Jump to navigation
French Cream Pies
The Dark Wraith must attend a Saturday faculty meeting. Saturdays work because the night teachers cannot attend day meetings during the week, and daytime faculty members—usually the tenured crowd—don't want to hang around for evening meetings when the night-time teachers are present, so we have to meet on Saturdays every once in a while so everyone can attend.
To lessen the joylessness of the Saturday meetings, attendees are encouraged to bring in food for everyone to eat. Most people bring store-bought stuff: chips and dip; trays of sad, raw vegetables; boxes of cookies; and other barely edible treats. A few of the female faculty members prepare hot food: crock-pot fare, like those little weiners stewed in barbecue sauce, or swedish meatballs floating in gravy.
I, on the other hand, do desserts. Sometimes, I put together one of my very large (and appallingly heavy) white chocolate raspberry cheesecakes or a chocolate Texas sheet cake.
This time, I'm going to offer a couple of my French cream pies. I wouldn't have been able to do this save for a couple of glad events. First, I was able to borrow a mixer once again from Sunrock, whom I thank for the loan of equipment. I also have to (grudgingly, mind you) thank someone who somehow managed to notice a PayPal donation button I had buried in an obscure place where I
didn't even notice it had gotten in when I redid the advertising frame to include a new ad for Harry Potter merchandise at Hot Topic. The donation allowed me to purchase the ingredients and get my good digital camera out of hock.
The recipe as readers here are going to see it made includes some cheating on my part. The topping on one pie will be made from scratch, but the topping on the other pie is store-bought. Also, the pie crusts are ready-made, although I do a little bit to them to make them work better for the recipe. Even with those cheats, the pies are pretty much homemade, and they are absolutely delicious. There isn't even any point in talking about calories for a slice of one of these pies, and that's because calories aren't supposed to be stated in scientific notation. As far as nutritional value goes, readers can see for themselves that a dessert like this is made from wholesome, healthful ingredients that are sure to extend your life, make you more attractive, and enhance your willingness and ability to endure this last year of the Bush Administration.
And if that doesn't make you want to read the recipe below and follow it carefully, there's a little something at the end that might be worth the while of at least a few regulars around here if they will only read and enjoy the exposition that now follows.
The ingredients are simple. This will be for two French cream pies, one apple, the other cherry.
• One eight-ounce package of cream cheese, warmed enough to be fairly soft.
• One cup heavy whipping cream.
• One cup confectioner's (10X) powdered sugar.
• One-half cup brown sugar.
• One-quarter cup granulated sugar.
• One-quarter cup lemon juice.
• Three small to medium Jonathan or Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thin.
• One-quarter teaspoon cinnamon.
• One can, at least 20 ounces, of cherry pie filling (the more cherries, the better in the filling.)
• Two pie shells, preferably shortbread.
Get your ingredients together and admire your culinary organizational skills.
Put the apple slices in a medium bowl, then add the brown sugar, the granulated sugar, the cinnamon, and the lemon juice. Turn the apple slices over and over to get the juice and sugars well mixed throughout the apples. You might want to add a little bit of water to the mixture to get the sugars to distribute more evenly over the slices.
Beat a raw egg in a bowl and brush onto the pie shells. The egg will make the shells nicer when they're baked.
You should now make yourself a pot of coffee. This isn't for the pies, of course; this is for you. You aren't drinking enough coffee, and this is your opportunity to rectify that deficiency in your diet.
Having preheated the oven to 375°, put the pie crusts in for five (5) minutes. This will turn them a golden brown color and make them more resilient for the filling. When they've finished their five minutes in the oven, take them out and put them in the refrigerator to cool down so they won't melt the batter when you put it in.
Having allowed the apple slices to soak up the sugars and lemon juice for about 20 minutes, it's time to put them in a sauce pan in which you've melted just a little bit of butter. With the apples in the pan, set the heat on medium low and bring to a simmer. Cover and let them stew for about 15 minutes, until they're fairly soft but not all that mushy. You're not making applesauce pie, but at the same time, you don't want people eating your dessert having to chop and hack at the apple slices, either.
