CHEW THIS! Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 16th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Pumpkin Pie is a Christmas Tradition
Blaise Doubman

Pumpkin pie is usually a Thanksgiving tradition for most people but for my family and I, it is more of a Christmas tradition. I am not sure when or where it started but for years now, we have had pumpkin pie featured at our Christmas buffet. I guess in retrospect pumpkin pie started appearing on our Holiday tables from as early on as a I remember but changed into more of a Christmas event because we ran out of room at our Thanksgiving buffet!? Ha! No, seriously though, the switch could have been something to do with our tradition of pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting for Thanksgiving, which moved the pumpkin pie to the next Holiday, which would be Christmas. Regardless of where the tradition came from, it is a tradition that I am going to gladly keep alive and continue into the next generation.

This is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe and I really hope that it will soon be yours! I love the combination of pumpkin with the pure maple syrup, pure vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. When I originally developed this recipe, I knew that something was missing. I got to thinking about what would pair nice with pumpkin and thought I would try maple syrup. It was perfect! Making this is beyond easy. Basically, you throw everything into a bowl and whisk together. Plus, it makes two delicious pies! One for you and one for a friend? Maybe both for you? No matter how to slice it, this pie is fabulous and will become a part of your Holiday table!

Pumpkin Pie

Use your favorite crust for this recipe. Mine, of course, is a homemade crust used by mixing the ingredients into a bowl and pressing them into the pie dish. Simply mix together 1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour with ½ cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour mixture into greased pie dish and evenly press into pie dish. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork. Use as desired. This recipe makes 2 pumpkin pies. Do not try to half the recipe to only make one, the recipe will not work. Besides, after taking a bite of this pie, you will be glad that you have 2 on hand to eat – or to share!

2 unbaked pie crusts
1 ½ cans (15 oz each) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl whisk together the solid-pack pumpkin, evaporated milk, white granulated sugar, large eggs, pure maple syrup, pure vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and salt.

Pour this mixture evenly between the two unbaked pie crusts. Place the pie plates onto a large parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place into the oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

If you notice the crust begins to brown more than you would like during baking, remove the pies from the oven and carefully wrap around a circle of aluminum foil around the crusts.

Once the pies have finished baking, remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. This pie is delicious served with whipped cream and or vanilla bean ice cream.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting questions about my “Blaise the Baker” brand. My “Blaise the Baker” brand is still continuing through my cookbooks and new “TRAIL BLAISE” website. Although there is no longer a “Blaise the Baker” website or Facebook page, everything has been merged onto my newest website “TRAILBLAISE”. I hope to see you following along!

CHEW THIS! Mini Baked Apple Pies

Mini Baked Apple Pies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 4th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A Mini Twist on Apple Pie
Blaise Doubman

Spring is just around the corner and with a new season, new recipes always enter my mind. Spring, to me, means not only warmer weather and flowers blooming, but also fresh fruits and garden planting season, lemonade and brisk evenings. I have been on a “pie quest” for several months now, trying to learn more about pies, their history, different crusts, fillings, new and delightful taste combinations, not to mention delightful recipe tests – and I have still a way to go, but continuous learning is the way of life. Take your basic apple pie for example. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that people make their apple pies! Some people add raisins to their filling, while others add a little blueberry or a twist of lemon. Some people pile their apples high and add maple syrup over the top before placing on the crust, while others cook down the apples until almost a thick glaze forms around the bottom and dots butter over the top before placing on the crust. And, let us take the crust for example! Do you make your crust with lard? Butter? Shortening? A combination? Do you add cheese? Mayonnaise? I am fascinated by this and why people use and add what they do.

When developing the recipe, I am sharing here today with all of you, I wanted something basic and simple, but something that was new yet familiar. You can, by all means, make your own pie crust for this recipe, but I wanted to make it easy. As Food Network star Nancy Fuller always says, “Scratch made is best, unless you are stressed”. And that is so true! Do not be intimidated in the kitchen by making your own pie crust and do not be ashamed of buying refrigerated pie crust! A shortcut is a shortcut and there is nothing wrong with wanting to save time! I wanted this recipe to make mini pies that were baked in the oven and not fried. You can fry them if you wish. I also wanted to create a glaze for them, but these are also delicious eaten plain. They are also delicious crumbled up on vanilla ice cream but that is another story. I love recipes that are familiar, foolproof, delicious and flavorful and I hope you will enjoy these mini baked apple pies.

