Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fazer Pie

When I was living in Lithuania as a missionary, we used to make what we called Fazer Pie. It was made from Fazer milk chocolate (from Finland). I remember the pie being delectably delightful, so I recently tracked down a recipe. I got it from David Beck, who said he got it from Eric Frandsen. Although, I'm quite certain the recipe isn't Frandsen's original, I still appreciate his holding onto it, and being willing to share. Thanks David and Eric.

Last week my lovely wife, Lisa, and I tried making the pie using Dove Milk chocolates (I think the Dove chocolate we used had the word "Silk" on the package somewhere--probably not too important, but it was the "good stuff"). It turned out to be quite delicious. In fact, Lisa said there's nothing that she has had that tastes more like Marie Calendar's Chocolate Satin Pie (Lisa's Fav.) than what we made with the Dove chocolate. So, I'm flattered to have been able to make it for her.

We were eating some of the Dove Chocolate pie w/ my brother, Wade, and I told him I think it would be even better with the original Fazer chocolate we had on the mission. Wade told me how there was this chocolate that he just loved on his mission (in Argentina), but when he came back and tried it several years after the mission, he found it to be really quite nasty. He then told me of his idea that the Lord must bless missionaries to feel that really crappy stuff is great--or delicious--sometimes.

I certainly don't discount the "special taste buds" gift of the Spirit that Wade may have experienced (and I'm sure I experienced it too with that Pork Intestine I somehow managed to gag down--and probably those little sausage pirageliai weren't as good as I remember them); however, I recently went online and ordered two 200-gram bars of Fazer original milk chocolate, ($13 in shipping! ouch!!!). When the chocolate got here and I tried it, I found it to be distinctly delicious--just as I had remembered! I guess Finnish chocolate has a "genuine appeal" to American taste buds (at least mine) as opposed to Argentine chocolate with it's "blessed appeal" for missionaries' taste buds. -ha! :)

Well, as Lisa slept today (she's got something messing w/ her sinuses--poor thing), I went ahead and melted down the chocolate and made the real Fazer Pie. (Except, I can't seem to find the original Fazer Domino cookies we used on the mission, so I had to substitute Oreos. I found out that Fazer sold their Dominos product line, and they are now made by a Finnish company called "LU". Unfortunately, I can't find anyone who has them, online or otherwise. I think, though, that I'd probably actually prefer Oreos in a side-by-side taste test.)
So, anyway. . . here's the recipe and instructions:
Fazer Pie

Crust Ingredients:
- 2 boxes Fazer Dominos (substitute 2/3 pack of Oreos), crushed;
- 1/4 cup butter, melted.

Crust Instructions:
- Mix crushed cookies and melted butter together
- press mixture evenly into 10-inch pie pan
- freeze the crust until you put the filling in

Filling Ingredients:
- 2 Fazer original milk chocolate bars (200g each), melted (substitute 400g your favorite milk chocolate)
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons Vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon baking cocoa
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 pint whipping cream

Filling Instructions:
- Separate 2 egg whites (save yolks), and whip until peaks form.
- Whip 1/2 pint whipping cream
- Melt the chocolate
- temper 1 egg and the 2 saved egg yolks with warm chocolate
- add the tempered egg and 2 yolks to the chocolate
- add the vanilla and cocoa to the chocolate/egg mixture
- mix well
- Remove chocolate mixture from heat, and let it cool slightly
- Fold in whipped cream
- Fold in whipped eggs
- combine until it's a uniform color (brown, like pie filling)

Final Instructions:
- Pour cool filling into frozen pie crust
- Freeze for at least 4 hours
- Serve with milk, or with whipped cream on top


Now, here are the pictures and details (or hints) on how I went through these steps. Doing everything in order can make it easy to get everything done while concentrating appropriately on each task. Otherwise, you might stress about burning the chocolate and messing up everything else. I'm sure this is all stuff an experienced cook would just do naturally, but I have wasted a lot of good ingredients on messing some of this up. So here's my tips.

First--and quite possibly the very most important step of all--I neatly arranged the ingredients into a photographic little masterpiece.

Actually, here's the real first step: I chopped the cookies to a fine powder.

I used the food processor for the cookie crushing. Goes much quicker, and the results are just as good or better than hand crushing.

