Forget my baking ban. Here are the gorgeous biscotti, which I’m pretty excited about. It’s originally a recipe from Giada deLaurentis, who is the Food Network star with the highest breast-to-body ratio. She makes up for this by having the highest head-to-body ratio as well, making me almost certain that she’s a successful example of a C-section baby. Her mouth is like a modern day Jonah and the Whale, large enough to swallow a raft with a biblical man floating on it. Just huge. But her biscotti looked all kinds of hot, so I decided to give it a whirl. They’re lemon-almond biscotti with a white chocolate dip. I twisted it a little by adding in chunks of that homemade candied lemon peel from last week’s tart. I changed the chocolate up by adding a touch of almond extract to the melting chunks. This was a stupid thing to do, as I had forgotten that introducing a small amount of liquid to chocolate makes it seize up like a virgin at a frat party. So it became completely unworkable, and the only way to fix it is by adding more liquid, so I added cream until it would melt smoothly. The flavor is excellent, but it’ll always be a slightly soft shell, rather than a hard, shiny coating of chocolate. I’m dumb sometimes. It’s because I didn’t bake yesterday. I am punish-ed.
I’ll make up for it, though, in my next venture. You see, we were watching this new Food Network show called “Ask Aida,” and the girl made this pie crust that was a train wreck. She had cracks all over the place, and some holes in the dough that had Chris in quite a state. He kept saying things like “There are HOLES in that crust, Aida. I can SEE them. You put the cherries in that and they will fall out. They’ll fall RIGHT OUT.” Then he had to hide his eyes. I joined in the smack talk, but then realized that I was being a hypocrite in the way that only televangelists are typically hypocrites (no, not sex scandals, I just meant extreme hypocrisy). I’ve never in all my days made a pie crust from scratch. I know. For shame. So I’m going to attempt one right now and stick all the random berries and peaches that are crowding my crisper drawers in it to make some kind of pie for Chris to unload on his fellow…fellows. If I can do better than Aida, and only if, then I will be justified in calling her a whore. If not, then I guess it’s just Maria Menounos. I might have to write a strongly-worded letter.
Shit. I don’t own a pie plate. I know I used to, but I can’t find it anywhere, and I’ve got a lot of pie-related activity happening in the kitchen. Chris, confirming that he is actually a saint, has cheerfully volunteered to go out and pick a couple of them up while I keep an eye on the stove. This involved leaving a very involved game of Call of Duty 4, leaving the Russians to fend for themselves, and I understand the sacrifice involved in that. He is the most amazing person ever. And I am a pastry-loser for not noticing my lack of a pie plate over the course of two solid years. Ugh. I would have just borrowed one from the little old lady next door, but I know she’d treat me with pity and a touch of contempt for not having my own, and I can’t handle that. I’d ask the nuns who live across the street, but my guess is that pie is a sin. On account of it tasting so nice, and all.
–Back to waiting–
Dude. I own Aida Mollenkamp. I made a whole SLEW of pie crusty things. I’ve got a peach/strawberry/blueberry pie with a sweet crust. The berry filling is oozing out the top and it looks positively gorgeous. It’s gotta cool before it can be cut, but I’ve got a good feeling about it. I dusted the leftover pie scraps with cinnamon and sugar and baked them off. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I probably will anyway, because I am a genius for doing this. These are so EASY and so tasty. Not too sweet, either, which Chris liked.
My baby sister has wanted a challenge on something she can make at home. This is a good start because they are right up mom’s alley. She’d eat these with her coffee, no question. Just get some Pillsbury pie crusts (I’m sorry, young grasshopper, I don’t think you’re ready for homemade pie crusts just yet) and cut them into strips and then squares. Brush the tops with a little bit of unsalted melted butter (just a touch). Then sprinkle lots of cinnamon and sugar on top and bake in a 400 F oven until they just baaaaarely start to get tanned around the edges and crisp on top. It doesn’t take very long. If you overcook them, they don’t have enough sugar in them to taste good and caramelized. If you undercook them, they’ll be doughy in the middle and not tasty. So get it right, take a picture, and send me a review. I’ll be waiting!
While I was making the berry pie, Chris wandered into the kitchen for either a beer or another latte (I wasn’t paying attention) and started just naming pies. “Coconut pie, cherry pie, chocolate pie, chicken pie…” I raised an eyebrow and asked, “chicken pie?” Turns out he meant pot pie, and when I told him I could make them he got all bouncy and excited. Thus the birth of the second pie crust–savory. This pie crust had no sugar, but I put in a bunch of cracked black pepper instead. I made the chicken filling with caramelized onions and peas and carrots just cooked until they’re still a touch of crisp inside. Mmmmmm. I had a tupperware of homemade stock in the freezer, and some fat-free half and half in the fridge, making a thick sauce.
The leftover scraps for this make another great treat! Crackers! I just rolled them, cut them into circles, brushed them with butter, some salt, and some thinly grated parmesan cheese and baked them until cooked through. Again, this could be done with the Pillsbury stuff, just put the black pepper on top with the salt and cheese. I’d also recommend poking an “X” with a fork into each round cracker (or square, if you don’t have a teensy biscuit cutter) so that they don’t puff too much. Easy, tasty, and avoids wasting things.
So, in conclusion, Aida is a whore. My pie crusts are better, I found creative uses for the scraps, and I did them all in less time than it took her. Mine didn’t have any cracks in the bottom, only in the top where I put vents. Chris would be pleased to know that there’s no way for cherries to run out into the bottom of the pan. Phew! Now I’m tired, but happy. So much for a no-bake weekend. I’m so weak-willed. Show me flour, butter, and sugar in any combination and I’m taken hook, line, and sinker.