Salted Nutella Pie

When one of my dearest flickr/facebook friends posted about these Mini Salted Nutella Tarts, she knew that I would have to come up with my own pie version. Straight Nutella is a little intense for a whole pie, so I mentioned that whipping it with cream cheese sounded tasty, much like my popular Peanut Butter Pie. Kelly agreed, her family not so much. Well, sweet Kelly, thank you for the inspiration. I am pretty sure you would love my pie.

I used the base ingredients of my Peanut Butter Pie—cream cheese, powdered sugar, and whipped cream—and the divine Nutella took over the role of nut butter.

I used a 9-inch pie pastry for the crust, but I think it would also be tasty with a shortbread or almond cookie crust. I found the salty pastry as a nice foil to the sweet Nutella, though. I am a huge fan of the salty-sweet harmony.

This is a grand pie on its own, but I had fresh strawberries on hand and I thought it would be tasty (and a tiny bit healthy) to add a layer of sliced berries along the bottom of the pie. It was quite delicious.

Salted Nutella Pie

½ cup powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup Nutella (I pretty much used the whole 13 oz jar)
1 tbs vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top*
1 cup strawberries, sliced*
1 9-inch pie pastry, prebaked and cooled

*optional, but tasty

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in Nutella and vanilla. Set aside.

If you want to add a layer of strawberries, it is a good idea to spread a thin layer of Nutella along the bottom of the pie crust before arranging the sliced berries to keep the crust from getting soggy.

Beat heavy cream in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir a third of the whipped cream mixture into the Nutella mixture, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon filling into crust (over strawberries) and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Sprinkle the top of the pie with sea salt before serving, if you desire. (Seriously, do not be afraid of the salt. It is so, so good.)

I added a sliced and fanned strawberry as a garnish. A drizzle of chocolate syrup is another option if you’re feeling fancy.

Let’s look at some pretty pictures now.

I just had to show you how much butter goes into my pie pastry. This is for 2 9-inch pastry rounds

The simple ingredient lineup

Whip the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar in large bowl and try not to make a mess

Properly whipped cream cheese and powdered sugar

Now add the delicious Nutella. So thick and so rich, rich

I spread a bit of this mixture over the bottom of the pie crust before layering the berries

I know, right?

The strawberries are layered and the heavy cream is whipped to perfection

Gently fold the whipped cream into the Nutella mixture. You want to keep it fluffy. Where's Fluffy?

This is me trying to hold the camera and take a photo while pouring the filling in the pie

Looks delicious, but it must chill at least 4 hours

Here's the chilled pie in bad lighting

The perfect slice of pie makes me crazy happy

Strawberry Shortcake Pie

Strawberries are cheap and plentiful right now, so I am taking advantage of the Florida berries while I can. I was very pleased with my Baked Strawberry Pie, but wanted to put my own twist on Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Icebox Pie. I also wanted cream cheese in the pie, because it is so darn tasty. I was going to use shortbread cookies for the crust, hence the shortcake inspiration, but then I found Golden Oreo cookies on sale at Publix. Yum.

This pie is simple to prepare, and you can easily substitute different berries for the filling or other cookies for the crust. The sweet cream cheese complements the ripe berries so nicely, but feel free to omit it if you are crazy and don’t like cream cheese.

Strawberry Shortcake Pie

Cookie Crust
24 Golden Oreo Cookies
3 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Place cookies in a single layer in a Ziploc bag. Crush cookies with a rolling pin. (You could also pulse the cookies in a food processor, but smashing them is more fun.) Pour cookie crumbs in a bowl. Stir in melted butter and vanilla until combined. Press into 9-inch pie plate Bake at 350°for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Pie Filling
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ cup sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
½ cup water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar

Mash 2 cups strawberries in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Add ½ cup water and mashed strawberries. Cook over medium heat until thick and boiling. Boil about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and confectioner’s sugar until fluffy. Spread evenly into cooled pie crust. Top with sliced strawberries and pour cooled strawberry mixture on top. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or until set.

