delicious food around for us when we visit, and this time was no exception. After a recent trip to Palm Beach, she fell in love with the classic key lime pie at Mar-a-Lago. At home, she recreated it with a few signature twists—delicious cream cheese topping and beautiful candied lime wheels. I love how cool and fresh this pie is, and I’m sure I’ll be craving it as soon as I head by to Iowa. Luckily, she gave me the recipe.

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Candied Key Lime Pie
Recipe adapted from Oprah.com.

For the crust:
• 3/4 pound graham crackers
• 4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
• 2 sticks melted butter
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt

For the filling:
• 4 egg yolks
• 1 can (14 ounces) condensed milk
• 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice
• 1 lime , grated zest

For the topping:
• 1 pint sour cream
• 1/4 c. sugar
• 1/4 tsp. vanilla

Directions:
1. To make the graham cracker crust, pre-heat the oven to 325°.

2. Break up the graham crackers and blend in a food processor until you have small crumbs. Add the melted butter, sugar and salt and pulse until combined.

3. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan, forming an even layer on the bottom and sides. Bake crust for 10 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool.

4. While the crust is cooling, start making the filling by whipping the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until fluffy, about 5 or 6 minutes.

5. Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to whip until thick, about 3 or 4 minutes longer. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the lime juice until incorporated.

6. Pour the filling mixture into the crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until the filling has just set.

7. To make the topping, mix the sour cream, sugar and vanilla and carefully spread on top of the pie. Bake another six minutes then cool overnight (if you can stand to wait that long).

8. Top with a slice of candied lime (blanch thin slices of key lime in simple syrup, remove from syrup, dust with sugar and let dry)!

**Bonus step: Use your leftover egg whites to whip up some meringues, and top those with some more delicious candied lime slices.

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Food

A Pie for My Valentine

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This lovely heart-encrusted pie is one of those desserts that looks way more impressive than it is. The flaky, buttery crust is super easy to make, and the filling offers that perfect sweet/tart flavor profile—plus, it comes out a beautiful red color. I made this a few days ago, and the whole thing is already gone. Good thing I had some leftover dough to make hand pies for breakfast!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Sweetheart Pie
Pie dough recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking; filling recipe from Epicurious.

Dough Ingredients:
• 4 cups flour
• 2 tsp salt
• 1 1/3 cup shortening, chilled
• 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
• 8 Tbsp ice water (you might not use all of it)
•  1 egg (for egg wash)

Filling Ingredients:
•  3 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb
•  1 16oz pack of strawberries (about 3 1/2 cups sliced)
• 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup cornstarch
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
1. To make the dough, combine four, salt, shortening and butter in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into the flour with a fork until there are pea-sized pieces of dough.

2. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time as you gently mix the dough with your hands. Stop mixing as soon as the dough comes together in a ball (you may need more/less water depending on the circumstances).

3. Split the dough into two even balls, cover them with plastic wrap and stick them in the fridge while you make your filling.

4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

5. To make the filling, trim any excess leaves off the rhubarb (because they’re toxic!), and cut rhubarb into 1/2″ length pieces. Then hull and half strawberries.

6. Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix it all up. Easiest pie filling ever.

7. Now we are ready to roll out the dough. Take one ball of dough from the refrigerator, sprinkle some flour on your counter or cutting board and roll until the crust is about 1/8″ thick. Again, the goal here is the keep everything nice and cold so your lovely chunks of butter don’t melt and we get that nice, flaky crust.

8. Grease a 9″ glass pie dish and slide your pie dough in. I like to roll out my dough on a thin plastic cutting board so I can put the pie dish on top and flip everything over. That way you don’t have to worry about folding the dough or tearing it. Then, trim off excess dough.

9. Place your pie dish back in the fridge while you roll out your second ball of dough. Find a pretty heart-shaped cookie cutter and cut out a bunch of hearts—I think I used 27.

10. Time to put it all together! Take the chilled pie pan with crust out of the fridge and add the filling. Then, start layering your hearts on top in a spiral pattern starting from the outside. You can add as few or as many as you like, just be sure to leave little gaps for steam to escape.

11. Mix an egg in a small bowl with a little water and brush it over the pie crust to create that shiny golden brown finish.

12. Transfer the pie dish to a baking sheet lined with foil (very important, because your pie filling will bubble over in the oven) and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Then, reduce oven to 350°F and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set, about 1 hour 15 minutes. I like to turn my pie half-way through so it browns evenly, and I start checking it every 5 minutes at the 1-hour mark to make sure the crust doesn’t burn.

13. Let the pie cool completely before you top it with vanilla ice cream and dig in!

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