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Harvest pies ... slim, stellar, pretty as a picture.

IT TAKES A DESSERT OF STELLAR CHARACTER TO WOO APPETITES AT THE conclusion of a holiday dinner. Here you have not just one but three picture-pretty pies equal to the task. Making the pies in shallow tart pans shows off fillings best, with a subtle side benefit--portions are thinner, therefore less filling, than traditional pie wedges. Each pie makes 8 to 10 servings; for a large party, you might want to offer more than one kind.

Ginger-Caramel Macadamia Pie

Pastry for a single-crust 9-inch-diameter pie 1 1/2 cups salted, roasted macadamia nuts 3 large eggs 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 cup minced candied ginger 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 1 teaspoon vanilla Warm chocolate sauce (recipe follows) Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Fit pastry over bottom and press against sides of a plain or fluted 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom; fold any excess pastry down to make flush with pan rim.

Pour nuts onto a towel and rub lightly to remove salt. Lift nuts from towel and put in pastry.

In a bowl, beat to blend eggs, sugar, candied ginger, fresh ginger, and vanilla. Pour evenly over nuts.

Bake on lowest rack of a 325|degrees~ oven until filling jiggles only slightly when pie is gently shaken, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack. If making ahead, wrap airtight and chill up to a day. Offer warm chocolate sauce to spoon onto wedges to taste; accompany with ice cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 381 cal. (52 percent from fat); 4.7 g protein; 22 g fat (4.2 g sat.); 43 g carbo.; 230 mg sodium; 64 mg chol.

Warm chocolate sauce. In the top of a double boiler, combine 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate baking chips and 3/4 cup half-and-half (light cream). Place over simmering water and stir often until chocolate is smoothly melted. (Or put chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on full power--100 percent--in a microwave oven; stir at 1-minute intervals, until chocolate is smoothly melted).

Use chocolate sauce warm; if making ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days. Reheat over simmering water or in a microwave oven. Pour into a small pitcher. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Per tablespoon: 34 cal. (58 percent from fat); 0.4 g protein; 2.2 g fat (1.3 g sat.); 4.1 g carbo.; 2.2 mg sodium; 1.9 mg chol.

Persimmon-glazed Pumpkin Cheese Pie

Pastry for a single-crust 9-inch pie 1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin 1 cup nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon grated orange peel 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Persimmon glaze (recipe follows)

Fit pastry over bottom and press against sides of a plain or fluted 2-inch-deep and 9-inch-wide tart pan with removable bottom; fold any excess pastry down to make flush with the pan rim. Pierce pastry all over with a fork. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, whirl pumpkin, cottage cheese, sugar, eggs, orange and lemon peel, and cinnamon until mixture is very smooth.

Pour mixture into hot or warm pie shell. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until filling barely jiggles in center when gently shaken, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack. Spoon persimmon glaze onto pie, then spread evenly to the pastry rim. Chill until glaze is set, at least 2 hours; to store up to a day, cover pie airtight without touching glaze. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 281 cal. (23 percent from fat); 6.1 g protein; 7.3 g fat (1.9 g sat.); 48 g carbo.; 206 mg sodium; 45 mg chol.

Persimmon glaze. Rinse 3 medium-size (about 1 lb. total) ripe and jelly-soft Hachiya-type persimmons; cut in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop flesh from skin. Put persimmon pulp in a fine strainer over a bowl; discard skin.

Firmly rub pulp through strainer; discard residue. Measure 1 cup pulp (save extra for other uses); mix in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

In a 3- to 4-cup pan, sprinkle 1 teaspoon (1/2 envelope) gelatin over 2 tablespoons water. Let stand about 5 minutes to soften. Stir over medium heat until gelatin melts. Off the heat, add 1/4 cup orange-flavor liqueur.

At once, stir gelatin mixture into persimmon pulp. Chill (to speed, set bowl in ice water), stirring often, until mixture just begins to thicken. Spoon onto pumpkin filling.

Hazelnut, Pear, and Apricot Pie

1 cup hazelnuts 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into pieces 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla Pastry for a single-crust 9-inch pie 1 large (about 1/2 lb.) firm-ripe pear, such as red or regular Bartlett or Comice 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/4 cup apricot jam

Place hazelnuts in an 8- or 9-inch-wide pan. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until the nuts are lightly browned under skins, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour onto a towel; rub with towel to remove as much of the brown skins as possible. Lift nuts from towel; discard the brown skins.

In a food processor or blender, whirl nuts with sugar and flour until finely ground. Add butter, eggs, and vanilla, and whirl until thoroughly blended.

Fit pastry over bottom and press against sides of a plain or fluted 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom; fold any excess pastry down to make flush with pan rim. Pour nut mixture into pastry; spread smooth.

Core pear and cut into 1/4-inch wedges. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Arrange pear slices, overlapping on nut filling. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until filling is richly browned, about 40 minutes.

In a 3- to 4-cup pan over low heat, stir apricot jam until warm (or warm jam in a microwave-safe bowl on full power--100 percent--in a microwave oven; stir every 10 seconds). Spoon jam onto warm pie, then gently spread to pastry. Serve warm or at room temperature. If making ahead, cover airtight and chill up to 1 day. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 300 cal. (57 percent from fat); 4.2 g protein; 19 g fat (5.2 g sat.); 30 g carbo.; 172 mg sodium; 55 mg chol.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Holiday Entertaining; recipes
Author:Weber, Christine B.
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:1063
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