The Ministry of Pie

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Pie.
Strawberry Ice Box Pie

Last week I found a recipe for strawberry ice box pie on Pinterest.  I love fruit pies and this one reminded me of the pies my grandmother made with fresh picked raspberries.  Follow the link above for the recipe and tips and pay attention to the tips! I did not (more on that later) but recovered anyway and it turned out looking and tasting absolutely perfect!

In the end I did not follow the tips and had way too much of the cooked strawberry filling. A quick toss in of 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice and a table spoon of pectin and I had 12 ounces of ice box jam! It was delicious!

— 2 years ago
#strawberry  #pie  #ministry of pie  #ice box  #jam  #jams  #preserves  #canning  #summer 
It’s as Easy as Not Baking

I love to bake, but now I might love not baking even more.  This week I made No-Bake Nutella Creme Pie.  It was billed as a “cheesecake” but that’s not exactly the right word for it.  This pie takes about 6 and a half minutes to throw together and a couple hours to chill.

  • 1 ready made chocolate or Oreo pie crust
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened. I used reduced fat and it was just fine.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 container of Cool Whip, thawed
  • approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup Nutella, I think I used closer to 3/4 cup.
  • milk chocolate shavings (optional), I used Ghiradelli.

Mix whisk the cream cheese, Nutella and vanilla extract together in a mixing bowl.  Fold in the Cool Whip.  Pour it all into the pie shell and top with chocolate shavings. Chill for a few hours. You can also try freezing this pie, not sure how it would turn out.  Chilling it was perfect.  It’s was creamy dreamy Nutella heaven.

— 2 years ago with 1 note
#pie  #nutella  #chocolate  #creme  #cream  #bake  #baking 
Fully half of all of my baking adventures end like this.  Okay 60/40.

Fully half of all of my baking adventures end like this.  Okay 60/40.

— 2 years ago
#pie  #souffle  #ministry of pie 
Blackberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

We have almost entirely skipped spring here in St. Louis, and it feels like we have jumped straight into early June. Summer recipes are popping up all over the place lately, especially Pinterest where I found this one for Berry Cheesecake Ice Cream via Call Me Cupcake.

I converted the metric units loosely so I can’t really provide the exact recipe, if you want to try it refer to the link to Cupcake’s recipe above. But in general you’ll need, 3 egg yolks, cream, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, a combination of berries (I used only one container of blackberries) and creme cheese.

Mash the berries or puree in a food processor.  I mashed mine a bit then cooked them down on the stove to soften them up. Most of them were still intact and only a bit squished.

Whip your sugar and yolks together.  Bring the milk and cream to a boil over medium heat.  Temper the mixture into the yolks and sugar and put all of it back on the stove over medium heat until it starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon.  Add the vanilla and remove from heat.

Add in the blackberries and creme cheese.  Stir until all the creme cheese has melted.

There are two ways to do the next step and one of them will take a long time.   You can either allow the custard to cool to room temperature sitting on the counter and then chill it throughly in the fridge OR you can pop it directly into the freezer (like I did) for about 20 minutes. Pour cold mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufactures instructions. I mixed mine for about 30 minutes. Then place in freezer to firm up.

It’s delicious! Very rich and definitely tastes like cheesecake!

— 2 years ago
#ice cream  #blackberry  #ministry of pie  #cheesecake 
Bailey’s Irish Creme Chocolate Pie

I declare this to be an excellent pie.

And super easy to make!  Originally found here via Pinterest.


1 chocolate crumb crust. Oreo crusts work perfectly!
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups Cool Whip


Pour milk into a saucepan & sprinkle the gelatin over top. Let it sit for 1 min & then stir continuously over low heat until the gelatin completely dissolves.

Add chocolate and continue to stir until melted, then stir in vanilla.

Remove from heat and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly, then stir in the Bailey’s.

Put the saucepan into the fridge for about 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture forms mounds when dropped from the spoonBe very careful not to let it sit too long that it forms a “pudding skin.”  You can completely cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent this.

Fold in the Cool Whip and pour into the crust.  Top it with more Cool Whip if you desire or leave it as is. Chill for 4 hours up to overnight.


