[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies

Up until this week, I could only remember eating one Moon Pie in my life, and that was the pre-packaged version my father once fed me along with a bag of beef jerky.  I was begging him for some lunch and apparently that was all that the outdoor sportsman store had to offer.  Though that was many years ago, the lackluster flavor of the tiny "pie" never quite escaped my memory. Needless to say, this southern delicacy had never been high upon my list of things to bake.  

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

The weather in my part of the earth has been more mercurial than ever the past few weeks.  It is bouncing back and forth between cold, rainy days, and hot, glowing afternoons.  It’s coy games of unpredictability have created within me a wholehearted enthusiasm for Summer.  I am ready to dive in headfirst.  I am ready for the hot dogs, and the blueberry picking, and…I might even buy a bathing suit.  I don't know, maybe I am feeling a little wild. 

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

Perhaps it was the uncharacteristic excitement for what has historically been my least favorite season that drove me to this recipe.  One new love inspired the other, I suppose.  

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

It may also have to do with the fact that I am trying very hard to eat s’mores at every chance possible, in any form possible, and these stuffed cookies certainly nod to the classic campfire treat.  

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

Before we jump into the recipe, I need to declare my immense adoration for this beautiful, canvas-bound collection of time-honored genius.  Southern food had not been something I had put a great deal of effort into mastering, until recently.  But, now that I am about to marry a man who constantly reminds me of his love for fried chicken and sweet tea (correction: tea-flavored syrup), I took it upon myself to work my way through some of the most iconic southern delicacies.  

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

So far I have tried only two recipes, but I am already aflutter with excitement for this book.  I have admired Garden and Gun for some time, and this beautifully curated book met my highest hopes. It is the perfect means by which I will begin my journey into the realm of southern gastronomy. I'm still gushing about the fried chicken recipe I tried last weekend.  Ahhhh, give me all the crispy chicken skin, please and thank you.  

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

As I was flipping through the many pages, this recipe caught my eye and I knew exactly what needed to happen. 

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

"Mardi Gras Moon Pies."  A lightly sweetened graham cracker cookie filled with marshmallow fluff and draped with a thick layer of chocolate.  The same familiar trio found in my favorite Summer dessert was repackaged into a convenient, no-fire-required medium.  

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

Let's take a moment to clarify something.  Moon Pies are cookies and Whoopi Pies are cakes. Both are absolutely delicious, but are by no means interchangeable.  Okay?  Okay.

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

The cookies in this case, were graham cracker based, and flavored with a bit of honey and a pinch of cinnamon.  

[ A [ Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

While golden rounds cool, a light, marshmallow-esc filling is prepared with a sugary syrup, gelatin, and beaten egg whites.  Now, this filling was certainly what you would expect to find inside a sandwich cookie such as this - both in its flavor and texture.  However, in the end, I think I would have been just as happy - and perhaps even a little happier, with good old marshmallow fluff.  The choice is yours.

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

I'll tell you right now that you are going to be tempted to panic because the filling will really look like it is not setting up properly.  It might even start to ooze (I really hate that word) out of the cookie sandwiches, but don't worry, it will set up.  Place the cookies in the refrigerator for a couple minutes and by the time you melt your chocolate they will be set and ready to dip! 

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

I really wanted to use milk chocolate here but I was afraid that its melting tendencies would make eating these treats rather messy.  Next time I am totally going for the milk chocolate because they ended up being pretty messy even with the dark chocolate.  Oh well.  I'm not mad at it, finger-licking becomes socially acceptable in the Summer, right?  

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

I love glossy melted chocolate.  

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

You could let these little "pies" sit at room temperature for a couple of hours like the recipe author suggests, or...you could be impatient and make up some excuse about the kitchen being too warm and pop them in the freezer for a couple minutes so that you can eat them right away. 

Guess what I did? 

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

I'm feeling very southern at the moment.  I might even give a glass of that slightly tea-flavored sugar syrup they call "sweet tea" a try.  

Or, I might just stick with my milk because that happens to be the perfect pairing for these cookies/pies/yummy things.

[ A Southern Venture ] Moon Pies {Pedantic Foodie}

Happy long weekend! 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


Classic Moon Pies from A Southerner's Cookbook

makes 13 pies

for the cookies

- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 

- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 

- 1/4 cup honey 

- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 

- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

- 1 1/4 cups fine graham crackers crumbs (about 9 graham crackers, pulsed thoroughly in a food processor)

- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

- 2 tablespoons whole milk

Whisk to combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and ground cinnamon.   Set aside. 

Combine butter, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat for one minute, until fluffy, then scrape down the sides and add the flour mixture.  Mix on low speed and gradually add in the milk.  

Continue mixing on low speed until the dough comes together.  Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and press into a flat disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  After the dough has chilled, place on a floured surface and roll out into a disc 1/4-inch thick.  Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut the dough into rounds.  

Place the rounds about 1/2-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes; until the edges are golden.

Let the cookies cool completely on cooling racks while you prepare the filling. 

