Banoffee Pie Parfaits

The turkey has been served. Siblings came back from college in waves; facial piercings dangling, quoting Althusser and complaining about dining hall scrambled eggs. Grandma can’t get over how old everyone looks, and also wants to know who’s engaged yet. Our belts have been thrown into the closet, not to be seen again for several months. It’s officially *that* time of year. Which means all the holiday movies are about to take over our lives. ARE YOU READY? I’m not, really.

Except in the case of one. Love Actually. If you haven’t seen it, you better get yourself a copy or rent it on demand or illegally download it or obtain the movie however you watch movies now, because this is what you should do tonight. It’s one of those movies that focuses around 107890 different storylines so you don’t get too bored/can get up for more pie or eggnog without worrying about missing much. And Love Actually Day (five weeks before Christmas) was officially last Friday, so we’re a little late but that’s okay.

The point of those sentences is the first time I ever heard of Banoffee pie was in Love Actually. Kiera Knightly tries to win Andrew Lincoln’s (who, incidentally, you probably know as that guy from The Walking Dead) friendship with banoffee pie. How freakin’ cute, amirite? I immediately looked up what the heck banoffee pie was, and got very very excited. It’s basically banana cream pie with dulce de leche. How had I not heard of this?!

There is, however, one HUGE error with this otherwise flawlessly written rom-com-feel-good-“Holiday” scene: Kiera says she has terrible taste in pie. Referring to the banoffee pie. What what what are you doing. I made up my mind right then and there to make this pie asap and then promptly forgot until the next time I watched the movie about a year later and yelled at myself for my not having made it yet. And then forgot again. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was looking through my favorite vegan blog‘s archives instead of doing adulty things and I saw a recipe for the pie. And then I was at my friend’s house and she reminded me that Love Actually Day was a week away. It was fate. Spoilers: banoffee pie is fucking incredible and even if you don’t like bananas you will like this pie IT’S THAT GOOD.

Most recipes for this pie have a nut-infused pâte brisée pie crust or crumbled cookie crust, but you can make whatever your heart desires. *I* think the best possible choice is a digestive biscuit crust. Digestive biscuits were v hip and trendy for like a week on the food websites in 2014, but I think they deserve more than 15 minutes of fame. They’re so much more than something to bring out when having a British-theme night or looking for a cookie made with whole wheat flour as an excuse to eat an entire sleeve-ful. They’re also not super sweet, which balances out the very sweet bananas and toffee.

ALSO: do you like to read other things on the internet? You should check out my beautiful friend Kelsey’s blog, Kelsey at the Movies. Kelsey’s a fantastically talented writer and a film scholarship grad student at NYU. Read her stuff!

ALSO ALSO: We’re getting close to my *200th* recipe post up in here! Any requests for what I should make will be appreciated~

Banoffee Pie Parfaits

20 digestive biscuits
5 tablespoons coconut oil, soft but not melted
pinch of salt

2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 bananas

1 cup whipping cream (or 1 batch coconut whipped cream with sweetener left out if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

Make the crust: Butter or oil any kind of pie pan and set aside. It 100% doesn’t matter what you use here, as you will be destroying said crust upon its completion. Place biscuits and salt in a large food processor and pulse until you have fine, flour-like crumbs. Add the coconut oil and pulse until combined. Press into prepared pan and freeze for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, then bake crust for 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Make the filling Simmer the sweetened condensed milk in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat until very thick and golden brown, stirring VERY frequently (about 25 minutes.) Do NOT walk away, as there is a strong possibility the milk will begin to burn on the bottom of the pan. If this does begin to happen and the burnt bits are only brown, you’re okay; you’ll just want to pass the milk through a fine mesh sieve when it’s done cooking. If this doesn’t happen, take pride in the fact that you’re better at cooking/have a superior stove than I. Remove from heat, transferring to a heatsafe glass bowl, and stir in the rum and vanilla extract. Let cool completely, then transfer to a jar.

