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Tropical Delight: Creamy Pies

June 19, 2013

Nordic Ware Giveaway This Week!

Since this week is Pie Making Boot Camp at CHEFS Mix Blog, we're giving away a 10-inch Nordic Ware Pie Pan With Lid! The winner will be chosen Monday, June 24, from all commenters on our pie blogs through Sunday, June 23. When you comment, leave a way for us to reach you if you're the winner. Or, check back on Monday--when we start talking about another kind of pie: Pizza!

Giveaway update: this giveaway is closed.

Girl About to Throw Whipped Cream PieWith summer comes a craving for fruity snacks and citrus drinks with fun colorful umbrellas. But, the fun and the flavors don’t have to stop at fruit salads and cocktails. After cold, gray winters, why not incorporate your desire for the tropics into your deserts?

Just watch out if someone offers you a cream pie that seems to be all whipped cream.

Summer is hot, so keep your deserts light by making a nice, fluffy cream pie. Fruit pies can feel heavy because the filling is often smothered in syrup and loaded with sugar—but a meringue that is properly whipped is the perfect tropical indulgence for a summer evening.

The perfect meringue can be tricky

The key to incorporate some of summer’s best flavors is learning how to make a meringue. Despite how few ingredients are involved—eggs and sugar—creating the perfect meringue can take some practice. But that yummy foamy consistency is worth all the work! Those stiff white peaks are so light and airy—so summery! Once you master these steps, you'll be whipping up meringues like a master chef in no time!

Don’t be intimidated by meringue. With these tips, you’ll soon be whipping up a quality meringue—and wow-ing your friends:

  • Grease is not the word: Make sure your mixing bowl is 100 percent grease free. The tiniest amount of grease in your mixing bowl can ruin your hopes for a perfect foam. To be on the safe side, take half a lemon and rub it all over the insides of the bowl to eliminate any possibility of grease traces.
  • Separate the egg whites: Do this over two bowls: one where the whites are held and one for depositing the yolks. Be careful not to allow any yolk to be mixed in with your whites. Eggs can be separated easily while they are cold but you will want to let the whites sit until they reach room temperature for optimum whipping. Once you’ve separated them, add the whites to a large bowl because they will expand a surprising amount as a result of the whipping.Egg Separator at CHEFScatalog.com
  • Add stabilizer: The secret to achieving the perfect foam for your meringue is to add a stabilizer to the egg whites before whipping. Vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar are the most common and will help your meringue harden on the outside while staying soft and gooey on the inside. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  • Sweeten the pot: Gradually add the sugar. After you have achieved soft peaks, add sugar one tablespoon at a time while mixing on high speed. Adding sugar too quickly will deflate the egg whites and make them difficult to whip. Do this until the peaks become stiff and stand upright. The mix should be silky smooth to touch with no trace of sugar granules.
  • Be quick about it: Once your meringue has formed stiff peaks, spread it over the pie while it is still hot (thereby baking the underside of the meringue). Swirl the peaks with a spoon before placing in the oven to improve the appearance and bake until the meringue is golden brown.
  • Chill: Place pie in the refrigerator for five to six hours before serving.

Now that you know the tricks to a perfect meringue, try out one of these classic tropical pies at your next party and get ready for the compliments to pour as your friends indulge in these sweet confections.

Key lime pie

This pie is an American classic that has its origins in the Florida Keys. Purists swear that a pie is not a Key lime unless it follows these specifics:

  1. The pie only uses Key limes and never the more commonly found Persian limes.
  2. The original Key lime pie used sweetened condensed milk because regular milk was unavailable in the region, so only condensed milk should be used.
  3. Key lime pie should never be green. It should be it’s natural creamy-yellow color.

Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key Lime Pie

Nellie & Joe's Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe at CHEFScatalog.comIngredients

1 9-inch graham cracker pie shell

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

3 egg yolks

½ cup Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice

Fresh whipped cream and lime slices for garnish

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine milk, egg yolks, and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before refrigerating.

Just before serving, top with fresh whipped cream and garnish with lime slices.

