Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"Hello in there!": Treats for the Unborn

This is my friend and colleague, Willow, with her cutie-patootie little daughter. Willow works in Continuing Education at the college where I teach, and she is also approximately 15 months' pregnant with her second child and no delivery in sight. Ok, just kidding. Her sonogram suggests that she may have a few more days before she's actually due, but people at work have really been giving her the business about baby #2 taking his/her own sweet time coming. Rather than goading the poor mother into labor, I decided to take a different approach: I would woo the baby with sweets!

I happen to know that Willow LOVES homemade pie, and her favorite variety is raspberry. So instead of giving her a traditional baby shower gift, I chose to shower mama and baby on the inside. Tee hee. Here is the raspberry pie that I made for Willow and her family. It's still too early for fresh raspberries here, but a couple of bags of frozen berries (Wyman's) served the purpose quite well. Of course, when the fresh summer berries are ripe, this pie would be even more fabulous!

Raspberry Pie

1 recipe pastry for 9-inch double-crust pie

1 quart fresh raspberries (or two 12 oz. bags Wyman's frozen raspberries)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour (or quick-cooking tapioca ground in a food processor)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter

1 small egg
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Mix together raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, tapioca, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Set aside for fifteen minutes or so to let the filling get juicy (and to let the berries thaw a bit if using frozen).

Put berry mixture in bottom crust, and scatter bits of butter (2 T) on top. Position the top crust and crimp the edges. Make slits or cut-outs in the crust to allow the steam to escape. (Or form a lattice top as I did instead.) Whisk together the egg and cream and brush the top pie crust with the egg wash (optional).

Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F, cover the edges with a pie shield, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour more, until the filling bubbles in the very center. Let the pie cool for at least two hours to let the filling set before cutting and serving.

I made this pie for Willow and baby during the last week of June, but apparently, it did not do the trick, as it is about two weeks later, and she's still pregnant! So today, I had to bring out the big guns--CHOCOLATE! I saw an enticing recipe on my pal, Anna's blog recently for chocolate brownie scones, and I have been dreaming about them ever since. The recipe makes eight huge scones, which is more temptation than one person should have lingering around her kitchen! So I decided to treat not only Willow, but her very good friend, Meg, another dear colleague of ours in the Alumni Foundation Office at work who is also expecting (but not yet so GREAT with child like Willow!). Meg reported that the chocolatey goodness of the scone made her wee fetus do cartwheels inside her tummy, and we can only hope that Willow's baby will be lured out by the promise of more chocolate treats that the outside world has to offer!

These scones are really delicious--a bit crisp around the edges, so moist and tender inside, and deeply chocolatey (well worth the splurge to use high-quality chocolate and cocoa here). I only made one small change to the recipe, as I realized too late that I only had three ounces of unsweetened chocolate on hand. So I added an extra tablespoon of cocoa powder and an extra tablespoon of butter, and it worked out just fine. Though I might consider making one more change to the recipe when I make them again. I wasn't crazy about the strong flavor of molasses in the finished scones which seemed to compete with the chocolate (although it did mellow a bit over time). So I might either use light-flavored molasses or even dark (Karo) corn syrup instead. Nevertheless, these scones ROCKED, and as a bonus, they came together in no time. I actually made these this morning before work, which I can rarely pull off. But they were fast and easy, and oh-so-YUMMY! Maybe you have some pregnant friends or co-workers who need a little chocolate love right about now?

Chocolate Brownie Scones
(Source: Nicole Rees, Baking Unplugged via
Cookie Madness)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (oops, I forgot to chop mine!)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used half Scharffenberger and half Hershey's Special Dark)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla

3.5 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or 2/3 cup chocolate chips (I used bittersweet Ghiradelli chips, but I chopped them up a bit)
Sugar for sprinkling (I used Sugar in the Raw/demerara sugar--nuts would be another option)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Melt the 4 oz unsweetened chocolate in microwave or in a small bowl set over barely simmering water; set aside.

Combine both flours, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in bowl of food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture is a coarse meal. Dump into a mixing bowl.

Whisk 1/3 cup of the cream, molasses, egg, vanilla, and melted unsweetened chocolate together in another bowl. Pour over the flour mixture. Mix until everything starts to come together. There will be flecks of unmixed flour mixture here and there, but don’t overwork the dough by trying to mix them all the way in. At this point, mix in the bittersweet chocolate (chips).

Turn dough onto a lightly floured or parchment lined surface, knead quickly to bring the dough together, then divide in half. Shape each half into a 5 inch 1 1/2-inch thick square. Cut each square into four triangles. Carefully move the triangles to the baking sheet, placing them at least an inch apart. Brush with reserved whipping cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Cool at least three minutes on the baking sheet, and then cool thre to four additional minutes on a rack.

Makes 8 large scones.


Anna said...

Just saw the scone review. Thanks for the feedback (as usual):).

About the molasses, I used light. I almost always use mild molasses (which is what I consider light) and the brand I use is Grandma's. The label is yellow. Did you use a different brand?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Hi, Anna! Yes, mild! That's what I meant. I used the traditional dark, blackstrap molasses, and the flavor was a little too strong and distracting (although it lessened over time and was barely noticeable by the second day). Next time, I will use mild molasses (or maybe half blackstrap and half dark corn syrup). Thanks for clarifying, and thanks for sharing the recipe! :-)

Lisa said...

Thanks - came to your blog again through Blue Smoke. I'm the person who used to live in Ticonderoga. I've heard the weather's been cold. I'm trying your pie recipe tonight with our blackberries from our farmers market. Do check out my blog at www.unchainedinamerica.org. Wish I could try your drink with Blue Smoke, but chocolate gives me migraines - totally bummed.

Anna said...

Made these scones today and thought of you! I actually tried to make them heart shaped, and it sort of worked. Debating whether or not to post a picture.