Chocolate silk pie with salted caramel ribbons

A perfect past time for me is to dig into a new baking cookbook.  My latest find, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day, featuring treats from their bakery of the same name in Savannah, GA, is a true gem.  While perusing this book at my children’s gymnastics class last week, I felt inspired to bake a cream pie with ingredients I had at home. Before we begin, let me just say with pride that – yes – I do generally have chocolate chips, heaving whipping cream and a can of sweetened condensed milk just
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Cranberry-caramel-oat topping for pie, oh my!

A few weeks ago, in my (personally) earth shattering post about pie crusts and double crust apple pie, I made brief mention of another equally satisfying variation for apple pie:  the single crust, Cranberry-Caramel-Oat Topped Apple Pie. I am now posting it here, just in time for the holidays. I’m drafting this on the (almost) eve of Thanksgiving due to my inherent tendency toward procrastination and because my mother, a fabulous baker and possessor of many beloved holiday recipes, asked me to send her this recipe to make for Thanksgiving this year. Yes, the two days away, Thursday, November 24,
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How you like them…pie crusts?!!

So I made an apple pie, but not just any apple pie.  The apple pie of my life.  And that’s because of one beautiful thing:  the PERFECT PIE CRUST.  I have spent a good part of my life’s leisure time attempting – without success –  to make that elusive crust that is both flavorful (butter) and manageable (vegetable shortening).  A tender flake is also a must and this crust delivers there too. Three essential ingredients have emerged from this process:  almost equal parts butter and vegetable shortening + VODKA.  Apparently, vodka tenderizes like vinegar, without an aftertaste.  Also, in a chilly
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Strawberry rhubarb open faced tart

My cousin surprised me last week with an armful of freshly cut rhubarb from his yard.  It was the first cut of the season and I couldn’t wait to come home and bake up some little tarts. I knew strawberries were already on sale, so I made a detour on the way home, drug all the kids into the grocery store with me, and purchased a flat of strawberries.   (It only cost me a couple of rides for the kids on the free mechanical clown car at the front of the store – well worth my time – for
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