Icebox Lemon-Lavender Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Front-Runner Favs: Icebox Lemon-Lavender Pie! Are you ready for a decadent dessert that is light, luscious, and requires no baking? Take a trip with me down South, where the summers are balmy and the desserts are as cool and refreshing as a glass of southern iced tea. The dessert begins with a foolproof graham cracker crust, store-bought is fine. The filling is a blend of tart lemon and flowery lavender swaddled in a lush sweet creamy texture that literally melts in your mouth. Mix it all together and pop it in the freezer, although it won’t stay there for long.

ICEBOX LEMON-LAVENDER PIE

Ingredients:

1 graham cracker crust

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 teaspoon lavender extract

3/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon citrus peel, granulated

1 tablespoon organic lavender buds, dried

Lavender sprigs for garnish

Instructions:

Chill prepared pie crust, stand mixer bowl, and beater beforehand. Mix sweetened condensed milk, lemon extract, and lavender extract on Low setting until blended. Add lemon juice and citrus peel, mixing until filling thickens and is smooth. Fold in lavender buds. Pour into chilled pie crust. Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer, cut, and serve. Garnish with fresh lavender sprigs. Store leftovers in the freezer.

Quasi Cherry Almond Macaroon Slab Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Quasi Cherry Almond Macaroon Slab Pie! Now that’s a mouthful. But truth-be-told when you’re talking about a dessert with mounds of plump cherry clusters, flaked coconut, and sliced nuts…well, nothing else will do. By transforming it all into a slab pie, portions become more manageable over traditional sliced servings. The crust is still flaky, even if there is less of it. Focus instead on a sweet treat with a single shot of Italian espresso or scoop of ice cream. It’s a perfect balance for the taste buds.

QUASI CHERRY ALMOND MACAROON SLAB PIE

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust

Ingredients for filling:

21-ounce can cherry pie filling

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Ingredients for topping:

1 cup coconut, shredded

1/2 cup almonds, sliced

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Roll the prepared pie crust to fit the baking sheet. Trim the dough to only fit the bottom of the pan. If necessary, use the extra dough pieces to fill in the corners. Pinch to seal. In a large bowl, combine the cherry pie filling, cinnamon, sea salt, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Spoon the filling onto the pie crust. Spread in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the topping, fill a mixing bowl with the shredded coconut, sliced almonds, sugar, sea salt, milk, melted butter, almond extract, coconut extract, and beaten egg. Remove the slab pie from the oven. Spread macaroon topping over all. Return slab pie to oven, bake 25 minutes longer, or until bubbly and golden brown. Cut into slices. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.

Apple Cinnamon Slab Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Apple Cinnamon Slab Pie! For those who were lucky enough to be gifted with one of the spectacular supermarket fruit baskets and are now wondering how to eat everything before it spoils, think outside the box. Citrus fruits can be refrigerated, as long as you don’t forget about them out-of-sight in the crisper drawer. And we all know what happens to bananas in the fridge. Ugh. Not a pretty sight. But today we’re going to talk about everyone’s favorite fruit, the mouth-watering juicy apple. In reality, slab pies are the grown-up version of a pop tart, only better. The apple filling is honest-to-goodness fruit instead of a smearing of sugary jam. And the crust is more than a pastry shell of dry dough. Its layers of flaky goodness and buttery deliciousness are magically separated by pockets of air.

APPLE CINNAMON SLAB PIE

Ingredients:

2 9-inch pie crusts, refrigerated dough

8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon warm milk, if needed

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. Place sliced apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Gently toss. In another bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, sea salt, and nutmeg. Mix well. Pour over sliced apples. Toss to coat. Roll one prepared pie crust to fit the baking sheet. Trim the dough to only fit the bottom of the pan. If necessary, use the extra dough to fill in the corners. Spread apple filling over bottom crust. Roll out second pie crust. Place over the apple filling. Pierce top of dough with a fork in several places. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Bake 35-40 minutes. To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. For a slightly thinner consistency, add the warm milk. Remove Apple Cinnamon Slab Pie from oven when the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly. Cool slab pie on a wire rack for 10 minutes before pouring glaze over top. Spread to edges. When pie is cool, slice to serve.

