Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pie Time

My family has bad luck with TV shows. Whenever we find a show that we really like, it's doomed. It has only two possible choices. It either gets weird or it gets canceled.

A few examples (and snaps to you if you've even heard of these shows):

- Strange Luck - an offbeat, clever show with the premise of a man who is beset by luck, both good and bad. Whatever he does, nothing normal happens. Whenever he scratches a lotto ticket, he wins. But his car is consistently stolen, or broken into. Intriguing premise, clever writing, good characters. This show was nominated for an Emmy and canceled mid-season.

-Now and Again - take the brain of a family man killed in an accident and put it into the body of a government science experiment - superstrong, superfast. What happens? A mix of action, comedy, and romance and a wonderful show that's canceled after one season.

- Joan of Arcadia - the story of a high school girl who is visited by God. God appears to Joan in various human guises and gives her advice, direction, and tasks to perform. The family dynamics and realities of high school and life are unflinchingly real and are breathed to life by an incredibly talented cast and fabulous writers. Amazing can't-wait-for-next-week first season. Second season started well, then got weird, then got canceled.

This year we found a new favorite that is so wonderful that it's almost certain to get canceled. It is Pushing Daisies.. This is the tale of a young man with a gift / curse. He can bring people back to life with a touch. But if he touches them again, they're dead forever. He solves crimes by chatting with the deceased for 1 minute to discover who killed them. But when the deceased is his childhood sweetheart, he can't bring himself to return her to death. So they face life together, in love, but unable to touch. Each element of the show is carefully blended to bring a visually eye-popping, quirky mixture of humor and charm.

My daughters swoon over the wardrobe of the leading lady and I swoon because the hero's profession is pie-maker. In order to celebrate the show and make memories with our children, I'm making Wednesday Pie Day. My goal is to try a new pie each week. I will brush up on my pie-making skills, expand my baking repertoire (and our waistlines) and celebrate this wonderful show until it's canceled or gets weird.

My offering for Pie Day this week is a heavenly pie, aptly called Angel Pie. Instead of a traditional dough crust, chocolate mousse rests on a cloud of meringue dotted with walnuts. Laced with peppermint, the mousse is at the same time deeply chocolaty, yet cool and refreshing. Just heavenly!

My word of caution, though. It's not a company pie. Once you put the mousse on the meringue, the bottom of the pie gets seriously sticky and it's difficult to cut a slice without shattering the outer meringue rim. (Notice the lack of attractive cut piece of pie pictures?) But, trust me, even if you have to spoon out your pie, your family will not complain. And if they do, they don't deserve any of it!

Angel Pie
adapted from Perfect Pies

Meringue Shell:

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Chocolate Mousse:

1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mint extract
1/8 tsp salt
9 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
2 cups cold whipping cream, divided
2 Tbsp sifted confectioners' sugar

1 3-oz bar bittersweet chocolate, curled

1- Preheat the oven to 275 deg. F. and butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

2- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar, 2 Tbsp at a time, and continue beating until the meringue stands up in glossy stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Beat in the vanilla.

3- Gently spoon the meringue into the pie plate, building up the sides as high as possible. Sprinkle the walnuts over the bottom and sides. Bake for 1 hour. Peek in the oven after 15 minutes. If the meringue is sinking down the sides, gently push it into place with the back of a spoon. Turn off the oven when the meringue is dry and light toasty brown. Leave the meringue in the closed oven for 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

4- In a small saucepan, heat the milk and stir in the vanilla, mint extract, and salt. Remove from the heat and whisk in the melted chocolate. Pour into a medium-size bowl and set aside to cool.

5- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, with an electric mixer on high, whip 1-1/2 cups of the cream. Fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Spoon the chocolate creme into the cooled meringue shell, mounding it in the center. Swirl the filling into peaks with the back of a spoon. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.

6- Right before serving, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream with the confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. Spoon the cream into the center of the pie, making peaks with the back of a spoon. (I skipped this step, as I ran out of cream.) Sprinkle the top of the pie generously with the chocolate curls. Store any leftover pie in the refrigerator.


Deborah said...

I wish I was brave enough to make a pie a week!! This one looks delicious!

Amy said...

Pushing daisies is my favorite new show of the season! I just adore that show. Ned is awfully cute and I love Chuck's wardrobe too! :) I hope it doesn't get canceled. *crosses fingers* That is one gorgeous pie. Chocolate mousse yum!