The ingredient lineup

I must admit my addiction to Golden Oreos

For a good time, put cookies in a Ziploc bag and smash them with a rolling pin

You should really smash them better than I did

Press cookie crumbs into a pie plate

Now smash half of the sliced berries

Show the sliced berries what will happen to them if they don't behave

Mix the sugar and cornstarch together, then add the water and berries

Let the berries boil about 1 minute, until mixture is thick and glossy

While berry mixture cools, whip up the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar

That cream cheese is totally whipped

Spread the cream cheese mixture into the cooled cookie crust

Mmm.... Cream cheese

Pile on the sliced berries. Don't worry, it will all fit

Carefully pour the cooled berry mixture over the sliced berries and stick it in the fridge to chill

The perfect slice

Late to the Pi Party

Those who live in colder climes tend to think of strawberries as a sign of summer. Living in Florida means finding local strawberries from December to April, and we are peaking right about now. Oh, yeah. Spring is in the air and strawberries are everywhere. Aren’t we lucky?

One of the first pies I made when I started this project was a Strawberry Icebox Pie. It was delicious. As of late, I’ve been itching to make a baked strawberry pie. I thought it would be the perfect pie for Pi Day, which was March 14. As you can see, I am late to the Pi party. All I can say is that it’s not easy to bake a pie after work in the middle of the week. Pies take time. No one likes to feel rushed. Pie should not make you cry.

I can say that it was worth the delay. This is one of my favorite pies I’ve made. My best pastry, yet, no doubt. The key to a tasty and flaky pastry is letting the dough rest for at least an hour before rolling and keeping it cool while working it. Don’t rush it and never let it get too soft. I put it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes after rolling, after pressing it into the pan, and after crimping. After finishing the top crust, I put the pie in the freezer for a few minutes to let it firm up before sticking it in the hot oven. It’s the little things that make a difference.

I just used a standard fruit pie recipe. You can use any berries, stone, or hard fruit, really. A little lemon juice and nutmeg really bring out the flavor of the fruit without overpowering. Use more or less fruit depending if you want a smaller or taller pie. Feel free to add another ¼-½ cup of sugar, or brown sugar, if you like it sweeter or if the berries are too tart. If the filling looks too juicy after stirring, add 1-2 tbs cornstarch to thicken it a bit. I also recommend placing a cookie sheet or a spill-mat beneath the pie to catch any drips.

Baked Strawberry Pie

4-6 cups (2-3 quarts) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ cup sugar
¼ cup tapioca or flour
pinch salt
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
3 tbs cold butter, cut into bits

2 9-inch prepared pie pastries

Preheat oven to 425°.

Press one pie pastry into 9-inch pie plate. Place pastry in freezer while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, toss sliced strawberries with sugar, tapioca or flour, salt, lemon juice, and nutmeg. If strawberry mixture is too juicy, add 1-2 tbs cornstarch.

Spoon into prepared pie pastry. Pour juice over top and dot with butter. Top with remaining pie pastry. Crimp edges and vent as desired.

Bake on lowest rack for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, move pie to middle rack and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown. (I used a pie crust shield for the last 10 minutes to keep the edges from becoming too brown.)

Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Time for pretty pie pictures.

Florida strawberries pose for a still life

The ingredient lineup

Hull and slice 2-3 quarts of fresh strawberries

Pour some sugar on those berries

Now pour some tapioca on there

A little freshly grated nutmeg mingles nicely with the fruit

Freshly squeezed lemon juice complements the sweet berries

Gently spoon the berries into the prepared pie pastry

Dot with butter before adding your top crust

My pie talks nerdy to me

Pretty and delicious. The baked strawberry pie is a new favorite

Hot Buttered Rum Raisin Pie

I must first apologize for the piatus. I started a new job (yay!) and I’m still adjusting to the schedule. It’s all good, though. I’m finding my groove and I even had time to bake two pies this past weekend, Grits and Dark Chocolate Mocha Meringue. Yum! But you already have those recipes. This post is about a new pie I’ve added to my repertoire.

Two weeks ago I finally got around to making a raisin pie. It had been on my list but I kept passing it over in favor of other pies. I like raisins, but I just wasn’t sure about a whole pie of raisins. Man, I had no idea how delicious it would be.

The raisin pie is also known as Funeral Pie. For real. From what I’ve read, it’s an Amish thing. Someone dies, you make a pie with what you have on hand. Apparently the Amish always have raisins on hand. I usually have raisins in my cupboard, too, so I had everything I needed to make this pie. Because of the timing, I also called this my Whitney Houston Memorial Pie.

I took the basic raisin pie recipe and kicked it up a notch with a little rum and more spice. Since I had Hot Buttered Rum batter on hand (recipe below), I just used that in my pie. Worked like a charm. I have the breakdown of the spices in my original pie recipe. Either way, it is darn tasty.

