Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pi Squared!

'Tis the season. The season for pies. I like pies. I mean, the same way I like hamburgers. They're good. But I don't usually seek out pie, unless it's maybe Key Lime pie. Or cheesecake. (Is that a pie?)

I can't remember making much pie, ever... although I've made a few quiches. And I did make a sweet potato pie once that was surprisingly delicious, and which I made mostly because James thought it'd be a funny thing to do to torment his brother, who really likes sweet potato pies.

However, James had a pecan pie "contest" at work, and since I don't like pecan pie at all but have had a recipe a friend of mine found and made several years ago, I was eager to give this recipe a try: Beezer's Bourbon Bacon Pecan Pie.

You can see the recipe at the link, but here are a couple of highlights:

There is literally as much bacon as pecans.
The only difference was that James had this whiskey he wanted to use. FYI, all bourbon is whiskey. But not all whiskey is bourbon. Anyway, we used this stuff.

The pie turned out marginally attractive, but amazingly rich and tasty. This was a surprise to me, because, as I mentioned, I'm not a pecan pie fan.

I blind baked the crust and even added an egg wash at the end to keep the filling from leaking through. When the crust was empty, it was loose in the pan, having shrunk just a bit even though I'd put weights in it. However, once the filling was baked in, the crust glued itself to the bottom of the pie pan. I think that if I made this pie again, I'd line the pie pan with parchment.

For taste alone, though, I highly recommend the recipe.


The cherry pie didn't have to be pretty at all. That's why I didn't worry much about the crust edges. The reason that tin *is* lined with foil is because I needed to be able to take the entire pie out and move it...

...Into here.
Yes. It's true. This is the Cherry Bomb, a recipe from a site that warrants a second look or third, the concept being that this dude made a pie every week for a year. There are some fun ones, and this is another that was found by the same friend. I never need to look at the internets for pies myself! I'll just keep stealing these.


So, basically, you lightly bake a layer of the cake and then you put the cherry pie on top of it.


Then you cover the pie with the rest of the batter.

Bake it, and you end up with a cake that doesn't even wink to the presence of a pie inside it.

A very simple, soft-hardening icing (softer than straight chocolate chips, harder than a ganache, still pliable when cold, but not runny), which I just used on the top instead of icing the whole cake (a move I will explain shortly), and here was the finished product.


This is a cross-section of the cake.



Delicious!

This cake/pie "(or "pake," may "Drop Dead Diva" rest in peace) was a bit challenging, and I think that if I make it again - and I likely will make it again - here are some things I will bear in mind and/or change. Consider this a complement to the recipe.

1) If you have a 9-inch Springform pan, you're going to need an 8-inch pie pan. Fortunately, I had a left-over tin from Marie Callendar's, which was perfect. Otherwise, you need a much bigger Springform pan. The diameter of the pie has to be quite a bit smaller than the cake. How close this was made me nervous. I was very afraid that after I pulled off the Springform side, that cherry pie filling was going to ooze out. It did not. But I want more of a margin of error.

2) The cook times in the recipe are a LOT faster than my experience. It says to bake the bottom layer "5 to 10 minutes." Mine was still liquid at that point. You can tell it's still very raw when I did remove it from the oven, which was at about 20 minutes. Fortunately, the sides were solid enough, and the pie slid down into the goo, which made some room for it.

3) I would use 2 crusts for the pie. I thought about blind baking one crust, then blind baking a second on top of that for structural support. The pie basically flopped open once I depanned it, and I was fortunate to have it sploop into the chocolate batter as well as it did. It was literally falling apart. The two bottom crusts was my first idea, but on second thought, after baking the cake, I decided something different. Which I'll tell you in #5.

4) The baking of the cake is supposed to take "40 to 50 minutes" after you top the pie off with more chocolate batter. I cooked mine for at least an hour and a half, and it was still a little jiggly on top, but the edges were drying out so much and it was smelling so done that I was afraid that it would burn.

This applies both to 4) AND 5)...

After the cake sat in the refrigerator for several hours, I found that this had happened.


It's possible that the cake was undercooked and fell, but there wasn't any chocolate goo under the sinkhole; it was cherry pie. However, this is why there wasn't enough frosting for the sides. I had to use it as Spackle. It looked beautiful and made the cake decadent, plus being able to see the sides of the cake was kind of fun, since I knew there was pie in there but you couldn't tell from looking.

So.

5) I'd actually made the second crust on top, and be sure to seal the two crusts together very well. This would help both with the structure of the pie in moving it, and hopefully offer some support for the cake on top of it. As you can see from the cross-section of the pie, the crust almost melts into the pie, anyway, so I think it'd work.

That's it! It was still delicious and pretty enough. I was just very nervous about it.

Now go make some pie!

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