Pumpkin-Caramel Tart

Pumpkin Caramel Tart

All too often we forget about the “assist.” I won’t even go into how this applies at work – that would be a white paper, not a one page blog post.  But I am talking about at home – particularly around the holidays.  Last year stress was at an all-time high.  We had two major events we were planning, one of them taking us away for almost 3 months – and work was its normal state of chaos.  The holidays were just a blur – and I remember vowing that I would never try to cram everything in ever again.  I remember having to explain to my daughters why we would not have time to make the holiday treats – they were crushed.  There was just too much going on, and it wasn’t until I was on an airplane flying far, far away, that I was able to take a breath.

This year my older daughter decided to take matters into her own hands.  A few weeks ago she sat me down to talk about our “holiday strategy” this year.  I loved it.  She wanted to help plan out everything we wanted to do, so we would have time to get that holiday baking in, and we would not be stressed.  We decided on a plan of attack, and the execution has been flawless.  We are already so far ahead of where we were last year – it is amazing.  All it took was a little planning, and some help.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you work together.

Thanksgiving was a quiet day for us – this was the first year ever that it was just the 4 of us. We decided that for dessert we would get together with our friends from the street – fortunately there were enough of us that we got to do a lot of baking, which meant experimenting in the kitchen.  Every once in a while a recipe comes along that really knocks my socks off.  This is one of those recipes.  It wasn’t until after I took a bite of this tart that I decided it MUST go into the blog – for nothing else than to document the fact that this was a home run winning recipe.  After all, that’s what this blog was intended to be – a way to document recipes for years to come.  I definitely adapted this one, but Bon Appetit deserves the credit here – thanks for yet another assist – I couldn’t have done it without you!



  • cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Filling and Assembly

  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • Whipped cream (for serving)

Special Equipment

  • A 9-inch springform pan


In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar; add butter and blend well. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack before filling.

Bring cream of tartar, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, swirling pan occasionally (do not stir), until caramel is a deep amber color, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisking constantly, carefully add cream (mixture will be extremely hot and will bubble vigorously); whisk until smooth. Let caramel cool slightly in pot.

Whisk pumpkin purée, brown sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add caramel and eggs, whisking until well blended. Scrape filling into prepared crust.

Bake tart, rotating halfway through, until filling is set around edges and center barely jiggles, 30–35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan.

Serve with whipped cream.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Pumpkin-Caramel Tart

Samoas Ice Cream Pie

Somoas Ice-Cream Pie

Yes, it is that time again – not just Super Bowl time, but GIRL SCOUT COOKIE TIME!!!  How can you resist those beautiful colored boxes filled with deliciousness, and sold by girls who are learning to be leaders. Last year I decided to skip the Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, I was just too busy, and I couldn’t fit it in.  This year I am even busier, but when I saw the email that they were going to be celebrating the 40th Birthday of the Samoas Cookie, I just had to make time.  That combination of chocolate, caramel, coconut and shortbread is a winner…and just happens to be my favorite cookie.

The Girl Scouts are an amazing organization.  Their mission is building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place, by helping them discover their inner strength, passions, and talents. Working at a company that is predominantly male has really taught me how important it is for women to be heard – and without that confidence and courage, it can be difficult.  Fortunately this organization is teaching girls at a young age how important it is, so when they grow up and are in the workplace, they won’t even have to think about it.  They will hold their head high, proud of what they are able to accomplish.

As in the past, if I win the grand prize, I would like to donate the money to a charity – and I am going to ask you – my readers – to choose the charity.  That’s right – so stayed tuned for more on that – no sense in giving more details if I am not a finalist.  This competition is stiff – I know from experience – so let’s hope that I can at least make it as a finalist this year.

So why did I choose this pie?  Well, I had a lot of different ideas, but ice-cream just kept coming back to me.  I think it’s because I have secretly always wanted to make Samoas ice-cream.  And oh boy is it amazing.  Although the crust on this pie really was the kicker – once I took those cookies and put them into the food processor – I knew they would make an unbelievable crust – and I was right.  So not only do you have a cookie bottom, you have cookies in the ice-cream as well, and then with some of my grandmother’s chocolate sauce, and a caramel sauce that was easy as pie to make – you have an ice-cream pie that is absolutely over the top.  If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, you can definitely just buy some vanilla ice-cream, and fold in the coarsely chopped cookies, before adding it to the pie.  Darigold was nice enough to put in some coupons with the cookies, so I decided to go home-made.  YUM.

