Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TWD—Caramel Pumpkin Pie (A super long post because this is why I started blogging and can’t put it off—family photos and memories—with some great pie added!)

If you just want to see the Tuesday’s With Dorie pick for this week for Caramel Pumpkin Pie, scroll down until you find it, it’s actually at the very end of the post.  I loved this pie.  But beware, this is a long post with lots of pictures.  This is the only way I can get the posts I really want to post about done for now.   The pumpkin pie was chosen by Janell of Mortensen Family Memoirs and you can get the recipe on her blog.

The three youngest boys and I spent most of last week in Idaho visiting my parents.  The boys had two days off school for fall break and I kind of decided on a whim to make the trek and go home.  I’m glad we went.  (Kevin and Scott stayed in Utah.  Scott had a scout camping overnighter that he didn’t want to miss.  Then the morning of the campout, Scott ended up with a fever the rest of the weekend.  That’s a bummer.  So he missed the campout, but he and Kevin had some good time together.  Took Scott the the doctor Monday morning after he was in pain all the sudden that morning with his ear hurting.  He’s got a nasty ear infection.  Scott is 12 and I don’t think he’s had one since he was maybe four years old.)

The boys weren’t really all that happy when they got home from school on Wednesday and within ten minutes I had them in the car and on our way for the six hour drive.  They actually complained quite a bit and really, I don’t blame them.  That drive is not my favorite thing.  We made it through the sun blinding us in our faces by stopping in Burley, Idaho halfway through the drive right as the sun was at its worst and wandered around a Walmart until I knew the sun had gone beyond the horizon.  Sam had been really upset and screaming with the sun right in his face.  Then as we had just an hour left of the drive he really started complaining that he wanted out of his seat and that his back hurt.  (Me, too, Buddy.)  Too funny, but Sam was looking out at the darkness around that time and said so upset, “I guess since it’s dark, we’ll never find Grandma’s house now.”  I assured him that I knew how to get to their house.  He was just so adamant that there was no way since it was dark.  I explained to him that I grew up there and knew exactly how to get there.  He just sighed and said, “Well, if you say so, Mom.”

Still unsure of what in the world they would do at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and that it would be boring, the boys weren’t too thrilled.  But by the next day, Grandma had them beaming as they made Halloween edible necklaces.


The boys got a good laugh out of noticing that the hanging pots in the background made them look like Mickey Mouse.  You can’t tell, but their necklaces had all kind of round food with holes in them for stringing on them as well as some gummy teeth candy, white candy coated pretzels for skeleton bones and some colored spider rings.  Sam tried to avoid the group pictures, but I got him anyway.


Parker was goofing off and got bit by one of the green spiders. ;)


Taylor lost one of his top front teeth while we were home.  It kind of just popped out when he wasn’t expecting it to.  Thankfully, the tooth fairy still showed up at Grandma’s house! ;)


I think with the pots in the background, he looks more like Princess Leia in this one. hehe  My mom kept telling him with the missing tooth he looked like a Jack-o-lantern.

Love this picture of Grandma reading to Sam!


My parents have been vendors (and market managers and/or on the board in the past) at the Nampa Farmers' Market since it began in 1989.  There are still two weeks of the market left this season, so I HAD to check it out while we were home.  It is such a great farmers’ market and was great to get to go.  Since the season is coming to an end, they don’t have as many vegetables, but my mom bakes and sells the best of every kind of cookie, spends the summer making jams to sell and my dad keeps the whole thing running while maintaining their big garden.


Mom pretty much sells out of that many cookies every week.  She does themed sugar cookies each week that are just decorated so cute.


The blue cookies with the orange footballs are in honor of the fantastic Boise State Broncos!  There is some serious BSU lovin’ going on in the Boise area right now (and rightly so)!

They are down to last-of-the-season produce right now.


But at the peak of the season, their booth looks more like this---





And just a few of the cute sugar cookies from the past, Mom works really hard on these each week.



There are so many more, but I’ll stop there.  They have grown and sold everything in the past from spinach, chard and basil, lettuces, to potatoes, corn, tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, cantaloupe, peppers.  You name it, they’ve probably grown it in the past.  Since my parents aren’t getting well, let’s say, any younger, this might be the last year they do the market.  If so, I’m glad I got to go one more time.  And the boys loved it, too.  They got hot dogs from one of the vendors and sat with their cousin, Zane, enjoying lunch.


Parker made a smoothie in a blender by pedaling a bike.


