Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Pie" pops and other mishaps...

By now I would say that most people who frequent food blogs have heard about, seen, or have tried pie pops. I first saw them in July on Luxirare and have been obsessed with the idea of them ever since. The idea is genius and the product is so cute and charming. How could they possibly go wrong?

I started off by making 2 homemade fillings - for the banana filling I mashed 2 ripe bananas and added a couple teaspoons of cinnamon and for the blackberry filling I minced a pint of blackberries and added a couple teaspoons of sugar. I used premade cherry and apple pie fillings, but cut the pieces up so that the filling would fit in the crust circles. I also bought pillsbury premade crust - the ones that are flat in the refrigerator aisle - so that I didn't have to make them myself.

So, once everything was set up, I happily rolled out the crusts so that they'd be a little thinner and use a 2.5" circle dough cutter to cut out 22 circles from one premade crust. I added about one teaspoon of filling to 11 of the circles, put the lollipop stick in, sealed with a second crust circle, brushed with egg whites, and popped them in the oven at 375 degrees. After 15 minutes they were finished and looked BEAUTIFUL. I couldn't wait to try one so I gleefully picked up a banana pie pop and put the whole thing in my mouth. Wow. There was so much crust and so little filling. The crust sucked all the moisture from my mouth and I thought I was going to choke on what should have been a delightful bite of pie! I know that the Luxirare blogger said that she enjoyed more crust that filling, but I thought I'd at least be able to taste more than the whisper of filling flavor. So disheartening. I didn't even bother photographing them because I was so depressed over the whole incident, but this is what they looked like (maybe not quite as perfect):

Image from Luxirare

I don't know if I did something wrong, has anyone else tried these? I've read elsewhere online that they used 3" circle dough cutters, but I figure that while it may increase the amount of filling you can fit, it will also increase the amount of dough. So...you'd end up with the same issue, right?

After that I had to think of something else to make for Valentine's Day to bring into work so I thought candied lemon peels would be delicious. I went to Tastespotting.com and searched lemon peel and so I clicked on the first one, Tangy Lemon Peels Dipped in Dark Chocolate from Cooking Weekends and followed the instructions because I had never made these before.

These are what they should have looked like - image from Cooking Weekends blog

The instructions say to parboil the lemon peels for about one minute in order to remove some of the bitterness - that made sense to me, so I did it. Then the directions say to mix one cup of water and one cup of sugar over heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add the lemon peels and allow to simmer for about an hour. Done and done. After my pie pop disappointment I had my mom taste these first and I feel a little bad about that. They were bitter...with an awful aftertaste. What the heck? I looked online and other recipes for candied peels and they said that you should boil the peels for 20 minutes and then change the water 4 times (so boiling for a total of 80 minutes) in order to remove the bitterness. Then you're supposed to simmer in the sugar water for 2 hours. Granted, this was the most extreme version, but I only had 3 oranges so I had to get it right this time (I used all the lemons the first time so I had to switch to candied orange peels).

The candied orange peels were delicious, but they were so soft by the end of it that when I rolled them in sugar and dipped them in chocolate they kept breaking into little pieces. Only a handful were left intact. *sigh*

Other V-day weekend sadness included making homemade roasted tomato soup that ended up tasting pretty similar to canned Cambell's Tomato Soup and being in an accident on Saturday morning in the Michael's parking lot...I should have known that things were only going to go downhill from there.

Oh well.

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