Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie


 
Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie from Lisa Ludwinski's new book, Sister Pie. Tangy buttermilk filling is topped with a nutty buckwheat pepita filling - a simple but genius twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. #pumpkinpie #buttermilk #pie #streusel #sisterpie
Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie from Lisa Ludwinski's new book, Sister Pie. Tangy buttermilk filling is topped with a nutty buckwheat pepita filling - a simple but genius twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. #pumpkinpie #buttermilk #pie #streusel #sisterpie
Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie from Lisa Ludwinski's new book, Sister Pie. Tangy buttermilk filling is topped with a nutty buckwheat pepita filling - a simple but genius twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. #pumpkinpie #buttermilk #pie #streusel #sisterpie
Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie from Lisa Ludwinski's new book, Sister Pie. Tangy buttermilk filling is topped with a nutty buckwheat pepita filling - a simple but genius twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. #pumpkinpie #buttermilk #pie #streusel #sisterpie
Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie from Lisa Ludwinski's new book, Sister Pie. Tangy buttermilk filling is topped with a nutty buckwheat pepita filling - a simple but genius twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. #pumpkinpie #buttermilk #pie #streusel #sisterpie

So I have had a few people ask me before if I have a pumpkin pie recipe on my site. Until now I haven’t - pumpkin pie isn’t something that I grew up eating because we don’t have thanksgiving in New Zealand, and pumpkin is usually a savoury thing (have you ever had it roasted? It’s amaaaazing). We once hosted a student teacher from Montana who was AMAZED that we had never had pumpkin pie before. We asked her how to make it, and she told us that you just put pumpkin pie filling in a store bought crust. She was so adamant that we had to try it that when she got back to Montana she shipped us a big can of libby’s pumpkin pie filling - we had no idea what to do with it, so I’m pretty sure it’s still in the cupboard 10 years later. Whoops.

Anyway the reason there is no pumpkin pie recipe here was that I wasn’t willing to develop my own. Haha. I didn’t see the point in reworking such an iconic recipe when I haven’t had enough pumpkin pie in my life to know what I really wanted. But two things kind of lined up which brought this buttermilk pumpkin streusel pie here onto my little corner of the internet - Sara threw her annual virtual pumpkin party, and a copy of Lisa Ludwinski’s book Sister Pie arrived. You can check out all the pumpkin recipes on Sara’s Blog!

I haven’t had many pumpkin pies in my life, but this is a good one. Promise. The buttermilk adds a beautiful tang to the filling, and the buckwheat and pumpkin seed streusel on top adds crunch, while complementing the flavour. It also hides any cracks that may form when your pie bakes. Win win if you ask me.

One flip through Lisa’s book and I have bookmarked so many things already - there’s a rhubarb blondie that I’m dying to make as soon as rhubarb comes back, along with pies in every flavour you can imagine. The photography is so beautiful too - it really makes me EXCITED to make pie. Which isn’t hard, but still. Lisa’s recipes are easy to read and she explains the basics so well - I followed their instructions for blind baking for another recipe I was working on and it turned out perfectly! Happy Pie Making!

Ps head over to Instagram - I’m giving away a copy of this beautiful book, along with some essential pie tools!

A few wee tips:

  • See those little leaves? I baked those after then lined them up around the pie. It was a huge pain in the butt and kinda like reverse jenga, so I wouldn’t recommend. Just a plain crimp will be great! They also made the pie look like a sunflower once I added the streusel which I wasn’t overly stoked about. So maybe just don’t do it. Haha. Unless you want sunflower pie.

  • I read this article all about the temperature of a pumpkin pie and reasons why it cracks, and it was super helpful! I pulled mine just after it hit 160˚f in the middle.

  • Crimping can seem kinda scary, but don’t worry - it will still taste great! Lisa’s way of blind baking takes away the scary of the pastry slumping. Just remember to do VERY aggressive crimps at the start - they relax out a little, so don’t try anything delicate because it def won’t come out of the oven looking like that.

  • The pie needs 4-6 hours to set, so make sure you account for that!

  • If you don’t want to make the streusel, this recipe makes a bloody yum pumpkin pie.

  • The pie dough section seems like heaps of steps. I promise it’s not - Lisa has an AMAZING way of explaining how to roll out pie dough, so I had to pop it in there for you, because it’s better than anything that’s ever going to come out of my brain.

