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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Perfect Pie on a Perfect Patio

This blog post is in memory of my patio furniture.  Let me take a moment to tenderly recount the wonderful times spent in your company. . . Lazy Saturdays sprawled on the couch -- book in hand, and pillow under head; soaking up the sun after a cruel, seemingly interminable winter. Dusky evenings at your table -- lovingly prepared meals shared with the laughing faces of family and friends, lit only by the flickering flight of fireflies. Quiet, breezy mornings -- curled up with a cappuccino,  magazine carelessly tossed on one cushion, scone on another.  Ahh the memories we shared; how I will miss you -- your life cut short by the swift and terrible acts of the briefest (and most localized) tornado that I have ever seen.  At least I was was fortunate enough to enjoy one last delicious piece of summer pie on your hearth before you went (noisily) into the night.  It was a perfect pie, on a perfect night, on a perfect patio.  I will cherish the memory.

Dulce de Leche Cream Pie: Adapted from Dorothy Kern at Crazy for Crust:
Compose the parts of the pie in the order listed: Crust, Topping, Filling


Crust

20 Oreo Cookies
1/4 cup Melted Butter

Blend cookies in a food processor to a fine crumb.  
Transfer the crumbs into a medium bowl  and break up any lumps with your fingers; pour the butter on top. 
Mix with your hands.
 
Pat the mixture into a 9 in pie pan.  It is easiest to do this by grabbing a fistful of crumbs, starting in the middle of the pan, working your way outwards and, finally, up the sides of the pan.  Patch any bare spots as needed. 

 Refrigerate overnight.


 Topping

4 oz Semisweet Chocolate
4 oz Creme Fraische
Note: This is a simple ganache recipe -- you can use various ingredients for the dairy, the most common being whipping cream.  I used creme fraische for a little bit of tang, to balance the sweet filling
Place the chocolate in a small bowl.
Heat the creme fraische to a simmer on the stove. 
                    Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate.

                    Mix with a spoon/spatula until smooth.

                    Pour into a pastry bag (no tip) and set aside.


Filling

8 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup Dulce de Leche
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Paste
8 oz Cool Whip

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla paste and dulce de leche until smooth with a hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
Fold in cool whip until just incorporated, and then beat at medium speed until smooth.
(Note: The original recipe says to just fold in the cool whip, but since I have the upper body strength of, well. . . of someone with no upper body strength, I gave up after about 20 seconds and decided to let my KitchenAid   do the manual labor.  For once, being lazy paid off -- the mixture was light, fluffy and ethereal.)  

 

Carefully spoon into prepared pie crust and spread evenly.  Again, this works best if you   spoon mixture into the center of the crust and move outwards.  Don't worry if it looks not so smooth and not so pretty at this stage; it will by the end.





By this time, the ganache should have cooled down to a degree that it is is soft but not runny -- perfect piping consistency.  And also cool enough so as not to melt the filling.





Cut a small piece off of the end of the pastry bag tip(and by small, I mean 1-2 mm).  Twist the top of the bag closed and apply gentle pressure.  Pipe a design of your liking.  (Happily, the fancier the design, the less the mistakes will show, and the neater the finished product looks.)
 And my finished product:


It was delicious.  And every time I make this pie in the future, I will fondly remember the first weekend I made it . . . and enjoyed it. . . on my now dearly departed patio furniture.


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