Friday, March 22, 2013

Ode to Dessert

Alternately: A Tirade Against Mini Desserts, Cupcakes and Cake Pops

I love desserts. The size of my sweet tooth would make even Little Red Riding Hood marvel. And, even though I have resolved to keep my weekly dessert consumption to a (relative) minimum, you can not stop me from dreaming of thick layers of buttercream, rich curls of chocolate, and luscious layers of cake. Or flaky crust filled with strawberries and jello or smooth peanut butter filling or brownies and ganache. I'm a dessert girl through and through.

And, I am totally irritated, and so over, the mini dessert trend. Give me a dessert already! Maybe that cute little glass cup does something for you, but it doesn't even scratch my sweet tooth itch.
Boston Cream Pie (which, oddly enough, is a cake)

No, I don't want three mini desserts. I want the full size one, thank you very much. And I will eat it all myself. You can order your own.
Chocolate Chess Pie

I'd really like to know whose grand idea it was to start the cupcake craze. Because, I don't want a cupcake. I want a slice of cake. A big slice. Something that lasts more that 3 bites, and isn't a pain in the butt to make. I ask you, is it easier to pour batter into one or two pans, or into 24 papers that have a tendency to tip at the most inopportune moments?

coconut cake
While we're on the more than a bite dessert rant-let's talk cake pops. Really? One little round circle of cake, covered in icing? It must be something devised in torture chambers.
berries in a cloud

I want an 1/8 of a pie, or a 1/12 of a cake. I want a bowl full of ice cream or of trifle. I want a regular size dessert. One that I've saved my cravings over the week for. I don't want to clear out the whole pie, just a regular size piece.
rhubarb pie

The only place those mini desserts are justified is in a dessert buffet-when you are expected to eat at least 5 or 6 things. That is a good use for them. And they look nice there too.

Moving on from my tiny dessert rant...
this is what I call a slice of pie

Bet you can't begin to imagine what kind of recipe I have up my sleeve for you today.

Yes, of course, a dessert. A pie.

This pie is called Thoroughbred Pie. It is modeled after a famous pie that is served at the Kentucky Derby every year. With walnuts, it is reminiscent of a pecan pie, though the chocolate and bourbon make it a unique affair. The bourbon gives it a slight bite. The chocolate is not over powering. It serves as a compliment to the nuts and filling. The bourbon whipped cream topping it all off looks nice, and adds a touch of class. For a less bourbon taste, omit the bourbon in the whipped cream.

Unlike the majority of the recipes I share in this space, this one is a bit more hands on. It isn't hard, but it requires more time and effort.

ThoroughBred Pie
1 unbaked pie shell

Place in pie plate, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate 40 minutes then freeze 20 minutes.
Line with a 12" square of parchment paper. Weigh down with pie weights.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until no longer looks wet.
Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.
When you remove crust from oven, immediately sprinkle with 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chopped fine. Let sit 5 minutes, then spread over bottom of crust.

8 T butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 T Bourbon
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/2 t salt
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1t vanilla
1-1/2 c walnuts, toasted and chopped

Melt the butter in a saucepan, stirring until nutty brown-about 5 to 7 minutes. Off heat, stir in bourbon, and let cool 5 minutes.
Whisk sugars, cornstarch and salt in a bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Slowly whisk in warm butter mixture until incorporated. Stir in walnuts, and pour filling into chocolate lined crust.
Bake at 325 degrees until filling is puffed and the center jiggles slightly. 35-40 minutes.

Bourbon Whipped Cream
1 c heavy cream
2 T Bourbon (optional)
1-1/2 T brown sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Beat until soft peaks form.
Slice pie, and serve each piece warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

For the record, I have no picture of my ThoroughBred Pie. So I guess I need to make one. I have the bourbon, and the chocolate and the whipping cream...