Monday, June 7, 2010

Chocolate Cream Pie & Cinnamon Yum Yums

Happy Monday, folks!

Sadly, today and tomorrow will be the last of the pie contest post, then everyone will have to go back to enduring food posts by yours truly.

So yesterday I set about restocking my kitchen in preparation to start blogging again. It takes a surprising amount of errand running to adequately (and affordably) supply this hobby of mine. Before I started this blog, grocery shopping was relatively simple outing. Now it is a half day ordeal.

This is basically a must-do when your local grocer sells heads of broccoli for twice the price of a bag of potato chips (sigh). Shopping has become a bit of an adventure now but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it. The best part is hunting down spices, which I obtain at a local Indian market for a fraction of those sold at your average grocery store. Good quality spices, better deals and I get to buy big bags of these delicious spiced gram flour puffs which I eat by the handful, giving me Indian version of Cheeto-finger.

I love those spicy little things so much.

So I'm going to hit the kitchen today--once I deal with the 'cheeto-fingers'--and start playing with some recipes. Hopefully by Wednesday I'll have something yummy to post.

Also, I will be toying with some of the recipes posted to the pie contest, so don't be surprised if you see a Not So Humble adaptation of your submission in the coming weeks!

Today's recipes come not from bloggers but full time students who love to cook. The first is one of my favorite pies (chocolate cream) made by Emily and bar cookie called "Cinnamon yum yums" that perked my interest as I am a devout fan of cream cheese laden baked goods, made by Diana.

Chocolate Cream Pie

My name is Emily and I just recently graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Education Studies. I have moved back home in LA and took a few months off. Part of my break consisted of reading food blogs (mostly baking ones) and experimenting in the kitchen. While submerged in school and juggling all the university's demands, I didn't have much time to bake; so this was a great way to get in touch with my baking world. I'll be attending UCLA in the fall for my teaching credential and Masters in Education, but hopefully I'll have time to bake a few goodies here and there.

The pie I chose to bake is a...

Chocolate Cream Pie in a Homemade Buttery Pie Shell [yum]

Ingredients for Pie Crust:
1 cup of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1/3 cup butter [I won't lie, I LOVE butter]
splashes of cold water

Ingredients for Chocolate Cream Filling Goodness:
3/4 cup of white sugar
1/3 cup of flour
2 cups of milk
2 squares (or one ounce) of unsweetened chocolate [delicious]
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp of butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract

For the crust, I used my mother's newest kitchen toy - the grand food processor. Not going to lie, college student's apartments don't usually come with these nifty kitchen wonders, so I was indeed quite excited. In the food processor, I pulsed the flour, salt, and cut up/cold butter into a nice crumbly mess. Then sprinkling just a tiny bit of cold water at a time, I pulsed the mixture until it became of nice doughy texture. I worked the dough into a ball and wrapped it up to be chilled in the fridge for about 2 hours. Afterwards, I rolled out the dough on a flour-ed surface with my flour-ed rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness. I rolled the dough carefully back onto the pin and released it into the white plate. After pushing down the dough and crimping the edges, I poked a few holes on the bottom of the pie crust. Popped it in my preheated oven (425 degrees) for about 16 minutes. After 16 minutes, I could see the dough browning nicely. I removed the crust from the oven and let it cool completely.

For the filling, I started this after I took the crust out from the oven. I combined the sugar, flour, milk, and chopped up chocolate in a saucepan. Over medium heat, I mixed it until it came to a slight boil and then continued mixing for 2 minutes (took about 6 minutes total). I added some of this warm chocolate mixture to the 3 egg yolks and mixed quickly as to not cook the egg. I then added the now-warmer egg yolk mixture to the rest of the chocolate mixture in the saucepan - continued cooking this for 90 seconds. The mixture became thicker and I removed it from the heat. I mixed in the butter and vanilla. The mixture was a smooth, creamy, thick filling. I poured this into my cooled pie shell and chilled it in the fridge over night.

It's amazing what just a bit of parchment paper, melted chocolate, and homemade piping bag (ziplock bag) can do for pie decor. I arranged it in a striped pattern which resembled what I call - Organized Chaos.

My family and I ate the pie as soon as I finished taking shots of it. The texture is creamy and less crumbly - my favorite. It was chilled so is refreshing on a hot afternoon in Southern California.

Diana’s Cinnamon Yum-Yums

Since my self-imposed transition to full-time student/part-time housewife a few months ago, I've been branching out from our usual spaghetti and meatballs and experimenting with my stove and oven a lot, and your recipes and easy to follow instructions have been so much fun to delve into. My husband and friends are mad about the homemade dulce de leche, so I didn't tell them how easy it was to make, haha!

