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Make football fans cheer for dessert

Whatever the score, whatever the mood or the weather, for most people good desserts improve the quality of life.

These two recipes are for new versions of a chocolate pie with an orange tang and a walnut-spice cookie, developed by Karen Barker, acclaimed pastry chef, cookbook author and co-owner of the Magnolia Grill, Durham, N.C.

Chocolate Fudge Pie

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces

5 ounces (10 tablespoons) butter

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1} cups sugar

\ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

{ cup flour

\ cup orange juice (see note)

2 tablespoons orange marmalade

1 refrigerated unbaked pie crust, pressed into 9-inch pie pan

Powdered sugar and whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (see note).

Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter in top of a double boiler. Combine eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt, vanilla and flour. Whisk to combine. Whisk in orange juice, orange marmalade and reserved chocolate mixture. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Bake for 25 minutes until puffed, set and slightly crusty on top. Cool completely before serving. Sprinkle the pie with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Note: This pie bakes at an unusually high temperature to create its ultra-creamy interior and contrasting crusty exterior. Substitute Grand Marnier for the orange juice, if preferred.

Spicy Walnut Butterballs

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1{ cups powdered sugar, sifted and divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

{ teaspoon kosher salt

1\ teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

{ teaspoon ground cloves

{ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

\ teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup lightly toasted, skinned, finely chopped walnuts

Cream the butter with } cup of the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla, flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and nutmeg, and mix until well-combined, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add the walnuts and mix just until combined. Chill the dough for about 1 hour, until it's firm but malleable. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll pieces of the dough into walnut-size rounds (about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie) and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for about 14 to 16 minutes, until the bottom of the cookies are light golden; the tops will be set but still fairly pale in color. Remove cookies from oven and immediately coat them with half of the remaining powered sugar. Allow them to cool completely, then coat them again with the remaining powdered sugar.

If not serving immediately, you should reroll them in additional sifted powdered sugar just before serving. Makes 2{ dozen cookies.

Recipes developed by Karen Barker on behalf of the American Butter Institute.

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