Thursday, March 26, 2009

Easy As Pie

This recipe is super easy.  I ripped if off from The Weekend Baker when I needed a yummy dessert in a jiffy.

Half-Moon Pie Pockets:
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (9.5" square each)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 T. granulated sugar

You can choose whatever filling you want to put in there, but I did chocolate-nut and pumpkin-spice.  There were more options in the book, but those two are the most delicious.

For the chocolate-nut filling:
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 c. chopped nuts (whatever you like, I used walnuts)

For the pumpkin-spice filling:
1 c. + 2 T. canned solid-pack pumpkin (Libby's is perfect)
3 T. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 T. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Remove both sheets of puff pastry from the box and set them on a lightly floured surface.  Cover with plastic wrap, but DON'T unfold the sheets... just let them sit there until thawed and more pliable (10-20 minutes).

Heat oven to 425 degrees and put a rack on the middle rung in the oven.  Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.  

On a lightly floured work surface, carefully unfold the puff pastry.  Dust the top of it with flour and roll out each sheet, lightly dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Use a 4 inch round cookie cutter (or the top of a large plastic tumbler) to cut out 18 circles.  Peel away scraps and cover the rounds with plastic wrap.

Now prepare your fillings.  All you have to do is combine the ingredients for the filling of your choice.  Note: if you decide to make 2 or more varieties like I did, you can cut your filling ingredients in half.  

Place 1 T. of filling on the center of the round.  Brush the edge of the dough with your beaten egg.  Fold half the dough over the filling to form a half moon.  Use a fork to press the curved edge to seal tightly.  Continue with the remaining dough rounds.  Arrange the pie pockets on the prepared sheet pans.  Brush the tops with egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake until the puff pastry is puffed and browned, 20-25 minutes.  Transfer the sheet pans to racks to cool.  Serve warm.  

You can bake these in advance and reheat them in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes like we did.  I think you could put pretty much anything inside of puff pastry and it would be delicious.  Give it a try!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Loaded Sweet Potato

When John and I were home for Christmas, my brother and his wife took us to this restaurant called The Texas Roadhouse.  I understand that this is a chain restaurant, however, there are none by us in LA, so I was unfamiliar with it.  My rib plate was especially delicious, mostly due to my "loaded" sweet potato.  For weeks after this meal I fantasized of sinking my fork into a potato as luscious and sinful as that one.  Then I thought, can't I duplicate this at home?  Not quite, but I came close.  In fact, had I never tasted the Texas Roadhouse version, I'd think I was a genius. 

Here's the recipe for Kristen's Faux-Roadhouse Sweet Potato:
1 large sweet potato or yam
1 T. butter (I suppose you could use margarine...)
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
3 t. brown sugar
handful of mini marshmallows

Just poke a hole or two in the sweet potato and microwave it for 10-12 minutes, or until it's tender and easy to cut with a knife. After that, just microwave the butter for 15-20 seconds or until melted.  Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and mix.  Go ahead and cut down the center of your potato in the shape of a cross, so you can squeeze it open.  Spoon in the sugary-buttery mixture and smear it over the top too.  Stuff those mini marshmallows in the potato so they're flowing out of the top.  Pop the potato into your broiler (on some aluminum foil) for 1 minute or so until the marshmallows get golden brown (make sure you stay close!).
eat it. love it. i do!

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