Sharon’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Pie

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Let’s talk about THE best Peanut Butter dessert that one could ever eat – Sharon Pope’s Famous Peanut Butter Pie! The thing that makes this pie far superior to all others is one important fact: it MUST be eaten warm – preferably minutes out of the oven.

I know, I know. Eating a hot pie goes against almost everything you’ve ever known. I thought the same thing when Sharon first told me – but trust us on this one… It will change your life! (Don’t get me wrong, this pie is pretty rockin-awesome at room temperature too, but when it’s hot and ruining all over the place… Well, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on!)

So, without further a due – the recipe that will soon become your favorite…

SHARON’S ULTIMATE PEANUT BUTTER PIE

For the Crust:

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

9 tbs. shortening

5-6 tbs. ice water

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the crisco and “cut” the shortening into the flour. (I like to use my fingers and hands – you want the crisco to end up in little bits, about the size of a green pea.) Then drizzle the ICE water onto the flour mixture and mix well. (You want the mixture almost as damp as play dough – but not too wet. It will still be a little clumpy, but will hold together when pressed with your hands.) Press together into a ball, then turn the crust mixture out onto a WELL floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out to about 1/8 inch in thickness. (Try to keep the crust moving while you’re rolling by using the rolling pin to spin it a little – you don’t want it to stick to the counter.) Once the crust is rolled out to the right thickness, roll it up on the rolling pin and transfer to the pie dish. After fitting the crust into all the edges of the dish, trim the excess dough off the edges with a knife – leaving a little over an inch hanging off. Then fold the remaining inch of crust under the edges and crimp using your left thumb and pointer finger on the outside and your right thumb on the inside. This gives you that attractive edge!

Using a fork, pierce the crust about 10-15 times (to release moisture while cooking) and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. If the crust doesn’t seem to be golden after 20 minutes or so, turn the broiler on and get a little color on it. Be careful not to burn the crust at this point – keep a good eye on it!

Tip: This crust recipe is actually 1.5 times more than the original recipe, but I have my reasons. First off, I’m not the best at keeping my crust from cracking a fair bit when I roll it out, so with extra I can usually just cut off the cracks after I put it into the pie dish. Secondly, I’m a huge stickler on things looking good, and with extra crust I have plenty on the edges to do a stunning crimp! Plus, there’s enough in this recipe that you’ll be fine for a deep dish pie too!

For the Filling:

The Peanut Butter Crumbles…

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

Directions: Place in a medium bowl and mix together using a fork. They’ll be crumbles, of all sizes. (Try not to eat them all before you place them in the pie, please! :p) Set them to the side.

Tip: I add a little more of both ingredients because I prefer to have more peanut butter in the pie – but that’s just me:)

 

The Custard…

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)

1 tbsp. AP Flour

3 tbsp. corn starch

1/4 tsp. salt

3 cups milk (2% or whole)

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract (don’t measure, just pour a good ol’ dash in – you can’t add too much vanilla, ever!)

Directions: Place yolks, sugar, salt, flour and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk together well. Begin to add the milk, slowly at first, and whisk until combined. Place in a pot over medium heat. The goal is to thicken the mixture with heat until it’s the consistency of a custard/pudding. You can do this in the microwave (which Sharon taught me) by heating the mixture in 30 seconds intervals and stirring it in-between to make sure it doesn’t curdle and scramble the eggs. I prefer to do this on the stove top – but that’s just me. Either way, keep a watch on it! On the stove, I bring it almost to a boil and that’s when the flour and cornstarch do their thickening work! After it’s thickened, pull off of the heat and add the butter and vanilla, whisk to combine, then grab a spoon and taste it – best stuff ever! (Again, as with the peanut butter crumbles, try to leave some for the pie filling, please! :p)

 

For the Meringue:

3 egg whites

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 – 1 tbsp flour (I’ll explain below)

Directions: Place the egg whites in a bowl and begin beating with a mixer. (Using a whisk attachment if you have one) After they’re starting to turn white and a little foamy, begin adding the sugar slowly. Then beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.

