Category Archives: Dessert

Seduced by the Slow Cooker & Christmas 2013

Cooking Light hit my sweet, er savory spot with not one, not two, but a whole section devoted to the sultry workhorse of the kitchen – The Slow Cooker.  In their Slow Cooker Recipes to Feed a Crowd feature I made four of the recipes including the Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew; Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine; Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches and Sweet & Tangy Short Ribs.  Most of these were knock your socks off good, but the hands down winner has to be the Chicken Tagine. Nom, nom, nom. This is a new go-to when I don’t feel like doing much in the kitchen but want something spectacular when I get home.


David and I made the short ribs together, followed it to the letter and boy, we were not fans. The Sambal Oeelek (which usually we can both handle) was HOT. I mean on fire, I was choking a bit hot. Not sure what happened, but we are going to try again and see if it was user error. David and I are still both scratching our heads on what went wrong. Regardless, give the the other three a try. They are simply delightful and easy to prep. I just love coming home to the smells of something in the slow cooker don’t you?

Now on to the BIG DAY – CHRISTMAS! I am one of the biggest nerds on the planet for Christmas and last night, David and I were talking about why. On the surface, I love all the smells, colors and flavors of the season – it’s all up my alley. But more importantly I feel this time of year is when things are a little slower and people are just a bit kinder towards one another. Goodness, I sound just like the opening to Love Actually don’t I? But I truly do believe it!

Enough of this gushy stuff, let’s get to the food. So I had to make this perfect roast chicken again and yes, once again, it turned out perfect. So, so, so perfect. I don’t think I will ever follow another roast chicken recipe again. I also made this Stupid Simple Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream from Food & Wine magazine – jeez, this was outrageously delicious. It was perfectly medium rare and juicy to boot. Was it stupid simple? You bet! We smeared and smothered the spicy, creamy horseradish sauce all over the meat and ate with abandon. I also roasted some red potatoes along with meat and then tossed them in the pan drippings when done. These were cracktastic. At one point, Lila had eaten all of her potatoes and when David asked the table if there were any more, one of guests was trying to hide his – he didn’t want to share, hahahaha. I also served a simple side salad of roasted beets, kale, shaved parmesan and roasted hazelnuts with a lemon infused creme fraiche sauce.  Easy, breezy and mostly healthy – it has kale and beets, come on!

Stupid Simple

The only misstep for us was the Dark Chocolate Pudding with Pretzels from Bon Appetit. I followed this to the “T” (as I always do duh, but especially so since it’s a pudding and those can be tricky) and it was waaaay too rich for the table; even with the salty pretzels. People took a few bites and then kindly set it to the side. Good thing we had cheesecake as a backup! Overall, Christmas 2013 dinner was a success but more importantly, we were so grateful to be with amazing family and friends. Hope you and yours had happy holidays and who is ready for 2014?

Bananas Good Banana Bread


Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze
Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze (Photo from

As I was typing the title to this post all I could think about was that damn catchy Gwen Stefani song, “this sh*t is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s” and now it’s going to stick with me all day long. Kind of like this AWESOME Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze from Cooking Light.

I’m amazed that I’ve never made this as it’s been a heavy reader and staff favorite for 17 years. 17 years ago it made its debut and is still going strong. Most marriages don’t last that long! All I know is that I will be making it for 17+ years myself because not only was it about the quickest bread I’ve ever put together, it’s insanely delicious and moist…hold on, I’m grabbing another slice…my goodness, this is so good. If you have ripe bananas, I highly recommend making this right now. I think this is one dish I will always have in my house for the entire fall season! Happy first day of fall!


Austin Bakes for Japan

The recent tragedy in Japan has been absolutely heart breaking to watch. With each day I always hope I’ll hear that things are getting better, and I’m amazed how the people of Japan have handled this dire situation. I admire their strength, civility, and ability to think beyond their own personal problems and unselfishly do what’s best for their community. Speaking of community, the one I love – Austin – is doing its part to help Japan, and you can too.

The Pie Society is a proud business partner of the Austin Bakes for Japan,  a bake sale fundraising event to help survivors of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan happening April 2 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in five locations across the city. More than 70 home cooks and dozens of local bakeries will be contributing baked goods at locations throughout Austin with proceeds going to AmeriCares work in Japan. Since there are only two of us at The Pie Society, we will only be at the Westlake location selling full pies and Crimps. So be sure to come by and purchase as many baked goods as you possibly can for this amazing cause.