 

 

Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie

- Makes one 9” pie -

Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie, copyright © 2018. PublishedbyLorena Jones Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House

All Butter Pie dough
Makes 2 discs, enough for one 9-inch double-crust lattice-topped or full-top pie or two 9-inch single-crust pies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted European-style butter, straight from the fridge
1/2 cup ice-cold water-vinegar mixture (1 cup ice, 1 cup water, and 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar)

Buckwheat Pepita Streusel Topping
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup buckwheat flour
1⁄4 cup pepitas, toasted in a dry skillet
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, straight from the fridge

Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
3⁄4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
2 tablespoons (1⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons fine yellow cornmeal
3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
One 9-inch crust made with All-Butter Pie Dough (see below), extra blind baked and cooled
1 large egg, beaten

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

In a large stainless steel bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and stir to mix well. Place the sticks of butter in the bowl and coat on all sides with the flour mixture. Using a bench scraper, cut the butter into 1⁄2-inch cubes. Work quickly to separate the cubes with your hands until they are all lightly coated in flour. Grab that bench scraper once again and cut each cube in half. I always tell my pie dough students that it’s unnecessary to actually cut each cube perfectly in half, but it’s a good idea to break up the butter enough so that you can be super-efficient when it’s pastry blender time.

It’s pastry blender time! Switch to the pastry blender and begin to cut in the butter with one hand while turning the bowl with the other. It’s important not to aim for the same spot at the bottom of the bowl with each stroke of the pastry blender, but to actually slice through butter every time to maximize efficiency. When the pastry blender clogs up, carefully clean it out with your fingers (watch out, it bites!) or a butter knife and use your hands to toss the ingredients a bit. Continue to blend and turn until the largest pieces are the size and shape of peas and the rest of the mixture feels and looks freakishly similar to canned Parmesan cheese.

At this point, add the water-vinegar mixture all at once, and switch back to the bench scraper. Scrape as much of the mixture as you can from one side of the bowl to the other, until you can’t see visible pools of liquid anymore. Now it’s hand time. Scoop up as much of the mixture as you can, and use the tips of your fingers (and a whole lot of pressure) to press it back down onto the rest of the ingredients. Rotate the bowl a quarter-turn and repeat. Scoop, press, and turn. With each fold, your intention is to be quickly forming the mixture into one cohesive mass. Remember

to incorporate any dry, floury bits that have congregated at the bottom of the bowl, and once those are completely gone and the dough is formed, it’s time to stop.

Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on a lightly floured counter, and use your bench scraper to divide it into two equal pieces. Gently pat each into a 2-inch-thick disc, working quickly to seal any broken edges before wrapping them tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap. If you’re portioning for a lattice-topped pie, shape one half into a 2-inch-thick disc and the other half into a 6 by 3-inch rectangle. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight. When you go to roll out the crust, you want the discs to feel as hard and cold as the butter did when you removed it from the fridge to make the dough. This will make the roll-out way easier.

You can keep the pie dough in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for up to 1 year. If frozen, remove the dough and place it in the refrigerator to thaw one full day before you intend to use it. If you’re planning to make only one single-crust pie, wrap the discs separately and place one in the freezer.


Lightly flour your work surface and place the unwrapped pie dough in the center. Using a french rolling pin, begin by banding the dough from the left to the right, striking the dough about four times. Rotate the dough 180 degrees and bang across the dough from left to right once more.

Use one tapered end of the rolling pin to press and roll along the edge of the round one single time, enlarging the circle. After each press of the edge, rotate the disc 45 degrees clockwise. If you sense that the dough is sticking to the surface, lift it up and lightly flour the surface below it.

To begin the final step, place the rolling pin in the very center of the dough. Apply pressure to the rolling pin while rolling away from yourself (stand on your tiptoes to get maximum leverage if necessary), being careful to stop rolling about 1 inch away from the edge (to avoid re-rolling the areas you’ve already rolled). Rotate the disc 45 degrees and roll again. If it becomes difficult to rotate the dough, lift it up and lightly flour the surface beneath it. If the top surface of the dough starts to feel sticky, flip it over onto the floured counter and roll on the other side. Continue this roll and rotation process until you have a circlet 12 to 13 inches in diameter. Gently run your rolling pin over the entirety of the dough to make sure the final size is an even thickness.

