Ghiradeli, who?

  FullSizeRender Everyone needs a go to brownie recipe and we're not talking about Betty Crocker or Ghiradeli. Because making desserts from a box is a real Becky move (and not the Becky with the good hair). If you need clarification, please see Beyonce. These are called Prescription Strength Brownies for a reason (and not because of any added THC's). Anyone who believes that the only thing in the world better than chocolate is more chocolate will know what we mean. Surprisingly enough, from scratch brownies are pretty simple. As with any simple recipes, the better the ingredients you put in the better then end product will be. If you've spent any time in the baking section of a nice grocery store or gone to a specialty chocolate shop, I'm sure you've noticed the different kinds of cocoa powder (dark, extra dark, dutch, etc...). What we love about this brownie recipe is that you can class it up or keep it classic simply by trying different cocoas and using different kinds of toppings. Go wild and give something a try. We enjoy finding the darkest cocoa powder we can and topping the brownies with dark chocolate chips and walnuts. A few tips:
  • Brownies bake better in a good quality metal pan. If you're hard up, line your Pyrex pan with heavy aluminum foil.
  • This one will be hard, but these brownies need to cool AT LEAST 30 minutes before you take them out of the pan. I guess this is only important if you need them to present well. If you're making them just for yourself and can't wait just dig them out. They won't be pretty, but they will be gooey and delicious.
  • As with any baking, you'll get better results if all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start.
  • Instead of buttering and flouring the pan you can just use cooking spray, but personally I believe buttering and flouring the pan gives you better results here (others may disagree).
Prescription Strength Brownies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-9 brownies
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup toppings (walnuts, chocolate chips, toffee chips, etc.)
  1. Butter and flour 8x8 metal pan.
  2. Melt butter in pan.
  3. Once butter is melted, remove from heat and add cocoa powder. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add salt and sugar, mix to combine.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Add vanilla and mix well.
  7. Sprinkle flour over chocolate mix and mix together, using a spoon.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth.
  9. Add desired toppings.
  10. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Cool for 30 minutes on cooling rack.





Fruit, it’s not for everyone…or is it?

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset Real talk...the first time Nathan told me he wanted to make a balsamic fruit tart, I was extremely skeptical. Not that he had ever led me wrong before, but balsamic vinegar and fruit? I had no idea what kind of magic was right around the corner. The flavors in this tart are just so perfectly balanced, it's amazing. Nathan here,.... the best part of this tart is that when you say, "would you like some balsamic vinegar tart", most everyone will crinkle their nose and then politely decline and this of course means that there will be that much more tart left for you to shove in your glutenous face hole. The custard for this tart is very rich and the reduced white balsamic vinegar gives just enough to zing to the flavor to make this one of the best tarts, if not one of the best things period, that you can have for dessert. As with most egg based custards, be sure to take your time so you don't prematurely cook your eggs. Even if you're being careful this recipe requires you to pass your finished product through a sieve to be sure there are no eggy chunks in your finished product. Not only does it taste amazing, but a berry tart has good wow factor. All your guests will be duly impressed even if they don't have any. Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset
White Balsamic Custard Tart with Fresh Berry Topping
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 Servings
  • Crust
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • Filling
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • Topping
  • 2 large strawberries, hulled, sliced
  • 2½-pint containers blueberries
  • 1½-pint container raspberries
  1. For crust:
  2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until coarse meal forms. Add egg yolk and cream. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Press dough evenly into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Pierce dough all over with fork. Chill 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crust until golden, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 22 minutes. Cool.
  4. For filling:
  5. Stir cream and cornstarch in medium bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Add eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla; whisk to blend.
  6. Boil vinegar in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to ¼ cup, about 3 minutes. Add ¾ cup water, sugar, and butter. Stir until butter melts; return to boil. Gradually whisk vinegar mixture into egg mixture; return to pan. Whisk until custard thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Strain into bowl; cool. Spread custard in prepared crust. Cover and chill tart at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
  7. For topping:
  8. Arrange strawberry slices in star pattern in center of tart. Arrange raspberries in star pattern. Surround with blueberries. Cover loosely and chill until ready to serve. (Can be made up to 6 hours ahead.)

