Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas with the Stitch 'n Bitch Girls!

As with most groups of friends, the Stitch 'n Bitch girls have a little Christmas celebration each year. It's nothing fancy, we just cut down on our stitching time and  have a gift exchange. Usually our gifts to each other are homemade or a vintage treasure found at an estate sale. Every year I give the girls a jar of my pomegranate jelly and supplement it with other homemade goodies.  This year I decided to make them pincushions. I used this pattern as a guide, substituting some of the sewing directions for ones I thought would be easier and using small beads rather than making French knots. They were easy to make, turned out cute.  Now I need to make a few for me!

I don't keep a large variety of wrapping paper, preferring to use kraft paper or bags.  This means less things to store and the kraft paper goes with everything! Today I used lunch bags and embellished them with a doily and ribbon.  Cute, cute, cute!

Now one of the things we do at Stitch 'n Bitch is eat! Some days it's a complete lunch, other days might be a salad or even just some munchies.  But we must always have dessert! I firmly live by the motto that life is short, eat dessert first! For this gathering I made a chocolate cream pie.  It can be topped with either a meringue or whipped cream.  Today I used whipped cream, adding a little crushed candy canes to the topping for both color and taste. It instantly converted a basic chocolate pie to a holiday pie!
Chocolate Cream Pie
1 pie shell, (9-inch), baked
3 cups half and half
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat 2 1/2 cups of the half and half, the sugar and the salt, stirring or whisking often to dissolve the sugar, until tiny bubbles appear around the edges.  Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the cornstarch over the remaining 1/2 cup of half and half and whisk until dissolved.  Whisk in the egg yolks.  Gradually whisk in the hot half and half mixture, and return to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.  Remove from heat; add the chopped chocolate, butter and the vanilla, and stir until the chocolate melts completely.
Pour mixture into the baked pie shell and smooth the top. Butter (or spray Pam baking spray) on a piece of plastic wrap and place it, buttered side down, directly on the surface of the filling (this keeps a skin from forming on the filling).  Cool completely.  Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Top with meringue or whipped cream.  Garnish as desired.  Serve chilled.
On Tuesday I am linking to A Stroll Thru Life!

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