Put it all together: locate four or five glass jars or parfait/sundae glasses. Whip cream, syrup, and vanilla together until peaks form. Remove crust from tart pan and crumble it up completely. Slice bananas thinly. Spoon a thick layer of crust crumbles into the jars, then a layer of toffee, then a layer of bananas. Repeat until you’v filled the jars or used up all your ingredients. Dollop a final smear of whipped cream over the bananas, then top with a sprinkle of crust. Consume immediately if you so choose, but the flavors combine fantastically after sitting in the fridge for a few hours. Dessert will last for a few days in the fridge.




Four & Twenty Blackbirds Grapefruit Custard Pie

Attention, everyone: spring may actually be on it’s way. Which means that the time for picnics and beers outside is so soon. One might even say it’s nigh. However, it also means that the winter dessert season is coming to a close. We’re moving away from the pumpkin-spiced, the powdered sugar-dusted, the holly-garnished. We’re entering the land of fresh berries and cream and torn basil, grilled peaches and balsamic. POPSICLES. Using your shorts for a napkin because you’re eating on a lawn and couldn’t possibly spend a minute not lying on a blanket in the sun. Yes, I am in fact very excited. But before I get too into spring and summer (!!) recipes, let’s take a sec and enjoy the last licks of winter with a good custard pie. One with grapefruit. And Campari.

I know what most of you are thinking. Grapefruit custard? Is that even a thing? Well, I’m here to tell you it is. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Four & Twenty Blackbirds cookbook. If you’re living under a rock or perhaps an underground apocalypse cult (can you guess what’s on my Netflix account lately?) and have not yet heard of Four & Twenty Blackbirds, they’re a sister team turned pie shop empire in Brooklyn and they really get it when it comes to pie. Pie is so much more than apple or strawberry rhubarb. It’s a blank pastry canvas for any kind of experimentation. Please tell me how one could put an unlikely combination of equally tasty ingredients in a buttery crust sleeping bag and not yield a truly wondrous dessert experience. That’s what these Blackbird ladies do: mint, bourbon, and chocolate pie; apple rose pie; salty honey pie; I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. Experiment with your pie, people- it’ll be well worth the flour on your nose and beet-stained fingernails.

So, I give you the Four & Twenty Blackbirds grapefruit custard pie, coming from the winter pie section of the book. Which is a genius idea, because as tasty as paprika peach pie sounds, it’s kinda tricky to find a nice peach in say, February. So you just flip a few pages and see that citrus is the way to go. If I make this one again, I want to try it with blood orange. Can you imagine the color? I know. In the meantime, find yourself a copy of this book and get cracking!

Also, some links to change your day:

3-D printed ice cubes because technology is..not (?) unbelievably intriguing/scary..

stop everything you can hard-boil eggs IN THE OVEN 

charoset ice cream! charoset ice cream!!! too bad it’s only available in Israel..guess I should just make my own, even though I did kinda miss my Passover window

Pie (from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book)

For the crust (9-inch pie)
1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into½-inch pieces
½ cup cold water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ cup ice
one egg white

For the filling
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs 1 large egg yolk
1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (~2 grapefruits)
3 tablespoons Campari liqueur
1 cup heavy cream
Dash orange-flavored cocktail bitters (optional)

Make the crust: Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter and toss lightly in the flour mixture using until coated. With a pastry blender or cold fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture (work quickly!) until the majority of  pieces of butter remaining are pea-size (a few larger pieces are okay; it’s better not to overblend). Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture to the flour mixture, and mix it in with fingers/bench scraper/spatula until fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or fingers to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Bring any extra bits of dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture if necessary (I didn’t find this needed) to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

Make the custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt and melted butter. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, blending well after each addition. Whisk in the grapefruit juice, Campari, heavy cream, and bitters, if using.

Prebake the crust: Roll out the crust on a well-floured work surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Roll the crust onto the rolling pin and onto a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the crust any way your heart desires (go down the rabbit hole) and refrigerate crust for at lease 30 minutes. Use a fork to prick all around the bottom and sides, then move the crust to the freezer. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Whisk together the egg white and and one teaspoon of water and set aside (this will act as a moisture-proof bottom/side sealant.) When the crust is frozen solid (~10 minutes,) line lightly with foil and fill with pie weights/beans (I use dried chickpeas.) Place the pan on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until the crust’s edges are set but not brown. Remove the crust with the baking sheet and lift out the foil/weights. Let cool for a moment or two, then use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides of the crust with the egg wash. Return the pan and baking sheet to the oven and bake for another 3 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet.

