ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dessert Club: Pies & Tarts

 We were really on the ball this year and decided October Dessert Club would be our chance to test drive all our new Thanksgiving pie ideas.  I especially appreciated it because last year I put a lot of work into two pies and neither of them turned out well. NOT THIS YEAR!!!

It also won't surprise you, especially after looking at the picture, that my brother Dave was a special guest at this meeting. Dave LOVES pie and we spent at least three late-night facetime convos this month discussing and poring over recipes in preparation for this night.

We had an amazing spread.  Dave was in heaven, calling it "the best Thanksgiving EVER" (who needs all that turkey stuff?).  And while there was a winner, there were at least 4 runners-up so it was very close.  I will be posting the winning recipe, the ones I made, and maybe some others so let me know if you want one in particular.  November is the month to get your pie game ON!

Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart

Garden Apple-Raspberry Pie with Gruyere Cheese Crust

Chocolate-Cashew-Pecan Pie

Lemon Cream Cheese Tart

Caramel Apple Pie with Praline Crunch

Grapefruit Meringue Pie 

Cranberry Cream Pie

Derby Pie
(a Kari & Dave collaboration and my favorite of the evening)

Raspberry-Pear Pie 

....and the winner of the evening....
(just look at that crust!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pistachio-Chai Muffins

This recipe helped dispel a misconception I had about chai.  For some reason I thought it was a kind of tea, like black tea or green tea.  (I only drink herbal tea so I really didn't know.)  In much of southeast Asia "chai" is the generic word for "tea."  In those areas, a warming blend of Indian spices is added to tea to make what they call "masala chai."  Since English speakers already use the word "tea" for tea, "chai" became the word for spiced tea for us.  When I looked up what kind of spices go into chai - ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel seeds, cloves, pepper - I realized that sounded JUST like my total fav herbal tea - Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice.
So I got out the box and read the following off the side:
Brimming with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves, a cup of our aromatic Bengal Spice tea is like a trip to an exotic spice market in a faraway land. This adventurous blend is our caffeine-free interpretation of Chai, a piquant Indian brew traditionally made with black tea. Try Bengal Spice with milk and sugar for a true Chai experience.
 So there you go.  I've been drinking chai herbal tea for years and not even known it.  It's the best.  When I put it all together and realized two bags of Bengal Spice were going into these muffins PLUS there were pistachios, it was a no-brainer.  AMAZING!  And they are as good as they sound.  Or even better.
Pistachio-Chai Muffins (print recipe)
7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 chai blend tea bags, opened (I use Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice herbal tea, tiger on the box)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/3 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 T water

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Weight or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Cut open tea bags; add tea to flour mixture, stirring well.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Combine buttermilk, butter, 1 tsp vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. 

3.  Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray.  Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle nuts evenly over batter.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes in pan on wire rack. 

4.  Combine remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla, powdered sugar, and 1 T water, stirring until smooth.  Drizzle evenly over muffins.  Makes 12 muffins.

Recipe from Cooking Light, May 2011
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...