After much deliberating and drooling over cook books, Stephanie and I finally decided on three sweet pies to tackle this week: chili chocolate pie, grapefruit meringue pie, and ginger-pear pie.
I was particularly excited to bake the chili chocolate pie, because not only am I a chocolate addict, I love spicy foods and the combination of the sweet and spicy sounded heavenly. Making the filling was relatively easy –it involved steeping the milk and cream with green jalapeno pieces to achieve the chili flavor and then using the hot cream mixture to melt the chocolate pieces. I’m glad Steph is as big of a chocolate snob as myself, because she had the great idea of using delicious 70% Lindt chocolate bars. Although the recipe called for a chocolate curst, we used a single butter and shortening crust which was, in my opinion, a smart tweak to the recipe because otherwise the already very rich, dense pie would have been absurdly decadent.
The grapefruit meringue pie was a bit more complicated to prepare, because it involved prebaking the crust, cooking the grapefruit filling, and I didn’t do a very good job rolling out the dough and as a result the crust edges were thin, crispy, and not all that attractive. Also, the morning of the taste test we discovered the meringue had shrunk, separating from the crust and creating a weird gap. We think this might be from transferring the pie from the oven to the fridge too quickly, but we can’t be sure. I loved the texture of this pie because it was light and airy, but if I were to bake it again I would add less sugar to the grapefruit base to create a more tart flavor, complimented by the sweet meringue topping.
The pear-ginger pie was probably the easiest to make, because it only involved filling a double crust with a pear, sugar, ginger mixture. The ginger flavor was not a strong as I would have liked, and if I make this pie in the future I will definitely add more, or perhaps let the filling soak in the ginger pieces for a while before adding them to the crust. The crust of the pear pie was definitely the most successful of all three pies –it was nicely latticed, the edges were firm and golden, and the bottom tasted great with the apricot preserve layer. However, the inside was quite runny and the pears were still a bit crunchy.
Overall, I think Steph and I picked three contrasting pies that gave us great experience in the sweet-pie making field, and I can’t wait to delve into savory pies next week!