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Chocolate Mousse

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This year, because of an impending wedding, my father’s new dive charter, and the fact that all of my siblings are either in school, employed by AmeriCorps, or in the Army, we are not exchanging Christmas gifts.  Which is great, I was only asked to bring home pie, which is why this week I made seventy odd holiday cup pies.

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So, as a result, Dan and I celebrated our Christmas a bit early, on the 22nd.  Which was a great idea.  I was going to make chicken marsala, spinach tossed in olive oil and garlic, and for dessert, a lovely mousse.  Now, I know you probably think I’m a crazy masochist for making a mousse after what I will probably refer to in the future as the Pie Blitz of 2008, but what is a romantic Christmas without dessert?  Well, it turns out, I am a masochist and a giant clutz.  After I melted the chocolate on the makeshift double boiler, I went to remove it from heat, and sloshed water all over my hand.  Which left me with serious burns and an inability to do anything but whine.  So, I finished off the mousse and watched Gilmore Girls until Dan got home, and HE made the chicken marsala.  I stayed on the couch and watched Gilmore Girls.  Romantic, right?

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This recipe, unlike some of the pies I’ve made, is a bit complicated.  It takes a little finesse, and it takes a little time.  Finesse that I mostly don’t have, as I’m a raving idiot who burns herself.  Mostly, it’s just a bunch of whipping.  Whip and whip and whip, then some folding, and then a little chilling, and then a lot of enjoying.

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Chocolate Mousse

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp warm water

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup sugar

Heat chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.  You don’t want the bottom of the bowl to be making direct contact with the water.  The water should also be slowly boiling, not rapidly.  Stir the chocolate occasionally until it’s melted and smooth.  Remove chocolate from heat, but keep the water simmering.

Whip cream until it holds soft peaks.  Cover and refrigerate.

Whisk egg yolks, egg, salt, and sugar together until foamy and light.  Place over saucepan and whip with electric beater.  Move the whisk in a circular motion until the eggs are fluffy and hot to the touch.  Don’t keep it over heat too long, or your eggs will scramble.  Remove from heat and continue beating on high for five minutes until thick ribbons fall from the beater when lifted.  Whisk in water.

Fold 1/4 of the egg into the chocolate.  Incorporate completely, then fold in the rest.  Finally, fold in the cream to make it smooth and light.  Pour into serving dishes, cover, and refrigerate at least one hour.

Serves 2.

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Sweet Potato Pie

Usually, I don’t make sweet potato pies.  Though they’re not the same as pumpkin, they’re similar enough that I don’t usually feel the need to make both.  But since I took on the (insane) task of making seventy plus cup pies to bring home for Christmas, I decided to mix it up.  And since sweet potato has a different flavor and texture than pumpkin, I figured doing both would allow some variety.

Sweet potato pie is similar in technique to pumpkin pie.  There are different spices, and I prefer mashed sweet potatoes instead of pureed, but the ingredients are similar.  It’s a pretty delicious pie.  I like a little brown sugar in it, as well as some cinnamon and vanilla.  It has no pecans in it, and besides that it resembles sweet potato casserole in flavor profile.

If you are a marshmallow person when it comes to sweet potatoes, you could add some into the mashed potatoes.  I personally do not like marshmallows in my pies or casseroles, but it acts the same as cheese in a pear pie, it gives some creaminess and a little goo that isn’t there with just the potatoes.


Sweet Potato Pie

2 sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed

1 cup heavy cream

3 eggs

Cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

Pie dough (recipe here)

Peel, chop, boil, and mash your potatoes.  Set aside.  Beat eggs.  Add in sugar and vanilla.  Stir in heavy cream.  Slowly add potatoes to this mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes at 475*, then for 40 minutes at 350*

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Tarheel Pie

Growing up, my grandmother made a chocolate chess pie.  It is essentially a chocolate pie.  It’s so rich you’ll have a hard time finishing just a sliver of a slice.  The last time I made a chocolate pie (my friends Emilie and Laura were having a chocolate party) only a third of it got eaten, which left Dan and I with most of a pie.  Which is not good for the wedding diet, let me tell you.

Anyhoo, the Tarheel Pie is a variation of the chocolate chess pie.  Essentially, it’s a chocolate pie with pecans in it.  I first saw the pecan addition on the back of a postcard.  Either way I assume it’s still a chocolate chess pie, but Tarheel Pie just seems so much more… well, authentic to the Tarheel State.  And you know that if nothing else, I’m true to the products of the Old North State.  Politics aside.  And 90% of their basketball teams I could do without.  Okay, mostly just the food.


This pie is about as complicated as a pecan pie.  There are more ingredients, so the extra complication really comes in the shopping.  It’s so easy… if you didn’t make your own pie crust you could be done with this in five minutes.  And this is another one of those pies that people will be mystified by, you get all of the credit for making something delicious from scratch, and really only a minimal amount of work.


Tarheel Pie

1 cup chocolate chips

1 stick melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

Pie dough (bottom only, recipe here)

Pour hot butter over chocolate chips and stir until fully incorporated.  Whisk together remaining ingredients and add to chocolate. Pour into pie shell.

Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes.

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