Recipe courtesy of Nellie & Joe’s

Lemon meringue

The most basic meringue pie to make is a lemon one. Treat your guests to this classic citrus desert and show off your awesome new meringue-whipping skills. Your friends will be jealous of your prowess in the kitchen. Freshly squeezed lemon juice and homemade zest will take this pie to a whole new level of flavor.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie at CHEFScatalog.comIngredients

Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced

1/4 cup ice water

>strong>Filling

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups water

2 lemons, juiced and zested

2 tablespoons butter

4 egg yolks, beaten

4 egg whites

6 tablespoons white sugar

Cooking Instructions

Crust

Chill all ingredients 30 minutes prior to making crust.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until ingredients come together. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill thoroughly, up to overnight, before rolling out.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

On a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin, roll dough out to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Flute the edges, if desired.

Line the crust with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dry beans. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, and remove foil and pie weights. Cool in the pie pan on a wire rack until room temperature, before filling.

Filling

In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter.

Temper the egg yolks by placing egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisking in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the pan while pouring it into the pan in a thin stream. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a clean large glass or metal bowl, use electric hand mixer to whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, making sure to spread the meringue to cover the filling and seal against the pie crust. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

Prefer a cheesecake?

Try this mini-cheesecake version of this classic pie.

Lemon Meringue Miniature CheesecakesLemon Meringue Miniature Cheesecakes

Ingredients

Cookie Crust

1 cup crushed vanilla wafer cookies (approximately 34 cookies)

2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Lemon Filling

16 ounces cream cheese (not whipped)

1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

Meringue Topping

1/4 cup lemon curd

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cooking Instructions

Cookie Crust

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put all ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and pulse until fine crumbs form. Divide mixture equally among 12 round molds in a mini cheesecake pan, pressing evenly into the bottom of each cup.

Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Lemon Filling

Put all ingredients in the large bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until smooth.

Pour mixture onto the cookie crusts in the mini cheesecake pan, dividing evenly and filling almost to the top.

Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill thoroughly.

Meringue Topping

Remove cheesecake pan from refrigerator. Carefully unmold the cheesecakes from the pan. Using a small spoon, place 1 teaspoon of lemon curd on top of each cheesecake, smoothing to cover evenly. Return to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Put the egg whites in the large bowl of a food processor fitted with the whisk attachment and beat, gradually pouring the sugar mixture through the shoot, until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat. Using a medium spoon, place a dollop of meringue on top of each cheesecake.

Using the back of the spoon, swirl the meringue to form soft peaks. Using a kitchen torch, lightly torch the top of the meringue peaks, browning slightly. Sprinkle with a few strands of lemon zest.

Makes 12 miniature cheesecakes.

CHEFS™ Kitchen

Coconut cream pie

Coconut Cream Pie at CHEFScatalog.comWhile not a citrus flavor, coconut is undoubtedly tropical. As a finishing touch, top this pie with sweetened coconut shavings, but first bake them for 10 to 12 minutes on a cookie sheet, turning them over occasionally. Toasting the shavings will give them a rich, nutty flavor and add a slight crunch to the pie’s creamy texture.

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced

1/4 cup ice water

>strong>Filling

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

3 cups half-and-half

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whipped cream

Cooking Instructions

Crust

Chill all ingredients 30 minutes prior to making crust.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until ingredients come together. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill thoroughly, up to overnight, before rolling out.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

On a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin, roll dough out to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Flute the edges, if desired.

Line the crust with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dry beans. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, and remove foil and pie weights. Cool in the pie pan on a wire rack until room temperature, before filling.

Filling

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread shredded coconut on ungreased baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until light-golden brown, about 5 minutes. Be careful to watch the coconut closely. The sugar will quickly burn if left unattended.

In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour, and salt and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and the vanilla extract. Reserve the remaining coconut to top the pie. Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until firm, about 4 hours.

Top with whipped topping and remaining coconut.

Now that the Mini Pie Revolution is underway and Pie Making Bootcamp is completed, check out these pie-related blogs on CHEFS Mix for more:

Your turn: What is your favorite summer dessert that is three letters long, starts with "p," and ends with "e"?

 

Grilling Essentials at CHEFScatalog.com

4 Comments

  • Michael@CHEFSMix

    Janet, My mother would always make me a fresh peach pie each summer. I looked forward to that every year! I'd like to try a peach/blueberry ... that just sounds good to me! Thanks for bringing that memory alive today!

  • Michael@CHEFSMix

    I'm not a coconut eater, but I could get into some blackberry, Adele. Yes, yes I could!

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Tags: Pies, Recipes, Tips, Cookware, Bakeware

Categories: Food & Recipes