While the apples are cooking, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks, remembering that, next time, you should borrow the shield for the mixer so you're not getting hosed by the whipping cream.
Once the whipping cream has stiffened properly, first put in the cream cheese block, getting it pretty thoroughly mixed with the whipped cream, then slowly add the cup of powdered sugar. You should have the mixer set on about medium-high for this because that cream cheese is going to be heavy plowing for the mixer, at least for a while.
Blend the resulting mixture at medium-high speed for two minutes, then at high speed until the batter has a very smooth consistency. The high-speed beating shouldn't take more than two minutes.
While the batter is whipping, pour yourself a cup of coffee into your official Dark Wraith Coffee Mug
Take the pie crusts out of the refrigerator, where you put them to cool, and set them on a surface where you can push the batter into them.
Put half of the batter into each pie shell.
Press the batter into the corners as you go along, and once you've gotten all of the batter out of the mixing bowl, smooth down the top of the batter in each crust, making a very slight concavity toward the center of the batter in each shell. This will keep the juice in the topping from trying to spill out over the edges.
Using a big spoon, ladle the cherry pie filling onto the batter in one crust. Be careful not
to try to spread the filling once it's on because it will just mix into the batter and make an unsightly mess. Just spoon the filling on, working around the top of the batter to get an even distribution of filling all over.
Do the same with the apple topping. Again, don't try to spread the topping around once you've gotten it on because it will just mix into the batter and make a mess of the look of your pie. Also, with the apple topping, you'll probably have a lot of juice in the pan. It's okay to pick up some of it when you're scooping apple slices to put on the batter, but try not to let too much of that juice get on your pie, or you'll have an awfully soggy dessert.
This is what your creations will look like when you're finished. Put them in the refrigerator overnight. Serve them cold. As a matter of safety, this kind of dessert has
to be served cold or at least well chilled; besides, it tastes better the colder it is.
And this is your pie-making host, holding up his creations for your inspection. Mind you, this is the G-rated serving pose. Click on the picture, and you'll see the PG-rated version of the Dark Wraith serving the pie. Decide for yourself which way you like your dessert served.
The Dark Wraith wishes readers a bountiful eating experience.
Your chef commentary is magnifique!
Them pies look fantastic!
(no comment on the PG-13 picture)
And I appreciate that, Phydeaux Speaks.
The Dark Wraith sez, "The less said, the better."
Oh, yum! Dessert, either way!
And the pies look great, too.
Moody Blue, I had a hunch you'd smell those...pies!
Good Morning Dark One,
I had just gotten to the recipie, when my 'puter gave me the blue screen right in the face!
...calories aren't supposed to be stated in scientific notation.
I don't know if it was the recipe, or the sweets to follow. ;)
wholesome, healthful ingredients that are sure to extend your life, make you more attractive, and enhance your willingness and ability to endure this last year of the Bush Administration.
Snicker. The PG-13 presentation was most interesting, I've seen those aprons before. Just not that nice.
The Dark Wraith has a sort of Ricardo Montalban thing going on.
KHAAAAAANNNNNNNN!!!!! I have another piece of pie?
The Dark Wrath of Khan is present.
"...dessert wi' out peer."
...and we all thought DW didn't do "cheesecake" pics...
Good morning, Dark Wraith.
I have the coffee mug. Send over the pies. They look delicious!
good morning dark wraith:
never feel that you have to explain using things like premade crusts. they not only save time and mess, most of the time (and this is certainly one of them) nobody would notice the crust in the slightest.
also, thank you for remembering to include the make coffee step. i often forget to include that one. see, i have been baking for so long that i simply pass through the steps like that without much thinking. then when i'm writing out a recipe i leave out cruciial things like that. that's one of the main reasons that i've never considered myself a very good teacher. too many times i find myself leaving out little cruicial steps because they are things that i do without thinking, or, especially if i'm doing something that i was self taught, without even knowing it was a step at all.
i stand in awe of professional educators.