Lemon Curd To-go

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

You may (or may not) remember our post on the best summer dessert; fresh berries, lemon curd, and whipped cream. Lemon curd was definitely a revelation so when one of my employees gave me a cook book with a recipe for Lemon Curd Bars we had to give it a try. Now most of our readership will be familiar with the tried and true Lion House Cookbook recipe for lemon bars, and truth be told it isn’t a bad one (the real truth be told is that anything lemon is pretty good in our book). This new recipe makes a bar that is much thicker than you’re average lemon bar, but not in a bad way. We have purchased a lemon bar at a restaurant that was more like a lemon log and was way too dense to be as thick as it was. I was a little worried that this would be the case with this recipe.

The crust incorporates some cinnamon which isn’t noticeable in the finished product, but I think makes a difference in there nonetheless. Assembly is going to be pretty familiar for anyone who has done lemon bars before. No need to hash out the details here.

The end result is pretty good. The color wasn’t bad and after letting them cool they held their structure remarkably well and they didn’t come out too tough or dense either. Our batch didn’t cook real evenly, leaving the middle a little goo-y but I’d like to attribute that to Megan’s Philistine of an oven, which seems to enjoy pillaging and ruining things that are put into it, rather than placing the blame on the recipe or our baking skills (naturally).

The taste was what really made these Lemon Curd Bars stand out. The lemon flavor was really rich and kind of sneeks up on you, building slowly and steadily over the first sweet notes you get with the initial bite. The short bread crust and lemon custard top were distinctly different in texture which is what you want with a lemon bar. Be warned that these will not keep well (mostly because they are delicious and there won’t be any left) as they will get pretty melty and mushy sitting out on a counter. If it’ll be some time until they get consumed after they cool down we’d recommend putting them in a cool place or the refrigerator. A great topping both visually and taste wise would be a few glazed berried or just some mint leaves and sifted powdered sugar for a nice garnish.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Lemon Curd Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 bars
  • For the Crust:
  • 1 C Flour
  • ½ C Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ⅛ tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ C Cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing
  • For the Filling:
  • ¾ Granulated Sugar
  • 2 T Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Finely Grated Lemon Zest
  • 3 Eggs, room temperature
  • ½ C Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 T Heavy Cream
  • Powdered Sugar for Garnish
  1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8 inch baking dish, preferably glass.
  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse briefly until blended. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the dough forms moist crumbs and sticks together when pinched, about 1 minute. There should be no trace of dryness. Press the dough into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the prepared baking dish, lightly flouring your fingertips if necessary to prevent them from sticking. Bake the crust until pale golden, 20-22 minutes. Let the crust cool completely on a rack. Reduce the temperature to 325.
  3. To make the filling, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, and zest. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and cream and whisk until just blended. Carefully pour the mixture over the baked crust.
  4. Bake until the filling is set but still jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack for about 30 minutes (if you can wait that long).
  5. Run the tip of a knife along the inside of the dish to loosen the crust from the sides, then let cool completely.
  6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.


It’s not a donut hole

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

It’s beignet time. My dad and I both have a love for food and cooking. Since my parents live a little closer to me during the summer time, we decided the next time I was in town to make beignets…a delicious French pastry! I have had quite a few beignets over the years, each varying slightly. My favorite has been in Chicago at The Grand Lux Cafe. I love the rustic look and the lighter color. They were served with three dipping sauces… raspberry, vanilla, and chocolate ganache. Oh my goodness, they were delicious!

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

The first tip I want to tell you is to have all the proper tools. As we were making these, I kept thinking how ridiculous it would have been trying to make these at my house and improvising tools (like we always do). Don’t do it. This guy on the left (spider) I found particularly helpful when frying the beignets.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

The dough is pretty straight forward (and delicious).

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

After letting it rise for what seemed like forever, the fun begins! You only get to roll the dough out once so make the most of it. We didn’t have a biscuit cutter so we used the lid to a mason jar. It worked like a gem.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Don’t waste the extra dough. Cut it up into roughly the same size pieces and fry them.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Tip #2. Do not guess what the oil temperature is. Use a thermometer. Keep an eye on your oil, the temperature can rise very quickly resulting in crispy outside, but an undone center.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Test one or two to start and see how it goes. Once you start the process goes quickly and it’s very helpful to have two people in the kitchen.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Once they are done frying, coat them in sugar. We tried granulated and powdered. I thought they were both good, but I think the powdered sugar looked a little classier. But of course I don’t have any pictures of those. If using powdered sugar, either sift the sugar on or put sugar and beignet in a ziploc and gently shake.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Don’t forget the dipping sauces!