Vidalia Onion Tart

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Vidalia Onion Tart! For those of you who adore caramelized onions, but need the confidence to make them at home, read on for some helpful hints that bring astounding results. Begin with yellow sweet onions. I choose Vidalias right now because they are in season. Slice them thicker than you would for a sandwich. If the onions are too thin, they burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. This is not the time to be using olive oil. Butter is your friend. The flavor is what makes the difference, so do not scorch the butter. Make sure the onions are coated, top and bottom, with melted butter. It helps them to turn soft and caramelized. Also, make sure the pan is large enough to prevent overcrowding. The last thing you want is steam, which turns the onions mushy. Maintain a constant heat for the onions’ sugars to caramelize. If they char a little, don’t sweat it. Believe me, the results are worth the wait. Besides, the aromas will drive everyone else crazy, too.

VIDALIA ONION TART

Ingredients for Tart:

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into chunks

4-5 tablespoons iced water

Instructions:

Using a food processor, mix together flour and sea salt. Add the chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles small peas. With the machine running, gradually add iced water until dough forms a ball. Remove dough, flatten into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for one hour.

Remaining Ingredients:

5 tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 large Vidalia sweet onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon corn meal, coarsely ground

2 slices baby Swiss cheese

1 egg yolk, beaten

Fresh tarragon for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Do not scorch. Add the Vidalia onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add Worcestershire sauce, Herbs de Provence, sea salt, and black pepper. Cook until onions are golden, about 35-45 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let cool. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle cornmeal evenly. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll out each portion into an 8″ round. Transfer to the baking sheet. Place one slice of Swiss cheese in the center of each round. Spread the onions over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2″ border. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling. Brush the edges with the egg yolk wash. Bake for 40 minutes, until the bottom crust is brown. Transfer the baking sheet to the top shelf and continue baking 5 minutes longer. Top crust will be golden brown. Cool tarts on a wire rack to prevent them from getting soggy. Garnish with fresh tarragon. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Makes two tarts.

Key Lime Pie Bakery in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Key Lime Pie Bakery! Key limes are as popular in the Florida Keys as conch shells on the beach. If you’ve never tasted one, imagine this: Key limes are more aromatic as well as a bit smaller than regular limes, thus making them less acidic and more tart. By adding sugar, eggs, and a graham cracker crust, the results are a tangy, sweet, light, and creamy dessert that may or may not cry out for a delicious dollop of whipped cream. Merengue is definitely not out of the question either. Drop in for a single slice or an entire pie. It’s convenient enough to make a second trip.

Apricot-Glazed Apple Galette

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Apricot-Glazed Apple Galette! It’s apple-picking time of year. Pay a visit to the nearest orchard for an afternoon of relaxation and sipping cider slushes. Local farmers encourage and invite visitors to catch a glimpse of the family farm in celebration of Harvest. Not only can you nibble on caramel-dipped apples and warm apple dumplings, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking a hayride to the corn maze or pumpkin patch. Me? I grab my French market bag and load up on Galas and Granny Smith apples!

APRICOT-GLAZED APPLE GALETTE

Ingredients for crust:

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, cold

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons ice water

Ingredients for filling:

2 large gala apples, core removed, peeled, and sliced

Scant lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup apricot jam

1-2 tablespoons apricot brandy

3 tablespoons butter

1 egg yolk

Instructions:

This recipe makes two individual galettes. Preheat oven to 425°. Using a food processor, pulse cold butter, flour, and salt to the size of small peas. Sprinkle in ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 an hour. Remove wrap and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut in half. Roll each half into an 8″ circle. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Beginning in the center, spiral apple slices like a fan. Be sure to leave a border. Fold edges of dough toward the center, creating a rustic crust. Press gently to seal. Repeat for second galette. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice. Cover apples with sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Spread apricot jam over apples. Pour apricot brandy over all. Dot with butter. Whisk together egg yolk and water. Brush the egg wash along the edges of the dough. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° but do not remove the galettes. Bake an additional 45 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer the galettes from the baking sheet by lifting with the parchment paper. Cool on wire rack to keep the bottoms from getting soggy. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Pumpkin Spice Pie

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Sweet Celebrations: Pumpkin Spice Pie! It wouldn’t be a feast without family traditions, whether it’s a circle of loved ones, heirloom tableware, aromatic side dishes, or pumpkin spice pie. No matter how stuffed we are from the bountiful spread, there’s always room for dessert. Am I right? Indeed! Besides, who can resist a touch of creamy custard sweetness surrounded by a golden, buttery crust, even if it is prepared by someone else.