Good afternoon, Minstrel Boy.
Although I do buy the prepared shells for occasions like the one described above, I cannot help but take pride in my own crusts. Truth be told, I've never been good at more than three or four types, but my standard pie crust is really good, although I must admit that the way I build it causes the thing to be fiendishly difficult to handle in that perilous last step of getting it from the counter to the pie bowl.
Awhile back, I saw a picture of yours (I think it was in one of your posts, anyway) wherein there was a lattice top on a pie. I swear, I wouldn't be able to do that if my life depended upon the outcome. My pie crust dough would just collapse (in laughter) if I tried that.
Eventually, I'll be doing a post on making a cheesecake, and that's when I'll show how to make a shortbread crust. Before that, however, I'll do a recipe post on a main course type of meal, something that's not very hard to make, entirely ugly looking when served, but pretty darned tasty. It's from my Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors.
All of that food posting is down the road a bit. Presently, I must write midterm exams and get finished with a really curmudgeonly article I'm writing for publication here. If all goes well, that article will be in my Top Five Most Cynical Articles of All Time.
The Dark Wraith is so excited about pegging the Grouch Meter and then making it evaporate.
Good morning Dark Wraith,
Aside from scaring the shit out of me with that last demonic photo, between you and Mistrel Boy I'm having a constant craving.
Good afternoon, DW.
I recently found the secret to transferring your pie crust to a baking dish. Next time try making your crust on top of a large piece of wax paper. Before you start ... take a stick of butter ... the real stuff ... and slather it all over the wax paper. Lift up the paper by its edges and tip it into your dish. It should slide ride in.
Good afternoon, Brooke.
I have to admit that, although I've tried the wax paper thing (as well as the cheesecloth pie crust bag and other ideas), I'd never thought of using butter to make the transfer easier.
The problem with my standard pie crust is that it doesn't hold together very well at all. I make the dough like that on purpose because it makes for a very flaky, tasty final result, but it's difficult when moving the flattened dough.
I shall, indeed, try the butter on the wax paper trick.
The Dark Wraith learns something new every darned day.
Good afternoon, konagod.
You think that photo is scary, from what I've been told by students seeing me grading papers while sitting in the cafeteria, apparently in that mode I take on the look of a silently seething He-Beast from the Bowels of Irritability.
I'm not sure, but I might look like that just as a deterrent to people wandering over to chat with me while I'm trying to concentrate on going through all the ink in my red pen in one grading session. Of course, every now and then, someone drifts close enough to see if the little device resting by my right hand really is the self-inking "BULLSHIT" stamp students talk about having had me apply to their term papers and exam essay questions.
I rarely use it; the stamp is more of a friendly warning kind of thing: possession is nine-tenths of the effect.
The Dark Wraith is actually very forgiving as a grader.
Hey, wait a minute, konagod.
When you wrote, "...that last demonic photo," to which were you referring: the one in the article, or the one in the link?!
I suppose I must concede that neither was exactly what one might call "angelic," but the one in the link was just because I'd made my shirt sticky with the heavy whipping cream showering me while I was blending it.
The Dark Wraith was striving for balance between aesthetics and culinary sublimeness.
good afternoon dark wraith
i remember the lattice top picture. it was a cherry pie. there is that eternal trade off with pastries, the ones that hold together structurally oftentimes end up tasting like the concrete or stucco they represent. the light and flaky ideal is one worth sacrificing a spot of bother to obtain. my biggest trick when trying to deal with it is to constantly pop the dough in and out of the freezer for a few minutes. cold is the pastry chef's best friend, as much as gluten release is our enemy.
well, that and using lard. nothing has ever come close to replacing good old fashioned rendered pig fat when slapping a crust around.
Yes, Minstrel Boy, I would be less than honest were I to deny the pleasure I have found in the occasional whack upon the fatted pork rump roast before committing it to the tender mercies of the roasting rack. (This is obviously only for tenderizing purposes and to properly infuse the herb-and-spice coating).