Tip – sometimes, especially on humid days, it’s hard to get egg whites to hold their peaks. My mom taught me years ago that if you’ll add just a touch of flour to your egg whites and whisk it in well, it will help stabilize them when they cook and they’ll hold their peaks better!

Final Assembly: 

Place 1/2-3/4 of the peanut butter crumbles on the the bottom of the cooked pie crust. Top with all of the custard mixture (but don’t over over-fill the crust. You can always snack on the left over custard later!). Spread the meringue over the custard and top with the remaining peanut butter crumbles! Place back into the 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes to cook the meringue and brown the top of the pie.

Pull out and serve within the first hour to fully enjoy. Like I said before, this pie is WONDERFUL at room temperature, but it truly is a life changing experience when it’s served warm! I’d let it cool for about 10-15 minutes to make sure you don’t burn your tongue completely off though… :)

I truly hope that you make this recipe with your friends and family for years to come. It’s recipes like this that hold so much meaning for me. Sharon, who shared this recipe with me on my 22nd birthday, is one of my dear friends from my time in Arkansas and we have made so many memories in her kitchen with our friends over the last several years. Every time I make this pie, I feel like Sharon is right there in the kitchen with me – laughing and acting like a total loon… And that’s what makes this SUCH a special recipe to me!

Take the time to create memories with those you love over recipes like this one… Not only will you feed the body, but more importantly you’ll feed the soul!

Happy Eating!

 

Jenna + John [Engaged]

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This is one of my favorite engagement sessions! Not only are Jenna and John beautiful people to work with, but they had one of the most unique ideas I think I’ve ever seen! Growing up in the small town of Stokesdale, NC, everyone is familiar with “the Bi-Rite.” It’s a small grocery store that has been a local icon for almost 50 years. I’d say that it’s the best known landmark in Stokesdale – hands down.

For the end of their session we went to Bi-Rite and incorporated their advertising sign! Jenna had John on a ladder putting their names and wedding date up for all to see. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful session.

Keep your eyes peeled for sneak peaks from their wedding in October!

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Autumn Mini Sessions 2014

jordan tickle autumn mini 2014Autumn is right around the corner – that means sweaters, hot cocoa and pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING! It’s my absolute favorite time of the year… With Autumn comes Autumn Mini sessions – wooooohoooo!

Here’s the details:

When: September 27, 2014

Where: Summerfield/Stokesdale/Reidsville area

Price: $100 gets you 5 digital images, $150 gets you 8 digital images and $200 gets you 12 digital images

Set-up: Minimal. There will be a few crates, maybe a hay bale and a few pumpkins if you wish to include those. My goal for these sessions is to keep them classic and timeless, so that they will look good displayed in your home all year long!

Specs: each session is limited to 4 people. Each additional person will be $25 extra, but will include 1-2 additional images as well.

Images: all images you receive will be professionally retouched, edited and high resolution in format. They will be available by way of digital download as part of the session. A disc of the images from your session can be added for $35.

Payment for the sessions is required at the time of booking. Please email or call to book your session. Spaces are limited. These will be the only fall mini sessions offered by Tickle Photography this year. Full sessions are always available for booking. Email me for details.

Can’t wait to see y’all!

 

Easter Mini Sessions 2014

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It’s that time of year again! Easter is only weeks away (April 20th) and I’ve got bunnies on my brain – ha ha. This year I’m hosting the annual Easter Mini Sessions again, but I’m revamping them! In the years past I’ve been all about the Easter decor, but this year I’m going for super simple and timeless. I think that it’s great to have bold colors and easter eggs all over the place, but every now and again it’s like a breath of fresh air to clean things up a little – know what I mean? I think that these will be some of the very best photos to date! They’ll be great for Easter, but since they are so timeless and classic they will look right at home when you have them displayed all year long in your home and offices!

The live bunny we are using this year is a little different than years past too! Our mini session mascot this year is Miss Sweet Pea. She comes to us courtesy of Red Dog Farm! She’s currently up for adoption and we are hoping that with all this publicity we’ll be able to find her a “forever home” with a loving family! She’s a sweet rabbit and is going to be perfect for this year’s photos! Check out Red Dog Farm and keep them in mind next time you’re thinking of getting a new pet. Adoption is a GREAT alternative!