If after reading this post, you are ready to go get yourself some cookies – don’t fret – you can find the cookies here!  Unfortunately you will have to wait a little bit, as the cookie sales happen from February 27 – March 15 – but it will be here before you know it.  Happy Birthday Samoas!!



  • 1 1/2 boxes Samoas Cookies
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 box Samoas Cookies, coarsely chopped

fudge sauce

  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

caramel sauce

  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 stick Butter (4 Tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup Half-and-half Or Cream (cream Will Make It Thicker)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • Pinch Of Salt


Make the crust.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put the Samoas into the food processor and pulse until the cookies are finely ground.  Add to a bowl.  Melt the butter and pour over the cookie crumbs.  Mix well, so that the butter is evenly distributed.  Press the cookie mixture into a 9″ pie pan, and press up the sides of the pan evenly.  Bake for 8 minutes, and then cool completely.

Make the ice-cream.  Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream, milk, and vanilla and whisk to blend.  Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.  When the ice-cream is done, add the coarsely chopped Samoas and fold into the ice-cream.  Put into the freezer for at least 1 hour.

Make the fudge sauce.  Melt butter over medium heat.  Add unsweetened chocolate & melt, stirring. Add cocoa, sugar, and milk and stir well to combine. Boil a few minutes, stirring. Turn off the heat then add vanilla and salt. Stir to combine.  Heat GENTLY in microwave to soften & serve.

Make the caramel sauce. Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker. Turn off heat. If sauce is thin, just continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Put the pie together.  Add the ice-cream to the pie pan with the cooled crust – spreading evenly on top.  Soften the fudge sauce and caramel in the microwave, and drizzle on top of the pie.  Put back in the freezer until you are ready to serve.  Let the pie sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving so it is easier to cut.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Samoas Ice-Cream Pie

Samoas Ice-Cream Pie

Nan’s Fudge Sauce

Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate Sauce

Nothing says Happy New Year quite like a good cocktail, or a nice piece of ice cream cake.  At least that’s what we decided this year.  After a week off from work, and we still had New Year’s to look forward to, things were looking good.  We had ample time to really think hard about the dessert we would prepare.  Normally I put that kind of thought into the cocktails that I make, but this year things were a little different.  I really put together the cocktail list in a matter of minutes, but we spent hours going back and forth on the dessert.

The dessert was really created around a centerpiece, and that was my grandmother’s chocolate sauce.  My mother had made some when she was visiting, and we still had a lot left over.  This is not your ordinary chocolate sauce either – I seriously could eat it with a spoon, it is so perfectly balanced.  So, it was not crazy at all that we had to create a dessert in order to incorporate her sauce.  Ice cream was of course the first thing we thought of – but it was New Year’s Eve – a special celebration – it had to be outrageous.  I am not sure whose idea it was to create a brownie bottom, but we debated the brownie bottom vs. the chocolate chip cookie bottom for quite some time – at one point we even had both in the dessert – but we ended up settling for the brownie.  Then it was time to choose the ice cream.  Mint chocolate chip was the clear winner for a while, but I just couldn’t get past the fact that some people don’t like mint.  Also – I thought that the richness of the brownie needed some type of vanilla in the ice cream.

It wasn’t until we were at the store – after spending 15 minutes with multiple selections in our cart, that we ended up with chocolate chip cookie dough.  We added a little whipped cream on top, and then poured the chocolate sauce all over.  Wow. That is just about all I can say.  Here’s to a New Year filled with health, happiness, delicious food and creative cocktails.  What more could you want?



  • 3 19/50 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks, divided
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • half-gallon chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream
  • whipped cream


Preheat oven to 350°.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate and milk in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir in butter, vanilla, and eggs. Add milk mixture and 1/2 cup chocolate; stir to combine.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch square metal baking pan with a piece of parchment paper that over hangs on two of the sides – then butter the parchment. Bake at 350° for 19 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in the pan on a rack.