And here again I am the glad beneficiary of a heretofore unappreciated method for dealing with dough. Yes, of course! The refrigerator.
I'm the one forever recommending refrigeration for other food preparation problems, like, for example, to keep onions from making the eyes all watery, there's nothing like cutting the onions after they've been refrigerated for an hour or so. Ditto for slicing an otherwise very tender beefsteak tomato.
The Dark Wraith is now glad he put up this post (despite the rather fresh e-mail messages he's been getting ever since yesterday).
Let's just say, if I didn't know you, I'd be reluctant to take pies from the fella in either photo, sexy as the PG version was.
DW- refrigerating onions works, but when the onion in question is exceptionally fragrant, two other tricks help. Run a trickle of cold water in the sink as you cut it nearby, and second, hold a mouthful of water during the process. Just closing one's mouth doesn't seem to do the trick, but the mouthful of water really does (thus speaketh the queen of prep at Subway, who slices 5-10 very pungent, non-refrigerated onions at a time—I don't like the long term effects of refridgerating onions, and don't see a huge difference in pungence anyway. I am She Who Volunteers to slice the onions, especially since I am finicky about the quality of the slices when I go forth to practice sandwich artistry).
The Dark Wraith hereby defers to She Who Cuts the Onions.
[Although He Who Cuts the Cheeez reserves the right to hold a mouthful of coffee instead of water.]
Hmph; Seems I've lost my appetite. Maybe I just need a Frrrraaaaapppppuccino?
I wonder if I should try to hold it in my nose?
Thank goodness you have finally posted more Dark Wraith Beefcake! I lost all mine in the crash. Now I can start my collection all over. Yessiree, life if good.
As luck would have it, I still have in my possesion my lovely & large Dark Wraith Bookbag & Pulp Ecconomics coffee mug. But somehow they just don't cut it on those days when a cowgirl gets the blues.
BTW, that bookbag has come in mighty handy when I go to
horse auctions. In fact, I can damn near fit my whole life into that little darlin'. Hey, not all of us live large, ya know. I do however, wish it came in pink.
Here's my question; Why does the faculty get pie and we get cheese whiz, Spam, Ovaltine, or some of that other nasty chit you serve in this joint?!?
I guess this explains where we are in the food chain.
Pieless in East Jaysus.
Oh, dear.!! I forgot to address you, Good morning, Dark Wraith. Now I'll never get any of that pie. Sigh......
PS. If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?
Good morning, Dark Wraith.
Before that, however, I'll do a recipe post on a main course type of meal, something that's not very hard to make, entirely ugly looking when served, but pretty darned tasty. It's from my Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors.
That wouldn't have anything to do with chicken and noodles, would it? I think that's what my mother's mom called "pot pie".
The pies looked really, really good. Damn, I've got a list
of recipes to try out now.
Another way to handle pie crust as you transfer it to the baking dish: Drape it over the rolling pin, then just roll the pin out from under it as you effect the Xfer. I have a rolling pin that can be filled with ice water and sealed - works very well.
Good afternoon, spyderkl.
Pot pies are easy and very useful: I can make a whole pile of the innards (with lots of cheap, boiled chicken purchasable in big bags) and freeze the stuff along with a big wad of dough, and then I can prepare pot pies at will for weeks at a time.
However, for my next recipe published here, I'm going to do something else. This one also has cheap ingredients and doesn't take very long to prepare. The strange thing about this recipe, however, is that most people, even those who say, "I'll have just a small helping," end up wolfing down far more of it than they should. It's something about the way the ingredients taste when put together. The unfortunate, downside of over-eating the stuff is that some of those same ingredients, when consumed in large portions, cause issues awhile later.
That means you serve this recipe only to those with whom you have very close, enduring relationships or to those who will be leaving within a few hours of the meal (and not returning for a couple of days).
Enough of the teasers about future food fun for friends and fiends.
