Pudding Pie

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A word of caution: this is not a pie that you can throw together at the last minute. This is a pie that needs to be refrigerated for at least 24 hours. Sometimes longer. I recommend making this with the chocolate animal cracker pie crust, but the shortbread crust is a good option, too.

 

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 cups whole milk, and 4 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Whisk together. Whisk over medium heat until it just barely comes to a boil and starts to get thick. For me this takes about 15 minutes because I don’t want to curdle anything and I keep it over medium-low heat if we’re being honest. First you want it to coat the back of your spoon. This means that when you lift a spoon, you can wipe your finger in the sauce and leave your finger trail. Keep stirring until it’s thick like pudding.

Remove from heat. Add 6.5 ounces (1 bar) bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped roughly, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon chili powder if you want it to have a bit more flair. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Stir until it’s all melted together. Pour into your pie crust. No need to bake it. Pour any excess into a pudding container of your choice.

Let your pie come to room temperature, then move it to your fridge to sit, uncovered, for at least 24 hours. 36 hours seems to be a sweet spot.

 

 

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Animal Cracker Pie Crust

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In a food processor, crush approximately 2 cups of chocolate animal crackers (or other wafer cookie) until it forms fine crumbs. Measure 1 1/2 cups of these crumbs into a mixing bowl. Slowly stream in 6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled.

Press into a pie plate and really smash it all together. The more compact you can make it, the easier it is to serve intact later.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

 

Let cool completely before filling with pie filling of your choice.

 

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Apricot Scones

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Scones are one of those things that feel intimidating and fancy, but really shouldn’t. They come together quite easily and are pretty versatile.

In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup cubed cold salted butter. Mix together with your hands until it looks like coarse crumbs. Fold in a heaping 1/2 cup diced dried apricots (I used half regular dried apricots, and half chocolate covered dried apricots we had in the pantry) and 3/4 semi-sweet chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, whisk together one egg and 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream. Add to dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Knead lightly approximately 30 seconds, until everything comes together. If it feels too wet and you’re having a hard time pulling your hands out cleanly, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it you can shape the dough without it sticking to you much. It should look a lot like cookie dough.

Pat the dough into a ball and transfer to a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Flatten into a 1″ disk. Use a butter knife to carefully cut the disk into eighths. Brush with additional heavy whipping cream, then sprinkle with sugar. Cook about 17 minutes at 425.

If you prefer savory scones, omit the cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, apricots and chocolate. Instead, half the sugar (use 2 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup), add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup grated sharp cheddar and 1/4 cup fresh chives.

 

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Pudding, Three Ways

I was only lucky enough to cook with Buzzy once, but I made sure to pay close attention when he taught me Graham’s family recipe for dessert. We made the vanilla that evening and used it to top some fresh banana slices. Graham and I make ours slightly differently, substituting vanilla almond milk in lieu of regular milk.

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Vanilla:

In a small bowl, whip together 3 egg yolks. Set aside. Stir together 2 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup flour together over medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cook an additional two minutes while continuously stirring. Begin to temper the whipped eggs with small spoonfuls of hot pudding mixture. When the mixture is about half pudding, half egg, return it to the pan with the remaining pudding mixture. Cook an additional minute. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in 3 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Let cool, then serve. I like to add vanilla wafers, but you can’t go wrong with some fresh banana slices.

Butterscotch:

Follow the recipe as above, using brown sugar instead of white.

Chocolate:

Follow the recipe as above, using 2 egg yolks, 2 cups of milk, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. You can skip the butter here, the pudding is so rich without it!

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