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Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

Ever since I was a little kid, I have always enjoyed the peanut butter and banana combination.  I remember the first time I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  I was probably four or five, and my grandmother made one for me.  I thought it was going to be gross, but I tried it anyway and loved it.  Ever since then, I knew that I loved these two flavors together.  When I saw this recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it.  When I made banana cream pie last year, it was a huge hit with our friends, and since I know a bunch of peanut butter lovers, I was pretty confident this would go over well.

This recipe is not difficult, but you do have to think ahead.  You need time to chill the pudding filling, and once you make the peanut butter layer, the pie needs to chill at least 3 hours.  I would recommend doing this the night before or early in the day it is to be served, but wait until right before serving to add the bananas on top.  Otherwise, the bananas will start to brown.  This was truly one of my favorite desserts.  The bananas and peanut butter went together so well, and I loved how the peanut butter cream layer tasted with the vanilla pudding.  The pudding itself was delicious, and I would use this recipe in other desserts (or even on its own) in the future.  This pie was devoured very quickly, and I’m so glad I got to make it!  I used flourless peanut butter cookies as the crust instead of the vanilla wafer crust the recipe called for, but I’m including both crust recipes, so you can decide which one you want to make.

Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie
Source:  adapted from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, who run the Baked bakery, via Epicurious

Peanut Butter Cookie Crust:

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

Combine all ingredients.  Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes.  Once cool, break into pieces and process in a food processor to finely ground crumbs.  Stir in ½ stick melted butter.  Press into bottom of pie plate, then bake for 12 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Vanilla wafer crust:

6 ounces vanilla wafer crust

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in processor; blend until mixture resembles moist crumbs, about 1 minute.  Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish and press mixture onto bottom and up sides of dish.  Bake crust until golden brown, about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven; press crust with back of spoon if puffed.  Cool crust completely.

Vanilla pudding filling:

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup whole milk

2 large egg yolks

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 firm but ripe bananas, peeled, divided

3 tablespoons orange juice, divided

Peanut butter layer:

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2/3 chilled heavy whipping cream

For vanilla pudding filling:

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan until no lumps remain.  Gradually whisk in cream, then milk.  Add yolks and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; whisk to blend.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until pudding thickens and boils, about 5 minutes.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Spread warm pudding in cooled crust.  Chill until filling is cool, about 1 hour.

Thinly slice 3 bananas on diagonal.  Combine banana slices and 2 tablespoons orange juice in medium bowl; toss to coat.  Transfer banana slices to paper towels and pat dry.  Arrange enough banana slices in single layer over vanilla custard filling to cover completely.

For peanut butter layer:

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in medium bowl until smooth.  Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter.  Beat cream in another medium bowl until firm peaks form.  Fold large spoonful of whipped cream into peanut mixture to loosen, then fold in remaining cream in 2 additions.  Spread peanut butter layer evenly over bananas.  Chill at least 3 hours.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Just before serving: Thinly slice remaining banana on diagonal.  Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon orange juice, then pat dry with paper towels.  Arrange banana slices around top edge of pie.

Pecan Pie (TWD)

I was already planning on making a pecan pie the week before Thanksgiving, but hadn’t decided on which recipe to use.  I looked at a few possibilities, but then I saw that pecan pie was on the TWD schedule for December, so the decision was made for me!  Dorie says this is her favorite pecan pie, and it’s a twist on a classic pecan pie.  It has espresso powder (I used coffee) and chocolate chips.  I have always been a fan of chocolate and espresso together, so I was pretty sure I would like this.  And…I was right!  This was a delicious pie!  I increased the chocolate chips (I’m not sure by how much- I just added a few extra handfuls!) and kept the espresso amount the same, but next time I would probably increase the amount.  I thought the espresso was too subtle.  This was a great pie though, and I can see why Dorie likes it so much.  I’m starting to experiment with gluten free versions of traditional pie crusts, and I tried a recipe from Whole Foods for this one.  It wasn’t quite what I was looking for (and now I know that I need to stay away from tapioca and rice flour…I’m just not crazy about the taste), but I’m sure that I’ll make many more pies and experiment with more recipes 🙂  Thanks to Beth for choosing this pie for TWD!