Put it all together: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Make sure the the prebaked pie shell is still on the baking sheet. Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell (or strain into a separate bowl and then pour it into the shell.) Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 50-55 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees when the edges start to set (~30-35 minutes through baking.) The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but still wobbly. (Don’t overbake! The custard can separate if heated for too long; it will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven.) Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours (good luck.) Serve at room temperature or cool with a coffee (the only time the coffee + grapefruit combo is not awful) or a get crazy decadent and make yourself a negroni to embrace the Campari in the pie. The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.



Mocha Whiskey Mousse Pie for
Pi[e] Day 2015 (aka the Pi Day of the Century)

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Happy Pi Day!! Honestly, this is probably my favorite of the food themed holidays. It’s a close race between pies and chocolate but I think pie may have a little edge. This year is extra special because it’s 2015, meaning the date is 3/14/15, and π = 3.1415 (the next few digits are 926, so I could be extra insane and make sure I’m eating a bite of pie at exactly 9:26 AM and PM, but we’ll see.) Since it’s so important that pie be consumed on this high holy day, I’ve been thinking about what exactly I’d be making for quite a while. As much as I wish it were summer, so I could make a really good fruit pie with all the fresh peaches + berries, we can’t always get what we want. So I settled (and by settled, I mean I was perfectly happy to select) chocolate and cherry preserves. As long as these decadent things exist, life will be pretty good. So grab a fork and cup of coffee and dig in! Also read this article real quick.

Check my pi day post from last year for more treats, but also definitely pay attention to what the rest of the internet food world created:

last year’s Mini Cherry-Blueberry Pies (Ashlae makes a lot of pie, she’s a goddess)

Food52 has all the suggestions for savory as well as sweet pies

This Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie from Smitten Kitchen is obviously breakfast, yes?

Buzzfeed has a lot of suggestions, although I’m wary of a pie milkshake..

NPR has featured recipes in addition to a math-y video with v dramatic music (it’s currently playing as I type and it’s making everything feel like a fight sequence in an action movie.) Also I’m not sure what’s going on with their “pizza pie”, but it’s not what I was expecting

Just reading the words Blackberry Balsamic Pie with Sea Salt Walnut Crumble made my day, so you bet I took note of this one for the summer (actually, I “pinned” you hate me?)

I actually originally intended to make a Crack Pie today, but that dream got away from me, so just salivate over the recipe!

This project is called 31 Days of Pie, and while it did not overlap with pi day, I think you understand why it’s on this list

If you’re in New York today, there are some pie shops celebrating with discounts and specials! Four & Twenty Blackbirds is also running a 3 slices for $14 deal~

Also if you want to eat pie for all the meals today, look at these adorable little savory hand pies, this Guinness Beef Pot Pie, and this whole list..but especially that artichoke, kale, and ricotta pie yes yes yes

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Waitress and eat the following recipe straight out of the pie pan!

Pie (inspired by Oh, Ladycakes)

2 cups pretzels
5 cinnamon graham crackers
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6-8 tablespoons solid coconut oil

1 batch chocolate mousse
2 tablespoons whiskey
2 tablespoons espresso

1/4 cup cherry preserves (or berries, if you can find good ones this time o’year!)
1-2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
chopped walnuts and cashews
shredded coconut
1 batch coconut whipped cream

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a removable bottom tart pan (I use canola spray) Combine pretzels, graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor and grind until they reach flour-like crumbs. Add the coconut oil and pulse until crust resembles wet sand. Press into tart pan with your fingers, then use the bottom of a measuring cup to really press it all in. Bake 7-10 minutes, checking for the last three minutes to make sure it’s not burning. Remove from oven and set on a baking sheet (in case anyone happens to move your pie, we won’t have no surprises re: removable bottom pan/pie all over floor/etc) to cool.

