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Take a Road Trip and Never Leave the Kitchen

Sittin on a Sandbar Key Lime Pie

I’ve stayed close to home this summer. With a busy schedule, heading out of town wasn’t in the cards. But I plan to take a road trip and never leave my kitchen. How? By preparing recipes unique to certain regions. I thought it would be fun to “travel” to the East Coast this week.

In 1996, Boston cream pie was named the official dessert of Massachusetts. It is two layers of a yellow butter cake with pastry cream in the middle. The entire cake is covered with a chocolate glaze. You can find out more about the history of the Boston cream pie here.

Megan Conner (Jumping Branch, WV) turns this famous pie into cupcakes in her Boston Cream Cupcakes recipe. “These are a wonderful guilty pleasure,” thinks Megan. These cupcakes are decadent and wonderful.

Prepared completely from scratch, you taste the difference. The sponge cake is light and airy and the pastry cream filling is packed with vanilla flavor. Drizzling the rich chocolate ganache frosting takes these cupcakes over the top. These require TLC during preparation, but I think you’ll find the effort is well worth it!

Like Boston is known for the Boston cream pie, New York is known for cheesecake. New York style cheesecake is sweet and tangy from the amount of cream cheese used. It’s also extremely dense. A big slice, while delicious, is filling.

Christine Cuneo (Buffalo, NY) created and shared her recipe for Bite Size New York Style Cheesecake. This recipe is brilliant because it’s cheesecake in a smaller form… which means I can eat more.

Christine mentions you can make this with a graham cracker, vanilla wafer or chocolate cookie crust. Graham cracker is the traditional crust so, in the Test Kitchen, that’s what we used but any would be delicious. The crust is the perfect base for the creamy, dense, and smooth cheesecake.

Robyn Bruce’s (Middletown, PA) Chicken Pot Pie (The Real Pennsylvania Dutch Way!) was voted a Member’s Choice favorite and, my oh my, it is good.

“Everyone thinks that chicken pot pie is a meal that is served in a pie crust of some sort; this is not true,” explains Robyn. “Those are meat pies. Chicken pot pie is actually a Pennsylvania Dutch dish and is more of a soup or stew.”

This recipe has all the flavors of everyone thinks of in a chicken pot pie but resembles a soup. Hearty and delicious, prepare a batch of this when the weather gets cooler (or now if you have the A/C cranked) and feel the love from your family.

For the next recipe, I’m heading down I-95 to North Carolina to taste Barbara Gabriel’s (Sherrills Ford, NC) Grandma’s North Carolina Pork Barbecue. “My mom always made this barbecue; she got the directions from her mom,” shares Barbara. “It is very good and easy to make. Good old Southern style.”

This pork roast is so good and tender. What really makes this different is the homemade sauce. It’s tangy and sweet with a little bit of spice. The meat soaks up all the sauce after being cut up and infuses the flavor. This was great on a bun with a side of coleslaw, but the meat is so good it can be eaten without a bun.

Pretty much as far south as you can travel in the United States is to Key West, Florida. A day in Key West isn’t complete without a slice of key lime pie and Amy Freeze’s Sittin on a Sandbar Key Lime Pie transports me to the keys.

This may be the best key lime pie I have ever had and I’ve eaten a lot of pie in my life. The vanilla wafer crust is the perfect complement the tangy, sweet and creamy filling. Cream of coconut adds a subtle flavor and makes it a bit different than other key lime pie fillings. The sweetened whipped cream is perfect on top! After one bite, you’re going to find reasons why you need to make this pie.

If you’re like me and can’t travel this summer, hopefully, you’ll try one of these recipes and allow your taste buds to take you on vacation. If you could head anywhere this summer, though, where would you go? Tell me below in the comments. Happy Pinching!