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!

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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!

Black Raspberry Pie

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” August 8th, 2016

My Mom, Darla, loves this pie! Actually my Grandma Barbra and Grandma Deloris both do too! You can use whatever crust recipe you want, I use my Grandma Barbra’s, and as long as you sprinkle the top with the brown sugar and Turbinado sugar mixture, and follow my instructions for the filling – you will have the perfect pie!

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Black Raspberry Pie

6 cups black raspberries, fresh or frozen, rinsed
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup white all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare your pie crust. Place the bottom crust into a greased 9-inch pie plate. I always use a glass pie plate.

In a large bowl combine the prepared black raspberries, white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, white all-purpose flour, cornstarch, salt and ground cinnamon. Toss together well, but gently.

Pour this mixture into the prepared pie crust.

Scatter the cubed unsalted butter all over the top. Place on the other pie crust, trim and crimp the edges. With a sharp knife, cut an “X” in the middle of the pie to allow steam to escape.

Brush the egg wash onto the pie using a pastry brush. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar and Turbinado sugar.

Place the pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to catch any drips. Place in preheated oven for 36 minutes. Once baked, remove and allow to cool completly at room temperature before serving and enjoying.

Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce

Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce 

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 15th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Homemade pizza is far superior to anything you could buy…
Blaise Doubman

My family loves pizza! But really though, who doesn’t? I read somewhere once, that pizza is the most consumed food in the World, and I believe it! I can name ten pizza places right off the top of my head – all locally! I really think that pizza places are the new Starbucks. It seems there’s one popping up on every corner. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve tried most of them – ok, all of them, and none of them are as delicious as pizza you could make at home! Sure there’s more cleanup involved, and a few more dishes, but so what? Make the time to really learn what goes into your pizza. When you control the ingredients, you know exactly what you’re eating! It’s healthier and it’s a lot more fun making your own pizza, and creating memories in your kitchen, than swinging by and picking up or ordering a pizza. Make this with your husband, your wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandparents, grandkids… Create a memory with them to share.

I wanted to create a recipe that could be made time and time again, not just because of the ease of the recipe, but because it was flavorful and crowd-pleasing. I really believe this recipe does that. With this recipe, there’s no waiting for the dough to rise, and no messing with leavening agents that some recipes are notorious for. If you have a pizza stone, I highly recommend using it with this recipe. I haven’t used anything but a pizza stone in several years, and I find it’s well worth the investment. Every time I serve this, people rave about not only the chewy crust, but the well bodied flavor of the homemade sauce.

Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce

This recipe is super versatile! Top with any combination of toppings you like – pineapple, ground beef, ground sausage, mushrooms, onions, green bell peppers, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, Munster cheese, pickles, zucchini, ham, bacon, and so forth. Let your imagination fly! It’s very important to use bread flour for this recipe. Keep it on hand – stored in an air tight container – for when you want to make this recipe again. This recipe can easily be doubled. This particular recipe makes enough for one standard medium/large pizza. If you find the pizza sticking to the pizza pan, sprinkle a little cornmeal on before stretching the dough. In place of the cranberry juice, feel free to use grape juice, pomegranate juice or for a richer flavor, red wine.

For the pizza dough…
1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons white granulated sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 ½ cups bread flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

For the tomato sauce…
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup cranberry juice
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper

Start by making the tomato sauce. In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the garlic for about 90 seconds. Add the cranberry juice and simmer with the garlic for about 2 minutes. Next, add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, white granulated sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Stir everything together well and simmer mixture over medium-low heat for about 7 minutes.

After the mixture has thickened slightly, keep under low heat stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, make the pizza dough. Start by preheating your oven to 450-degrees F and lightly spraying your pizza pan or stone with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast and white granulated sugar into the warm water. Swish this mixture around with your fingertips and allow to stand about 10 minutes.

Next, stir in the bread flour, olive oil and salt. Stir vigorously until combined and then allow the mixture to rest about 5 minutes.

Finally, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and pat into a round shape. Transfer the ball of dough to the prepared pizza pan and spread out gently with your hands, being careful not to pull or stretch the dough.

Once the dough is formed onto the pizza pan, spread with the warm tomato sauce and finish with desired toppings.

Place in preheated oven for 16-21 minutes or until golden brown.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before cutting.

CHEW THIS! Simple Strawberry Pie

Simple Strawberry Pie

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 21st 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Strawberry season is here!
Blaise Doubman

Strawberry season is here and there is nothing more (aside from homemade strawberry jam) that I love more than strawberry pie! Usually strawberry pie is just simply strawberries and strawberry glaze, all poured into a pie shell and topped with whipped cream. I wanted to create something more than that. I wanted to create something that would be simple to make, have depth in flavor and was something that reminded me of the old-fashioned pies of my childhood. My Grandma Barbra makes the best strawberry pies, and that is because she makes them using a homemade crust, and lots of sugar.

I still remember when I was younger, my Grandma Barbra and I stopping at the Farmer’s Markets in New Castle, early in the season, and stocking up on strawberries, asparagus and peaches. I would always help prepare the strawberries by rinsing them in water (before cutting into them because my Grandma said they wouldn’t absorb water that way), and then cutting off the tops. Naturally, I would be so excited that I would end up almost cutting the strawberry in half in order to take off the green stem and leaves. After all of the strawberries were prepared, we followed along with her recipe. I loved eating a cold piece with vanilla bean ice cream, and sometimes a homemade shortcake biscuit on the side. It was the perfect dessert in celebration of the coming summer months!

Simple Strawberry Pie

This can be made with a store bought pie shell, but may not taste as good. I really wanted an old-fashioned feeling for this pie, and homemade crust is the only way to properly do that. The amount of sugar in this recipe really depends on how sweet your strawberries are, so please taste as you go along. You may need to add a little more – or even a little less. When starting to cook the strawberries over the stove, feel free to mash some of them up before adding in the sugar. It will help “loosen” some of the pie. It’s really all about preference. The pure vanilla extract gives a warm back-note to the strawberries. Also, the cornstarch and water mixture is called a “slurry” – a thickener for the pie. This pie is delicious eaten alone, but feel free to serve alongside some vanilla ice cream. Keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

For the strawberry pie filling…

1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and diced
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup water

For the pie crust…

1 cup white all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the pie crust first, by combining the white all-purpose flour, shortening and salt with a fork until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Next, add the ice water and mix together until a dough forms.

Once the dough is formed, form a ball and place on a piece of floured parchment paper. Take another piece of parchment paper, place on top, and roll out the dough to the size of your pie dish using a rolling pin.

Carefully remove the parchment paper from the top and flip the dough that’s on the parchment paper dough side down into your pie dish.

Remove the parchment paper, and smooth out the dough. If there’s any excess on the sides, remove. If part of the pie tears, repair it with your finger and a little water. This works almost like a glue for the pie shell.

Once the dough is in the pie pan, using a fork, poke holes all over the bottom of the pie dough so that it will not puff up when baked.

Place in preheated oven for 27 minutes exactly and then remove to cool slightly.

Next, take the diced strawberries and place them in a large pot over medium heat. Mix in the white granulated sugar and bring this to a boil, stirring often.

Once the mixture is at a boil, allow to boil for about one minute.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and pour it into the boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and stir continuously for about five minutes, until the mixture has thickened.

Once the mixture has thickened, incorporate the pure vanilla extract, and then pour it into the baked pie shell.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving.

Top with your favorite whipped cream and enjoy!