German Chocolate Pie

My family loves German Chocolate anything.  It’s pretty common to see German Chocolate Cake at family celebrations, on both my mom’s side and my dad’s side.  In addition to cake, this German Chocolate Pie is family favorite.  It’s hard to think of a year where we haven’t had it at either Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Usually my mom makes it, but this year I decided to try it on my own.  I changed the recipe slightly, mostly stirring all the coconut into the mixture rather than sprinkling it on top. I added some chocolate chips to increase the chocolate flavor, but you can certainly leave them out.  The original recipe calls for only 1/2 cup pecans.  This didn’t seem like nearly enough to me, so I increased the amount to 1 cup.  I also made a mini version since I didn’t have a big crowd to serve this to.  This is a very rich pie, so a little bit goes a long way, but it’s worth every delicious bite!  My mom got this recipe from a newspaper.  I’m not sure which one, though.  I think it was from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution from when my parents lived in Atlanta in the early 1980s.  I hope that if you make this pie, it becomes a favorite of yours as well!

German Chocolate Pie
Source: adapted from a recipe my mom cut out from a newspaper 🙂

1 bar (4 ounces) German chocolate

¼ cup butter

1 2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 ½ cups sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cups grated coconut

½-1 cup chopped pecans

1 recipe pie crust, partially baked and cooled (I recommend this one from Smitten Kitchen)

Follow recipe for your preferred pie crust.  Partially bake, and allow to cool before filling.

Melt chocolate with butter over low heat, stirring to blend.  Remove from heat.  Gradually blend in milk.  Stir in eggs and vanilla.  Stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Add to chocolate mixture and stir until combined.  Stir in coconut and pecans.  Add chocolate chips, if using.  Turn mixture into pie shell.

Combine coconut and nuts.  Sprinkle over filling.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, or until top is puffed.  Filling will be soft, but will set while cooling.  Cool at least 4 hours before serving.

Peanut Butter Pie


So many people love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, so I knew this would go over quite well.  I’ve had my eye on it ever since I got Baked and was excited to make it.  It has three major steps to it- the crust, the filling, and the fudge topping, but they were all simple steps.  After baking and cooling the crust, you make the peanut butter filling, which is absolutely delicious.  The peanut butter filling is really the star of the show here.  It really stands out in this dessert.  It feels light and fluffy, even though with all that cream it can’t be too light 🙂  It was very similar to a cheesecake filling, but the cream cheese flavor wasn’t as strong.  This is a great splurge-worthy dessert, and a must for any chocolate-peanut butter fan!  For the crust, you can be pretty flexible- chocolate graham crackers, Oreos, or any other chocolate cookie would work just fine.  I also poured the sauce over the pie before freezing, so it was more of a ganache, but either way would work just be fine and be equally delicious.

Peanut Butter Pie
Source: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

For the chocolate cookie crust:

30 chocolate wafer cookies (about 6 ounces)

1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the peanut butter filling with chocolate bottom:

½ cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

½ teaspoon light corn syrup

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 ½ cups heavy cream

For the easy hot fudge sauce:

6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

6 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup light corn syrup

Make the chocolate cookie crust:

In a food processor, grind the cookies to a very fine powder.  You should have about 1 ½ cups.  Put the crumbs in a bowl and stir in the sugar.

Pour the butter over the crumb mixture and mix until well combined.  The mixture will feel wet.  Turn the crumb mixture out into a 9-inch pie plate and press it into the bottom and up the sides.  You can use the back of a large spoon to even out the crust.  Put the crust in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Make the peanut butter filling with chocolate bottom:

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave oven or in a double broiler.  Add the corn syrup and stir to combine.  Use a spatula to spread the chocolate in a thin layer on the bottom of the chilled pie crust.  Put the crust back in the refrigerator while you make the peanut butter filling.

Put the cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until well combined and completely smooth.  Set aside.

In a clean bowl, use the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until the mixture is uniform in color.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and freeze for at least 4 hours.  Once the pie is frozen, you can cover it with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 days.

Make the easy hot fudge sauce:

Place both chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat.  Add the corn syrup and stir to combine.  Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolates.  Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes.  Starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, whisk the chocolate mixture in a circle until completely smooth.  The hot fudge sauce, cooled to room temperature and covered tightly, will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator.  Rewarm the sauce in a microwave oven on medium heat for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until the sauce is warm; or reheat it in a small saucepan over low heat.

Place a frozen piece of pie on a large serving plate and spoon 3 heaping tablespoons of the warm sauce directly over the top of the pie.  Eat and enjoy immediately.