Invert your pie tin or dish onto the circle. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, and the pie tin as a guide, cut a circle around the tin that is 2 1/2 to 3 inches larger than the edge of the tin. Gather up the dough scraps, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge to be added to other scraps and rerolled for another use. Remove the pie tin and turn it right side up on the work surface. Fold the dough circle in half. Place the folded dough in the pie tin so that it covers one-half of the pan. Unfold the other half, and gently press the dough to fit it snugly into the tin, making sure it is completely centered and pressed all the way into the bottom of the tin.

Roll the dough overhang toward the center of the pie, creating a ring of dough, as though you were rolling a poster tightly. Use the thumb and index finger of one hand to form a “C”, and position that hand in the very center of the pie pan. Position your opposite thumb on the outside of the pan. Use the “C” fingers to push and press the rim of the dough up and away from the pan, simultaneously pressing the thumb of your other hand into the “C” to make a crimp. Continue until the entire ring of dough is crimped. Transfer to the freezer for at least 15 minutes. If you don’t plan to use the crust that same day, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to one year.

 

BLIND BAKING

You will need aluminium foil, 1 1/2 lbs dried beans, and your frozen crust

Preheat your oven to 450°F with the rack on the lowest level. Remove the pie crust from the freezer, tear off a square of aluminum foil that is slightly larger than the pie shell, and gently fit it into the frozen crust. Fill the crust with the dried beans (they should come all the way up to the crimps) and place the pie pan on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 25 to 27 minutes. Check for doneness by peeling up a piece of foil—the crimps should be light golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. After 6 minutes, carefully remove the foil and beans. You did it! You are now ready to fill the pie.

PUMPKIN PIE

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Make the streusel topping: In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose and buckwheat flours, pepitas, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Place the butter in the bowl and coat on all sides with the flour mixture. Take a bench scraper and cut the butter into 1⁄2-inch cubes directly into the flour mixture in the bowl. Work to break up the cubes with your hands until they are lightly coated with the flour mixture. Continue to use the bench scraper to cut the cubes into smaller pieces—the idea is that you are cutting each cube in half.

Switch to a pastry blender and begin to cut in the butter with one hand while turning the bowl with the other. It’s important not to aim for the same spot at the bottom of the bowl with each movement, but to actually slice through butter every time. You’ll need to clean out the pastry blender every few turns of the bowl. Once most of the butter is incorporated, use your fingers to fully break down the butter until it is no longer visible. Be careful not to overwork the mixture at this point. Scatter the streusel over one of the parchment-lined baking sheets, distributing it evenly, and transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, gently tossing the mixture with a spatula about halfway through. When the streusel is evenly browned and does not appear wet anymore, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the filling: In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, syrup, melted butter, cornmeal, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger and whisk until well blended.

Place the blind-baked shell on the other parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the crimped edge with the beaten egg. Pour the buttermilk-pumpkin filling into the pie shell until it reaches the bottom of the crimps. Transfer the baking sheet with the pie on it to the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the edges are puffed and the center jiggles only slightly when shaken.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the pie to a wire rack. Let cool for 15 minutes, then cover the pie with the streusel topping. Allow the pie to fully cool and set for another 4 to 6 hours. When the pie is at room temperature, slice it into 6 to 8 pieces and serve.

Store leftover pie, well wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Buttermilk Pumpkin Streusel Pie from Lisa Ludwinski's new book, Sister Pie. Tangy buttermilk filling is topped with a nutty buckwheat pepita filling - a simple but genius twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. #pumpkinpie #buttermilk #pie #streusel #sisterpie

Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie, copyright © 2018. Published by Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Pretzels with Cheese Sauce Dip


 
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip
DSC08269.jpg
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip

It has taken me a really, really long time to properly fall in love with New York. I moved here four years ago, chasing a two-year long-distance relationship (which worked out for the best!), and kind of expected to just instantly fit in. Turns out that it’s not all that simple. It took me a long time to make friends that were ‘mine’, rather than just Richard’s friends, and I found it really hard being away from home, and finding a new routine in this big, strange city. There was also this weird feeling of guilt - that I should be having the time of my life living in my dream city, yet somehow, I wasn’t.