For all of the details visit the Austin Bakes for Japan website and visit any of the five locations to get some baked goods and more importantly help the citizens of Japan.

Until we see you out at the fundraiser, we wanted to share a delicious pie recipe (I kind of melted on the spot when I tasted this the other day) with you in case you would like to bake something up yourself.

The Pie Society’s Lemon Cheesecake Pie

For the pie crust*:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons ice cold water

For the pie filling:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

For the crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the shortening, flour and salt until the mixture is crumbly and smaller than pea-size. Add the water tablespoon by tablespoon, mixing it with a pastry blender or fork until the dough clumps and sticks together (usually 6 to 7 tablespoons total). Don’t overwork the dough. Pat the dough into a ball, add a little flour to the top of the dough, so the rolling pin won’t stick, and on a lightly floured, smooth surface, roll out the dough evenly into a circle. Roll out the dough so it is larger than the circumference of the pie pan by an inch. As a trick, we roll the dough around a floured rolling pin and then unroll it onto the pie pan. Press the dough firmly into the pie pan. We like to tuck the extra inch of dough hanging over the edge of the pie pan under, so it makes a fluted edge. Prick the crust thoroughly on the bottom and the inside edges, so the crust won’t bubble up. Cook at 475 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden. While crust cools, make filling.

For the filing: Combine all ingredients, pour into prebaked pie shell and chill.

To serve: Place fresh raspberries or strawberries in a circle on top of the chilled pie and sprinkle with freshly grated lemon zest.

Mama Ingle’s Orange Muffins

Bless my mother. Not only did she have to tolerate a crazy little Emily (my nickname wasn’t Tricky for nothing), but we had a home cooked meal on the table every night after she worked all day long. Besides great Southern food each night, before snuggling me into bed she would ask what I wanted for breakfast the next morning so she could ensure I would go to school with a full belly. Lamb. I think my response each night was “ORANGE MUFFINS PLEASE!”. She would grin and politely inform me that I couldn’t eat orange muffins every day. See even as a youngin’ my food loving brain couldn’t comprehend the “you can’t eat this every day” scenario; kind of how I feel about bacon as an adult.

When I did get orange muffins, usually on Saturdays as a treat, I would run into the kitchen snag about four and watch morning cartoons – especially Rainbow Brite. Something about them was just so delicious to me. They are a little more dense than a regular muffin and the slight orange taste is perfect. Slap some melted butter or honey on these and you’ve got a delicious breakfast.

I’ve been talking about these to David so much that I finally decided to make them this morning. Since I yapped about them at length  I was a little nervous for him to try them! I followed my Mom’s recipe pretty much to the letter except a few additions of my own which I’ve marked in the recipe below. I got back from Pure Barre class and if you’ve ever taken this class you know (1) you can’t feel your entire body (2) you are going to be insanely sore tomorrow (3) you might kick something (if you could move your leg) if you don’t eat. I scarfed down two in a matter of minutes and the taste of the muffin warped me back to my little Emily days. Ahhh, don’t you love food items like these?  David loved them too. I’m hoping we can make our own special memories  in our  house with my Mom’s orange muffins (and all of her other delicious recipes). Sniffle.

Mama Ingle's Orange Muffins

 Orange Muffins

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt*
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together salt, flour and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until very well blended. Add eggs, then add dry ingredients alternatively with juice. Add vanilla. Pour into greased muffin pan and bake for 30 minutes.

*I added in a little bit of salt and also marscapone cheese, about 1/4 cup after adding the last of the orange juice, to give it a little richer flavor.

I’d Like To Thank The Academy…

Last night we had a BIG Oscar party in our house and I was a little nervous since it was the first big shindig in our casa, well that and I chose to make a flotilla of food. I simply adore our gentle friends and one thing I know about our group is we love to eat. With that in mind I was going to make darn sure everyone had enough to nibble on during the three hour show. 

The Obligatory Picture of Colin Firth

Epicurious assembled menu plans based on the Best Picture nominees and the one that stood out to us was the Inception option. It’s very French inspired since part of the movie takes place in Paris – the scene with the city folding on top of itself is still incredible every time I see it.  Although I liked the recipes they suggested, I decided to stick wtih French fare but do it my way. And the award goes to…. 

 To get real nerdy about it I made an “Execution Plan” to ensure everything was done by 6:00 p.m. so we could watch arrivals and snarkily judge away. 