Anonymous said...

I love your new cooking project.
I will look forward to seeing 'Pushing Up Daisies' in... 4 years time. That is how long it will probably take to cross the Atlantic.
The chocolate pie looks delicious!

Peabody said...

I have horrible luck at shows being cancelled too!
You pie looks nice and comforting.

Anh said...

What a name! Love how the pie is called and it looks fantastic!

Brilynn said...

Don't you dare curse Pushing Daisies into being cancelled, I'm hooked on that one too!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This certainly does look heavenly!!!

Gigi said...

I love Pushing Up Daisies and the character "Olive". Pie Wednesday's is a great idea, I may even join you form time to time :)

Katie Zeller said...

A pie a week? I sit in awe! This one looks perfectly yummy!
We tend to get those weird shows that are cancelled after one season over here, 6 months late - so I am forever getting hooked on something that has already been cancelled...I should google them before getting interested but our choices are so limited anyway.
I rather liked 'Dead Like Me' (Old for you, I'm sure)

Chelsea said...

I would be so sad if Pushing Daisies gets canceled. I love it! At least it is getting one full season.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

oh my goodness, my family and I are OBSESSED with 'Pushing Daisies' - it IS a great show!! I'm praying that it won't get canceled!! Don't jinx it, Lynn! haha.

Oooh what a lovely-looking Angel Pie!

Cakespy said...

Pie-o-my! This looks simply to die for. What a nice ritual!

Anonymous said...

I'm coming to your house every Wednesday, especially if the pies look this great! Mmmmm!

Kelly-Jane said...

Pie day! I like it, and this is a fabulous start. It's not even 11a.m. and I'd love a slice of that pie!

Anne said...

this looks heavenly indeed! I'll definitely look out for your pie project each week :)

Kajal@aapplemint said...

Oh my this meringue looks amazing, and the mousse ...oooh .this looks perfect.
I havent been so fortunate with meringues 's and i'm bookmarking this recipe to try sometime.

Big Boys Oven said...

LOvelt, I bet this one is good!

Aimée said...

I love meringues and yours looks to die for! Chocolate? I'm in!

Nora B. said...

Hi Lynn, your Angle pie certainly looks heavenly. This is a great alternative to the usual pies which can be quite rich. Thanks for sharing!

I don't watch much TV, I wish I could though.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

To bake a pie a week you need a couple of calorie burners like you've got.
Sounds like a great family fun memory in the making. Pie looks gorgeous!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Deborah - well, I don't know if it's brave or crazy, but I sure hope to improve my pie skills.

Amy - yes, I forgot to mention how cute Ned is, too.

Melinda - I hope you'll be able to see it sooner than that...

Peabody - Good thought. I can enjoy pies while the show is on and then console myself with pie when it's cancelled.

Anh - Thanks, sweetie!

Brilynn - I bet pie night is awesome at your house!

Valli - it is!

Gigi- I'd love to have pie company.

Katiez- I looked up Dead Like Me; it sounds fun. I never saw it though. No cable TV.

Chelsea - do you knit gun cozies, too?

VeggieGirl - Yeah, more pie fans!

Cakespy - food rituals can be so fun (and so fattening!)

Kristen - You're welcome to come. My daughter's given up sugar, so I'll have pies piling up around here.

Kelly-Jane - I think pie for breakfast sounds perfect.

Anne - Thanks!

kate / kajal - my tip on meringue is to avoid humid weather. A moist day makes meringues sad, so they weep.

Big Boys Oven - Thank you. Not as artful as you would have made it, but still tasty.

Aimee - I love a girl who loves chocolate!

Nora B - Running is better for you than TV. :-)

My Kitchen In Half Cups - We're having a blast with it so far. If you're in the area, please drop in for pie!

Cheryl said...

OH my Lord, look at that pie. I'm drooling.

eatme_delicious said...

What an interesting and different pie. It looks great! I love the idea of Wednesday as pie day. I think I would do a once a week cookie day. I used to watch Joan of Arcadia and was sad when it got cancelled. I found the storyline with the dad kind of boring though.

Anonymous said...

both your pie and the cake look great :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, Lynn! I have read about this new TV show and I can't wait for it to arrive here!

Helene said...

Have not see the show yet, but I am ure liking the sound of Pie Day Wednesday!! This first installment is fabulous!