Challenge Accepted: IMPOSSIBLE PIE

Impossible Pie 18

I found this recipe in the newspaper a little while back and thought it looked tempting enough to try. It’s easy peasy and totally delectable but it looks complicated and fancy when you serve it, and it is not a totally overpowering dessert, so you can always have seconds!

Impossible Pie 16

The impossible part of this pie is that you mix everything together all at once and pour the very liquidy batter into your pan for baking, and what comes out ends up having three layers: a sweet fudgy layer at the bottom, a custardy layer in the middle, and the chewy coconut layer on top. Full disclosure: I never achieved the fudgy bottom layer, but I suspect it’s because I used a huge heavy pie pan (because that was the only one I had that was deep enough). Perhaps if you use a thinner pie pan you might have better luck – if not, the pie is still pretty effing good.

Heat your oven to 325°F and spray a 10″ wide and 2″ deep pie pan.

Melt 1/2 cup butter, and let that come to room temperature. Pro tip: if you only melt the butter halfway, then give it a stir, the melted butter will melt the non-melted butter and the non-melted butter will bring the temperature of the melted butter down faster and you don’t have to wait as long for your super molten burn-y melted butter to cool down. It’s like MAGIC. Or thermodynamics. Either or.

Impossible Pie 3

Grab 4 large eggs out of the fridge and bring them to room temperature by plopping them in a bowl of warm water. While you’re at it, leave 2 cups whole milk (or a combo of milk and cream) out on the counter to warm up too. HEY PRESTO!

Impossible Pie 1

Take 1 lemon and zest it and then juice it. Nothing super magic about that. It’s a lemon for crying out loud.

Impossible Pie 2

Grab yourself a perfectly ordinary food processor (or is it?). Or a blender. Or do this by hand. I prefer the magic of electricity. Plop in your 4 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Impossible Pie 4

Then tip in (or do this first, the order doesn’t matter – this is just how I took the photos) 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.

Impossible Pie 5

THEN tip in (or do this second, or whatever) your 1/2 cup butter, 2 cups whole milk, and lemon juice and zest.

Impossible Pie 6

Give that a good whaz, THEN tip in (and this time it DOES matter the order because this has to happen after the whazzing) 1 1/4 cups shredded sweetened dried coconut (I used unsweetened. It was fine.). Stir that around.

Impossible Pie 7

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. There it is, all perfectly ordinary and homogeneous-ish.

Impossible Pie 8

Shove that in your prepared oven (I used my convection toaster oven) and bake for 55-60 minutes, until the top is a golden brown around the edges and you can shove a toothpick in the centre and it comes out clean (LIKE IT WAS NEVER DIRTY! AMAZING!).

Impossible Pie 9

Impossible Pie 11

Pop that on a wire rack to cool. You can serve this warm but it cuts best if it’s been chilled first, so I recommend that. Keep any leftovers (HA) in the fridge, covered up.

Impossible Pie 15

Even without that fudgy layer, this thing was still ballin’.

Impossible Pie 17

Advertisements

Strawberry Macaroons

Strawberry Macaroons 28

I made these yesterday, but you know I’m not one to plan ahead and, like, blog these in advance so you could maybe make them yourself on that special day. They’re still a cute thing to make though, even if it’s not Valentine’s Day.

Strawberry Macaroons 33

My big brother Krystopf came over to help me paint what’s going to be the baby’s room (which hopefully I’ll get finished within the next week or so), and we fed him dinner for Valentine’s Day as his family is currently away on the other side of the country.

DSCN9294

These are based on my original macaroon recipe, which is always a crowd-pleaser. Start by bringing some stuff to room temperature: here I have 3 large eggs sitting in a bowl of warm water, and about 12 frozen strawberries, defrosting in the morning sun.

Strawberry Macaroons 1

While you’re waiting, preheat your oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Strawberry Macaroons 9

Blend up the thawed strawberries into a glorious red purée.

Strawberry Macaroons 7

Separate the eggs, and save the yolks for something else (for me they’re going in a meatloaf later on).

Strawberry Macaroons 5

Tip the whites into a bowl together with a teaspoon or two coconut extract.

Strawberry Macaroons 10

Give them a whirl until they’re foamy and then add in 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Whiz that up until it’s white and thick-looking.

Strawberry Macaroons 11

Tip in 5 cups shredded coconut (I used unsweetened, but you can use sweetened) and your strawberry goo.

Strawberry Macaroons 13

Fold that together until fully combined.

Strawberry Macaroons 14

I decided to try to mould the cookies, which I’ve never done before, so I grabbed a heart-shaped cookie cutter and used a teaspoon to fill and pack the coconut down.

Strawberry Macaroons 15

Some careful wiggling and pressing down with the spoon freed up each one quite nicely.

Strawberry Macaroons 17

I kept going until I had 21 coconut cookies and an empty bowl.

Strawberry Macaroons 19

Shove those cookies into the oven for about 15 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the bottoms are browned and the cookies are solid. Let cool completely.

