Finishing up my breakfast/pastry duties this week and will be moving on to cookie station on Monday. It’s been great fun learning how to laminate dough and rolling croissants, but it is hard work and busy all the time. Working with folks who do not move as fast as some of us nor have the work ethic that is so crucial to getting everything done on time is challenging as well :/. You know, some people might think that cookies are a no brainer and don’t require that much pastry knowledge (and students who have been at that station do call it the ‘vacation’ station) but how many people do you know make a perfect cookie? Probably not that many. Cookies are either too flat, too chewy, too crisp, or burnt around the edges so I am definitely looking forward to learning more about making and baking them so I can be part of the ‘perfect cookie’ party.
We had our first project this week called BYOD: Bring Your Own Dessert. The requirements were it had to have historical background with you and your family and be made into a family style and personal sized dessert to share with the class. My family never really baked a lot nor had sweet stuff around the house so it took some thinking to generate an idea that I could execute well. Pie and fudge were the only two dessert staples in my household, and they were never a frequent treat. Only when Grandma came to visit or Dad’s birthday was around the corner would I get to consume these delicious delights. I thought about bringing in fudge but wanted to do something a bit more complicated and something that was near and dear to my heart: pie. If anyone knows me, they know I absolutely love to make crusts, create fillings (both savory and sweet), and work on my crimping skills with the hopes that one day I can master it. With that said, sour cream rum raisin pie immediately came to mind. My grandfather’s favorite pie was sour cream raisin, my father’s was rum raisin, and so I naturally merged the two in honor of them both.
I have to admit, I have never made sour cream rum raisin pie and it is not something that you normally find in a store or bakery. This is solely a mid-western treat that only a person living in Minnesota during the freezing temperatures of January could concoct with its alcohol, dried fruit, and tangy cream mixture. Bizarre it may be when you first here the name, this pie is deliciously creamy, tangy, and rummy (of course), hitting all the right spots when you are craving something sweet but don’t want to commit to chocolate. Since I only had my memories to go off of for comparison, a trial run was done on a couple of recipes before an acceptable combination of ingredients was found.
Everyone’s desserts were incredible. They looked and tasted fantastic and it was very interesting hearing everyone’s backgrounds, seeing their childhood manifest itself into an edible dessert. Chef took the time to critique everyone’s presentation, giving helpful hints on how to make it look more unique, gourmet, and contrastive depending on the colors of a tablecloth, dish, or ambiance of a restaurant. You never really think about those sorts of things at home, and take for granted the time and effort a chef puts into a presentation of a plate until you actually have to do it for a grade. Let me tell you, it takes time and a whole lot of practice to get good at it.
Sour Cream Rum Raisin Pie
- 15 oz Pate Brisee
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup sour cream
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup dark rum
• 1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked overnight in rum
• 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 2/3 cup heavy cream
1. Roll out pate brisee to a 12-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick, and fit into a buttered 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim dough with ¼ inch overhang over edge of pie plate, curl dough underneath and pinch tight.
2. Crimp edges with your fingers and knuckles, making sure to press dough firmly on the glass to ensure as little dough shrinkage as possible during baking. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake until edge of crust begins to turn golden, about 15 minutes.
4. Remove parchment and weights and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake until pale golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
5. Bring 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk almost to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat.
6. While cream mixture is heating, whisk together granulated sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and salt in a medium bowl.
7. Temper egg mixture with cream mixture, then slowly pour in the entire mixture, whisking constantly until combined; return cream mixture to saucepan.
8. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to thicken and the temperature is 183 degrees.
9. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in sour cream and rum; set aside.
10. Arrange raisins in an even layer on bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour in hot custard and bake until center is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
11. Before serving, put 2/3 cup cream and ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Serve pie with whipped cream.
Yieds 8-10 portions.