So, about the sessions…

• All sessions will take place at my studio in Greensboro. This means indoors – finally! Last year we had a little cold snap toward the end of the sessions and it was a tad chilly for the little ones… This year we will have none of that:)

• Sessions are intended for children only, no parents allowed. Yes, let the kids have some fun on their own for this one. I’m usually a huge advocate of getting parents in the shots, but not this time around.

• Sweet Pea will be available for photos, if you choose. She’s totally optional. If you would rather use this session as more of a  traditional spring portrait, we can!

• There are two options for the sessions. First off, for $75 you will receive 5-8 digital images and a print release. For an additional $25 you can receive 3-5 extra images if you wish. The $75 sessions are limited to no more than 3 children. Each additional child past 3 is subject to a $25 charge – due to the extra time and images.

**Each session is intended for individual families. If you add an additional child that is not a sibling (adopted or natural) there will be an up-charge of $25 per child.

• Your images will be added to an online gallery for your download no later than two weeks after your session. No disc will be provided. The print release will be emailed once your gallery is uploaded.

To book your session, simply email or call. jordan@jordantickle.com or 336-552-4137. Sessions will book fast, and space is limited, so I suggest you book as soon as you can!

Full payment for sessions is required to book. Payment is non-refundable due to individual session reservation.

PERKS! There are a few things I’m doing with these sessions. First off, share the mess out of the ad on the Facebook fan-page and on my instagram account (@ticklephotography) for a chance to win a FREE easter mini session. When you share on Facebook, tag a few friends you think might be interested and hashtag #tickleEASTER so that I’ll be able to search it. If you’re going to share on Instagram and want your re-post to count toward the free session drawing, then make sure to use the Instagram ad and not the Facbook ad. The instagram ad is square and can be found on my instagram account, as well as floating around on facebook. When you share on Instagram, make sure to hashtag #tickleEASTER and tag THREE of your friends. I’ll draw one lucky winner from both facebook and Instagram for FREE sessions, so share like a crazy person:)

Let’s recap:

If you share and post on Facebook – tag a few friends and hashtag #tickleEASTER. If you share on Instagram – make sure to use the Instagram ad ONLY, tag THREE friends and hashtag #tickleEASTER.

OH – one more thing! For every friend that books an Easter Mini and pays in full, you’ll receive a FREE 5×7 from your session. The more friends you send my way, the more free photos I’ll give you! Just make sure to tell them to tell me that you referred them! :) [These friends must be new clients to Tickle Photography. Repeat customers do not count as referrals]

If you have any questions, let me know!

Can’t wait to see you there!

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Iredell Heart Ball 2014

heart_ball_web-34Well, this past Saturday evening I had the awesome privilege of shooting the Iredell Heart Ball for the American Heart Association! I’ve done a little volunteer work for the AHA here locally over the last few months and I must say that I’ve really enjoyed it! (Back in May I shot the Greensboro Heart Walk and then in November I photographed the Tanglewood Heart Walk)

Any hoot – Saturday evening the AHA held their annual ball to raise money for the local chapter. The night took place at the Statesville Civic Center and held a silent auction, a dinner, a live auction and several speeches. Oh – and dancing to the tunes provided by Johnny White and the Elite Band! The most entertaining moments of the night were during the live auction. Things got crazy and fun as people were bidding for things that had been donated. I’m talking everything from an Outback Steakhouse catered dinner party for 12 at your home to a weeks vacation to a home in Mexico! Yep, there were some pretty awesome items up for grabs.

Want to know something pretty amazing?! The goal for the evening was to raise $90,000… Well they raised over $150,000! How awesome is that?

I’ve posted a gallery below of some images from the evening for you to peruse. Hope you enjoy!

Artisan Cheese Bread

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Let’s talk about bread for a second. I love bread – any type of bread! I’m a fan of everything from white loaf bread to cinnamon rolls. Really though, who doesn’t love bread, right?!

