Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

Dear High School Algebra,

Thank you for introducing me to the number π. And thank you for letting me convert that number into a reason to eat dessert (as if I needed another excuse).

Love, Melissa

That’s right! It’s 3/14 again, Pi(e) Day!

I really struggled in trying to decide what kind of pie to make this year. Ever since last year, I have been planning to make French silk…but honestly, I am still a little overwhelmed by chocolate after the month of February. In fact, I seriously contemplated making a savory pie or tart (Sarah didn’t even hesitate) and skipping dessert altogether!

But then I just couldn’t do that to Pie Day. So I made you a fabulous coconut cream pie.

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Decadent Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse in a Chocolate Bowl

I just had to share this dessert with you (even though I have posted nothing but sweets this whole month—I promise I’m not actually eating this much sugar all the time).

Chocolate mousse is my all-time most craved dessert at this time of year. Yes, I know mousse is passé. No, a dessert practically named after two woodland creatures (mouse? moose?) is not particularly romantic.

But this chocolate mousse is just so rich and silky, and every spoonful is just deliciously chocolatey, the way it melts in my mouth…I find it luscious. That is all.

I suspect the reason I am so ga-ga for chocolate mousse is that I had been all geared up to make it for our Valentine’s dinner two years ago…and then I discovered that Jake was on the way! Mousse = raw eggs = Melissa did not get to eat dessert for Valentine’s that year. I think that experience firmly planted in my subconscious a little timer that goes off around Valentine’s every year demanding chocolate mousse. Absence made the heart grow fonder?

Bottom line. Don’t eat this if you are expecting. But if you are not…go make this mousse right away! It’s way easier than you think.

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CSA Week 19: Pumpkin-Apple Bread Pudding

Pumpkin-Apple Bread Pudding

Folks…this recipe and I did not play nicely together.

Truly, it wasn’t the recipe’s fault! (And don’t stop reading, because this bread pudding is extremely delicious, I promise, and I will eventually tell you about it!)

I think I may have lost my mojo or something. For weeks now, almost everything I lay my hands on has turned out a little…off. I have mandolined myself and microplaned myself (ouch)…I have baked and rebaked (is that a word?) countless times. Honestly. I am a disaster.

And true to form, my husband generally takes one bite of my awkward dishes and proclaims that he likes them better this way than however they were supposed to turn out. No, he is not just saying that to be nice. He actually does like things better when they are a little wacky. It’s perverse. It makes it hard to evaluate whether something new was actually successful.

Take this bread pudding, for example, which I found when I was trolling through Bizzy Bakes for an SRC recipe this month.

It was so cool to me that Bizzy made a gluten- and dairy-free bread pudding. Way to push boundaries! My mom follows a wheat-free, dairy-free diet, so I especially appreciate finding recipes that would work for her. But…I also like to save my more expensive alternative flours and non-dairy milks for times when she will be around to enjoy dessert with me, so I knew right off the bat that I would be changing things up a little.

I thought I would be all cool and snazz the bread pudding up by adding pumpkin and using only egg yolks and baking in a bain marie. Ha. Ha. Ha.

By the time my Bible study group showed up, I was still panicking about how the top of my “pudding” was crispy (erm, not enough custard) and the bottom was soupy (sooooo didn’t need a water bath for this). But they literally gobbled it up. I mean…one guy liked it so much, he was batting people away from the dish, trying to keep more for himself. And, of course, Dave said he liked it better than a real bread pudding.

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Mini Cherry Clafoutis

Mini Cherry Clafoutis

Did you know that the English word cherry is actually the result of a misunderstanding?

That’s right. Back in the thirteenth century when we were stealing all kinds of words from French (ahem), those Anglo-Saxons heard the French word cherise (modern French cerise) and assumed it must be plural! In fact, it wasn’t…but we hacked that pesky –s off anyway!

And that’s what goes through my head every time I hear the word cherry: False back-formation.

There. Betcha didn’t know I was a lingua-dork, did you?

Let’s put this knowledge to good use by baking some cherry clafoutis! (BTW, this is pronounced /klafuti/, both in the plural and in the case you were thinking of falsely applying English morpho-phonetic rules there…) I used the fresh cherries we got in this week’s CSA box! You should snag some cherries really quick to make this, because I hear cherry season is short!

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Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Happy Pie Day!

If you’re scratching your head right now and wondering what Pie Day is, just drag yourself back to your high school algebra classes and think, “3.14.”

I love any day whose chief celebration involves making dessert. This year for Pie Day, I bring you a simple treat that only takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time. That means if you forgot it was Pie Day, but you want to mark the occasion in style, you still have plenty of time to make it happen!

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Vanilla Bean Risotto Pudding

Guess what?

I joined a club. The Secret Recipe Club!

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?

Basically how this works (er…a fanciful version of how this works, anyway) is that every month, every blogger in the club draws a different blog out of a hat and then makes a recipe from that blog. It’s like finding a new friend to share your recipes with, and a resource for good food you may not have stumbled across on your own.

Cool, right?

So this month, I am making a rice pudding using risotto rice from my new blog friend Erin over at Easy Everyday Eats.

I had very few associations with rice pudding before making this recipe. When I was growing up, just the name sounded a little gross to me…I mean what kind of a nut would put rice in pudding, anyway? And doesn’t most rice pudding include raisins? Blech. But now that my list of favorite foods includes Thai sticky rice, I figured I’d better take a closer look at rice pudding, too.

I love that this recipe uses arborio rice, which is normally used to make risotto. When I read that, my brain immediately conjured up an idea about how creamy and soft this pudding would be. And let me assure you, in case you are used to rice pudding made with regular white rice, arborio rice is perfect for a rich and creamy dessert!

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