You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Lies I say. Pure unadulterated lies. I went to cooking school over 20 years ago and I am still learning things everyday. I learned a thing or two while at Crave Pie Studio with owner/baker Breana Carson. I feel that as long as you are open to learning there will be growth in all that you do. I definitely grew while at Crave Pie Studio, which helps to make me a better chef.
When Atlanta Food & Lifestyle Bloggers’ Society presented the opportunity to take a pie making class, I hopped at the chance. It was a chance to create food and I am always game for that. Crave Pie Studio is located in downtown Duluth, GA, almost an hour’s drive from my neck of the woods. Upon arrival I knew it would be well worth the drive. It is the cutest shop with hutches stocked with pie related trinkets. Too cute! Her employees were preparing for closing; cleaning and putting away the few unsold pies for the day. What I saw of those pies made it evident why there were only a handful or so left. They looked so yummy! Being a gracious host Breana offered us a choice of savory pies for our dinner. Why thank you! I’ll have the roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Quiche. All I can say was, “Good Choice Cass!” I immediately fell in love with the crust, so flavorful and crisp. It was bound to be a good night.
Breana welcomed us into her kitchen. That in itself was an honor. When someone invites you into the space where they create, you should hold that dear to your heart. They are sharing a part of themself with you. A part that took time for them to feel comfortable enough in themself and their ability to open up and let you in. I took that privilege to heart. It’s like when I share pictures and videos (keep on look out I am about to get back to video creating for my YouTube channel) I am letting you into some of the most intimate parts of my mind, my creativity.
Once in the kitchen, Breana walked us through her recipe for Apple Crumb Pie. As I am not a fan of streusel, I asked if I could do a double crust Apple pie. And as gracious as she, she allowed me. I have to say I was so truly impressed with her recipe. It wasn’t too sweet and the crust was so tasty. I enjoyed the crust so much I have incorporated it into my repertoire. She was a patient teacher as well, which can make a huge difference in learning. While our pies were baking and becoming wonderful, Breana shared samples of the deliciousness she creates at Crave Pie Studio. My favorite? The Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie because who doesn’t like chocolate and bourbon? Number 2 on my list is the Lemon Cream Pie. It was light, airy, refreshing and tasted like a slice of Spring or Summer just waiting to be eate up.
I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the pies created at Crave Pie. They have a choice of sweet and savory pies available to select from and you can check out their menu on their site. Breana incorporates two ideals that I love. She bakes seasonally using only what is fresh and locally available. The other ideal is she doesn’t allow her bakers to bake pies if they are not in a good mood. Like me she believes happy people make happy food. There is a transfer of energies when you make food for others. I just love it!
When you get that deep down need for pie, please go visit Crave Pie Studio in Duluth. Make sure you tell them the Chef In Pearls sent you. I have great memories being there, baking with my fellow bloggers and eating ammazing pie! It will be great place to make awesome memories!
Until next time,
~The Chef In Pearls
I love bananas…I mean I could eat bananas all everyday if…they didn’t cause me pain. Apparently at some point in my life I met my banana quota. My body’s way of letting me know this is by inflicting excruciating pain on my stomach. I don’t have to eat a whole banana for this phenomena to take place…a bite…hell a half a bite and BAM instant pain. But that doesn’t stop me from creating wonderful banana inspired dishes (remember I love bananas).
