My first inclination was to begin this post with the reminder that we are officially in pie season.
But really, isn’t it always pie season?
I mean, have you ever heard someone turn down the offer of pie because it was “out of season?” Me neither.
I heard about adding sour cream to pie dough a couple of years ago on the Milk Street podcast. I listened enthusiastically and then mentally stowed the idea away for a later time.
Two years later. Because that’s how my brain works. Adding sour cream is supposed to help with shrinkage in blind baking. To test this, I made a couple of double crust pies that didn’t involve blind baking.
Because that makes so much sense.
I promise to try it with a Quiche Lorraine and report back at some point.
Yes, this is a different pie. Same dough though.
What I can confirm is that from a taste and texture perspective, this dough is spot-on. If you don’t have a go-to pie dough, or if you are like me and have a wandering dough-eye, this is a great bet for all of your pie needs. In season or otherwise.
Sour Cream Dough (with an apple pie recipe if you need it)
For the dough
- 2 C (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 tsps sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 12 TBS (170g) or 1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces about the size of almonds
- ½ C (120g) sour cream
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combined.
- Sprinkle the butter pieces over the mixture and pulse again until you get course crumbs and a sandy texture
- Add the sour cream and pulse until the dough starts to come together.
- Dump the clumpy dough onto a slightly floured surface and form the dough together. Then divide in half, form each half into a disc and then wrap each in plastic. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or you can freeze, just remember to allow to sit on counter once removed).
For the Pie
- 1 recipe pie dough
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1/3 C packed brown sugar (golden or dark)
- 3 TBS all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 8 cups thinly sliced apples (I use a combo just to make it interesting and also buy what is on sale. People have all kinds of preferences when it comes to apples—use what you prefer)
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1 TBS butter
- 1 egg
- Additional sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Pull the dough from the fridge. Roll-out the bottom crust for a 9ish inch pie pan (I think the one I brought in was 10 inches and it worked just fine). Carefully fit into the pan with extra hanging over the side. Let rest in the fridge while you are making the pie filling.
- In a medium bowl, combined the sugar and spices.
- Peel and thinly sliced the apples into a large bowl.
- Add the spices, toss to mix. Toss-in lemon juice.
- Roll-out top crust of pie.
- Fill chilled pie tin with apples. Arrange them as desired (I like to mound them a little bit and make sure everything is laying flat—no rouge apple edges sticking up). Dot with butter.
- Top with crust. You will have overhang from both the top and bottom crusts. Trim so that you have about ½ inch hanging over the sides of the pie tin. Here you can either tuck the overhang back between the pie and the edge of the pan (like a fold under) or you can seal the top and bottom together and flute the extra etc.
- Cut four cents in the top with a sharp knife.
- Beat the egg and brush over the crust. Top with sugar.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until pie is golden brown. I always bake pies with a cookie sheet on the lower rack to catch any bubbling juices.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting.
When it comes down to it, is there anything better than a crispy rice treat?
The archetype is so simple and so satisfying. Yet the variations are endless.
While it’s probably obvious to you all, it took me a minute to consider adding my new favorite caramelized crispy rice to a rice crispy treat recipe.
I’m very, very glad my slow brain finally showed up to the party. At first I was worried that it would make for an entirely too sweet situation. However, a little extra salt balances the who affair out nicely.
I happen to like my crispy rice treats dense and tightly stuck together. For this reason, I prefer to use corn syrup as the glue for my treats instead of marshmallows. A long time ago I learned that while this made for my preferred treat structure, you can’t have a crispy rice treat without the marshmallows. So, I add them in (mini of course) as their own ingredient.
Brown Butter Caramel Crispy Treats
- 1ish batch Caramelized Crispy Rice
- 1 C light corn syrup
- 3/4 C sugar
- 4 TBS brown butter (it’s easy to brown a pound, keep it in the fridge or freezer and use as needed)
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1 1/2 C mini marshmallows (more or less to taste)
- 6 C puffed rice cereal
- Line a 9X13 inch baking pan with parchment and oil lightly.
- Add 5 C (note, you’ll still have a cup) of cereal to a large bowl, set aside.
- In a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan, add sugar and corn syrup and heat over medium heat, mixing to combine. Stir continuously until the mixture begins to bubble. Allow to boil while stirring for a couple of minutes (don’t bother with a thermometer).
- Pull mixture from heat and stir-in butter and salt.
- Add liquid sugar mixture to bowl of cereal and mix to combine, adding in marshmallows and caramelized crispy rice. You can also use that last cup of cereal to if the mixture isn’t holding together tightly.
- Add cereal mixture to prepared pan. Press into pan until even. Allow to cool before cutting.
Sometimes TD will wander into the kitchen when I’m baking, survey the land of often strange ingredients and ask with a sigh, “why can’t you just make chocolate chip cookies?”