Hot Buttered Rum Raisin Pie

2 cups raisins
½ cup Bacardi gold rum
1½ cups water
½ cup packed brown sugar (I used dark, but light works fine)
4 tbs butter
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
1 tbs cider vinegar
2 tbs cornstarch
¼ tsp salt

2 9-inch prepared pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425°.

Put raisins in small bowl. Add rum and let the raisins get drunk as you prepare the pie pastry or prep the other ingredients.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together water, salt, and cornstarch. Bring to boil. Stir in hot butter rum batter or brown sugar, butter, and spices until combined. Add raisins and rum. Return to boil and let simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until syrup thickens. Let cool slightly.

Pour filling into 9-inch prepared pie pastry. Top with second crust. Crimp edges and vent as desired.

Place pie on bottom rack and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and move pie to middle rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden. Use a pie crust shield or foil tent to keep the edges of the crust from becoming too brown. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

~ ~ ~

Now, let  me tell you about that Hot Buttered Rum. I found this recipe a few years ago and my friends loved it. Oh, my. It is a tasty beverage. I made a batch of the batter during the holidays and stuck it in the freezer. I used ½ cup, packed, for my pie. Yum.

Tony’s Hot Buttered Rum Batter
1 lb light brown sugar
½ lb unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
2 tsp vanilla extract

To make Batter:
In a mixing bowl beat together softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spices until well combined. Refrigerate in an airtight reusable container for up to a month, or place in your freezer until ready to use.

To make Hot Buttered Rum:
In a coffee mug combine 2 heaping tablespoons batter with 1 ½ oz. Mount Gay Rum or any dark rum. Top with boiling water and stir well to mix. Serve with a cinnamon stick.

It is best to make the batter in advance so the spices have an opportunity to mingle. Be sure to remove batter from refrigerator an hour prior to serving to allow it to soften.

Time for pretty pictures. This was a pretty fun pie to make.

The ingredient lineup

These raisins are about to get drunk

Let the raisins soak in rum for at least 20 minutes

This just looks like black bean soup to me

Pour the raisins into your prepared pie crust

Spread the raisin mixture evenly before topping with other crust

I cut out circles to make pretty vents in my top crust

Then I carefully topped my pie with my pretty pastry

Seal the edges of pastry and trim or crimp excess dough

Now that's a pretty pie!

I have an awesome pie crust shield to keep the edges from becoming too brown

Baked to perfection

Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie

Life sometimes hands you lemons, it’s true, but you have to make the best with what you’ve got. When life handed me lemons and limes, I decided to make a refreshingly tart pie. Limon!

First, a few tips. You could get away with using four, or even three, eggs for this recipe, but I happen to like the custard consistency and massive meringue I get with five eggs. Next, be sure to roll the lemons and limes between your palm and the counter to release the juices before slicing and squeezing. Finally, with any custard pie, timing is key. Over- or under-cooking will leave you with a runny filling and that’s not going to make anyone happy. Just make sure you have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go before you start cooking. Pie should not make you cry.

Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie

1¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
1¾ cup cold water
5 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
6 tbs fresh lemon juice
3 tbs fresh lime juice
1½ tsp grated lemon zest
1½ tsp grated lime zest
3 tbs butter, cut into thirds
1 9-inch pre-baked pie crust

Preheat oven to 325°. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in cold water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until simmering. Whisk in yolks, juice, and zest. Whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time, until melted. Bring to boil and simmer for one minute. Filling should be thick, like pudding. Remove from heat and place plastic wrap over surface to avoid the dreaded pudding skin. Set aside and prepare meringue.

Meringue
5 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, then add vanilla. Beat until glossy and stiff peaks form.

Remove plastic wrap from filling and pour into pre-baked pie crust. Using a spatula or the back of a wooden spoon, carefully spread meringue on top of filling, being sure to seal meringue to the edge of the crust to avoid shrinkage.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until meringue is golden. Cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours before serving.

Lemons are pretty, so I made them pose

I love how cheerful lemons look

Zest first, then juice the lemons and limes

Juicing by hand will give your arms a workout

Slowly pour cold water into the dry ingredients

After adding the egg yolks, you'll have a glorious yellow filling

Seriously high and marvelous meringue

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter is a popular pie for potlucks. It is a pretty simple icebox pie that even non-bakers can whip up in no time. I have never been a fan of peanut butter pies (or potlucks, for that matter) because they are usually cloyingly sweet or too salty. I blame the cloyingly sweet part on the usage of Cool Whip. I just don’t get Cool Whip. (I don’t get Miracle Whip, either, but that’s another story.)