When brownies are completely cool, let the ice cream sit on the counter until it is slightly softened (so it is spreadable).  Spread the ice cream on top of the brownie in the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap, and put back in the freezer until frozen solid.

To make the fudge sauce, melt butter over medium heat.  Add unsweetened chocolate & melt, stirring. Add cocoa, sugar, and milk and stir well to combine. Boil a few minutes, stirring. Turn off the heat then add vanilla and salt. Stir to combine.  Keeps in refrigerator for a few weeks. Heat GENTLY in microwave to soften & serve.

When you are ready to serve, you can lift on the parchment paper and place the entire cake on a cutting board and cut into 16 squares.  Put some whipped cream on each piece, and top with warm chocolate sauce.  Enjoy!

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Nan’s Fudge Sauce

Dahlia Triple Coconut Cream Pie

Dahlia Lounge Coconut Cream Pie

I am definitely known for going a little too far – in pretty much every aspect of my life.  My husband has had to get used to it over the years, and now he just thinks it is funny.  His father and I have that in common – his motto in life is “If it is worth doing, it is worth over doing.”  I love it.

When we moved here, almost 18 years ago – I remember going downtown for a special dinner one night.  Tom Douglas was a Seattle icon, even back then, although he only had a couple of restaurants.  It is remarkable to me that I can still remember that dinner – particularly the dessert.  I remember seeing that Triple Coconut Cream Pie on the menu, and I had to get it.  I love coconut, and I have always had a little thing for cream pies.  This pie was over the top.  I wasn’t exactly sure why it was a triple coconut pie, but it didn’t matter – every bite had an overwhelmingly delicious coconut flavor.  That pie is now a Seattle icon – everyone knows about this famous pie, and for good reason.

Last year for my birthday, one of my very close friends surprised me with a very special gift – the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook – and of course the first recipe I turned to was this Triple Coconut Cream Pie.  I knew that I would make it eventually, but I had to wait for the right occasion.  A month of so ago another good friend asked if I would make a dessert for her daughter’s school auction.  It is our neighborhood school – that my kids also attended – so I quickly snatched up the opportunity.  She was the one that suggested this pie, and even though I looked to see if there was anything else I thought could be more special – I couldn’t come up with anything.  How could anything top this?

Well – unfortunately I didn’t get to eat it in it’s entirety – but I did take tastes along the way – just to make sure it was edible for the auction…  And yes, it was definitely edible – and again, over the top.  It is sweet as all can be, so be prepared, but it is completely worth it.  Sometimes you just have to go too far – and when it is allowed, there is no holding back.  I hope that whoever ends up with this pie enjoys it as much as I did making it!


Coconut pastry crust:
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced thin and chilled
  • 1/3 cup ice water
Coconut pastry cream:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (I used full-fat)
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Whipped cream topping:
  • 2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened large-flake coconut or 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • Chunk of good white chocolate to make 2 ounces of white chocolate curls


Coconut pastry crust

In a food processor, combine flour, coconut, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and pulse until butter and flour are combined and mixture resembles small peas.Slowly pour in ice water through the feed tube. Stop when dough is beginning to come together. Dough should hold together when you squeeze it, but should not be sticky. You may not need to use all of the water. Shape dough into a disk and chill at least 1 hour. When you’re ready to roll, roll out dough on a well-floured surface into a 12- to 13-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim overhang to 1 inch, then fold onto rim and flute with fingers and thumb. Chill unbaked pie shell at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line shell with parchment paper and pie weights (beans or coins.)  Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes until rim is golden. Remove shell from oven. Remove parchment and weights, and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes until bottom is golden-brown in spots.

Coconut pastry cream

In a heavy bottomed pot, combine milk, coconut milk, coconut shreds and vanilla bean seeds. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and flour until smooth and combined. Bring milk to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and whisk 1/3 cup of the mixture into the mixing bowl with the eggs to temper them. Pour egg mixture slowly into milk, whisking constantly. Return to a bubble and let simmer 5 minutes until very thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Put plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream and chill.

