Tag Archives: dessert

More Pie! — Bananas Foster Cream Pie

12 Jul

A few weeks ago, I got an automated email. My domain registration for www.pieareround.com was about to renew itself. At that point, I was faced with a decision: should I let the registration expire or should I re-commit myself to this blogging project. After all, it had been quite a while since I last written anything for this blog. My heart just hadn’t been in writing for the blog lately; the joy had kind of gone out of it. Combined with the time it took to document and write each post, I seriously considered abandoning the whole thing. But a funny thing happened. Just as I was contemplating giving it all up, I had several people ask me, unprompted, what happened to the blog and whether I was working on anything new. Coincidental timing, but it at least inspired me to give it another go. Continue reading

Purple Peruvian Goo — Mazamorra Morada

22 Jun

A while ago, it was requested that I include more vegetarian recipes here on my blog.  My best intentions to the contrary, I have utterly failed to do so.  (I suppose it’s easy enough to make my Chicago-style pizza vegetarian; just leave off the sausage.)  That request has caused me to realize just how central meat is to my cooking—at least to the cooking that I’m excited enough to write about.  Regardless of the meal or course, meat seems to factor into my recipes fairly frequently.

There is one course though into which you’d really really have to try to incorporate meat.  That course is dessert.  So, that is what I will write about today: dessert.

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This is not just any dessert mind you, this is a Peruvian dessert.  At Tania’s urging, we’ve been doing a fair bit of Peruvian cooking.  And this time, we made a dish called mazamorra morada.  Mazamorra is…well, it’s a purple goo.  With fruit in it.  It’s a purple goo with fruit in it.  I can’t really think of how better to describe it.  It’s kind of like a pudding I guess, and kinda sorta like Jello—but not really.  (Incidentally, they really like Jello in Peru.  Maybe sometime I’ll get around to writing about torta helada, or Jello cake.)

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Baking Steel — Not From Krypton, But Still Super

17 Feb

By now, the secret of the Baking Steel is not much of a secret.  The word is out that this project, started on Kickstarter by Andris Lagsdin after reading a review Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine: The Art & Science of Cooking, is the “most impressive home pizza product [J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats] ever tested.”  Pizza lovers everywhere are trading in their stones for these well-made (and really heavy) sheets of steal.

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I got mine for Christmas (thanks Tania!) and it has been an incredibly useful tool as I’ve begun to explore the world of bread baking.  As I try and try again with my bread baking, I’m learning more about cooking than I have in years. And as good (or bad) as some of the breads I’ve made are, I hadn’t put the baking steel to its real intended purpose: making pizza.

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Christmas Treat — Lebkuchen Christmas Cookies

9 Dec

Many of my family traditions involve food. (See this earlier post about Chicken Szechwan and Peanuts.)  This food-focused sense of tradition is especially true around the holidays.  Christmas cookie baking was always a big deal growing up, and no Christmas season would be complete without a full complement of different cookie varieties.  And it wasn’t just the resulting sweets that made holiday cookies so special; it was the process of making the cookies itself.

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Every year around Christmas, just as school was letting out for break, my aunt and granddad (my grandfather on my mother’s side) would come for an extended visit.  At some point early on in that visit, me, my sister, my mom, and my aunt would spend a day or two crafting the Christmas cookies for that year.  While some of the varieties we made would vary from year to year, there was some staples that we always made: spritz, snowballs (better known as Russian tea cakes), and befitting of the German heritage on my mom’s side of the family, lebkuchen. (The recipe I have actually spells it lebkucken, but knowing a bit of German myself, I know that just can’t be right!)

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Nutty and Sweet — Jeni’s Maple Ice Cream with Salty Buttered Nuts

22 Nov

You may not realize it, but Columbus is the ice cream capital of the world.  While other cities may host good, or even above average, ice cream shops, try telling a Columbus native about them.  They’ll get a faraway look in their eye—and you’ll get an unintentionally condescending “I’m sure they’re good…but…” in response.  The reason for this, is that we in Columbus have been spoiled.  We’ve been spoiled by being home to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, the greatest ice cream shop known to man.  (Hyperbole much?)

Until very recently, the only way to sample this idealized form of ice cream was to visit Columbus.  Then, last year, Jeni decided to compile a large numbers of recipes into a cookbook.  We in Columbus were torn.  On one hand, we could now make at home all of that delicious ice cream we had been enjoying in Jeni’s stores for years.  On the other hand, we were now deprived of leverage which we had previously used to coerce our out-of-state friends into visiting. (The cookbook actually wasn’t the first time Jeni had ventured into the realm of home ice cream making.  She had developed a few recipes previously, which can be found here.)

If it’s possible, Jeni’s ice cream cookbook was as successful as, or even more than, her ice cream stores.  It was a New York Times Best Seller.  And it won the James Beard Award.  No longer was Jeni’s ice cream a local Columbus secret.  She was a full-blown national sensation and treasure.

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Uncommonly Good — Sam’s (award winning) Apple Pie

4 Nov

The name of this blog is not just a math pun.  (Get it, pie are round, not πr2!)  I also really, really love pie.  Of all the things that I create in the kitchen, pie is probably my favorite.  And, it can be any kind of pie—strawberry, blueberry, peach, you name it.  I must admit a strong preference for fruit pies however.  Not to give cream, or other types of pie short shrift, mind you.  But if it’s a fruit pie…well, it has fruit! It’s not just dessert, it’s healthy! (Right?)

My pie obsession isn’t entirely new.  As my mother would be happy to tell you, at some point in elementary school I declared that apple pie was my favorite smell in the world.  This is probably still true.

What is new is the fact that I’m no longer just the pie eater—I’m also the pie maker.  The transformation from one into the other came about in large part because I was seeking out a culinary challenge.  It seems that many people are intimidated by pie crust; making pie crust is perceived as a time-consuming task whose prospects for success are uncertain at best.  With that in mind, I set out to master the art of the crust.

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