For the filling: Make the mousse according to these directions, swapping out 4 tablespoons of almond milk with the espresso and whiskey. Or you can use the normal recipe, live your life as you please. Pour mousse into pie crust and refrigerate.

For the topping: Spoon the preserves over the chocolate layer of the pie. Sprinkle one tablespoon of cocoa nibs over the preserves. If you’re good at planning ahead, make a batch of coconut whipped cream, adding a tablespoon or two of whiskey, because yolo and such (I am on spring break after all..) and spread a thick layer over the chocolate. Stud the top with more cocoa nibs, chopped nuts, and coconut. Ready your forks and toast to pi day!


happy pi(e) day!

You guys! Pi day has finally arrived! It’s March 14, aka 3.14, aka the same numbers as the first few digits of Pi (π). For those of you who are perhaps not super into math like I am (#jklol) Pi is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and approximately equal to 3.14159. (Now there’s no need to look it up on Wikipedia, that’s certainly not where I got this succinct definition..) So naturally, we in the baking world like to equate this mathematical phenomenon to that rad dessert most people are always too lazy to make from scratch. Aaaanyway, what better way to celebrate than to share some awesome pie recipes?! If I were a good blogger, I’d have remembered that Pi Day was coming up and prepped a special recipe post just for today, but alas, college is a thing and I love making excuses. Really, I’ll do anything to make excuses and subsequently complain about them for extended periods of time. It’s why I have so many friends and suitors. However, next year, I fully intend to have an major party for Pi Day starting at 9:26pm, as it will be 3.14.15 (’cause π = 3.1415926 get it???) You’re all invited! I mean it, I actually am going to have an apartment (*and kitchen*) for my last year of college- no more radiator quesadillas for this girl!

Okay, let’s have some pie.

Combat the explaination’s history lesson with a big slice of Lemon Chess Pie

Going with the theme of pies that can also be retro paint colors dig into this (Kinda Key) Lime Pie

Dye your teeth a lovely shade of indigo with a piece of Blueberry Crumb Pie

Don’t knock frozen fruit till you’ve tried it in Latticed Peach Raspberry Pie 

That’s all I’ve posted so far in terms of pie.. Sorry guys, this is is embarrassing. Know what goes great with pie? Cocktails. You’re welcome. Happy holiday!


seventy three

Latticed Peach Raspberry Pie

There are few things I find more satisfying than biting into a really good slice of pie. Tart fruit juice running down your face, flakey crust crumbling under the weight of your fork, it’s the best. Is making the perfect pie filling tricky? Yes. Is making the perfect crust even more so? Yes. But oh man, is it worth it. Here’s a (not very secret) secret: I’m a little bit lazy sometimes, I used to be a semi-homemade kinda pie gal. I’d buy a frozen crust and then make my own filling. A good homemade filling is usually enough to distract one from a mediocre crust, but it doesn’t let you forget. Even though the people eating my halfway homemade pie couldn’t tell, I aways knew. I had to stop. It’s now just worth it to make my own crust. Try this one and I promise you’ll get it. Now, in terms of the filling, there’s absolutely nothing better than fresh summer fruit in a pie, but how does one make a perfect pie in the dead of winter? There aren’t any good peaches in January! Or in November! Or April for that matter! I’ll let you in on another secret for my perfect peach pie all year round: frozen peaches. Now hold on, before you all scream and boo and hiss, frozen fruit has such a bad rap, it really bums me out. But it’s the real deal, and I swear by frozen peaches in pie. Unless of course you happen to grow consistently perfect peaches in your yard or something, then excuuuuuse me. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.

