Goat Cheese and Cherry Galettes


It’s that divisive time of year again: Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day is both full of love and hate from different people.  Commercialized, romantic, overpriced, etc., etc.

There will be no huge happenings at the Cinnamon Freud household for the holiday next Friday.  Perhaps I will renew my match.com membership, perhaps I will catch up on all my Real Housewives, perhaps I will booze it up to celebrate that at least it’s the weekend.  I’ll leave the lovebirds to their thing.

I am a neutral Valentine.  I don’t feel a huge need to grab the first living, breathing, testosterone filled human being, nor do I feel a burning hatred for those who have a significant other nor do I go on rampages about the commercialization of the evils of Hallmark.  I am just happy to eat seasonal candy (as I am for every holiday) and to have an excuse to bake.

So this cherry galette with goat cheese represents that divisive-ness of Valentine’s Day.  The cherry filling is sweet and juicy.  And the goat cheese is tart and salty.  Love and bitterness.

And it’s pink!

Slightly Adapted from Culinary Concotions by Peabody


1 pie crust
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups cherries (I used drained morello cherries)
6 ounces goat cheese
1 egg white


Preheat oven to 425°F.  Grease a baking sheet.

Divide pie crust into 2 pieces.  Roll out into circles, about 1/4 inch thick.  Chill until ready to use.

In a bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Stir in lemon juice and cherries.  Mix in approximately 4 ounces of the goat cheese.  Divide filling between the two galettes, leaving a 1/2-1 inch border.  Top with remaining goat cheese.  Fold pie crust around filling.  Brush the pie crust with egg whites.  Bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes 2 galettes.  Serves 2.

Cupcake Pie Bars: Improv Challenge


Oh my gahhh…

This dessert takes the cake- and the pie, and the bars.  Given that I have combined 3 types of desserts (bars, pie filling custard, and cupcakes), scientifically this dessert must be 3 time superior than all other normal desserts.

For this month’s Improv Challenge, we were given the task to make a dish with cake a frosting.  While I am perfectly happy with any cake or cupcake combo, I decided to try something a little bit different with these triple threat dessert.

First you have a graham cracker pie crust packed into bar form.  Good  Then you have a chess-pie butter filling.  Wonderful.  Then you pour the pie filling over cupcakes on top of your crust.  Magical.

All together, these three factors combine together to form a wonderful, sweet dessert.  All aboard the cupcake pie bar train.  First stop: sugar coma.

A fair warning: these babies are sweet.  I have a pretty high sweet tolerance, and my sugar craving was fully satisfied after one small bar (versus my typical 3-5).  The first time I made these, I (stupidly) forgot to add the eggs, which made them ultra sweet, but I have adapted the recipe a little bit to take out some of the sugar toothache-factor.


Adapted from The Domestic Rebel


For the Brown Sugar Crust:
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into pieces

For the Cupcake Filling
18 mini cupcakes, sliced in half
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles, optional


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil and grease.

In a food processor combine flour, salt, and brown sugar.  Pulse until combined.  Sprinkle cold butter cubes on top.  Pulse until pea sized crumbs form.  Press evenly into prepared baking pan.  Place sliced cupcakes in single layer on top.

In a large bowl combine butter, eggs, sugar, vinegar, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Pour over top of cupcakes.  Top with sprinkles, if desired.  Bake for 30-37 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into bars.  Store in refrigerator.

Thanks to Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting the challenge!  Make sure the check out what everyone else made!

M&M Cookie Dough Tart


Let’s talk about self deception.  We all do it.

Currently, here are my list of self deceptions: The kitchen floor looks pretty good, so you don’t need to clean it. The ethics paper will probably write itself if you don’t do anything.  Additionally, the huge pile of laundry will probably also take care of itself, some Disney-esque magic will probably go to work and the clothes will start washing themselves.  Also, I am completely ready to start teaching, seeing clients, and running research, my finances are completely sound, and I get enough sleep.

My biggest self deception: Salmonella, like R.O.U.Ses, doesn’t really exist.   Eating raw cookie dough is perfectly acceptable.  Let’s get real: cookie dough is often better than the actual cookies- so why not eat it all?  Everyone needs a hit of cookie dough every now and then.

But, no worries about death from raw cookie dough with this tart.  The cookie dough layer is completely egg free and completely delicious.  And the chocolate chip cookie layer is so tender and full of toffee flavor that even someone who has lukewarm feelings about chocolate chip cookies in general loved it.

