Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Is there a dessert more festive for the holidays than pumpkin pie? Of course not! While you can certainly go out and buy your pumpkin pie, wouldn’t it feel great to make your own? I hear some of you groaning, but trust me, EVERYONE appreciates a homemade pumpkin pie. And this recipe is easy, I promise, so this year, I invite you to make this fabulous dessert!

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Best Whole Grain Pie Crust

You should know how to make pie crust. Seriously, you should. Your grandma made it, your great-grandma made it and likely generations of women (and men) before them did it too! And they did it without modern convienences like, you know marble countertops and running water! Is it hard to make? No! Does it take practice? Yes, of course! Can you do it? ABSOLUTELY! And I’ve got a great whole grain pie dough that would make your grandma proud!

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Blueberry Crumble Bars Recipe

Can it be? Is summer really almost over? Perhaps a Blueberry Crumble Bar could save my end-of-summer-sadness!

If you’re like me, this happens every single year. I get to the end of August and think “what the heck? How can it almost be September?” Well, of course time inevitably keeps propelling us forward, but for some reason, my mind just doesn’t accept that sometimes. I mean, I swear it was just a few weeks ago when I finally felt safe stuffing my long, dark heavy winter coat in the closet. I literally stuffed it in there too – jammed it in – as I had no interest in even seeing a glimpse of it for the next several months. 

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Chocolate Cherry Almond “Bonbons”

Did I just blow your mind? Am I really posting a recipe for bonbons here? Yes, but pay attention – did you happen to notice the quotations around the word “bonbons?” See? You knew there was a catch, right? But have no fear, these Chocolate Cherry Almond Bonbons do NOT disappoint, even with my trickery.

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Phyllo Cherry Pie Tartlets: Recipe Redux

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My grandmother passed away when I was a Freshman in college. It was a sad time for me. I remember packing my bags and making the trek home for her funeral. Like most grandmothers, she meant so much to me. It wasn’t until she passed that I really started to appreciate all that she was.

What I loved most about her was her vibrant personality and unique outlook on life. She lived life to it’s fullest, having a blast doing just about everything. She loved playing cards and Boggle (a game I’m not even sure exists anymore) and she adored hosting parties and cooking fabulous food for holidays. She did it up right, laying out the best china and lighting candles. I don’t think I appreciated it then, but I do remember thinking it was “kind of cool.” She was a spunky, sassy Martha Stewart…a lit cigarette in one hand and a wooden spoon stuck in a pot of something tasty in the other. I can still picture her now at the stove.Iphone062015 060

While I wish we had more time to spend together, as I’m sure I would totally appreciate her so much more now, I am so grateful for all of my memories. There’s one memory that stands out for me..it’s her famous cherry pie. I’m pretty sure it came from the back of Eagle Brand Milk can, but she didn’t identify the source on her recipe card. Anyway, it was delicious! A crust topped with almonds, then filled with a decadently rich filling and topped with sweetened, tart cherries. It was to die for (and a total calorie bomb!)

This month’s Recipe Redux theme was to “redux” one of our favorite pie recipes. I had no hesitation deciding to honor my grandmother’s cherry pie recipe. While she certainly wouldn’t have deemed it necessary to “lighten-up” a dessert, I still think she would be surprised at how well the modifications to her classic cherry pie turned out. To undo some of the calorie damage, I took out plenty of the sugar and also lightened up the crust, opting for mini-phyllo cups instead. It’s a perfect sweet treat and a lovely addition to any party, picnic or shower.

So, break out the china and light the candles, because you’re in for a treat!

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Phyllo Cherry Pie Tartlets

  • Author: Sara Haas


A perfect bite of tart cherries piled on top of a sweet, almond and lemon-infused filling.



For the Phyllo Shells

  • 30 mini phyllo cups (found in the freezer section), thawed
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

For the Filling

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped

For the Cherries

  • 14 1/2 ounce can of water-packed tart cherries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch


To Prepare the Phyllo Shells

  1. Line the shells on a sheet pan and place a few toasted, sliced almonds in each shell. Keep nearby while you make the filling.

To Make the Filling

  1. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract in a mixing bowl. Fold in the whipped cream. Fill each phyllo cup with a heaping teaspoon of the filling. Cover the pan with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.

To Make the Cherry Topping

  1. Drain the cherry water (about 1/2 cup) from the cherries into a sauce pan. Add in the sugar and cornstarch, whisking until combined. Set the mixture over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add the drained cherries to pan and stir.
  2. Remove the phyllo shells from the refrigerator. Top each shell with a spoonful of the cherry mixture. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.


  • Serving Size: 15
  • Calories: 197
  • Sugar: 11
  • Sodium: 205
  • Fat: 5
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 32
  • Protein: 4
  • Cholesterol: 10

Beautiful and Simple: A Recipe for the Lovely Apple Crostata


It’s cold here in Chicago and I am happy to report that I have not lost my sense of humor about this cold blast we are having. Instead of being angry, I have chosen to celebrate this cold by baking and cooking…and baking and cooking! Luckily the lovely Cutting Board Blog must have known this, as they are currently featuring my recipe for the beautiful Apple Crostata.

Hurry, go turn on your oven and be prepared to “warm up” with this lovely dessert.

Grilled Citrus-Scented Bananas

It’s almost Labor Day and you need a dessert recipe ASAP. It’s time to prep the grill and make this recipe for Grilled Citrus-Scented Bananas.

This recipe makes use of bananas, a delicious and relatively inexpensive fruit, that also packs a nutritious punch. Once grilled, bananas turn even sweeter, thanks to the caramelization happening from the heat. Sprinkle the bananas with a touch of cinnamon and orange zest and you’ve turned the basic banana into a sophisticated dessert.

Bon Appetit!

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Grilled Citrus-Scented Bananas

  • Author: Sara Haas with Centered Chef


A simple, grilled dessert that will please any palate!



  • 4 large bananas, no speckles on skin, washed with skin-on
  • 1 tsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • ground cinnamon, for dusting
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp toasted, sliced almonds


  1. Cut the bananas in half length-wise (leaving the skin on), then in half width-wise. You will have 4 quarter-pieces of banana.
  2. Combine the butter, honey and orange juice in a small bowl. Brush mixture onto the exposed banana halves and top with a little dash of ground cinnamon.
  3. Place the bananas on the grill cut-side down and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until bananas have grill marks. Flip over and cook until the bananas are warmed through. The bananas are done when the skin starts to pull away from the fruit.
  4. Serve in the peel and garnish with orange zest and almonds.


  • Serving Size: 8
  • Calories: 88
  • Sugar: 11
  • Sodium: 1
  • Fat: 2
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 19
  • Protein: 1
  • Cholesterol: 1