Thursday, September 14, 2017

My Favorite Baking Tools

It's all about the tools.  Here are some of my must-have's:

I roll my pie crusts between this no-mess pie crust maker before rolling it out with a marble rolling pin that puts just the right amount of pressure on it...

I love using these shapes to decorate my pies...

I hate fishing egg shells from my mixes; this little guy solves that problem by separating eggs so easily -- fits onto the side of the bowl too!

I use these pie weights to hold down the crust while baking an unfilled pie...

My secrets to a perfect pie crust every time:

When you have a parchment paper obsession and want your sheets to fit perfectly onto your baking pans:

Pumpkin Pie Spectacular

9" piecrust (I usually make my own but in a pinch I use the refrigerated ones and just spread it into the pie plate)
2 c crushed gingersnaps (about 40 gingersnaps)
1 c pecans, finely chopped
½ c powdered sugar
¼ c butter, melted
1 (15-oz) can pumpkin
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs, beaten
½ c sour cream
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t vanilla extract
¼ t ground ginger

Pecan Streusel (recipe follows)
Stir all of the following ingredients together:
            ¼ c all purpose flour
            ¼ c firmly packed dark brown sugar
            2 T melted butter
            ¾ c pecans, coarsely chopped

7 thin ginger cookies, halved (I use Anna's Ginger Thins – available at most Kroger,
    Tuesday Morning, Walgreens & Target stores)

Ginger-Spice Topping, ground cinnamon (recipe follows)
            Stir all of the following ingredients together:
            1 8-oz cool whip, thawed
            ¼ t ground cinnamon
            ¼ t ground ginger

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Fit piecrust into a 9" deep-dish pie plate; fold edges under and crimp.
2.  Stir together crushed gingersnaps and next 3 ingredients (finely-chopped pecans, ½ c powdered sugar and melted butter).  Press mixture on bottom and ½" up sides of piecrust.
3.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).
4.  Stir together pumpkin and next 6 ingredients until well blended.  Pour into prepared crust.  Place pie on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
5.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle Pecan Streusel around edge of crust.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until set, shielding edges with aluminum foil during the last 25-30 minutes of baking if necessary.  (Really you should have the pie crust shields, either silicone or aluminum, that they sell for this purpose and use them instead!)

Insert ginger cookies around edge of crust.  Let cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour).  Dollop with Ginger-Spice Topping; dust with cinnamon. 

Layered Walnut Pumpkin Pie

This is Gary's fav...

3/4 c walnuts
1/4 c cold water
3/4 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 t salt
1 c shipping cream
walnut halves for decoration
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 lb. pumpkin
1/2 c milk
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t vanilla
1 9" baked, cool pie shell

Chop nuts fine. Soften gelatin in water in 2-qt. pot. Stir in pumpkin, 1/2 c of the sugar, milk, lightly beaten egg yolks, spice and salt. Heat just to boiling, stirring constantly. Turn heat very low and cook 5 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat; add vanilla and cool. Chill until mixture thickens slightly. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 2 T sugar, beating until stiff. Fold into pumpkin mixture along with the chopped walnuts. Beat cream with remaining sugar until very stiff. Turn half pumpkin mixture into pie shell and spread level. Top with 3/4 of the whipped cream and spread in even layer. Spoon remaining pumpkin filling on top of whipped cream gently. Decorate top with remaining whipped cream and walnut halves. Chill at least 4 hours before cutting.

Lemon Cheesecake

This is Jeanette's fav cheesecake, so I made it for her birthday!
This recipe is taken from:  Creative Culinary

Preparation 30 min
Cook Time 45 min
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
A large and luscious cheesecake with just the perfect touch of lemon.


    For the Crust

    • 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 25 single crackers, crushed)
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 6 tablespoons melted butter

    For the Filling

    • 3 - 8·ounce packages cream cheese, softened
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 1/3 cups sugar
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

    For the Sour Cream Topping

    • 1 pint sour cream
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    For the Glaze

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup water (I substituted 1/2 cup Limoncello for the water but it's optional. I also ended up adding just a touch of lemon paste color. )
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


      Prepare the Crust:

      1. Combine cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into bottom and 1/2" up sides of an 11 to 12 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool before adding filling.

      Make the Cheesecake:

      1. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer at high speed until completely smooth.
      2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.
      3. Continue to beat, gradually adding 1 1/3 cups sugar, then lemon juice and vanilla.
      4. Stir in lemon rind.
      5. Pour into cooled crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
      6. Blend sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract for topping.
      7. Remove cake from oven. Gently spread sour cream over top of cake. Return to oven and bake about 12 minutes.
      8. Cool on rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until topping is cool but not completely chilled.
      9. Make glaze by combining sugar and cornstarch, blending in water and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cook 3 minutes. Chill until cool but not set.
      10. Spread top of cheesecake with lemon glaze. Chill several hours or over­night. Can also be frozen.
      Recipe Notes
      This recipe calls for a rather large springform pan; if your pan is smaller in diameter than your baking time will need to be adjusted accordingly.