Well one of my very favorite types of breads are those artisan loaves that you only see at specialty stores, like Panera, and on those fancy cooking shows on television. Literally, I adore breads like this with that distinct yeast flavor, crispy crust and soft interior that melts in your mouth, but I just don’t like the fact of having to pay upwards of $10 per loaf. I mean, when you’re feeding friends and a family of 4-5 you just can’t swing that much money on bread.

Have no fear and look no further: I have found one of THE best bread recipes I’ve ever tasted! I must admit that the recipe is not mine and I didn’t test this one a million times to perfect it… Good ol’ Marth Stewart did. Just the same, when I find a phenomenal recipe (especially one that is easy to make) I like to share it so that others can experience it too! If you want to read her version it’s here, Olive Cheese Loaf, but I pride myself in explaining things better than most – so here’s the “Jordan Tickle Version.” ha ha!

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The World’s BEST Artisan Bread

3 c. All-Purpose Bread flour (I used King Arthur)

3/4 tsp. Active, Dry yeast

1 tsp. Salt

1 1/4 c. Grated cheese (I used Jarlesberg)

1 1/3 – 1 1/2 c. water

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir together. It will be a pretty sticky dough, but that’s what you’re going for. (Start with 1 1/3 c. of the water and add a little more if it feels too dry) After mixing it all together, scrape the sides of the bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it set at room temperature for 12-18 hours. YES! Twelve to eighteen hours. I know, that’s a TON of time, but that’s what it takes to develop that distinctive yeast flavor and build the right amount of gluten for the texture we love.

After the 12-18 hour wait (literally anytime between the 12-18 hour time is fine. I let mine rest for like 13 hours because I was so anxious to bake it. lol) pull it out of the bowl and knead it lightly with flour. Turn the edges to the bottom, creating a smooth loaf, and place on a piece of parchment or wax paper that has been floured well. Dust the top lightly with a little more flour and cover with another piece of wax paper. Make sure that the dough is covered (loosely) so that almost no air is getting to it. (You can cover the wax paper with a tea towel to weigh the edges down a bit) After about 2 hours the dough will have doubled in size. To see if it’s ready to bake, lightly press the dough. If it springs back, give it another 15 minutes to rest. Once your finger indention holds then you’re ready to bake.

Here’s where the fun part comes in – this is how we get that AHHHHH-MAZING crisp crust!

You need to use a cast-iron or enamel coated cast-iron dutch oven for this – it’s beyond imperative.

Pre-heat your oven to 475 (or 450 convection). Place the bottom half of the pot in the oven about ten minutes before you want to bake the loaf. Once the loaf is ready, pull the pot out of the oven and carefully pick the dough up and drop it into the pot. Try to place it carefully, but be careful not to burn your hands. (Don’t worry if it lands a little weird, it will fix itself – trust me!) Once the dough is in the pot, place the lid on, and put back into the oven. (Oh! If the handle on your lid is anything other than SOLID metal or cast-iron, be sure to remove it. 40 minutes at 475 will melt even the strongest of plastics) Place the loaf in the oven, with the lid on, for 25 minutes. After the first 25 minutes, pull the lid off and continue to bake for 15-30 minutes. Keep a check after about 15 minutes to make sure you pull the bread out when it get’s that beautiful, golden brown.

Let the bread rest for just a few minutes and then turn it out onto a rack. Feel free to let it cool, but I promise you’ll be dying to cut into it – just like I did. I can’t lie… Between my parents, my fiancé and her best friend, we had the whole loaf gone within 2 hours! It’s seriously THAT good!

Alright – now some things to think about. Martha uses Gruyere cheese and olives. I don’t like Olives and I’ve never tried Gruyere, plus it’s pretty pricey. I used Jarlesberg and it was GREAT! Another thing is that Martha says to cube your cheese – which I did – but I think I’d prefer to have it grated. Feel free to decide on your own. My next step is to experiment with this recipe by adding dried herbs, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. I think this might become my new obsession.

So – give this recipe a try! I assure you that it’s as easy as it sounds and it’s even better than it looks!

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