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: About 24
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • Extra flour, for rolling the dough (about 1 cup total)
  • 1 gallon fryer oil
  • Granulated sugar, for garnish
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast and the water. Set aside to proof.
  2. After 10 minutes, stir in the all-purpose flour, cover with plastic, set aside in a warm place and let it double in size.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the eggs, with the mixer on low speed, one by one. When the mix is smooth, add the vanilla and salt. Stir to blend. Add the bread flour and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
  4. Change the electric mixer attachment to a dough hook. Continue mixing the dough until it becomes a ball. Then, stir in the yeast mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic and allow to proof, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly flour a cool surface and roll the dough out to about 1½-inch thickness. Cut rounds of dough with a cutter and turn them onto a floured baking sheet to rest, 20 to 30 minutes, before frying.
  6. Heat the oil in a large pot to 365 to 370 degrees F. Drop the beignets in the hot fat and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon.
  7. Roll in the granulated sugar.
  8. Serve immediately with Vanilla Dipping Sauce.
You can also fill these pastries by putting filling into a pastry bag or zip lock with a small tip. After frying, poke the side of the beignet and fill with desired filling.


I ate the whole bowl… really

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

This weekend we went to visit Grandpa Saun in Logandale. The plan was to make some desserts and have a little party where grandpa could invite some friends over and enjoy a nice evening. But grandpa had been invited to an eagle scout court of honor. Most everyone he would invite to the dessert night would already be at the court of honor. Not wanting to compete, we decided we would just do a nice lunch for the three of us. We outdid ourselves.

We’ll get to lunch in the next post. But first, dessert!

We had lemon curd, whipped cream,and fresh berries. I made the lemon curd that morning so it had plenty of time to chill in the fridge. This was the perfect dessert for a hot (and I mean HOT) summer day. The tanginess of the lemon curd was a great complement to the sweetness of the berries.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

I had never made lemon curd before but was very interested in trying it. I couldn’t find a sharp peeler, until later in the day (after I wasn’t looking for them anymore). So I used a knife to peel the lemons. There was a little more of the white part of the lemon than we wanted, so Nathan used a cheese grater to get rid of the excess white part. Perhaps we should call this, double peeled lemon curd? He also didn’t have a food processor so we used a blender. The lemon peel was not as fine as it should have been, but using a food processor would have fixed that problem. It’s always an adventure at grandpas!

When heating the lemon curd, it didn’t look like it was going to thicken and become smooth. Stick with it, because like magic, all of the sudden it does. Mine took about 15 minutes, instead of 10 like the recipe says.

We hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Lemon Curd
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
  • 3 lemons
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • ½ cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
  2. Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.






Summer is finally here. Which means it’s time to prepare for the White Pine County Fair. First up, the lemon blueberry bundt cake. This is a fantastic recipe we love to make. It’s like a blueberry muffin in cake form. It has a beautiful crispy crust, soft middle, and the perfect blueberry swirl (or so they say. but we’ll get to that later). You will not be disappointed with this cake. This recipe is a bit labor intensive, but absolutely worth it!

We had a couple hangups with the cake this time around.  The inside of the cake was a hot mess.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

See what I mean?

The recipe says to use a butter knife to swirl the filling into the cake, but that didn’t turn out so well. Next time, we are going to try a skewer for better results (and as Nathan is suggesting, maybe more swirling and less mixing, just a thought). You are going for a marbled look.

Once the filling was made and sat for a minute it became extremely gelatinous, in fact it was more than gelatinous. Whatever the stage just past gelatinous is. Was the filling on the heat too long? Was the heat too high? Did we use the wrong pectin? Who knows. Hopefully there are some jam and jelly gurus who would be willing to chime in. We’ll try again at any rate. The cake was, nonetheless, delicious, but not how it was supposed to turn out. In fact we’ve had a few disasters with this cake and no matter how iffy it looks it is absolutely worth eating the whole thing in one sitting.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

This was before the gelatinous mess. Love those colors!

We are trying to find the perfect way to top the cake. We tried a lemon glaze, cinnamon whipped cream, and lemon whipped cream. The lemon glaze, which is just lemon juice and powdered sugar is always good, but seemed a little heavy with this cake. The cinnamon whipped cream was good, but the cake overpowered the cinnamon flavor. The winner was the lemon flavored whipped cream. It was the perfect complement to the texture of the cake and a delicious fresh flavor. We added one drop of yellow food coloring, which was the perfect finishing touch.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Let us know how this cake turns out for you! And if you discover the secret to marbling the filling.

