Sweet Potato Pie

Have you guys ever had sweet potato pie? It’s pumpkin pie’s “Black Sheep” cousin. It sounds kind of weird in theroy, but upon first bite you discover it’s absolute deliciousness. A little bit lighter and less filling than pumpkin pie, but still just as festive for Fall.

We grow lots of sweet potatoes here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore – most notable, a white-fleshed sweet potato variety called Haymans. You rarely find them off of the Eastern Shore because they’re in such high demand with the locals. I still haven’t been able to get my hands on any this year…I’m hoping to track some down before next week for Thanksgiving, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

If you’re worried it might take more time and effort than a pumpkin pie, don’t be – it’s just as easy, with an even shorter ingredient list. It’s one of those recipes that the little ones like to help make too! Plenty of stirring and whisking involved. It may seem strange that there’s no brown sugar or nutmeg – but just go with the lemon extract. It adds such a bright note to the sweet potato, and really makes it sing.

So, if you’re looking for a new dessert that’s still traditional – you’ve found it. The perfect addition to your holiday Thanksgiving table that everyone is sure to enjoy! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Source: Mrs. JoSue

Apple Pie Bars

So, there’s this apple tree in the front yard of the new house. Well, it’s really more like it’s in the backyard of the commercial property in front of us that a dog groomer rents…but no one else wants them, so they’re as good as mine!  It’s a huge Granny Smith tree, and it produced a hefty harvest of baseball-sized apples this Fall. The boys have been having such fun plucking apples off the tree to enjoy.

They’ve got unbeatable flavor too – tart and fruity, but much sweeter than the traditional Granny Smith you pick up in the supermarket. Almost pear-like qualities in the flavor. They are out of this world good, just simply enjoyed alone. But you know I couldn’t resist wrapping them up in some form of dough and baking!

So without further ado, I give you these apple pie bars. It’s pretty much an apple pie, in a much more portable format. Basic pie dough is rolled out into a rectangle, filled with peeled apples that have been flavored with brown sugar and cinnamon, then topped with another rectangle of pie dough and baked. After cooling they’re sliced into perfect squares and drizzled with a simple vanilla glaze. Perfect for a tailgating treat!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! My BFF and I are heading to the mountains (we’re 6-inches above sea level here, my ears are already popping!) this afternoon to visit Thurmont, MD and the Catoctin Colorfest tomorrow. I used to go all the time as a little girl, and we went last year – so it’s kind of a reinstated tradition for me. Tons of craft vendors, local churches with their kitchens set up selling various regional foods, apple orchards and fresh pressed cider. It’s alot of fun, and it’s going to be great to have some girl time. Although, I’m worried about missing my boys! Isn’t it funny how we look forward to getting away – then when we do, we can’t wait to get back? Heh. Wish me luck, guys!

Apple Pie Bars

2 9-inch pie dough rounds (click for recipe)
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 lbs Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium)
1 lb Honeycrisp apples (about 2 medium)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg white
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp half and half or milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel, core and dice apples into thin and small pieces. Place diced apples in a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla and toss apples to evenly coat. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour flour mixture over apple mixture and toss to evenly coat, set aside.

To assemble, roll one portion of your dough into a 13×9 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Lift rolled dough into an ungreased 13×9 inch baking dish. Toss apple mixture once more and pour into baking dish over pie crust. Roll remaining dough into another 13×9-inch rectangle and place rolled dough over apples, pinching the seam together with the bottom piece of dough.

In a small mixing bowl whisk egg white, and brush over top pie crust evenly. In a separate small mixing bowl whisk together 1 Tbsp sugar with 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over top pie crust.

Bake in preheated oven around 50-60 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 1 hour before cutting.

To make the glaze combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the bars with a spoon.

Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: adapted from Cooking Classy

Hush Puppies

Now that summer is here seafood season is in full swing here on the Eastern Shore. We had our first taste of crabs Memorial Day weekend. People have been catching black drum, rockfish, and flounder right and left. And, thanks to new breeding practices our salty Chincoteague oysters are available all year round now.

Naturally, there’s nothing that we love more than a good old-fashioned seafood boil or fish fry. And, no seafood feast is complete without a good hush puppies. The little seafood spot (Ray’s Shanty if you’re curious – great food too!) where I go to buy my seafood makes the best in the world. They have a ton of flavor with the addition of onion, yet are dense and light at the same time. I always end up eating too many of those, and then never any room for my meal…

This was my first attempt at making them at home, and they turned out great. I used a recipe from Saveur that looked promising. They were super easy to make, and quickly fried up to perfection once the “rise” was complete. It’s almost a proofing process – you mix up the batter, then let it sit for an hour to leaven. This made a light and airy hush puppies that had a wonderful texture on the inside, and a perfectly golden crunchy exterior.

It makes a lot of hush puppies though – like around thirty. I think next time I’ll probably cut the recipe in half for our family.

Hush Puppies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 tbsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking soda
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 large yellow onion, grated
Canola oil, for frying
Tartar sauce, for serving

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl. Stir together buttermilk, eggs, and grated onion with their juice in a medium bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Set aside to rest for 1 hour.

Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Using a tablespoon, drop small rounds of batter into the oil, making sure to not crowd the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and flipping halfway through, until golden on the outside and crisp, about 3–4 minutes.

Remove hush puppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce on the side for dipping.

Source: Saveur

Coconut Cream Pie

It’s been a long road finding the right recipe for the perfect coconut cream pie – but I think I’ve finally found it! I’d tried a couple recipes and none of them seemed to work out exactly as I’d liked. It was always one thing or another…my inability to work with pie crusts, the filling wasn’t firm enough, or there wasn’t enough REAL coconut flavor.

The flavor of this pie is out of this world thanks to the clever use of coconut milk in the custard portion of the pie. Then with the addition of a bit of coconut and vanilla extract, it really puts it over the top. The pie is then topped with a layer of lightly sweetened whipped cream and sprinkled with toasted coconut for another dose of coconut.

It set up and cut beautifully, something that always makes me a little bit nervous when it comes to pies. This is one I’ll be coming to again and again, as it’s such a classic. Now I can move onto tackling the next thing on my hit list – lemon meringue. Have a good weekend everyone!

Source: adapted from Fav Family Recipes