Mini Baked Apple Pies

These hand pies can be made with homemade dough rather than refrigerated dough, can be made with your favorite fruit filling and can be deep fried if desired. That is the beauty of this recipe, it is very versatile! The finished pies should be kept covered at room temperature and will last up to 3 days.

2 boxes refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl blend and mash the apple pie filling with a fork. Add in the ground cinnamon and pure vanilla extract, stirring to incorporate.

Unroll the pie crusts onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or bottom of a narrow glass, cut out 6 circles from each pie crust. You should end up with 24 total circles and will have to work carefully in batches.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the apple mixture in the middle of each of the cut-out circles. Fold the circles over, crimping the sides tightly with a fork. Using the fork, poke the tops of each pie once to allow them to bake and steam evenly.

Brush the tops of each prepared pie with the large egg white. Place the pies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool only slightly before glazing.

In a large bowl whisk together, the confectioner’s sugar and whole milk to make the glaze. Drop the slightly warm pies into the large bowl of glaze and coat evenly. The easiest way to do this, is by using two forks and working carefully. Place the glazed pies onto the parchment lined baking sheets and allow to cool completely and allow the glaze to set up before serving and enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I posted a picture of some homemade croutons awhile back on my social media and several people wanted the recipe, so I thought I would share it here with everyone. The secret to good homemade croutons is in the kind of bread you use, and it may not be what you think! The secret? Hamburger buns! Take a pack of hamburger buns, cut into desired size and place on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and choice of seasoning mix, if any. Toss together with clean hands. Bake in 425-degree oven until crisp, stirring every 5 minutes. Desired baking time, and crispness, is up to you. I bake mine about 20-25 minutes, stirring and flipping the croutons often. Serve in air-tight container for 3 days.

CHEW THIS! Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 5th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A New Twist on a Classic Pie
Blaise Doubman

It is so hard to believe that Thanksgiving will be here in just a couple of short weeks! 2017 has really flown by for me, how about for you? I love this time of year when there is a cold snap in the air, people start preparing for the Holidays and the long winter months ahead. There is something really comforting and soothing to me about the types of food that is prepared around this time of year too, such as warm bowls of soup, fresh baked breads, roasted vegetables, casserole dishes, homemade pies and cinnamon coffee. The time of year may be cold outside but I also find it warm inside with family and friends, sharing memories, good times and good foods. I love looking back over my childhood Holidays and remembering who brought what to the dinner table and who shared what recipe with me from their kitchens.

One of my favorite late Fall seasonal desserts would have to be apple pie. I have made apple pie in all different forms, sizes, flavors and textures. I have made hand held mini apple pies, apple slab pies, deep dish apple pies, with cornflakes sprinkled along the bottom to prevent a soggy pie and apple pies on a stick! My latest favorite version though would have to be my “Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie”! There is nothing to making the crust to this because the bottom and top crust is refrigerated cinnamon rolls! How easy is that? The filling is packed with flavor and the icing on the cake? Or pie in this case, is the icing or the frosting that comes with the cinnamon rolls! You use the already made frosting to frost the pie! It really is as good as it sounds! Bring this to your Thanksgiving table and people will be begging for more!

Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

I have made this pie using Granny Smith apples as well as McIntosh. I find that the type of apple used in this pie is up to the person who will be eating it. Most all apple pie recipes call for Granny Smith apples but I have found during my experimentation that several diverse types of apples can be used in baking perfectly fine and the results are delicious. I do find that the McIntosh apples bring out more sweetness to the pie, while Granny Smith brings out a certain tartness that pairs nicely with the ground cinnamon. Experiment and even use a combination of apples!

6 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
2 refrigerated cans regular size cinnamon rolls
¼ cup white granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. This recipe was developed using a 9-inch pie dish but will work with an 8-inch. This recipe will also work using a deep-dish pie dish, just adjust the cinnamon roll slices accordingly.