Marbled Blueberry Bundt Cake
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cake
  • Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest + 3 TBSP juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 yolk (room temperature)
  • 2¼ sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Filling
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 TBSP low or no sugar needed fruit pectin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 oz fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest + 1 TBSP juice
  1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Heavily spray bundt pan with baking spray with flour. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Gently whisk eggs and egg yolk to combine in third bowl.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to medium and beat in half of the eggs until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining eggs, scraping down the bowl after incorporating. Reduce speed to low and add one-third of the flour mixture. Repeat using half of the flour mixture and all of the remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape down bowl, add remaining flour mixture , and mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside while preparing the filling.
  3. For the filling: Whisk sugar, pectin, and salt together in a small saucepan. Process blueberries in blender until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer ¼ c puree and lemon zest to saucepan with sugar mixture and stir to combine. Heat sugar-blueberry mixture over medium heat until just simmering, about 3 minutes. Add remaining puree and lemon juice to cooled mixture and whisk to combine. Let sit until slightly set, about 8 minutes.
  4. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Using back of the spoon, create a ½ inch deep channel in the center of batter. Spoon half of the filling into channel. Using butter knife or small offset spatula, thoroughly swirl filling batter (there should be no large pockets of filling remaining). Repeat swirling step with remaining batter and filling.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown and skewer in center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cake directly onto the wire rack. Let cool.





The very best combination

Blueberries and lemon. They get me every single time. I mean really. Some combinations are just meant to be and let me be clear here, there is NOTHING better than chocolate but lemon and blueberries are a very close second. While I’ve made many blueberry pies (and even received a first place ribbon at the county fair, but no one is bragging [except me]). We mounted this attack on the blueberry pie as a practice run prior to the holiday of all holidays, Thanksgiving.


This filling recipe comes out of the Better Home and Gardens New Cook Book. They have a neat table that simply outlines the recommended amount of flour and sugar for different kinds of berries and fruit. I find it very handy. I usually add a couple of teaspoons of lemon zest to my berry pies (and their blueberry pie recipe has lemon zest in it). To bump up the lemony flavor in this pie, we also did a lemon whipped cream to top our individual slices.

Frozen fruit should be allowed to thaw slightly before you incorporate everything. This usually takes less then an hour. Mix all of your thickener (flour) and sweetener (sugar) and lemon zest together in a separate bowl and when the berries are ready toss it all together. If you’re using frozen berries the added benefit is that the moisture collects on the partially thawed berries and evenly distributes the flour/ sugar mixture when you combine it with the berries.


Don’t fill the bottom crust until you have the top crust rolled out and ready to go, so the filling doesn’t sit in the unbaked crust too long. The goal is to not have a soggy and saturated bottom crust. I usually sprinkle a little flour (1 or two spoonfuls) in the bottom of the pie crust prior to putting the filling to soak up any errant juices in an effort to keep the bottom pie crust from getting soggy.




After you’ve wrestled both of the crusts out flat and filled the bottom crust you really are in the home stretch.

Make sure to press and roll the seam of the top and bottom crusts together. Or I know some people have good results wetting (lightly) and pressing the seam together. Whatever your method the point is to make sure you have a solid seam. Otherwise the crusts can separate when baking and juices leak out and make a mess. You want your pie to be fortress of flavor!


I just use a standard thumb and finger pattern on the my pies, but feel free to get fancy.


Make sure to cut some vents in the top.


The way your pies look should be consistent and unique to you (so everybody knows whose it is). One of my favorite pie things is to have a maker’s mark. This is a unique design that you put on pies that you have made. I’ve seen a star, half circle designs, etc….. Personally, mine is the outline of the state of Nevada! I know, it’s really great.


Once you get the hang of making pies they really aren’t too bad to make (easy as pie!…… anyone…. no?) There are few things people find more impressive then a delicious and well made pie. Prepare to impress and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They’re only ingredients.

These pies were for our respective Thanksgiving parties. But that wasn’t going to do. So we made a smaller pie we could devour that night.


Tollhouse Cookie Pie

This pie has become a staple at the annual Wright Pie Party. It’s like a chocolate chip cookie in pie form. Who wouldn’t love this?!?