Pie (filling adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook, crust straight from the book, I’m not quite ready to mess around with such a delicate recipe)

Crust (makes a standard “double crust” recipe, so just cut this in half if you’re looking to make an open faced pie)

– 2/3 cup unsalted butter (I like to cut it into small pieces and then stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes)

– 6 tbsp. vegetable shortening (do the same thing as the butter with this ^)

– 2 2/3 cups flour

– 2 tbsp. sugar (optional)

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 8 tbsp. ice water

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Pulse 2 or 3 times to combine. Remove the butter and shortening pieces from the freezer and pulse 8-10 times until the mixture forms course crumbs (about the the size of large peas.)  Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time and pulse 10-12 times just until the dough just begins to come together. Transfer the dough to a work surface (I swear by the Silpat).  Split the dough in half and form each half into a 6-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour or up to overnight. Make the filling (see below). Here’s my method for rolling out a perfect pie crust: After the crust has chilled, remove one disk from the freezer and place on a piece of floured waxed paper on top of a work surface. Flour the top of the crust disk. Place another piece of waxed paper on top of that. Moving from the center out, rotating often, roll out your crust to fit a 9-inch baking dish, making sure to lift the waxed paper from the dough and flip it over every few rolls (crust should be about 1/4-1/8″ thick). Place in pie pan. To make the lattice pieces, roll out the second pie crust using the same method described above, but this time try to keep it in a rectangular shape. Cut the crust into ten 3/4″-1″ strips. Place in refrigerator while you assemble the pie.


– 2 16-oz. bags frozen peaches, fully thawed

– 3 cups fresh raspberries (you can use frozen here too, but keep in mind that the berries get a little too squishy post-baking, so don’t thaw them before baking)

– 2 tbsp. lemon juice

– 2 tbsp. cornstarch

– 2/3 cup granulated sugar

– pinch of salt

– 1 tbsp. flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine all ingredients except for the flour in a large bowl. Sprinkle the flour onto the base of the pie crust, then pour in the fruit mixture.


– one egg

– 1 tbsp. granulated sugar

To make the lattice top: Place five of the strips evenly spaced vertically around the pie. Fold every other strip over itself. Going from the center out, place another strip onto the pie horizontally. Fold the first strips back into their original position over the new horizontal piece. Then fold the strips you didn’t use the first time over themselves and add another horizontal strip. Continue until all strips have been used. Right about now I bet you’re saying “Whaaaaaaaaat???!”, so here’s a handy illustration from Show Me Now, a freaking incredible site/book/app, to help because I was dumb and didn’t photograph my latticing


Once you’ve latticed the pie to your liking (I tend to redo mine about 57 times), whisk up your egg and brush it onto the crust, then top the whole thing off with a sprinkling of sugar. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for about 25 minutes more, until the crust is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Keep an eye on the edges, they’ll get brown real quick, so get your hands on these bad boys (I have really great 4 inch ones, which work for all sized pies, but I couldn’t find them on the internet, I’M SORRY EVERYONE).

Now enjoy your beautiful pie! It’s almost too pretty to eat!

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(Kinda Key) Lime Pie

I arrived home for spring break just in time for a little snowstorm (yay….?). But honestly, being snowed in has never been something I mind, ’cause I can play in the kitchen for hours without anyone telling me to ride a bike, soak up the sun, go running, anything-that-does-not-in-fact-sound-like-fun-when-it-is-thirty-something-degrees-out. Why do people like the darn outdoors so much in the winter? When did passing time in a warm kitchen become passé?! I don’t KNOW. But I apparently get very passionate about this!

Anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying I’ve been doing a lot of baking this week! I rang in the first days of spring (even though it was 36 degrees out, I ❤ NJ) with a very springy looking pie: lime! It’s one of my favorites. Not only in its infinite deliciousness, but also in its color; not green, not yellow, a pastel shade somewhere in between the two. I’ve re-named the color Retro Refrigerator. What do we think, appropriate? I’ve always wanted a job naming paint colors. Maybe this is how I’ll start! Regardless of any future careers in color naming, I should probably just tell you a quick history and the recipe so we can all go on with our lives….Key Lime pie gets its name from the tiny limes that grow in the Florida Keys, and it got started in the late 19th century in that area. It became pretty famous in the very retro year of 1965, when Florida State Representative Bernie Papy, Jr., introduced legislation calling for a $100 fine against anyone advertising “Key lime pie” not made with real Key limes. The bill did not pass. Bummer for Bernie. I thought I’d be true to his cause by calling my lime pie a Kinda Key, because I did not in fact use the Florida limes. Sorry guys. It was still delish. And here comes the recipe!