Strawberry Macaroons 22

While they’re cooling, grab some dark chocolate and huck it into a double-boiler to melt. Let that cool as well.

Strawberry Macaroons 21

Then tip the cooled chocolate into a bag with the corner nipped off and squeeze it out on your cooled cookies. Let that set.

Strawberry Macaroons 25

Serve to your attendant gentlemen!

Strawberry Macaroons 29

Peanut Butter Porridge

Peanut Butter Porridge 18

The inspiration for this delightful twist on the classic parritch recipe comes from the ever-brilliant Foodess and it’s a new favourite in this house. You can use any kind of oats you want for this dish. I prefer the steel-cut oats because they have a nice texture for oatmeal, though they take longer to cook than old-fashioned oats. The measurements below serve two for a nice warm breakfast on a very cold day. You can easily expand the recipe: just remember that the ratio of oats to liquid is 1:2. If you like to add extra ingredients like coconut or dried fruit to the porridge before cooking, just add a few extra splashes of water to compensate.

Peanut Butter Porridge 2

Plop 2/3 cup oats into a smallish pot with 1 1/3 cup water (or milk, if you want to be extra luxurious, or coconut milk or soy milk or rice milk or unicorn milk or whatever). Add in about 1/3 cup shredded dried coconut as well, if you like.

Peanut Butter Porridge 8

Tip in as well 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or almond butter or sunbutter or whatever kind of that sort of thing you like) and let that melt into the mess.

Peanut Butter Porridge 9

Bring to a low simmer, stirring often, until it gets all thick and glutinous. If you get it so thick that your spurtle (that’s the wooden stir stick thingy) stands up in the centre then it’s thick enough for your average Highlander but you might want to take it off the heat before that point for your own personal taste.

Peanut Butter Porridge 10

Scoop the porridge into two bowls (soak the bottom of your pot with water while you eat so you can clean it more easily later). Sprinkle with brown sugar and decorate with slices from a banana.

Peanut Butter Porridge 11

Serve with a little bit of milk to cool it down and add a bit of liquidity.

Peanut Butter Porridge 16

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 10

When I saw this sugar scrub on The Idea Room I knew I had to give it a try. I ended up modifying it a little bit to suit my personal taste, but the end result is just as delightful: a luxurious scrub that eliminates the need for post-shower moisturizing and makes you smell absolutely edible. And if you feel you need to actually taste the scrub because it smells so amazingly, I won’t judge. I may have eaten a small amount myself (it’s yummy!).

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 3

Start with a little bit of unsweetened dried coconut, about 1 tablespoon coconut in total.

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 1

Give it a good whaz in your spice grinder or food processor until it forms fine crumbs. These will be great exfoliants.

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 2

Mix the ground coconut with 1 cup granulated sugar in a bowl, together with about 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest (you’ll use 1 whole lime, if you double the batch, which I did).

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 4

Give that a good stirring, then drop in about 8 drops of your favourite essential oil (that matches with limes and coconuts, of course – I went with lemongrass, to offset the sweet fruitiness of the citrus). I also squeezed the lime I had zested, adding maybe 1 tablespoon lime juice to the mix.

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 5

Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil and pour that into the sugar.

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 6

Stir until you have this lovely grainy wet sandy kind of thing. By now you are probably also hungry because of how amazing it smells.

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 7

Scoop that fluffy luxury into wee jars to give as gifts or to keep selfishly for your own use.

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 12

I gave all mine away but I’m definitely making this again!

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub 9

Almost Not There Lemon Squares

Paleo Lemon Squares 28

I made these from Amy Approved yesterday for another round of meetings at work.  They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo, so if you have any sensitivities to food you’re probably safe eating these (unless you’re allergic to nuts, coconut, or eggs, in which case you might die – don’t eat these).  In addition, unlike traditional lemon squares, where you bake the crust and then bake the filling, this filling is a stove-top deal, so it’s ideal if you need your oven for something else.

Paleo Lemon Squares 29

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 8″ x 12″ baking dish with parchment paper.

Paleo Lemon Squares 1

Grab about 2 cups raw almonds (I used blanched ones) and pulse them in a food processor until they’re in small chunks — don’t go too far, though: you don’t want almond meal.

Paleo Lemon Squares 2

Mix the almonds together with 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 2 tablespoons coconut flour, and 2 large eggs.

Paleo Lemon Squares 3

It looks like vomit. Gross.  Don’t let that deter you.

Paleo Lemon Squares 4

Press that sticky gooeyness into the bottom of the dish and bake that for 15 minutes, until the edges are slightly brown.  Let that cool completely.

Paleo Lemon Squares 5

Paleo Lemon Squares 11

For the lemon filling, crack 6 large eggs into a saucepan and add as well 1 cup fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of 4 large lemons), 1/2 cup honey, and a dash of sea salt.

Paleo Lemon Squares 8

I don’t feel lemon bars are complete without some lemon zest as well, but I leave that up to you.

Paleo Lemon Squares 6

Whisk that all up and heat over medium.  Stir in 1/2 cup coconut oil until it’s completely melted.

