Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Meringue Pie

I made this pie for the first time last year, when I saw it posted on one of my very favorite food blogs Josh and the children detest sweet potatoes, due to the fact they are abnormal people-and will not touch this pie. Therefore, I take it upon myself to eat it all-and luckily, sweet potatoes are extremely healthful. If you and your family happen to be normal people, you will really enjoy this mix of flavors-it's a great alternative to pumpkin pie if you're looking for something a little different.

Sweet Potato Meringue Pie

1 cup (4 ounces) pecan halves
9 whole graham crackers, broken
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (I used only 2 tsp. because I'm not a huge fan of ginger)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Four 8-ounce sweet potatoes
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
3 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a pie plate, toast the pecans for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and browned. Let the nuts cool completely.
In a food processor, combine the pecans, graham crackers, ginger, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon; pulse until crumbs form. Add the butter and process until incorporated. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9 or 10-inch pie plate. Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Using a rubber spatula, press down the crust and let cool completely. Wipe out the processor.

Place potatoes in pot cover with water. Boil sweet potatoes until soft, about 30-40 minutes. Peel and let cool. You should have about 2 1/4 cups.
Transfer the sweet potato to the food processor and puree until smooth. Add the brown sugar and eggs; process until blended. Add the heavy cream and process again, just until incorporated. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for about 50 minutes, until set and the top looks dry; cover the crust edges with foil if they darken. Let the pie cool completely. Preheat the broiler.
In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat without stirring until a candy thermometer inserted in the syrup registers 240°, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. With the machine on, carefully drizzle in the hot syrup and beat at high speed until the whites are stiff, glossy and warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
Mound the meringue over the sweet potato filling, swirling it decoratively. Broil the pie 4 to 6 inches from the heat for about 30 seconds, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cut the pie into wedges and serve.

If you're in need of some ideas for Thanksgiving dishes, here are some links to the recipes my family and I will be making this year (*all photos are from the original blog/website):

Kate's Turkey from Our Best Bites blog

Emeril's Boston Bibb Salad with Roasted Squash, Pecans, Bleu Cheese and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
I will tell you- this photo is a little strange, and does no justice to the deliciousness of this salad-I crave it all year long!

Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole

The Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes

Emeril's Chocolate Cream Pie

Honey-Pecan Pumpkin Pie  from epicurious

The Pioneer Woman's Pecan Pie

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Friends-and in the wise words of Paula Deen, "Let's gain some WEIGHT this weekend!"

Some Recent Exciting Developments in the Hansen Household

If you have known myself or my children (and by "children" I am here referring to Owen and Carson) for more than 5 minutes, you would assume we have had some "concerns" about the gender of our baby due in May. Strangely, Josh did not feel spending $75 on a visit to Fetal Fotos for an early elective gender scan was worthy of a household expense. So, with the help of my friend Jill (who took my payments, preventing me from spending the money at the gas station) I very painstakingly saved up $50 over several months for the slightly-ghetto Fetal Studio in the mall-where a Lithuanian obstetrician now serving as a Utah-mall-ultrasound tech gave us the news:


I will tell you I have never been more happy to *not* see something in my life.

We celebrated that night with dinner out to the Olive Garden (which Owen likes, since "dey bwing you a wahwet (wallet) wif candy inside") and a pink balloon party for the kids-where they showed far more excitement for the balloons than they did over the fact they are having a baby sister.
You may find it strange that Dylan is wearing a tiny night shirt, while Owen is still wearing his coat. This is simply evidence of how quickly Dylan feels the need to change her clothes the moment upon entering the house.

And in other exciting news: My Hot Sister and her Hot Boyfriend are getting married next month!
For those of you who, like me are: a.) a voyeur and b.) a giant fan of all things "wedding", here are a few of my favorites of their engagement photos:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel


It's officially The Holiday Season, friends. A time when I can publicly indulge and pretend I'm not that big of a pig all year round. It is also the season for pies, and this is my most favorite apple pie. I found the recipe during our first year of marriage-when I was a beginning foodie and would spend my time at work (a secretary for my dad's office) reading recipes on the internet, and have since made it every year.

Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel
Serves 8 generously

9 inch pie crust, storebought or this Martha Stewart recipe is what I use

For the topping:
4 Tbl. butter, softened
4 Tbl. firmly packed brown sugar
4 Tbl. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the filling:
3 pounds (about 6 medium) apples (I like Granny Smith)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbl. flour
1 Tbl. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Prepare the pie crust and lay it in your pie plate. 
For the topping:
In a small bowl with your fingertips blend the butter, brown sugar, and flour until smooth and blend in  the nuts. Chill topping in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the filling:
Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 1/2 inch wedges and in a bowl toss with remaining ingredients to coat.

To assemble and bake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spoon filling into shell (don't put the streusel on yet!) and bake for 1 hour and remove from oven. Crumble topping evenly over pie, and bake an additional 30 minutes. (Do not at this time leave your house to deliver children to playdates and gymnastics class. My pie is a little more browned than usual for this reason.)

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

As readers of my blog, I'm afraid you are obligated to view pictures of my children in their halloween costumes:

Dorothy after having a bit of a skip through the poppies


How 'bout like this, mom?

Robin the Sidekick

If you would like to criticize the quality of the mask-drawing, I invite you to come give it a try on this boy.

As hard as I tried to get a good "buddy" picture...

Unfortunately, there was a dead bird in the bush. And as all mothers of boy's know: there is no competing with a dead bird.