Whipped cream topping

Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until firm enough that peaks hold their shape.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and gently toast coconut until edges are golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully and stir a few times. Use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls. When crust is cooled, fill with coconut pastry cream and smooth the top. Either pipe or decoratively spoon whipped cream topping on top, then garnish with toasted coconut flakes and white chocolate curls.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Dahlia Triple Coconut Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie 2

My younger daughter is a super-smeller, like me.  We have a ridiculous sense of smell.  Now I am not sure I am a super-taster, but I swear she is probably the closest thing to a super-taster that I know.  This comes in handy when things spoil – particularly milk.  My older daughter is pretty good too, but not as good as her little sister.  Years ago we were visiting some friends – both of my kids love milk – but for some reason they just weren’t drinking their milk.  After the second day, I asked what was going on – and they quietly told me that the milk tasted funny.  They thought it was because we were not at home, and maybe our friends bought a different type of milk.  I tasted it – and there it was – the milk had gone sour.  Oops.

Yesterday was a nice day – it was a holiday, and I was fasting – but what do I do when I fast?  I bake.  My excuse was that we were having some friends come over for dessert after break-the-fast.  Truthfully, I have a much easier time fasting when I am in the kitchen.  Don’t ask me why – and since I do consider my kitchen to be my place of worship – I thought it was only fitting.  I had a great day reflecting, as I slowly made this Banana Cream Pie – a recipe that I found in Bon Appetit.  The only problem with baking while fasting, is I am not able to try things along the way.  At one point I asked my older daughter (who is not old enough yet to fast) to try the filling – just to make sure we were on the right track – and boy did she love it.

It was right before dinner when I decided to make the whipped cream topping for the pie.  I whipped up the cream, and spread it on the pie.  It looked amazing.  It looked so good that I decided to take pictures before the sun came down.  I got a few good shots and then stuck it back in the refrigerator to keep cool.  At this point I was knee-deep into preparing dinner, and I just left the bowl on the counter with a few streaks of whipped cream waiting for someone to take a lick.  I finished making dinner when my husband declared fasting was over. I went right over to that bowl with the whipped cream and scooped up a little of the leftover cream – wow, that was not good.  I tried it again, boy that tasted horrible – I ran over the refrigerator and grabbed the leftover cream in the carton and took a whiff…oh my goodness, the cream I had purchased that day (with an expiration date of October 20th) was completely rancid.  I couldn’t believe it.

I sat there for a second not knowing what to do.  I certainly couldn’t let this pie go to waste – but we couldn’t eat the cream either.  So, after dinner – my husband ran out to the store to get me another carton of cream (I instructed him to open it in the store to make sure it was good), and I scraped the cream off the top of the pie into the sink.  Banana Cream Pie – take 2.  Fortunately the next batch of whipped cream was delicious – and I spread it on top of the pie.  Amazingly it was all completed before our friends arrived.  The pie was delicious – particularly with that sweet cream on top.  The filling though was perfect – nice and creamy with chunks of banana.  Oh, and everyone loved the thin layer of chocolate between the crust and the filling.

There are lots of things I plan on doing differently this year, as always – but there was one thing I added later in the day.  From now on, I am always going to smell what is in that carton before doing anything more with it – whether it is fresh off the shelf or has been sitting in the refrigerator for weeks.  I definitely learned my lesson there.


  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Prebaked 9″ pie crust
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 sliced bananas
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons vanilla  extract


Melt 2 ounces bittersweet  chocolate with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and brush over a prebaked 9″ pie crust;  chill until set. Meanwhile, whisk 3 large egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 3  tablespoons cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan, off heat,  until smooth. Gradually whisk in 2 cups whole milk. Whisking constantly, bring  to a full boil over medium heat and boil until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove  from heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla  extract. Fold in 3 sliced bananas and let cool slightly. Pour filling into  prepared pie crust, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 3  hours and up to 1 day. Beat 1 cup chilled heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar  and 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract until firm peaks form; spoon over pie and  swirl decoratively.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Banana Cream Pie

Mile-High Chocolate Pie

I basically broke all of the rules today.  There were so many, I am not sure where to start.  I am going to let you in on a few secrets…and I hope you don’t think poorly of me.  First of all, it was the end of Thanksgiving weekend – and tonight my daughter had her book club.  I really procrastinated badly with this month’s book – I started it last night at 8:30pm.  Good thing it was a quick read – and a really good book – so luckily I finished it easily.  I signed up to bring dessert – not really remembering that it was Thanksgiving weekend, but I knew I could rally.

