I had nightmares last night and I’m pretty sure it’s because I went to bed feeling super guilty about not baking a pie for pi day. A Ph.D. candidate in math education with a food blog and I had made no concrete plans for pie on 3/14. In fact, in the past 7 years I’ve been in math education, I’ve never baked a pie on pi day. The guilt runs deep. Deep enough to cause nightmares that compel a me to scramble together this last-minute almost-no-bake blueberry Nutella cream pie.
I went to a dessert party last night. Every year during finals, my late advisor would host a dessert party at her home, bringing together people from all different academic communities for a night of relaxation, strange drinks, chocolate fondue, and ice cream sundaes. To continue this tradition, her research group hosted the same party in our lab last night – potluck style. Turns out dessert parties can be a major bummer for a dessertaholic who’s given up gluten. Unless there’s a gigantic platter…or two…of chocolate covered strawberries. Every time I dreamed about the brownies and cookies spread across the table, I redirected my reach for another chocolate covered strawberry…and another…and another. So what? It’s fruit. It’s healthy. And today? I’m headache free. The night I caved and shoved a chocolate orange creamsicle cupcake in my face I should have exhibited the same restraint and stuck to this deliciously sweet gluten-free strawberry lemon curd tart with almond crust. Topped with a dollop of greek yogurt sweet cream. Hindsight is always 20-20.
I bribe my friends with baked goods. And fortunately for me, my friend Angi has a nagging sweet tooth she can’t ignore. Like me, she swoons over freshly baked desserts, but turns her nose up at chocolate. So when I needed someone with impeccable handwriting to help me address our Save-the-Date cards, I pulled out the flour, sugar, and butter to lure Angi and her steady penmanship over for the evening. It also just so happened to be a few days after her birthday, so these personal pear galettes served a dual purpose. Win-win.
Fall is coming! Or at least there was a hint of fall approaching last Friday. The sky was overcast, the sun went down early, and there was a chill in the air. I spent the afternoon mourning the loss of summer, and by 5 o’clock, I was ready to bundle up in a blanket in front of the fireplace to watch a movie while sipping a mug of hot cocoa. With a dollop of whipped cream on top. I’d gotten used to the idea of fall weather. Convinced myself that it wasn’t all that bad. I mean, there are lots of great things about fall. Best of which are the endless possibilities for pumpkin desserts. So we marked the change in seasons with a heaping bowl of Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream Friday night, followed by these freshly baked pumpkin pie muffins in the morning.
Pizza is one of those foods that I have to actively try not to eat or I would shove my face with it three meals a day. I mean, what’s not to like? Cheese…bread…sauce. As you can probably tell, I make a lot of pizza. In my defense, I usually top it with loads of veggies to make it healthier than hitting up my local pizzeria. Now, imagine for a second, that you were given the task of making this crust-filled heaven even more delicious. But how?! The solution, of course, is to load it with sugar, top that with more sugar, and then drizzle the entire thing with even more sugar. Follow those steps and you’ll get caramel apple pizza pie. I don’t care what you say, this pizza is still healthy – an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well this pizza has TWO apples, so there.
For some reason, packing any dessert into a personal serving size boosts its appeal. Seriously, cupcakes are WAY more fun than cake; it’s like 2 dozen parties instead of just one! With that in mind, I set out to make dessert ravioli. I had two ideas brewing, but by a unanimous vote (Lucas only), personal apple pie ravioli with warm caramel sauce won. This concept arose mostly because I was eager for an excuse to use my ravioli maker attachment. Well, as it turns out, flakey, delicious pie crust dough does NOT like the pasta-maker and crumbles at the mere sight. No sweat, though, I just hand pressed the ravioli. After baking these apple pocket treats, we discovered they looked less like ravioli and much more like little personal pie puffs (the best word we could find to describe the creation – notice that Lucas gets an honorary inclusion in the baking process by proximity from the couch to the stove). Let me rephrase: totally delicious personal pie puffs! O man, these baked goods are out of this world. I didn’t even need to make the caramel sauce, but the combination was scrumptious. I’ll surely be baking these pastries as a finger food dessert for a party in the near future; in fact, maybe I’ll throw a party just so I can bake them.