Tuesday, April 26, 2011

POM-Cranberry Angel Pie

Am I a lucky girl or what? I got a case of the new POM-Cranberry juice to try! Thanks, POM Wonderful! Let this be my full disclosure--I received some free product. Truth be told, I occasionally get various things to try. Generally, if I have nothing nice to say, I just won't post. If you don't have anything nice to say....well, you know the drill.

For some reason, I seem to get my POM samples when fresh pomegranates aren't available. So much for the arils to sprinkle on top of anything....

The last time I received a case of POM, it was all about cupcakes. And they were good. But this is the year that is all about pie, right? Pie being the new cupcake and all. So I decided on this:

POM-Cranberry Angel Pie

4 eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup POM-Cranberry juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (8 oz) container non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
3 drops red food coloring, optional
1 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a 9” glass pie plate (or spray with cooking spray).

In large bowl, beat 4 egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff, but not dry. Add 1 cup sugar slowly, beating until stiff and glossy.

Spread meringue in pie plate, making a “well” in the center for the filling.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave crust in oven for at least one hour or, preferably, overnight.

In small, heavy saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, POM-Cranberry juice, lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Heat over medium-low heat until mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature.

Fold whipped topping into POM mixture; add a few drops of red food coloring, if desired. Spread into pie shell and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for several hours.

When ready to serve, whip whipping cream with vanilla and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie. Garnish with fresh pomegranate arils if available.

If you've read any of my posts, you may have noticed that I'm a big fan of angel pies. What makes it an angel pie? Why the meringue crust, of course. I didn't take any pics of the procedure as my light was waning, but if you need a refresher, here is a link to my Lemon Angel Pie.

Meringue crusts are easy to make and look impressive. I especially like the chocolate version of angel pie, but I also like to experiment, so the idea of a pomegranate angel pie has been in the back of my mind for awhile. The only problem I ran into was the fact that whenever I cook with pomegranate juice it turns an unappealing brown.  Thus, I added red food coloring...just a touch...don't hate. You do eat with the eyes first.

We have a winner! A little lemon juice brightens up the taste, a little red color brightens up the pie, a lot of whipped cream just tastes good....

I have a few more bottles---what should I try next? Stay tuned for a cocktail....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Orange-Glazed Sweet Potato Breakfast Braid

I was excited to learn last November that my recipe was one of eleven chosen as finalists in the "Best of the Midwest" Cook Off sponsored by Midwest Living Magazine. The event was held in Branson Missouri at the Silver Dollar City Theme Park in December---right in the middle of one of the biggest Christmas celebrations in the country....there were over a million lights on display! While I didn't win the 10K grand prize, the experience was amazing. The folks at Midwest Living Magazine and at Silver Dollar City couldn't have been more accommodating and the other finalists were as nice as could be.

The recipe that won me a spot in the competition, Orange-Glazed Sweet Potato Breakfast Braid, was supposed to be a representation of a typical recipe found in Minnesota. While sweet potatoes are thought of more as a Southern ingredient, the idea of a breakfast braid is so very Scandinavian...and the addition of cardamom as one of the spices just clinched the deal.

We prepared our recipes in the commercial sized bakery within Silver Dollar City. Here is Emily Hobbs making her Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake and Diane Sparrow making her Beef Short Ribs With Cranberry Port Gravy. Diane won the People's Choice Award.

We were each given kitchen helpers. They were so nice and so helpful--I learned a few things from them--like how to open the door to the proofer so that my bread could rise.

This was my bread right before my presentation. Unfortunately, I had to cut it into slices in order to present it. The judges didn't see it as a whole loaf.

The staff provided me with everything I needed....

....Including a vintage KitchenAid mixer. It worked great!

Here, a few of us wait to present our creations. Judy Reynolds (first on the left, in green) was the grand prize winner with her Caramel & Chocolate Kettle Corn Krispie Bars with Sea Salt.

After our presentations, we had a little time to explore the park. The Christmas trees were magnificent.

As a special surprise, the emcee for the prize ceremony was Tony Orlando! And, yes, we sang "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree"! Later, we saw all of the trees lit up. There were thousands of people watching.

Today I made my Breakfast Braid without the raisins. Braiding the dough took a little practice for me. It's easiest to start in the middle and braid to each end.

Of course it's best if we brush a little butter over the loaves before we bake them.

Of course, these don't last long at my house. And who says you need a knife to slice it?

I hear the next contest will be announced in Midwest Living Magazine's July issue. This should come out in about 2 months. Do you have the next "Best of the Midwest" recipe?