Snickers Pie


We found ourselves with some leftover candy from Halloween, and I wanted to find some way to use it in a dessert.  Most of the candy will end up going to my classroom (I reward/bribe with candy :)), but I’ve heard of people making Snickers Pie before and I wanted to try it out for myself.  I searched for many recipes before settling on this one.  I changed the crust, using the crust from this s’mores cheesecake recipe instead, and used Dorie’s chocolate ganache for the topping, but kept the filling from the original recipe.  I really liked using this crust and felt that it actually fit the recipe better because of the use of peanuts.  I would recommend one major change though- instead of using a pie plate, I would make this in a springform pan instead.  There was too much filling for the size of the pie plate, and I feel that it would be better suited for the depth of a springform pan.  This was a delicious recipe.  It was incredibly rich and delicious, and I loved the way the cream cheese layer balanced the chocolate flavor.  Even if you don’t have the extra Snickers candy laying around, go get some and make this pie!


Snickers Pie
Source: adapted from Alpineberry

Crust: (Source: Simply Gluten Free)
1 ¼ cups dry-roasted, salted peanuts
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

Pulse peanuts, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small food processor until it is the texture of coarse sand. Pulse in the melted butter. Press nut mixture evenly in the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake until set, about 15 minutes and cool while making the filling.

For filling:

Fudge Layer
4 ounces (1 stick/ 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces of Snickers candy bars, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
(I weighed the Snickers without wrappers)

Cream Cheese Layer
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Keep the oven temperature at 350 degrees.

For the fudge layer:
Combine butter and bittersweet chocolate in the top of a double boiler; set over simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove top insert and cool slightly.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside dry ingredients.

Using an electric mixer, beat together sugar, egg and egg yolk in a large bowl for 1 minute, until slightly thickened. Add vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into crust.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist batter still attached. If crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.

Transfer pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Evenly arrange Snickers bars over the top.

For the cream cheese layer:
Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add egg, egg white and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully spread mixture over the Snickers bars. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cream cheese is set. Transfer to a rack to cool.

For topping:

Chocolate Ganache (adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, at room temperature

Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds.  Working with a whisk or rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles.  Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motions.  When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece.  Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients- the less you work it, the darker, smoother, and shinier it will be.

Pour ganache over cooled pie and refrigerate until set.

Pumpkin Pie


Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, and I’m sure pumpkin pie is high up on the list of desserts to make.  Many people use the recipe on the can of Libby’s pumpkin, but I wanted to try something different.  This version sounded promising, so I decided to give it a try.  After reading through the recipe, I decided that it had a lot of unnecessary steps.  I’m not one to dirty more dishes that I have to, so I changed the method a little bit.  Instead of processing the ingredients in a blender, I just mixed them all by hand in the pot, and then heated them.  It worked just fine, and I didn’t have to waste the energy or time using the food processor or blender.  I did the same thing with the eggs- no need for a food processor, I just whisked them in the pot after I took it off the heat along with the milk and cream.  This way was so much simpler, and I don’t think the final product suffered one bit.  I really liked the way this was spiced.  If you don’t want a strong ginger flavor, I would recommend cutting the amount in half.  The spices went together nicely and the smell just filled the kitchen- it made me excited for the holidays to finally get here!  If you are planning on serving pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, I would definitely recommend this version!

I didn’t use the Baking Illustrated pie crust.  Instead, I used this all butter crust found on Smitten Kitchen.  It was very easy to work with and I’m sure I’ll use it again next time I’m making pie.


Pumpkin Pie
Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated

Pie crust from Smitten Kitchen– I’m just going to link to the recipe here because she has wonderful step-by-step pictures that are helpful.  The recipe yields enough for a double crust, but you only need a single crust here.  You can either make half of the recipe, or make double and freeze half for later.

Pumpkin Filling

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pie filling)

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon table salt

2/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup milk

4 large eggs

Combine pumpkin, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large pot.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat until thick and shiny, about 5minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in eggs.  Stir in milk and cream.  Pour into cooled pie crust and bake until filling is puffed and jiggles slightly when shaken, about 25 minutes.

Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart (TWD)


I have had my eye on this forever.  Every time I flip through Dorie’s book, I want to make it, but then I get too busy with other things.  I was so glad to get the excuse to make it!  I halved the recipe and make it into two 4.5-inch mini tarts using my springform pans.  I’ve made the tart dough a few times before, so I knew what to expect.  This is such an easy tart recipe, and one that I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to use in the future.  The chocolate-caramel layer was fabulous!  Caramel is one of my favorite things, especially combined with chocolate.  Much like the caramel peanut-topped brownie cake, these ingredients go very well together.  I really enjoyed the caramel and chocolate together and the crunchy texture of the peanuts.  This was a fabulous dessert and definitely worth the wait!

Thanks to Carla for choosing this!  You can read about everyone else’s thoughts on the TWD blog.