PUMPKIN SPICE PIE

Ingredients:

1 prepared 9” pie crust

15-ounce can puréed pumpkin

2 eggs

15-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whipped Cream for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Place prepared pie dough in an ungreased pie plate. Crimp edges as desired. Set aside. Combine puréed pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt. Beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue baking 40-50 minutes until center is firm. If necessary, cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to avoid over browning. A knife inserted will come out clean. Remove from oven. Cool. Garnish with whipped cream, as desired.

Veggie Pot Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Veggie Pot Pie! Do you like to make pie dough? What if it’s not flaky? Are you okay with that? How do you keep the bottom crust from being soggy? Is it necessary to have a top crust? All very good questions, I assure you. Forget them for now and come with me into the land of phyllo dough where tissue-thin layers of unleavened dough are brushed with melted butter creating a crispy golden crunch. Expert bakers took the time and skill to make our lives easier by rolling and stretching the dough multiple times so we don’t have to. The result is a product as close as our neighborhood grocer. With pre-made phyllo dough as your starting point, anyone can be a gourmet chef. No dough-making required.

VEGGIE POT PIE

Ingredients:

7-ounce box antioxidant blend frozen vegetables, thawed

1 cup pearl onions

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup frozen green beans, thawed

1 sweet potato, skin on

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, cut-up

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in the refrigerator overnight

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

Keep phyllo dough chilled until ready to use. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine antioxidant vegetable blend, pearl onions, corn, peas, and green beans. Gently toss to keep vegetables from mashing. Wash skin of sweet potato. Pierce with a knife. Microwave on High setting for 3 minutes. Let sweet potato cool enough to handle before cutting into cubes. Gently toss into vegetable mixture. Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushroom pieces. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook, stirring occasionally until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl of mixed vegetables. Add parmesan cheese. Mix beaten egg into vegetables. Sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Butter a 9” iron skillet. Unroll the phyllo sheets and lay them on a flat surface. Immediately cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel. This prevents the dough from drying out. Keep phyllo covered after removing each sheet. Fit one phyllo sheet into the skillet, allowing the edges to hang over the sides. Brush lightly with melted butter. Continue working quickly by placing one phyllo sheet in the skillet at a time. Turn skillet a quarter-turn, then top with a second sheet; brush lightly with butter. Repeat with remaining sheets and butter. When finished there should be about a tablespoon of butter left. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over phyllo layers. Sprinkle goat cheese over top. Fold edges of phyllo dough up and over the filling toward the center, overlapping slightly. Center will be exposed. Brush the top of the phyllo with remaining butter. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. Transfer iron skillet to a wire rack. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. The flavor of roasted vegetables intensifies at room temperature. Serve warm. (Leftovers may be reheated in the iron skillet with the crust remaining crisp.)

Quiche From the Hen House

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Quiche From the Hen House! Certain foods are like time-travel. Take quiche, for instance. Elsewhere it’s no big deal, popular even. But in America, guys couldn’t stand it back in the ‘80s. Too sissy. Never mind that it was economical and the ingredients were pretty much on hand when the grocery budget was stretched to the max. But then came bacon, and everything changed. Suddenly quiche was raised to the level of deep dish pizza.

QUICHE FROM THE HEN HOUSE

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust

1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-size pieces

1/3 sweet onion, chopped

3 eggs

1 cup light cream

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a pie plate with nonstick oil. Place prepared pie crust in the pie plate. Crimp edges. Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese over bottom. Set aside. In a microwave-safe covered dish, steam broccoli for 2 minutes; drain. Set aside. Place chopped onion in a microwave-safe dish. Cook 2 minutes on High setting. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, light cream, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Arrange broccoli pieces and chopped onion in the pie crust. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes. Quiche is done when center is set and a knife inserted comes out clean. Serve warm.