New York and I are getting there, but soft pretzels with cheese sauce and I were love at first sight. I had one for the first time the day I landed in NYC, and it’s been a long-term committed relationship ever since. I’m addicted.

So when The Feedfeed and Land O’Lakes® asked me to make a Sandwich using their Deli American inspired by my hometown (NYC), I knew it had to have a cheesy dip situation, and include my fave NYC carb, pretzels. I decided to keep my ‘Sandwich’ simple to really highlight how delicious the Land O Lakes® Deli American Cheese is, and make pretzels, and a super cheesy, stringy, mustardy dipping sauce to go alongside. A lot of people find pretzels a little intimidating, but I promise once you have made them once, you won’t be able to stop, especially when they are paired with this cheesy dipping sauce. Land O Lakes® Deli American makes things super easy and delicious - it is sliced fresh at the deli, which makes for a fairly epic cheese sauce.

The pretzels come together super easily - a little bit of beer in the dough adds another depth of flavour. You can either prepare the dough the night before, or make the day of, and can shape it into whatever shape you like (I tested a bunch of things, from rolls to hotdog shaped buns, to sticks to bites) - whatever you prefer to use as a vessel to get as much cheese sauce in your mouth in one go. The cheese sauce can be easily reheated, making preparing it ahead of time super easy. Happy dipping!

A few wee tips:

  • Some pretzel recipes will have you use lye to soak the pretzels in. Giving the pretzels a wee bath in lye (sodium hydroxide) helps to speed up the Maillard reaction, which gives the pretzels that lovely brown colour and chew. However, lye is caustic (alkaline) and scary, so I used something a little less alkaline but still very effective - baked baking soda. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is moderately alkaline, but baking it produces sodium carbonate, which is slightly more alkaline, so therefore perfect for dipping your pretzels without having to worry about the safety risk of using Lye. Yay chemistry!

  • To make baked baking soda: Line a sheet pan with foil, and spread 1 cup of baking soda evenly over it. Bake at 250˚f / 121˚c for one hour, then transfer to an airtight container. This will be enough for four batches of pretzels - you use 1/4 cup at a time.

  • I tested these a bunch of ways. At first, I found that putting the pretzels straight out of the water bath onto the parchment caused all kinds of issues. They were sticking very, very badly. I found two ways around this - either drain the pretzels for a few minutes on a wire rack after dipping and then transfer to lightly oiled parchment paper, or line the baking sheets with silpats or silicone baking sheets rather than baking paper. I found baking on silicone to be the easiest option - once the pretzels come out of the dip they are a little delicate, so moving them from the rack to the baking sheet can be a little stressful. A few silpats or silicone baking sheets are a great investment!

  • I also tested a half batch of both the pretzels and the cheese sauce, and both work perfectly.

  • If you don’t want to make pretzel shapes, these can also be made into rolls too which would be perfect for hot dogs (hot dogs dipped in this cheese sauce would also be perfect, just saying)

  • These also do great with an overnight rise if you wanted to prep the dough ahead. Just bring it out 45 minutes to an hour or so before you shape them to give it some time to warm up slightly.

  • Often bread recipes will ask you to turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Avoid using flour if you can because the friction between the bench and the dough makes it much easier to roll out.

  • With most breads, we do the second rise lightly covered. With pretzels you want to do the second rise uncovered, so that they develop a wee skin which stands up against the baking soda bath. They also have a quick spin in the fridge just before you dip them so that they don’t get too soft and hard to work with once they hit the warm water.

  • This cheese dip is crazy easy to make. You can customize however you like. It is best served warm, so I suggest serving it in a microwave safe dish - when it needs re-heating, you can just zap it for 30 second intervals, stirring well between each, until it is the temperature and consistency you like. I reheated some that had been in the fridge for two days and it was still perfect!

 

 

Pretzels with Cheese Sauce Dip

- Makes about 12 pretzels and dip -

Pretzels
190g whole milk, lukewarm
3 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
12g active yeast
750g all-purpose flour
3 tsp salt
70g butter, at room temperature
200g light beer, room temperature

To boil: 1/4 cup baked baking soda (see notes), plus 6 cups water

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Pretzel salt to finish (optional)

Cheese Sauce Dip
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp butter
480ml whole milk (2 cups)
Salt and pepper to season
10 slices (200g) Land O Lakes® Deli American, cut into quarters
50g sharp cheddar cheese
70g cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
1 tsp wholegrain mustard

 

- PROCESS -

PRETZELS

Place the lukewarm milk, 1 Tbsp of the sugar, and the yeast in a medium sized bowl, and stir to combine. Leave for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place the flour, salt, and butter, and mix briefly to combine.