Turn half of the cookies upside down. 

for the marshmallow filling

- 4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin 

- 1/2 cup ice-cold water + 1/4 cup room-temperature water 

- 1/4 cup light corn syrup

- 3 tablespoons honey 

- 3/4 cup granulated sugar 

- 3 large egg whites

Place the 1/2 cup of ice-cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Set aside to bloom while you prepare the other ingredients. 

Combine 1/4 cup room-temperature water, corn syrup, honey, and sugar in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer.  Simmer over medium heat, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees.  When the thermometer reaches 200 degrees (do not do this step any earlier), place egg whites in the cleaned bowl of your stand mixer and whip on high speed.  They egg whites should have reached soft peaks by the time the syrup has reached the desired 240 degrees. 

Once the syrup has reached 240, remove from heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin.  With the eggs still beating, slowly stream in the hot syrup.  Whip for an additional 8 minutes, until the mixture is thick and somewhat stiff. 

Place the filling in a piping bag and pipe about 1/4 cup of the filling unto the thirteen cookies that you placed upside down.  Top with the remaining cookies to create sandwiches and place on a clean, lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to set up. 

While the cookies are refrigerating, prepare the chocolate coating. 

for the chocolate coating

- 16 ounces dark chocolate 

- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Combine chocolate and oil in a glass bowl and microwave for thirty seconds.  Stir and then return to the microwave for an additional thirty seconds.  Continue stirring and heating at thirty second increments until the chocolate is smooth and thoroughly melted.

Allow the chocolate to cool for about five minutes so that it is no longer hot, but just warm.  

Use a slotted spatula to submerge each cookie into the chocolate coating.  Place the dipped cookies on cooling racks set over sheets of parchment paper.  Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or place them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until the chocolate has set.  Store in airtight containers for up to 2 days.  Enjoy!


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How to Poach an Egg {Egg Cookery 101}

It's time for another installment of Egg Cookery 101.  Let's talk about poaching.  

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I remember vividly the first time I poached an egg.  It was late on a June evening, and the smell of Summer lay upon my skin as I placed two pots of water on the stove; one to boil and one to simmer.  A big boil of linguine lavished with rich, fruity olive oil was the bed for my very first poached egg, and it was delightful.  

The bright yellow yolk puddled down over the many strands of pasta, coating them in its custardy richness.  

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Even the most seasoned of egg-preparers seem to approach the process of poaching with some degree of trepidation.  This is a true pity because, in my mind, there exists no other egg preparation that so easily transitions from breakfast to dinner.  Whether they are stabbed with a fork and laid atop buttered toast, or cradled by a nest of pasta, poached eggs are a true delicacy - one that no amount of unfounded fear should steal from us. 

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Of course, your fears may not be entirely unfounded.  Perhaps many of us stay away because we cringe at the thought of our lovely whites feathering out into several hundred tiny threads, or of overcooking that custard-like yolk and being left with nothing but a very unattractive overdone egg.  Thankfully, these fates are easily avoided. 

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I would suggest that poaching an egg is just as simple as frying one, once you have learned to arm yourself with the appropriate precautions.  

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The first thing to consider is the water.  You will want to season your water with salt, for flavor, and a splash of vinegar to help out in the prevention of that nasty "feathering" we just touched on.  The acid of the vinegar will, because of science magic, help the white coagulate.  

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Next, your attention should be turned to the egg itself.  Place each egg in a small bowl or ramekin before poaching.  You do not want to crack the egg directly into the simmering water because it will be much more likely to spread, forming a big, stringy mess.  It's really not a good look, so please, just use the ramekin. 

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Once your water has reached a simmer, take a large spoon and begin stirring the water in a circular motion to form a whirlpool in the center of the pot.  Quickly remove the spoon and, while the water is still spinning, gently drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool.  Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and allow the egg to cook untouched for 3-4 minutes.  

How to Poach an Egg {Pedantic Foodie}

I like to begin with three minutes, but if you have an extra large egg, you may wish to go for four. If you are a bit unsure, just uncover the pan after three minutes, and if the white is set but still slightly jiggly, you are good to go.  If it still looks a bit cloudy, recover and let it sit for an additional minute. 

How to Poach an Egg {Pedantic Foodie}

Now would be a good time to pop several slices of sourdough into the toaster. 

How to Poach an Egg {Pedantic Foodie}

In a matter of minutes, you will have poached your first egg.  

How to Poach an Egg {Pedantic Foodie}

Congratulations, and welcome to a whole new world of deliciousness. 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


Poached Eggs

recipe adapted slightly from Alton Brown

- 1 egg (fresh is best!)

- 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

- 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Crack egg into a small bowl or ramekin.  

Fill a 1.5 quart saucepan or saucier with about two inches of water.  Add vinegar and kosher salt and place over medium heat; bring to a light simmer.

Use a large spoon to swirl the water in a circular motion, creating a whirlpool.  Once the water is spinning on its own, drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool.

Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan for 3-4 minutes.  The white should be delicate, but firm.  If the color is still somewhat cloudy, let it cook for the extra minute.  

Serve over toast, pasta, or sliced and toasted English muffins.  Enjoy! 