He’s basically asking me why I can’t be normal. We’ve been together for 19 years. You’d think he would have stopped asking by now.
But. I am sympathetic to his plight. He’s just looking for a tasty treat while I’m attempting world baking domination with dried hibiscus and tahini.
Earlier this summer, I offered up a peace flag in chocolate chip cookie form. Recognizable enough that TD wouldn’t have to guess the mystery ingredient but just extra enough to keep with my own baking agenda: brown butter caramel crispy chocolate chip cookies.
I told you I am fixated on these nearly-burned but not quite caramel crispies. Add in some brown butter and lots of chocolate and you’ve got an impressive Z score.
Because normal is boring.
Brown Butter Caramel Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Note–you could make the dough and bake in the same day. I happen to like to let my dough marinate over night (or a month in the freezer after I scoop into balls). I’ve written the recipe for an overnight–but do what you want.
- 1 C (8 ounces) brown butter at room temp (need the recipe? brown butter)
- 1 C packed golden brown sugar
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/8 C all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 12 ounces (regular sized package) chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 C (or to taste) caramelized crisps (link for recipe)
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Whisk in salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, add butter. Cream for a couple of minutes.
- Add both sugars, cream for another couple of minutes, scraping down the bowl as you go.
- Beat-in egg and egg yolk one-at-a-time. Beat-in vanilla.
- Pull bowl from standing mixer and gently fold-in flour mixture until nearly combined.
- Fold-in chocolate chips and caramelized rice.
- Using a scoop of desired size (I like a #40 or just under 2 TBS scooper) scoop dough into domes. Line domes onto a baking sheet (separate layers with two parchment sheets), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. Once the cookie domes are cold, you can easily transfer them to a freezer ziplock bag and store for one-off baking for up to a month. Just add a couple of minutes to the cook time.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line backing sheets with parchment.
- Please dough domes on baking sheets leaving a couple of inches between each for spread.
- Bake in oven two-sheets at a time, rotating halfway through. In my ovens, these usually cook in about 10 minutes.
A couple of months ago, I came across a recipe for carmelized crispy rice cereal (I think rice Krispy is trademarked) in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi and it’s like a door opened to a crunchy, sweet but so browned it’s almost bitter land. The possibilities were so inspiring that the next three weeks of recipes feature this versatile ingredient.
One of the beauties of caramelizing anything is that you get to control how deep you go. I’ve tried several versions and prefer mine darker but not yet burned. Think Cracker Jacks.
In fact, Cracker Jacks are what inspired this picnic and BBQ ready dessert bar.
How do you feel about a peanut buttery blondie base polished with a layer of chocolate and topped with crunchy caramelized crispy rice?
Homerun you say?
For the Caramelized Crispy Rice
- 2 C crispy rice cereal (have had good results with both regular and brown rice versions)
- 3 TBS water
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan add sugar. Then add water and mix until sugar dissolves. This is the last time you are going to want to touch the mixture until you take it off the heat the first time.
- Bring mixture to a boil (don’t stir) and allow to simmer until the syrup just starts to brown.
- Remove from heat and mix in cereal (I find a rubber spatula works the best). Gently mix cereal until ever last piece is covered in syrup. By the time you there, everything will have dried and look like its dusted in snow (and now we know how they make Frosted Flakes).
- Return to heat over a medium burned and fold constantly. The sugar will start to melt and caramelize. Keep folding until you reach desired depth of caramelization. I know the version I like is done when the sugar starts to smoke.
- Spread cereal on parchment lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
- From here you can store in an airtight container in big hunks.
For Homerun Bars
- 1 C peanut butter (crunchy or smooth–I use smooth because I like to add-on whole peanuts)
- 1/2 C butter, softened
- 2 C golden brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 TBS vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
- 1 C peanuts (I like slightly salted)
- 1 TBS vegetable oil
- 8 ounces chocolate (chips will do fine)
- 1 batch caramelized crispy rice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a 9X13 pan with parchment.
- In bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth.
- Beat brown sugar into butter mixture in three stages, allowing the mixer to run for a couple of minutes after all of the sugar has been added.
- Beat-in eggs one-at-a-time, combining completely after each egg. Beat in vanilla.
- Turn off mixer. Add flour and mix on lowest speed until just combined. Fold in peanuts by hand.
- Pour batter into prepared pan using a spatula to level it out.
- Bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the dough comes out with small crumbs (about 35 minutes).
- Remove from over and allow to cool completely.
- Melt chocolate in microwave (30 seconds at a time at 50% heat until all chips melt with mixed). Stir in oil.
- Using an off-set spatula, “frost” cooled blondies with chocolate.
- Slightly press caramelized rice into still warm chocolate.
- Allow chocolate to set-up. Cut and enjoy.
- Store in an airtight container for up to three days.