Today I bring you the banana bread remixed. This dish was inspired by a post a friend shared on Facebook, “20 Recipes that will make you never want to skip brunch Again,” by viral nova. On this list was a recipe for cream cheese filled banana bread…..how could that not be good. I mean, I have done banana bread with a brown sugar cream cheese spread so I know cream cheese in the middle would definitely take it up a notch or 2. Here’s the thing though I wasn’t feeling the actual banana bread recipe that was posted so I went with my tried and true recipe from out of one of my old dusty notebooks. I now give you Banana Bread with cream cheese filling and candied walnuts….. So here ya go:
3 or 4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Cream Cheese Filling
1 (8oz) block of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of corn syrup
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter & flour a loaf pan. In a saucepan place walnuts, sugar and corn syrup. Heat until sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Spread nuts out on a parchment lined baking sheets so as to cool and not form lumps.Mash bananas with a fork in a mixing bowl .With a wooden spoon mix melted butter into mashed bananas. Mix in sugar, egg and vanilla. Sprinkle salt & baking soda over mixture and then mix in. Add flour and mix until incorporated ( do not over mix as it will toughen the texture of the bread). Put to the side. Place softened cream cheese into bowl with egg, sugar and vanilla, mix until smooth. Pour 1/2 the banana mixture into prepared loaf pan. Then pour cream cheese mixture on top of banana mixture in pan. Top that with a 1/4 cup of candied walnuts followed by the other 1/2 of banana mixture. Finish it by sprinkling the remaining walnuts on top.Place loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake 45 minutes to an hour. Insert knife or toothpick to test bread , if it comes out clean then done. Cool pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan, allow to cool completely on rack. Cut using a serrated edge knife. Then enjoy .
Well I hope you’ll share how your banana bread turns out. CIPapproved
This is the dish that I demoed earlier in the month at The New Year’s Brunch. It’s a pretty easy dish to create and so yummy to eat. It can either be an appetizer when cut into wedges or as an entree with a salad when cut into larger pieces.
Before proceeding to I want to give you a brief lesson on some of the ingredients you’ll be using. First and for most DO NOT I repeat DO NOT try to make puff pastry. I mean, why? It is a time consuming process. Besides there are companies that do it for you. All you have to do is go to the freezer section of your local supermarket and pick up a box. Done. Okay so you don’t have to make it but you do need to know how to care for it once it is purchased. Keep it frozen until you are about ready to use. Follow the directions on the package on how to go about thawing it correctly. Puff pastry needs to stay as cold as possible because it is made with tons and tones of butter, which is what makes the pastry puff. The heat heats the cold butter causing the layers of pastry to create air pockets which makes it rise. So remember puff pastry must stay cold. If you thaw a sheet and do not use it the same day, as long as it had been kept cold you should be able to use it within 24 hours.
Now onto the mushrooms in this recipe. I know you all were taught not to wash mushrooms. Hell, I spent many a day in culinary school wiping off mushroom caps to rid it of dirt. The thought process being that mushrooms are porous and would soak up the water it would be cleaned in. It’s FALSE! The mushrooms would have to soak in the water in order to even start absorbing any water. Mushrooms naturally contain a good amount of moisture. So wash your mushrooms off in a colander. Drain them then cut up as needed.
Now that we are all on the same page regarding these ingredients let’s move on to the actual recipe.
Creamy Wild Mushroom Tart
Makes 16 App-Sized Wedges or 4 entree sized pieces
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 half of a medium onion sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz wild mushroom mix (or any combination of your favorite mushrooms) cleaned and rough chopped, leave 2-3 mushrooms for garnish, thinly sliced.
1 tsp dried herbes de Provence
2 tbsp Brandy
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 tsp each of salt and black pepper
1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped Italian parsley
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Allow puff pastry to thaw according to package directions. Roll puff pastry into a rectangle using a light dusting of flour. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a border about half of the way through the dough about 1/2 of an inch from the edge. (This outside edge will puff more and give you an outer crust) Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling heat olive oil and add onions, garlic, chopped mushrooms and herbes de Provence over medium heat until the mushrooms have released most of their liquids. Add the brandy and continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in the goat cheese until smooth. Season with the salt and pepper. Remove the pastry out of the fridge and spoon the filling into it. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of filling. Using the reserved sliced mushrooms, decorate as desired.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the tart filling is also browning. Sprinkle chopped herbs on top. Allow to cool then cut as small wedges for party apps or cut into four and serve with a salad for a brunch.
Now that you have got this wonderful new recipe I want you to go forward and make some memories.
~The Chef In Pearls