Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vanilla Pudding Pie with Fancy Whipped Cream

To introduce these pies, a Parable about Pie Baking Restraint (or Lack Thereof):

Me (two weeks ago): I know we're making four pies, so I think two should be this really simple yet great pie I make with instant vanilla pudding.  I've always topped it with Bailey's whipped cream, and it's an unexpected hit, and I was thinking of adding cardamom whipped cream to another to keep it sweet and simple.  I'm vowing to not make this hard on us.
Jess: Great, I think that's smart!

Me (at the grocery store shopping for pies): I keep being tempted to make homemade pudding for the pies, but I know that's crazy and I am committed to not overdoing it.
Jess: Yes, making the pudding could be overdoing it. We do have a lot of pie to make. But we could see how it goes tomorrow.

Me (the morning of pie making): I just keep thinking about making the pudding from scratch, but I know it's crazy.
Jess: Yes, that is a little crazy. Do you want me to put the instant pudding in the crusts?
Me: Yes, but also don't you think we should start rolling out the apple pie crust?

Me five minutes later (as she graciously rolls out pie crust): So...I was just thinking...I think I'm gonna make some homemade pudding real quick.

End Result: Vanilla Cinnamon Pudding Pies with Homemade Gingersnap Crust with a choice of Whipped Cream

one of my dear sisters *ahem* has borrowed  stolen my camera, so these iPhone pics will have to do *cough cough*

True to form, these pies started simple and ended up much less so.  I will note that in the original, un-fancied form, it remains a true win.  Take a storebought graham crust, instant vanilla pudding, and the below Bailey's Whipped Cream, and you'll be getting a lot of bang for your buck.  Or take any level of the (not that difficult, actually!) suggestions below, and it'll be well worth it.  That's the beauty of these pies - they're flexible to tastes, budget and time. No matter which route, you'll have a pie that's light, surprisingly not plain, and transcendent of seasons.

decorations for the whipped cream pies were done by my friend Michael, using a parchment paper stencil.  he's descendant from pie royalty, and i bet if we ask nicely he might show us his tricks.

(For one pie)
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees*
1 1/2 cups Ginger Snaps crumbs (1 box of gingersnaps seems to be far more than enough)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Make crumbs of your cookies using the most convenient method for you.  We used a blender, but a food processor works just fine (as does using a rolling pin or your fists over a ziploc bag). Stir together gingersnap crumbs, melted butter, vanilla, brown sugar and salt in a bowl until well combined.  Press into a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then set aside to cool.

Vanilla Cinnamon Pudding:
(adapted from this recipe to up the vanilla and cinnamon flavor, and to adjust for pie size)
1/4 + 1/8 cup sugar
4.5 tablespoon cornstarch
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups low fat milk
3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in the bottom of a medium saucepan.  Turn burner underneath to medium heat to begin heating. Slowly whisk in milk, continue whisking constantly.  Simmer for 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken - you'll feel a noticeable difference, so try not to jump the gun. The milk will foam as you do.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into prepared and cooled pie crust.  Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, can be made a day in advance.

(For whipped cream - pick one, or both!)
Bailey's Spiked Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 shot (roughly) Bailey's Irish Cream to start, add more to taste

Using a chilled bowl and set of beaters, whip cream and Bailey's until stiff peaks form.  Taste and add more Bailey's, or sugar if desired.  I usually wing this, but I believe I may use closer to two shots...but don't want to make it too boozy for others, so start with one shot and increase as you go.

Cardamom Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 Tbsp. sugar, powdered or white
2 tsp. cardamom

Same as above, whip all ingredients together with chilled equipment until stiff peaks form.  I also recommend adjusting cardamom and sugar to taste.

Top chilled pie with whipped cream and serve!

food ethics and considerations: easily gluten-free if you use gluten-free gingersnaps or graham crackers (fairly easy to find!) and pay close attention to your spices.

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