In a large bowl combine the prepared apples with the white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, corn starch, maple syrup, ground cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.

Open both cans of refrigerated cinnamon rolls and cut each roll in half.

On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each cinnamon roll half until slightly thicker than a sheet of paper. Place a layer of the flattened cinnamon roll halves along the inside of the prepared pie dish, flattening them together to create a bottom crust.

Pour in the apple mixture and spread evenly.

Place the remainder of the flattened cinnamon roll halves along the top, crimping and closing off any holes that may appear, to create a top crust.

Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Carefully remove the aluminum foil and baking another 7 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and while still warm, frost the top with the frosting containers that come with each refrigerated cinnamon roll tube. Spread evenly.

Serve warm and alongside vanilla bean ice cream.

Ask and Answer: Janet Ward, a member of my Blaise the Baker Facebook community, wanted to know where she could find my recipe for “Drop Biscuits”. I am sharing that recipe here for her and for all of you. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl combine 1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder, pinch of salt and 1 stick (4 oz) cubed unsalted butter until the mixture resembles coarse pebbles. Add in ¾ cup whole milk and stir gently until combined. Drop the dough in ¼ cup measurements all along the prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until golden brown. This recipe can also be used in making “Drop Dumplings” – just drop the dough by tablespoon size amounts into boiling chicken stock and cook until dumplings are floating and still tender in the middle.

CHEW THIS! Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 19th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A chocolate chip cookie – in pie form!
Blaise Doubman

I love experimenting with different types of chocolate chips cookies and over the years I think I have made just about every kind imaginable! I have made giant chocolate chip cookies with potato chips and candy pieces added and I have made miniature chocolate chip cookies using mini chocolate chips and sprinkled sea salt. Chocolate chip cookies of all shapes, sizes and textures have passed through my kitchen and into the hands, and mouths, of my taste testers. A lot of the creations are not even a cookie, by definition of the term. Some of their favorites? Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie dough brownies and crumbled chocolate chip cookie pudding. It seems that I have managed to transform my love for chocolate chip cookies into just about everything – including now, a pie!

I happened to think to myself one day, why is there not a pie that is basically a giant chocolate chip cookie? The crust would have to be delicious, thick enough to stand up to a giant cookie filling the inside of it and it would, of course, have to be simple yet taste amazing! I have a pie crust recipe that I always turn to, but for this I wanted something different. Enter my good friend Dorothy Boulanger. She gave me a pie crust recipe that a friend of hers had given her in 1979. This recipe was different because there is no rolling out of the pie dough, no transferring from surface to pie dish, no pre baking necessary and no fat used – cooking oil is called for in the recipe! I was highly skeptical at first but promised her I would give it a try. I am so glad that I did! It is simple, easy, foolproof and delicious! For something different in taste and texture, give this recipe a try! Shoutout and special thanks to my friend Dorothy Boulanger for the fabulous pie crust recipe. I will be adding this recipe into my pie crust recipe rotation schedule.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

This pie crust is amazing! There is no rolling, proofing, pre baking or hassle! This crust recipe is enough for one pie crust. It can easily be doubled to make a double pie crust – one for the bottom of your pie and one for the top. When making the chocolate chip cookie dough filling, feel free to substitute butter for the solid vegetable shortening. Also feel free to add different types of chocolates or stir in your favorite toasted nuts.

For the pie crust…
1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons pure vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cold milk

For the chocolate chip cookie filling…
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
½ cup white granualted sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¾ cup white all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips mixed with 1 tablespoon white all-purpose flour

Lightly grease an 8-inch or 9-inch pie dish with non-stick cooking spray and preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Next, make the pie crust by combining the white all-purpose flour with the salt in a bowl. In a measuring glass, pour in the pure vegetable oil and the milk, but do not stir together. Take the vegetable oil and milk mixture and pour into the combined flour and salt. Stir together lightly with a fork, using a light hand. Once the dough is ready, it will form into a ball and appear to be moist but not sticky in touch. Take the dough and press it into your lightly greased pie dish. Press the dough evenly all over the bottom and up the sides.