This is another pie my dad made during my last visit home. Super easy and so delicious!

Again with the mise en place. It brings a tear to my eye.


I could just eat the filling. Yum!


Add filling to pie shell.


Bake for 55-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.


Serve with ice cream.


Tollhouse Cookie Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 Pie
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ½ C All Purpose Flour
  • ½ C Granulated Sugar
  • ½ C Packed Brown Sugar
  • ¾ C Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C Chopped Nuts
  1. ) Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. ) Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
  3. ) Beat in butter.
  4. ) Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. ) Pour batter into pie shell.
  6. ) Bake 55 – 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean.
  7. ) Cool on wire rack.



Pumpkin Butter Pecan Pie

Now that we have pie crust taken care of, it’s time for the filling. First up, pumpkin butter pecan.


I’m not a huge pumpkin pie fan. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I ate a slice. However, pumpkin butter pecan pie is delicious! I love the crunchy texture on top and the depth of flavors in this pie.

I also love how easy this pie is!

Start with ingredients. The last time I was home in Arizona I asked my dad to make a couple pies for the blog. These are his recipes. This is a beautiful display of mise en place, am I right?


Mix all filling ingredients in medium bowl.


Pour filling into unbaked pie shell.


Sprinkle cake mix evenly over filling.


Drizzle melted butter over cake mix.


Bake at 350 for about an hour. I would start at 50 minutes and then check the pie. If crust is starting to get too dark, cover with foil and continue baking. Pie is done when knife comes out clean.


Easy as…pie. This is a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. I like it best served with vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Butter Pecan
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 Pie
  • Filling
  • 1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Topping
  • ½ box yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup butter (melted)
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
  1. Preheat oven to 350o.
  2. Prepare 9 inch unbaked pie shell.
  3. Mix all filling ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell and level off.
  5. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over filling, spreading to the edges of the crust.
  6. Drizzle melted butter over cake mix.
  7. Sprinkle chopped nuts over cake mix and butter.
  8. Bake the pie at 350o for about 1 hour or until knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the crust or pecans start to get too brown, cover the pie with foil for the last 15 minutes.
  9. Serve hot or cold, with ice cream or whipped cream topping.


Why I Don’t Have Abs

Pie is a year round affair at the Wright household for as long as I can remember. Every Thanksgiving we have a Pie Party. My dad is the pie baker of the family and makes 15-20ish different pies and we have a big party! My job is the decorating. There was a time in my life for whatever reason I missed five pie parties in a row. It was a dark time in my life. Over the years pies have been added including (but not limited to) key lime, chocolate haupia, lilikoi, and candy land.

The secret to a great pie? The crust. There are a lot of pie dough recipes out there. But the secret to great pie crust is to not overwork the dough. Pie crust should be tender and flaky. If you overwork it, the crust will become tough and hard. Personally, I avoid making pie whenever I can. I find the crust frustrating and especially upsetting when it doesn’t turn out how I was expecting. But thankfully, between Nathan and my dad, I’m never stuck making the crust.

The following recipe is the one my dad most often uses.

Pie Crust
Serves: 2 Crusts
  • 1 cup shortening (I use butter-flavored Crisco)
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ - ⅔ cup ice water
  1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut shortening into the flour mixture until the particles are about the size of peas. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing gently with a fork until all the flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl. You may need a little more water.
  2. Gather half the dough into a ball and shape into a flattened round on a lightly floured surface. Roll pastry out into a round circle with a rolling pin until approximately 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Lift occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Carefully fold the pastry into quarters and place into pie pan. Unfold and press firmly into bottom and sides. For a baked pie shell, prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake at 475o for about 10 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

This recipe is Nathan’s go to pie crust recipe.
Pie Crust
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender.)
  2. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Whatever recipe you use, remember to work the dough as little as possible.

Nathan here. Let me be first to say how impressed I’ve always been with the visual perfection of Uncle Mark’s pie crusts. They are always a consistent thickness and the decorative edge is always just perfect. He makes it look easy as, well, as easy as pie. My crust recipe (and just a foreshadowing, I plan on thoroughly reading and experimenting with Julia Childs pie crust suggestions here in the future) produces a rougher more rustic looking pie crust (let’s be honest, it’s probably more me than the recipe) and many explicit interjections as I try to make the crust cooperate. When using a butter based crust I much prefer a good, thick pie crust because I love it.