The Dark Wraith needs to get back to class: today is "How the Federal Reserve System Works" day in macroeconomics.
DW: I don't care about the Federal Reserve System. I wanna know why you aren't wearing that lacy black apron I gave you while baking. Men!!! Don't you ever listen?
P.S. Trog ... unplug your nose, sweetie. We don't want your head exploding all over the pies!
Now, there's a visual I could put on YouTube: Head Detonations.
Putting informed people in a room and making them listen to Bush say with a straight face that we don't torture would do the trick: group head bursting.
And as far as the black apron goes, Brooke, it wasn't long enough. It went down only to my knees.
The Dark Wraith doesn't want an NC-17 rating on his recipe posts.
Totally off topixorz --
In a small private forum of which I am a member -- it consists at least in theory of people who know each other offline -- anyway, someone wrote:
Our debt isn't impossibly high. We've still got a great debt-to-GDP ratio. Now, when MediCare starts having fiscal problems, then we're in trouble. But to say that the amount of money spent on the war matters in the long run just isn't true.
What the hell
do I say to that?!!
I'd ask them to define " great debt-to-GDP ratio", as well as how does it matter? If my personal GDP is defined as the value of my work for my employer(meaning the $$ I get to take home plus his profits) and my debt is defined as money I personally owe, I'd have a great credit score. GDP is only a good indicater if the government gets enough taxes in income to be able to pay the debt as well as its other obligations. Since the tax cuts during the republican era, the government share of GDP has gone down, while the rich man's has gone up. A "great debt-to-GDP ratio" as defined 10 years ago would be "not-so-great" today. I'll bet dollars to donuts (fresh please, not the petrified ones in the couch cushions) that the definition as used by pundits and "experts" hasn't changed in 20 years, except maybe to define it upwards to stay in keeping with the repug penchant of changing reality to suit their agenda. So pin the fool down on why it is great, and who says it is great, and whether the ratio of income to debt would qualify the US government for a good mortgage.
DW, can you run the numbers and tell us if you'd give a mortgage to the US government under the same criteria as a prime lender? Use the postulation that the government can neither raise taxes nor print more money to increase income, unless the theoretical employers of said government(us) vote them a "pay raise".
edited to make a paragraph
Good mornong, Mild Plover.
I am an admitted ignoramus, economics-wise, and your down-to -earth response to Cloud is refreshing, just as DW's are. How do people with just enough education in economics to be a pain throw out something like that? But to say that the amount of money spent on the war matters in the long run just isn't true. That smacks of Hallibutons fake CEO- Cheney with his "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Guys like me just scratch our heads, (No, not to keep them from blowing up!) wondering how $1 trillion dollars doesn't matter in the long run?
Good morning, Ebon One.
Just noticed in the photo of you pouring a cuppa, that the coffee carafe is smaller than the damn cup! Why bother pouring one to the other?
Good morning, trog.
How do people with just enough education in economics to be a pain throw out something like that? But to say that the amount of money spent on the war matters in the long run just isn't true.
Yeah, that's exactly what I'm trying to figure out. I'm not so much looking to argue with the guy; I'm just curious as to WTF he's thinking. (But I can't just ask him, "WTF are you thinking?", because he'll only get indignant, even if I'm polite.)
N.B.: I hesitated (well, only a little bit) to suddenly change the subject so; but even though it's structurally a 'blog, it is
called "The Dark Wraith Forums
", after all.
Good morning, Cloud.
Did you see the musicles on this guy? I wouldn't go around threadjackin' iffin I was you!
Since the post appears to have transitioned to an " economic" discussion, I thought maybe this article I first ran across at Signs-of-the-Times might be pertinent:
Financial Institutions to Undergo Test begins:
"Don't be alarmed if your local bank teller is looking a bit sickly over the next three weeks. It is only a cyber-illness.
"Hundreds of banks and other financial institutions are participating in the largest test of its kind ever conducted to ensure the nation's financial system can keep functioning in case of an outbreak of pandemic flu."