Homemade whipped cream is simple: heavy cream, sugar, a little vanilla. When you make your own, you can control the sweetness. You just have to be careful to stop mixing when you reach soft peaks, because it will go from whipped cream to butter in the blink of an eye. Although, making butter is fun, too. I used to do this activity with the kids when I was an after-school group leader. (Kids love craft projects they can eat.)

Back to the pie. The whipped cream I make for this pie contains no sugar because there is already sugar in the pie. I do not add salt because peanut butter is already salty enough. Of course, using some kind of hippie health food, no-salt, no-sugar peanut butter will give you different results. That’s fine if that is how you roll, but be aware that you may need to add salt and your favorite natural sweetener to make a palatable pie.

I am not a choosy mom, but I still choose Jif because my choosy mom chose Jif. I like the taste and the texture better than other brands. You can use the peanut butter you prefer, just make sure it’s smooth. Part of the appeal of this pie is the creamy texture. Peanut bits that will invariably get stuck in your teeth will ruin the effect, plus your friends with diverticulitis (Remember Doug and Wendy Whiner?) won’t be able to eat it.

While you can pick up a ready-made crumb crust at the grocery, I implore you to make your own crust. It is so easy and so much better.

Peanut Butter Pie

Crust
1½ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve)
5 tbs butter, melted
1 tbs sugar

Mix and press into pie plate. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¾ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1½ cups smooth peanut butter
1 tbs vanilla
1½ cups heavy cream

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in peanut butter and vanilla until combined. Set aside. Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Stir in 1/3 of whipped cream into peanut butter mixture, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon into cooled pie crust and refrigerate at least four hours before serving. Garnish with a sprinkling of cookie crumbs or a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

I remembered to take more photos this time, except during the whipped cream part. I am easily distracted by whipped cream.

The obligatory ingredient lineup

Chocolate graham cracker crumbs. Chocolate cookie crumbs work, too

Mmm.... Butter! Do not skimp on the butter; four tablespoons really isn't enough

Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to evenly press the crumbs into the pie plate

Completely cool the crumb crust on a wire rack before filling

Beat the powdered sugar and cream cheese until fluffy

Ooooh! That's fluffy!

Now it's time to add the peanut, peanut butter (hold the jelly)

Confession: I rarely measure vanilla extract

Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until it looks like this

Use a spatula to gently fold in the whipped cream

Peanut-buttery goodness ready to become a pie

Gently fill the crumb crust and make it look pretty

I sprinkled cookie crumbs on top just to pretty it up a bit

After chilling for four hours, the pie sliced up perfectly

Miss Petunia’s Grits Pie

I discovered Paula Deen’s recipe for Grits Pie four years ago while searching for a birthday cake alternative for my grits-lovin’ lover.  Never did I imagine such a thing existed, let alone tasted so magically delicious. It was the only pie I had ever baked before starting MyPiary.

I have baked this pie with my dear friend Daniel many times, and it always receives rave reviews. People who dislike grits still love this pie. I’m thinking it has something to do with all the buttah.

While the original recipe calls for buttermilk, I have a hard time justifying buying an entire quart of buttermilk (the only size I can find in my Publix, where shopping is a pleasure), when I can easily make my own sour dairy product. I also like to add more vanilla, and sometimes a little bourbon, to kick it up a notch. I only use the slow-cooking, old-fashioned grits and a homemade pastry, because I’m worth it. Oh, my pie-eaters are totally worth it, too.

Miss Petunia’s Grits Pie

¾ cup water
dash salt
¼ cup old fashioned grits
½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
2 tbs flour
3 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ cup half & half
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbs bourbon, optional
1 9-inch prepared, unbaked pie pastry

Preheat oven to 325°. Add lemon juice to half & half to make “buttermilk” and set aside. Bring water and salt to a boil in a small pan. Add grits and cook for 5-7 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Add vanilla and stir. Let cool slightly. Beat eggs in medium bowl. Add sugar and stir until combined. Stir in flour and half & half. Slowly stir in cooled grits. Pour into prepared, unbaked pie shell. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until set. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or cold. The pie is tasty as is, or it can be topped with a warm berry compote for extra deliciousness.

Let’s look at photo documentation now.

The ingredient lineup

Making the grits

A whole stick of buttah? You betcha!

Mix the butter and grits well, then add vanilla and bourbon

Mix all ingredients well before pouring into pie shell

Homemade pie pastry is so much better

My crust looks a little wonky, but it's still delicous

Yes, you can have a slice of grits pie for breakfast

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