Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Fudge Pie

Did you know that cranberries have anti-adhesion properties that reduce the number of oral bacteria that cause cavities and dental plaque?  They also help reverse periodontal (gum) disease.

Crust

1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (also good with white chocolate!!)
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) heavy cream
3/4 cup diced walnuts or pecans

Topping*

1 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup dried cranberries
12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, a generous 3 cups
*You’ll need about 15 ounces (a scant 1 1/2 cups) topping for the pie. Enjoy the remainder on its own.

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2) To make the crust: Process the crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a food processor until crumbly and well combined.

3) Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan.

4) Bake the crust for about 7 to 8 minutes, until it’s set, but not brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

5) To make the filling: Put the chips (or chopped chocolate) and cream in a microwave-safe container, and heat for about 90 seconds.

6) Remove from the microwave, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and dark brown; you’re simply making a basic ganache.

7) Spoon the hot ganache into the cooled crust, and sprinkle the nuts on top.

8) Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour, probably 2, until the ganache has firmed up.

9) While the pie is chilling, make the topping. Bring the honey, salt, and cranberry juice to a boil.

10) Stir in the dried cranberries, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

11) Add the fresh or frozen cranberries, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until some of the berries have burst.

12) Remove the cranberries from the heat, spoon into a bowl, and chill.

13) To finish assembling the pie: Spoon 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce atop the fudge/nut filling. Chill until ready to serve.

Yield: 9″ pie, 8 to 10 rich servings.

Honey Walnut Pie

This is a delicious take on traditional pecan pie.  If you want something even more decadent, try adding some chocolate chips!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 deep-dish pie crust, unbaked

Directions

  1. Boil the honey. (It will boil quickly, so watch carefully)
  2. Quickly add eggs and mix well. (For the experienced cooks out there – yes, this sounds odd, but it does work.)
  3. Add everything else and mix well.
  4. Pour into pie shell. (You can sprinkle walnut halves on top at this point, if you wish.)
  5. Bake at 325 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the center is set.
  6. Serve warm, topped with ice cream.

Italian Week – Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica is one of the best things to come out of Italy since bees!  

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (12-ounce) bunches fresh spinach, stemmed, coarsely chopped (about 12 cups), or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed and drained
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
4 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
2 pie crusts
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Directions

Position the rack on the bottom of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and saute until golden brown, breaking the sausage into pieces, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts and the juices evaporate, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Squeeze the spinach to drain as much liquid as possible.

Into a large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add the sausage, the spinach and prosciutto to the mixture and stir to combine.

Transfer one pie crust to a 9-inch springform pan. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan. Place the other pie crust over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges decoratively. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the entire pastry top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Bake on the bottom shelf until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Let stand 15 minutes. Release the pan sides and transfer the pizza to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve

Kentucky Honey Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie

This pie is the traditional dessert in Louisville at Derby Time. It is unbelievably delicious!

It always says “spring” to me, but it is good all year around.

Ingredients

4 whole eggs

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. bourbon

3/4 cup white corn syrup

1 stick butter, melted

1 tbsp. flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chocolate chips

1 pie shell

Beat eggs. Add next 8 ingredients to eggs. Place pecans and chocolate chips in a 10-inch pie shell. pour filling over. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes.

Top with whipped cream or premium vanilla ice cream if desired.

Mini Strawberry Honey Pies

Spring and strawberries just go together. This recipe is for all of you fruit pie lovers out there, and who isn’t? These Baby Pies are fresh, dainty and delicious…

Ingredients

Crust:

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 unroll-and-bake refrigerated 9-inch pie crusts (recommended: Pillsbury)

Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 8 medium strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces, to yield about 1 1/4 cups
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Special equipment: a 12-count nonstick mini-muffin pan, a 3-inch round cookie cutter, a 2-inch round cookie cutter

Directions

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the crust: Spray a 12-count nonstick mini-muffin pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Put a strip of parchment paper, 1-inch wide and 5-inches long into each muffin cup, allowing the excess paper to overhang the sides of the cups. Unroll the pie crust and using round cookie cutters, cut out 12 (3-inch) circles and 12 (2-inch) circles of dough. Lightly press the 3-inch circles of dough into the bottom and sides of the prepared muffin cups.

For the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lemon juice, arrowroot, and orange zest until smooth. Stir in the strawberries.

Spoon the filling into the muffin cups and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg. Put the 2-inch circles of dough on top. Using the tines of a fork press the edges of the dough together to seal. Lightly brush the tops of the pastry with the beaten egg. Using the tip of a knife, make a 1/4-inch wide slit in the center of each pie. Bake until the crust is golden, about 14 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes. Using the overhanging parchment paper as handles, remove the pies from the pan. Remove the parchment paper and serve