From Pizzas to Pies :)

If you’ve been following on Instagram, you already know that I recently returned from a 10-day trip to the Tuscany region of Italy. I had a total blast driving to hill towns, tasting wine, and eating pizza and pasta, of course. While mid-October is still “in-season” for tourism in Italy, it felt like we were mainly tourists with a bunch of other Italian tourists, and that is fine by me. I made it home just in time for Halloween which Mr. Foodie and I celebrated by making a big pot of chili, handing out candy, and watching scary movies #perfection. This weekend, however, I was seized by an intense desire to make some new-to-me pies based on some recipes I’ve been collecting.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

These recipes definitely knocked me outside of my pie comfort zone (which is basically pie dough and various fruit fillings), but I am happy to report success! I made the first pie for Sally’s monthly baking challenge: Pumpkin Pie with a candied pecan topping and fresh whipped cream. You can get the whole recipe here. Mr. Foodie isn’t a fan of pumpkin pie because of the squash reference, but he loves pecans, so he went for it. I love any and all pumpkin pie, and I adore this homemade whipped cream.

Honey Meringue Pie

The second recipe is from Better Homes & Gardens which I had because I picked up a selection of magazines to read for my long plane ride to Italy. You can get the entire recipe here. Let me preface this by saying that I LOVE cranberries. I love them dried, candied, baked, and even floating in cocktails. I use them in margaritas, decorate cakes with them, and bake them into cookies and banana bread. I love tart things, so cranberries are my jam. And don’t you just love the look of cooked cranberries? Like little rubies. When I saw this recipe for cranberry pie, I was like, yes please! I balked a little at the fact that it called for a swiss meringue topping because double-boiling egg whites scares me, but I was determined to figure it out.

Ruby Red Cranberry Filling topped with Honey Meringue

The verdict? The filling is admittedly tart. I might go so far as to say that it could use a little more sweetener to balance it out. That being said, the swiss meringue is quite sweet thanks to the 1/2 cup of honey, and, eaten together, the pie topping and pie filling are pretty tasty. The best part? It looks amazing! I was so nervous about the meringue, but it turned out great. This video on making the meringue helped more than the recipe instructions. I was able to tell right away when the meringue was ready for whipping by touching it. The next step stumps a lot of people, but figuring out when it is “medium” peaks is as easy as turning the whisk upside down – if you see a “peak” but the tip turns down, you’re at medium. The final step had me sweating bullets because I don’t own a kitchen torch, so I was using the broiler in the oven to brown the meringue. No need to worry – I kept the oven door ajar and my eye on the meringue. It browned beautifully. The meringue has almost a marshmallow texture/flavor, but this specific recipe calls for a lot of honey, so that was definitely coming through loud and clear. The benefit of a meringue compared to a whipped cream is the pie can sit out without the meringue melting. and it just looks so pretty.

slice of Honey Meringue Cranberry Pie

Both of these pies require a lot of time because they have to cool on the counter, then in the fridge, before receiving their toppings, but I would definitely make them again – especially for a party or celebratory dinner.

Now what to do with all this pie? Come have a slice!

Want more Fairfax Foodie fun? Follow us on Instagram @fairfaxfoodie, Scroll through our Pinterest board, or find me on Twitter @TawnyaAzar

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