This morning, I took out some recipes, and gave my daughter 4 options which to choose from.  She narrowed it down to two, then I chose the winner – a Mile-High Chocolate Pie.  The picture in Bon Appetit said it all – it looked amazing.  I read through the recipe, and realized it had to chill for 4 hours, so I could not do my usual and procrastinate baking – I had to get to work.  I decided to make my life just a little simpler – and buy a prepared pie crust (rule #1).  The last time I did that I swore I would never do it again.  And after that amazing pie crust on made on Thanksgiving – I was really surprised by this decision – but it was a desperate situation.  It was 11am, and we still hadn’t gone to the supermarket for the ingredients.  I decided to buy a different prepared crust at Whole Foods – and when I went to check out – I saw the checker looking strangely at the crust.  I told her that usually I make my own, but we were in a bit of a time crunch today, so I went with a prepared crust.  She was awesome – she told me she wouldn’t charge me for it – just in case it didn’t work out.  Wow.

We started baking at about 1:30pm – not too bad, but yes, cutting it very close.  In order to cut corners again, I decided to go with semi-sweet chocolate chips, instead of using good chocolate and chopping it up (rule #2).  Bad decision.  The melted chocolate was a mess, and it never actually melted, it just got gritty  – I had to throw it away and go with the good chocolate.  Much better – so please, use good chocolate if you make this – it makes all the difference.  Also – the egg white mixture never really tripled in size – but that made no difference what-so-ever.  There was so much filling, this would have been called a Fourteener Chocolate Pie, had I not decided to stop mounding (rule #3), and fill some ramekins with the extra chocolate mixture.

The pie came out perfect – it looked beautiful, it had just enough time to chill – and it tasted amazing.  In fact – it was so good – that I couldn’t wait to post it (rule #4).  Normally I cannot get my act together to bake, photograph, write and post – all in the same day.  In fact – the Spinach Puffs post was the first time I had done that in months – maybe even years – and it was because I took the day off from work.  For those of you that actually think I can come home from working 10 hours in the office, cook a delicious meal for my family – take pictures and then write something about what I made – all in the same day – that is crazy talk.  I really would be superwoman.  But today – I did it – I had to, I couldn’t wait to share this pie – good thing it was a Sunday after having 4 other days off.  So yes, I broke a lot of rules today – but I think these types of rules are meant to be broken.  Now excuse me while I run to the kitchen and have another bite of pie – yes, I can do that when I post the same day I bake…


  • 1  pie crust, home made or store-bought
  • 4  large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 71% cacao), chopped, plus more shaved with a vegetable peeler for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed chocolate wafer cookies (such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers), divided
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350°. Line pie dish with crust; crimp edges  decoratively. Fully bake pie crust according to instructions in recipe or on  box. Let cool completely.

Whisk egg whites and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl set over  a medium saucepan of simmering water until sugar dissolves and egg whites are  warm but not hot, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat. Using an electric mixer, beat  on medium-high speed until cool, tripled in volume, and stiff peaks form (the  tips of the peaks won’t fall over when beaters are lifted from bowl and turned  upright), about 6 minutes.

Stir chopped chocolate and butter in a large bowl set over  same saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth, 4–5 minutes; set  aside.

Beat 2 cups cream in another medium bowl until medium peaks  form (cream should be soft and pillowy), 5-6 minutes.