Next, I added the melted butter to the crushed cookies, mixed it all up so the cookies were nice and "wet", then I put the butter/cookie mix in the pie pan. I went a little "generous" on the 1/4 cup of butter. I like to be sure to have enough butter to stick the whole crust together.

Don't worry, I washed my hands thoroughly before this.

After some good pressing, I got it looking like a solid cookie crumb pie crust.

After I got it ready, I put it in the freezer to wait until the filling was ready.

The next step was melting the chocolate. Yummmm. Looks SOOO Good!

You gotta be careful that the chocolate is fully melted (without burning it) before adding anything. If you put the cocoa and vanilla in too early, it turns to fudge, and you gotta start over.

While I was waiting for the chocolate to melt, I got the whipped cream and the whipped egg whites ready. On the egg whites, beat them until peaks form. Thinking to myself, "they're both 'whipped' items," I beat the eggs after the whipped cream, but before cleaning off the beaters. They didn't work out. I don't know if it was because I didn't clean the beaters, or because I accidentally dripped in some yolk when separating them, or because I beat them on too high of a speed. . . but for some reason, they didn't whip into peaks on the first try. So, I had to do a second set of egg whites. Again, I'm sure real cooks know how to do this just fine.

Once the chocolate is all melted, you temper the one egg plus two egg yolks. This means you dowse the eggs with some of the warm chocolate, and mix it up in the egg bowl, so that the eggs get warm without cooking right in the mix. I also put the cocoa and the vanilla in with the eggs and mixed up the whole mixture before dumping it in with the chocolate. I'm not sure this is necessary, but it worked for me.

Next, you take the mixture off the heat, and let it cool for a little while. I didn't wait very long--maybe a minute or two. It might be better for it to cool a bit longer than I did, so it doesn't turn the whipped cream and egg whites into soup. But I was afraid of it setting up as chocolate again, so I didn't wait long. I don't know what's best here. Either way, after giving it a second to cool, you fold in the egg whites and whipped cream until it becomes a lighter brown chocolate pie filling-like mixture.

Once you have it all folded in, you pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Keep pouring. . . almost there. . .

That's it. There's your Fazer Pie. Now you just pop it in the fridge (or freezer) for several hours, and serve it up. Between the fridge and freezer, I'm not sure which is best. I put it in the fridge for an hour or two, then put it in the freezer for a few more hours. Like the tradition of cutting the ends off the roast because grandma's pan was too short to fit the whole thing in, I don't know that there's any actual merit to this method.

It's really a rich (and delicious) pie, so serving it with some fresh whipped cream and/or a tall glass of milk is VERY advisable.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Go check out . Fascinating new blogger. I've added his blog to my list of blogs, so you can check out all his new stuf as it comes online.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


6.79 billion. . .that's a lot! According to the World Fact Boook, 6,790,062,216 is the current population of the world. Of course, since people are being born and dying all over the world at every given moment, I'm not sure how it can identify such an exact number. Plus, what was the precise moment in time that the number was recorded? Certainly by the time I'm writing this, the number has already changed. But, it's kind of exciting to know at least a rough estimate of how many of us there are on this planet for now--or at least at the moment the number was recorded.

This has always been an intriguing thought to me: There's only one ME. How cool is that? How sad is that? No. . . I take it back. . .it's not sad at all. That I'm unique is extraordinary. What is ther power of ME?

But the other baffling part of all this is that of the 6.79 billion people in the world, how many EXACTLY identical "consciousnesses" are there? By "consciousness", I mean "understanding of the world and life and everything". In other words, what two people in the world SEE absolutely everything EXACTLY the same, and understand the world in exactly the same way? I don't think any two are identical. Like snowflakes, there are 6,790,062,216 DIFFERENT views on what life REALLY is and means, etc. Sure we all subscribe to similar creeds, religions, anti-religions, and whatever. . . but when it comes down to it, we each vary ever so slightly on the way we see it. And the truly amazing part is that we ALL think we've got it RIGHT. Extraordinary!!!

Regardless. . .rather than shake my faith, this realization strengthens it. In consideration of the the various differences all of humanity shares, the fact that we SHARE those differences makes us a human family. That we're each unique with a unique perspective on things is part of the power of the individual. It's the power of ME. And yet, the fact that we all SHARE this same power gives an extraordinary power of WE. The contrast of our human "sameness" and uniqueness makes our existence as a human family absolutely beautiful.