Apple Turnovers (TWD)


I’ve always liked apple turnovers, but I’ve never made them.  It’s hard to beat a warm apple dessert, so I was hoping these would be really good.  The dough was pretty easy to make and work with.  It was very similar to the Strawberry Hand Pies I made over the summer.  Once you chill the dough, you just roll it out and cut it into circles before you fill it and fold them up.  I tried to use biscuit cutters, but they were too small, so I just used my 4.5-inch springform pan as a guide, and it was the perfect size.  The filling was delicious!  I added a little bit of brown sugar to it to make it a little sweeter and to deepen the apple flavor.  I also added more cinnamon than the recipe called for, because the combination of apples and cinnamon is so incredible.  I forgot to add the egg wash, so these aren’t as dark as they should be, and don’t look very pretty.  David enjoyed snacking on them, but said that they weren’t as good as the Apple Strudel I made in May.

Julie chose this recipe, and you can view it on her blog.  You can also check out the TWD blog to see everyone else’s thoughts.

Creamiest Lime Meringue Pie (TWD)


*Sorry about the dark pictures*

Forget the apples!  It’s still summer!  This lime pie was a great way to hold on to the last bit of summer we have.  School starts for me tomorrow, and the kids are coming in full force next Tuesday.  This was very similar to the lemon tart we made in April 2008 for TWD, but with limes instead of lemons and a different crust.  It was also very similar to the Key Lime Pie I made last summer.  Because I’ve basically made this before (the filling is the same as the lemon tart, obviously replacing lemons with limes), I knew what to expect.  When I made the lemon tart, I had trouble getting the cream up to the desired temperature.  The lime cream was no different.  Dorie’s instructions said that it could take up to 10 minutes to get to the correct temperature.  Well, 25 minutes later, and it still wouldn’t budge past 171 degrees.  Since the cream looked the way Dorie said it was supposed to, I decided to declare it done and move on. When I made the lemon cream last year, I remembered that I thought it was too buttery, so I cut back the butter a little bit.  I am usually not one to complain about too much butter!  I used 2 sticks instead of the 2 1/2 the recipe called for, and I could have gotten away with even less.  It was still very delicious, so I can’t really complain.


After chilling the cream, I prepared the pie and topped it with the meringue.  Be very careful with the meringue!  I’ve never finished a meringue in the broiler and it browns very quickly.  I would recommend leaving the oven door slightly ajar while you keep an eye on it.  This was my first meringue pie, and a great way to savor the last bit of summer vacation.

Linda chose this pie and has the recipe posted on her blog.  You can go to the TWD blog to see everyone else’s pies.

Strawberry Hand Pies


I had never really seen hand pies until last summer when I started to see them on blogs.  I thought it sounded like such a fun idea.  Cutting into a whole pie can be a pain (and very messy), but hand pies are easy to transport and easy to serve.  I knew I wanted to experiment with making these.  I made these for our neighbors (while saving a couple!), who have been very helpful to us as we’ve moved in and started to get adjusted to the neighborhood.

The original recipe used peaches, but I decided to use strawberries instead since they have been so good this year and I haven’t found peaches that I’m happy with yet.  The filling was so delicious!  Instead of bourbon, I used rum, although in hindsight, I should have used kirsch.  As Deb says, the pie dough is very fussy, and requires numerous chilling times, but it was very easy to work with and resulted in a flaky, buttery dough.  Making hand pies requires a little more effort than a regular pie because instead of rolling out one crust (or two if you’re making a double-crusted pie), you have to make several.  These would be great to take to a picnic or other event where you don’t want to have to worry about plates and utensils.  It’s also hard to beat such a cute, individualized dessert!  I didn’t get as many pies as the recipe called for.  I think I got 10.  I’m guessing I didn’t make them as small as the recipe said, but to me, they were the perfect size.


Strawberry Hand Pies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 14 to 24 (depending on cutter size) (I only got 10)

For the pastry:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into
1/2 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup ice water

For the filling:
2 pounds of strawberries
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon rum (I would use kirsch next time)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

One egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water (for egg wash)
Coarse sanding sugar, for decoration

1. To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.

2. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough. (I used a 4-inch cutter–if you can call a “cutter” the tin edge of the container that holds my smaller round cutters–and managed to get 12 from each dough half, after rerolling the scraps.)

3. Make the filling: Hull and cut strawberries into small pieces, much smaller than you’d use for a regular-sized pie. Mix them with the flour, sugar and pinch of salt, and add the liquor and vanilla, if you wish.

4. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling (use the smaller amount for a 4-inch circle) onto one half of each circle of dough. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies back on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.

5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, cut a small slit in each and lightly brush with the egg yolk wash. Sprinkle sanding sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.