Happy New Year, friends.
I hope 2016 is treating you well and 2015 has kindly been laid to rest.
My Christmas holiday was lovely. I spent most my days on a sunny beach in Florida while 90 degree F tropical breezes tangled my hair, Hawaiian Tropic slicked my skin, and flip flops kicked sand over everyone's beach towels.
Then a seagull shat on my shoulder. And another stole my pretzels. I stepped on something slimy and gross in the ocean and swallowed far too much sea water.
The refrigerator broke at Grandma's summer house as did the screen door that keeps salamanders and buggy critters out of the lanai. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a family of them setting up shop in my bathing suit.
I broke my best sunglasses at the community pool.
I singed my eyebrows on the charcoal grill when I accidentally added lighter fluid to charcoal briquettes that were instant light charcoal. I still taste ash.
The mattress I slept on was horrible and I thought I permanently dislocated my spine at one point.
Then I saw the most incredible sunset.
We flew home on New Year's Eve. We had no bags to check as my in-laws were bringing our suitcases home for us. We checked in online the night before, but totally cut the line at the airport because they didn't have a kiosk that spits out boarding tickets, nor did they have a line that specified our situation. I'm sorry, but I wasn't about to stand in line with a thousand other passengers that had bags and didn't bother to pre-check themselves.
Karma almost got me for it. I left my phone in the airport's family washroom because I was too preoccupied scrubbing my little boy's hands after he touched everything in his grasp. Thankfully, I realized before I boarded the monorail car that takes passengers to the gates. An Air Canada worker walked out holding it, but saw me running towards her like a cheetah. I was sweating in places I didn't realize I had sweat glands. We exchanged niceties and ran to board our flight.
We were 36,000 feet over Virginia when the clock struck midnight and 2016 made herself known. Our plane quickly became a party in the skies and I scored myself a mini bottle of Prosecco. Funny enough, the air current decided it wanted to be part of the festivities and began to rock the airbus like a maraca during Carnival in Brazil. This is not a good thing if you are not a confident flyer, which I am not.
Once we touched down in Toronto at 1:24am, I felt like I could breathe again. It's always so nice to get away, but there really is nothing like home sweet home.
HOME SWEET HOME.
To all my readers, may 2016 be nothing short of fantastic and delicious. It's a new year; clean slate.
Now let's go stuff our gobs like we're still on holiday.
At least I will.
CANNOLI CHEESECAKE PIE
For pie crust:
2¼ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup Stirling Creamery Churn 84 Salted Butter, frozen and grated
8-10 tablespoons very cold water
1 (15 ounce/375g) container whole fat ricotta
1 (250g) block cream cheese at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
1½ cup quality chocolate, chopped*
5 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons powered sugar
3 tablespoons warm water
mini chocolate chips
To make pie crust:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Using a cheese grater, grate butter into flour. Using two cold forks or a cold pastry blender, cut in butter until incorporated. You may also use a food processor for this. Slowly add in cold water until a ball of dough begins to form. You want your dough to look moist, but not wet. Once dough comes together, divide into two balls. Wrap both in plastic wrap and flatten into disks. Refrigerate for about an hour to allow the proteins to relax.
Just a side note: The key to a flaky, buttery crust is keeping everything cold.
Once dough is properly chilled, remove from fridge about five minutes before rolling out to make the process a bit easier. Roll out pie dough a little larger than the pie tin. Cut off excess with a sharp knife. Crimp or style edges. Place back in the refrigerator for at least 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blind bake pie crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and proceed to make filling.
To make filling:
In a large mixing bowl, cream together ricotta and cream cheese. Beat in egg and egg yolk, one at a time, until both are properly incorporated. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest, if using, and beat until blended.
Pour into prepared pie tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Middle will be a little wobbly when removed from oven. It will solidify once it cools.
Once cake is completely cooled, prepare chocolate topping.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and heavy cream. Stir until completely melted. Add in powdered sugar and stir. Slowly add in warm water to create a pouring consistency. Remove from heat and pour over cheesecake portion of pie. Using an offset spatula, smooth evenly over surface. Top with chopped pistachios and mini chocolate chips. Place in refrigerator and allow to set for 10 minutes. Remove and slice. Dust with powdered sugar is so desired.
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