— 2 years ago
#pie  #bailey's  #irish  #creme  #ministry of pie  #chocolate  #St. Patrick's Day 
What’s Eating Gilbert Galette?

It’s Ash Wednesday, which means there is something I’m not supposed to be eating, but I forget what it is that I’m not supposed to be eating. So, like any good lapsed Catholic, I’ll do it anyway and ask forgiveness later, just as soon as I remember what it was that I wasn’t supposed to do.  I’ve got 40 days of this kind of thing ahead of me, I need to pace myself.

I had a large bunch of red grapes in need of a project and so I decided to make a few galettes.  There are many galette recipes on the internet but I made this one up as I went…

  • 1 large bunch of seedless red grapes, although I prefer to use black grapes.  I’ve done this before with the green variety and I will tell you they do not look as appetizing after they have been baked as the red and black grapes do.
  • 1/4 cup of sugar, plus more for dusting. You can add even more sugar but keep in mind that grapes are pretty sweet on their own when baked.
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Juice of 1/2 a very small lemon. This is mostly personal preference. I think there exists a fine balance between sweet and tart. A little fresh lemon juice goes a long way.
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 or more pie crust rounds depending on how many grapes you have. You can use the rolled store-bought kind (not frozen), but do so with caution. Galettes tend to do better with a more sturdy crust which you won’t find pre-made.  This works great with all-butter short crusts or cornmeal crusts.

Pre-heat oven to 385.

Wash and pat dry grapes. Be very careful to remove all the little tiny stem-y bits. No one wants to bite into one of those later.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, grapes and lemon juice, toss to coat evenly.

Make crust as per your recipe or take that one you bought from the store out of the fridge.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. Preferably use a sheet with sides as these have a tendency to be juicy and messy when baking.

Place rolled round crust on parchment.  Pile the grapes in the center and fold up the edges. I find it’s best not to make these too large or too filled.  It’s a lot easier to serve later if they are a small/medium manageable size. I made two galettes, each about 8 inches in diameter which will serve 8.

Brush the outside of the galette with egg white and dust entire thing with sugar.

Serve warm or at room temp. For an added sweet kick, drizzle with Saba Balsamic Vinegar!

— 2 years ago
#grape  #tart  #galette  #ministryofpie  #ministry of pie  #bake  #baking  #cook  #cooking  #eat  #eating  #pie 
Asparagus for the Rest-of-Us

The recent avocado fries got me thinking… what else can be made into baked “fries?” How about asparagus? It’s already the right shape, therefore a lot less work!

I followed the same recipe as the avocado fries, using Panko for breading, and they turned out great!

— 2 years ago
#cooking  #ministry of pie  #asparagus  #vegetables 
Would You Like Fries With That?

Baked Avocado Fries are pretty much the best thing to happen to avocados since guacamole was invented and they couldn’t be easier to make.

We first tried these in New Mexico using panko and this week I tried them again with corn tortilla chip crumbs. I prefer the panko version but these weren’t bad either.

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt, sea salt is best
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups panko or standard breadcrumbs, or get creative and crush some tortilla chips, corn flakes or whatever else comes to mind
  • 2 firm-ripe (still relatively green works best) medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

Preheat oven to 450.

Coat avocado slices in the flour (I have found that you can easily skip this step and they are just as good), then dredge in the egg, then toss about in the crumb coating of your choice.

Arrange on a cookie sheet.  Some people arrange on a greased cooling rack and place that on top of a cookie sheet in order to get the undersides crispier but my experience is that they turn out just fine if you plop them down directly on a cookie sheet.

Drizzle the wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt

Bake for about 20 minutes at 450, or for as long as you like until they are golden brown.

Pour one of these and enjoy!

— 2 years ago
#avocado  #fries  #bake  #baked  #ministry of pie 
Today Blackberries, To “Moro” Muffins

It’s blood orange season again and they have never looked lovelier.  I picked up some Moros this week and decided to make Blackberry Blood Orange Muffins today. These are super easy and super delicious! The recipe is adapted from Eat Live Run and they turned out so great it brought a tear to my eye.