When I first made this M&M Cookie Dough Tart, I had planned to take it to a work party, and of course, the cookie dough layer instantly crumbled upon cutting rendering it mostly unservable for a cocktail-like party. But it tasted absolutely delicious.  SO, with some quick thinking and semi-panicked phone calls, I figured out an acceptable serving option.  But since it tasted so delicious, I went back and made it again to figure out how to make it perfect.  And then I got stuck with a whole pie to eat. #foodbloggingproblems

Don’t deceive yourself here: you need this cookie dough tart in your life.  All your work/chores/problems will take care of themselves- just go make this tart right now.

Slightly Adapted from Cake, Batter, and Bowl


Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extact
1 cup & 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Cookie Dough Layer:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2-6 tablespoons milk*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup & 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups M&M candies


For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large  bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar.  Beat in egg and vanilla until mixed in.  Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Press into prepared springform pan.  Bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool completely.

For the Cookie Dough Layer:

In a large bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar.  Beat in milk* and vanilla (start with 2 tablespoons, add more later to help the dough come together). Stir in flour and salt.  Fold in M&M candies.  Add additional milk as needed to help the dough come together.

Press cookie dough layer on top of cooled chocolate chip cookie layer.  Press additional M&Ms on top for decoration.  Store in refrigerator.

Peanut Pie

My name is Karen, and I am a peanut butter lover.

However, I also have a weird relationship with peanut butter.  My younger sister has a peanut allergy, and since I was a worrying child, I was always a little nervous about eating peanut butter.  I was afraid that I would somehow become tainted with peanuts or have some lingering peanut butter on my fingers.  Then I would somehow touch my sister, or she would lick my fingers, and then she would have an allergic reaction thanks to me.  Yes, my name is Karen, and I am peanut butter lover and a catastrophizer. Well, since I live on my own now, I can have peanut butter whenever I want without an fear of sending people to the hospital.

As a peanut butter lover, I also love peanut butter pie.  However, I often find peanut butter pies to be lacking, with something just not quite right.  Some are not the right thickness, some are too cream cheesy, and some don’t have the right texture.  This is my idea for the perfect peanut pie, and I think you all may love it just as much as I do.  First, you bake a butter pie crust, and then you fill it with a layer of peanut butter and gooey peanut topping (think pecan pie with peanuts).  Next time, I think I will put a layer of chocolate ganache between the pie crust and peanut butter to make it even better.

And I won’t lie, it was still a little weird not having to worry about washing my hands immediately after eating this pie.  But it was so good, I got over it.

Happy Pi(e) Day to everyone!

Idea from Cinnamon Freud
Adapted from Country Cleaver and Crust from Bran Appetit

For the Crust:
1 cup & 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
8 tablespoon butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3-5 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup peanut butter

For the Crust:
In a food processor or large bowl, combine flour, salt, and granulated sugar.  Freeze butter pieces for approximately 10 minutes.  Sprinkle over flour mixture.  Process in food processor or cut in with pastry cutter until the butter is incorporated and pea sized pieces form.  Add in ice water and mix together with hand or process until a soft dough forms.  Start with 2 or 3 tablespoons and add more as needed.  Transfer to cling wrap, warp, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Grease a 9 inch pie pan.  Remove from fridge and place on a lightly floured surface.  Roll out to an 11 inch circle.  Press into pie pan.  Crimp the edges and trim extra.  Freeze for 20 minutes.
Line pie pan with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Remove pie weights and keep warm.For the Filling:

Lower the oven temperature to 275°F.

In a double broiler, melt the butter.  Remove from double broiler and whisk in sugar and salt.  Making sure it has cooled slightly, whisk in egg, corn syrup, and vanilla.  Return to double broiler and cook until it reaches 130°F.  Stir in peanuts and remove from double broiler.

Spread peanut butter into the bottom of the pie.  Top with peanut topping.  Bake for 40-50 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.

How to Make as Mini-Pies:

I could eat an entire pie by myself, but I don’t want the stomachache.  So I often make many pie recipes as mini pies using 5 inch pie/tart pans.

This recipe will make 4-6 individual pies depending on the size of your pan.  Prepare as instructed, reducing the baking time for the crust to 17-20 minutes and the filling baking time for approximately 25-30 minutes.  Just make sure to watch as you bake!

Banana Split Pie: Improv Challenge

A little over a year ago, I went on a banana craze.  It all began innocently one night with a banana cream pie blizzard.  Normally I always stuck to my traditional choice of Reese’s blizzard when we visited DQ, but I was feeling adventurous and was enticed by the idea of soft serve ice cream mixed with pie crust and topped with whipped cream.  (Who else wants a blizzard now?)

With one bite, it was all over.  I wanted all food to have some kind of banana flavor: I ate banana tootsie pops, banana pancakes, banana cookies, banana bread, peanut butter on bananas, banana cream pie, banana pudding, and of course more banana cream blizzards.  Basically, I was banana crazy, a dark but delicious time.  Eventually, my dire need to eat bananas fizzled out, but my love for banana desserts has remained.