Paleo Lemon Squares 10

Keep whisking.

Paleo Lemon Squares 12

And whisking.

Paleo Lemon Squares 15

The mixture will eventually start to thicken, so you want to keep gently heating and whisking until you’ve got something resembling a thick pudding.

Paleo Lemon Squares 16

When you get there, give it a few more whisks and then you can remove it from the heat and let it cool completely.

Paleo Lemon Squares 17

Once the lemon goo is cool, you can smooth it over your crust.

Paleo Lemon Squares 20

Paleo Lemon Squares 21

Feel free to garnish the tops with shredded coconut as well.

Paleo Lemon Squares 22

Shove that in the freezer for about 30 minutes so everything will set and harden, then cut into bars. I just chucked mine in the fridge overnight.

Paleo Lemon Squares 23

Keep these babies in the fridge to prevent them from going gooey.  If they last that long. They’re not as satisfying as a lemon square made with butter and sugar and flour but they’re still pretty tasty!

Paleo Lemon Squares 24

I love me some Granola

Granola 26

My morning meal usually consists of coffee, juice, yogurt, and granola.  Like I could eat that stuff every single day.

Granola 30

Until now, I’ve been buying our granola, but it’s quite expensive for the amount you get and it’s full of all sorts of weird additives and the like that I don’t really want to put in my system.

Granola 28

My mother used to make granola for us sometimes when we were kids, so I figured that I could probably do it myself if I tried.  And it’s easy.  And you can use what you’ve got in your cupboards, or what you can scoop up at the bulk food store.  Which means you can customize each batch.

Granola 6

So preheat your oven to 350°F and get out a large rimmed baking sheet.  I took the precaution of lining mine with parchment paper, so stuff wouldn’t stick.

The majority of granolas start with a base of oats, about 4 cups.  I used four double handfuls, because I measured my tiny hands once and put together that’s about what they hold.  And thus ends my list of measurements for this recipe.  Because you can do whatever you want.  So what else have I got going on here?  In addition to the oats, I have bran, ground flax, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, nutmeg, cinnamon, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, lavender flowers (yes), and then a selection of dried fruits: apricots, mango, and raisins.

Granola 3

Take all your happy dry ingredients (minus the fruits) and plop them in a bowl.

Granola 9

Mix ’em up.

Granola 8

In another bowl, add about 1/2 cup runny honey,

Granola 11

about 1/2 cup maple syrup,

Granola 12

and about 1/2 cup melted butter.

Granola 13

*** EDIT: If you’d like granola that forms clumps (and that’s my favourite kind), whisk 1 or 2 egg whites into a froth and add them to the mixture as well.  The protein in the whites will stick everything together during the baking process.  Just use caution when stirring mid-bake, as the amount you stir will affect the size of the clumps you create. ***

Pour that golden loveliness into the dry mixture and stir until all the dry ingredients are coated.

Granola 14

Spread that stuff out on your baking sheet and chuck that in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Granola 16

Make sure to stir with a spatula every 10-15 minutes or so to keep the stuff on the bottom from burning.

Granola 18

While that’s on the go, get your dried fruit ready. I chopped up the apricots and mango slices a little to make them easier to get on a spoon.

Granola 21

Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan, stirring it occasionally to break up the chunks.  The finer grained your ingredients are, and the more sticky wet ingredients you use, the chunkier your granola will be.

Granola 19

While it’s still a little warm, stir in your dried fruit.

Granola 22

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, and enjoy whenever you want!

Granola 27

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 19

I’ve had a real hankering after macaroons recently, so I decided to fulfill my craving.  And if you’re looking for good, easy, light and airy dessert ideas (gluten-free, too!) for Passover or Easter, this one (with any modifications you like, such as kosher ingredients) would probably do in a pinch.  And it’s a cinch.

Separate 3 large eggs.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 1

Bring the whites to room temperature by setting the bowl they’re in into another bowl of hot water — just make sure not to get the water where it shouldn’t be.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 3

Press plastic wrap into the surface of the spare yolks, seal them in an airtight container, and put them in the fridge to use in something else.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 2

Preheat your oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, plop your 3 room-temperature egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar, a sprinkle of salt and 2 teaspoons pure almond extract.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 4

Whisk those together until it’s all glossy and frothy and the sugar is mostly dissolved.  The frothier you get it, the better your macaroons will stick together and the fluffier they will be.  You won’t get a meringue out of this because you added the sugar at the beginning but you can get this lovely white stuff that works really well.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 5

Fold in 4 cups sweetened shredded/flaked coconut and 1 cup blanched sliced almonds.  Make sure the egg mixture is fully combined with the dry ingredients.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 7

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 8

I used a soup spoon to scoop these onto the baking sheets and ended up with about 20 cookies.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 10

Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until they’re a nice golden brown. Allow them to cool completely.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 12

For a bit more pizzazz, I melted a hunk of white chocolate and another of milk chocolate and dipped half the cookies in white chocolate, and the other in the milk and put them back on the parchment to dry.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 15

Deadly.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons 16