Add the milk mixture and the beer to the dry ingredients, and mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough begins to come together. Increase the speed to medium, and knead for a further 15-20 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy (it needs a little more kneading than you expect).

Shape the dough into a ball, and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size. This initial rise can also be done in the fridge overnight (see notes).

Turn the dough out onto a work surface (do not flour), and weigh the dough then divide into 12 equal sized balls. Shape each into a ball, then place on the bench under plastic wrap to rest. Keep covered until you are ready to use.

Line three baking sheets with silpats / silicone baking mats, or parchment paper (see notes).

Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a long thin sausage, 30” (76cm) long. This will seem very thin but is necessary in order for the pretzels to be the right shape once risen. If you would like them a little thicker, roll the dough sausage a little shorter.

Make the dough into a ‘U’ shape, then cross the two ends over twice to form a twist, then bring the ends down and press onto the rounded part of the pretzel (this article has photos that explain well). Transfer to a lined baking sheet.

Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls, until you have 12 pretzels. Space evenly amongst the baking sheets (you can get away with using two sheets but things get a bit squishy).

Rise the pretzels, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes, then transfer to the fridge for a further 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 475˚f / 245˚c. In a large, shallow pan (I used a frying pan / skillet), combine 1/4 cup baked baking soda and 6 cups of water. Heat until the solution is steaming, then turn off.

Working with one pretzel at a time, carefully lift off the baking sheet, and place upside down in the solution. Soak for 10 seconds, then carefully flip over and soak for another. Remove using a slotted spatula or another flat utensil, and place onto the silicone mat lined baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining pretzels - if you are baking on three trays, do not dip the third tray of pretzels until just before you bake them.

Egg wash the pretzels just before you bake them, and use a razor blade or sharp knife to score the rounded part of the pretzel (see photos). Sprinkle with pretzel salt.

Bake two trays at once for 9-10 minutes, switching trays half way through, until the pretzels are golden brown. While the two trays are baking, dip the third tray and then repeat the egg washing and baking process.

Allow to cool slightly on the trays, and then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Serve with cheese dip (recipe follows). Best eaten on the day that they are made - if you are planning on keeping some for more than one day, do not add the salt as it makes them soggy.

 

CHEESE SAUCE DIP

In a medium pot, melt the butter, and then add the flour, whisking well to combine. Cook, for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, or until the mixture is bubbly and foaming slightly. Remove from the heat, and, whisking constantly, add the milk. Whisk well to combine, then return to the heat and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, whisking continuously, until the mixture has thickened. Season well with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and add the Land O Lakes® Deli American, the sharp cheddar, and the cream cheese, and mix well to incorporate, continuing to stir until the cheese is melted. Add the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and wholegrain mustard and stir well.

Transfer to a microwave safe dish and serve warm alongside the pretzels. As needed, rewarm in the microwave by zapping for 30 seconds at a time, stirring well between each interval, until warm and smooth. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip
Authentic pretzels, baked until perfectly soft and golden brown, dipped in a super easy cheesy mustard dipping sauce that comes together extremely quickly. The perfect snack for a crowd. #pretzels #cheesesauce #cheesedip #americancheese #bread #homemadepretzels #bakingsodadip

Thank you so much to The Feedfeed and Land O’ Lakes® for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German Buttercream


 
Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German buttercream. Delicate French macaron shells are sandwiched together by a mint chocolate chip german buttercream that tastes just like ice cream! #mintchocolatechip #mintchip #frenchmacarons #macarons #recipe #howtomake
Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German buttercream. Delicate French macaron shells are sandwiched together by a mint chocolate chip german buttercream that tastes just like ice cream! #mintchocolatechip #mintchip #frenchmacarons #macarons #recipe #howtomake
Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German buttercream. Delicate French macaron shells are sandwiched together by a mint chocolate chip german buttercream that tastes just like ice cream! #mintchocolatechip #mintchip #frenchmacarons #macarons #recipe #howtomake
Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German buttercream. Delicate French macaron shells are sandwiched together by a mint chocolate chip german buttercream that tastes just like ice cream! #mintchocolatechip #mintchip #frenchmacarons #macarons #recipe #howtomake
Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German buttercream. Delicate French macaron shells are sandwiched together by a mint chocolate chip german buttercream that tastes just like ice cream! #mintchocolatechip #mintchip #frenchmacarons #macarons #recipe #howtomake

