Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pies Pies, glorious Pies! and all gluten free

Well, my intention was to finish the pies and get this posted last week... All of you out there with kids will understand how the best of intentions can go awry.  It started with my little guy, who came home throwing up and with a sore throat, by time he went back to school, he had spread it to his older brother and sister.  So all my time was spent taking kids to the doctor, waiting HOURS at the pharmacy and running back to Wal-mart for MORE ginger ale and chicken soup.

But yesterday, all the kids were better, so I tackled the pies.  I have always made a standard cream pie, cooked custard filling for my pies with some variations that are all me.  I was given a little feed back this year that my cream pies are just too rich (apparently there is such a thing), and could I maybe try for something lease dense and more light and fluffy.  The person who gave that feed back is just lucky he got it in before I made my pies this year, cause telling me that right after I went to all that work would have been a really bad idea!

Here is the basic cream pie recipe I have always used.  I normally make chocolate, coconut, banana and peanut butter cream pies using this recipe.  I decided to try variations in two ways.  First I made this recipe and folded in 2 cups home made, stabilized whipped cream, chocolate or vanilla depending on the flavor of the pie.  I normally double, or if I have a big enough heavy pot, quadruple this recipe, same time, more pies!

For the second experiment, I followed this recipe.  To make the peanut butter, I used melted recess peanut butter chips instead of the chocolate chips.  Honestly, the peanut butter chips clumped up somewhat, so if I had to do it again I would use either plain peanut butter, or I would melt the chips with peanut butter.

We tried the chocolate cream pies and decided that we like the traditional cream pie with the whipped cream better than the old version, it is lighter and not as rich.  But we liked the flavor of the cream cheese pie better, so I will probably use it in the future.

Since I am only making pies for 2 people this Thanksgiving, and the kiddos will all be with their dad, I decided to make all my pies in these cute mini tins.  They come with lids to make storing them easier and they are just the right size.  I cut them into 1/4 and then I can a piece of each flavor without getting sick!

For my Cheese Cake, I used some fantastic gluten free graham cracker crumbs from my local gluten free store.  If you can't get graham cracker crumbs gluten free, make a cereal crust with 1 cup crushed honey nut chex. 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup coconut.  I like to put the coconut through the blender with the cereal.  Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter, press into the pie plate and bake @ 350 for 10 minutes.
 I have this thing about raw eggs.  I simply will not eat anything with raw egg in it, so I had never tried key lime pie.  In one of my food science labs in college, we were learning how acid will make milks coagulate and we made this key lime cheese cake.  I have added a few touches of my own, but I have to say it is fabulous and easy.

 And finally, to make stabalized whipped cream (way way way better than cool whip, and easy too)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (knox)
4 teaspoons water
Stir the gelatin and the water together and let set until thickened.
Add the cream and sugar to the mixer and turn on to low speed.
Put the gelatin mixture in the microwave and cook for 15-25 seconds, stirring ever 5 seconds.  Cook it until it is clear.
With the mixer running, when the cream has started to thicken but is not quite done, slowly spoon the gelatin mixture into the cream.
Add the vanilla and mix until firm peaks form.  Make sure you do not over mix, it will turn into butter.
To make chocolate whipped cream, stir 1/4 cup cocoa powder into the sugar before adding to the cream.  This whipped cream will not go runny in the fridge, so you can keep it for several days, or decorate your pies with it. (and it's great in cream puffs!)

 And now I have enough pies and cheesecakes in my freezer to get us through Thanksgiving and Christmas and some extras for the random holiday party.

I did make several fruit pies, but those fillings are so basic I decided not to post them beyond saying that I replaced cornstarch with clear gel so that it will freeze better.