Pie (recipe from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking Cookbook)

Graham Cracker Crust

– Crumbs made from 9 graham crackers (about 1 1/4 cups)

– 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

– 5 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large food processor, crunch the crackers until they are crumbs (no need to make them into graham cracker flour). Add the butter and sugar, pulse a few times and dump into a 9-inch glass pie pan. Using your fingers press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then leave out to cool. Leave the oven on.


– 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

– 4 egg yolks

– a little over 1/2 cup lime juice (about 5 full limes)

Whisk the egg yolks and the milk together, then whisk in the lime juice until completely combined and a bit thick. Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely then move to refrigerator and chill for about 8 hours.

Whipped Cream (topping)

– 3/4 cup cold heavy cream

– 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 tbsp. granulated sugar

Whip cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla and sugar. Pour over top of pie and garnish with a little lime zest. Doesn’t it taste like spring?

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Blueberry Crumb Pie
This recipe is a combination of a simple berry pie from Mom ‘N’ Pops Apple Pie Cookbook, a 1950s gospel, and the bluberry cumble pie from my current Bible, the Willams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking. That was a religious sounding sentence. Was it because I drove past a church on my way to work this morning? Was it because “Foodity/Foodism/Foodlam” is my chosen religion? I don’t know. I believe this is what folks tend to call a large-scale digression. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  While blueberry pie was obviously not invented in the 50s or 60s, the Mom ‘N’ Pop cookbook is, and that’s good enough for me today!

(Officially I made this a couple days ago for my mother’s birthday, but shhhhh)


– 1 partially prebaked 9 or 10″ pie crust, see post eleven for a recipe

– 3/4 cup plus 5 tbsp all-purpose flour

– 2/3 cup light brown sugar

– 1/3 cup granulated sugar

– 2 tsp cinnamon

– sprinkle of salt

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into small pieces

– 2 pints bluberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Stir together 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and the salt. Add butter pieces and using a pastry cutter or your fingers blend until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. In another bowl combine blueberries, remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, and 4 tbsp of the flour. Gently stir to coat berries. Sprinkle last tbsp of flour on the bottom of the crust, then add blueberry mixture. Pour brown sugar mixture over the top, then bake for 50 minutes. Serve immediately with inordinately large scoops of vanilla ice cream!



Lemon Chess Pie

I found and adapted this recipe from the now closed Charl-Mont Restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was originally printed in the late 1950s and has the same bright yellow color I usually associate with retro refrigerators. Now, if you’ve never heard of a chess pie, you are missing out. The recipe for this Southern dessert was originally brought over from England and landed in Virginia. And no, sorry to report that the pie does not look like a chess board or involve bishops or knights in the preparation. Some say it has to do with the piece of furniture that pies were placed in to cool and for storage, called a pie “chest”. Others say that because the recipe is so simple it was called “just” pie, and with English speakers being who we are, morphed the word into the much less strenuous to say “chess” over the years. But perhaps the first person to make it back in old-timey England was in fact playing chess and accidentally dropped a pawn into their freshly baked pie? Well, rats! I guess we’ll never know.


– 1 3/4 cups sugar

– 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

– 1 tbsp cornmeal

– 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

– 1/4 cup milk

– 4 eggs

– 2 tbsp grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon’s worth)

– 1 lemon, juiced

– 1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust (pre-made is perfectly fine, but i’ll include an easy recipe for one following this)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Zest, then juice the lemon and set aside. Combine sugar, flour, and cornmeal. Beat in eggs, then add milk, zest, juice, and butter. Beat well. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust, then place in oven for 35 minutes with foil covering the exposed edges of crust. Remove foil, then bake for another 5-10 minutes. If you so choose, smother in whipped cream and dig in!

Quick Crust

– 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

– 1/4 cup cold water

Combine flour and salt in  a bowl. Add butter pieces and using a pastry cutter or your hands combine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water by the teaspoon until the dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill overnight, or at least 4 hours. Roll out into a 9 inch circle and press into pie pan.