The question I think too few of us are considering--or perhaps we just consider it too rarely is this: To what great end are we individually or collectively exercising the powers of ME and WE? How does this question influence what I do with my time in a lifetime, a decade, year, month, week day, hour, minute, . . . even this second?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why we do what we do. . .

Tonight I watched an episode of a thought-provoking new "who 'dun it" series on T.V. called 'The Mentalist'. (OK, I don't know how new it is, but I assume that since this is the first time I've seen it, it's new. This, of course, reveals a couple things about me. First, I have somehow erroneously concluded that the world really does kinda revolve around me. . .i.e. if it's new to me, it must be new. Second, I really don't watch THAT much T.V. [even though I feel like I already watch WAY too much], since I get a sneaky suspiciion the show is not really that new.)

. . . so anyway, I was watching 'The Mentalist' when one of the lines from the main character struck me as being rather profound--at least, succinct in summarizing an interesting idea.

The line was this:

"The heart wants what the heart wants, and it won't be denied; and that makes us do bad things."

On one hand, it's really a bit of a statement of the obvious about motives. On the other hand, it's interesting to consider how everything we do is based on motives--and how those motives create a power that invoke action. In this case, the principle was based on a guy who had motives for doing "bad things". Conversely, I think there's a power to do good things that comes from the heart.

Of course, this idea gives some people the mistaken rationalization that they are not responsible for their own actions. Certainly the idea that something can "make" us do anything holds no water except when that something is our own motives and desires. I remember reading a news article about a woman who killed her three children and claimed that quite literally 'the devil made her do it'. I posit that 'the devil' in this case was really the deep seeded desires of her heart.

Now, if you want to talk about how the devil operates. . . it's simple: through presenting opportunities for us as individuals to come to desire certain things, then pursuading us to act on those desires that have become the desires of our heart. So, indirectly, yes, the devil did persuade this woman to do what she did--through her desires. Yet, it was she who chose her desires--probably over the course of her life.

So, that's what it all comes down to: watching ourselves in our desires. What do we really want? That's what will shape what we do. . . . and really, not much more.

Quote of the day. . .

Blaine: (To Lisa, about the barbeque ribs he sees slow-cooking in the crock pot) Mmmmm, these look good. When are they going to be done?

Lisa: Not 'till 5.

Blaine: They look delicious. . . couldn't I just taste test some.

Lisa: They'd probably kill you.


Friday, June 05, 2009

What's Important

I remember a phone call I had last year while I was on a business trip in Nebraska. I was talking on the phone with my (then) 6-year-old boy, Brandon, who was telling me all about his final baseball game of the season that he had played that day. As I listened, my heart hurt for missing the experience. He wrapped up the conversation with "Dad, I really wish you could have been there. . ." I told him "I really wished I could have, too" as tears rolled down my face.

I took that moment to think about what was really important to me. Work, and doing well at it is important to me--but not nearly as important as my wife and children. I thought to myself: "If only there was a way to be with my family as much as I'd like AND succeed in my work life at the same time." A few minutes later, I found myself watching a news channel that was airing an interview between some host and Steven Covey together with his son. Steven was helping his son publicize a major project the son had been working on for some time. It seemed to be along the same lines of study his father has pursued for years. I found it admirable for a father and son to work together. More importantly, I began to wonder what work I could pursue that would interest my son enough to pursue it with me.

(By "my son", of course, I mean Brandon. . . See, J. is going to be our retirement program [I'm thinking football star, but maybe baseball or bull riding will get us there], and Bryson's just learning to walk, so I'm not sure what to make of him yet. . . ;)

Anyhow, a year after this experience. . . school, work, church. . .they all still seem to have a way of trying to edge out my wife and kids in terms of importance. In my heart, however, family always prevails as first. (I just hope my actions always reveal it so.) But I still haven't found a way to include my family in my work. In any case, I feel I know the answer to "what's important?" To me, it IS my kids. And it IS my wife. and THEN it's church and work and school, etc. For the most part, Family is the WHY behind it all. I hope they know how important to me they are.