Category Archives: Pies, Tarts, Cobblers

Mini Cannoli Cups

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Here’s an easy recipe I made with Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps. I had never used these wraps before, so I was interested in trying them out when I was offered some complimentary product from Nasoya® (they also provided all-natural-won-ton-wraps_0a gift card to cover the cost of other ingredients). I decided to try a dessert-like recipe from their site called Cannoli Cups and I also created my own recipe for an appetizer, which I’ll share with you in my next post. If you’re not familiar with these Nasoya® wraps, they are all-natural and super easy to use! You can find them in the produce section next to Nasoya® tofu and other products.

I made my cannoli cups a little differently from the original recipe, making them mini-size. I also added way more chocolate chips than the original recipe–actually by mistake! For some reason I thought the original recipe called for 1 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (it only called for 1/3 cup), so I started off adding 1 cup and mixing it into the ricotta cheese mixture before catching my mistake! But it was one of those happy mistakes, because the lightly-sweet creamy ricotta filling in these cannoli cups taste great with all those chocolate chips! And the won ton wraps make a nice little shell for this yummy filling. This recipe calls for 1 package of Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps and each 12-ounce package has about 52 wraps in it–this recipe will fill up just about all those wraps so it’s great to make for parties and other gatherings!

MINI CANNOLI CUPS adapted from Nasoya.com

Makes 48-52 cups

  • 3 cups fresh ricotta cheese (I used Part-Skim)
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, plus extra chips for sprinkling on top
  • 1 (12-ounce) package Nasoya® Won Ton Wraps

Place the ricotta cheese in a medium size mixing bowl. Stir or beat with a mixer on medium for about 2 minutes, until cheese is smooth and creamy. Add in the powdered sugar and blend well, mixing or beating until smooth.

Stir in the chocolate chips, then place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place each won ton wrap in the base of a mini cupcake pan, pressing down to create a mini bowl. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and fill each cup with a slightly heaping 1/2 Tablespoon of filling–then return to oven for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the cups are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then put on serving plate and sprinkle tops lightly with additional mini chocolate chips. Serve warm (if serving later, keep refrigerated until ready to serve, then warm them in the microwave). I prefer these warm, but you can also serve them at room temperature.

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These Mini Cannoli Cups are perfect if you’re wanting to serve something sweet and bite-sized. The other recipe I made with these wraps is a savory appetizer that I’m sure you’ll love, so look for it in my next post!

10 Sweet Potato Recipes

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Sweet potatoes recipes are perfect not only for Thanksgiving, but all holiday season long–and actually, some are great year-round! This Thanksgiving, I had made Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie, which was really good, and I thought I’d share a roundup of some other yummy Sweet Potato recipes I’ve made with you!

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These Sweet Potato Biscuits are just the thing for breakfast, with eggs, and they’re also great for lunch or dinner with your main dish and sides!

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Same for these Loaded Sweet Potato Muffins–good any time of day!

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Sweet Potato Bread is nice for breakfast, too, or later in the day as a snack.

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For a delicious side dish, these Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes are wonderful!

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Another side, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, are really tasty, and there are a variety of ways you can make them!

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I really like these Roasted Italian Potatoes, which are made with both sweet and regular potatoes.

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This Sausage Potato Bake, a yummy dish for lunch or dinner, is also a two-potato recipe, made with both sweet potatoes and red new potatoes.

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When you’re ready for dessert, you need to try this decadent Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

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And this Sweet Potato Pound Cake is pretty amazing, too!

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Last but not least, here’s the Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie I made this past Thanksgiving–a very easy recipe and so good!

Hope you enjoy trying these sweet potato recipes out!

Linked to I’m Lovin’ It at Tidy Mom, Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Fresh Pear Crisp

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It was nearing the end of summer when Sylvia told me her pear trees were going to produce quite a bit of fruit. She didn’t like pears, so asked if I could use any when they were ready to pick. Of course I said yes, because it would be the perfect opportunity to use them in a fall recipe! I love eating pears, but don’t bake with them that much, and I’m not sure why–I guess I think of baking with apples more than pears. So I was inspired to bake something with Sylvia’s pears. And it’s always nice being able to use fresh-picked, organic fruit in a recipe!

