Friday, August 26, 2011

Chocolate Pie topped with Meringue

This recipe for chocolatey-goodness was adapted from ("Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie"). My first and second attempts at it were delicious, though I was not completely satisfied with the meringue (and new endeavor for me which still needs some perfecting).

Chocolate Pie topped with Meringue

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 prebaked pie crust
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup + 3/8 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons white flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Make and bake your piecrust, and set aside to cool. Seperate the 2 egg yolks from the egg whites and set each aside for 30 minutes.

To make the meringue: once you've started making the meringue, don't stop beating until it is finished. Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar at high speed until foamy, using an electric mixer. Gradually add 3/8 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks for and the sugar is dissolved (you can check this by rubbing a bit of meringue between your fingers - still gritty? Keep beating...) Set the meringue aside.

To make the chocolate filling: whisk the remaining 1 cup sugar, cocoa, flour and salt in a small bowl. In seperate bowl, whisk egg yolks and milk. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the sugar mixture gradually to melted butter, whisking until blended. Add milk mixture gradually and cook, whisking constantly until thick and bubbly.

Remove from heat, add chocolate chips and vanilla, and stir until melted. Add pecans if you're including them, stir. Pour into piecrust.

Spread meringue over hot filling right away (the meringue will start to cook from the heat of the filling, which is good.) Try to spoon it on in large dollops, connecting them gently with a spoon. Make sure to seal the edge of the meringue to the piecrust to help keep it from shrinking later.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or till golden. Cool completely.

Meringues do weep, which is the problem I've had with this one. It has not been much, though, and it certainly did not effect the taste. I tried cooling my second pie on the counter instead of in the fridge, but it still beaded up a bit on top.

This pie can be stored happily in the refrigerator, but be warned - meringues are certainly best on the day they are first made.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Frozen Blueberry Muffins

A wholesome and delicious recipe - one of my kids' favorites.

Frozen Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Taste of Home magazine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar + 2 teaspoon sugar for topping muffins
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

1. Cream the butter and 2 cups sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and mix well. In a seperate bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Stir in dry mixture into wet mixture. Fold in blueberries.
2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Sprinkle remaining 2 tsp sugar over muffins.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or till muffins test done with a toothpick. Cool in pan before removing.

Yields about 30-40 muffins, depending on how full your cups are.

Doesn't this sound good with strawberry chunks instead of blueberries? Have fun experimenting!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Natural Facial Scrub

I have been using this recipe as an excellent facial scrub in the shower. Combine a small amount with water and your favorite facial cleanser; rub over your face for an exfoliant that will leave your skin feeling wondrously smooth.

Favorite Cleansing Grains
from: Natural Beauty at Home, by Janice Cox

Mix together the following and store in an air-tight container at room temperature until ready to use:

2 tablespoons oatmeal (I used 5-minute oats, aka quick oats, which are oats broken into smaller pieces)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons wheat germ

Natural and Effective!