Friday, April 11, 2008

The Runner Up....

So, I admit, I'm going to brag just a tiny little bit. I was a runner-up in the Idaho Statesman's Culinary Walk-About pie contest. The Culinary Walk-About is a charity event sponsored to raise money for Meals-on-Wheels, and it was sold out tonight! By the way, I can't wait to try the winning recipe: Pear, Gruyere Cheese and Toasted Walnut Pie, which was made for all those lucky philanthropists at the Culinary Walk-About. Congrats, Trisha!

This picture isn't the greatest I know. I served it at a dinner party, and I didn't have the time to play around with lighting. And, just in case you missed the recipe, here it is:

Dark Chocolate Custard Pie with Hazelnut Crust and Strawberry-Balsamic Sauce

For the Crust:

1 2/3 cup All Purpose Flour
2/3 cup cold butter
1 cup finely ground hazelnuts
4 to 6 T. ice water

Mix flour, butter, and hazelnuts until crumbly. Gradually mix in ice water, a tablespoon at a time until a soft dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the Filling:
2 ½ cups half and half
5 ½ ounces dark baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup cocoa
¾ cup sugar
2 egg yolks (whites reserved)
1 egg

Combine half and half, chocolate, and cocoa in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over medium heat until chocolate is melted. Do not allow to come to a boil.

Meanwhile, beat sugar, egg yolks, and egg together in a separate, heat proof bowl. Gradually, pour a small amount of the half and half/chocolate mixture into the egg/sugar mixture beating well. Continue until both half and half/chocolate mixture is completely incorporated. Set aside.

Pie Assembly:
Roll out about 2/3 of the pie dough and form into a 9 in pie pan. Reserve extra dough. Brush inside of crust with the reserved egg whites. (There will still be a lot of egg white leftover). Pour chocolate filling into shell and bake for 30 minutes or until a butter knife stuck in center of pie comes out clean. If the crust edges brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate before serving.

For Garnish:
reserved pie dough
2 T. brown sugar (approximately)
1 ½ t. cinnamon (approximately)

Pastry Rosette Garnish:
While pie is baking, roll out remaining pie dough, as if to make mini cinnamon rolls. Sprinkle rolled-out dough round liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon. Starting with the narrow end, roll up. Cut into slices about a ½ inch thick. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. Slightly pinch base of each pastry to form rose shape. Bake along with the pie for about 12-15 minutes or until slightly brown on bottom.

For Strawberry-Balsamic Sauce:
8 T. strawberry jelly (not preserves)
4 t. balsamic vinegar
2 cups finely-sliced, fresh strawberries

Combine jelly and vinegar in small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring often until slightly reduced. Add strawberries, and cook until thoroughly heated. Sauce may be served immediately or refrigerated and served chilled.

To serve, slice and plate pie. Place pastry rosette next to pie. Spoon sauce over slice. Garnish with more fresh strawberries if desired. 8 Servings.

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