Easy, healthy, sometimes indulgent recipes


Pumpkin Pie

This spicy, delectable pumpkin pie embodies the comfort and warmth of the fall season.

pumpkin pie

What is it about pumpkin pie that is so comforting?  I love baking this pie.  I have a slight obsession with ginger so I really love making the pie extra spicy. Out of all the Holiday pies, pumpkin is always my personal favorite. It is the crown jewel, a reward after an abundant pumpkin season.  For this recipe, I use my homemade pumpkin puree, but that is only if you happen to have it and canned works perfectly.  Also, this year, I am doing a graham cracker crust in place of a traditional crust. I have found that graham cracker crust stands up better to the pumpkin filling and it does not get soggy.  It is important to pre-bake the crust and then bake everything again with the filling.  This really is super easy and it comes together in minutes and it bakes for about an hour. It can be made a day ahead and refrigerated or made the day of the Holiday.

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Mammaw’s Chocolate Pie

Since I have been part of my married family, I have heard about mammaw’s chocolate pie. No one has a lot of information about it, but it was according to everyone it was just perfect. In fact, to both my husband and his father, just the mention of it brings fond childhood memories. They reminisce about their summers in Kentucky and “helping’ mammaw make this pie.  Of course, we have no recipe.  What we know is that there was no electric machinery used and all the children were part of this pie making process where they had to get the lumps out of the pie, just using a fork.  This smoothing out was a long process, maybe an hour or two.  After many different family interviews, turns out this pie is a chocolate custard pie piled very high with meringue and then baked off for about 15-20 until the meringue is set and golden brown.
I tried a few different variations and I never could get to a point where I needed to remove the lumps with a fork.  Once the custard was cooked and whisked all the lumps were worked out.  So it occurred to me that mammaw was a genius.  She found a way to occupy her little children and later her grandchildren with some busy work in the kitchen that was later rewarded with a yummy chocolate pie.

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Pecan Pie with Bourbon Spiked Cream

Easy and light pecan pie perfect for a casual fall evening or a big Holiday gathering.

pecan pie

It is impossible to have any kind of Holiday gathering in my family and not have pecan pie. It is not tied to just Thanksgiving.  Any Holiday is  an excuse to have this pie.  Sometimes this pie is requested at birthdays.  One half of my international family did not grow up or even taste pecan pie until well into their adulthood.  In my family, it  is considered the queen of all pies.  When I was growing up,  our dessert was baklava that my grandmother carefully hand-made, and by hand-made I mean every layer was made from scratch.  I think on some level flavors in  pecan pie are a distant cousin to her baklava that none of us can ever make just right.  My parents have come close, but I have not.  So for now, I settle for making a pecan pie and it seems to make everyone happy.  Over the years, I have made variations that have chocolate. Anyone who knows me, knows that I never turn down chocolate, but in this case, I prefer this pie in its original form.  While I have tasted some amazing pecan chocolate  combinations, there is something special in the simplicity and boldness that pecans bring to this dessert. It is almost as if the chocolate overwhelms the pecans so I just keep it simple. Who knows though, maybe I just didn’t make the pecan chocolate combination correctly?

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