I loved these plush, homemade, stuffed pumpkins that one of the vendors was selling and bought three of them in different sizes.  I almost couldn’t choose.  I loved them all.



(I told you there was some serious BSU lovin’ here, even the pumpkins are dressed up!)

Cute sock monkeys from the same vendor, too!


My sweet, grand nephew, Gunner, (Zane’s new brother) showed up with his mom, Saharra, to woo us all at the market. 


Gunner was born 10 pounds 2 ounces.  He IS the Michelin man.  And so darn cute and cuddly!  Even Great Grandpa (my dad) had to have a turn holding Gunner.


Saturday night we had family over for a little dinner and a lotta dessert. ;)  My dad saw my recent post about the All Chocolate Boston Cream Pie I made for Kevin’s birthday and kept hinting to me how much he’d love that cake.  So I made it again—with the change in the chocolate cream middle that I mentioned wanting to make.  It’s the easy way out, but a great mousse-like pudding for the cake.

Creamy Dreamy Chocolate Filling, for anything that needs a cream filling

1 box (4 serving size) instant chocolate pudding mix (or any flavor you’d like)

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

Put cream and milk in bowl of mixer, add pudding mix and beat with wire whisk attachment for 30 seconds.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

I put the filling in between two chocolate cake layers and frosted the top with my favorite, simple ganache which is just six ounce of chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet this time) and 1/2 cup cream, heated to just boiling.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips.  Let it sit for a minute, then slowly whisk it together until you have a perfect, smooth melted chocolate.  For frosting spreading consistency, let it sit for about an hour.  You can pour it on the cake immediately and let it drip down the sides, too. 

Everyone began devouring the cake and this is the only picture of it I took.  Little bit of chocolate heaven, I’d say.


My nephew, Jim, headed up a little wrestling match with all the boys.  They had a blast.


Jim’s little boy, Izaiah, is four, he’s in the gray sweatshirt.  Jim also has a new little guy, Vincent.  CUTE!


Love this shot of Zane in the air while the boys wrestled.  I believe the “match” ended shortly there after as he landed right on one of my boys and had already been told not to do that.  This wrestling probably went on for a good 30 minutes.  The boys were pooped!


See those Michelin arms on Gunner!  He’s only a few weeks old, but weighs more than his cousin, Vinny, who is three months!



And finally, for those non-chocolate eaters in the house (mom) and because I didn’t want to miss this week’s TWD just because I was home, I also made the Caramel Pumpkin Pie.  What a great, simple, (Yes, I said simple when it’s got homemade caramel in it!), different pumpkin pie.  I only veered off Dorie’s recipe by making a different crust.  A pate brisee that I love.  I really like how buttery, yet crisp it is. 

The caramel was easy to make, went off without a hitch, and tasted great.  I didn’t let it smoke too much because I’ve made Dorie’s caramel before and thought it was too bitter/burnt for my liking.  That’s the nice thing, you can take it as far as you want or make it as mild as you’d like.  I didn’t photograph the caramel, but should have.  It was a perfect amber brown.  I. followed. the. pie. directions!  It baked perfectly in 45 minutes.  I also added the streusel on top (but used pecans instead of almonds).


The only thing I was a little bummed about with the pie was that I didn’t take the time to make the crust look pretty before baking it, still it came out great.


The pie definitely had a distinct caramel flavor.  I liked it.  While I LOVE streusel on top of just about everything and it did taste good, I’d probably leave it off next time for more of that traditional pumpkin pie texture.  Only thing that made the pie even more perfect—whipped cream on top!


I wanted to come home from Idaho and make Kevin the pumpkin pie because he really likes pumpkin pie, but I just wasn’t able to get that done on Monday.  I’m sure I’ll make this one again.  There’s a big, certain pie-eating holiday coming up!  Thanks for the great pick, Janell.  And if you actually read this whole post, you rock.  Thanks.  I do these long ones mostly for my own benefit and my family.  We packed up, cleaned up and headed back home to Utah Sunday morning.  Thanks for everything, Mom and Dad!  By the time we were leaving, the boys had been having so much fun they asked if they could just live at Grandma and Grandpas and never leave.  They discovered a “giant” dirt hill out back of their garden that they had so much fun playing on.  I heard Parker say they even made a pledge that anyone who goes on the hill has to say each time.  Ok, truth be known, I never knew this hill of dirt existed, but my nieces and nephew say they even played on it when they were growing up and that they always thought it was a huge hill. 