  • 2:00 p.m. Prep and mis en place
  • 3:00 p.m. Make compote for Brie, while compote cooks, make pots de creme, refrigerate
  • 3:30 p.m. Make soup
  • 4:00 p.m.  Make green beans, assemble and bake Brie rounds
  • 5:00 p.m. Make sandwiches
  • 5:40 p.m. Fire steaks, let rest and slice, make fries
  • 6:00 p.m. Guests arrive

Everything pretty much went according to plan and let me tell you, the soup, green beans, sandwiches and brie rounds with that stellar compote were delicious. For the steak frites I kept it very simple. David (the super poodle) ran to the store and bought a Weber charcoal grill so he could grill them properly. Little salt and pepper on the steaks, grill and you are done.  I took  frozen fries and mixed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme leaves and baked until crispy. Thanks to my lovely and talented niece Alex who is a bomb chef for coming up with that tasty concoction.  

I’m giggling at the thought of the Pots de Creme because the flavor was amazing but I didn’t have enough glasses to properly make individual servings, so I decided to place the whole shebang in a large ramekin. Yeah, don’t do that. We had to put it in the freezer so it would set up, but a few minutes on the table and it was like ice cream. Of course, no one cared and it was gone by the end of the night but I highly suggest not being an idiot like moi and scratch the idea if you can’t do it individually. 

The Oscars were OK this year, a little zzzzzzzzzz at times and it wasn’t as exciting as in years past but I am so happy for The King’s Speech! It’s an excellent, heart warming story and if you haven’t seen it yet, GO. 

Here’s our spread and more posts to come this week…I hope. :) 


The new Cooking Light cover simply states “Indulge Yourself”…yeah twist my arm Cooking Light, twist my arm. I think I earmarked half of this issue and when I got to the banana bread section – yes lambs you have a plethora of choices for banana breads in this issue – I clapped with glee. When I was little, I would go to  this lovely tea room in Longview, TX with my mom and two older sisters and the one thing I recall vividly was their delicious banana bread. The tea room is long gone, but I will always remember that’s where my love of banana bread began.

As mentioned, Cooking Light has basic banana bread, banana bread with chocolate and the peanut butter banana bread that also happens to grace this month’s cover. I also love a good old peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich, so this one was a clear winner for me.

This was extremely easy to put together. You simply mix all of the wet ingredients, combine the dry ingredients and then mix into the wet. I baked this in the Wolf range for a little less than the suggested time as it was starting to look a little overdone…I was worried…ask David I really was. I decided to forge ahead and make Cooking Light’s go-to glaze of one percent milk and powdered sugar, but this time they added peanut butter. After cooling, I cut into it and took a bite, still very concerned it was overdone. The verdict?  Moist. Delicious, Sweet and nutty. This had perfect banana bread flavor with a peanut butter twist and I liked the addition of the crunchy peanuts to give it some texture.

My only advice is to watch this while it’s in the oven. I’m still getting used to using the Wolf range since it’s amazing but is a little more sophisticated than yours truly. This browned pretty quickly and I was keeping an eye on it. I did pull it out about five minutes early since it was browning on the top and edges, but the flavor and moist texture made this a winner for us…and my office mates.

Dulce de Leche. That’s All I Have to Say!

The new Bon Appetit created a schuper mix-and-match section called The Ultimate Summer Menu Grilling Guide for all of the delicious grilling that’s bound to happen this summer. For a gentle get together of a few friends this past Memorial Day, I selected a few recipes from the sides and desserts sections including the Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad, Roasted Mix Peppers with Capers and Marjoram and Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars. For the protein choice we decided to do one of our friend Adam’s agave-glazed pork tenderloin recipe that is to die for. Keep reading poodles.

First, the Bon Appetit recipes…rockstars, all of them. Both the salads were easy to assemble and the flavors were amazing. If I had to choose one over the other to make again I would go with the roasted pepper salad. Something about the blend of roasted peppers, capers and marjoram, which has such a delicate floral note, really hit the spot. For leftovers you could easily use this on top of a pork chop or grilled fish for a super quick weeknight meal.

The Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars have to be one of my favorite new dessert recipes. I’m usually not the world’s biggest caramel fan but when mixed with salt, especially fleur de sel, I’m hooked. I really enjoyed making these bars and they were quite simple to make, especially since I don’t bake/make desserts too, too often. These were an instant hit with my friends and random new friends we made by the pool who were snarfing them up too. They were also still great a few days later, late at night on the couch. Yes, total fat kids.