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp grated blood orange zest – I zested two blood oranges, next time I will use more, I want a bit stronger orange flavor.
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk – I used whole milk because it was left over from making ice cream.

Preheat your oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredient, except the sugar, and blood orange zest. Add the blackberries and toss gently so that all the berries are coated.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined, then add milk and blend.

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and fold in carefully, try not to crush the berries. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin tins sprinkle sugar over the tops.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the tops are golden. Cool for about five minutes then remove from tin and allow to cool completely on wire rack.

— 2 years ago
#blood orange  #oranges  #orange  #muffin  #muffins  #ministry of pie 
Not Your Mamma’s Mascarpone

I bet you didn’t know this but there are about 3.67 million ice cream recipes on the internet.  Yes, I counted them.  About 68% of which are some variation on chocolate. Now, I like chocolate as much as the next girl but I really wanted something different… such as mascarpone! I’m not a fan of Tiramisu, for which mascarpone is traditionally used, but I love it in other things.  So why not ice cream? I found a great recipe with a standard custard base and set up shop!

This seemed like a good inaugural run of my 1950′s General Electric Betty Crocker stand mixer, a $24 Gypsy Caravan find from last year, and it worked perfectly!

The finished product is as rich, if not more so, than frozen custard and has a slightly different texture than standard ice cream, but it’s oh so good!  We put most of the batch directly into the freezer after the ice cream maker, the photo below was taken just prior to this step so it still looks like soft-serve.  Then we whipped up some fresh blueberries, blueberry preserves and lemon juice on the stove and folded it into the remaining ice cream still in the machine.  It was equally divine and a lot more sweet!

— 2 years ago
#ice cream  #mascarpone  #ministry of pie 
Never Desert Your Dessert in the Desert

Last week I went to Taos New Mexico for the first time.  It was stunningly beautiful and immediately obvious why such greats as Frida Kahlo, Dennis Hopper and G. P. Wayman, loved the area. The sky was the blue-est blue I’ve ever seen. The desert was brown and the grass along the Rio Grande, bright red. The snow was, of course, white and cold.

Lest you get the impression this trip was only about hiking, snowshoeing and shopping, feast your eyes on this… Cheryl and I made impromptu, no recipe required, banana rum bread pudding.

Take some bread, a banana (the more ripe the better), half/half, eggs, cinnamon, brown sugar. Heat up the liquids/spices, temper the eggs, pour it over the bread and banana in a large ramekin and bake until nice and crispy on top.  Heat up some rum and brown sugar for a sauce.

It’s as easy as pie… bread pudding.

— 2 years ago
#bread pudding  #ministry of pie  #taos  #new mexico  #travel 
Bake Here

The weather in Milwaukee this week has been strange to say the least.  With temperatures hovering around 55 for the first few days, we thought we had driven south on 55 rather than north.  That was until today.  Woke up to low 30s and snow!  Seemed like the perfect day to bake something and I settled on a blackberry/raspberry cast iron skillet cobbler.

This is sometimes called a grunt, an upside-down pie, a skillet pie, or a skillet cobbler. Thanks to Alton Brown for the general recipe, although I tweaked it slightly and cheated a little by using a method I found in another recipe that called for pre-made biscuits.  I am providing the original recipe and below that an explanation of what I changed.


  • 9 1/2 ounces all purpose flour, approximately 2 cups
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  • 1 pound 3 ounces fresh or frozen blackberries, approximately 4 cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


  • I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet so I needed more filling.
  • I used 6 cups blackberries, 2 cups raspberries, even this only filled the skillet halfway after cooking down.
  • I increased to 1 tsp ginger but kept the sugar the same.
  • The 1 cup of water was way too much liquid so I ended up draining at least 3=4 cups of juice back out of the pan as the filling cooked down.
  • I used 11 Target brand, jumbo buttermilk biscuits, these are sold in rolls of 8.
  • I sprinkled a little brown sugar on top of the biscuits before placing the pan in the oven.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a piece of foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drippings.