Gently fold egg whites into warm chocolate mixture until fully  incorporated (work quickly to prevent chocolate from turning gritty). Gently  fold in whipped cream just until no white streaks remain; do not overmix or  mixture will deflate. Spoon ½ cup chocolate mousse into bottom of prepared pie  crust; spread evenly over bottom of crust. Sprinkle 3/4 cup plus  2 Tbsp.  crushed chocolate wafers over mousse. Top with remaining mousse, mounding in the  center to create a dome. (The point is to add height, not to spread out evenly  to edges.) Chill pie.

Beat remaining 2 cups cream, crème fraîche, and salt until  medium-stiff peaks form (when the beaters are lifted from the cream, the peaks  will hold their shape but the tips will fall over). Top chocolate mousse with  whipped-cream mixture, following the same rounded dome shape. Chill pie for at  least 4 hours or, covered, for up to 3 days. (It will slice best if chilled  overnight, allowing mousse to set properly.)

Garnish pie with 2 Tbsp. chocolate wafers and chocolate  shavings. Slice pie using a clean, dry knife; wipe between slices to ensure  clean, elegant pieces.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Mile-High Chocolate Pie

Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie

Where did this week go?  All of a sudden it was Saturday, and I realized I never posted anything this week.  Sorry about that.  I was talking to one of my very close friends today, who by the way, I never have time to talk to anymore…and we were venting about the end of the school year.  She calls it the “100 days of May” – I think that’s it anyway, and has to do the fact that there are a million things to do before school is over.  We are cut from the same cloth – there is no resting – and she has three kids.  The only difference is that I work full-time, and she works part-time – but that doesn’t mean she has free time.  She fills it up just like I would with school activities, volunteering, and anything else she can get her hands on.  We used to joke that we would buy houses next door to each other and she would take care of my kids.  She knew I would never stop working, and she is Super Mom.  Too bad that never came true – we are at least in the same time zone, but an airplane ride away.  Well – her kids get out of school in just a couple of weeks, I told her she was in the home stretch…and I am just a week after that.  Soon summer will be here, and we will be dealing with a whole different set of chaos!

So, I am sure you are all wondering what I did with that delicious honeycomb I made.  The wait is over!  Now, unfortunately I never got to eat the entire pie put together – because this was a dessert I made for my younger daughter’s school auction…but I am telling you, that I sampled every bit of the way, and this is a winning recipe.  The peanut butter center was so creamy and amazing, I swear I liked the bowl clean.  I changed the recipe slightly from the Bon Appetit version, because I really thought it needed a chocolate cookie crust.  I think it really cut the sweetness of the filling.  Some friends of mine ended up with the pie that night, and they were pretty pleased.  One of them asked my husband how he stays so thin…the secret is in the stress.  Did you know that stress actually melts the pounds away?  Well I wouldn’t recommend it for a diet, but it seems to work in our house.

So – on this beautiful Memorial Day weekend (yes, it is sunny and 75 degrees here!!), sit back and relax – after you make this pie that is…I am heading to the kitchen now and toast to my friend Marti.  I am ready for summer!



  • 1 box of chocolate wafer cookies
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted


  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 12 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Honeycomb
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts



Preheat oven to 325°. Finely grind cookies in a food processor.Transfer crumb mixture to a medium bowl. Add butter and stir to blend. Use bottom and sides of a measuring cup to pack crumbs onto bottom and up sides of 9″ glass or metal pie or tart pan. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.


Mix yolks and 6 Tbsp. sugar in the bowl of a stand mixers fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat at high-speed until ribbons form, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.

Combine milk and remaining 6 Tbsp. sugar in a large saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add bean. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove bean. With mixer running, gradually add hot milk mixture to yolk mixture. Scrape mixture back into pan. Clean bowl. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove pan from heat; whisk vigorously for 1 minute. Return custard to mixing bowl, beat on high-speed until cool, about 4 minutes. Mix in butter on Tbsp. at a time. Add peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt; beat to blend. Scrape filling into cooled crust; smooth top. Chill until set, 2-3 hours.


Stir chocolate and butter in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth.

Drizzle some of the chocolate glaze over the peanut butter filling, making a circle in the middle of the pie and leaving a 1″-2″ plain border. Pile pieces of honeycomb and salted peanuts on top, then drizzle remaining chocolate glaze over.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie

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