For David’s birthday one of our friends made an amazing pork tenderloin recipe that we decided to recreate for our get together. We simply brined four (about a pound each) tenderloins in kosher salt for a few hours, then created a rub of chili powder, garlic, cumin and cinnamon and then poured agave syrup on each loin. We then grilled until it was slightly pink, let it rest and then did a final glaze of agave syrup to finish. Simple. Awesome. Delicious. Since we had leftover pork, the next night we placed them in a dutch oven with two cans of mild Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles to give it a little different flavor. We let it sit for about 45 minutes and then shredded to make soft tacos. Combined with my favorite salsa and some avocado we had a great little weeknight meal.I’m on cooking fire eh?

Homemade Pop Tarts!

The other night we decided to make Brinner = brunch at dinnertime. Using most of the menu suggestions from their Knockout Brunch section in the new Bon Appetit, we chose the Curry-Spiced Bloody Mary’s, Brown-Sugar-Glazed Bacon, Scrambled Eggs with Leeks, Fava Beans, Crispy Breadcrumbs and Parmesan and Strawberry “Pop Tarts“…ambitious much?


I have to say the eggs and Bloody Mary’s got a “meh” and the Brown-Sugar-Glazed Bacon was good but I think I’ll stick with my favorite bacon recipe of all time: Sweet and Spicy Bacon. BUT the Homemade Pop Tarts were awesome! First of all, I love the concept of the recipe, it’s homemade pop tarts people, who doesn’t love that?

When Alex and I were making the dough – with its two sticks of butter – we knew the dough was going to be perfectly flaky and delicious. The chilling time was three hours and that was sucky just because we were dying to try them. You simply cut the dough up and then place strawberry preserves inside. Sprinkle with powdered sugar once baked and you are done. I’m glad I had the baking prowess of Alex to help with this, because as a true baking novice they would not have turned out as well as they did. If you are an avid baker these are perfect for you, if not, I can lend you Alex if you would like. 😉 Make these and enjoy the rest of the week!

Butterscotch Sticky Buns

Well, I have to say I felt like such the baker yesterday as I was making these Butterscotch Sticky Buns from Food and Wine. Good thing it’s a fool-proof recipe since I totally suck at baking. The dough came together very easily and rolling it up to cut the little buns was a breeze. The recipe comes from pastry chef Catherine Schimenti, let’s see what she thinks about her delicious creation, “Over-the-top, sticky, gooey goodness—or, as I like to call it, ‘love.’?”

Awesome gooey goodness friends. I really liked how these turned out. Two notes, I didn’t have Scotch and replaced the crème fraîche with sour cream and the sauce was still awesome. Straight out of the oven these were excellent and yes gooey, the next day, eh they dried out a little so I would recommend making them and eating them immediately – I don’t think you will have a problem with that one bit.Now, for the winner of the recipe cover smackdown, well friends it has to be the Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe from Bon Appétit. That dish was AWESOME. I can’t wait to see what I will select for next month. Cheers!

What Do You Get When You Combine a Figure Skater and Bacon?

No, not a greasy triple axel or savory Salchow, you get Bacon Corn Muffins with Savory Cream Cheese Frosting of course! As I mentioned in this post, I was trying out a few recipes to cook for my family for our Christmas appetizer smorgasbord and after seeing Brian Boitano make these on his show, What Would Brian Boitano Make, I decided I really, really wanted to give them a try. Y’all, these were a hit! My mom and big sis kept giving me lots of compliments on how great they tasted and I most certainly loved them too.

These were actually really simple to put together except I had to cook the bacon in the oven waaaay longer than the recipe calls for since my Mom’s oven sucks. Her birthday is coming up in January and I’m really hoping she gets a new one (Hint, hint Dad). Also, I didn’t have a piping bag so I just had to spoon the frosting on, and as my sister Gelana pointed out, please take them out of the muffin tins before you frost them…silly me.

I highly recommend these muffins and think it would be a new year’s eve party insta-hit as it is a crowd pleasing, fun and unique recipe. If you haven’t watched the four episodes Food Network has so far for What Would Brian Boitano Make, you should take the time, it has a lightness and sense of humor to it that so many Food Network shows are missing; I can’t wait to watch the new episodes in March 2010.

And now, the South Park song that started it all.