When I read about the pie contest this month, I knew that I had to submit this recipe. This has been my go-to dessert recipe for years; in fact, I think it's the main reason we get invited to parties. It can be quick and easy if you cheat a little, or completely homemade and wholesome. For years it was a nameless recipe, listed as something boring like "Cream Cheese Squares" in my box, until in a fit of barbecue and rum induced excitement at our annual Jimmy Buffett extravaganza, my friend Jon christened them "Cinnamon Yum Yums" and thus they've remained as the staple of all of our get togethers. It's a family recipe that I generally do not give out, thus ensuring that we will continue to get invited to parties. :-)

Diana’s Cinnamon Yum-Yums

Pastry Crust:
14 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups unbleached flour
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup chilled water

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a pan. Sift together the flour and salt onto your work surface and create a well in the center (make sure it’s big enough!). Pour the butter and water into the well and work with your fingers until you have a crumbly mixture. Bring together to form a ball of dough. Cut the dough down the middle and reform into the ball. Dough should be white and sticky. Cover with plastic and chill for 20 minutes.

Shape remaining butter into a 4” square with your rolling pin. Cover with wax paper, chill for 15 minutes. Butter and dough should be similar in consistency to create the correct layers.

Flour your work surface. Roll the dough out to form a cross, leaving the center a little thicker than the arms. Place the butter square in the center and fold the dough over to make a little parcel. Turn the dough so that the top hinge is on your left, like a book. Tap and roll out the dough to a 6” x 18” rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, and orient the top hinge to your left again. Roll out into the rectangle and fold into thirds. Make sure to square the corners as much as possible to keep the layers even. Wrap dough and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat this 2 more times, for a total of 6 fold/roll combinations. After the last fold/roll, chill the dough for 20 minutes. By this time, the dough should be an even yellow and much less sticky.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with hand mixer until smooth. The cream cheese should be almost room temperature to ensure that the mixture is as smooth as possible.

Grease a glass baking dish. Cut the dough in half and roll both halves out to match the size of the pan. Gently place the first layer of dough in the pan. Cover with the cream cheese mixture, leaving a quarter inch border of dough uncovered. Cover the filling with the top layer of pastry and press the edges together to seal. Pastry will not fill the pan – there should be at least a 1 inch space to the top of the pan.

8 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until completely mixed. Melt butter over stove and pour over the pastry, covering the entire top. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter, making sure that there are no dry spots.

Bake at 350 for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown on the bottom. Let cool completely and cut into bars or slices. Store chilled.

  • If you’re pressed for time, you can substitute the pastry for store bought crescent rolls! (Bake for 25-30 minutes) I do this all the time when I need a quick party dessert.
  • For some holiday fun, I use food coloring to dye the cream cheese mixture. For our Halloween party we had orange yum-yums, for our Christmas party we had red and green yum-yums. Get creative!
  • Sometimes, for a less guilty pastry, I use the low fat crescent rolls for the top layer , light butter for the top and low fat cream cheese. Do NOT use margarine or fat-free cream cheese; it will NOT look, bake or taste good. Plus, that’s sacrilegious as a dessert.
  • I usually use a 9” x 13” glass baking dish, but you can easily make this is two 9” pie dishes or two 8” baking dishes. Just about anything works, but only use glass. You can cut them into bars or slices or bite sized pieces, it doesn’t matter. I cut them into hearts for Valentine’s Day or stars for the 4th of July. Get creative!


  1. hi ms.h!
    your pie contest was pure genius...just terrific...(& hopefully next pie contest i will be able to submit a recipe that i just perfected...yah!).
    your post today touched the core of my dessert desires & needs...chocolate...decadent chocolate...recipe seems easy enough...

    i am a sucker for cinnamon & adore cream cheese i am in on these yum yum's...aside from the dough folding process (which is lengthy) the methods are fine... ms.h would you add swirl chocolate into the cream cheese filling??

  2. I'm back from a trip and caught up with your accumulated posts today. Like you, I'm exhausted from having had too much fun packed into too short a time, but wouldn't have missed the experience for the world.

    While I frequently say I'm going to make the recipes you post, I really AM going to make that baked banana pie. Banana is my husband's favorite. He hates cream cheese, but I might make today's cinnamon goodie just for me.

  3. Boy, both of those are keepers! Wow! Yum!

    By the way, a "how to stock a Humble kitchen" would be a GREAT post or two or three.

  4. Imagine the most obscene amount of unsalted butter possible, then double it.

    That's a good start :)

  5. Oh, I can completely relate to Emily because I am actually at UCSD now! I am in a PhD program, for Molecular Pathology/Biomedical Sciences... In my fifth year (yes that is five extra years after undergrad, don't remind me), and planning to be done before the end of 2010. I don't do much "student" type work anymore, but it still seems to be dragging...

    Anyway, kudos to both students, on getting a great education, and being awesome bakers! :)

  6. Wow, the chocolate cream pie is soooo cute and sooo pretty!!

  7. Wanted to stop by and tell you how much I love your blog. I am a culinary student and stumbled across it while looking for plating ideas a few weeks ago. I liked it so much I'm passing along an award to you. Thanks for always supplying me with food porn!

  8. Hah.

    Cinnamon 'yum-yums'?

    More like cinnamon om nom nom nom nom. What where did it go?

  9. Ms. H, as somone who used to work in an old-style confectioners for three years through school (never mentioned that, did I?), I can tell you that a lot of the texture of tablet come from its age. When fresh, it's stickier; you get that lovely cruble after a few days/weeks in a box or jar.

    I am full of useful facts!


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