Easter Celebrations

Happy Easter and Happy Pesach/Passover to those who celebrate either holiday.

I wasn’t able to make it home for Easter again, but it will be fun to spend it with the boyfriend’s family. His mom always puts on a lovely dinner, and usually the kids bring simple things like bread or sides.

I’m always kinda sad I don’t get to do something baking-related. I have quite a few Easter/spring themed baking items I haven’t gotten to use yet. I could make them for us, but the batches are usually too large for two people to split (at least healthily).

I was already plotting which side we’d bring or which bread/rolls I’d bring (the cloverleaf rolls I made for Thanksgiving were a huge hit, but I’d seen some awfully cute bunny rolls I was tempted to try) when he gave me the surprising news I’d always wanted to hear: “You need to make dessert for about 10 people.”

As I mentioned before, his mom is a great cook/baker and usually provides desserts that everyone loves. The excitement of baking and sharing a themed dessert I figured I’d feel was nowhere to be found. Instead it was quite a bit of nerves with a teeny hint of fear: what on earth would I make and would it measure up to his mom’s past yummy goodness? In my mind, being tasked with dessert was kind of an honor, like being really “in” the family and I did not want to mess it up.

I spent quite a lot of time pouring over my hefty collection of recipes, pondering and frequently asking him what the family would like or what they’d had in the past. Alas, he was little help and told me to stop worrying so much. I will admit I probably did worry a bit too much, but I’m sure most people can relate to wanting to do something well for your significant other’s family, no matter how well you get along and how well you know each other.

I finally decided to bring two desserts: a springy, strawberry frozen loaf and a chocolate cream pie. From scratch.

The strawberry loaf was a hit when my mom and I made it for an Easter a few years ago. The recipe is very easy and looks quite nice on a table. It also served 12 people, but I worried if people wanted seconds they’d be out of luck. And really, getting rid of extra dessert usually isn’t too hard.

Enter the chocolate cream pie! Easter and chocolate go hand in hand. His dad loooooooooves chocolate so I’m really making it with him in mind, especially since he’s been at our house for about a month (or more) working on our basement.

I decided to use a recipe from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts book. I have never made a custard pie from scratch in my life so I was a little hesitant, but I’d had success with the other pie I’d made from the book and the instructions seemed easy to follow so I figured I could handle it. In the end it was quite a bit of work (so much whisking!), but maaaan, the chocolate custard is to die for. When the chopped chocolate was melting into the milk, I really wanted to grab a mug and drink it like hot cocoa, but I resisted. Okay, I had about a tablespoon (note to self: make hot cocoa this way once next fall/winter. YUM.).

My biggest frustration was the crust. It was another recipe that called for using chocolate wafers for the crust. Nebraska apparently isn’t cool enough to carry these magical wafers (or at least the four stores we tried weren’t) so it was time for plan “B.” If I had more time and it was for a less important occasion, I totally would have made my own chocolate wafer cookies, but instead I bought a bag of Oreo cookies. And scraped the filling out of 26 of them.

Slowly whisking the warm chocolate-milk mixture into the egg yolks was a bit worrisome. I had heard stories of people adding it too fast and cooking the eggs, so I went even slower than I needed to (better safe than sorry!). After even more whisking, I poured it into the crust. I apparently should have upped the number of Oreos because my crust wasn’t tall enough for all the filling (yay, leftover chocolate pudding for us!) so I ended up having to scoop some back out. Despite that, it looks lovely.

If only the kitchen was as lovely looking. Poor Mike had already done the dishes once and was quite disheartened to see the tower before him.
We have an agreement: since I cook, he does the dishes. I think it is the best deal ever     because I haaaate to do dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher). That isn’t to say I never do any. I always feel bad after I’ve done some baking because it takes so many dishes/utensils so I try to clean up as many as I can, or at the very least get them soaking. After doing dinner and both desserts (as well as all the other normal day things I do), it was a leave them soaking night.

I’m glad I got both desserts made ahead of time instead of trying to cram them in before dinner. I’m just hoping the frozen one unmolds well, the pie chills and sets up well and that both are tasty and well received.

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