To make the chocolate chip cookie dough filling combine the softened unsalted butter with the solid vegetable shortening in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Add in the white granulated sugar, light brown sugar and pure vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and creamy in texture and light in color. Add in the 2 large eggs and beat well before adding in the white all-purpose flour.

Finally, gently fold in the flour coated semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Place the chocolate chip cookie dough filling into the unbaked and prepared pie crust. Smooth out the top, being sure that the dough is level inside the pie.

Place in preheated oven for exactly 70 minutes.

Once the pie has baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Ask and Answer: My search for the perfect peanut butter pie is something that my social media followers have been asking and wondering about lately. My search came to an end when a local resident shared with me a confidential recipe for one of the areas most famous peanut butter pies. I am not allowed to share the recipe, although I am allowed to share the “special crumb topping” that really makes the pie even more delicious. A combination of peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar, mixed until crumbly will melt in your mouth and top the best pies!

CHEW THIS! Tomi’s Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie

Tomi’s Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 6th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

The Quest for Pie and Tomi’s Peanut Butter Pie
Blaise Doubman

Did you know that the Pizza King on Broad Street in New Castle made homemade pies? I did not until just recently! Where have I been? A friend of mine, Cindy Blackburn, told me about their homemade peanut butter pie one afternoon, and literally before I could get back to my car, I was calling Pizza King and ordering one for the next day! My Grandma Barbra has been making peanut butter pie for years, from a recipe of Paula Deen’s, and I try and stay away from it, because one bite leads to me usually finishing off the pie on my own. I even have a recipe for it myself that leads towards a peanut butter pie that is thicker and denser than most. Needless to say, the peanut butter pie from Pizza King was fabulous! It was flavorful and surprisingly light. When I picked it up, it was warm and the meringue on top was still dewy and fresh. I have asked around for the recipe, but it seems to be a closely guarded secret. If you are reading this, and know the recipe, email me! Ha! I have since tried to duplicate the recipe and have come pretty close. I will not give up though! Experimenting with peanut butter pie does not sound like such a bad job, right? I still need to figure out the secret to their crust…

I posted my research on my Facebook page, and a friend and fellow foodie of mine, Tomi White, messaged me telling me that she had a recipe she thought I would enjoy. I love sharing recipes with family and friends and was anxious to try it! Tomi lives in Texas and is a caring and loving mother, daughter, wife and friend. I really enjoy talking about food and recipes with her, so when she said that she had a recipe for the pie I was seeking, I was thrilled! Shortly after, she sent me the recipe and I immediately tried it. Let me tell you… Oh! My! It was amazing! The texture, the taste, everything about it was everything I had been looking for. Was it the combination of the whipped cream with the peanut butter, or the chocolate that added in with the final flavor, or was the secret in the chocolate crust? Whatever it was, it was delicious! Shout out and special thanks to Tomi White for allowing me to share this recipe with all of you!

Tomi’s Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie

In place of the Kahlua you can use 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 teaspoons water. You can also substitute pure vanilla extract. The Kahlua has a coffee flavored note and will add to the chocolate, but if you are worried about alcohol please feel free to substitute. This pie is delicious prepared and served as is, but feel free to leave out the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips for a smoother finish to the pie. A homemade chocolate crust can be made with chocolate sandwich cookies in place of the prepared version, or use your favorite pie crust.

16 oz. tub whipped cream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 chocolate cookie pie shell

In a large bowl mix together the softened cream cheese, smooth peanut butter, Kahlua and confectioners’ sugar. Once combined, add in the tub whipped cream and beat well.

After the mixture is smooth, gently fold in ½ cup of the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Pour this mixture into the pie shell and mound it high in the middle.

Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips over the top of the pie.

Place into the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

Ask and Answer: I received a couple of emails from readers who wanted to know if my “3-Bean Chili” could be made into “chicken chili”. Yes, of course it can be! Substitute the ground beef with cooked chicken and add in a little cumin to pair with the chicken. I like using rotisserie chicken for substitution in this recipe because it is precooked and has great added flavor.