This Fresh Pear Crisp is what I ended up making. It’s very yummy and the crumbly, buttery topping is so good! It actually tastes a lot like apple crisp, so apple–lovers will like this too. If you have any fresh pears on hand, this is a good recipe to use them in. Or, if you just have apples, substitute those instead. Or use some apples and some pears and make an apple-pear crisp. It’s very easy to make–the most time-consuming part is peeling and chopping the fruit, but it’s definitely worth it!

FRESH PEAR CRISP by NancyC

Makes a 9″ deep dish pie plate or 9 x 9″ square pan

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 cups peeled and chopped fresh pears (about 7-9 medium–size pears; or substitute apples for apple crisp; or use both pears and apples for an apple-pear crisp!)

Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9″ deep dish pie plate or square pan well; set aside.

In large bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, blending well. Toss the chopped pears in this sugar mixture, coating pears evenly, then place in your greased 9″ deep dish pie plate or square pan.

In another bowl, blend flour, oats, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans; stir in melted butter with a fork to get a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle this crumb topping mixture over the pears and bake at 350˚F for 35 to 40 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Serve warm by itself or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

As I mentioned earlier, this pear crisp tastes a lot like apple crisp. If you’d like it to have more of a pear taste, just use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and no nutmeg in the fruit mix–and add a little lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon (the lemon juice tip is from my friend Davin who is a great cook and baker, but I have not tried that myself yet in this recipe). Have you been using pears much in your fall baking?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, and Show and Share at Coastal Charm.

Chocolate Chess Pie from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie

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Pies are a great holiday dessert. Pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies seem to be the traditional favorites, but Chocolate Chess Pie sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? That’s one of the many delicious pie recipes from The Hoosier 1375466665-hoosier_mama_bookMama Book of Pie. I received a review copy recently, and enjoyed looking at all the recipes and colorful photos of the many pies in that homey, retro-style cookbook! I’m not a great pie-maker myself, but I do appreciate a well-baked pie! 🙂

Author Paula Haney opened  the Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago on March 14, 2009–which is also “Pi day”! There was a line of customers around the block, and from day one, Paula has been baking and selling more pies than she probably ever dreamed of! If anyone knows how to make a great pie, Paula does, and she shares  her recipes for all kinds of pies–fruit pies, cream pies, chess pies, and savory pies. She also includes recipes for pie crusts, hand pies, scones, and quiches. You’ll find helpful tips and techniques sprinkled throughout the book, too.

Some great-sounding pies that got my attention in this book include:

  • Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Pie with Walnut Crumble
  • Maple-Pecan Pie
  • Caramel-Banana Cream Pie
  • Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Ganache
  • Red Line Espresso Cream Pie
  • Cheddar Vegetable Pie
  • French Onion Soup Pie
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Ham and Brie Quiche
  • Sweet Potato Hand Pies

And, as I mentioned, the Chocolate Chess Pie sounded pretty great, too, so I decided I’d try that one out. It’s a very rich, chocolatey, fudgy pie. Mine had a thin, crusty top layer that crackled as I cut into the pie–I’m not sure if it’s supposed to have a crusty top layer–it’s possible I may have baked it just a bit too long (see my notes in the recipe on the baking time). Nonetheless, it was still very fudgy and yummy!

CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

  • 1 single-crust pie shell (Paula recommends her All-Butter Pie Dough that’s finished off with a napkin fold, which she explains how to do in her book; if you use a frozen pie shell like I did, get a regular, not deep dish, pie shell)
  • Pie Wash (equal parts whole milk and cream mixed together in a very small bowl or cup) for brushing the pie shell–I used 1 teaspoon each of milk and cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste (I didn’t have vanilla paste, so I just used 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and brush the rim with Pie Wash. Set aside.

Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler, or in a medium heatproof bowl set on top of a saucepan of simmering water.

Remove the butter from the heat and beat in the sugar until it is thoroughly incorporated. The mixture should look shiny, but not greasy. If the mixture appears greasy, continue to beat.

Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl in the same manner as the butter. Remove from the heat. Be sure to wipe any condensation off the bottom of the bowl, otherwise it may drip into your batter.

Stir the melted chocolate into the butter mixture.

Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.

