Chocolate Crust Butterscotch Pie

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Pi(e) day is next week, which is a silly American non-holiday invented by maths teachers to promote knowledge of the number pi (get it? Because the date is 03/14?). You can really only celebrate it in the US because literally everywhere else in the world writes dates as day/month/year rather than the US way, but any excuse to make pie is a valid reason to celebrate in my book.

This year I'm bringing you two pie recipes, first this Chocolate-Crust Butterscotch Masterpiece and next week... well, that one will be a surprise. This pie, which requires butterscotch chips, marshmallow crème, chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs... all America-specific ingredients. So here is where I sourced my substitutes: butterscotch chips sent to me when I begged an American friend to mail me some, marshmallow crème from the foreign section of Waitrose (I bought their entire stock!), chocolate chips from Lupe Pinto's Mexican grocery store and Rich Tea biscuit crumbs.

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This pie is really good, but it is so rich. You know how a normal pie is like 8 generous servings or 10-12 tiny ones if it's something richer like cheesecake? If you can slice it thin enough, I think you could easily get 16 slices out of this pie because although delicious, a little goes a long way. I mean, look at the ingredient list: chocolate, butterscotch, marshmallow, cookies and brown sugar? It's sweet. But it's also really delicious, the butterscotch flavour comes through strongly and this is my new favourite chocolate crust that I'm making with all cheesecakes from now on because oh, man, the crust alone is worth making this recipe even if you just fill it with pudding or whipped cream or... eat it plain.

Next time I make it (and there WILL be a next time), I'm going to make it in tiny tart pans, which I think will be perfectly-sized and adorable. Make this for your favourite sweet tooth, or use it to teach a kid what pi is. They'll love it.

The verdict:

Four spoons out of five. I loved it enough to give it five, but I think the sweet overload is going to put some people off so I'm knocking off a spoon as a caution flag.

Click here for previous pies both sweet and savoury!

One year ago: Mocha cake with caramel frosting
two years ago: walnut butter cookies
three years ago: chocolate key lime pie

the recipe:

Chocolate Crust Butterscotch Pie

the directions:
crust:

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in very short bursts in the microwave.
Stir in crumbs and brown sugar and mix well.
Pat into bottom of 9-inch pie pan.
Wait 5 minutes until chocolate has just started to set, then press mixture up the sides of the pie plate (if you try to do so immediately, it won't stay on the sides of the dish).

Filling:

Melt butterscotch chips.
Once completely melted, add salt and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow crème.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes while you whip the cream.
Whip cream until soft peaks form, then fold into cooled butterscotch mixture until smooth.
Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

the ingredients:
the crust:

1 c (170g) unsweetened chocolate
1/3 c (75g) butter
1 c (85g) Rich Tea biscuit crumbs or graham cracker crumbs
¼ c (50g) brown sugar, firmly packed

the filling:

1 c (170g) butterscotch morsels
¼ tsp salt
2 c (160g) marshmallow crème
1 1/8 c (270ml) whipping cream

Blintzes with Blueberry Sauce

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I got married to a pretty awesome guy six years ago yesterday, and despite what the wedding industry will try to tell you, our story did not end there. Our wedding day was a great day, but there have been a zillion more great days for us since then, and we've accomplished way more as a team outside of that day than we accomplished on it.*

But this week also marks NINE years since Judson and I met and started dating, which we're both pretty proud of. We've officially been together for over ¼ of my life and nearly ¼ of Judson's AND for half of that time, we've lived in Scotland. From here on out, more of our relationship will have taken place in Edinburgh than in the US, and I'm pretty thrilled to have hit that milestone. To celebrate six years of wedded bliss (and sometimes less than bliss but still pretty great times), I made us blintzes. These have been on my radar for ages, but since they involve three separate recipes (wrappers, filling, topping), I figured I'd wait until we had a special occasion. And then I waited through like three special occasions because there are a lot of ingredients to make these and, well, I was busy.

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But when you're married to a man who is indifferent to dessert and hates frosting AND you've already made the two fanciest meals you can think of for anniversaries number 4 and 5, it's time to get creative. I made these for dessert, but if you're really into difficult-but-luxurious breakfasts, they would also make an amazing weekend celebration breakfast for your next birthday, mother's/father's day or anniversary. Either way, swallow the hesitation I know is coming when you see how much dairy this recipe requires and make these soon, because they are delightful.

If you've never had a blintz, think fluffier crepes, bursting with a sweet danish-like filling and topped with a barely sweetened fruit compote. If you can get your hands on peaches, try making a peach topping in lieu of blueberries, or to make the whole recipe a little easier, swap the fruit compote for whatever your favourite flavour of pie filling is (cherry would be phenomenal here). We've made (slightly more controversial) blintzes in the Recipe Box Kitchen before, but these are the ones to which I'll return because, come on, who needs a diet blintz?

*Also like 90% of the time the weather is better than it was that day so that's also nice.

The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. Worth the effort, and I think you'll agree.

One year ago: Mocha Cake with Caramel Frosting
two years ago: Walnut Butter Cookies
three years ago: 3-ingredient easy bread

the recipe:

Blintzes with Blueberry Sauce

the directions:
blintzes:

At least one hour before cooking, make the blintz batter: combine egg, milk, flour, sugar and salt, beating until very smooth.
Refrigerate while you prepare the filling and topping.