Did you see the musicles on this guy? I wouldn't go around threadjackin' iffin I was you!
Well sir it's his own gosh-darned fault for not having a proper bb.
He does have an improper BB...it is officially closed, but hasn't been actually closed yet. You should at least look at some of the ancient threads before our Leader replaces it and it floats off to cyber heaven(2 or 3 of us are still posting there, and deleting the spam posts, said spammers being the reason it is slated to be replaced). http://dark-wraith.com/bbs/index.php
Honestly? I don't give a rip what kinda Bed and Breakfast he's runnin'. He just better be wearin' a damn shirt when I sit down to eat!
"Corn flakes again? Son of a bitz!"
I've imbibed a half bottle of Aussie Merlot, and am unsure of how coherent I'll be, but anyway...
But to say that the amount of money spent on the war matters in the long run just isn't true.
Depends on your point of view. In the long run we are dead, so why care? Take a long enough view-assume a 2 century payback on the war-and the cost is minuscule if the interest rate is favorable. Take an even longer view and assume money no longer has meaning in the utopia of our many-great-grandchildren, then yes, the above statement is true.
I refuse to go back and proofread this-the mistakes I've caught are horrible enough. But, no, the cost of war is really irrelevant, except to those that expect to bear it. Your poster on the other forum probably doesn't give a shit if he's an adult- the cost won't catch up with him. But I have two sons, three if you count my hubby's, and a daughter of the heart that will be mine if her father buys the big one untimely. They will in some way pay for this war, in unfunded infrastructure, higher taxes, or other crimps to the standard of living we are accustomed to in the US. My eldest I can see as a rock star or politician, my youngest has Down Syndrome, but I can see him as a very effective gigolo in his adult life. The little girl is as normal as someone with her life can be, so she'll get the shaft. My stepson (?what do you call your husband's son by another woman while you are still married???)...A lawyer, or some other profession that makes tons of money by talking the opponents to death...I'm not sure about politician with him.(Oh God, I just saw the typos in the preceding...did I say I'd had too much wine?)
MY kids are gonna pay for this shit. Whether in money or quality of life, it doesn't matter. To me, the cost of war does make a difference, because I give a shit about MY children's future. It is personal. In a cosmic sense, it doesn't matter as much, because everything eventually dies, or ends, or is transformed. I have a loverly PHD in Metaphysics from an on line diploma mill...I know that Bush's evil as expressed as something that matters is minuscule in a cosmic sense. But in a real life, down home and gritty sense, it matters. It MATTERS TO ME on a personal, emotional, non-cosmic level. The present policies are going to bring harm to my clan-my children are going to suffer. My children are going to suffer even if the congress and next president bring about a 180 degree change in policy. For this, I will compromise myself to vote dem, even if its is not what I want,just to ensure no republican ever again has power in this world. They have harmed my family, and
Wild Clover is vicious in defense of her family. I truly don't care that 200 years from now this won't matter a bit. In a very unmetaphorical sense, I am Vengeance at the ballot box. I am going to be Jimminy Cricket to any politician who claims to be progressive. I am MOTHER, out to defend her cubs, hear me roar.
I also think I'm drunk.
Posted on 10/10/07 at 23:39:38 Edited because the typos were truly too horible to subject civilized beings to, even Trog.
I figured I should make an actual comment about the pies. I quite understand using cherry pie filling, rather than home made. I have for years attempted to find a source of pie cherries, and only managed it one time. The pies I made from those cherries were devoured by even those who declared they hated cherry pies. Unfortunately, she and her daughter died in a car wreck on the way to work the next winter...The mom worked for me, the daughter had until promoted, and 5 minutes earlier on the commute and I would have been the car to broadside them. Brrrr. But pie cherries are impossible to find, and any other cherry isn't right..rather nasty in fact. So apologize not for bowing to necessity in pie making. If any reader knows of a source for pie cherries, I'd gladly pay postage + cost to get them.
Become a Registered Commenter