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.
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.
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.
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.
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!