 

 

Filling:

Whisk together cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and cottage cheese until smooth, then set aside.

 


Topping:

Combine sugar and cornflour in a small saucepan and break up any lumps of cornflour before heating.
Heat over low until mixture is clear and thickened slightly.
Add water or orange juice and continue stirring.
Fold in blueberries over low heat, stirring gently.
Add lemon juice and stir once more to combine.

Assembly:

When ready to make blintzes, use the butter to lightly grease a small pan and heat over medium-low heat.
Pour about 2 tbsp of batter into pan and quickly rotate pan so batter spreads evenly over the bottom.
Brown lightly on underside, then turn out WITHOUT cooking the top of blintz.
When all of batter is used, spoon about 1 ½ tbsp of batter into the centre of the COOKED side of the blintz.
Fold left and right edges of blintz over filling and roll up starting from the bottom.
Melt remaining butter in pan and brown filled blintzes, a few at a time, turning as needed to ensure even browning.
Serve warm with sour cream and blueberry sauce.

the ingredients:
the blintzes:

1 egg
½ c (120ml) milk
3/8 c (45g) flour
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp (42g) butter

the filling:

3 oz (80g) cream cheese
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp lemon zest
1/4 c (60g) cottage cheese, blended until smooth

the topping:

6 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
¼ c (60ml) water or orange juice
5 oz (140g) fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ c (60ml) sour cream

Pronto Pups & Tartar Sauce

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One year ago this week, we brought our adorable, naughty, incredibly cute, really stupid, brilliant and snuggly puppy home from Newcastle. It's been a wild ride of dog ownership but we've loved every minute (ok, ok: most minutes) of it. So in honour of keeping Holtzmann alive for one year despite her best efforts to the contrary, here's a recipe named for her. That's right: tartar sauce. Just kidding! The tartar sauce is to garnish the Pronto Pups.

Let's start with the obvious: a Pronto Pup is a Hush Puppy. And if you're an adult who has managed to avoid eating a Hush Puppy in your lifetime, might we trade places? I grew up convinced that I hated Hush Puppies, which is sensible when you consider the fact that I hated onions and a Hush Puppy is the world's best place for hiding onions you don't know about til you bite into one, but it's completely insensible when you think about the fact that I don't remember having actually tasted a Hush Puppy until one time in Kentucky when I ordered catfish at a cookout and had to eat one... as a teenager.

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 this is an overcrowded fryer. do not be like me.

this is an overcrowded fryer. do not be like me.

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If you're from the UK and still have no idea what I'm talking about, a Hush Puppy/Pronto Pup is a deep-fried ball of savoury batter, generally served with other fried things like fish or shrimp, and dipped in ketchup, tartar sauce or mayonnaise. Some are slightly sweet, some include chunks of onion in the batter, and the perfect puppies are just this side of moist on the inside with a crunchy golden exterior shell. In this version, the cornmeal/polenta really helps get the outside to crunch without affecting the inner texture, and as someone who spent most of her life unconvinced of the merits of Hush Puppies, these Pronto Pups might have me finally changing my mind.

Serve these alongside grilled or broiled fish, sauteed spinach and a glass of white wine for the perfect weeknight treat... and don't forget the tartar sauce!

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Note:

As listed below, this will make a very lightly sweetened but still savoury Pronto Pup, which is how we like them in the Recipe Box kitchen. If you prefer yours sweeter, ditch the onion powder (or, if you don't have a child's fear of onions, swap the onion powder for finely minced sweet onion).

the verdict:

4 spoons out of five. The lover of Hush Puppies in this household adored these Pronto Pups; the non-lover (me) thought they were really good.

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one year ago: mocha cake with caramel frosting
two years ago: Creative Casserole
three years ago (new!): Teriyaki Tuna Steaks

The recipe:

Pronto Pups

the directions:

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar and onion powder and stir together with a fork.
Lightly beat the egg, then add it to the dry ingredients.
Add the milk very gradually, beating it in with a fork JUST until batter comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl- batter should be very thick, almost like cookie dough (I used about a teaspoon less milk than listed here).
Heat a small pot of oil until very hot.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter into boiling oil and allow to fry until golden brown.
Do not overcrowd your fryer.
As soon as pronto pups have turned golden, remove them to a cooling rack topped with a double-thickness of paper towel to allow to drain.
Serve warm with tartar sauce (below), ketchup or mayonnaise alongside your favourite seafood.

the ingredients:

1 c (120g) flour
¼ c (40g) polenta (cornmeal if you're stateside)
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp onion powder
1 egg
¼ c (60ml) milk
Oil for deep frying (Enough to fill your pot to a depth of 3 inches)

The recipe:

Tartar Sauce

the directions:

Combine all ingredients and stir well.
For best flavour, mix ingredients 1 day before use.

the ingredients:

½ c (115g) mayonnaise
1 tsp onion, minced (NOT a red onion, even if you're in a pinch, which I learned the hard way when my first batch of tartar sauce came out pink)
½ tbsp capers, minced
½ tbsp green olives, minced
½ tbsp cornichon or dill pickle, minced
½ tbsp parsley, minced