Cook’s Note:  I like to poach my eggs one at a time.  However, if you would like to poach multiple eggs at a time, use a large saucier pan forgo the whirlpool method.  Just gently slip each egg out of its ramekin and into the water.  Allow each egg a few seconds to set before adding the next.  

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream

Go ahead, roll your eyes, I know what you are thinking. 

"She just posted a grilling recipe, then some random collection of links about her favorite things as if she’s Oprah, and now some sort of baked fruit concoction?"

 Pretty darn predictable.  

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

It would seem that we have all fallen into a trap of blogging predictability.  Maybe everyone is baking the same things right now, and maybe I should try to defy my natural cravings and give you a recipe for homemade kelp chips…  I could do that.  I could sprinkle some nutritional yeast over them and say that they taste just like Cheetos.  Maybe it would end up being a nominee for the most popular pin for vegans.  Maybe.

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

The reason I have not done that (other than the glaring fact that it sounds positively revolting), is that this ever-changing, but occasionally predictable, site is like my brain come to life, except less stressful and with pretty pictures.  I share with you the things that make me happy, whether they be cream puffs or new lipstick, and that means that sometimes I will just be making a variation on whatever everyone else is making, because we are all craving the same things right now.

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

This week, my cravings, and the surplus of berries at the market, told me to make something sweet, berry-filled, and crunchy-topped - and I obliged.  And, hackneyed or not, it was absolutely delightful.

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

This site’s purpose is not to convince you that I make the best corn in the world (even though I might suspect so), or that you simply must use my recipes.  The purpose is simply to inspire you, and to maybe remind you of how satisfying it is to toss some berries with sugar and cornstarch, pinch some butter into oats, nuts, and sticky brown sugar, and watch it turn into a bubbling, golden brown dessert. 

If my imperfect pictures or rambling words tempt you to get into your kitchen and create, then I will consider it a success.

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

Let’s talk about this crisp, or crumble, or bake - whatever you would like to call it.  Rolled Oat & Pecan-Blanketed Strawberry Compote?  Sure, if you are feeling pretentious and fancy.

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

If you asked me what I consider to be the best dessert for summertime I will always say crisps.  I love them because they celebrate the flavors of the season, require very minimal effort, and they can be served hot or at room temperature - making them the perfect choice for company.

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

Toss some fruit together a few minutes before your guests arrive and let this bake while you eat dinner, then serve warm with ice cream.  Everyone loves crisps, and if they don't, well…why did you invite them over anyways?

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

While crisps could certainly stand on their own, they are really the only dessert that I feel almost demands ice cream.  It pains me to have ice cream with my cake - like, why?  And brownies are far better as a solo act, but crisps... Well, they just beg for it.

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

And I am nothing if not accommodating - so accommodating, in fact, that I dreamed up a special ice cream expressly for this crisp.  How generous.  

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

Enter buttermilk cream cheese ice cream.  I called my fiancé after tasting it and between an obnoxious number of “oohs” and “ahhhs” I described it as an ultra creamy frozen yogurt.  It has the same tang of yogurt due to the buttermilk, but the cream cheese gives it a very sweet, rich flavor that only cream can provide.  It has made regular ol’ vanilla ice cream very pallid in my mind.  

 Warm strawberries with a toffee-like crust meet tangy, indulgent ice cream. 

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

Just look at that crispy crust.  

There is nothing wrong with the classics, not one thing.

Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream {Pedantic Foodie}

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


Strawberry Crisp with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Ice Cream

serves 6

for the ice cream

- 1 cup whole milk

- 2/3 cup granulated sugar

- 4 large egg yolks 

- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 

- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl until they have slightly lightened in color.  Set aside.  

Combine milk and sugar in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.  Stirring often, cook until the milk is steaming, and the sugar has completely dissolved.

Slowly stream half of the steaming milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking constantly.  Pour the tempered egg yolks back into the saucepan and return to heat.  Cook, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened slightly; about 3-5 minutes. 

Remove from heat and pour the ice cream base into your blender.  Add buttermilk,  cream cheese, and vanilla and blend until smooth. 

Fill a large bowl 2/3 of the way with ice and cool water and place the ice cream base in a medium bowl that will fit inside the larger bowl.

Place the ice cream bowl into the ice bath and whisk constantly until the custard is cool.  

Place the base in your ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the soft ice cream to the freezer to set up while you prepare the crisp.  

for the filling

- 5 cups strawberries, sliced 

- 4 tablespoons cornstarch 

- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 

- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Place strawberries in an 8x8 glass baking pan.  Sprinkle with cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice and toss to coat   

Set aside while you prepare the topping.  

for the topping

- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

- 1/2 cup brown sugar 

- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

- 1/2 cup old fashion rolled oats 

- 1/4 cup whole raw pecans, finely chopped

- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

Combine flour, sugar, salt, oats, and pecans in a small bowl.  Use the tips of your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture, forming a rough crumble.  

Sprinkle the crumble on top of the strawberry filling.  

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the strawberries are bubbling and the crumble is deep golden.  

Place on a wire rack and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.  This will give the filling time to set up a bit.  

Serve warm with ice cream.  Enjoy!!