When I moved to Lubbock and began looking for apartments, I happened to stop by a little lunch place because I wanted a slice of pie before heading out of town.  I saw an amazing pie in the display: a banana split pie.  After almost passing it by, I ordered it in addition to my traditional favorite key lime pie after enlisting some help to eat both slices.  One of my top decisions.

This pie was a life changer: sweet, salty, and full of banana flavor.  The combination in this pie is better than the traditional form of banana splits.  I had to try making this myself, and after looking and not finding any recipes like the one I ate, I went to the drawing board to see what I could come up with myself.  This recipe is a little time intensive, but so worth it.  The flavors are dead on and perfect way for everyone, even those who don’t live in Lubbock, to have a little slice of Banana Split Pie.

I wonder if there is a record for the number of times having the word banana in a blog post.  I may be a contender for the title.

From Cinnamon Freud
Banana Pastry Cream Slightly Adapted from Cooks Country

For the Banana Pastry Cream:
2 bananas, 1/2 inch slices
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 1/2 cups half and half
6 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (about 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the Crust:
1 cup crushed pretzels
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

For the Pie Fillings:
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped pineapple
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

For Topping:
Chocolate shavings
Toasted walnuts, chopped
Maraschino cherries


For the Banana Pastry Cream:

In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.  Add bananas and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.  Add half and half and bring to a boil.  Boil for 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let sit for 40 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, salt, and sugar together until smooth.  Whisk in cornstarch and nutmeg.  Pour banana liquid through a strainer into the bowl. Do not press on the bananas; discard bananas.

Whisk together and transfer to a clean medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until thickened like pudding, about 6-8 minutes, until mixture reaches 180°F while whisking constantly.  As the mixture thickens, clumps may form; whisk vigorously to prevent.  Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and 3 tablespoons butter.  Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for at least one hour or overnight.

For the Crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9 inch pie pan.

In a bowl mix together crushed pretzels, sugar, and butter.  Press into the bottom of the pie pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes, until fragrant.  Cool completely.

For the Pie Fillings:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat  Melt 1-2 tablespoons butter.  Add strawberries and pineapple, cooking for 4-5 minutes.  Add light brown sugar and cook for 4-5 minutes, until fruit has softened. Let cool.  Strain off any excess liquid.

In a large bowl beat heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until peaks stiffen slightly and mixture resembles whipped cream.  Set aside.

Whisk banana pastry cream slightly.  Spread onto pretzel crust.  Spoon fruit topping on top of pasty cream.  Pipe whipped cream on top.  Chill in fridge to set, at least 60 minutes. Garnish with chocolate shavings, toasted walnuts, and maraschino cherries.

Check out the other submissions for this month’s Improv Challenge for Bananas & Nutmeg at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker!


Meringue Topped Cranberry Curd Pie

The world didn’t end, so let’s celebrate another year of my existence!

Now, my grudge against the Mayans for predicting the end of the world right before my birthday aside (quite inconsiderate of them), I am always up for celebrating anything, especially when that celebration will include dessert.  The traditional birthday celebration usually ends with cake, but I am a pie lover through and through.  And I may have made a fruitcake and a fancy layer cake for the upcoming Christmas festivities.

Besides being a pie lover, I am also a cranberry lover.  The cranberry curd comes out slightly sweetened and tart- and it is a beautiful holiday red color.  The curd is poured into a graham cracker crust, my personal favorite, and topped with meringue just to be fancy.  The meringue is absolutely divine, a nice light and fluffy topping.  Just watch it carefully while broiling- as you can see from my pie it can change in an instant.

Adapted from Cooking Light

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Cranberry Curd:
12 ounces cranberries
1 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup water, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, softened

For the Meringue:
3 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water


For the Crust:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a 9 inch pie pan.

In a bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, salt, sugar, and butter.  Stir together until moist and mixture clumps together.  Pour into pie pan and press into an even layer.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown.  Cool completely.

For the Cranberry Curd:

In a large saucepan over medium heat combine cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract..  Cook for 10 minutes, until cranberries begin to burst and mixture boils.  In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and 2 egg yolks.  Whisk together until smooth.  Temper the egg mixture by adding approximately 1 cup of cranberry mixture while whisking constantly.  Pour egg mixture into pan while whisking constantly.  Cook over medium heat until the filling reaches 160°F, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.  Pour mixture through sieve, straining out the cranberry skins.  Run through food processor until smooth.  Pour filling into crust.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

For the Meringue:

Preheat the broiler.