Place the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor and process for 3 to 4 pulses. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until about half of the fat disappears and the rest is left in pea-size pieces. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until it comes together. Turn the mixture out onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper that has been lightly dusted with flour, shape into a ball and wrap and store in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Combine the blackberries, sugar, water and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place over medium heat. Bring this to a simmer decrease the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator (or biscuits from roll) and gently drop (or arrange) it on the fruit mixture using a 1-ounce disher or large spoon, evenly distributing it over the top.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the grunt to cool for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

The flavor and sweetness turned out perfect.  I prefer berry pies to be a little tart and draining the excess liquid took out just the right amount of sugar.  The consistency is still quite loose and more like a berry topping than cobbler.  I think this recipe really needs potato starch or tapioca to thicken it up.  Will add some next time and skip the water.  Overall, I’d say this was a baking success.

— 2 years ago
#cobbler  #skillet  #blackberries  #blackberry  #raspberry  #rasberries  #baking  #bake  #ministry of pie 
Hola Milwaukee

I’m visiting Milwaukee for the first time this week, it is already one of my favourite cities, too bad it’s so cold here in the winter! Every block seems to have something interesting to go to or simply look at.  The area we’re in is a Polish/Mexican neighborhood.  A trip to the corner grocery was not unlike a trip Mexico herself.  Here’s a few snaps…

— 2 years ago
#milwaukee  #markets  #market  #mexican  #ministry of pie 
Apple Butter Take Two

Last week I tried to make apple butter for the first time. It did not go well. I’m not exactly sure what went wrong but it did.  Today I’m going for take two.  Different apples, different recipe, hoping for the best.

First you start with about 1 million pounds of apples.

Okay fine, more like 10 pounds. Core them, chop them, toss them into a crock pot.

Add 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of apple cider, 2 sticks of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of cloves. Turn it on low for 10 hours or until mushy. Put everything in a food mill and puree out the skins. Put back in crock pot for however many hours it takes to get to the consistency you prefer. Put it in jars and either process for canning or refrigerate and use within a few months.

I’ll update this tomorrow with the outcome… until then, I’m off to the store to pick up a food mill!


All of the above happened at 2:00 PM.

9:30 PM:

Something they don’t tell you in school… food mills are from hell.  My advice, do not choose any apple butter recipe that encourages you to leave the skin on at first and mill it out later.

Second pearl of wisdom… when picking up that hot crock pot insert to rinse it out before putting insanely difficult milled apples back in for the final stretch, do not drop it in the sink.

Apple butter is now in a pot on the stove, on low, with a lid set ajar to allow it to cook down.

Is this the universe telling me I’m not supposed to make apple butter?

Update 12/20/11  6:00pm:

The result is sort of the consistency of apple jam and is probably in the top three best tasting things I’ve ever made.

— 2 years ago
#apple  #butter  #baked  #bake  #apples  #crockpot  #ministry of pie  #slow cooker  #jam 
Easiest. Cookies. Ever.

In order to maintain the Ministry’s mad skills (yo), some baking was in order today. Instead of pie, it’s cookies.  Quite possibly the easiest cookies ever.

Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies:

  • ½ cup Nutella
  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons water
  • Additional sugar for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Mix all ingredients together.  Fair warning this is a very thick batter,  it’s best to mix everything except the water and then add the water one tablespoon at at time and add just enough to make the batter bind and easy to work with.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  This stuff is a godsend.  Greatest baking invention ever.

Form 1 inch balls of dough, flatten on sheet with spoon.

Dust heavily or lightly, your choice, with sugar. I did a little of both

Bake for 12-16 minutes.  You will need to gauge your own oven on this.  My oven is dead accurate and I started and 12 minutes.  Baked 4 sheets, some cooked a little longer than others.

Allow to cool slightly on sheet then transfer to rack.

They are a nice light Nutella chocolate peanut butter flavor.  I ran out of Nutella but next time I will add more than 1/2 cup and see what happens.  You can also make these without the peanut butter and just double the Nutella to 1 cup.

— 2 years ago
#cookie  #cookies  #nutella  #chocolate  #peanut butter  #bake  #baked  #ministry of pie