Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Warning! This makes a massive pie (which isn’t necessarily bad). Peanut butter and chocolate must be one of the best combinations ever discovered! I recently did them in two ounce plastic dessert tumblers which worked beautiful.

3 cups chocolate cookies crumbs (or grahams with sugar and cocoa)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese
2 cups sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Chocolate Ganache Topping:
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
peanuts, toasted

For crust: mix chocolate cookie crumbs with melted butter, pat into greased 9-inch tart pan with 2-inch sides and a removable bottom, patting 2 inches up the sides.  Freeze.
For peanut butter pie: mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer till sugar is dissolved.  Add peanut butter, mix well. Add butter, mix well.
Whip 2 cups heavy cream to medium stiff peaks.  Fold into peanut butter mixture.  Spread into pie crust. Chill for at least 4 hours
For chocolate ganache: bring cream to boil.  Add chocolate and stir till smooth.  Add vanilla.   Chill till cool.
Spread chocolate ganache over peanut butter mixture.  Pat toasted peanuts around edge.  Chill.


Spinach Pie (or Spanakopita)

This delicious recipe makes me drool just thinking about it. Layering several sheets of pastry and then doing the “Flag fold” around the filling makes little pockets which are great as appetizers.

2 cups onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 10 oz packages frozen spinach, thawed, rinsed and squeezed
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon oil
6 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the real stuff, not the powdery stuff), grated
3/8 cup seasoned bread crumbs, best if made from croutons (if regular bread crumbs are used, add salt and pepper)
1 pound feta cheese (can try other cheeses as well or use a blend of different cheeses), crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, pecans or pine nuts, chopped in medium pieces, optional
1/2 cup butter
1/2 or more package phyllo dough, thawed, opened, laid flat, covered with a damp towel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Warm a skillet.  Add 1 teaspoon butter and oil.  When melted, add onions and garlic and cook them till slightly browned.  Remove from heat.
Put eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in spinach.  Add feta, Parmesan, nuts, nutmeg and bread crumbs.  Add onions and garlic.  Mix well.
Brush each sheet of phyllo with melted butter as you layer them on the bottom of pie plate.   Use six sheets of phyllo, leaving some overlapping edge and shifting each piece to overlap a different section of the pie plate.
Put spinach mixture in the dish and mound it evenly.
Layer six more sheets of phyllo on, buttering, layering and shifting  each as you go.  Roll the overlapped edges in to form a crust.  Brush edges with butter.
Bake for about  55 minutes or until the inside is set.
Let set 15-20 minutes before cutting.

Mini Apple Pies

The pictures were of the batch that actually didn’t work. We tried it twice, the first time we put crust up the sides, but ended up being too dry, way to much crust for filling. We made a different filling that was a little saucier and precooked and just put the crust on the bottom and top. This worked much better! 

2 1/3 cups (or 1 pound) shortening (Crisco)
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
enough water to make 3/4 cup combined with the lemon juice
1 egg
9 cups apples , peeled and sliced in 1/2 -1 inch lengthwise
4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup cornstarch
5 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients. Blend shortening into dry ingredients until coarse. Add beaten egg and liquid and combine till dough forms. You will have extra crust dough, but just freeze it for a later use.
Toss apples with lemon juice. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add apples and simmer until apples are tender about 6-8 minutes.
Roll out pie crust and cut out circles just big enough to cover the base of the ramekins or muffin tins. Fill ramekins with cooled apple mixture. Lattice the top.
Bake till crust is golden and filling is bubbly.

Lemon Cream Cheese Pie

I love lemon and cream cheese is delicious with it.  It does need to meld and firm up for about 12 hours, so make the day ahead. 🙂

1 deep dish pie shell (9 inch), blind baked
lemon filling
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
yellow food coloring
1/2 cup lemon juice
cream cheese filling
11 ounces cream cheese , softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups whipped topping
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For lemon filling, combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt. stir in water until smooth.  Bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat; add remaining sugar.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat; stir in butter, lemon peel and food coloring.  Gently stir in lemon juice.  Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
For cream cheese, beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Fold in whipped topping and lemon juice.  Refrigerate 1/2 cup for garnish.
Spread remaining cream cheese mixture over cooled crust; top with lemon filling.  Refrigerate overnight.
Pipe stars onto pie with remaining cream cheese filling.

Pumpkin Pie

Nothing special here… Recipe right off the can! 🙂

2 unbaked pie shells (deep dish)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups (29 oz. can) pumpkin
3 cups (2 – 12 oz cans) evaporated milk

Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shells.  This will look watery.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce to 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until knife comes out clean.
You may need to cover edges with foil. Cool on a wire rack for 3 hours.  Serve or chill.  Do not freeze.
Serve with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

It may look like a funny combination, but it actually tastes delicious! It’s not as good as a good old-fashioned pumpkin pie, but it’s pretty close. 

1 9inch pie crust
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Streusal Topping:
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla and 1 slightly beaten egg with electric mixer on low to medium speed until smooth.  Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes (I didn’t).  Spoon into pie shell.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, the 2 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg.  Carefully pour over cream cheese mixture.
To prevent over-browning  cover edge of the pie with foil.  Bake in a 350 oven for 25 minutes.  Remove foil.  Bake for 25 minutes more.
Meanwhile, combine the pecans, flour, the 2 T brown sugar and butter.  Sprinkle over the pie.  Bake for 10-15 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 1 – 2 hours on a wire rack.  Refrigerate within 2 hours; cover for longer storage.

Caramel Apple Pie

Okay, I rarely feel like making pies, but a couple days ago I really wanted to make some. This was the first (out of four) pies I made. I love caramel and I love apple pie and it wasn’t too hard to make. I kept having everyone at home stealing my sugar/spice covered apples, so I should have thrown in a few extra and made it heaping with apples. I also think I would have used all Granny Smiths or another kind of apple besides Red Delicious. 

1 9 inch pie crust
7 cups Apples, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, or less
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup caramel sauce, at room temperature
3 tablespoons butter , melted
Caramel Sauce: 
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Streusel topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup caramel sauce, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Combine the pecans, sugars, cinnamon and cornstarch; add to apple mixture and toss to coat.
Combine butter and brown sugar for caramel sauce in a saucepan. Boil for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and vanilla and return to boil for a couple minutes. Cool.
Pour caramel sauce over bottom of pastry shell; add apple mixture (shell will be full).  Drizzle with melted butter.
In a small bowl, combine flour, pecans and sugar.  Cut in butter.  Sprinkle over filling.
Bake for 55-65 minutes or until done.  Drizzle immediately with caramel sauce.