Add the cornmeal, vanilla paste, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl and incorporate any unmixed butter. Pour the batter into the pie shell.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, rotating 180 degrees every 20 minutes, until the top of the pie doesn’t give when pressed firmly in the middle. (Note: My pie was done at about 58 minutes, and I think it may have been a little too long, so you may want to check yours a little early, like around 55 minutes). The pie will rise up to 1 inch above the rim of the pie tin as it bakes, then fall slowly as it cools. The finished pie may be slightly concave. (The top of my pie had a thin crusty layer, which looks a little odd when the pie has risen fresh out of the oven, but it looks fine after the pie falls when cooling. It did crackle when I cut it, though).

The baked pie can be stored at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.

All in all, I thought the pie was very dense, moist, and delicious! The photo of the pie in this cookbook shows it dusted with powdered sugar, so I did that, too, while the pie was still warm. It makes a nice finishing touch!

Have you ever made a Chocolate Chess Pie? What’s your favorite holiday pie?

Spanakopita from 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes and a Giveaway!

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Spanakopita is one of my favorite appetizers. I have always loved these bites of cheesy spinach filling and flaky phyllo crust. But I’ve never tried making them. So, when I received a review copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes: Sweet to Savory and discovered a recipe for them in the book, I knew it was time to give it a try! I’m really glad I did–they were really good! I’m sharing the recipe with you later in this post. But first I’ll tell you more about the book, because there are all sorts of mini pie recipes in it…and I have a giveaway copy you can enter to win, too! See the end of the post for the giveaway details!

minipiecover175 Best Mini Pie Recipes (softcover), by chef and food writer Julie Anne Hession, has all kinds of wonderful sweet and savory recipes. Here are just a few…Blackberry Sugarplum Cornmeal Pies, Raspberry Nectarine Gallettes, Caramel Apple Hand Pies, Brown Butter Custard Pear Tarts, Southern Banana Pudding Pies, Carrot Cake Pies with Cream Cheese Crust, Chocolate Cappuccino Pocket Pies, Pesto Chicken Hand Pies, Pork Empanadas with Salsa Verde, Mini Cheese and Sausage Calzones, Croque Madame Breakfast Cups, Minestrone Pot Pies…and lots of other tasty treats for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The book also includes helpful tips in the chapters on Creating Perfect Mini Pies and Working with Dough. So if you’re new to pie-making, you’ll find this book helpful and easy to understand. And if you’re an experienced pie maker, you’ll enjoy the wide variety and creative recipes to choose from!

Here’s the recipe for Spanakopita…no need to make any dough for this, since it calls for purchased phyllo dough. If you haven’t ever used phyllo sheets in a recipe, you may find it a little tricky to work with because they are so thin and delicate…but after folding a few spanakopitas, you’ll get the hang of it! 🙂

SPANAKOPITA from 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes

Makes 24 Triangles

When people think of Greek food, spanakopita is likely one of the first dishes that come to mind. Serve these crisp spinach and feta phyllo pies as a flavorful vegetarian appetizer at parties–they will quickly disappear!–Julie Ann Hession

  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces (375 g) fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped green onions
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) crumbled feta cheese
  • 24 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C), positioning racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

1. Filling: In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

2. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach, then transfer to a cutting board. Chop coarsely and place in a large bowl. Add green onions, parsley, lemon juice, egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; stir to blend. Add feta and toss to blend.

3. Place one sheet of phyllo on clean work surface, short side facing you. Working quickly, brush with melted butter and fold in half lengthwise. Brush again with butter.

4. Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon (20 mL) spinach filling onto bottom left side of strip, leaving about a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border at the bottom. Fold bottom left corner over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold triangles up the strip of phyllo to the top as if you were folding a flag. Brush top of triangle with butter, pressing end to seal. Place triangle, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling, making 24 triangles.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 375˚F for 18 to 20 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through, until phyllo is deep golden brown and crisp. Cool slightly and serve warm.

Tip: The key to making perfectly crisp spanakopita is to ensure that excess liquid is removed from the spinach before filling. If your filling begins to produce liquid while you are still constructing the triangles, remove it by straining or by pressing the spoonful against the side of the bowl before placing on the pastry. This will make the difference between soggy and spectacular bits.

Make Ahead: Spanakopita can be assembled and frozen for up to five days. Freeze pies for 30 minutes on baking sheets, then seal in zip-top bags. Bake from frozen as directed.

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GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Congratulations to commentor #18, Marie, for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, June 1, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, June 2. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite kind of pie is.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Can’t wait to hear what kind of pies you all like! 🙂