Many ruined/thrown away pairs of sock later and priceless memories of fun visiting Grandma and Grandpa Scott—this is what it’s all about.  We made the long drive back on Sunday, stopped in Ogden to see my oldest friend (we lived across the street from each other when we were born, she’s exactly one month older than me.  I haven’t seen Sharon for years.  The boys just wanted to get home and didn’t want to make that stop either, but by the time we visited for an hour and  a half, they didn’t want to leave.  Sharon and her parents are wonderful and the boys had so much fun playing croquet and baseball in their backyard.  It was a perfect way to break up the drive.  Okay, I’m done, for now.    

Still to come this week—Taylor had a birthday, FFWD and 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.  Stay tuned.


Lisa said...

Way cute pictures. Looks like you all had a fun trip. Your mom's cookies are amazing. I can definitely see where you got your baking talent.

Hindy said...

Lovely photos! It's so great to learn about your family. Thanks for sharing them with us. Did your generation only have boy babies?

megan said...

Outstanding post, Katrina - fabulous pictures - and your Mom is such a talented baker! I'm so impressed!

I mean, you are too - don't get me wrong - but all those cookies every week? Wow!

mommykay said...

You can skip posting the recipes. I just love seeing the pictures of the boys. Give them my greetings.

Mom and Dad said...

We loved having you all home. Come visit again soon! Love you so much....MOM and DAD Thanks for the link to our great market!

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said...

I LOVE those plush pumpkins!

Cindy said...

I loved your post. It is so fun to get to know each other a little more--yes I read it all. I love farmers markets and would love to meet your parents!

Mimi said...

What a fun trip! Your mom is quite a baker, I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Fallon said...

Your parents grow some beautiful produce!! I can see where you get your baking from now. ;)

Caramel added to pumpkin pie is such a good idea!

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Loved all your pictures, Katrina... however, I'll pretend I didn't see any of that blue and orange junk. ;) GO Frogs!!

Unknown said...

What an awesome trip, lots of love here, I enjoyed the journey thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such a great post.....even tho it made me miss my family even more and cry at work while reading it on my lunch! Love and miss you!
<3<3<3 Sara <3<3<3

Mama Mouse said...

I love these kinds of posts. I always wonder about you... how you manage to balance your kids and cooking and still stay sane.

The Mortensens said...

I am so glad that you loved this recipe! You were smart not to let the caramel get too dark. That was a big mistake I made with my first attempt. Oh well, now I know!

Thanks for baking along with me this week!

Anonymous said...

Fun photos - your mom's cookies are awesome! I didn't make this week's pie because my hubby doesn't like pumpkin, but it sounds really good to me.

Katy said...

I love this post!! Love hearing about your family, your adventure, and love all the pics -- lots of boys in your family. :)

Unknown said...

It looks like you guys had a great trip Katrina! I loved seeing all of the photos, especially the ones at the Market. How cool that your mom makes the cookies!

The pie looks terrific too! I was curious about the streusel, but wound up skipping it this time - maybe next time, I just can't imagine streusel not making it better :)

Barbara Bakes said...

So nice that you got home to see your family. Hope your son is feeling better now.

Paige said...

I _love_ your Mom's cookies. And their produce stand looks pretty amazing. Those beets....so beautiful.

Pamela said...

That Tooth Fairy! She sure gets around, doesn't she? :-)
Kudos to both your parents for working so hard at the market. Looks like some good stuff! Both those babies are so cute! And now there is a cousin Vinny in the family! ;-) Cute! About the pie-- I didn't let my caramel smoke much either! Too bitter last time and that is not the way I like my caramel. All in all, looks like you guys had a great visit with the family. Thanks for sharing!

Jaime said...

great photos! i don't even remember there being an optional streusel w/this one, wonder why i didn't do it b/c i love streusel! well, maybe next time i'll try it

Valerie Gamine said...

I can see where you get your love of baking from! :~)
Great post, I had fun reading it. And your pie looks adorable too!

Unknown said...

Great post!! Are there no girl children in your family at all?? Lol, that's a lot of boys. The pie looks delicious, as does the cake. Love the title of the filling :)

Anonymous said...

The pie looks like a yummy twist for the pumpkin pie lovers! Glad to hear that the boys ended up having such a good time that they didn't want to leave. That's always a good sign!
Your Mom's super cute cookies make me think you are blessed with natural talent when it comes to baking and decorating!!

spike. said...

looks like a great time was had and a great pie too!

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

Ha- I did read it all- your family sounds lovely- nice to find your blog! Ren