In a large bowl combine egg whites and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Beat at high speed with mixer until soft peaks form.  In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 238°F.  Gradually pour hot syrup into egg white mixture while beating until stiff peaks form.  Transfer meringue to a piping bag and pipe on top of pie.  Broil for 30-60 seconds, or until lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

Blueberry and Sour Cream Pie Revisited

Since I have a never ending list of new recipes to try, I don’t remake dishes very often- especially desserts. There are just too many new possibilities that old ones fall to the wayside. However, when I do make really good dessert and repeat it, I notice how much easier it is the second time around.  I made this pie for our New Year’s Dinner earlier this year, and I remember thinking it was a pretty difficult recipe.  But this time around, everything went much more smoothly.

This time around, I found a much better pie crust (a pate sucree actually, how fancy) and I revamped the struesel topping to be even better.  This pie is still absolutely divine.  Something about the combination of blueberries, sour cream, and almond just works.  And if you want to justify this for a holiday pie, just say that the white sour cream represents snow and the blueberries represent snow flakes.  It’s a stretch, but no one will protest this pie replacing a more traditional holiday treat after they take that first bite.

Pie Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts
Crust Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart

For the Crust:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
4-6 tablespoons ice water

For the Pie:
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups blueberries

For the Topping:
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


For the Crust:

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Sprinkle cold butter on top and process until an evenly distributed crumb mixture forms.  At egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of water and pulse.  Add more water if needed until a soft dough forms.  Turn onto plastic wrap and press into a small disk.  Chill for at least 1 hour.

For the Pie:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Grease a 9 inch pie pan.  Turn pie dough onto lightly floured surface and roll out to a 10 inch circle.  Press pie crust into pan, crimping the edges and removing the excess.  Freeze for 20 minutes.  Prick bottom of the pie with a fork.  Line pie with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove beans/weights.  Cover the edges of the pie with foil and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes, until sides are set.

While the pie chills or bakes, prepare the sour cream filling.  In a large bowl combine sour cream, sugar, flour, egg, almond extract, and salt.  Whisk together until smooth.  Fold in blueberries.

After crust is baked, pour filling into hot pie crust.  Keep the edges of the pie covered and bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping.  In a small bowl combine butter and flour.  Mix together with your fingers until small crumbles form.  Stir in almonds and sugar.  Once filling is baked, spoon the topping on top of the warm filling.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool to room temperature.

Black and White Cranberry Pie

Oh my god, you guys, as I write this I am in a heavenly pie coma.  This pie was absolutely divine with a crunchy chocolate crust, a smooth sweet white chocolate ganache, and a sweet but a little tart cranberries.  Ho, ho, ho indeed.
I love holiday parties.  Really, I love the entire month of December.  I have been lucky enough for the past years to have a good chunk of vacation from school in order to spend time spreading holiday cheer.  I love spending time shopping, baking, wrapping, and decorating.  And holiday parties provide a much needed outlet for my festive activities (my family can only eat so many cookies and open so many gifts by themselves).
I had bookmarked this pie to make over a year ago, but my family is just not as huge a fan of cranberries as I am.  Luckily, I had a holiday party with my fellow tutors I had worked with this semester, and the opportunity to bake this pie could not be passed up.  Although the temperature was in the 80’s and my air conditioning was on, this pie definitely helped put me in the holiday spirit.  Christmas in Texas, folks, can always be made better with pie.
Pie Adapted from The Pastry Queen via Pink Parsley
Crust slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Chocolate Crust:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
Pinch of Salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
1 egg yolk
4-5 tablespoons ice water

For the Pie:
2 cups cranberries, rinsed
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
16 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 tablespoons butter


For the Crust:

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Process until mixed.  Add butter and process until crumbs are formed.  Add egg yolk and 3 tablespoons water.  Process, adding a tablespoon of water as needed, until a soft dough forms.  Press into disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll dough in a 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface with a piece of parchment paper on top.  Place on 9 inch pie pan and press down.  Cut off any overhang and crimp as desired.  Prick the bottom of a pie with a form.  Freeze for 20 minutes.

Line pie with butter aluminium foil and fill with dried beans.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove pie weights and aluminium foil.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until bottom of crust is dry.  Let cool for 30 minutes.

For the Pie:

While the crust cools, combine cranberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook for 5-8 minutes until cranberries have softened but not popped.  Pour in colander to remove excess liquid as needed.  Taste and add additional sugar if desired.

Place chopped white chocolate in a large measuring cup or bowl.  In another saucepan, combine heavy cream, corn syrup, and butter.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Pour over white chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Stir in cranberries.  Pour mixture into pie crust.  Chill at least 1 1/2 hours, or overnight.