Our time in New Zealand has almost, almost come to an end. And this time more than ever, I am equal parts ‘can’t wait to get back to nyc and get back into a routine’, and ‘OMG I can’t wait until I actually live here for realsies’. The grand plan (!!) is to eventually move back to the motherland (being NZ) - we have thrown round 2020 as being our year to do so. We have spent the last couple of days in Wellington, where Rich and I met (we both went to Uni here), and today we are looking at open homes! We probably won’t buy just yet, but hopefully in the next year or so, so that we have something to move into when we get back. I love NYC with all my heart, but I really can’t wait to have a big kitchen that’s all mine, along with some grass and a lemon tree.

Something I am REALLY looking forward to though when I get back - Jase moved! He already lived kinda close, but now he has moved to, like, a 5 minute walk from my house. Rich worked out how much money i’m gonna save not ubering to his place all the time, but I’m mainly just stoked because him and his puppies are going to be so close, and I LOVE going to the dog park, but it’s kinda like going to a play ground without kids - a bit weird. So puppy and Jase proximity = I’m allowed to tag along to the dog park and we get to hang out loads more = a very happy wee me. This also means that my trip to his for our monthly macaron making is going to be so short! I’m already thinking i’ll order some slippers to keep at his house so I don’t have to transport them every time. lol.

These Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German Buttercream came about when we were making these wee Peach Streusel dudes. We finally worked out that the air con at Jase’s house was making them come out all kinds of weird shapes, so these were the batch to prove that we had solved the problem! I love mint chip ice cream more than almost anything in the world, so I was super stoked to make this flavour - and the buttercream came out tasting just just like the ice cream. The thing I love about German Buttercream is that it isn’t super super buttery tasting, because the butter is mellowed out a little by the pastry cream base. We added some peppermint extract and finely chopped chocolate, and ended up with a mint chip german buttercream that I couldn’t stop eating by the spoonful. The best. I can’t wait to put the buttercream on a cake, because it is all kinds of delicious.

A few wee tips:

  • Everything I ever learnt about Macarons is in this post - I keep it all in one place because the list is getting super super long.

  • The pastry cream needs a wee bit of time to cool before you add the butter, so make sure you account for that! Otherwise you can cool it quicker in an ice bath, or by spreading it in a quarter baking sheet lined with plastic, covering the surface of the pastry cream with another piece of plastic wrap, and chilling it in the freezer until cool. The larger surface area and shallow baking sheet mean that it cools much faster. 

  • Because you start with cool pastry cream (as opposed to slightly warm meringue as you would for a SMBC), make sure that your butter is very room temperature. If it isn't quite soft enough and you find your buttercream is seizing, you can remove about 1/3 cup of the buttercream, melt in the microwave, and then add back in and continue whipping. The heat from the melted buttercream is often enough to bring it all back together into the silky niceness you are after. 

  • I like to make the pastry cream, then make the macaron shells, arrange them all, then finish up the buttercream before assembly.

 

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German Buttercream

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Mint Chip German Buttercream
190g whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
110g sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) corn starch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
150g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
about 4 drops of mint green gel food colouring (we used mint green by americolor)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

German buttercream

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan. 

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow dish or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment.  Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Once the buttercream is homogenous, add the peppermint extract and dark chocolate, and mix well to combine. Store in an airtight container until ready to use, or if using immediately, transfer to a piping bag.

 

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add mint gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth. 

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

MACARON SHELLS

Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a round attachment (such as an ateco #805) Match the macaron shells up so that they are in pairs of equal size.

Pipe a blob of buttercream on one half of the macaron, and place the second half on top, pressing lightly. Macarons are best after an overnight rest in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before eating.

Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons with German buttercream. Delicate French macaron shells are sandwiched together by a mint chocolate chip german buttercream that tastes just like ice cream! #mintchocolatechip #mintchip #frenchmacarons #macarons #recipe #howtomake